This week is IT Security Week at NUS, and so they have an IT Security Carnival held at the Forum. They have been running this for some years now, and I must commend the organizers for their excellent work all around. In my opinion, this is one of the more successful and meaningful event, and I’m not saying that just because IT security is one of my pet areas too.
On the one hand, the carnival is not unlike the many bazaars organized by the various student groups. But unlike the other bazaars, this one has a distinct theme and purpose, and the activities are aligned with the goals of the event. Okay, so what if Latin ballroom dancing has nothing to do with IT security, but it does serve to add another dimension to the event and draw in crowds. (It clearly did quite well filling the near empty floor left by the Deputy President’s opening address just prior to it.) There is a balance between activities that are designed to bring about increased IT security awareness, and others that simply add fun to the carnival atmosphere.
I think this is something sorely lacking in many student run bazaars that, in my opinion, have become strictly commercial affairs. I don’t understand why the university seems to be condoning such activities. If it were up to me, I’d charge commercial rental rates and demand profit-sharing.
Another peeve I have is with Munchie Monkey. This is a student-run cafe that serves Italian fare. They are helped out or supported by Spageddies. On the surface, it seems like a very nice arrangement. The students can learn a lot about operating a real business, everything from working the tables, collecting money, marketing, etc. Even if the food or service were to be slightly below standard, I’d still be quite supportive. But wait… they are closed for the long school vacation. Hmm. I think they are forgetting one lesson: You cannot simply close your business for a long vacation. In the real world, you’d still have to pay various overheads.
I may sound nasty expecting students to forgo their holidays to work. But hey, I’m not saying everyone has to work. They can work out some kind of rotation amongst themselves right? Maybe reduce the opening hours even? But not to simply shut down for the vacation! Working does involve some commitment and sacrifices.