by Mathias Goh
Photography by Jason Lee and Jeremy Zhan, NTU
Most of our Science undergraduates are often revered as future professors
and scientists in the making, and the NUS Faculty of Science serves as
a renowned playground for their research. It is difficult for a science
student to part with the stereotype of being one whose life is solely
confined to the laboratory. That having said, a wild science student would
come across as an oxymoron.
"Engaging and entertaining, with interesting
participation from the audience to spice things up!"
Chiang Pun Hon, NUS School of Design & Environment
The eagerness to dispel these largely erroneous social labels manifested
itself on Saturday, the 22nd of August 2009, in for the form of a one-night
gala event held at Saint James Power Station: NUS Science Bash - Estrago!
No doubt, this will be one of the rare occasions Physicists, Chemists
and Biologists allow their differences in scientific theories to be set
one side as they let their hair down to party the evening away.
No bash is ever complete without a pageant, aiming to distinguish (often
through embarrassing means) between the good, the great and the absolute
best. The contestants of Estrago this year proved to be an amusing and
downright mischievous lot.
to start the evening right, the contestants went all out to make sure
their first impressions didn't just count but served to win the hearts
of the neutral segment from the audience, very likely the people who really
couldn't care less about the competition than the amount of skin bared
onstage. Some contestants were really cheeky and worked their way round
the right stuff, appearing in school uniforms, army 'No. 4' attire, table-tennis
sportswear and even a Superman themed outfit with a dumbbell as an ornament.
Others went straight in for the kill, posing in their elegant and striking
wear. The rest were just downright bizarre, as one contestant had wings
sprouting from his back while wearing a helmet studded with horns. Another
took the stage in a classic 'sixties' outfit with high shorts, giant eyeglasses
and a stack of textbooks. Yes, textbooks. Talk about unfounded stereotyping.
Estrago was epic! It was definitely a good night out!"
Lloyd Teo, NUS Faculty of Science
Having a talent is an unsaid prerequisite to being a pageant contestant.
With a one-minute time limit, contestants had to make good use of the
time to showcase what they've got to be the top. Creativity was aplenty
as seen in the diversity of the five performances. The comedians played
out a little 'mime magic', which was easily a crowd pleaser. The dancers
demonstrated their flair and versatility, dancing to the extremes of R&B
and Bollywood music. The musically-inclined impressively showed how very
steep their gifts were. In spite of the good entertainment, I did take
away a useful lesson should I ever take part in a pageant: If you have
it, flaunt it. If you don't, do a chilli-eating competition.
highlight of the event was obvious, if you based it on the surge in cheers
and brazen whistles - The Beach Wear segment. The women came out in their
bikinis and the men in their board shorts. They looked uncomfortable,
and I could only attribute this observation either to the cold or to the
fact that each and everyone was doing their utmost best to tuck in their
stomachs to appear cameo-friendly. The, borrowing a scientific term, enthalpy
levels of the crowd at this point in time was rocketing. Some in the crowd
would certainly have wished that they were part of the sea for the contestants
to jump in right then and there. When it was over, I was sure I heard
two sighs: One of disappointment, and another of muscle relief.
In all, it was undoubtedly a memorable night to behold. The glamorous
atmosphere served as a fitting backdrop for camaraderie amongst many newly
acquainted friends to prevail. It seemed the newly crowned Mr. Estrago,
Vimal Goklani, had it so aptly put, "I honestly don't think I've
had this much fun in a long time!" One thing is for certain though:
The countdown for next year's Science bash has already begun.
Meanwhile it's back to the labs, boys and girls.