by Student Blogger Denise Lee
French aficionados, listen up. The NUS French Club may be just the club for you. Open to students from all Faculties with or without any French background, the club seeks to promote l’amour de la France – the love of France. Calvin Yeoh, a second-year Business undergraduate and present President of the club shares “Our purpose is to bring the beauty of French culture to anyone and everyone in the NUS Community who may be interested in knowing and experiencing more about French life – through its people, language, food and arts.”
Following a recent membership drive, the club now boasts _ members, most of whom hail from FASS. Movie screenings and interactive French table sessions are some of the regular activities organised by the club. Well-established with an active committee and membership, the present NUS French Club is a far cry from what it used to be like when it first debuted in 2007. Then known as NUS Francophile, it started as a playful idea toyed by three European Studies majors Song Yen Mei, Luo Chun Yin and Faith Tan during their idle hours. The group of friends had often revised French together and ruminated on activities that could help them assimilate the language and culture better. After rounds of lively discussions and several consultations with their French lecturers, the NUS Francophile eventually came into fruition. However, the nascent stage wasn’t all smooth sailing. Faith, the founding Vice-President recalls the club’s trying early days, “It was a very humbling experience when we first started. Our first French Table had like… three people on the first day and seven people the next; Movie screenings, though a little more popular were difficult and expensive. I recall several times when I felt like telling Chun this is it; I don’t want to do it anymore.” During the club’s infancy, the trio ran into problems with manpower, time and money. Armed with tenacious grit, the girls ploughed on, conducting publicity talks at French lectures, sponsoring food at movie screenings and making publicity bookmarks by hand. Their efforts paid off and the club started to see a steady attendance at their events, reaching the pinnacle of success with the formation of a full-committee. In 2009, they attained club status, leading to the name of the club as it is today.
Fast-forward to the present and club is going on strong. With the aid of their lecturer-in-charge Ms Malwina Baranska, the club organises activities on a regular basis. The top draw of the club membership is the French table sessions where members get to interact with native French students, putting their French communication skills to good practice. Being a member of the club has other privileges too, such as the entitlement to special discounts at movie screenings. Benjamin Fu, a second year undergraduate and member of the NUS French Club relates “I join the club for a simple reason: French is cool! I love French language and culture, and I’d like to promote them to my fellow schoolmates. As a former committee member of NYP (Nanyang Polytechnic) French Club, I gained some experience and I’d like to bring them to NUS French Club. This is where we can make friends, chat in French, watch movie in French, cook in French and have lots of fun!”
Past events of the club include a Valentine’s Day Movie Screening at NUSSU’s brand new student lounge at YIH. Ticket holders were treated to some light snacks such as muffins, chips and chocolates, as they watched “La Science Des Rêves” (The Science of Sleep). Last December, the club organized a French pique-nique at the Botanic Gardens where members bonded over classic French fare such a baguettes, brie and blue cheese, accompanied with French dessert wine (le vin), bien sûr! A French song item was performed by an exco member and French board games were introduced.
Looking ahead, students can expect a series of exciting events from the French Club. These include yet another round of French Table set in one of Singapore’s many established French Restaurants where students can indulge in authentic French cuisine while basking in the company of fellow Francophiles. Special set-menus will be catered at student-friendly prices. Come April, an April Fool’s Movie Screening will be held, featuring a classic French comedy titled “Le Dîner de Cons” (The Idiot Game), which will be screened on campus free-of-charge. Back by popular demand, the club will be having another French Picnic @ the Park, held at the end of the semester when students can kick up their heels and chill over cheese, wine and other French goodies. For details on these events, check out the club’s website at https://community.nus.edu.sg/frenchclub/. Alternatively, you can look up NUS French-Club on facebook. Be sure to stay updated with the latest on all things French, and as the French say, Vivre la France!