Written by: Reshna Reem Ganesan

Do you ever feel that no matter how hard you try you just end up getting disappointed? And of course there are those that hardly try and have everything falling onto their laps. This irks you even though the latter could be your dear and close friends. There are times where you just want to grab life by its neck (assuming it has a body) and strangle it for simply being grossly unfair to you!

Well, if you are reading this article do not expect it to be one laden with motivational tips on ways to embrace life, to get back out there and try harder because we have tons of YouTube videos of inspirational people that can give you that. I, however, am just going to give everyone out there who are considered “second class” – because they apparently did not try hard enough or were not as good as those who had everything fall into place for them – a REALITY CHECK!

So, you think you are not good enough because no matter what you embark on you come in last? Well, think again! This life we are trapped in is all about survival of the fittest. Just like animals we are fighting to survive and to be on top of the food chain to prove to others and ourselves that we are the best of the best. Do NOT let anyone distract you from your wants or needs. However, there are distractions that divert your attention and guess what – the minute you give in to those distractions you LOSE!!!

It’s alright to be distracted or even angry occasionally. I for one am easily distracted or angered. I was also a person without any goals because I kept thinking to myself “What’s the point? Someone else is going to just slack off and yet he/she is going to get whatever he/she wants given to him/her without trying.” The irony is such people perceive they are trying really hard when in fact they just have more options than some but they have never seen the way others have to struggle to get to where they want to or need to be.

Just recently I realised that if instead of looking up motivational quotes or watching YouTube videos of people who changed their life around because they believed in themselves (which is obviously the better choice), it would be better for me to use my anger and dissatisfaction to drive me to achieve what I want in life. I know that sounds wrong to get things done but it helps me get what I want. Do not use the anger you have to demotivate you or to destroy things or people around you. Use that energy expelled by your anger to DRIVE you to success.

I know that this article appears to be a motivational speech gone off course. As I have mentioned do not let these people, who you think do not put in as much effort as you in any endeavour, bring you down. The only person that can bring you down is YOURSELF! Do not let them think they have power over you because your fall becomes their fire and that is what drives them. If any of you have watched Suicide Squad maybe you remember a line the Joker said to Harley Quinn before she jumped into the chemical pots. He said, ‘Desire becomes surrender. Surrender becomes power.” So, let the anger and dissatisfaction in you fuel your desire to become POWERFUL!


Written by Wong Kit Yin, Nicole.

The reason why this article was titled “Challenge the rules” is because people nowadays seems to have a misconception that wearing expensive brands, chunky jewelries and basically dressing themselves over the top are ways of being fashionable and trendy. Fortunately for us 21st century mankind, a simple tank top and shorts are already sufficient enough to make us appear stylish as well. Thus, in other terms, “Challenge the rules” may also meant defying the ways of dressing up ourselves. There are no rules in fashion and that is one of the many beauties about it. Anyone can wear anything they are pleased with and as long as they feel comfortable in it.

In this new continuation of “Campus Fashion”, Echo is delighted to introduce Ng Zhi Yan, an 18 year-old female student from AUSMAT, and how she is all about challenging the so-called rules of fashion.

Describing her style as “simple” and “nice”, Zhi Yan is all about being casual. In fact, her top three must-haves in her wardrobe are her black shorts, tank tops and short skirts. With that being said, when asked which piece in her closet that she could not live without, she replied that it was her shorts that she could not live without. I could only imagine how many pairs of shorts she has stored in her wardrobe.

Ever wonder where she got her stylish pieces, you might want to take a look at her favourite store—“Factorie”. Zhi Yan thought the clothes there were stylish and they absolutely suit her casual style.

Almost similar to Cara Delevingne, the person she hopes she could dress up like, Zhi Yan has her own distinctive style as she draws no inspiration from her surrounding. Cara Delevingne was also known for challenging the rules of fashion and is one of the few who does not follow the current trends. Instead, she creates them, just like how Zhi Yan is creating her own.

Given a chance to choose between comfort and appearance, Zhi Yan sighted appearance to be more important as it reflects more onto the individual.

After reading this, students belonging to the Diploma in Fine Arts are going to be really happy. This is because Zhi Yan thought that most of the well-dressed people belongs in there.

Check out this slideshow for more of Zhi Yan’s everyday college looks:

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From Your Computer Screens to Your Countries

Written by Tan Li Ying, Merissa


If you’re even just a little bit familiar with the YouTube music scene, you would have, at some point heard of the names Kurt Hugo Schneider and Sam Tsui. Apart from producing stellar music videos on YouTube, they have travelled the world performing in top venues to thousands of fans. Just a few weeks ago, they completed their second tour around Asia and Australia, and in this article, I will be introducing their amazing tour team to you!

Sam Tsui

Born in 1989 in Pennsylvania, the singer of Hong Kong descent is best known for his acoustic, slowed-down cover of pop anthems. He was childhood friends with Kurt Schneider and the two attended the same schools. Majoring in classical Greek, Sam attended Yale University where he was a member of an all-male acapella group, The Duke’s Men of Yale. Sam has since made appearances on multiple television shows such as ABC World News and The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and hosted behind-the-scenes for the third season of NBC’s a capella competition show, The Sing-Off. As of 2016, he has released 2 studio albums, 3 EPs, and 23 singles (including 2 original songs) and has garnered over 2.5 million subscribers and 285 million views on his YouTube channel, TheSamTsui. Sam recently wedded fellow YouTube singer Casey Breves, whom he has collaborated with for a couple times on his channel. Cue a power couple!

Bonus Question: If you could describe the tour with a food, what would it be and why?

“Penang curry! Because all of the different experiences we had were like all the flavors in a Penang curry :)”


Kurt Hugo Schneider

With a total of more than 7.2 million subscribers and almost 2 billion views on YouTube, the 28-year-old producer is undoubtedly one of the largest artists in the scene, but most people won’t know that he is also the crème de la crème in academics. Apart from becoming a chess master at age 15, Kurt graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Mathematics from Yale. He now produces music videos in collaboration with musicians worldwide including Kevin Olusula of Pentatonix. One of his most famous videos is a cover of “Just a Dream” performed by Christina Grimmie and Sam Tsui, which now has over 100 million views. Kurt has also partnered with big companies, such as Coca-Cola (for multiple times) and has directed several filmography works such as College Musical : The Movie, and Yale’s 2010 promotional video “That’s Why I Chose Yale”. As a brilliant multi-instrumentalist, Kurt plays dozens of musical instruments including the harp, piano, guitar, and drums. Talk about a man of many talents!


Tiffany Alvord

Cited as one of YouTube’s first “Home-grown Celebrities”, 24-year-old Tiffany Alvord joined Sam Tsui and Kurt Schneider on their Asia/Australia tour this year. With over 2.8 million subscribers, Tiffany’s channel is among the top 50 most subscribed channels on YouTube. At age 15, she published her first song on it; by the time she finished high school, her music career was taking off, with her mother acting as her manager. She has since released 6 records, featuring both original and cover songs. In 2012, Tiffany performed in Times Square on the Nivea stage with Carly Rae Jepsen, Train, PSY and Taylor Swift as part of the New Year’s Eve celebration. She has also headlined and co-headlined multiple international tours around the world, including in Europe and Southeast Asia. Always maintaining a close relationship with her fans, Tiffany is truly the sweetheart of the YouTube music industry.


Jason Pitts

Jason Pitts was a viral Internet sensation back in 2011, when he decided to ask fellow student Lianna to the prom at Santa Monica High School by performing a ballad he wrote in front of his class – complete with a few lads on backup vocals while he plays accompaniment on his guitar. (She said yes!) Jason then went on Good Morning America, performing his “Prom Song” on air to millions of television viewers. In 2012, he met Kurt through a singer he wrote music with, and the producer recorded him playing guitar for a song they wrote together. Shortly after, he recorded guitars for Sam’s Make It Up album, and the rest was history! Now aged 23 and passionate in fingerstyle guitar, Jason makes regular appearances in Sam and Kurt’s YouTube videos as their guitarist, records with them and joins them on their international tours.

Bonus Question: If you could describe the tour with a food, what would it be and why?

“If I could describe the tour with a food, it would be NASI GORENG. Because that’s my favorite dish in Southeast Asia and we’re a spicy group of people :)”


Joel Manduke

Graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts (majoring in ethnomusicology jazz studies and minoring in music industry) from UCLA, Joel Manduke is no stranger to performing live in front of thousands of audiences. At a young age of 22, he has already been on multiple international tours and has opened for well-known artists such as Bon Jovi and Ariana Grande, playing in exclusive events and venues as a professional drummer. Joel was a friend of Jason’s from UCLA and was asked by the latter to be a part of the Make It Up music video in 2013. He then started playing music with the lads and since then has been featured in both Kurt and Sam’s music videos playing various musical instruments (though usually percussion), and also records and tours with them across the world.

Bonus Question: If you could describe the tour with a food, what would it be and why?

“Ramen. Ramen. Ramen. Does it really need a reason?!”


Written by Wong Kit Yin, Nicole.


Dear Americans,

November 9th, 2016 is a date so special that I doubt anyone would forget about it. It was the day that changed America’s future. The day that shocked the entire world.

When Donald Trump was running for the presidency, all I noticed was television hosts making jokes about him on their talk shows, whether it was in his presence or not. The internet was bombarded with creative memes on the speeches that he had made, criticising everything he said. Everyone despised him, wrote horrible things about him and made fun of him in all forms of social media. Yet, he is to be the next President of the United States of America.

It was said that the American Dream was to make America great again or at least that was what Donald Trump promised during the election, but how can you achieve that when its citizens no longer feel safe in their own homeland anymore, where the basic foundation of human rights have been ripped apart from them.

No offence to the Trump voters, I imagine you have a good reason on choosing him as your next president. However, with every vote to him, you have indirectly given the racists, sexists and homophobics more reason to look down and to bully those whom are seemed as beneath them. You have just given power to those rich, white people to do whatever they want. If crimes were committed, they might actually get away with it. Thus, this is how the flames of justice smothered at their feet as they laugh away their wicked deeds. With plans on deporting so-called immigrants and building walls, all I can say is that America, this is your future now. For all these reasons, I am seriously torn between in giving you a big hug or a shoulder to cry on.

When the election was over and Donald Trump was officially elected, no one stopped expressing their shocks and disbelieves. Lady Gaga went on protesting in front of the Trump Tower in New York. Anti-Donald Trump protests happening on the streets of New York, hoping for a change even though none could be salvage by then.

It was then, amongst the pile of hopelessness and sorrow over the loss of Hillary Clinton as their president, there was a slight glimmer of hope. People from all different gender, races, religion and culture walking on the same street, marching together in the protest, fighting for something you truly believe in—a safer and better America. Most of you have thought it lost, but unity had happened and it is burning brightly deep into your hearts and souls.

I realized there should be no fear, especially when everyone are standing together. No one should be afraid anymore; not the homosexuals, Muslims or women. Instead, they should feel braver and almost invincible because they are each other’s source of power now. They have each other’s back.

I guess I would have to thank all of you for that because without these happenings, the world would have never known the importance of unity and just how powerful it could be. I lived in a multiracial country my whole life and yet, unity has become almost a rare occasion now. Yes, we might not have big racial fights, but underneath it all, there is no denying of the tension between the races. Perhaps, this could shed some light on us and hopefully we could learn a thing or two.

We are living in the 21st century; a time where we should be focusing on pushing forward and creating a better future for our descendants. This is not the time to judge the colour of people’s skin, whether that person has a penis or a vagina, or whether or not they are wearing a hijab. There are more matters at hand than fighting with people who are no more or no lesser than you and I.

However, in the end, I am no American and nothing I say could describe what you are genuinely feeling or change anything, but I got a feeling that a new age has almost begun; the age of unity, for as long as we stand together, we are invincible. With this new mindset, there will be no doubt that America could be great again.