Summer by Reshna

There she was lying among the baby breath flowers, feeling the cool breeze and absorbing the sun’s warm glow. As she lay there she was smiling, thinking how wonderful it was to finally be free from being held prisoner in her own home. She had been planning to run away for so long and never thought that she was capable of leaving the things that were holding her back from exploring the world. And now her wish had come true or so she thought it did…

Summer – named after the season that brings joy to everyone and that was exactly what her parents thought of when naming their first born. Gary and Marian Jones, a couple which were brought together by love had been trying so long to bear a child that they could share their love with and when they did they were beyond grateful to have her. Although Summer grew up smothered by the love given by her parents, there was something peculiar about their daughter that they couldn’t quite put a finger on.

When Summer turned 5, that was when her parents realised that there was something dark and unexplainable within her. Every time their daughter looked at them with her intensely dark eyes it sent cold shivers down their spine. They decided to call Father Morris to help Summer and rid her of the darkness that engulfed her as she grew older. Summer, however, was greatly upset by this and thought only the worst of her parents and she began to wonder if her parents thought of her as the child of the devil!

Father Morris solemnly informed the Jones’ that their child was not only full of evil but that she was greatly disturbed and by the age of 13, she would cause them grievous harm. The Jones’ were so very petrified of this moment happening that they took many precautionary measures to save themselves. Summer did not see it as such and realised that she had to make a run for it. She had decided that at the age of 13, she would be the one running for safety!

Summer was about to turn 13 on January 15th 2008 and the night before her birthday she packed her necessities and “borrowed” money from her father. She knew what had to be done. She had decided that at 12 am on the morning of her birthday she would sneak out of their shabby home in the fields and be free.

As she was sneaked out stealthily from her room, she detoured to her parent’s room to whisper a short sweet goodbye at their door. But they were nowhere to be seen. Summer’s natural instinct was ignited and she began to get wary of her surroundings. She knew she’d have to make a speedy getaway before her fate was sealed. However, when she did, it was too late. Her parents were standing behind her, with a wide smile across their face, gazing at their child adoringly. Their eyes were darker than the night sky and their smile chilling.

For Summer there was no running now. She knew what Father Morris had predicted all this while was wrong. It wasn’t her who was full of darkness and despair but rather her parents. Summer had found an antique box in the attic one night not long ago where her parents kept pictures of other children. Her parents had these children and raised them Now seeing their smile and the evil glint in their eyes, she knew her fate would be no different from that of her other brothers and sisters.

Without a moment’s thought, her father took out a gun and shot her in the heart. As Summer fell to the ground she heard her parents whisper “Happy Birthday, love.” It was not the freedom she longed for but it was as close as she could get. As she lay there smiling, the last shovel of sand was placed atop her limp body. She was now part of the ground and would be next to all her brothers and sisters amongst the baby breath flowers.

Student Leadership Retreat @ OutBac Broga, Selangor

Article by Mr. Kenneth Khoo
Edited and Published by ECHO

The Sunway Student Services Department organized its annual Student Leadership Retreat camp on the 27th-28th May 2016. This 2-day, 1-night camp aimed to gather all of the Student Leadership Bodies’(SLB) representatives to network and build comradery among each other as most of the representatives were newly elected into the position. Furthermore, the SLB representatives also took this opportunity to take a break from their usual, hectic study life as Outbac Broga provided a relaxing getaway for the students. The SSD representatives which includes Mr Ken, Mr Kenneth, Mr Rafiq, Mr Alvin, Mr Jeremy and Ms Jun were also tagging along as their retreat facilitators and of course joining in the fun through the retreat activities provided by the camp organizers.

The team checked into the location around 1:30pm to settle their luggage and have lunch provided by the camp organizers. After lunch, the student leaders were split into groups of 3 in order to participate the Team Building session conducted by the camp moderators. The teambuilding session which includes 6 mini games such as the Wild Uzi (A balancing activity where team members need to support each other weight on a metal wire), Human Centipede (Team members need to form a human chain and swim across the river together), Wall Climbing (Team members need to cross a wall via climbing), Mouse Trap (Team members need to solve a puzzle through a mouse trap), Obstacle Course (Teams need to finish a number of obstacle courses) and lastly Free Fall (Teams need to catch their members dropping from the sky!). Lastly, the teams would need to build a DIY-raft and they will raced it off among each other through the river and back into the starting point, which tested both teamwork and competitiveness among the student leaders. The team building activities not only educated our student leaders to build onto their team chemistry and bond new friendships, but each activity brings a significant survival skill which would prove useful during unexpected, dangerous disaster events. Talk about having such great team building activities!

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The journey across the lake

After the team building session, the student leaders were given a short free and easy session before dinner. I myself with Mr Ken, Mr Rafiq, Mr Jeremy and some of our student leaders had a casual basketball session which brings out the enjoyment and athletic side from ourselves. Although it was a really short session, we all have lots of fun and laughing while shooting some hoops down as basketball is considered a physical contact sport to others. After dinner, we headed back into the indoor hall and continued our sessions hosted by the SSD team. The first session which was conducted by Ms Jun (Some students were thinking she was one of the student leaders thou haha!) was a personality test called DISC. The test was carried out to determine each and everyone’s dominant and inferior personality trait where one can either be a Dominant, Influential, Steadiness and Conscientious type which initials makes up for the DISC meaning. Next, Mr Alvin conducted a Mindfulness session which helped the student leaders to discover their personal agenda in order to help communicate and bond well when working with other members through collaborations. After those session, the student leaders and facilitators were given another Free & Easy Session throughout the night where they were treated with late-night snacks, card games and some guitar-singing session by our very own Mr Alvin! 😉

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On the second day of the retreat, we were anticipating our hiking trip up to the top peak of Broga Hill. However, lady luck wasn’t on our side as the trip was cancelled due to non-stop rain and it might endanger our student leaders during the hike. Fortunately, the rain stopped after several hours and we were still able to participate both the Flying Fox and Rock Climbing activities which were a great exposure to our student leaders, I, for myself is acrophobic (Which is a term to use onsomeone who is a afraid of heights) and trying out the Flying Fox was incredibly satisfying and awesome, despite having both my hands and feet shaking during the peak of the tower. After completing both of the extreme sports, the students were given a recap session by the Head of Student Development/Sports, Mr Ken on Leadership. He mentioned that it’s crucial to have both fun and seriousness when being a leader.

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Gliding through~

Besides that, he emphasize that leadership is always about leading and learning especially at a young age where our student leaders have the great opportunity and platform to learn within our campus. Lastly, he noted that second chances are given to all student leaders as everyone makes mistake in the beginning and are always in the learning process in order to be the ideal leader and is ready for the “Real” world. Once the recap session ended, everyone grouped in for a photoshoot and bid farewell to Outbac Broga before heading back home to Sunway University. Overall, this annual student leadership retreat was really rewarding and it’s great for both SSD team and the student leaders to enjoy and building friendships among one another, bringing back great memories from the trip and having a refreshing time before stepping into the big shoes as the campus’s student leaders.

 

Raising Future Leaders by P.R.E.M

Article and Photos by the P.R.E.M

Edited and Published by ECHO

With poverty on going, many children would lose the opportunity to gain the much needed experience and knowledge that could aid them in their futures. With that in mind, comes the formation of P.R.E.M, the Public Relations and Events Management (P.R.E.M) team   and their memorable one day Youth Leadership Camp dedicated to these youngsters.

Despite the tired and sleepless days of planning, the Youth  Leadership camp was a success. In order to fund the camp, the team held a donation drive before the camp. Their efforts bore fruit when the students managed to collect a staggering RM11,000 from the donation drive that was held on campus grounds! And, in a blink of an eye, the day of the camp has arrived.

June the 4th, it was like any other weekend in Malaysia but it was certainly an eye opening and exciting experience  for the underprivileged youths from Rumah Hope, Rumah Kids, House of Joy, Precious Children’s home and Kebajikan Karunai Illam who participated in the Youth Leadership Camp recently at Sunway University campus.33 underprivileged youths from five respective homes took part in this camp that was facilitated by none other than the P.R.E.M team themselves.

With the help of 2 lecturers, the 24 Department of Communication and Liberal Arts students worked hard  to achieve their goals in developing future leaders and inspiring the underprivileged youths to strive for their dreams .“We (P.R.EM) strongly believe that the participants will succeed when they are given the right encouragement and opportunities. Our programme wished to empower them by developing important skills such as leadership, decision making and communication skills. The camp also emphasized on problem solving skills and building confidence to ensure they are prepared to face the society and overcome obstacles in the future,” said Ryan Lee Kin Soon, Project Director of Youth Leadership Camp 2016.

Photo 1

Group photo  with P.R.E.M and the other participants.

“All of the participants excelled  in each activities without any difficulties. Furthermore, we also noticed that the participants possess huge potential and we really hope that we can continue to contribute in their success. These youths should be given the equal opportunities to hone their skills which are crucial for their personal development,” he added

In a single day, the participants were able to experience different things through various activities that were carefully planned out for them. Many thrilling exercises awaited them that day. Among the exercises held included the academic and leadership workshop, treasure hunt, field sports and there was also even a talent show! These activities did not only arm the attendees with leadership qualities but they also helped in enhancing their (the attendees’) personal attributes.

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Leadership on the go in one of the activities

“I’ve participated in other leadership programme before, but Youth Leadership Camp 2016 is something different. The programme were well-balanced with both academic and non-academic activities. The facilitators were very encouraging as they took the time to guide us through each activities. Overall, I had a lot of fun and I have also gained loads of experience in communicating and collaborating with other participants from different homes,” said Joe Satiah, one of the participants from Precious Children’s Home.

It was a job well done to the organizing team as the event came to a close. The participants returned with new skills added to their repertoire while the P.R.E.M team returned home tired but with their hearts filled with warmth.

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Mission accomplished!

 

 

Babka Cafe 歐風鄉村咖啡

Review by: Christopher Liew

Once more we return to Taiwan, Taipei, but for this time we’ll venture into the streets of 九份(Jiu Fen), one of the must-go tourist attraction spots in Taiwan. As I was venturing around Jiu Fen, I stumble upon this little cozy-looking café, which comes with a rather unique but weird name of Babka.

Babka Cafe

Exterior design of café.

I decided to check it out, knowing Taiwan geographical reasons, shops and café around Taiwan are usually small compared to Malaysia’s café size. Something about this small little cozy café is that the dining area are all located upstairs, while downstairs will be the place where barista prepare the coffee. In this café, the barista is the café owner himself. From bean roasting, coffee brewing, to even pizza making as well as baking are all done by the husband and wife (the owner of Babka café). In their menu, what first caught my eyes was actually the hand-brew coffee. Unlike typical espressos, they serve brews such as the Siphon Brew Coffee. I decided then that it would be a good idea to ask the owner a little about the café itself.

Owner

Question 1 (directed to the husband): What is it that inspires you to start venturing into coffee industries?

Answer:

The reason behind the interest or rather inspiration of venturing into coffee industries was rather simple. He expect quality over quantity, emphasizing flavour and quality in each cup of coffee he brews. Even so, he’s not  very fond of other flavour in which it explains why that his café  only have  specific few types of selected beans. Instead of the domestically produced arabicas coffee beans, he prefers specific beans such as the Kenya AA’S, “kopi luwak” civet coffee, Columbia’s bean, and of course, their prize winning, a mixture of 15 types of coffee beans into one brew (championship 2015 for bean type). For 12 years this pair of couples has been operating Babka café in Jiu Fen, they have not change their beans and bean type. He wants to open up a café in such way that is not selling coffee only for the sake of doing so, but instead he wants each coffee to be unique and high quality.

Few types of bean they offer.

Bean type

Question 2 (directed to the wife):

Why is the café name Babka cafe歐風鄉村咖啡?

Answer:

It’s rather interesting when I found out why is the café name Babka, it came to my surprise that babka is actually name of a pasterie which originally comes from Romania (or known as kulich, Кулич in cryllic script which widely used in eastern Europe) and it’s spongy brioche-like yeast cake,  the reason why the café is name after it was that the café main pastries Babka cake in which the recipes of babka café’s for it are from the owner’s parents themselves. To make it even more interesting is that babka is actually a Polish word which means ‘Grandmother’.

They added that the original given name of the café was 歐風鄉村咖啡, which means ‘Eastern Village Café’, but when combined with Babka, they called it the Babka café.

With the interview part done, I browsed through the menu in which they heavily emphasized on the hand-brewed coffee and I decided to give that a shot. While I was expecting something along the lines of V-60 pourover coffee, they recommended me Siphone brewing methods instead, which was invented back in the 1840’s by a French housewife and a Scottish marine engineer. This method works by heating a round-bottomed flask, which boils the water inside it and builds up pressure in the flask. The pressure would push the water into the upper brewing chamber, and the blend is then mixed with the water by stirring, and the blend would start to brew. With this method, a delicate, tea-like cup of coffee is brewed.

Siphon Coffee

Siphon Coffee brewing Methods.

The outcome of this brewing method turned out rather interesting, due to its rich flavours as several types of coffee beans were mixed into a blend. It leaves you feeling the impact of the coffee, taking in the mixed flavours of it at the same time. The coffee’s texture was smooth, with a cherry-like flavour and a strong burnt taste not unlike the aroma of walnuts added to a slight hint of tangy sourness.

Completion

Completion of Siphon Coffee.

The price range of coffee provided is just alright, ranging from 90 to 220 new Taiwan dollar, which is equivalent to approximately RM10-24. Quite affordable for a cup of hand-brewed coffee!

Information.

Location:

224, Taiwan, 新北市瑞芳區基山街177號

Contact number: +886 2 2406 3458

Operational Hours: 9AM–5PM

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Babka-%E6%AD%90%E9%A2%A8%E9%84%89%E6%9D%91%E5%92%96%E5%95%A1/172839449435280

With this review, Peace out!

SELFIE

Otaku Corner: A movie night

Minna-san konbanwa! Welcome back to another corner of Otaku Corner! In this corner, we will be taking a look into a two-part Kuroshitsuji movie! It is called the book of murders. These two movies were set after the Book of Murder series

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Kuroshitsuji: The Book of Murder (Part 1)
黒執事・殺人の書, Kuro Shitsuji: Satsujin no Sho (1)

Genre: Action, Mystery, Supernatural

Producers: Animation Production: A-1 Pictures Inc. (An adaption from the fifth arc of the original manga: The Phantomhive Manor Murders)

Air Date: October 25, 2014

Status: Finished airing

The start of the series showed the Phantomhive house hosting a lavish party upon the behest of her majesty, the Queen of England. Many influential and the finest members of the society were invited to attend this high-class party at the Phantomhive manor. Among the guests invited was also a struggling author.

kuroshitsuji-book-of-murder-episode-1

Image source:

http://animeflavor.animecross.net/view/kuroshitsuji-book-of-murder-episode-1/

Now for the fun bit, at the peak of the story came the usual serial killing in the manor that remained a mystery among the guests. Interesting enough? No, as the members of the Phantomhive household, it is an utmost important to serve the guess well and to be able to tend to their needs and wants. Or so to the members of the audience, the entertainment factor is something that should not be neglected.

Packed with the amusement within the series, I find it intriguing to watch how each invited guests reacted throughout the series. To me, it provides a glimpse of how the society was back in the olden days. What amuzed me the most was how  Ciel and Sebastian spoke in French when speaking ill of one of the guests which was funny to watch. I guess that is what some of us do from time to time if we have something to rant or complain.

Another thing to find it shocking were the deaths of the guests that begin to arise within the mansion. In a condition such as that, the viewers will be perplexed about how each of the victims were killed. Among those deaths was also one that was really unexpected (not to mention fishy). Who? Only time will tell.

Overall, the first part of this arc was really amuzing. The story was not rushed and the development was really interesting to watch. Part 1 revealed the conflicts of the story and Part 2 reveals the truth of it all. (So on to the next part of the review)

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Kuroshitsuji: The Book of Murder (Part 2)
黒執事・殺人の書, Kuro Shitsuji: Satsujin no Sho (2)

Genre: Action, Mystery, Supernatural

Producers: Animation Production: A-1 Pictures Inc. (An adaption from the fifth arc of the original manga: The Phantomhive Manor Murders)

Air Date: November 15, 2014

Status: Finished airing

Part 2 continued with a round of solve the mystery or play the detective in solving the case. This time our author stepped up his game and took the lead in getting to the bottom of the mystery. With a new character or an unexpected visitor in their midst, how would he flare? That would be the interesting part to watch.

Although, Part 2 would be the revelation of the truth, the pace of the story was also not rushed. The animation took its time to slowly reveal what was going on behind the scenes of these mysterious deaths. Or so was it?

The ending was a mind-blower and that is all I can say. I do not want to give out too many details to spoil the fun but all I can say is that you will be surprised to learn the truth. All in all, the only hint that I can give would be the Phantomhives and leave the rest to our purrfect butler to reveal them all.

That is all for now. Adios~Ja ne minna