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Last year, the Sydney Law Revue, I thought, deserved nothing but vitriol (to the dismay of one of the revue directors I happened to chance upon at a clerkship function last year). This year, however, the revue was much better and well deserving of praise: who could forget the singing Taliban or the all-singing, all-dancing jury trial? The nudity was much abbreviated, however, and most of the singers are still impossible to understand. And that disability skit: what were they thinking (given that Ron McCallum would have had to sit through that)? Anyway, a good performance with lots of talent. Well done.

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“Should I care? Should I care?”

If the question is about the Sydney Law Revue 2008, the answer is no. (The quote is from the “Holding out for a US Hero” skit, the closing skit.)

Last year, I wrote about the half-executed jokes that had the potential to be so much funnier. I wish I could make a similar comment this year. This time round, the directors somehow found it convenient to expend entirely with the punchlines in jokes. Instead, it was replaced with flat, meaningless drivel so that when it got to the closing, I was pretty much clapping out of politeness instead of sincere appreciation.

The occasional joke made in bad taste is to be expected in a revue; in fact, you could say it defines a revue. Normally, I’d have a good laugh at them. But given that the rest of the revue was so flat, when the (bad) jokes came around, the audience just didn’t buy them. We even had a heckler in the audience – and I pretty much agreed with everything he had to shout out. At one stage, one of the backstage members stuffed up with the mop between skits; that was almost one of the funniest moments (!).

China, with its astronomical growth and the Beijing Olympics just past, was an obvious topical subject. They didn’t fail to deliver on that count, but the jokes were so poorly delivered that they might have been mistaken for blatant racism.

To regain the confidence of its audience, the Law Revue in future years needs to create a coherent presentation that carries some kind of energy throughout the performance. A little bit of introspection might help; I’m sure if the directors actually sat down and listened to some of their own jokes, they might agree that they weren’t quite so funny after all. There was no doubt some great talent on stage; whether this talent was used most effectively is another question.

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There are few things that law students at Sydney University and at UNSW will defend more passionately: the quality of their respective institutions – just which law school is better?

I don’t profess to have the answer to this question, because it is unfair for me to answer this question when I have only attended one of them (Sydney). However, surely, a recourse to statistics would provide us with an objective answer?

And with statistics, UNSW has proclaimed themselves the King of Law Schools in Australia. They claim:

The Faculty of Law at the University of New South Wales in Sydney leads all Australian universities for the quality of learning and teaching law. This is the second consecutive year the Faculty of Law, together with UNSW Australian School of Business, has achieved the top ranking in the business, law and economics cluster.

This claim is followed by a bunch of graphs that show that UNSW scores higher on a number of metrics, including “overall satisfaction”, “generic skills” and “good teaching” as measured by the Group of Eight. So far, this is all very convincing evidence that UNSW is better, right?

As Daniel pointed out when we were perusing these graphs together, there is a fundamental flaw with the statistics as presented. Where would they obtain measurements for metrics such “overall satisfaction” from? From their graduates of course. Unless they performed some kind of normalisation between the different universities, the outcome is liable to be affected by, for example, the difference between what Sydney and UNSW law students expect from their courses (maybe Sydney students just demand more?) or bias arising from the pride that students have in their own institution.

Clearly, statistics are one factor to consider in your choice of law school or university. However, it would be a mistake to base your decision merely on these statistics, or other statistics such as the proportion of graduates in full-time employment after a year (maybe more students from a particular university went into post-graduate study?). There is more to university than that. You need to consider the experience outside the classroom, in the form of clubs and societies and extracurricular activities. There is also a difference in culture that you need to consider. This was best highlighted for me when I watched the UNSW Law Revue last year; their jokes weren’t funny to me for the most part, yet all the UNSW-ers seemed to enjoy it; I put it down to a difference in culture.

So what do I think? I certainly don’t regret choosing Sydney University (for both my science and law degrees). I enjoy the intellectualism that pervades the place, although law students at Sydney tend to be more competitive than I find optimal.

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I previously noted that we found this clip on YouTube that decried the lack of quality of the UNSW Law Revue, or in the vernacular, that said it was a piece of crap… but I said I couldn’t find it. Found it now – thanks Janet!

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I’ve been meaning to blog more regularly, but I’ve just been too busy to write stuff up for your enjoyment. Sorry, I lie. I’ve just been too lazy, and there’s just so much going on in my head recently, it’s hard to concentrate on writing a coherent piece of prose.

Aiya, UNSW Law Revue 2007 (entitled Poll Fiction) was a load of shit. A complete waste of a Thursday, the leaden acting, lame jokes that lacked even the concept of a punch-line and the bright spotlights that seemed intent on burning my retinas out made the night a memorable event for all the wrong reasons. I won’t be going back any time soon la~ Fine, there were some enjoyable skits, but the drive home (thanks Tommy!) was a more interesting experience than the revue itself. Yeah, what he said. Daniel and I were youtube-ing before heading off, and we noticed a video (now deleted? can’t find it now) from someone at Usyd blasting the UNSW revue for making fun of our quad and having the UNSW Galactica joke – well, there wasn’t a Usyd quad in sight, but the Galactica got a mention. With the Galactica joke, I think it’s more likely that there’s a mole on the UNSW team that allowed Usyd to score a hit against UNSW before their revue even started.

Over the weekend, I went to Malaysia Fest 2007 (photos) and got myself a dose of Malaysian culture. I can see why it’s true that Malaysians are said to live to eat… the food, having Malay, Chinese and Indian influences, was quite interesting and tasty =) Of course, it helped that I had a guide who lives to eat, so Ru Jih, if you actually read this, many thanks for a great day out, wouldn’t have been the same without you 😛 … hope it didn’t make you too homesick~

The other thing that’s happened recently is, of course, the lunar eclipse. Conclusion: I need a tripod. These black rectangles are awful – you really can’t do a shutter speed longer than 1/60s if you’re holding the camera with your hand, and when the moon’s that dim, you’d need at least a few seconds of exposure. Still, it was a very beautiful thing to watch, and literally out of this world.

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The singing, dancing extravaganza that is the SULS Law Revue is back in town, and judging from previous years, this was one revue that I couldn’t miss. (I’ve also been missing my daily dose of law while doing honours, so I just had to go!) I still recall last year’s French Hakka, and the oh-so-wrong Kirby sing-and-dance – and both of these left me with high expectations about what my peers can do (while dressed and undressed).

Shred – the greatest story in litigation ever told – started with the cast telling us about Australian values in lyrical fashion. I had hoped for something about Shrek, or even something about Shred, but no, we didn’t get anything related to the title this year apart from a malfunctioning fax machine that happens to eat documents later on. The first half of the revue was a bit flat I thought. As many commented, the ideas behind the skits and the jokes were fantastic, but the execution was lacking: the jokes climaxed at the start or in the middle, the punch-lines often lacking. The songs were premised on what could’ve been really great ideas, but the words in them just didn’t carry the amusement throughout. Law students are said to be left while at uni, and right when they start working, but the Liberal horse was flogged well beyond death during the show.

I guess they saved the best till last, for the second half almost made up for what was lacking in the first. The anti-piracy video (a parody of the ones you see before movies) was so hilarious (“copyright is… a chose in action”), but according to Daniel, the idea was copied from the UQ law revue. We heard a song about the snail in the ginger beer bottle from Donoghue v Stevenson, and the Facebook prayer (“deliver us from MySpace”). Backyard Blitzkrieg transformed backyards and Hitler’s words to great effect. Oh, and the nude scene… a tradition, but the best I can say about it is that it has potential to be worked a little deeper. The ending was a saving grace though: the APEC song (to the tune of YMCA) was well written and carried the joke throughout.

I’d have to say that this year’s wasn’t the best Law Revue I’ve seen, but as the Director noted in the official programme, this year saw the departure of much of the talent from last year. I expect the lame, tacky or tactless joke or two in a revue, but as with all jokes, timing is of the essence. If the better skits are anything to go by, we should have plenty to laugh ourselves silly in coming years. Still, the law revue is a quality production, and a night well spent – I’d recommended seeing it.

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