Mannkal Economic Education Foundation

Mannkal Student Internship Blog


Wei Tien Sng – Week 5

Wei Tien Sng, 8 February 2016

“And some say the soul of the city’s the toll of the bells of Notre Dame.” – Clopin

I can’t believe I’m now more than halfway through my internship! The weeks have gone past in a flash, differentiated by how much progress I have made in my WordPress education. As I’ve gained more and more confidence in finding articles that are “on mission” for CapX, I have been given more and more responsibility with finding articles to aggregate. Whenever I’m unsure of an article, I just have to check with one of the editors before going any further. I have Taxation is a category that could do with more love and attention, and that Donald Trump takes up more than his fair share of column inches even on this side of the Atlantic. CapX America has an exciting new initiative that will be launching soon as the presidential races barrels towards the fun part. More details to come soon!

Writing articles still terrifies me but I find myself thinking of potential ideas as I go about my daily business after work or during the weekend. Inspiration can strike at anytime, I’ve discovered. Editor-in-chief Iain Martin has bursts of genius that simultaneously excite everyone and also stress the team out as we scramble to get them online and looking pretty. CapX coverage is comprehensive – I have a piece for the weekend section on gorgeous Perth and WA, so any suggestions are more than welcome!

This weekend I visited Paris with Cathal and Sharni. I think there’s only one way to describe the City of Lights that lives in the world’s mind embodying its cliches perfectly: dreamy. Cobbled streets and charming architecture: tick. Welcoming wafts of freshly-baked baguettes and pastries: tick. Well-heeled parisiens so distinguishable from the rest of the masses: tick tick tick tick tick. The ultimate compliment must be to be mistaken for a local, an honour bestowed upon Cathal. I was too busy trying to get into the nearest boulangerie.

We visited the catacombs on Sunday, the cool, dimly lit subterranean passages stacked with bones and skulls from the city’s cemeteries. The old limestone quarries became the world’s largest underground necropolis when the city’s charnal houses became too full to house new inhabitants in the 19th century. Diseases were also rampant. Valar morghulis.

And valar dohaeris.  I look forward to this new week!

Sacre Coeur

The Catacombs

The Eiffel Tower

Wei Tien Sng – Week 4

Wei Tien Sng, 1 February 2016

“Heigh ho, heigh ho, it’s off to work we go.” – all 7 dwarfs

This week brought the advent of an exciting new venture for CapX. I’m proud to announce that you can now search for @capxnews to stay up to date on all the latest articles! It took a bit of playing around to figure out the format of the captions, and a lengthy debate on hashtags was had, but everything has been decided upon and everyone is very excited to see how the CapX Instagram presence will grow. Though we have no reliable way of measuring, we’re hoping that this will increase traffic on the website.

I also had the chance to learn more about the wonders of WordPress. Because the site provides two types of articles; aggregated, from external websites and commissioned articles from various authors, there are different publishing processes for the two types. I had the chance to publish my first internal article, on Bitcoin and the music industry. It also got quite a few likes on Instagram because I chose a photo of Adele for the article. Here’s the link if you’d like to have a read:

With every article I read and write, I learn more and more about the benefits awarded by free markets. I’ve also been very privileged to work with extremely knowledgeable people, and I’m learning so much about British and EU politics. Everyone here is also fanatically following the US election, which makes for a very exciting time in the office! Debates on the merits of Brexit (whether Britain should stay in the EU, which will be decided by referendum) and its flow-on effects abound. Every day in the CapX offices shows me just how interconnected our world is.

This weekend Sharni and I travelled to Brighton and spent the day there. It reminded me of a gloomier Santa Monica, but only because it was an extremely cloudy day. However the sun did come out  to say hello for a while, and it was absolutely stunning. The beach there is unlike any in Australia. There’s no sand, only rocks and pebbles, and no one was crazy enough to be in the water.

I’m very much looking forward to the week ahead!

Brighton Pier

Made a friend in Kensington Gardens


Wei Tien Sng – Week 3

Wei Tien Sng, 25 January 2016

“No one to tell us no, or where to go, or say we’re only dreaming” – Princess Jasmine

Week 3 has passed in a blur and every moment has been like a waking dream. Each morning and every night, when I draw my curtains, I pinch myself as I say ‘good morning’ or ‘goodnight’ to London.

The staff at CapX have been incredibly supportive of my ideas for articles, constantly challenging me to push myself and write more and more. Each time it gets easier and the words flow quicker, but I still need to work on coming up with good angles and ideas – the initial seed of an article. I’ve discovered that each time I hand in my draft to be edited, it’s a bit like handing over a small piece of myself to be critiqued (by the nicest people in the nicest way possible!!), but I’m learning so much about tone and word choice, about structuring an article, how to be concise in getting my point across to readers and also just how to relax, have fun and allow my own style and voice to come through. It’s invaluable.

Each week, they introduce me to a new part of the running of CapX. I’ve learnt how to edit photos on Photoshop for the website and more about the inner workings of WordPress, the system employed to actually post content online. During the day, conversation in the office ranges from casual discussions on theatre and wine, to debates on the merits of Brexit, as well as our favourite, Jeremy Corbyn’s daily troll of British politics.

Cathal and I took the train on Saturday to visit Liverpool, where our first stop was Anfield. We joined a tour of the stadium and followed the gripping saga of Saturday’s FA Cup game against Norwich, which we won. thankfully. It was too close, boys, please don’t do that to us again. (5-4 if anyone was wondering, thanks to Adam Lallana’s glorious extra time goal at the last possible second.) Liverpool is also the home of The Beatles, so we wandered down to Albert Dock and popped into the little museum/shop they had dedicated to the band. Albert Dock reminded me a little of Fremantle, so that was a lovely reminder of home.

I spent Sunday wandering around Camden Town in the morning and poked around Arsenal, meeting up with some friends there for lunch. Which was probably not a good idea as Arsenal were playing Chelsea at home on Sunday. (They lost 0-1 ) It was incredible, Emirates Stadium was down the street from where they lived, and the sounds of cheering and chanting were audible even as I walked AWAY from the stadium in the opposite direction to catch the tube home.

With a win by Liverpool, I have a very good feeling about this coming week.

Wei Tien Sng – Week 2

Wei Tien Sng, 18 January 2016

“Let’s get down to business.” – Captain Shang

My second week at CapX was just as intense as my first one. Even though I had learned the basics of sourcing articles online, I was constantly challenged to push myself in other areas. This week involved my education in the realm of analytics – using software to track and record the number of hits on the website, view which articles were the most popular and also how long visitors to the site spent on a particular article or page. This is essential with helping to understand the interests of the readership and also to give a more in-depth analysis of the functionality of the website, from ease of access and navigation to aesthetics.

I was asked to write another article this week on popular economic fallacies and the impact and influence they have over policymakers ( Researching a variety of topics pertaining to the field of economics has broadened my perspective – compared to the limited, rather one-sided views we are taught and encouraged to research at university, I have realised how pervasive economics really is in our world, and how much we still can learn from applying different theories to real-world situations in order to make sense of human behaviour, both rational and irrational.

I spent the weekend in Edinburgh, visiting a high school friend, and was very lucky to see some snow, as Edinburgh received some snowfall for the first time in a few years, as I was told. Scotland was frosty and beautiful; when the wind wasn’t blowing, it was pleasant enough to walk around with only a jacket on, but once night had fallen along with the snow, out came the hats, gloves and scarves. The snow that lay in a thin bright layer covering everything your eye could see lent a slightly mysterious air to the mountain ranges that surround Edinburgh. It was easy to see how it inspired J. K. Rowling to set Hogwarts somewhere in the Scottish highlands. I may or may not have engaged in a snowball fight or two, and very fortunately did not have to bully my friend into making snowmen by singing Frozen; unspoken, we simply got to work and had a little baby one up within minutes.

I can’t wait to see what Week 3 will bring, both at CapX and also while roaming around London’s historic streets.

Wei Tien Sng – Week 1

Wei Tien Sng, 11 January 2016

“Don’t know if I’m elated or gassy, but I’m somewhere in that zone.” –  Princess Anna

While Princess Anna of Arendelle was thrilled and terrified at the same time thanks to Coronation Day, my nerves were due to starting my first week at CapX. It was everything I imagined and more. Check them out!

CapX is a centre-right current affairs news aggregator that also produces exclusive articles on wide-ranging topics from economics (Ben Bernanke’s thoughts on the Fed) and politics (Jeremy Corbyn’s Cabinet reshuffle) to technology (a new robot that could help choose the right mortgage for you) and investment (Netflix’s expansion into India) and even lifestyle articles (when is your wine ready to drink?) with a dash of theatre reviews (if you are in London you should definitely watch National Theatre’s production of As You Like It). These were just a smattering of the types of articles I was required to source or research, as the staff at CapX were adamant that I would not be treated as a ‘typical’ intern, or at least according to the stereotype of what an ‘intern’ is in my head. Instead, I dived headfirst into scouring the worldwide web for articles that would scintillate, educate and promote debate and thought among our readership. I did get someone tea once, but they’d just hurt their leg, so I don’t think that counts.

My first major task was to do some research into why Israel was ranked one number in the world for R&D in a recent report by the World Economic Forum. I was intrigued by all I found, and was then encouraged to write an article on it. I was very honoured and extremely lucky to have it published on the website, and then recommended by the editor-in-chief, Iain Martin,  as one of the top 5 articles of the week. Shameless plug –

I’m very fortunate to be staying with Sharni; having arrived in London earlier than myself, her knowledge of the streets near our shared apartment and around Westminster is invaluable. She also makes a mean spaghetti bolognese. We were very fortunate to secure tickets for the second last performance of The Nutcracker by the English National Ballet. It was glorious and gorgeous from high up in the heavens where we were perched. The London Coliseum is built in such a way that the acoustics allowed for the lush orchestrations of Tchaikovsky to float up to us without losing any crispness or volume. Humourous, moving and evocative, it was a feast for the senses. I am thoroughly excited (and no longer ‘gassy’) for the coming weeks.