The Cynosure Ball 2019 was held on the 18th of August at the Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel. Organized by CAC’s Social Committee, the Cynosure Ball is an annual awards ceremony dinner where we celebrate the efforts of CAC’s various Member Clubs, Special Projects and Support Committees throughout the past academic year. Awards for Longest Service, Best Rookie and Best Committee, among others, were given out to recognise members for their dedication in promoting culture and the arts in the university. Even alumni members showed up to support their peers in Cynosure’s main event – the Cynosure pageant, which featured a dozen of CAC’s most charismatic members as participants. It really was a night to remember, as attendees enjoyed an array of sumptuous dishes, while cheering on their peers.
This year’s Cynosure theme, Aletheia had us all feeling curiouser and curiouser. But we must really take our hats off to the Social committee, for incorporating not one, but two hidden messages in their chosen theme. Aletheia is not only Greek for “truth”, highlighting the element of mystery that resonated throughout the night’s activities, it is also the original form of the name, Alice.
That’s right! The theme for this year’s Cynosure Ball was Alice in Wonderland. Even before the doors were open to the attendees, the pre-event reception was already bustling with activity. Over the chatter, many committees could be seen taking pictures together at the beautifully-decorated photo booth, complete with quirky props, in their Alice in Wonderland-themed costumes.
As said by the Cheshire Cat himself, “People might think you’re crazy for what you wear… but it doesn’t matter!” Well, Cheshire would be proud of the several attendees who embraced the whimsicality of the theme with open arms. While many played it safe by dressing up as playing-card guards in monochrome black-and-white, Ng Yong Sheng from the Nanyang Arts Festival committee took this inspiration to the next level. Embracing the theme to its fullest, he donned a home-crafted armour made of playing cards, complete with a Spades headpiece and spear. Along with Serene Han, who resembled a real-life Alice in a demure blue dress and headband, the two were crowned as the best-dressed attendees of the night.
Of course, one cannot discuss Cynosure without highlighting its main event- the Cynosure pageant. Aletheia marks the first collaboration between Cynosure and the NTU designer showcase, which was an opportunity to support local artists. This year’s pageantees doubled as models for products from the NTU designer showcase. Having dedicated their summer holidays to countless catwalk practices and rehearsals, the pageantees stepped out in their sparkly gowns and sleek tuxedos to promote a wide-range of hand-made designer products, from hand-crafted jewelry to leather goods. Videos featuring the pageantees dressed up as various iconic Wonderland characters were played to introduce the designer products to the audience.
Aletheia did not neglect to include the audience involved, solving a mystery related to the theme of the night. Each table was given a puzzle, with clues in the form of a poem. Using the clues from the poem, attendees crossed out grids on a puzzle map of Wonderland, to reveal the correct path to finding the designer products featured. It was a lot of fun to watch the attendees work together to decipher the puzzle — an activity which doubled as a great ice-breaker for attendees who may not have been familiar with those seated together at their table.
For the senior’s talent show, this year’s Cynosure had the contestants performing in three teams of four. Incorporating storylines and iconic scenes from the Taiwanese movie Our Times, Team A opened the show with a performance that tugged at the heartstrings of all in attendance. The contestants dressed up in old school uniforms, and their skit told a story of a ‘love-quadrilateral’, reminiscent of the characters from the movie. Bringing up nostalgic memories of one’s first foray into love, the team finally concluded with an encouraging message for all the singles out there to wait patiently for their right Miss or Mr Right, ending their performance to the audience’s rapturous applause.
On the other hand, Team B had humour on their minds, with F3 Cheyenne Chui and F4 Gina Peh stepping out as bridezillas at a jeweller’s, arguing with their fiancés over the size of the diamonds on their fingers. Launching into a spectacular dance routine, the members of Team B dramatized a petty confrontation between the two divas, broadway-musical-style. M3, Ho Shao Wei Shawn, was the only contestant of the night to show off his vocal prowess, serenading his partner (and the audience) with a sweet love song.
Expectations were high for the last act of the night, but Team C did not disappoint. With their unique siambu-themed performance, the team brought the atmosphere to an all-time high. We really have to applaud the male contestants for being so committed to their roles, cross-dressing in colourful wigs and donning skirts. Challenging gender stereotypes with their performance, the boys definitely looked like they were having fun dressing up. The girls were also not to be upstaged, with both female contestants showcasing expert dance techniques in their elaborate routines.
M6, Michael Hsu, who represented CAC’s Soul Funky in the talent show, shared a few thoughts about his summer-long Cynosure journey:
“I initially opted to participate in the Cynosure pageant because I was hoping to meet new people and become more confident. It was tough in the beginning as I did not know how to model the products properly during the catwalk. But with the help of my teammates and the Social committee members, I grew more comfortable expressing myself on stage and Cynosure turned out to be a positive learning experience. I’m really thankful to my team, for making this experience so enjoyable for me.”
It was an intense competition, but Team C’s enthusiasm definitely paid off, as M5 Koh Eng Kang and F5 Dion Sng, managed to clinch the award for best couple with their amazing chemistry. Eng Kang was also crowned Cynosure King, alongside Cynosure Queen, F2 Wong Yun Xuan from the Nanyang Arts Festival committee, who stood out with her saccharine sweet image.
As per tradition, the Social committee ended the night with everyone gathered together for a commemorative group photo. Aletheia 2019 was definitely a night to remember, as we all glowed with pride for our peers in the pageant, and thoroughly enjoyed the night with the friends we met while in CAC. Kudos to the Social Committee for making Aletheia such a success, and we look forward to next year’s Cynosure Ball.