Strongmen of SMU - Issue 4 (UniVantage) - September 2011 | Sports | Leisure

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Where do you look if you want to nd the toughest guys in SMU? And when we say tough, we don’t mean the kind of guy that has a marathon mugging session in the library. With so many SMU students increasingly placing emphasis on grades, we thought it would be refreshing to give some credit to guys who take the time to not only hone their brains but their brawns as well. Some adore them, some can’t stand them and some may want to be like them. We give you the lowdown on these guys and let you decide.

- Feature & Interviews by Senthil Sukumar and Joanne Hoe. Photography by Hu Jiaming.


hen we say big and bu , who do you automatically think of? If you thought Rugby or Dragon Boat, you wouldn’t have been alone. Admit it, your rst thought wasn’t Fencing or Soccer (no o ense to the guys here, although I’m sure lean and mean has its own appeal). Nothing screams tough and toned more than dragon boaters or rugby players, and in this issue, we sit down and take a closer look SMU’s very own sportsmen. So read on to nd out more about the guys you’d think thrice about getting into a brawl with.

When most guys look at dragon boaters or rugby players, we tend to do two things. The rst, if like me you’re blessed with a ridiculously small frame, is to marvel at their physique in an ‘I-wish-I-could-be-more-likehim’ way. Then we think about whether they got that bu because of the sport they play, or because they go to the gym eight times a week. Well, it seems to a combination of 16 FALL/WINTER 2010 ISSUE both. Antony Chai, a Business sophomore

from the rugby team speaks for all seven of the sportsmen we interviewed when he says simply that boating or rugby is “a good way to keep t.” Both sports require its members to be in peak physical condition before a competition. According to Guo Ping, a rst year dragon boater from SOSS, he joined Dragon Boat because the need to earn a spot on the Dragon Boat Team by maintaining his tness level had him working out in the gym regularly. For the dragon boaters, the level of commitment to tness and the hours that they put in are nothing short of astounding. When asked about the Dragon boat team’s training routine, Terence Tan, an Economic student in his third year, reveals that the team “trains ve times a week with three paddling sessions at Kallang Stadium and two land training sessions.” Additionally, Terence goes to the gym on his own twice a week. The rugby players have it slightly easier, with two eld trainings per week as a team and additional gym sessions on their own.

Teamwork and male bonding are further reasons why these guys choose to do what they do. According to Guo Ping, nothing beats “rowing together as one in the Dragon boat and felling the surge as you pull away from others in the race.” Not to mention the fact that their signature tan lines gives the boaters a visually-arresting common identity. However Don Shaikh, a second year business student, has a very di erent reason for joining the Dragon boat team. The selfprofessed adrenaline junkie rows for the thrill of it, and gured that he could get his x by joining the most intensive sport in SMU. He says that through dragon boating, he could “push the boundaries and prove to myself that I could survive just about anything regardless of the circumstances.” As for the rugby players, the main draw for them was the fact that their friends signed up for the sport, and thus they could all compete together as a team.

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For those who are wondering about the kind of discipline required for these guys when it comes to diet, fear not, for most of the sportsmen do not religiously count calories. First year business student and rugby President Stuart Ho says that he doesn’t watch what he eats, and enjoys the pleasures of fast food and sushi, while Anthony simply eats “whatever I want.” Terence in particular loves food, and will eat without restraint when he travels. “When I’m on holiday, that’s when I’ll let loose and eat everything I want.” Among the sportsmen, second year Accountancy student and Dragon Boat President Alvin Lim comes the closest to being diet conscious. He says that “although I do not have any speci c diet plan and eat like any other normal guy, I am conscious to not eat too much fried and oily food.”

“The kind of control you have over the situation is hardly possible in class. And when I’m out on the water, at least I know that everyone with me has the same goal in mind.”
you wouldn’t know it from their attitudes towards the classroom. When asked if they preferred to be at sea/on the pitch or in a seminar room, all the sportsmen preferred to be outdoors rather than in. Terence says that he prefers being at sea because “the kind of control you have over the situation [at sea] is hardly possible in class. And when

I’m out on the water, at least I know that everyone with me has the same goal in mind.” Kah Wei, a rst year business student, has a more dramatic opposition to school. He chose the pitch over the classroom, and for the rugby player drowning out at sea would be also a good option because “anything beats being stuck in class.” We like Stuart’s reason the best though. He says he prefers playing rugby since “I don’t have to ‘class part’ on the eld.” Shaikh adds that since we only have four years to fully experience life as an

“I don’t have to class part on the field.”
undergraduate, the best option really is to “strike a balance between the seminar room and CCAs.” All of the sportsmen juggle both classes and trainings in order to do well both in and out of the classroom, and

Although the sportsmen take their CCAs very seriously, they still emphasise school over sports when necessary. After all, they are at the end of the day still students. But



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“I would never dare approach a girl. I’d just love her from afar.”

Guo Ping says that “If I’m not in the gym or having lessons, I’ll be in the library studying away with my teammates.”

How do the sportsmen fare in a oneon-one with the fairer sex? When asked if he joined the rugby team to impress girls, Anthony cheekily replies, “No, but it’s a bonus.” A chiseled exterior certainly provides an advantage when trying to gain the attention of girls, but the rugby players don’t seem to be maximizing this advantage. On the pitch Kah Wei is a trailblazer, but he says he prefers to keep his distance and says that “I would never dare approach a girl. I’d just love her from afar.” Stuart one-ups his teammate by saying that he would approach a girl he likes like “a gazelle approaching crocodileinfested waters.” The dragon boaters are a little more daring when it comes to girls. Terence is a guy who would prefer to make the rst calculated move. If he likes a girl, he says that he would ask the people around him if they know her before approaching her, and even if there was no one around him, he would try to get a friend to introduce him to the girl. But we like the pick-up line Guo Ping says he’ll use on a girl the best: “Hey, I’m looking for a teammate for a group project and we’re short of one. Are you still available?”


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From L-R: Stuart Ho, Wong Kah Wei and Anthony Chai Other than rugby, what are you most passionate about? Kah Wei: Eating and sleeping are my main passions that I strive to perfect. I do enjoy music from Journey, Guns N’ Roses and Air Supply.

Did you join the Rugby team to impress girls?

What’s a typical day in SMU like for you?

Describe yourself in one word.

Kah Wei: Don’t think so.

Stuart: Lunch with my friends. Straight home

Kah Wei: Drank

Stuart: Not really. Kah Wei: Class and then straight home, pretty sad. Anthony: No, but it’s a bonus. Anthony: Just like any other student, mugging.

Stuart: Callipygian

Stuart: I play poker with my friends occasionally. Other than that nothing much.

Anthony: Indescribable? Actually I have no idea. This is a tough one I apologise.

Anthony: I’m into Scuba Diving as I love the sun, sand and sea.



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From L-R: Terence Tan, Boon Guo Ping, Alvin Lim and Shaikh Ahmad Did you join the Dragon Boat team to impress girls? Shaikh: Not at all. That came inadvertently with the package. Other than boating, what are you most passionate about? Alvin: I have an interest in doing community projects and just recently, I went to Philippines for an OCIP trip. Shaikh: I’ve got a profound a nity for all things economics, business and investment. I enjoy engaging others and being immersed in intellectual conversations centred on issues relating to these topics. Apart from that, I I’m rather passionate about music too – trance, electro and house in particular. I secretly envision myself as a successful deejay when I’m plugged into a podcast. Guo Ping: I still play a bit of basketball sometimes, and when I’m bored at home, I’ll pull out a few Jay Chou pieces to play on the piano. And of course, which guy doesn’t play DOTA?!

What’s a typical day in SMU like for you? Terence: Either training before class or training after class. My day isn’t exactly exciting. I usually head home right after I’m done in school. Shaikh: On a typical day, you’ll nd me attending lessons (I’ve got a clean sheet since the rst semester), engaged in a project meeting in some random GSR, smugging in the lLibrary, or training at the gym. I spend the majority of my time on campus and usually head home at night when I’m done. Alvin: Train. Eat. Study. Sleep.

Describe yourself in one word.

Terence: Uninhibited

Shaikh: Modest

Guo Ping: Nah. Nowadays, girls don’t go for looks anymore, what matters most is the inside. Besides, which girl wants a guy who spends most of the time training in the gym or at Kallang?

Anthony: Gullible.

Terence: No, but it’s a bonus.


“Champ” or “Chump”? Ruck or Row: Who’s the better man?
Which team can lay claim to having the better man, Rugby or Dragon Boat? To nd out, we pit rugby President, Stuart Ho, and dragon boat Captain, Alvin Lim, against each other in a battle of wits and character in our “Champ or Chump” Test.

Alvin Lim Tingquan Team Captain, SMU Dragon Boat Sophomore / Accountancy

Stuart Ho Wei Lee President, SMU Rugby Freshmen / Business

The Showdown
Q1: If you had gym training and your girlfriend asks you to have lunch, which would you choose? you had ou tr choos choos oose?
A: I would have lunch in the gym. Score: That’s feasible. Not! Could you convince your girlfriend to do so? Creative, though. (1/2 point) S:I will choose gym training. We can have our meal after my training. Score: Persuading your girlfriend to do that may be a tough one. (0)

Q2: If you h to plan for it, what would be the perfect date for your girlfriend? ou had r ?
A: The date when I have no training, no school and no meetings. We S:Refer to question one. can do anything since we have the whole day to ourselves, we can Score: Seriously? I’m sure you can do better than that! (0) be spontaneous and do whatever that pleases us. Score: Nice. What’s better than chilling with your girl for a day? (1 point)

Q3: If a girl comes up to you and asks for your number, would you give it to her?
A: Yeah, why not? Score: Spontaneous! (1 point) A: Training de nitely. Our trainings are all pre-planned and there should be no excuse why we should arrange a meeting at those times Score: Good planning and foresight. (1 point) S:Sure, why not? Score: Spontaneous! (1 point) S:I would go for training, and I’d do my share of the work after training. Score: That’s commitment. I’m sure your group mates would under stand. Right. We hope that’s true but it isn’t. (1/2 point)

Q4: Would you turn up for either a project meeting or training if they happen to clash?

Q5: If you had one question if life that you want answered, what would that question be?
A: How did the team win the Prime Minister’s (PM) Cup in the Singa- S:Will it blend? pore Dragon Boat Festival 2010? Score: Will what blend???(0) Score: Why question a good thing? (0)

Q6: If time could be manipulated only once, would you choose to go to the past, the future, or stay in the present?
A: Past. I remembered we lost by a millisecond to SIM during the PM Cup, and I wished we could have trained harder for it! Score: I’m sure the team put in their utmost e ort! Anyway, is there anything other than Dragon boat? (0) A: SNSD. They are cute! Score: You are showing your sensitive side when some guys would nd it gay. (1 point) A: Any European country. I heard a lot of fantastic stu about these countries and hopefully my exchange application will go through! Score: Well, if you can’t decide why not just pick the whole continent of Europe? But, with more than 50 diverse countries to choose from, surely it can’t be just any country? (1/2 point) S:The past. I’ve always wanted to ride in a DeLorean. Score: Interesting. Depicted in the movie “Back to the Future”. (1 point)

Q7: Lady Gaga or SNSD (Girls Generation)?
S:Neither. Score: Brilliant answer. You don’t have to buy into popular culture. (1 point)

Q8: Which country would you want to visit the most?
S:New Zealand. I would like to catch the next Rugby World Cup there. Score: That’s nice. NZ is a great place for relaxation and it’s the home of the All Blacks. (1 point)

Final Score - Alvin : 5/8

Final Score -

Stuart: 4.5 / 8

Alvin edges it. His down-to-earth personality and honesty could probably be the decider. His commitment to his team’s cause is without question. It seems like ‘rowing’ has taken a signi cant part of his life in SMU, and he is de nitely gamed for more! Stuart is quite a character, though. Strong and straightforward, he’s created quite an impression on us. We suspect he’s a colourful character. His nonchalant approach to questions probably did him in, though. While Alvin shows great potential in winning the heart of girls, Stuart is the rough-around-theedges type, the kind who usually attracts the hotties – hopefully. Yeah, so he’s a champ as well. Not this time, though. Alvin’s our winner!

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