Sim Bing Wen
Junior College: RJC
Relationship status: Single
Mugging hours/week: 30-40 School-Related
Justified: What kinds of foods do you recommend for aspiring juniors hoping to land a spot on the dean’s list? Okay but seriously, in light of the perennial lamentations about the Summit, what kinds of food there are, in your opinion, of redeeming value?
Bing Wen: I’m an inveterate coffee-drinker, so most mornings I have a kopi-o-kosong and a pau for breakfast. Summit food isn’t bad at all. Standard lunch fare would be brown rice plus curry vegetables; diced fruits make a great teatime snack.
Justified: What was your most hated module in Year 1? (Here we’re running on the assumption of widespread disdain for LAWR although your utter domination in the subject is renowned across the lands e.g. inter alia, Rodyk.)
Bing Wen: Have to give the diplomatic answer here – all the subjects are enjoyable. LAWR was definitely painful because it’s the subject which imparts the foundational skills of legal reasoning and research — it’s about learning how to learn. But on hindsight it was also the most fun because of the collaborative spirit, which infused it. This set it apart from all the other content-based subjects which tended to emphasise individual study.
Justified: A 1-on-1 personal lunch with the endearing Professor Teo Keong Sood or the inspiring Professor Alexander Loke? Why?
Bing Wen: I’m not acquainted with either of them but I would instinctively go with Prof. Loke since I enjoyed contract law a lot more. (I understand Prof Teo’s more of a property than contract law expert)
Justified: If you weren’t in here suiting up for the Bar in 3 years time, or (who knows) for other higher callings in the legal service, what would you wanna do with your life?
Bing Wen: Not that I have any business sense, but I would probably jump on the indie-café bandwagon and open a bookshop/coffeehouse. I always thought that the current location of the CO-OP would make a great location for something like that!
Justified: Rumor has it that you are known as Lord Bing (Lord Bingham too?), we’re actually really unsure if the Year 2s do call you that or that they actually instruct the Year 1s to acknowledge your greatness. Nevertheless, assuming that you are in a position one day, to enforce changes in Singaporean law, what would be most pressing an area of law which requires reform?
Bing Wen: I can’t quite think of a specific area but based on my two years of study so far, there’s certainly a lot more room for reform in public rather than private law (by which I mean criminal law as well).
Justified: Any quick tips for juniors, not merely to score well academically, but also to truly enjoy studying Law and treasure the amazing privilege we are given here at NUS Law?
Bing Wen: I guess there’s no other way than to study consistently. If I had to summarize everything I’ve learnt about coping in law school, I would suggest three principles: first, learn in as many ways as possible. This includes: reading the primary and secondary materials, listening during lectures and tutorials (rather than just copying notes), asking the professors questions or discussing ideas with friends, and writing your own notes or drawing mind maps or tables to present information, where necessary. Second principle, and this in a way is a qualification of the first, is to work hard but sensibly. For example, there’s just no time to study everything, so read judiciously, focusing on the main cases first and using textbooks or muggers to plug the gaps if needed. Also, while I believe in making your own notes, there’s no point slavishly doing so if all you’re doing is lifting words from headnotes or textbooks or articles. Better to spend more time discussing a tutorial or past year question with a friend. At the end of the day, be realistic when it comes to grades. This is the hard part. Really hard. Especially when you’ve invested so much time and the bell-curve just doesn’t go your way. But I think if you can tell yourself honestly that you’ve put in the hours to really grapple and understand the subject, then you should feel assured in that knowledge rather than feel the need to get a particular grade to vindicate your efforts. One of my profs put it this way, and I couldn’t agree more: work hard, and success will follow in due course. Notice he did not say: crave success, and hard work will follow.
Third, find ways to enliven your law school experience. This depends on the individual. I find pro bono work important because it humanizes the study of law. Equally important is friendship. I’m very blessed to have a great group of friends with whom I can study or just shoot the breeze. Truly, my law school life would have been very impoverished without either of these.
Junior College: RJC
Relationship status: Single
Mugging hours/week: It really depends on what I need to get done
GPA for Year One: I don’t know how to calculate this! (Editor’s note: wow someone please help her out!)
Non-Academic Activities/Clubs: Mooting & Debating Club
Justified: Kicking off with a relatively difficult question… Legal Theory or SLS? Which did you like better?
Rachel: Legal Theory definitely! I couldn’t understand half of what Prof Beckman was teaching for SLS.
Justified: Its final-exams crunch time and all – still, its a tad extreme that some students stay over in school to study (not to finish timed assignments/exams). What are your studying habits?
Rachel: I personally prefer studying at home because it’s quieter but too much of that makes me restless, so sometimes I’ll get together with my friends to study in school instead.
“Yesterday is history/ Tomorrow’s a mystery/ I can see you lookin’ back at me/ Keep your eyes on me/ Baby, keep your eyes on me.” (Justin Timberlake, Mirrors)
Justified: What has been the most enjoyable thing about law school so far in the past 2 years?
Rachel: Most of my time goes into studying but I really enjoy the non-academic experiences that I’ve had thus far, such as planning Rag for the Year Ones, OGLing, participating in dance performances and so on.
Justified: Onto some non-academic related matters… Sports: what types of sports do you watch and which teams do you support?
Rachel: Oh no, I don’t watch sports at all sorry!
Justified: In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, our main man Hamlet gets all emo and realizes that death is truly the great equalizer of life which reduces all to the same fate irrespective of status, wealth and power… He picks up a skull wondering if the dead man used to be a lawyer, “where be his quiddities now, his quillets, his cases, his tenures, and his tricks?” As a lawyer to be, what to you would be a meaningful life?
Rachel: Having a job at a law firm where the people are friendly, and where the work demands don’t take up too much of my time so that I’ll still be able to spend quality time with my loved ones, I think. Job satisfaction is important too! Also, I guess this isn’t really that relevant NOW, but when I actually do get married, my idea of a meaningful life would include having really cute chubby babies hahahahahahahahaha
Justified: Parting words of advice for your juniors: complete the following sentence, “if I had a chance to do law school all over again….”
I wouldn’t, once is enough actually!
But on a serious note, if I had a chance to do law school all over again, I think I’d grab the opportunity to try out some of the moot competitions. It’s not an opportunity that you get every day and to some extent, I think it does go towards improving practical skills that you would need in the future.
They say the most enviable ones are the all-rounders: apparently, Teren isn’t only good at shredding the hopes of others fighting for a place on the Dean’s List. Also, quite the mysterious enigma, even the photo that he sent to us is blurred.
Junior College: ACJC
Relationship Status: Unavailable
Mugging hours/week: Incredibly variable
GPA for Year One: 4.15
Non-Academic Activities/Clubs: SGAA (editor’s note: Google this)
Justified: We don’t see you around in school a lot, in fact, almost not at all. What are you usually doing on weekdays?
Teren: I spend an unhealthy amount of the day asleep. After that, it really depends – if there’s an assignment, I might work on it, if not I usually just play guitar/online games/read a book/study. You find that you have a lot of time in the day for stuff if you don’t have to travel to school.
Justified: Favorite tutor/professor in school & favorite subject in Year 1/2?
Teren: Walter Woon, not even close. It’s a toss up between Company and Tort, but probably Company because of the way Walter Woon conducted his course.
Justified: Complete the following sentence: “If I had a million dollars, I would…”
Teren: Move to Denver, open a seedy little strip joint and grow my own recreational marijuana.
Master of all trades, Jack of none: Teren is a versatile young man, and represents the faculty in many sports such as Law-Med basketball, Law Frat basketball and Inter-Faculty Games basketball. #allrounded
Justified: In my own personal capacity, I know you to be quite the chill-pill, easygoing guy. How can you live the life and still achieve such devastatingly smooth grades?
Teren: There’s some studying throughout the semester and a lot of studying/panic towards the end that people don’t really see. It helps if you don’t waste time memorizing every single contract case, a lot of them don’t say anything new. Also, towards the end, doing past-year papers and discussing them with people is infinitely more useful than trying to go through your notes/textbooks. Also, not going to school gives you about three hours more a day if you consider travel time, time spent at the summit, time spent leaving school to find edible food, etc… balance this with your own capability for focusing at home/your attendance requirements for the various modules. This is for hard-content subjects, for fluff like legal theory just submit something and pray to whatever god you believe in.
Praestantia prestantia: The number “33” has been traditionally associated with sporting greatness, and is personified in the person of Teren himself. Some other less legendary basketballers such as Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing and Scottie Pippen also donned the number.
Justified: We tried to find you on Facebook to hook you up for this interview. Nevertheless, like a true Deans Lister, you left us hanging; it seems your account has been deactivated, rumor has it that you’re onto a new online game… Or is this part of your pre-examination plan to study harder and be more focused?
Teren: The rumors… are not inaccurate. But the Facebook deactivation doesn’t have anything to do with that. There are several reasons, trying to focus being one of them, but they’re mostly personal.
Justified: In his only recorded moment of wisdom, Justin Bieber once said, “I’m telling you people. Everyday we wake up is another blessing. Follow your dreams and don’t let anyone stop you. Never say never.” So Teren, never say, “never”, which of your wildest dreams would you have followed had you not come to Law school?
Teren: That ‘wisdom’ is the reason we have that idiot on radio. That being said, I would move to Denver, open a seedy little strip joint and grow my own recreational marijuana.
Ian Matthew Shan
Ian is not that unintelligent, despite what those Chinese characters say. However, if YOU have been educated in the fine art of the Mandarin language and do not understand these words, then you truly might be å¾ˆç¬¨!
Age: 22 Junior College: Catholic Junior College
Relationship Status: Single (editor’s note: mmmm)
Mugging hours/week: About 30 hours? But I don’t study on Sundays!
GPA for Year One: 4.2
Non-Academic Activities/Clubs: Pro-Bono, Rugby
Justified: Favorite mugging spot in school? Take into consideration physical proximity of power sockets, distance to toilets, availability of hot water, convenience of printers etc.
Ian: At the moment, my regular study spot is at the library. Being ever reliant on my Mac when im studying, proximity to a power point is of utmost importance, whereas everything else is just a plus. I realize that over last (almost) two years in law school, I’ve progressed through a range of different studying areas; from the Benches in Block B to the Study Room (which often has a weird smell) to the Angsana study rooms and now to the Library. I guess a change in environment does help, but personally I’ve found the library to be the most ideal. Everyone has their own preference, study where suits you the best!
Justified: Most of your juniors have been indoctrinated with a certain gospel message that LAWR was, is, and will be the thorn in our flesh. What’s your take on the subject and how has it helped you one year on in Law school?
Ian: I was very fortunate to have had a good experience from LAWR! I was blessed with a really fun class, as well as a really exuberant tutor, which made classes something to look forward to, despite the never-ending deadlines. As you move up past year one, a lot of the writing and research skills that you learn in LAWR come into use because every other essay assignment, research paper or moot memorandum that you’ve got to do is basically the same thing you had to do for LAWR. So learning the right things from the starts lays a good foundation for sure!
Wise words from the well-traveled stud: you simply can’t just mug hard for the sole purpose of going on exchange.
Justified: Some of us step into our very own baptism of fire that is Law school, and immediately set a goal to do well enough to qualify for exchange in our senior years. Does something like that motivate you? What is it about the study of Law that truly captivates your soul?
Ian: In Year One, the only thing that motivated me to study hard was the knowledge that at the end of it, there was going to be a 3/4 month holiday over summer! After the 2 year “break” from studying, it was really quite a torture getting back into the groove of sitting down for prolonged periods of time to read or do work. So I just kept looking forward to all the holiday plans that I made, and that somehow got me through. The prospect of going on exchange wasn’t really all that much a factor for me as I have been quite blessed to have travelled quite extensively whilst growing up (the perks of having parents who love to travel) so I didn’t apply for SEP! But now that all my classmates have gotten their exchange places for the coming year, I do feel envious just hearing about all the exciting plans and trips that they’ve got in store for them. So I’m making plans to visit them in December and next summer to make up for not going on exchange!
Justified: Your clothes are nice. Where can an eager-to-please freshie boy (e.g. the notorious Year 1 good-looker, Michael Bin) acquire such necessary fashion advice in a fallen age of slippers-and-shorts-to-school?
Ian: I think these questions are generic questions because unfortunately I’m guilty of wearing slipper-and-shorts quite often; but honestly, I blame the weather! The scorching hot weather that we experience on daily basis (except during rainy season) makes dressing up impractical and troublesome. Its either we’re sweating through a pair of jeans whilst walking through Botanic Gardens or we can enjoy the cool breeze in a pair of bermudas. Which one would you pick, honestly? But I must commend many of my classmates who really put in the time and the effort to “dress up” for school. I do try once in awhile, when the need arises, to dress up as well, but unfortunately, those have been few and far in between. Every semester I tell myself to make a greater effort, I guess I’ve got to start next year.
Mister Popular: never found alone, except in the Library sometimes.
Justified: Success, family, character, friendship. What are the things that matter most to you now, and are things that you would want to hold on to even after you’ve graduated?
Ian: Definitely family and friends! I think much of the material things and success that we gain are merely fleeting, and can in a matter of seconds or minutes just disappear or fade away. But when it comes to family and friends, they are the ones that stick with you till the end. Successes like getting good grades or on the Dean’s List come and go, but once you’ve graduated, it doesn’t really matter any more. It’s with your family and friends that you will be able to share the rest of your life with, so treasure them.
Justified: Chuck Norris once said “good morals lead to good laws.” Do you think Singaporeans in general are ‘moral’? Do you think our law is ‘good’?
Ian: Did he really say that? Sounds a bit too serious for something he’d say. On a whole, I think Singaporeans have their own personal moral convictions that they cling to, but I don’t think that necessarily leads to “good” laws. After all, each of us have different ideas of what’s moral and what isn’t, so I think “good” is really a matter of perspective.
As you can see from the mud on his clothes and body, Ian is an important and hardworking rugby player, always willing to sacrifice himself for the team.
Justified: Every once in a thousand years, a rare demi-god transcending all lowly qualities of depraved humanity descends , and embraces the slums of our mediocrity with good-looks, impeccable character and the highest of intellect. How does a demi-god like you deal with such perfection?
Ian: You pray that your ego doesn’t get too big.
On behalf of everyone here at Justified, all the every best for the upcoming exams! Remember that there’s much more to life than the exams. As Justice Andrew Phang once said at our convocation (to the best of my memory), “stay in good health, eat the right foods, take care of one another, enjoy life.” God bless!
Article contributed by Danny Chua (Year 1).