For our last article of 2018, ECHO has decided at the suggestion of one of our writers, Natasha, to compile a series of passages from our members. The prompt: what was a significant memory from your 2018?
I think the best thing that’s happened to me is probably how I wrote a book of poems – mostly prose and micro-poetry, but some basic poems too. It’s a collection of 200 pieces, revolving around topics of love, sadness, happiness, and other things in general. “Little Thoughts” is kind of the representation of a new style of poetry I’ve gotten interested in, and it shows how much my writing has evolved in the course of these 3 years.
Another thing that happened very recently was how I met Steven Lim from Buzzfeed’s Worth It. It was an insane celebrity encounter that took place in 1Utama, and I was pretty much freaking out the entire time with my friend. He was incredibly nice and chill, but I was a little sad that no one recognised him except me and my friends.
~ Natasha E., Creative Writing Dept.
Honestly, the most significant event that happened was me passing my final attempt for an exam. I was close to failing the entire course due to being unable to pass a particular exam on 2 tries despite good coursework results. I was certain that as this was my last chance, that my fate in this course hung in the balance. Fortunately, I managed to pass and as such, I was out of the red. Perseverance and dedication will ultimately lead to success, despite sometimes having to endure failure (sometimes more than a few times).
~ Anonymous, Videography & Vlog Dept.
8 things I learnt in 2018:
- Trust yourself. Always listen to your heart and be more self-aware.
- Be grateful.
- Everything happens for a reason. Instead of asking ‘why did this happen to me?’, change that to ‘what is this trying to teach me?’.
- Do no harm and take no shit.
- Success requires hard work.
- Being complacent with your situation or surroundings will not help you grow.
- Love will lead you back.
- Coffee is the best drink in the world. And it has zero calories.
~ Kiara, President of ECHO.
The most interesting thing that happened in 2018 was the I-Care Run held by AUSMAT on the 12th of May. It was my first ever running event and yet the most memorable as there were friends supporting me and being by my side along the way. Besides that, I was able to donate and run for a cause by supporting a charity society (PAWS). The experience was phenomenal and unforgettable. I appreciated every step and moment on that day and it’s one of my 2018 highlights.
~ Bryson C.Y, Event Write-Up Dept.
I’ve always been a good kid. Not as good as some kids, maybe – but I keep my head down, I don’t abuse substances, I smile at people, and I get good grades (most of the time). This year took a bit of a different turn for me. It started when I was given two opportunities to perform in front of some decently sized crowds, and although I would rather forget those performances, the adventures leading up to them made them almost worth it.
I became really tight with my duet partner, and through him I met a lot of crazy, talented, colourful souls. While practicing for our performances, we went for midnight escapades into the city, we sang through the night and watched the shy colours of dawn appear on apartment balconies, we went for underground events held in shady places and well – we abused substances (sensibly).
But the thing about adventures is, every emotion is heightened – even the negative ones. So there’s the music, the dancing, the getting drunk off proximity, the rush of vulnerability, the cautious hope of genuine connection, then. There’s the heartache, the (needless) drama, the smell of tobacco and the grease in your hair when you wake up past noon, then. Then one day, it stops.
After the initial withdrawal symptoms, I learned to appreciate stability in ways I never did before. Still, it was nice to dip my toes into a world that was never mine to keep.
~ Samantha C, Vice President of ECHO.
Unknowingly, 2018 has been a good year for me. By nature, I’m a very people-oriented person (but it’s come with the frequent price of disappointment). Ironically, in 2018, I became more productive and my studies got better. I shared both my pain and success with the same person, that’s made me see what life truly is, but I also know that a stronger force is slowly answering my prayer, God. Through the most comprehensive relationship I’ve had, I grew even closer to my mother and I’ve completely stopped lying to her.
I believe a healthy relationship should not separate you from your family or personal notions. I had to sacrifice a relationship that was so divine to see myself close to glory.
~ Anonymous, Event Write-Up Dept.
In preparation for MUFY’s Sharity Carnival, I stayed back at school late into the night for the first time to set up the Haunted House. I put up black cloth to create boundaries and tied the tables together – tedious and time-consuming work due to the large space. The next morning during the Sharity Carnival itself, I went to the venue before it opened. The actors were donning their costumes and putting on makeup, getting into their roles; I chipped in to set up the last prop – the graves – and hang up fake limbs. We opened later than intended but it was a huge hit. A great experience, and fun, too.
Being part of this project made me realise I like conceiving ideas with a group, setting up a project and seeing it through. I would like the corporate world, I think, where I could be responsible for a project and its success. This time, I was not the leader, just a follower. I think my team leader did a great job though.
~ Anonymous, Creative Writing Dept.
It felt like I was living 2 separate lives in 2018, transitioning from pre-u in Heriot-Watt University to my undergraduate degree here in Sunway. Imagine having climbed to the peak of a hill only to find more steps ahead; that’s how I initially felt when I first began my journey here. It was daunting, to say the least, especially since I decided to enrol here only 2 days before orientation. Having grown up on Penang Island, I was always used to the tranquillity back home, and the essence of that serenity was preserved during my days in Putrajaya because – well, it’s a dead area to say the least.
When I entered Sunway, I had my first culture shock. Everything moved so quickly, people were so prompt – the clocks ticked faster, the days were shorter – is this the big city life people talked about? I struggled to keep up with the pace of life, I questioned myself and my ability every day. My mental health quickly deteriorated and I fell into a dark place. I used to be a very happy person – bubbly, upbeat, social – someone who took every opportunity that came her way. It reached such a terrible point that I was even breaking down in public, becoming numb to the people around me. I was just living in my own bubble of fear and sadness.
As the semester progressed, I realised that I was the root cause of my unhappiness, and I joined clubs that I thought (and still hope) will help me adapt to the lifestyle here. It’s not easy, but as time passed by and with the help of understanding friends, life improved. Can I say I’m as happy as I was before my mental health issues? Most definitely not – but I can proudly say that I am improving and growing and learning. Ultimately, I am now a person with more empathy and who is hopefully increasingly resilient towards any obstacle. This is just the beginning, and as beautifully worded by Jeanne Stein, “life may not be the party we hoped for… but while we’re here we may as well dance.” Now, I’ve put on my dancing shoes; it’s time for me to get on the dance floor when I enter the next semester.
~ Anonymous, Event Write-Up Dept.
It was an ordinary day when I saw an insta story saying he was in Malaysia. With a swift movement of my fingers I realised I was already typing “Are you in Malaysia? Want to see you badly!” On October 7th I received a reply from him that said he was leaving that night. I screamed out loud to everyone in the room and asked him “Will I be able to see you anywhere tonight?”, to which he replied asking me to come to Sunway Resort Hotel so we could meet.
I met the actor! The celebrity from India who gave me a personal appointment! We hugged, laughed and spoke about his upcoming movies and it couldn’t have been better. He was humble and sweet – at 41 he was more than just handsome. We agreed to be friends – every reply of his to my messages since then fills my stomach with butterflies! I was so lucky to have met a celebrity so spontaneously.
~ Mugi, Creative Writing Dept.
I thought I’d seen enough of this world with my tiny little eyes, just fresh out of high school. I thought I knew enough. This year, after having the privilege to travel to two countries of vastly different cultures, I realised that what I’d arrogantly assumed was false. Going to both Hong Kong and New Zealand opened my mind to how much more I needed and wanted to learn, of how much more of the world there is to discover – and that’s precisely what I intend to do.
~ Li Wei ?, Creative Writing Dept.
2018 was painfully bittersweet. This year in particular was a very important year: the very last chance I had to make everything count before I applied for scholarships, loans and grants for university. I kicked off the year with a published, award-winning essay in The Star and 3,000 views on my Echo article. On top of that, I was both the creative director for Echo Media and communications coordinator for the MUFY council. I was confident, extracurricular wise, but even more so academically. I had high expectations for myself and trust me when I say that I was extremely goal-oriented; so much so that I lacked time for myself and for the people I care about.
It finally dawned upon me how merciless time can be when I lost my grandfather earlier this year. Even though I was doing great in school, nothing seemingly mattered because the person I was doing all that for was no longer here to see it. 2018 was also a year I had doubts about myself; whether everything I did was sufficient, whether everything that I yearned and lived for was worthwhile, whether I’ve become the terrible person people claimed I was. But graduation distanced me from all the nasty whispers in my head. It gave me space and time to think about the one thing that should matter most – not the scholarships, not the specs, not the achievements, not the gossip, but my own wellbeing.
Moving forward to 2019, I can’t say that I won’t revert back to my old workaholic and overthinking ways, but I do hope that I’ll learn to love myself, as well as be more empathetic and loving towards the people around me in a world where empathy and love is such a rarity. To conclude, 2018, like any other year, was filled with regrets, but leaving it in the past as it should be, is something that I won’t regret. With the handful of great memories it has given me, I think I’m finally ready to say: “Goodbye, 2018”.
~ Jia Ying, ex-Director of Creative Writing.
It’s funny, 2018 has been such a fulfilling and amazing journey to me, but now that I’m told to write about a single significant event, my mind draws a blank. The truth is, nothing unique happened to me this year. Just a series of common milestones that wouldn’t really be interesting to hear listed out. I fell in love, I graduated my foundation program and started ACCA, I made amazing friends, travelled, ate, learned – you get the picture.
I mean, if I’m being totally honest here, most of my favorite moments took place in movie theatres or a couple hours after watching movies like Infinity War or Mission Impossible when I got to write my reviews. I guess you could say the most significant parts of 2018 for me were the parts where I got to indulge in my hobby (or obsession): movie critiquing.
~ Fajar, Director of Event Write-Up, Asst. Director of Creative Writing.
I was able to make an appreciation video for my favourite teacher this semester. My friends and I planned for weeks on end to surprise her on her birthday. Fortunately, everything worked out perfectly in the end! The teacher and our class really enjoyed the video and found it funny and heartwarming. Overall, it was a really heartfelt moment in my year.
~ Anonymous, Videography & Vlog Dept.
2018 has been a life-changing year for me. This is the year I first moved away from home to study in Malaysia. I had to learn how to be independent: doing laundry, budgeting, taking care of myself when sick and dealing with homesickness. I used to yearn for freedom away from my family, until I realised how much I actually need them whenever I’m faced with difficulties like laundry problems (which has happened more than once, and I had to call my mom every time!) There was a period of time when I was demotivated to do anything and just wanted to go back home, but I thankfully survived the semester by… occupying myself as much as possible studying (trying to study) and actually trying to make friends despite being an introvert. Yay, I think I’m almost reaching the adulthood phase! (Just kidding, I’m still a kid inside.)
~ Amal, Event Write-Up Dept.
In a turn of events, I’m studying MUFY in Sunway. I’ve discovered that things that could’ve been are not the reality. I could’ve been receiving my UEC (a Pre-U equivalent syllabus) results and applying to a Bachelor’s programme right now. Or, I might have gotten crappy results and failed to qualify for the universities I aspire to attend. Truth is, I’m enjoying my MUFY semester break at home. We like to find all kinds of excuses to do or not do things, to make ourselves feel better about the present situation. Maybe what we currently have is not bad after all. Maybe we should just take that step, try something new. Perhaps the long forgotten “New Year’s Resolution” can be accomplished some day.
~ Jessie, Event Write-Up Dept.
2018 has been strange and wonderful – living alone in a big city, meeting new, strange people, trying to convince my flatmates not to trash the place – but that’s every college experience, I suppose. Honestly, joining Echo and working as the Head of Creative Writing has been one of the highlights. You guys really shape the voice of this publication, and I’m proud to continue working with you all.
Thanks to Alex(andra), for your enthusiasm and for always, always submitting articles early (a rare specimen), to Alex(ander) for your quirky arsenal of ideas that never runs empty, to Gregory for your wry humour and acerbic wit. Thanks to Li Wei for always being the first to volunteer, Jack’s calm expertise, Mugilaa for always agreeing to every idea. Thanks to Natasha, who always has a kind word for anyone and everyone, Trisha’s cheerful can-do, and Rachel, although new, for being a strangely wonderful writer. Thanks to Sam! You’re beautifully funny and the most eloquent writer I know.
Thanks especially to Fajar – for always entertaining my rants about bad writing, for constantly innovating new ideas to drive this newspaper, and for your tireless enthusiasm. And to Jia Ying – you saw something in me that I didn’t, and your excitement drives mine. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, guys.
~ Ze-Wen, Director of Creative Writing.