Why Does Alvin Need School?

This morning, you might have found yourself waking up to all the buzz about helping Alvin to get into school. School, here, being the School of Computing at NUS. Oh yes, that’s where I work, hence it caught my attention, a lot more than most other viral marketing campaigns might have. It got so much of my attention that I’m now actually writing a blog post about it.

What is this buzz about? Well, Alvin launched his website www.helpalvingetintoschool.com to seek support for his appeal to get into NUS. It’s a pretty well designed site. Clean, uncluttered. Of course, it helps that the site had a single purpose to get support for his cause. The main offense that some netizens have taken with the website is the use of white on yellow in some sections. Big white text on a bright yellow background is not the best mix, in my opinion, but I wouldn’t critically fault that choice. However, small white text on that same bright yellow background is a little too gaudy to read. Poor colour combination there.

Otherwise, I thought the rest of the page looked pretty good. I liked the unique fonts he has chosen. The headers are set in Lilita One. Good, bold, fat font suitable for headlines. But more interesting is the main body text, which is rendered in Merriweather. It’s nice to know that people are taking time to choose typefaces rather than simply going with defaults or whatever norms that anyone else goes with.

Now, what is the purpose of my post? Well, why does Alvin need to get into school? It seems he’s doing pretty well already. Nowadays, the Internet is such a powerful channel to find information. I very quickly found out more information about Alvin. Information like his address, his mobile phone number, and ooh… it looks like he’s been freelancing building websites. I think he’s doing a pretty good job. At least there’s no gaudy white on yellow in his portfolio. Does he still need a degree from NUS? I think he could build a great business around his talent for the web.

Well. Maybe. Paper qualifications help you a lot in Singapore. Running a business involves risks. If you want to work for someone, paper counts a lot.

For his determination and originality with this effort, I wish him all the best at getting an opportunity to be reconsidered for a place in NUS. He did not say it, but I hope he has tried appealing, unsuccessfully, through established channels.

I hope Alvin realizes that school is not as fun and exciting as all the stuffs he’s saying he’s done on his viral site. I’m sure the current students of the school have lots of miseries to share. But I wish him all the best!

Update (22 Apr 2012): So as you might have read from the Sunday Times today, Alvin’s website did not tell us the entire truth. He did in fact get into NUS School of Computing. He was offered an IS course, but he did not want that. He wanted to be in CS. I suddenly feel really annoyed at having been misled by his theatrics.

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