27 December 2006

Sunway University College Students Organise Memorable Tour to Vietnam

15 Sunway University College students pursuing diploma courses in the School of Hospitality, Tourism & Leisure Management (SHTLM) and their two lecturers recently brought a tour group to a land that conjures up images of conical bars – Vietnam.

The students taking majors in Tourism and Events put together a 5 day/4 night Sightseeing and Culinary tour package. They were wholly in charge of planning the itinerary, designing and executing promotional strategies. It took them four weeks to promote their package with personal selling, eye-catching posters and leaflets.

Chor Kah Loon, one of the student organizers who majors in Events said “We were even approached by curious public at our promotional booth to enquire about the tour”. “That was when we had the great opportunity to sharpen our one-to-one selling and communication skills,” added Rasika Wijekoon, another student organizer who specializes in Tourism.

Making sure of the smooth running of the tour was part of their key responsibility, customer satisfaction was their ultimate concern. True enough, the tour members whom the students succeeded in persuading to sign up for the tour package were not at all disappointed. It was a value for money trip. They enjoyed a cruise along the amazing scenic Saigon River, experienced how the Vietcong lived underground at the Chu Chi Tunnels, explored old, historical temples, strolled along the seaside resort of Vung Tau and climbed up Jesus Hill.

“The roads in Vietnam are traversed by a lot of motorcycles!” said Chor. “This unique sight is vastly different from what we see in the cities of Malaysia”. Rasika who loves nature more than anything else, was amazed by the vast, green paddy fields, carpeted the land of Vietnam. “The breathtaking view was unforgettable”, claimed the fourth semester Tourism student.


The highlight of the trip was the Cuisine Tour organized by a premier local Tourism School - Khoi Viet Language Tourism & Language School. The tour participants spent the day preparing their own meals consisting of authentic Vietnamese cuisines, taught by a renowned Vietnamese culinary expert, Chef Dzoan Cam Van. Among the Chef’s recommended cuisines were Seafood Spring Rolls, Sour Soup with Fresh Water Fish and the famous Vietnamese Pancakes.

Ms Mae Tan, the Head of the School of SHTLM commented “The planning, promoting selling and organizing outbound tours offer experiential and fun-learning that will harness the skills and knowledge of our tourism students. Having this experience under their belt, they gain an upper hand at the point of entry into the workforce”. Putting theory and knowledge into practice is part of the requirement in the tourism course offered by the School of Hospitality, Tourism & Leisure Management at Sunway University College. Thus, creating balanced individuals who are ready to face the real and challenging world out there.

27 November 2006

“Gala Des Oscars”

Sunway University College School of Hospitality, Tourism & Leisure Management (SHTLM) hosted a “Gala Des Oscars”, Charity Gala Dinner recently at the Multipurpose Hall in Sunway University College.

The theme “Gala Des Oscars” which meant “a celebration of entertainment in the style of the Oscars” ensured a grand affair with lively performances in belly dancing and hip hop, pre-event activities and decorations based on the glamourous Oscars and Hollywood set.

This charity dinner was in aid of Generating Opportunities for Learning Disables (GOLD) of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Bandar Sunway. The objective of the event was to launch the pledge between the SHTLM and GOLD, to raise funds for equipping the new arts and crafts room for the special class of learning disabled students there. This was also to instill event organising skills amongst the students of the Diploma in Conventions and Events Management and the Diploma in Hospitality taking the Special Events Management module. It also provided opportunities between both organisations to interact, learn positive values and to create more awareness of the challenges faced by these special students

Special awards were presented by the SHTLM to Coordinators of GOLD:- Puan Hjh. Juairiah Bt. Hj. Johari and Mrs Mary Chen. Volunteer of GOLD, Mrs Nancy Thoo, who despite her disability caused by a stroke, offers her untireless support at the GOLD Street Bakery and Café and an award to the Most Outstanding Student of GOLD, 22 year old, Syed Norsyafiq bin Syed Ahmad Marzuki.

A cheque of RM5,000 was also presented by the SHTLM to GOLD of SMK Bandar Sunway, which is part of the pledge to raise funds for equipping the new arts and crafts room at the school.

Multicultural Marketing - Getting it Right

Sunway University College under its Distinguished Speakers Series recently organised a talk on ‘Marketing in a Multicultural Environment – Understanding Asian Consumers’ by Professsor Jikyeong Kang, Professor of Marketing and Director of MBA Programmes of the renowned Manchester Business School, UK.

During the one and a half hour talk held at Sunway University College, she expounded on the different factors involved in multicultural marketing, the impact of different culture on spending habits, current practices and such.

The talk was met with overwhelming response. No doubt due to the topic, which is vital to be understood in Malaysian society yet hardly explored. Even in the United States, the ethnic populations are growing at a higher rate then the general market, making it a group that demands the attention of strategic businesses.

Professor Kang shared that American companies’ depth of understanding toward their multicultural market is still shallow - 55% of them are still executing a ‘trial and error’ strategy with only 10% reporting that they are ‘getting it right’.

Asians can be distinguished from the common market through certain shared values, such as their emphasis on family, education and saving. “When it comes to spending, Asians tend to be collectivistic, which encourages interactions between members of a community,” Professor Kang explained “Hence, the word-of-mouth method of advertising is widespread. Also, shopping becomes as much a leisure activity as to acquiring a product.”

“Cultural knowledge is critical to being authentic,” Prof. Kang continued. She advised that it is imperative that there be a person from the target culture to be on the inside. This is because the consumers will be able to see through it if the company tries to ‘cheat’ in its marketing tactics.

A Korean national, Professor Kang completed her PhD in Retailing and Marketing at the University of Minnesota and worked in the United States for 18 years. She has been attached to MBS since the year 2000. Last year, she was shortlisted for the Public Sector for Asian Women of Achievement Award in the UK.

Manchester Business School, the biggest and third ranking business school in the UK, recently signed an MoA with Sunway University College to offer its MBA programmes locally. The part-time study programme, which has already attracted 19 students since its inaugural intake last July, was designed to fit around busy work schedules allowing ambitious-minded individuals to pursue a highly sought after qualification without any interruptions to their career.

29 September 2006

Sunway University College Students Given Chance to JUMPSTART Their Careers

“I always give 110% in all that I do,” the gorgeous Xandria Ooi, much sought-after host cum columnist, said to students who packed the auditorium at Sunway University College (SyUC). Xandria was presenting in one of a series of talks under JUMPSTART: Career Exploration Event organised by SyUC’s Career Development and Training Unit. The programme, which spanned across two months, is an effort to guide students towards the right career choice even before graduating.

Xandria, an alumna of Sunway University College, returned to the institution five years after leaving it to impart her wisdom on how to carve a successful career in showbiz. She reminisced about the times she was pursuing the Canadian pre-university programme at Sunway and her days as a member of the Student Council then.

“I cannot stress enough the importance of extra-curricular activities,” she said emphatically to the students “This is the time for you all to start honing your management skills through organizing events and activities. I took advantage of that in my year at Sunway.”

Also on-hand to dish out advice to students contemplating the Journalism field was Niki Cheong, an Assistant Editor of The Star and author of the famous Bangsar Boy columns.

Other guest speakers throughout JUMPSTART included Faridah Hameed, Programme Director of Graduan Milenium Series, who spoke on “Where do I go from Here”, Winnie Loo, Founder and Creative Director of A Cut Above Salon, who shared her success story on being an entrepreneur, and Douglas McLean, Managing Director of GE Engine Services who spoke on “Being At the Top Young”.

A Career Test Centre was also set-up where students could sit for the John Holland typology and Myers-Briggs type indicator workshop to better understand their own personality and subsequently choose the careers most suited to them.

In addition, a Work and Travel USA booth was set up for students to explore the possibilities of a working holiday to the United States. The ‘worldly’ experience gained from traveling overseas allows students to stand out in the eyes of potential employers.

Students also benefitted from company visits to Malaysian Airline Systems (MAS) and NatTV7, where they had a glimpse of how organisations function in the ‘real world’.

JUMPSTART wrapped up with the Prominent Business Leaders Seminar, with Tan Sri Dato’ Seri (Dr) Jeffrey Cheah, Founder and Chairman of Sunway Group, who is also the Founder, Chairman and Trustee of SyUC, sharing his experiences with students. His was a truly inspiring story, as he revealed the ups and downs he faced as an entrepreneur, and the triumph of Sunway Group over three recessions. “During tough times, a leader has to be like a swan. Above the surface of the water, you must put on a brave front so that your followers are reassured,” he advised “But below the surface, you have to paddle like crazy to stay afloat.”

The Career Development and Training Unit at Sunway University College was formed with the purpose of grooming Sunway students for the world of work. Its central function consists of a wide range of activities structured to equip students with non-academic yet essential skills while studying at Sunway.

8 September 2006

Sunway University College Celebrates the Nation’s 49th

The crowd that gathered in Sunway Lagoon Theme Park’s Surf Beach on the eve of Merdeka numbered over eight thousand. They were there as part of the Ambang Kemerdekaan Countdown celebration, organised by Sunway University College (SyUC). The institution had been appointed by the Ministry of Education to coordinate this event, marking the nation’s 49th Independence Day.


Other participating institutions were Taylor’s College, Politeknik Shah Alam, UiTM, Metropolitan College and Help University College.

Prior to the event, 30,000 free tickets were distributed to students from various institutions and the community.

The celebration began with performances by the students of Sunway University College and other local institutions of higher learning showing off their talents. Jake of Hitz.FM was the professional and witty emcee and all eyes were focused on the shows.

Sunway students showed a cultural appreciation with their performances of dikir barat and a Chinese peacock dance. A “Symphony of Merdeka” choir made up of Sunway students belted out favourite patriotic songs in their own unique style of arrangement. Students of Taylor’s College shone with their acapella vocals and Bollywood moves, and students of Politeknik Shah Alam wowed the audience with their silat skills.

As the hour of midnight drew near, local vocal group, Siarra, and the suave Ferhad took the stage to the adulation of adoring fans.

When midnight struck, the Guest of Honour, Yang Bahagia Dato' Dr Zulkefli Bin A. Hassan, Secretary General of Ministry of Higher Education, led the other guests and audience in an enthusiastic cheer. The seven cries of ‘Merdeka’ reverberated throughout the town of Bandar Sunway while students holding mini-Malaysia flags waved wildly on the Surf Beach. A brilliant 15-minute display of multi-coloured fireworks was then showcased high above the Theme Park and could be seen for miles around.

The Ambang Kemerdekaan Countdown was the culmination of the numerous activities organised by Sunway University College to commemorate Malaysia’s independence in the month of August. Events that took place on campus included a Merdeka Quiz, patriotic film screenings, and photo exhibitions on past Prime Ministers and National Day. Talks with patriotic themes were also conducted, such as “Nationalism in the Context of Globalisation” by Dr. Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid, Professor of Management, Leadership and Policy Studies at UNITAR, and “Merdeka: What It Means To Me” by Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, Sunway Group’s Corporate Advisor.

20 July 2006

A Wonderful Gift of Books from the Dr Goh Cheng Teik Collection to the THOL at Sunway

Dr Goh Cheng Teik, a long-standing member of the Sunway University College (Sunway) Board, a recognised academician, scholar and a former Deputy Minister in the Tun Hussein and Tun Mahathir administrations made a noble gesture to the Tun Hussien Onn Library (THOL) at Sunway University College just recently.

A total of 2,441 books including some rare books from the time of pre-independent Malaya, from Dr Goh Cheng Teik’s personal collection were presented to the THOL. They are valued at over RM200,000 with titles related to History, Politics, Government, Ethnic Relations, Religion and Economic and Social Development.

This collection of books written by prominent and influential writers, built up in more than four decades and gathered from all corners of the world will make an impressive addition to the existing THOL collection of 130,470 items.

Dr Goh Cheng Teik said “Since I have collected far more books than I am able to read, I should share them with those who have time to do so, particularly students and lecturers. I can still refer to them at this library when necessary”

The hard collection of books, print journals and newspapers is complemented by thousands of electronic and audiovisual materials which include more than 24,000 online e-books, 15,000 electronic journals and 18 online e-databases. The ISO-9001 certified library (since April 2003) serves the students and staff of both Sunway University College and Monash University, Malaysia. The library is well supported by Monash University which provides over 700 e-databases, 100,000 e-books and other e-resources to the Monash Malaysia community.

The total library materials budget over the past eight years amounted to RM22.7 million. The budget for this year is RM4.57 million which is shared in the portions of RM2.059 million for Sunway and RM2.511 million for Monash University, Malaysia.

YBhg Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Jeffrey Cheah, Founder and Chairman of the Sunway Group received the books in a presentation ceremony from Dr Goh Cheng Teik. The ceremony was witnessed by the Guest-of-Honour, YB Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, the Minister of Education, Malaysia.

Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Jeffrey Cheah said “It is increasingly recognised, that an educated person will be someone who has learned how to learn and throughout his or her lifetime, continues to learn. Dr Goh’s special book collection will therefore contribute substantially to this continuous learning process”

Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said “I am quite sure that the books received today would definitely increase Sunway University College’s reputation as an excellent academic institution, with one of the finest private university libraries in this region”

Datuk Seri added “In education institutions, a library plays a vital role in cultivating reading habits among students. Hence having a good variety of books in every field to cater to every student’s need and interest is essential to bolster the Government’s efforts to make Malaysians a reading community. With that, I encourage all of you to read at least one book a month as books are life-long resources for the human race.”

14 July 2006

Palm Diesel – Red Is The New Black

Cries of despair rang throughout the nation last February when the 30 sen increase of petrol price was announced. The inevitable skyrocketing cost of the crude oil makes its moniker ‘black gold’ sadly apt.

Consequently, prices of other products and services have and will continue to increase. It is critical, therefore, to seek other fuel alternatives before the average citizen gets overburdened with the cost of daily living.

The saviour in this crisis could be none other than palm diesel. As Tan Sri Datuk Dr. Augustine Ong pointed out during his talk on “Making Biofuel From Palm Oil” recently, palm oil production in Malaysia has increased to over 15 million tonnes a year. Not only is our country rich in this renewable resource, palm diesel is much kinder to the environment compared to ‘normal’ diesel.

With more than 45 years of R&D experience and 14 patents in the technology of palm oil under his belt, Professor Augustine is the foremost expert in this area. He drew the 330 strong audience into the subject matter, sharing his knowledge with obvious passion that transmitted to the listeners. The motley crowd of plantation owners, finance professionals, business consultants, researchers, engineers, undergraduates, retirees and many more filled the auditorium at Sunway University College (SyUC).

Various methods of converting crude palm oil (CPO) into palm diesel were discussed and the issues, challenges and opportunities surrounding it were well elaborated during the talk. The conversion process produces not just palm diesel, but can also co-produce glycerin and a range of phytonutrients, the former is an industrial chemical and the latter are food supplements.

The reason behind slow crystallization of palm oil has yet to be deciphered. “If we can accelerate that part of the conversion process, we can increase the production rate of palm diesel,” Professor Augustine said. This would also address the problem of producing sufficient amounts to substitute diesel.

A banker from the audience queried why more plantation groups are not investing in the R&D of biofuel production despite its promising possibility. “I would not know the answer to that, but they do,” Tan Sri Augustine replied, gesturing to the audience where plantation group owners, directors and managers formed the majority. If they had not previously considered investing in biofuel research, they certainly would after the evening with Tan Sri Augustine. Malaysia could very well be one of the leading producers of ‘red gold’ in the future.

When asked what other achievements he would like to see in the palm oil industry, Tan Sri Augustine revealed his wish to unravel the ‘mystery’ surrounding saturated fats. Previous researches have discovered that saturated fats are ‘bad’, but recent findings prove the opposite. He questioned how these valid researches could produce two totally contradicting results. “Studies in the past was made on animal fats, but saturated fats in palm oil is different,” he stressed.

The talk was part of the Sunway University College Distinguished Speakers’ Series and is a feature in the SyUC Bachelor of Business Management programme. The University regularly invites the public to attend these talks free of charge.

7 July 2006

Sifting Through Our Schools for an Outstanding Literary Talent

Sunway University College (SyUC) in collaboration with the Oxford and Cambridge Society of Malaysia once again hosted the annual Oxbridge Essay Writing competition held recently. Fifty-seven (57) 4th and 5th form students from 22 schools around the peninsular from the Klang Valley, Seremban, Melaka and Ipoh took part in the competition.

Ms Elizabeth Lee, Executive Director of Sunway University College, Cambridge graduate and President of the Oxford & Cambridge Society of Malaysia said “We are proud and honoured to work hand-in-hand with the Oxford and Cambridge Society of Malaysia in a quest to raise the standard on the usage and mastery of the English language in Malaysia”

Competitors were given an hour to compose an essay of a thousand words on a topic selected from a list of 5 questions on current issues. The winner was Varsha a/p Sivalingam from SMK Puteri, Seremban. Her essay responded to the question “In our determination to be ahead of the others we have abandoned humanity, ethics and decency. How far do you think this is evident in our society”

The Oxbridge judges were clearly impressed by the standard of the competition. The panel was made up of Dr Chua Hui Yen, Mr John Nicholson, Ms Sharon Saw and Ms Sue Wong from the Oxford and Cambridge Society of Malaysia.

The winning school bagged RM300, a trophy each for both the individual winner and the school and a certificate of commendation from the Oxford & Cambridge Society of Malaysia for the winner.

The competition was also made into an Oxbridge English Language Event that included workshops conducted by a panel of distinguished speakers who are graduates and members of the Oxford & Cambridge Society of Malaysia. The workshops were: - “Effective Writing Skills” by Mr. Mark Disney and Dato’ Dr M. Shanmughalingan and “Effective Oral Communication Skills” by Mr. Walter Jones and Prof Dr Noraini Tamin.

“Time and again it has been said that the strength and advancement of a nation depends on its people. Indeed this is why; we are pleased to be part of this public service endeavour at Sunway” added Elizabeth Lee.

21 June 2006

“Powered Tuff” Girls at Motivational Camp

Since earning suffrage rights in the US during the late 18th century, the pressure for women to prove themselves in this male-dominated world remains an eternal issue. Sunway University College (SyUC), in collaboration with Seventeen Magazine Malaysia, organised a one-stop event to mentor young ladies on the challenging journey to empowered womanhood through a “Girl Power Camp” held at SyUC recently.

When secondary schools around Malaysia were invited to participate, 280 students signed up for this two-day, one-night, full board camp. The young campers aged mostly between 16 and 17 years, benefited at the start when trainers from Kanebo International gave grooming lessons, including make-up tips that are necessary to help young ladies feel more confident. More importantly, the trainers encouraged them to appreciate their own inner beauty rather than their physical appearances.

Ms Evon Ho, Legal Affairs Manager of Sunway Medical Centre gave the teen ladies a vital education on ‘Sexual Harassment’, a topic that, in Malaysian society, is still shrouded in mystery. The participants learned how to recognize sexual harassment behaviours and how they should react when faced with such situations.

Other workshops held covered topics on image and impression management, nutrition, financial planning, self-defense and personal safety awareness.

Lecturers from SyUC, Dr Marie-Aimee Tourres, Puan Annyza Tumar and Ms A. Alagarani, engaged the participants in a heart-to-heart discussion during the ‘Pillow Talk’ session. In response to honest questions from the young campers, they provided valuable advice and guidance on relationships, personal motivation and leadership.

One of the highlights for the campers was when they were asked to form fictitious companies that dealt with a product, service or idea. The teams were encouraged to rely on the talent and strength of each member to make a presentation on how to increase revenue for the companies, hence bringing out and complementing the potential in each other.

“Women can be so powerful when they show solidarity and make use of the resources available to them,” said Ms Elizabeth Lee, Executive Director of SyUC. “Thus ‘Girl Power’ is a wake-up call to our schools, sports teams, camps, organizations, the job market and the media to nurture and encourage women’s issues in positive and exciting ways.”

“I certainly hope that this camp has helped our teenaged ladies realize their potential to make the right choices and to believe in themselves,” added Ms Lee.

12 June 2006

An Evening with The Contract Law Expert

Sunway University College (SyUC) was proud to host Professor Michael Furmston, Emeritus Professor and Senior Research Fellow from the University of Bristol in yet another captivating talk under its Distinguished Speakers’ Series.

The largest auditorium in SyUC was filled to capacity on the evening of May 10th, with the audience ranging from students to working adults from various professions. The overwhelming response was not only due to Professor Furmston being a world-renowned expert on Contract Law, but the topic “Contract Planning and Remedies for Breach of Contract”, was suitable for many if not everyone. As the speaker pointed out, even reserving a hotel room is a type of contract.

When a client approaches a lawyer to draw up a contract, it is the duty of the lawyer to protect the client. In the event of the contract being breached, there must be remedies in place that ‘take care of’ the client. Some of the standard remedies that Professor Furmston expanded on were to calculate the damages and compensate the aggrieved party, to collect a deposit before rendering any service or product and to increase the circumstances by which the contract can be terminated.

Points were succinctly illustrated with real-life cases that Professor Furmston had come across in the course of his career, from property to ship building and to his own particular area of interest, the construction industry. It was an opportune occasion, because many of those present at the talk were interested in or from the construction line. Queries pertaining to contracts in that industry were brought up by the audience including questions on what action can be taken should clients delay payment to contractors and when contractors themselves hold back payment to sub-contractors.

In the midst of the Q&A session, Professor Furmston shared, “Lawyers always say – because it’s true – that it all depends on all circumstances.” His sense of humour in this comment drew laughter from the crowd.

Apart from lecturing at the University of Bristol, Professor Furmston has an extensive list of credentials. Amongst them, a double First Class from Oxford University, First Class in the Bar Exams, and consequently awarded a Certificate of Honour by the University. Educational institutions like the University of Birmingham, Queens University of Belfast and Oxford University have had the honour of having him on their academic staff list. He has also served in various legal bodies all over the world. At last count, there were 322 publications, including books, journal articles, papers and such that were authored by Professor Furmston. He is a Bencher of Gray's Inn and serves on consultancies of many major corporations.

1 June 2006

Harvard Scholars at Sunway Lead Lively Discourses

There was a buzz of excitement at Sunway University College (Sunway) when three eminent academics from the Harvard Business School (HBS), delivered lectures here during the month of May under the Sunway Distinguished Speakers’ series. This community effort by the institution on a regular basis aims to enhance learning among students and the general public.

A lecture which attracted the highest number of attendees was “Why Skill to Negotiate is So Important to Business” by Professor James K. Sebenius, a Gordon Donaldson Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. He took the lead at the Harvard Business School to make Negotiation a required course of the MBA programme and currently serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Program on Negotiation at the Harvard Law School.

Prof Sebenius based his lecture on 3D-negotiations. “Sometimes there is a refusal to bargain in good faith at the table and tactics (one of the dimensions) would have to move beyond the negotiating table,” he said.

One of the case studies he gave underlined the importance of negotiations to avert the disastrous effects on business and the industry. In the Shippers versus the Longshoremen (port workers) a massive slowdown by the port workers after the CEO announced technology improvements led to interesting away-from-the-table tactics in the negotiations. Eventually a deal was reached which was mutually beneficial and Prof Sebenius showed the importance of considering a creative approach in deal making and giving each side what it values most.

Other speakers from the Harvard Business School who were at Sunway were Professor Nabil El-Hage, Professor of Management Practice, who spoke on “What We Teach You at the Harvard School of Business” and Dr Michael J. Roberts, the Executive Director of the Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, who gave a valuable lecture on “What is Required of an Entrepreneur”.

These lectures led to a lively discourse among interested members of the audience and an exchange of ideas which are especially useful for those interested in business and the case studies of the corporate sector.

Other luminary speakers in the past have included Dr Daniel L Axelrod of the Adizes Institute, Professor Lim Chong Yah and Associate Professor Joseph Wan Chew Yoong from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and Emeritus Professor Edwin Thumboo of the National University of Singapore. All lectures are free and open to all members of public.

Dr Goh Cheng Teik, the coordinator of the Distinguished Speakers’ programme and member of the Board of Directors, Sunway said “Events like this are both lively and invigorating and has validated Sunway University College as a centre for spawning intellectual advancement and open learning”.

The programme is a recent innovation but international scholars have been invited here to speak at Sunway since 1997. “Over the years, the broadening of subject matter of the lecture series has evolved to meet public interest and we are committed to this undertaking which best prepares our students as effective professionals when they enter the working world” said Elizabeth Lee, Executive Director, Sunway. “It is also in line with the lifelong learning that the Government is encouraging” she added.

27 March 2006

Students of the Sunway University College (Sunway) School of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Management (SHTLM) jointly collaborated with students from A Cut Above Academy, to present a musical cum hair show extravaganza - “Greasy” at Sunway University College on 11 March. This was the first time the two institutions paired up and successfully pulled off a show that was an exuberant interpretation of the well-loved musical “Grease” featuring popular songs with a 50’s mood.

The Musical & Hair Show was in conjunction with A Cut Above Academy’s graduation of its 2005 class of students. A Cut Above Academy and their associates teamed up with first year students from the Diploma in Conventions & Events Management of SHLTM, Sunway University College, who got their golden chance to orchestrate and participate in a real large-scale event which met their course requirements. The Conventions and Events Management students rose to the occasion with their creativity and ingenuity from concept to the realization of the event in terms of logo, invitations and programme designs to securing sponsorship and organising auditions for talents.

Eleven (11) professional models wore zany hairdos created by the 11 graduands of the A Cut Above Academy. About 60 talents which included 46 students from the SHTLM and Sunway gave a splendid performance of song and dance to numbers such as “Greased Lightning” and “Hopelessly Devoted to You” which depicted the carefree and fun-loving spirit of college students in that evergreen musical that appeared in 1978.

Students from the Hotel Industry Apprenticeship Scheme (HIAS) programme and students majoring in hospitality taking the Restaurant Business Operations module from SHTLM, designed the cocktail reception menu, created and prepared the delectable finger food for the event. This provided the opportunity for students to learn how to integrate with others and work as a team for the eventual success of an event.

Sunway University College is the first institution of higher learning in Malaysia to offer a full-time Diploma in Conventions & Events Management programme. This programme started last year, has created interest among students and prospective employers. The enrolment numbers have been encouraging which reflects a demand for such a course.

The SHTLM will be embarking on its own bachelor (with honours) degrees in International Hospitality Management, International Tourism Management, Retail Marketing Management and Conventions and Events Management, which will be offered later this year.

In his speech during the ceremony, Professor Jarlath Ronayne, Director of Sunway University College, said “The collaborations among professionals in various areas of expertise are essentially what working life will be about in the real world. I need hardly stress that the experience of working as a team, to challenge and inspire each other to the highest limits of creativeness and to pull together an entertaining show is to say the least, invaluable”

Sponsors included Schwarzkopf Professional Malaysia, The Body Shop, Focus Point Vision Care Group Sdn Bhd, A.W. Faber-Castell (M) Sdn Bhd, Nestle Products Sdn Bhd, Sunway Lagoon Theme Park, Sunway Lagoon Resort Hotel, Hyper Elevation Media Sdn Bhd, and the following F & B establishments:-

Manhattan Fish Market Restaurant Sdn Bhd, Chili’s Grill & Bar, Restaurant Marche, The Chicken Rice Shop, Swensen’s (M) Sdn Bhd, San Francisco Coffee Sdn Bhd, Café Flam and Burger King.

The show was choreographed by Raymond of the Zon Performing Group.

23 March 2006

Sunway Entertained and Sparked Interest in Shakespeare

On February 23, 24 and 25, Sunway University College Diploma in Performance+Media students put their own stamp on a compendium of selected Shakespearean plays in SyUC’s very own “Cupid Kills”. Some of the most memorable and passionate scenes from 9 plays of comedy and tragedy came alive in a very modern interpretation of the classic themes of love and death as plied by Shakespeare.

The production was directed by Rey Buono, Head of the Department of Performance+Media and was part of the students’ theatre practicum, which is a requirement of the course. The entire student population of the Department had acting roles while the more advanced students were solely responsible for the production: stage management, lights, sound, costumes, set, publicity and ticket sales.

Rey Buono shared “Shakespeare was, after all, a man of the commercial theatre, interested above all in entertaining audiences. This production aims to bring his characters into the present, without sacrificing the power and scope of his language”. “If Shakespeare was alive today, he would probably be writing for the screen, not the stage. In directing this production, I have tried to frame the scenes in the context of various movie genres – Bollywood, gothic horror, romantic comedy. The student actors are working in different styles,” added Rey.

The interesting staging is evident in the set which worked as the different levels of stacked blocks effectively separated the various scenes. The close proximity of the audience to the stage and the different levels of the stage were effective in adding variety and intimacy to the “action”. The simplicity of the props and the contemporary costumes highlighted the talent and exuberance of the actors during their performances.

“Cupid Kills” seems to have all the ingredients to entertain. Truthfulness prevailed during some heart to heart dialogues while “playing hard to get” was acted out with measured timing that when couples got together, there were feelings of relief among the audience. Senseless acts of jealousy and rage elicited annoyance while the audience held their breath in anticipation of being told of some news. This provided the roller coaster of emotions to satisfy any die-hard Shakespeare fan.

Polished showmanship was evident in many scenes. Among the young actors with much potential who made an impact with the audience was Amelia Chen who played Beatrice in “Much Ado About Nothing”. Amelia conveyed her anger and attraction for Benedick with great panache. Sharifah Sofia who has played in commercial television and is well-known locally for her part in the TV series “Spanar Jaya”, took the role of alluring Juliet in “Romeo & Juliet”. Sharifah was a treat to watch as was Nurul Ain Mohd Jamlus as Helena in “Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

Elza Irdalynna, who is an Astro Shaw scholar, played a complex cross-gender role of Viola/‘Cesario’ in “Tweflth Night”, successfully managed to enact a true comedy of confusion. Her co-actor, Tengku Amalia Zahirah played the intoxicated Olivia with great effect and style.

There were some 14 scenes in all and students had six and a half weeks of grueling preparation that seems to have paid off. This was no ordinary Shakespearean play but an upbeat fresh take with zany costumes and setting. “The Taming of the Shrew” had a Bollywood inspiration, “Hamlet” was dark tragedy and “Othello” was given the gothic horror treatment. The surprise twist at the end gave new meaning to the whole play. There were great movement and dancing to snazzy Cupid-themed songs which gave a rousing finale to the whole production.

Shakespearean plays seem to have a strong pull factor as a number of secondary schools sent their English Literature students to watch and enjoy “Cupid Kills”. Groups of 10 or more students from schools were accorded free entry.

“We hope that the ‘Cupid Kills’ experience will dispel any fear in students for the literary giant Shakespeare’s works and to teach teamwork and responsibility,” explained Rey Buono.

The Diploma in Performance+Media is a 2.5-year programme where talented young men and women are given technical training and tutelage in the art of acting, directing and play/screen writing. Upon completion of the diploma, graduates may enter into the fields of television, film, media and theatre or continue without too much difficulty in pursuit of a degree. The programme is in its second year with three successful intakes and the next intake will be in August this year.

2 January 2006

Mission of Compassion for quake victims

The students and staff of the American Degree Transfer Program (ADTP) of Sunway University College (SyUC) were so moved by the plight of the victims of the recent earthquake – hit Pakistan that they decided to put their compassion to use to raise a sum of RM6,058.30 to help in this cause.

This fine collective effort was born out of the need of the students and staff to consolidate their sympathies into action and to create something concrete which will make a difference. These funds will be channeled through the worldwide efforts of humanitarian organization, Mercy Malaysia, to ensure that the victims continue to be saved and protected against the onslaught of extreme winter conditions.

During the week of November 10 to 16, the student council and several volunteers of the program collected donations from staff and students of Sunway University College and Monash University. SyUC as an institution also joined in the efforts by making a contribution towards this worthy cause.

These acts were complemented by the sale of food, compact discs and books. Delicious homemade food items such as pastas and cakes, were the results of the generous efforts of individuals from faculty members, students and their parents, and are certainly appreciated. “Candygrams” and book marks were also on sale.

The students and staff of ADTP feel rewarded in being given the opportunity to pitch their efforts to assist the earthquake victims. The experience has enriched the students and made them more aware of the importance in having a social responsibility to help in any capacity, communities of the world, who are in more dire circumstances than them.