Anime Review: Psycho Pass by Janice

The law doesn’t protect people. People protect the law. People have always detested evil and sought out a righteous way of living. Their feelings, the accumulation of those people’s feelings are the law. They’re neither the provisions, nor the system. They’re the fragile and irreplaceable feelings that everyone carries in their hearts.” –  Tsunemori Akane

The series is set in the 22nd century in which it is possible to instantaneously quantify a person’s state of mind, personality, and probability of committing a crime, all recorded on an individual’s “Psycho-Pass” using the Sibyl System. When their “Crime Coefficient” index becomes too high, they are pursued and apprehended by police officers known as Inspectors, and their ‘hunting dogs’, the Enforcers to maintain order in their seemingly utopian society.  

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The Sybil System Image source: http://psychopass.wikia.com/wiki/Sibyl_System

Into this world steps Tsunemori Akane, a young Inspector with an honest desire to uphold justice. However, as she works alongside veteran Enforcer Kougami Shinya, she soon learns that the Sibyl System’s judgments are not perfect as everyone assumes. With everything she has known turned on its head, Akane questions what justice truly is, and whether it can be upheld through the use of a system that may already be corrupt.

To begin, I would like to pose a question: are humans innately good or evil? Do we side by justice because it is our innate nature, or do we do so just to create the façade of appearing as a righteous person? There is nothing more undefined than the lines that separates “good” and “evil”. For example, why do we consider murder a worse offense compared to bank robbery?

While Psycho Pass may not be a realistic representation of today’s societal state, the observation of human morals, psychological concepts, emotion fluctuation can all be applied to our thinking and outlook on life itself. We all know that humans are imperfect and make mistakes. Consequences come with the degree of these mistakes. However, should we be judged based on a system rather than morality? What if there is a flaw in the system and something goes wrong? Psycho Pass portrays and addresses these issues through excellent storytelling and a cast of realistic characters.

The strongest selling point of Psycho Pass is probably its cast of well-developed and complex characters. We have Tsunemori Akane, the new Investigator of the Criminal Investigation Division. She is the representation of the ideal yet naive mind-set that justice is absolute and criminals must be punished. Although she is young and inexperienced, she is an intelligent person and attempts to see the good in people. Through her exposure to the more sinister side of society, we observe if she is able to withstand the challenges to her beliefs and how she changes as an individual.

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Akane Reporting for duty Image sourcE: http://psychopass.wikia.com/wiki/Akane_Tsunemori

On the other hand, helping her solve crimes and doing most of the “dirty work” is one of the Enforcers under her, Kougami Shinya. As one that is familiar with the darker side of society and has accumulated a plethora of experience in dealing with criminal minds, he is calculating, intelligent, and physically adept. His outlook on justice and the human nature differs from Akane’s, and this difference is the main dynamic of the show. While he is normally calm and collected, his emotions do cause him to act rashly and puts him in dangerous situations. Through his resolve and skills, we are shown the lengths in which he will go through to reinforce his beliefs, specifically with the series’ main antagonist, Makishima Shougo, a humanist who embraces the idea of cruelty and the dark side of the human mind. Makishima even makes twisted dialogues portraying old culture with his Shakespearean-like monotones. His actions however, are well characterized and his logic and thoughtfulness put into each of them is very intriguing, which serves as a major plot point in the series as the Criminal Investigation Division struggle to solve a series of crimes orchestrated by him.

Lastly, the soundtracks fit perfectly with the series. The lyrics of the opening and ending songs were probably made for this series, and the fast pace of some songs also fits the action of the series, building up even more tension. Needless to say though, the animation is also top notch. The backgrounds were incredibly detailed and the series has a great look, managing to be extremely colourful yet very dark, depicting the fictional 22nd century world well.


      Psycho Pass, for me, is considered a masterpiece. With thought-provoking dialogue and plot, drama and tension that is neither excessive nor underwhelming, and a complex group of characters that we can relate to, Psycho Pass delivers an action sci-fi show unlike one we have seen before.

Sports and Sleep: A bubbly sport event

Written by Chloe Kong
Photographs taken by Christopher Liew

A pre-event before the actual campaign, Need For Sleep. This event is not your average sport. With Bubble in its name, it could be mistaken as a sport that is gentle and interesting but on the contrary, it is just the opposite. If you are in for a rough and tough sport, this could be the sport just for you.

Snugly strapped in a bubble or a hamster ball, the participants are required to team up with four other players. The team would have to choose one teammate as the team’s marker. Similar to the American Football’s touchdown, the marker would have to “touchdown” on the opposite side of the playing field. The remaining players would act as the defender or attacker of the team by bumping into the opponents or slowing the other team’s marker in their path.

Nevertheless, it was a thrilling event. Here, we managed to ask several participants and the supervisor, Mr Suffian about the event.

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Question to the participants:

What made you join the event and what do you think of it?

Sam Khoo: I was invited by a friend. It was really fun and tiring.

Zi Qin: It is scary because the guys are rough but it is fun.

Nabila: I was invited by a friend but it was okay.

Wen Wen: Not bad, but it seems dangerous though.

Zafwan: I initially joined to fill up the spaces. It is really tiring but really really fun.

Alireza: I joined it to be with friends. I think it is interesting. Joining these kind of games once in awhile is fun.

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Question to Mr. Suffian: 

As the supervisor of the campaign, what made you support the students idea? Seeing as how the sport is rough and all that.

For starters, it is a fundraising event. I personally think that it can add in spice and make things interesting. Plus, it can also give an outlook about sleep. How important sleep is and its core relation it is to exercise. However, the event is a double axe sword. For one, it acts as a fundraising event for the actual campaign in June and it also creates the buzz that acts as a publicity for the campaign.

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————————————————————————–Overall, the sports was pretty rough and intense, especially when the players collided with each other. Injuries here and there could be found but at the end of the day, the players had fun in all good cause

Within and Beyond Disney by Reshna

“If you can dream it, you can do it”
These are the words lived by Walt Disney, a pioneer of the American animation industry. In doing so he has created one of the world’s most beloved movie franchises for kids and adults. It all started when Walt Disney decided to animate a pet mouse known as Mickey Mouse and transform it into a cartoon character that all children around the world could relate to. Then he expanded his creative ideas and generated more animated shows and movies we all love to this day.
No matter how old or busy we are, everyone makes time to watch their favourite Disney movies (I say movies because lets be real we don’t just have one favourite movie). Walt Disney has incorporated so many life lessons in all his movies and shows whose objectives weren’t merely to entertain but to also remind us of universal truths that we often forget.
My personal favourite being The Lion King, portrayed many obvious and hidden messages. In The Lion King, the creators did not veil Mufasa’s death, which still affects me personally might I add, from the children that were watching it but rather told them that death is a part of the circle of life. Let’s not forget the words of our true gurus of life, Timun and Pumba, who told us to live our lives to the fullest without worries-Hakuna Matata!

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Hakunamatata~ Gif Source: http://favim.com/image/1200065/

Then there is Mulan. Not a typical run of the mill princess but a warrior. She pushed ahead despite great adversities to honour her family and made China proud by believing in herself and her capabilities. Her motivation did not merely stem from perseverance and defying the odds but also from being around Shang who was without a doubt good looking. Let’s not forget Mushu, the dragon-lizard-thingy, which brought in his own humour as well as proved to the ancestors that small is indeed powerful especially when you set your mind to achieving a goal. Mulan was definitely one of Disney’s movies which advocate women empowerment.

Aside from the incorporation of moral values, Hercules another creation by Walt Disney taught children about Greek mythology. Not all of them were historically apt however this movie urged many to actually read up on Greek mythology – it definitely sparked my interest. Most of his movies and shows also taught everyone around the world to LOVE. Whether it was falling in love with a totally random stranger at first sight (Sleeping Beauty) or loving your family no matter what form they come in (Tarzan). Love conquered all trials and tribulations in Disney movies and shows!

Last but not least one movie that leaves an impact on everyone is Peter Pan, the boy that never grew up! The message in this movie is poignant to all adults – getting old is something we cannot avoid and that growing up is a choice. No matter what age we are we should always embrace the inner child in us.

All the movies created by Walt Disney over the last 90-100 years evoke different emotions and perceptions each time we watch a particular movie over and over again. As a child his movies reflect good triumphing over evil but when we watch them as adults we realise that his movies reflect mature and deep themes. So what are you waiting for? Go grab a snack and ‘Netflix and chill’ one of his movies!

 

Movie Review: The Real Civil War by CLinton Wee

 

Since the dawn of time, an age old civil war has ravaged this Earth. It all started in a small house. There lived a petite young warrior who wanted no trouble in this world. His main goal in life was to enjoy it peacefully. Alas, no valid story would be about peace, at least not for long. His arch-nemesis aka his house mate, a ferocious bloodthirsty beast at least 10 times his size, hunts him day and night. This merciless beast even uses various deadly weapons to end our young warrior, from axes and swords to firearms and bombs. Our hero is no physical match for this beast and can only find salvation in a tiny secret cave. However he still has to come out to face the beast every single day, fighting not only for his life, but for all of humanity.

 

Relying on his sheer wit and agility, our hero overcomes every attempt that this beast throws at him. He has stared death in the face countless times, but has always managed to escape by a whisker every single time. This is a timeless story of brains vs brawn. This is a rivalry more epic than even David vs Goliath, or Ironman vs Captain American, or even Trump vs Humanity. Passed down from generation to generation, spawning its own TV series, a couple of movies and even various spin-offs, I present to you the legend of “Tom and Jerry”.

 

Tom and Jerry has shaped millions of childhoods ever since 1940 when it was first produced. Being the most horriying and gruesome show parents ever let their kids watch, it has become an icon in the television industry. Even just a few days ago, my young 2 year old nephew was laughing heartily at a video on Youtube (Yes he knows how to use Youtube). Apparently it was an episode of Tom and Jerry. That immediately sent me into a nostalgic phase as I was suddenly thrown back into my matching Power Rangers jumper and onto my couch with the old tele right in front of me. It amazes me how even with all the technological advancement with have made, and how much the World has changed, that certain shows still manage to capture the children’s hearts. With Jerry’s charming cheekiniess, mixed with Tom’s endless frustration, viewers just cannot seem to get enough of it.

 

The show is not all fun and games, after growing up only did I realize theres a hidden lesson behind the stories. As young kids, we all rooted for Jerry and laughed whenever Tom failed(which was always). This was probably because we saw Tom as the evil villian who wanted nothing more than Jerry’s head, but this was not his fault. Tom was merely doing what he believed was right. Jerry was a nuisance to the family of the house the setting takes place in, and Tom only wanted to rid the family of this nuisance. As we grew older, we started to emphatize with Tom as more often than not in life, we have to be the villian in order to do what we feel is right. Not all our actions and decisions will gain everyone’s approval. Sometimes there might even be people who go out of their way to stop us. Despite all this, we have to go on fighting the good fight, even if it means being hated.
Every day new cartoons are being mass produced, with producers trying their best to capture as many viewers as possible. In my eyes, none of them could ever hope to compete with the simplicity and originality of Tom and Jerry. For those action comedy lovers, this is the show for you!

Strange Drinking Addiction by Esther Cheok

 

I wasn’t exactly very stoked to receive the topic ‘drinking’ from the internet text randomizer. It was after deliberately squeezing out my brain juice in an attempt to think of something remotely interesting related about ‘drinking’ that I could write about, that I finally reached this topic: some really strange drinking addictions, and no, I’m not talking about alcohol here. Credits goes out to the series ‘My Strange Addiction’.

 

1) A vampire in real life

29 year old Michelle Navarette, has been downing pig’s blood since she was a teenager, and now says she would be in a sour mood without drinking blood for a day. She calculates that she has drunk a total of 1,000 gallons of blood since she first took up her habit ten years ago.


‘I drink it and I get energized,’ she mentioned in the video below.

 

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ONnXn2x-VM)

2) Addicted to urine

Carrie, a 53 year-old woman is addicted to drinking urine. But wait hold up, her addiction to urine is not only limited to drinking; she bathes in it, brushes her teeth in it, uses it as lotion and even believes it cures cancer.

“I drink almost all the urine that comes out of my body,” Carrie says in the video. “It tastes like water to me.”

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyQSBcBBNBQ)

 

3) Gasoline Girl

I’ll admit that I like the smell of gasoline. That’s alright. That’s fine. That’s chill. But what if I told you that there is a girl who likes the smell of gasoline so much that she eventually starts to drink it?

“It tingles at first and then it, it burns the back of my throat,’ 20 year-old Shannon says describing her toxic habit which reaches up to 12 teaspoons a day. ‘Even though it hurts me, it makes me feel good,’ she says.

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ao7HjbhABAM)

Book Review: The Harry Potter Series by Merissa Tan

The Boy who Lived

 

Let’s play Guess the Famous Book/Movie Franchise! The stories in this universe revolve around a young boy who was abandoned by his parents, and due to the huge emotional distress, developed a mental illness with symptoms such as hallucinations. The boy was then sent to a mental institution, where he spends his days and nights, imagining that he has magical powers and is someone important. As a defence mechanism, he pretended that his parents were murdered, to escape the fact that they gave him up.

Sounds familiar yet? I bet you couldn’t get that, could you? Well, ladies and gentlemen, that was a bad (horrible!) recap of the world-renowned and well-loved series, Harry Potter! Of course, I was just kidding, but it kinda makes sense when you think about it, doesn’t it? For all we know, Harry could just be a normal, human boy living out an imaginary life as he tries to escape the harsh, horrible reality. Won’t we all just like to run away from real life and imagine we live in a fantasy sometimes?

Back to the topic at hand, thanks to the brilliance of J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter is now a multi-million franchise with 7 books, 8 movies and multiple appearances in themed parks. Not just a boy who lived, Harry Potter had become the role model of courage, selflessness and righteousness for children, teenagers and even adults worldwide. The magical stories spread throughout the globe, across barriers of language and culture, and achieved unprecedented success.

Now, the reason I picked this franchise to talk about (apart from being A MASSIVE FAN of it), is that the magical universe of Harry Potter is making a comeback!! YES, I am talking about the film all Potterheads have been waiting for: FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM is coming to cinemas this November in the USA! Starring the amazing Academy Award winning actor Eddie Redmayne, the movie follows magizoologist (keeper of magical creatures) Newt Scamander as he tracks down an array of magical beings that went loose in New York. Directed by none other than David Yates (who also directed the last four Harry Potter films) and screenplay written by J.K. Rowling herself, the film will definitely bring back loads of wonderful memories for all the Harry Potter fans out there as the rest of the magical world is explored.
So grab your wands and your cloaks, for we shall return to the magical kingdom that we grew up in! After all this time? Always.

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“After all this time?’ ‘Always,’ Image source: http://abby27nix.deviantart.com/art/After-all-this-time-Always-245199021

A night with Culture by Chloe Kong

On a Friday night when everyone went home to enjoy the weekend, the Chinese Society has organized an event for all to participate. Despite the busy schedule, many took the time off to come all the way to Sunway University just to witness this event.A night filled with tones of performances, the crew worked hard to make the event a success. From the planning to the execution, it was done well.

The night started off with a speech by the honorable guest. She used two languages back-to-back to show how much support she has for this event as well as to match the occasion. What wow-ed the crowd was the activity held to mark the commencement of the Chinese Cultural Night, and that is…the painting of the neon banner that glowed in the dark.

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Neon banner and it glows in the dark!

From the old to the new, the night was filled with and array of performances. From instruments to dances, each performer gave their heart and soul to that very moment. As an old saying goes, “台上三分钟,台下十年功” or rather the three minutes on stage is equivalent to ten years worth of hard work. Their hard work and dedication paid off as the crowd cheered for them.

Even though traditional aspects of the Chinese culture was the main thing, each performance was unique and different from one another. These performance incorporated some of the familiar modern cultures that we know today so it was really refreshing. It certainly has brought a new breath of life to the culture that may perish in time.

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Male dancers ready to rock the stage

Another thing that was really impressive was that, the performances were not just catered for the old but it was also catered for the younger audiences as well. Hence, you can say the they were enjoyed by people of all ages.

 

All in all, it was worth the night! Prior to the commencement of the event, I had no clue as to what was going to happen when I stepped into the hall. Right after the first performance, I found myself looking forward to the other performances that came after that. It was a really worth while night.

TLdr: For the performances, we have uploaded the video clips onto our youtube channel so feel free to click the link below :>

P.S: You may need to crank up the volume to listen.

ROOM

 

By: Nicole Kit Yin

With Mother’s Day around the corner, it seems fit to be reviewing this touching yet astonishing Canadian-Irish independent drama film adaptation—“Room”.

 

This Academy Award-nominated film was based on a novel written by Emma Donoghue, who so happened to be this film adaptation’s very own screenwriter. This film is about a young woman, known as “Ma” or Joy Newsome, and her 5-year-old son, Jack, finally gaining their freedom after being held captive in an enclosed space, known as “Room” for seven years. This film was also about allowing her son to experience the outside world for the very first time.

 

The reason why I decided to review this film was because it reminded me a lot about a mother’s strength and love for her children. In another way to put it, there were many parts of it that made me realise: this is what my mother has been doing for the past eighteen years of my life or what every mother has been doing for their children’s lives. Not that I was forcefully-enclosed in a small space when I was a child, but the realisation that my very own mother didn’t just clothe me, fed me or sheltered me, she also protected me from all the fears and dangers this world could possibly have; she was my watchful guardian. She was also my guidance out from the dark and into the light. Whenever I felt the world has shunned me or given up on me, she would always be the first to embrace me and welcome me back to the world, telling me that there will always be a mountain behind my back where I could depend on.

 

I have never felt so connected to a film before. In fact, I have never felt so emotionally attached to a film until I watched “Room”. I remembered there was a part in the film where Ma tells Jack that if his escape attempt succeeds and he were to be rescued, he gets to sleep on the hammock with his grandma and grandpa. And when Jack asked his mother, “And you?” Knowing that she might be killed once he succeeds, but also knowing that this escape could help his son to be set free into this big world, I have to admit: this part tore my heart into pieces. At that moment, without a doubt, if it were to be my situation, my mother would have done the exact same thing because that is what a mother does best. They endure all the pain, hide all their fears and doubts behind a smile, and cry into a pillow only after making sure that we were soundly asleep.

 

Besides that, throughout the film, I have learned that mothers only want what is best for their children. They will do anything to give us only the best they could offer. I also learned that they will do anything to protect their children, almost similar to a lioness or a tigress protecting its cub. They will give it their all to teach us and to nurture our lives with only love and care no matter how bad the situations we are in.

 

Mothers are tough and most people don’t realise this. They are the very reason as of who we are and who we have become today. They give us strength when we think we can no longer move on. In fact, they are our strength. We all have to admit that sometimes we hate the things they do, but between the lines, a sacrifice was made; a mother’s sacrifice. Sometimes we don’t realise it until it’s too late.

 

As time ticks away, so does the moments we share with our mothers lessen. Don’t wait till the day when you can no longer hear their voices, receive their phone calls and texts, or even see their faces. Cherish every moment with them, even the tiniest moment could be the happiest in both of your lives. Mothers don’t ask much, but only to be by their children’s side.

 

Before wrapping up this article, I would like to take this opportunity to say to all the mothers out there: Happy Mother’s Day. Thank you for all the sacrifices you have made to get us where we are today. We love you all.

One Child, One Helmet, One Life Saved

By: Sim Wan Yong

 

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Around April last year, 4 Sunway University students, Caroline Regina Parameswaran, Sim Wan Yong,  Chee Chia Ling and Sit Yuan Sheng were enrolled under Leaderonomic’s Project Mastery program, where they came up with the roughest of ideas of what project could be carried out that would benefit the society within a short timespan of 14 weeks.

 

The requirement? The project had to give a big impact of 1: 25: 25 scale, whereby one can impact 25, and the 25 can then continue to impact another 25 each. Our project coach was Marcus Lim, and he overlooked the project while it was ongoing.

 

Caroline told us how on the way to work she noticed motorcyclists on their way to work or fetching their children to school and how some if not most of the children are not wearing motorcycle helmets even if their parents are wearing one. Either that, or the children were wearing the wrong sized ones that could put them in danger.

 

Our initial plan was to build a helmet trade-in or rental center at rural areas, most possibly condominiums or low-cost apartments where the people going back or leaving the apartment could easily gain access to the helmets before they leave for work. Our plan B? A one-day campaign, most likely to give talks to a school and give out the helmets that we will provide on that day itself.

 

We prefered Plan A as it was more sustainable and the effects would be longer-lasting as compared to a one-day campaign. So we contacted various parties and sent them our proposals in hopes that we could find people that also find our project feasible and would like to take them up. The trouble with our plan was that we did not have the resources nor manpower to actually set up the center and keep it running, and the people we contacted either were not focusing on road safety issues at that time or they simply didn’t find the project to be beneficial for them.

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While we still continued to amend our proposal and make changes to the timeline, we started to work on our fundraising. We only had a RM25 modal from the project facilitator, so to make do with what we had, we bought two types of candies in large quantities, small plastic bags to put them in, and printed small notes with our logo and some road safety tips and statistics on them to include with the candies. We went around campus for about two weeks, giving the candy packets to students and strangers alike and telling them about our project, and told them that they can donate to help us if they were interested. We looked for sponsors, providing packages like including their names and logos in our fliers and Facebook page et cetera if they chose to donate a certain amount of helmets as well.

 

Within 2 weeks, we managed to get RM1644.65. When we checked online for the prices of helmet at the time, we could get only about 30 to 40 helmets. We continued to contact other parties, including Dato’ Hannah Yeoh, YB Nik Yazmi, BFM, MIROS among others.

 

Meanwhile, to raise awareness about the road safety issues, we opened up a Facebook page with our project name, “One Child, One Helmet, One Life Saved” and posted photos with road safety statistics and tips on them on a daily, then weekly basis as the semester progressed.

 

We were unable to find partners to collaborate with for quite a long while, and by the time the project term ended, we were only starting to finding other companies and alternative plans to give the impact we wanted: to educate the public about road safety, especially the younger motorcycle pillions who are at high risks of road accidents.

 

Then we found Allianz4Good, who we noticed had similar projects with ours, giving out helmets and child seats among others for their road safety campaign. We reached out to them, asking if we could join them for their upcoming campaign at primary schools. We wanted to be able to work towards our initial goals to provide for children and road safety, and it just so happened that they would be holding their next one at SK Bandar Sunway and so we went. Our funds were redirected to the helmet manufacturer that JKJR recommended, and we were able to get 50 helmets, slightly more than we thought we could afford.

FB_IMG_1461557290557On the 21st of April, 3 members of our team, Caroline, Chia Ling and I, along with another two students under Leaderonomics came by to help us out during the day itself. We arrived around 1330, and briefly met up with the voilunteers from Allianz4Good’s side. We were to partner with someone else from the Allianz team, and there were 4 stations for children aged 8 to 9 to learn from and play at.

 

At the first station, the children had to identify three road safety symbols from boards in the area and write down the meaning of the symbols. Next, they learn how to cross roads, looking right, left and right again, then listening for upcoming vehicles before crossing, all the while being alert for vehicles. Next, they learn to put on motorcycle helmets and bicycle helmets correctly, with the strap not being too tight for them. Last but not least, the children learnt the ways to correctly use a seatbelt, where the strap should be et cetera.

 

The 9 year-olds went first, and after 2 hours and 30 minutes their parts were done and we had a half an hour break before we proceeded with the 8 year-olds. By 5.30pm, we were listening to the closing ceremony speech by the school’s principal, the JKJR representatives and of course, Allianz4Good. During the closing ceremony, Allianz4Good distributed safety vests to some of the students, while our children helmets were distributed to 50 students in that school according to their needs.

 

Here are what our group members have to say about how the felt throughout the project.

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“Have you ever noticed that some parents who send their children to school on motorcycles fail to ensure that their children wear helmets despite wearing one themselves? It is scary how common this is. I am glad that this project provided us with a platform to address this issue.

 

The planning stage of this project taught me a lot about flexibility. Indeed, no plan is perfect and there is absolutely nothing wrong with readjusting plans to suit changing circumstances. This was possibly the hardest but most important lesson that I learned.

 

I was also introduced to the concept of “coffee dates” in business settings. As we sat down in a café to discuss our project, I was glad that our potential stakeholders took the lead. Though we did not end up working with this party, I am thankful for that meeting. They acknowledged the fact that we were young and were still learning the ropes; and they were kind enough to guide us in the right direction.

 

Kudos to Sim Wan Yong, our team leader, for ensuring that this project was brought to completion via a collaboration with Allianz. Being in the school and helping to educate the students about the different aspects of road safety and finally distributing the helmets warmed my heart. Indeed, nothing beats the excitement on the students’ faces as they received their brand new helmets. It was a very satisfying experience to know that we had made a difference in these students’ lives.”

  • Caroline Regina Parameswaran

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“Pandang kanan, kiri dan kanan semula”, the phrase that I speak the most when I was teaching the kids about the steps to cross over the road. Indeed, many of them remember the steps well after this session and it pleased me so much as awareness has been raised among them. The amount of satisfaction cannot be expressed or quantified when this campaign has come to be after a year and I am able to participate as a committee in this campaign. It is a unique experience for me as I helped someone in need and also learnt some values like perseverance and positive thinking throughout the entire journey.”

  • Chee Chia Ling

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“This project wasn’t my idea but rather, Caroline’s, and I was given the leader title only after we discussed what we hoped to learn throughout this project. However, being a leader wasn’t as easy as I always thought as I realized that I did not put teamwork into the picture as often as I should have. Nevertheless, completing the project was a really huge milestone for me as this would be the first major event that I took active participation in making it happen. Did I learn a lot? Yes, definitely. Could I have done it all again, better and more effectively? Again, yes. Perhaps if the chance comes up I would push for greater results.”

  • Sim Wan Yong

Last but not least, we were also mentioned in Allianz’ press release for our project here and also on JKJR’s website here

Kotonoha no Niwa by Janice Yeoh

Imagine a 15 year old kid complimented a 27 year old stranger’s foot saying that it is beautiful and requested them to take off their shoes and start drawing. And turns out, said stranger was formally a teacher at his high school and they start falling in love. How creepy would that be?

Jokes aside, “The Garden of Words” is a short movie by Makoto Shinkai, a household name that has been prevalent over the years in the anime film industry. After his hit movie, “5 Centimetres per Second” in 2007, he established himself as a director with the ability to combine masterful artistic vision with emotional, bittersweet storytelling. His latest movie, “The Garden of Words”, depicts the relationship between a high school student and an older woman.

The story starts off as the protagonist Takao, who is training to become a shoemaker, skipped school to sketch shoe designs in a Japanese-style garden. Over there, he meets a mysterious woman, Yukino, who is older than him. Then, the two start to see each other again and again, but only on rainy days. Takao, feeling lost by his uncertain future and shoemaking passion; and Yukino, who is feeling lost in society where she feels she does not belong in, start to deepen their relationship and open up to each other.

Despite being a character-driven story with first person narration, the movie devotes a great deal of time with scenic shots. It is a visual spectacle in every regard, meant to have us immersed in the world. The breath-taking and overbearing details of the scenery in the movie are so stunning that the dialogues may sound like little more than background noises. Due to the differences in age and personality between the two characters, the garden is supposed to express what the characters themselves cannot – a “Garden of Words”. The two characters enjoy the presence of rain, which usually symbolises sadness and isolation, but the shelter that the garden provides gives a medium for the two to emotionally connect beyond words.

Next, The Garden of Words consists mostly of ambience soundtracks, with the exception of some beautifully composed piano solos. The soundtracks together with the animation, makes you feel as if you were there with the characters. It is also from this moments like these that form hope within Takao and Yukino. This movie represents people’s feelings towards hopes and dreams for the future, which I am sure most of us can relate to.

           As the movie reaches its climax, the subtlety and slow pace at which the characters’ relationship develops starts to break, showing an uncharacteristically forceful confrontation. As an outburst of emotion with a fair bit of yelling and crying, it is more powerful than the silent, emotional scenes but not awkward enough to be dismissed as melodramatic. The movie even ends with the same unrequited love as most of Shinkai’s previous works. However, this time is it less ambiguous but ending with the same, physical distance between two characters.

To conclude, The Garden of Words is probably one the most visually appealing anime movies I have watched.  However, if you are looking for a deeper plot, then this might leave you slightly unsatisfied. Needless to say though, the artistic visuals of The Garden of Words will leave you breathless.