It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was Valentine’s Day. While the event, unfortunately, coincided with actual classes, we at NUS Law still saw space for celebrating this day. The event soon picked up momentum: more than a week before, posters went up advertising the Law Students’ International Relations Committee (LSIRC) booth and fundraiser. The enterprising Year 4 batch also capitalised on the day to promote the upcoming Law IV 2018 production: Valedictorian. The day before, LSIRC members were seen putting flowers and cookies in letterboxes on behalf of the subtle lovers (or hopefuls).

On the actual day, while there were no surprise proposals (or surprise break-ups), we saw the lucky few going around carrying various tokens of affection. The annual LSIRC booth and fundraiser was held just outside the main Block B entrance; you couldn’t miss it. From 10 am to 4 pm, we saw those who were kiasu or who’d procrastinated come by the booth for roses and Famous Amos cookies. There was also a tastefully pink photobooth, complete with props, for those who wished to commemorate the day with Polaroids.

The LSIRC booth, integral to your romantick valentime

It should be noted that Valentine’s Day here isn’t exclusively about romantic love; we also celebrate friendship and care for others. As the booth managers from LSIRC told this reporter, the deeper meaning of Valentine’s Day is to commemorate our friends. The day isn’t and shouldn’t just be about romantic love, but also about appreciating those around us in general. This observation was borne out by the photobooth; most took photos not just with their significant other, but with their friends. The opportune placement of Valentine’s Day right before this year’s Chinese New Year break also made it a great time to catch up with our friends.

Friendship is still a ship

Furthermore, Valentine’s Day at NUS is also about showing care and concern for those around us who are not as fortunate. Half of all proceeds from LSIRC’s fundraising booth, for instance, will go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, as part of LSIRC’s long-term collaboration with them. LSIRC proceeds will be going to Make-A-Wish this year, so if you didn’t get to support the Valentine’s Day booth and fundraiser, there will be further opportunities.

There were some students this year who went above and beyond for Valentine’s Day. Justified chased down a rumour that two separate male students took the initiative to give flowers to not one girl, but all the girls in their class for that day. These students were approached for further comment. We were able to have a chat with Mr X, who gave flowers to his LARC and Contract classmates.

When asked why he gave flowers and why on Valentine’s Day, Mr X suggested that “every girl wants flowers”, and that this was an attempt to make his female classmates smile. He clarified at this point that it was a friendly gesture, and in no way romantic. Echoing others who this reporter talked to, he noted that Valentine’s Day should be for love in general, and not exclusively for lovers.

Inspired by Mr X’s example of chivalry in the age of Tinder, this reporter decided to brave public humiliation to platonically give flowers to male classmates she met that day (and hopefully make them smile). It should be observed at this point that this endeavour met with less success than expected, as seen in the pie charts below.

Evidently, this reporter’s gift-giving skills leave much to be desired — she ran out of classmates faster than she ran out of flowers. Also, no smiles were received. Perhaps certain connotations surrounding Valentine’s Day inevitably remain, no matter how much we emphasize friendship and care for those around us. It is, after all, Valentine’s Day.  However, who knows? The attitude that Valentine’s Day is about friendship has started to claim ground. One day, we will be able to successfully make this holiday platonic again — a 50% failure rate is also, on a balance of probabilities, a success.  In the meantime, on behalf of Justified, a lovely Valentine’s Day, and a good Chinese New Year break!

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