Rewind, Relook and Realise

Cassette Talking to MP3

In a world of downloaded playlists and digital music players let us not forget the humble cassette tape.

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the cassette tape and yes, they are still in production. The tape was invented by a German man who wanted to make the reel more portable and accessible. Before the cassette tape, reels came in large wheels that made it hard to carry around.

But what the cassette did was change the way media became accessible to the masses, especially the music industry. It became easier to record music, words and sounds, and then distribute your music (all you needed was a portable cassette player and you could play your song). You could say this gave rise to the Walkman, which in turn evolved into the portable music players we have today.

But don’t think the cassette tape is a thing of the past — in regions where the Internet is not yet accessible and downloading music is not an option, the cassette tape and its player is still the best option. Also, there are music connoisseurs and sentimentalists that still hold cassette tapes close to their hearts and say that they sound better. (Or maybe you think it is just nostalgia that drive these opinions)

Media devices have evolved and digital seems to be the buzz word but what about older media devices? Look at the music industry, see how it has evolved with technological breakthroughs. Even the word ‘download’ was not a commonly used word 20 years ago. Issues in today’s media environment were never there before ‘download’ emerged.

Take a closer look at the music industry and understand its evolution.

Here are some books on the music trade, all available at the NTU libraries.

Invitation to the Talk: From “Be with Him for a While” to “the Memories of Books”

You are invited to a talk by Professor Su Wei-Chen, the writer-in-residence of the Division of Chinese, NTU.

From Be with Him for a While to the Memories of Books


Date: Fri, 13 September 2013

Time: 2:00pm – 3:30pm

Venue: LT9 @ Block NS4-04-39, NTU


Please note that the talk will be conducted in Mandarin.

More details about the event and speakers can be found in the attached poster below.

The Genie is out of the Bottle: Cloud, Mobility and Security Reshapes IT

The Genie is out of the Bottle: Cloud, Mobility and Security Reshapes IT

NTU Library is organizing a talk by Forrester. You are cordially invited to attend.

“The Genie is out of the Bottle: Cloud, Mobility and Security Reshapes IT”

Date: 17 Sep 2013 (Tue)
Time: 12:00 PM – 01:30 PM
Venue: Nanyang Technological University, Lecture Theatre 14 (Location Map)

The world of the CIO has been turned upside down. Able to focus on back-end IT from back offices around the world for years, they are now being forced to deliver business outcomes and innovation with senior business leaders. How well they can make this transition will depend on a radical reshaping of their roles and an ability to harness the power of key disruptive technologies including the cloud, mobility and new security imperatives. This session will explain this transformation and how the leaders of tomorrow will position themselves for success.

Should I attend? If you answer yes to any of the following questions you should attend this event.

  • Do you work in the IT industry?
  • Are you keen to learn about the Asia-Pacific IT market?
  • Would you like to meet and learn from someone who speaks to Asia-Pacific CIOs on a regular basis?

To register, go to:

About the speaker

Dane Anderson
Vice President, Research Director & Region Manager (APAC) serving CIOs – Forrester

Dane serves CIOs and leads an Asia Pacific team that guides business technology professionals across various roles including sourcing and vendor management, application design and delivery, security and risk management, infrastructure and operations and enterprise architecture.

Dane provides strategic guidance and advice to clients in the areas of organization design, innovation, emerging technologies and supporting business technology operations in Asia Pacific markets. His research focuses on helping clients mature from an IT-centric role in their organizations to a business-embedded one.

Dane’s views on the Asian IT market are commonly cited in prominent publications and broadcast media, and he is a sought-after speaker at industry events in both Asia and the US.

Weekender – A New Print Newspaper in Singapore

Weekender - Print Newspaper

Weekender –  A New Print Newspaper


You are not likely to find this story in The Straits Times, Today, and most other mainstream, for-profit media.

I started to receive this newspaper at my home perhaps about half a year ago, and I didn’t think much about it. I had thought that it was just one of those supplements that came with my Straits Times subscription.

Some time later, I realised that this was something quite different. It was actually delivered on a Friday night, and it wasn’t a Chinese tabloid.

Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a brand new newspaper! And a social enterprise was producing it.

As a Communication Librarian, I was intrigued.

I didn’t think that anyone or any company in Singapore would ever see the financial sense of competing head-on against the media giants Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and MediaCorp.

And given the current debate on newspaper licensing for online websites, I also wondered what it was like to apply for a newspaper permit in Singapore, even though this story was going to be about a print newspaper.

And so, I conducted an email interview with the “humble team” at Weekender to find out more.



Mr Frank Young, 49, was studying for his Master’s degree a few years ago when he spotted a gap in the marketplace for “a large-circulation lifestyle publication”.

Young said: “As I was doing my research for business projects, I discovered a need that was unmet… and based on my calculations there was tremendous potential.”

“Meeting unmet needs profitably is the foundation of any sustainable enterprise. By creating this enterprise opportunity, another opportunity presented itself as well – the potential to hire disadvantaged to deliver the papers on a weekly basis.”

Young presented a proposal to the Ministry of Social & Family Affairs (MSF), who agreed to support the social aspect of the operations.

For the business aspect, he roped in Mr David Phey, 50, a fellow veteran in the advertising industry.

Young shared: “David was instrumental in attracting the attention of an investment company, Centurion Corporation, which were quite keen on the idea of an enterprise with dual mission – Profitability and Social responsibility.”

As expected, it required “millions” of dollars to start a print newspaper. Centurion Corporation became the majority shareholder, with Young and Phey contributing financially as well.

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Next, the two founders applied for a Newspaper Permit and founded Weekender. According to Young, the application process was very straightforward.

“Simply download and fill out the form, have a good business model, a few prototypes for their evaluation.”



Weekender “provides training and employment to disadvantaged Singaporeans from CDCs (Community Development Councils), ISCOS (Industrial & Services Co-operative Society Ltd) and IMH (Institute of Mental Health)”.

Disadvantaged Singaporeans make up over 40 per cent of the company’s staff strength.

Depending on their talents and capabilities, the jobs that they do include writing, newspaper distribution, and office admin work. About half of the staff at Weekender work in the editorial and sales departments.

It is Young’s hope to help the disadvantaged people re-integrate back into society, and he is fiercely protective of their identities.

When I asked to interview some of his workers, Young explained: “These disadvantaged do not want to be known for the past as ex-offenders, suffering from bi-polar syndrome or being single mothers. It’s very personal and very private.”

“I know there are many companies who parade their disadvantaged people as promotional elements. Doing so continues to stigmatize them publicly… I know it’s hard to believe, but they simply aspire to be treated as normal people.”

Young directed me to the IMH Job Club, where Ms Camellia Soon, a vocational specialist, was willing to share that the employment opportunities provided by Weekender has benefited more than 10 of her clients.

She added: “Besides giving our clients employment, the job of newspaper distribution also helps train our clients in areas of physical stamina, social interaction and independence. This is very important as it is an opportunity for those recovering from mental illness to further improve themselves, physically, mentally and emotionally.”



Despite its status as a social enterprise, Weekender faces the same business challenges like any other profit-driven media organisation.

Young explained: “Our biggest challenge from the start is to break into our potential advertisers ‘considered set’. As a challenger brand against two very large and very established organisations (SPH and Mediacorp), trying to convince advertisers to try something new requires us to change their behaviour.”

“Being a social enterprise is not a competitive advantage. In fact most in the B2B (Business-to-Business) sphere, where we operate, people don’t know what a social enterprise is. And people seldom buy from companies they don’t understand. If people do understand it, there may be some advantages but only in very specific cases.”

In less than a year since its inaugural issue in October 2012, Weekender has become the third-largest circulation newspaper in Singapore, with 230,000 copies circulated weekly via a proprietary system of distribution.

Digital copies of the weekly issues are also available online in PDF format via their website.

Weekender is distributed on Fridays. Digital copies of the weekly issues in PDF format are available on their website.



In sharp contrast with the all-in-one serious news and lifestyle reporting editorial model in mainstream media, Weekender’s content is “focused on participating in events, hobbies, and info that makes people happy”.

Sections in the newspaper include Events, Entertainment, Sports, Fashion, Food, Travel, Home, Health and Wealth.

Young says: “We believe information can help to change people’s mindset, and participation in activities with family and friends is paramount to enduring happiness.”

Their editorial positioning makes Weekender an excellent choice for promoting the Arts.

Young adds: “Another effort we provide is to create awareness for various Singaporeans media artists, from filmmakers to literary artists. By creating greater awareness for them, we aim to help them succeed and by extension help make Singapore a richer, more dynamic country.”

This deliberate positioning of the paper has scored for Weekender start-up funds from the Media Development Authority (MDA).

As a business with a social bent, Weekender also promotes fellow social enterprises such as Laksania and Beat’a Box.



Overall, Weekender seems to be well appreciated by its readers.

An in-house survey conducted by Weekender among 500 people showed that 44% used the paper for ideas on what to do during weekends.

Such encouraging feedback bode well for the future of Weekender. Although the business has yet to turn financially sustainable, Young believes that their break-even point is “not very far away”.

Borrowing a phrase from GOOD magazine, Weekender appears to an excellent example of “pragmatic idealists working towards individual and collective progress”.

It remains to be seen how the birth and growth of Weekender will impact SPH and MediaCorp, but the founders are very clear about what it takes to succeed in doing good.

Young shares: “…(A)t the heart of all social enterprise is the enterprise itself… Without a sustaining enterprise, there is no social enterprise.”

  • Digital copies of Weekender in PDF format are available at
  • Support Weekender on Facebook!
  • For WKWSCI students and graduates, Weekender is “always looking for talent”. At the time of the interview, there were positions for salespeople and a content planner for the editorial department.


Credits: Images in this blog post are courtesy of Weekender Singapore.

When a Prince is born and When a Star dies

What a month July has been? It started with the highly anticipated birth of the new heir to the throne of England and then it took a dip with the tragic and untimely death of one of the cast members of Glee.

On the news, you would have seen throngs of people waiting outside the hospital anxiously awaiting the new baby, or you saw Glee fans lighting candles and placing flowers outside the hotel where the actor’s body was found.

When you think about it, birth and death are everyday occurrences. Yet some people seem to have such strong emotions when it comes to celebrities.

People feel connected to these celebrities, sharing their pain and joy. We see them in glossy magazines and on our television screens. It is almost as though we have invited them to be a part of our lives. To many, they are as real as family and friends, even though we have never actually seen or spoken to them in person, and they don’t actually know we exist in this world.

When you watch the news and you hear of a terrorist attack killing citizens on the street, is the feeling just as strong?

NTU Libraries has an array of materials dealing with this topic.

Try looking for materials in the NTU Libraries Catalogue. Go to the Books and Videos section and type in ‘fame’ and ‘celebrities’ into the search box to look at some of the materials we have on this subject.

Basic Search

Or you could try looking for materials through our one-stop ‘One Search’ portal

One Search






Enter the keywords and hit ‘Go’. Results returned will contain resources from the library’s print and e-collection including subscribed databases.

Getting that Eyeball


So you’re at your favourite newstand or bookstore gazing at the magazines spread out in front of you, chances are you will pick up the most eye-catching cover. Be it because of the artwork, headline or in most cases (let’s just be honest), the celebrity on the cover. So it’s no wonder that magazines are working hard to get those ‘eyeballs’ – what goes on the cover is a big decision for many magazines.

In the last few months two magazines have come under fire for their decision of ‘cover men’. TIME Magazine placed a Buddhist monk on the cover with allegations of terrorism and the Rolling Stones Magazine placed the Boston Marathon bomber on the cover of their magazine. These ‘cover men’ sparked off a hail storm of comments and criticism, threats of boycott and libel.

Controversial covers

Over the years there have been many controversial covers, this is not the first or I dare say the last time such things have happened. The magazine industry is not the only industry that uses shocking images, think about print advertising, newspaper headlines and even album covers.

Are these images meant to make a statement or just to get you to buy the product?

NTU Libraries has an array of materials on this topic. Try looking for materials in the NTU Libraries Catalogue. Use keywords like ‘controversy in the media’ or ‘attention grabbing images’

Go to the Books and Videos section and type in ‘fame’ and ‘celebrities’ into the search box to look at some of the materials we have on this topic.

Basic Search

Or you could try our One Search

One Search







Enter the keywords or phrase and hit ‘Go’. Results returned will contain resources from the library’s print and e-collection including subscribed databases.



Library Xpress Vol. 8 Issue 1

Library Xpress is back with essential information & resources for your research & studies!

This informative issue features:

Have a quick browse of Library Xpress embedded below!

Who wants us online all the time?

"facebook business" by Sean MacEntee (

“facebook business” by Sean MacEntee (


Are you using technology, or are you being used by technology?

Here’s a short except from this interesting article: Not Out, Through: The Best Way to Deal With the Onslaught of Technology

Who wants us online all the time, anyway?


What we’re really contending with here has less to do with technology than the people and companies who are programming our technologies. Their agenda is not to make our lives better, but to keep us online and engaged with or through one of their apps or platforms. Offline time is wasted time. Even if you’re not paying a red cent, you’re still producing a data trail which, as we now know, is gold to both corporate researchers and national security consulting firms.


BreadTalk-Crowbar Marketing Challenge 2013

BreadTalk-Crowbar Marketing Challenge 2013

Image extracted from competition poster


This is a great opportunity for all aspiring copywriters, art directors and marketing professionals to test your skills and gain valuable experience working on a real project.

It’s a fine example of how a business can give back to the community, and at the same time, potentially gain so much more. The Crowbar Awards is widely recognised among the creative industries in Singapore. As the title sponsor, the BreadTalk Group will no doubt generate goodwill, brand recognition and mindshare among advertising agencies, media owners, and potential franchisees.

In providing participants with a “pedagogical” experience, BreadTalk will also have the opportunity to learn from them. It will be interesting to see how digital natives use social media in their marketing strategies.

BreadTalk, for those who are unfamiliar, is itself is a fine case study of how business innovation transformed the humble bread into an upscale and fancy food that instantly teased consumers’ tastebuds and wallet.

Portfolios in the BreadTalk Group includes a diverse range of food brands such as Food Republic, Din Tai Fung, The Icing Room, and Toast Box.

Check out for more information about the BreadTalk-Crowbar Marketing Challenge 2013.

NTU Confessions, Confluences and more in Library Xpress Vol. 7 Issue 3!

We present to you useful information, services & resources in this issue with:

Asian Fim Archives – Saving Singapore Films

Do you remember the very first local film you watched or even heard of? The very first local film I ever watched was Army Daze. This was back in the early 90s.

How old do you think Singapore’s movie industry really is? It may not seem like it but our movie industry has been around for almost 85 years. Some of the first local films ever made were in Malay or Chinese, and names like P. Ramlee, Saloma, Saadiah Baharom and Siput Sarawak, were household names. These films capture the identity of early Singapore and today are a precious part of our heritage.

The Asian Film Archives is a non-governmental organisation founded to preserve the rich film heritage of Singapore and Asian Cinema, to encourage scholarly research on film, and to promote a wider critical appreciation of this art form. As an important nexus, it brings together the various segments of the Asian film community in order to open and enrich new intellectual, educational and creative spaces.

Find out more about the archive here.