Editors’ Welcome Note

Dear fellow members of Tembusu College,

Welcome to the new Academic Year! To the first-year and exchange students, welcome to the Home of Possibilities!

Tembusu College offers many opportunities and experiences to look forward to. Relish the prospect of  interacting with people from all walks of life. From hosting a record number of 92 guests for teas, making it to the news for our letter to the future Prime Minister, to even welcoming the President of the Republic to dine with us over dinner, the last Academic Year has been nothing short of possibilities.

Regardless of faculty, department, or major, being a member of Tembusu College is an opportunity for you to grow as an individual while discovering more about yourself and those around you – and doing so within a community that is itself always evolving. At Tembusu, you will discover a global community finding strength in diversity, developing interdisciplinary collaboration, and living in harmony; a place where learning is not defined by classroom walls or branches of knowledge; an intense yet nurturing environment to live, learn and engage. Here is a space for you to freely explore your interests, venture and question the ever-changing and diverse ways of the world. There are various out-of-classroom learning opportunities – and Treehouse is one of them.

Treehouse is Tembusu College’s online student journal. Tembusu students write, edit and manage the publication. We cover the happenings in the college, feature profiles of professors and students who have done interesting and exciting things, and publish feature articles and opinion pieces on topics relating to Tembusu, or that Tembusuians are interested in.

Last Academic Year, our coverage of events in the College spanned reportage and reflection on dialogues with politicians (such as Member of Parliament and Founder of  Animal Concerns Research & Education Society Louis Ng, Senior Minister of State Dr Janil Puthucheary, and Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Leon Perera), and paralympic medallist and LGBT advocate Theresa Goh. In response to a Tembusu Forum titled ‘Will There Be Another War on the Korean Peninsula?’ featuring diplomats from South Korea, the United States and Singapore, we published a backgrounder on the international tensions over North Korean nuclear ambitions. We also published a photo essay on the Tembusu House Games and a tongue-in-cheek poem on the times our College was struck with a series of (false) fire-alarms in the wee hours.

We continued with our popular ‘A Day in the Life of…’ series for a third run, featuring Shan House Graduate Fellow Ernest Tan, Dining Hall Supervisor Christine, and Tembusu College Senior Manager Sara Kuek. We even featured a creative take on the series, ‘interviewing’ the washing machine, dryer and printer that are essential to the smooth running of this Residential College. Other pieces of creative writing we published included a photo essay on a day in the life of Misty, the pet cat of our College Master, and a literary piece on the transition from the military to university.

We highlighted student voices, carrying a number of personal reflections on life in Tembusu College: from what it feels like to be a third-year student in the College to the beauty of not having pageants in the College; from suggestions to improve the College to a heartfelt farewell after two-years of residency. We also published a Letter to the Editor from a fourth-year student reflecting on his ‘most important class in Tembusu College’.

We contributed to the national discourse on pertinent socio-political issues. We explored the hidden American influences that pervade Singapore politics, and why this might be the case. We reflected on the act of remembering our history – do we have agency to do so, or have structural forces determined otherwise? In light of the reserved Presidential Election, we published a commentary examining the Chinese-Malay-Indian-Others model of racial categorization and its various contradictions in its application in Singapore.

These are just a selection of articles Treehouse published in the last Academic Year. As you may infer from the variety of writings we publish, diversity guides our editorial direction. At Treehouse, we bring together individuals who are excited about exploring issues and ideas, both within and beyond Tembusu College. We hope to deepen the landscape of thought in Tembusu College, by inspiring reflection and conversation among our readers.

This Academic Year, besides publishing, we are looking to hold workshops on ethics, use of evidence and legal norms in journalism. These are pertinent issues especially in this ‘post-truth’ information age. Given that our articles are published on the World Wide Web on the NUS domain with the branding of Tembusu College, this means that our articles could be seen, at least in part, as representing the College in terms of standards of writing and research, if not particular views. Thus, we must ensure an appropriate level of fact-checking, and equip our student writers and editors with the necessary skills. It is important to note, however, that while Treehouse is affiliated to Tembusu College, our articles are not official statements from the College.

Treehouse builds on new branches every year, always growing –  this means we are always seeking fresh voices and open minds. Join us at our Welcome Tea on 20 August 2018, Monday, 8pm to 9pm at The Atlas.

Cheers to an exciting Academic Year ahead!

Best wishes,

Alex, Bryan, Clarissa, Jonathan

Editors (Academic Year 2018/2019)

Tembusu Treehouse

P.S.: Are you new to Tembusu College? Have you seen the Tembusu Freshmen Welcome Guide? We have prepared this Guide to bring you up to speed on what Tembusu College offers. Check it out!

About the Editors

Alexandra Moosa is a second-year student in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. She majors in History and minors in Sociology. She is passionate about the creative freedom of stories and enjoys them in all sorts of mediums like writing, art and animation. People claim she puns too much but music puns aren’t her forte.

Bryan Kwa is an arts and social sciences student majoring in Political Science. He mulls over the relationship between political institutions and the negative liberties of humans. The ‘invisible hand’ of the market fascinates him and he also ponders about the nexus between industry and political power. He dreams of upholding the fourth estate: posing hard-hitting questions to the powers that be and holding them to account.

Clarissa Cheong is a second-year medical student with a strong interest in politics and current affairs. When she’s not drowning in anatomy, she can be found dreaming of having a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte while hiking in a chilly forest somewhere. She is obsessed with the British accent and hopes to attend Hogwarts one day.

Jonathan Lee is a second-year student from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Sociology. He is interested in literature, politics, language, time and memory. Some of his favourite authors include Dickens, Orwell, Ishiguro and Kundera. You probably haven’t seen him before: he’s usually firmly ensconced in his room.

Header image by Calvin Chan, thumbnail image by Pang Guet Ghee.