Workshop for Teens on Anger, Bullying and Suicide at SMK Air Itam

Story by Jasniza Johari, Ooi Jiunn Wei and Wong Yee Lean. Photos courtesy of Ms Foo Pei Lynn.

In today’s society, it is extremely vital to possess awareness on issues often related to adolescents and teenagers such as bullying and suicide. DISTED’s Bachelor of Psychology (Hons) programme students were fortunate to be able to volunteer in a half-day workshop on anger, bullying and suicide for teenagers held at SMK Air Itam on the 10th of May 2014. The workshop was jointly organised by several NGOs under the Mental Health Coalition of Penang (MHCP) and led by facilitators Miss Margarita Malayapillay of the Penang Association of Counselling and Psychology (PACP), Miss Seow Hooi Cheng of the Centre for Creative Arts Therapy (CCAT) as well as Clinical Psychologist and DISTED School of Psychology Programme Coordinator Miss Foo Pei Lynn. Several alumni from the School of Psychology were also present to volunteer at the workshop.

The workshop aimed at providing awareness to students, with particular emphasis on the three main issues: anger, suicide and bullying. The workshop gave students, who were mainly 13 – 17 year olds, a better understanding on what these issues were, recognising occurrences of these issues as well as how to manage them. The workshop started off with a Laughter Yoga session, conducted by Miss Sukhveer Kaur. Volunteers from the School of Psychology then helped facilitate several activities with the students who were divided into three groups. In the workshop, students were encouraged to generate their own ideas on what each issue meant to them with the aid of materials and activities. “It’s a rather different approach to awareness than just spoon-feeding students with information. It’s definitely more interactive this way,” said Ooi Jiunn Wei, a second-year student, of the workshop.

In the ‘Bullying’ group, students were given an insight on how bullying surfaces in different forms such as physical bullying and cyber-bullying. Facilitators aided the students by staging a skit, and subsequently prompted the students to generate situational examples of bullying through drawings. The group, led by Miss Margarita, then encouraged students to explore feelings of those involved in the act of bullying and what they may do about it. Psychology student and volunteer Winnie Wong commented, “Students were encouraged to understand the feelings of the bully, the victim and the bystander, such as fear and anger. From there, we tried to get the students to think of ways to deal with situations of bullying. At the end of the session, we got the students to come up in front and tell the ‘bully’ that bullying is wrong through our interactive mini-play.”

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Miss Margarita Malayapillay (left) facilitating SMK Air Itam students in the ‘Bullying’ group, aided by second-year Psychology student Winnie Wong Yee Lean.
Miss Margarita Malayapillay (left) facilitating SMK Air Itam students in the ‘Bullying’ group, aided by second-year Psychology student Winnie Wong Yee Lean.

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DISTED Psychology Programme Coordinator and lecturer Miss Foo Pei Lynn (centre) and volunteers engaging with the students in their session. The volunteers are: DISTED Psychology students Yee Sue Yi, Ooi Giap Sim, Ooi Jiunn Wei; DISTED Psychology alumna Khor Yih Ying and PACP member Andrew Koay.
DISTED Psychology Programme Coordinator and lecturer Miss Foo Pei Lynn (centre) and volunteers engaging with the students in their session. The volunteers are: DISTED Psychology students Yee Sue Yi, Ooi Giap Sim, Ooi Jiunn Wei; DISTED Psychology alumna Khor Yih Ying and PACP member Andrew Koay.

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The ‘Suicide’ group, led by Miss Foo Pei Lynn, also engaged with the school students in a similar fashion. In smaller groups, they were asked to identify several possible causes of suicide amongst teenagers and adolescents through drawings and words. The facilitators and volunteers then encouraged discussion on detecting suicidal tendencies in young people. This followed with a briefing by Miss Foo Pei Lynn on how to cope with thoughts of suicide and how to help others who display suicidal behaviour. Second-year student Yee Sue Yi commented, “It was very knowledgeable, not only for the students but for us facilitators as well. It’s important to always refer to a mental health professional for help when it comes to issues such as suicide.”

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DISTED Psychology first-years (from left) Wang Shaven, Loo Ee Lynn and alumna Lee Phei Wei encouraging SMK Air Itam students to creatively express their meaning of anger through illustrations and words.
DISTED Psychology first-years (from left) Wang Shaven, Loo Ee Lynn and alumna Lee Phei Wei encouraging SMK Air Itam students to creatively express their meaning of anger through illustrations and words.

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DISTED Psychology student volunteers pose for a photo with the facilitators of the workshop: Miss Margarita Malayapillay of the PACP (standing, fifth from left), Miss Seow Hooi Cheng of the CCAT (standing, second from right), and Clinical Psychologist and Programme Coordinator of the DISTED School of Psychology, Miss Foo Pei Lynn (first row, second from left). Also in the photo are Laughter Yoga facilitator, Miss Sukhveer Kaur (standing, middle), and the staff of SMK Air Itam including Miss Choo Poh Lean, Penolong Kanan Hal-Ehwal Murid (standing, sixth from right), Miss Khor Aik Siew, Ketua Bimbingan dan Kaunseling (standing, sixth from left), and Miss Teh Ah See, Guru Kanan Kemanusiaan (standing, first from right).
DISTED Psychology student volunteers pose for a photo with the facilitators of the workshop: Miss Margarita Malayapillay of the PACP (standing, fifth from left), Miss Seow Hooi Cheng of the CCAT (standing, second from right), and Clinical Psychologist and Programme Coordinator of the DISTED School of Psychology, Miss Foo Pei Lynn (first row, second from left). Also in the photo are Laughter Yoga facilitator, Miss Sukhveer Kaur (standing, middle), and the staff of SMK Air Itam including Miss Choo Poh Lean, Penolong Kanan Hal-Ehwal Murid (standing, sixth from right), Miss Khor Aik Siew, Ketua Bimbingan dan Kaunseling (standing, sixth from left), and Miss Teh Ah See, Guru Kanan Kemanusiaan (standing, first from right).

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A similar hands-on approach was used in the ‘Anger’ group led by Miss Cheng. The first part of the session required the students to perform a physical activity to represent feelings of tension. Then, the students were encouraged to write or illustrate their own examples of situations involving anger in a comic-like sequence. The students were also given materials such as newspapers and balloons and were asked to create a single object to represent anger. At the end of the session, the facilitator and volunteers encouraged the students to come out and act out situations that led to anger as well as the emotions experienced after the release of anger. “I felt that the message that we were trying to send out was meaningful,” said first-year student volunteer Wang Shaven. “Anger is a natural emotion that we feel at times, but the key here is to be able to control it. Miss Cheng used an analogy to explain how anger may damage us if not released or controlled – if you blow too much air into a balloon, it will definitely explode!”

The volunteers had a very enriching and informative workshop with the facilitators as well as the students of SMK Air Itam. “It’s great to have exposure like this, especially being in the field of Psychology. It’s also a new experience for most of us to interact with adolescents and teenagers,” commented Lee Phei Wei, DISTED School of Psychology alumna and current third-year student at HELP University in Kuala Lumpur. Second-year student Jasniza Johari also mentioned, “It’s great that the MHCP initiated this workshop for teenagers. It’s much needed in times like these where cases of bullying and suicide are so common amongst their age group. It was also beneficial for us Psychology students to be able to work with professionals in the field to help create awareness.”

Penang World Mental Health Day 2014

By Jasniza Johari. Photos provided by Miss Foo Pei-Lynn and Koh Ti Ming.

The people of Penang had a blast lending their voices for mental health awareness at the state’s celebrations on the 18th of October. An interactive concert was held at DISTED College’s Yeap Chor Ee campus, featuring Jana Stanfield, an award-winning singer-songwriter from the United States and her famed vocalist partner Nathen Aswell from Canada. Various groups under the Mental Health Coalition of Penang (MHCP) also organised several activities for the event, which was open to the general public. This was also a golden event for the Bachelor of Psychology (Hons) students of DISTED, as they got a chance to facilitate certain activities and also get in touch with the mental health network in Penang.

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Miss Silviane Bonadei sharing her psychosocial work experience with DISTED Psychology students at the guest lecture.
Miss Silviane Bonadei sharing her psychosocial work experience with DISTED Psychology students at the guest lecture.

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Participants engaging in the “Human Laughter Wave” during the Laughter Yoga Session facilitated by Jana Stanfield.
Participants engaging in the “Human Laughter Wave” during the Laughter Yoga Session facilitated by Jana Stanfield.

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The event kicked off with a Laughter Yoga session, facilitated by Jana Stanfield herself. Once the participants started to warm up, roaring sounds of laughter were evident throughout the grounds of DISTED College! This merry activity was then followed by an ice-breaking session, where participants were divided into groups. Ice-breaking consisted of a short introductory sharing session, followed by fun games aimed to encourage bonding. The Psychology students were tasked with facilitating games such as “Wind Blows”, a fun-fact spin on the popular game Musical Chairs; and “The Cowboy Game”, where participants were tested on their speed and accuracy of remembering names. Participants had a jolly time in getting to know each other in the process.

The poster and banner-making activity commenced soon after. Participants were given a whole array of art materials and encouraged to let their creative side take over! All they had to do was to express their “voices” through art and share their messages for the mental health community. These messages were aimed at inducing awareness to the general public on issues concerning mental wellbeing. Even young participants had a great time expressing their support for mental health through art – one boy sketched a poster of Captain America as it was his wish to help others in need just like the superhero himself.

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Posters made by a group of participants.
Posters made by a group of participants.

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DISTED Psychology students join Jana and Nathan for a final number during the WMHD event.
DISTED Psychology students join Jana and Nathan for a final number during the WMHD event.

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The many colourful posters and banners displayed in the Hall provided a warm, welcoming spirit to the community that went full-force once the keynote concert began. The concept behind “Let Your Voice Be Heard” was very novel as it included dialogues with several speakers between intervals of live music by Jana Stanfield and Nathen Aswell. Jana played a cover of the song “Secrets” by pop star Mary Lambert among others, and narrated her own experiences throughout the set. Nathen played his unique bass-guitar-piano composite instrument (known as the NS Stick) to the tune of the songs he wrote, mainly centred on positive messages. The crowd sang along and clapped jubilantly throughout the concert. In between songs, several speakers were invited to briefly share on the challenges, experiences and messages for the mental health community and general public. The eye-opening session was then followed by a sharing on the posters and banners made earlier. In groups, participants got to tell stories behind their artworks and share their hopes for the future of Malaysians regardless of their mental health background.

The event concluded with a short prize-giving session to the winners of the Mental Health Quiz organized by Dr. Lynne Yong. The quiz tested participants on their knowledge of mental disorders and many were surprised to find that many key international figures and celebrities also experience issues with mental wellbeing.

Altogether, the participants went home with pleasant experiences and a renewed spirit to continue lending their voices for awareness on mental wellbeing. Feedbacks provided by student facilitators were also positive and encouraging. “It was thought-provoking to listen to others’ experiences with mental health disorders, especially surrounding the stigma in public,” said DISTED student Sivaaruban Prabakaran. “I believe everyone has a part to play in increasing awareness of such issues.”. Student Tan Kelven also added, “The event is really a good opportunity for us students. Not only do we get to meet others who are active in the field, but there is also valuable experience to be learned in facilitating groups.”

All-in-all, the lively combined voices of all participants contributed to the event’s success and has certainly become a vital milestone for the Penang mental health community and DISTED College.

DISTED signs Memorandum of Understanding with Toyohashi University of Technology

DISTED College recently sealed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Japanese national university Toyohashi University of Technology (TUT) that will lead to future collaborative activities between the two institutions.

The joint MoU signing was also inked with Wawasan Open University (WOU) on 15th December 2014 in the presence of WOU, TUT and DISTED senior officials at the WOU main campus.
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Signing parties from left to right: DISTED College, Toyohashi University of Technology and Wawasan Open University.

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Chairman of DISTED Board of Directors Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap looking on as Dr Seah Soo Aun signs on the document.

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The agreement essentially lays a foundation for all institutions to undertake activities to strengthen, promote and develop mutual co-operation in the field of higher education.

DISTED President Dr Seah Soo Aun remarked that the MoU will create opportunities for DISTED and TUT to exchange and share expertise and resources for the advancement of education programmes.

He added that the MoU will drive a long term partnership between both institutions, as DISTED strives to be at the forefront of global education.

TUT President, Dr Takashi Onishi, Dr Seah and WOU Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye signed on behalf of their respective institutions. The signing of the document was witnessed by Prof Dr Mitsuteru Inoue, Vice President of TUT; Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap, Chairman of DISTED College Board of Directors; and Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Chairman of the Wawasan Education Foundation.

Also present to grace the occasion was DISTED College Board of Directors members Tan Sri Dr Chin Fook Weng and Mr Chia Loong Thye.

The TUT delegation, led by President Dr Takashi Onishi, then headed to the DISTED Yeap Chor Ee Heritage Campus for a quick tour of the campus.

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Tan Sri Dr Chin (centre) flanked by TUT President Dr Onishi on his right and Dr Seah on his left.

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The delegation from TUT at the DISTED Yeap Chor Ee Heritage Campus.

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Back to nature

Business degree students from the DISTED Green Team 2 recently organised an industrial visit to the Baba Organic Farm as part of their community service project. The visit to Malaysia’s first ‘Organic Farm’ qualified under the Department of Agriculture’s Malaysian Organic Scheme (SOM – Skim Organik Malaysia) was a real eye-opener for many of the students.

Upon arrival at Kean Beng Lee Industries (M) Sdn, excitement was written all over the students’ faces as they were shown a video presentation and participated in a brief exercise routine. The staff of the organic farm then delivered a lecture on the importance of organic farming and a healthy diet with vegetables.

Split into two groups, the students were taken on a tour around the organic farm area and the natural zone.

At the organic farm, besides hands-on activities like seeding and removing weeds, students learned about the intricate details of crop rotation and crop sustaining methods with strict limits in fertilizer and pesticide use.
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Hands-on activity - Seeding in action.
Hands-on activity – Seeding in action.

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An overview of crop rotation at Baba Organic Farm.
An overview of crop rotation at Baba Organic Farm.

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Chua Yan Min, currently pursuing the BA (Hons) International Business Management, explained that Baba Organic Farm is managed by a team of environmentally conscious individuals who strive for a greener Mother Earth. “We were advised to consume more vegetables, specifically the organic varieties, and less meat to achieve a healthier well-being,” he added.

His fellow coursemate concurred with him, “It was a wonderful experience for me to participate in this green initiative as children living in cities no longer have the chance to see and be involved in farming activities. I have gained extra knowledge in farming and will now support organic vegetables as the farmers here have put in a lot of effort to ensure the conservation of mother nature and for the benefit of our health.

At the natural zone, students were guided through different stations around the area. These stations were kept at varying temperatures and humidity levels meant for different purposes. The zone was left in its original state without changing or removing anything, as fallen trees slowly decomposing away can be seen on site.

Lim Kim Sim, pursuing the BA (Hons) in Business Management spoke of his experience after taking part in a short meditation exercise, “When we closed our eyes, I could ‘smell’ greenery and felt so peaceful. There was this amazing sound of birds singing in the air, and you could literally listen to the sound of crickets and insects. Unfortunately, we could also hear the noises of trucks and the traffic, and it brought us back to the reality that we are living in a modernised city. Humans need to realise that deforestation brings destruction and harm to the ecosystem, and it’s time to start using recycled products.”
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Listening to the sounds of nature.
Listening to the sounds of nature.

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Students were asked to touch, feel and smell the biodegradable waste used at Baba Organic Farm.
Students were asked to touch, feel and smell the biodegradable waste used at Baba Organic Farm.

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“It was a great opportunity for us to explore the organic farm and experience the hard work of a farmer. Through the visit, I realised that education plays an importance role in protecting mother nature and it benefits students to discover more about the natural environment,” said Mot Yao Zhang, BA (Hons) in Marketing Management student.

Lim Eong Chyng, pursuing the BA (Hons) in Business Management added, “It was indeed a thoroughly enjoyable visit and I definitely learned more about organic farming. I look forward to going on more excursions like these in the upcoming projects by DISTED students.” The visit ended with a light vegetarian lunch provided by Baba Organic Farm and a question & answer session.

Promoting Youth Volunteerism and Social Activism

DISTED’s Community CONNECT initiative to instill an “altruistic and volunteering mindset for socially meaningful actions” received a big boost when students and lecturers turned up for a presentation by iM4U Outreach Centre.

The presentation by Mr Zulzainizam Aman, the Manager of iM4U Outreach Centre was organised by DISTED Library as part of its ‘Chill out @ DISTED Library” programme in November.
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Mr Zulzainizam Aman giving an introduction of iM4U Outreach Centre.

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School of Hospitality lecturer Nurul Nadia Mohamad (in beige top) leading a healthy discourse.

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iM4U is a non-profit organisation that identifies itself as the “go to group when it comes to volunteering”.

Mr Zulzainizam spoke on how iM4U can assist in nurturing and cultivating youth volunteerism and social activism through the DRe1M (Dana Sukarelawan 1Malaysia) Fund.

“Malaysian youths can be inspired to plan and implement volunteering and nation building activities through this platform to benefit communities and social groups. The iM4U Outreach Centre network leverages its vast network of educational and youth-related organisations to enable iM4U to support projects that have local and nationwide impacts,” he elaborated.

There are seven categories of projects supported by iM4U – youth development projects; social enterprise activities; community wellbeing services; sport events; arts, culture and innovation projects; environment projects and spirituality and religious projects.

In his presentation, Mr Zulzainizam highlighted among many successful projects a ‘War on Dengue’ project which was carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Health Malaysia. He also introduced the audience to iM4U 107.9 fm, a youth-oriented radio station that was created to generate revenue to support iM4U operations as well as to publicise all activities and programmes.

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DISTED students engaged in discussion.

Members of the DISTED community who are interested can apply for the DRe1M fund through the website www.im4u.my. They should submit a full project proposal including the budget via email one month before the event launch in order to allow the iM4U committee to evaluate the project and its outcomes. A project proposal template is also provided for the convenience of applicants. Successful applicants are required to provide a report and photos or videos of the activities upon its completion. In addition, iM4U also offers assistance and advice for applicants who do not qualify for the support.

Youths can stay connected with iM4U and get the latest updates from their social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube and its website www.im4u.my. Communication is also done via WhatsApp and SMS.

According to Ms Nurul Nadia Mohamad, Lecturer at DISTED School of Hospitality, “Financial resources is a main concern when organising events and iM4U has provided a good platform for our students as they had to organise the events by themselves as part of their academic curriculum.”

School of Business Programme Coordinator Ms Gwee Sai Ling found the talk very informative, “I will certainly get our students to choose this avenue for future volunteer projects.”

Thinakkaaran Thamilchelvam, Vice-President of DISTED’s Student Representative Council found the talk very enlightening. “iM4U provides support that benefits both sides as the youth can discover and explore their skills and also contribute back to the society.”

Fairunizan Akbar Malik, DISTED Librarian, said the talk had helped identify a new partner and mentor for volunteer projects.

It is hoped that new projects will be developed for the coming year, with active participation from the DISTED student community in iM4U to support its vision of being Malaysia’s leading youth volunteer community.

Honing skills in service industry through transnational educational experience trip to Taiwan

In collaboration with Sayling Wen Cultural & Educational Foundation and Oriental Institute of Technology, a select group of DISTED students travelled abroad to Taiwan for a month long programme  from July to August 2014 called “New Era Service Talent Development” under the Transnational Education Experience Programme .

The programme was set up to provide a platform for students to experience different sights and sounds to gain a further understanding of the Taiwanese working culture. It also aimed to equip students with the desirable attitude, aptitude and skills in the service sector.
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Knowing each other on the first day.

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Team dynamics between DISTED and OIT students.

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The students participated in a range of activities which included lectures, interactive sessions and study trips that focused on the concept of HUG (human-centric mindset, uniting multiple domains, global view with local act) and FIT (friendly in nature, innovative with diversity, technology awareness).

Each group comprised of six to seven persons, with students from DISTED’s Bachelor of Arts programme partnering with Bachelor of Design students from Taiwan. This allowed all of us, with our different backgrounds and cultures the opportunity to mingle with one another and exchange knowledge and stories.

Students were requested to prepare reports of their assignments at San Xia Old Street, San Xia Indigo Dyeing and San Xia Museum. Each mid and final report encompassed creative new service design that meets the requirement of FIT and HUG in order to create new era service. Under the guidance of several lecturers, each group of students came up with different ideas, such as the implementation of mobile application for San Xia Old Street to deliver educational and convenience service to people and much more. Students were also required to present their ideas in front of class every two weeks.

Ng Chian Chung said, “Through this learning programme, I had the opportunity to learn about something really new, which allowed me to redefine the meaning of service. Moreover, this learning programme enabled me to view a problem from different perspectives and to use a creative way to solve them. The month long programme gave me a lot of precious memories, which I will treasure and cherish.”
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Students participating in the Outward Bound challenge.

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Fostering cooperation through team building activities.

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Students also went on a number of study trips, such as visits to the Taiwan Outward Bound Centre, Environmental Technology Research Centre, Kao Corporation Factory, shopping malls and University under the umbrella of the Far Eastern Group. Through these educational visits, they experienced first hand and had a deeper understanding of each corporation’s operations. Apart from the tight study schedule, they also had the chance to visit a few famous touristy spots such as the Fu Hang Soya Shop for a taste of Taiwan’s traditional breakfast soya milk (in dry form and liquid form) and yau za kuih, Yi Lan County, Tamsui, National Palace Museum, SongShan Cultural and Creative Park. Each study visit trip created a memorable experience for the students, who seized the opportunity to explore Taiwan.

The students also nurtured strong friendship with each other throughout the one-month programme. Students learnt about teamwork, coordination and respect each other culture. As quoted by Kahlil Gibran (1883), “in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures”. Aside from the busy learning period, students were also touched by passion and friendly nature of the Taiwanese people. They also made many new friends.

“A month in Taiwan really made a difference in terms of learning and the opportunity to meet many new friends in this programme. All of them are nice, friendly and easy to reach out to. Bidding them farewell left behind a treasure trove of nostalgic sweet memories for us,” student Yeoh Khim Seah added.

The programme ended with a closing ceremony, where everyone received a certificate as a proof of completing 160 training hours for the New Era Service Development Programme. In addition, Choo Tze Liang, Lim Meng Siew and Eunice Ang Yee Jun both were awarded as second, forth and fifth best performer respectively throughout the programme.

Overall, throughout this programme, students had grown tremendously as they underwent many defining moments with tears and joy. They experienced the hardships of being homesick and exhaustion over workloads, while at the same time enjoyed the excitement of travelling around Taiwan with friends. In fact, it was a good opportunity for students to be better individuals, according to Sarah Ho Hsing Chian who said, “I personally think that it was a great programme for students who do not have the opportunity to study abroad. Through this month-long programme, we were also able to learn to live independently. The classes we attended were also useful as it was something new for students from other majors like accounting.”

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Fostering cooperation through team building activities.

 


by Toh Yong Wei, BA(Hons) Business Management, Staffordshire University

Auspicious celebration to mark significant milestones

DISTED College recently held an auspicious celebration to mark two significant milestones – the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Finnish institution of higher learning HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences (HAAGA-HELIA), and the official opening of SPACE, DISTED’s new student residence.

The MoU, signed on 1st November in the presence of guests which included YB Chow Kon Yeow, Chairman of DISTED College Board of Directors Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap and Honorary Consul of Finland Dato’ Poh Kim Seng, spells out collaborative activities and joint efforts that will contribute to cultural enrichment and scientific progress for both institutions. These include exchange programmes involving students, faculty and staff; transnational education experience study tours; collaborative research and development projects; collaborative development of educational programmes; lectures, seminars and workshops; and exchange of academic information and materials.

The agreement will also pave the way for the establishment of a Finnish Degree Transfer Programme – the first of its kind – in Malaysia. Significantly, the MoU establishes an articulation protocol for students between DISTED and HAAGA-HELIA. For students at DISTED, the articulation arrangement will enable its students to pursue a diploma programme locally, and then proceed to a HAAGA-HELIA degree programme either locally or at the HAAGA-HELIA campus in Finland.

“This collaboration will enable us to tap into the vast pool of expertise and strengths of both institutions to generate new knowledge, innovation and intellectual property. We are honoured to be collaborating with an institution renowned for its teaching excellence and top quality research in business and service,” said Dr Seah Soo Aun, President and CEO of DISTED College.

He also reiterated DISTED’s commitment in ensuring that students receive not only the best education, but also the best facilities, care and support in the form of conducive living and study environment at SPACE, the Student Residence.
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Dr Seah Soo Aun giving his speech before the signing of the MoU.

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Mr Pasi Halmari, Programme Manager from HAAGA-HELIA addressing the audience.

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“HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences has strong traditions – our oldest campus was established over 120 years ago. These days, HAAGA-HELIA maintains a close and special relationship with businesses in Finland and internationally,” explained Jouni Ahonen, Project Director.

Dr Seah Soo Aun signing for DISTED College and Mr Jouni Ahonen signing on behalf of HAAGA-HELIA University.

 He added, “Our educational programmes are based on real-life business situations and the quality – as in Finnish education generally – is strongly emphasized in our operations. We are sure that these features will bring benefits to Malaysian students and look forward to excellent cooperation with DISTED College.”

In his speech, YB Chow said that the partnership with HAAGA-HELIA will provide a strong catalyst for DISTED in its efforts to be at the forefront of higher education in the country and in the region.

“DISTED’s strategic location in the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand growth triangle is ideal in positioning Penang as a regional hub for post-secondary education and tertiary education. I hope that today’s events will set DISTED College on the global educational map and signify the start of many more international initiatives to come,” he elaborated.

On the official opening of SPACE, YB Chow commended DISTED’s decision for having the DISTED Student Residence situated at Lebuh King, as it coincides with efforts to breathe life into the inner George Town area. The opening of SPACE was marked by a symbolic cutting of ribbons by YB Chow, Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap, Chairman of Sunyield Venture Sdn Bhd Tan Sri Dr Chin Fook Weng and Dr Seah Soo Aun.

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YB Chow Kon Yeow signing on the SPACE commemorative plaque witnessed by (from left) Tan Sri Dr Chin Fook Weng, Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap and Dr Seah Soo Aun.

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YB Chow cutting the pavlova cake specially prepared by the Paul Loiis Cafe.

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SPACE is currently home to over 100 local and international students coming from as far as China, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand and Russia.

The auspicious occasion celebrating the two milestones was also marked with a high-energy lion dance performance to signify blessings, good fortune and well wishes. The ceremony culminated with YB Chow cutting a specially prepared cake at the Paul Loiis Café, operated by one of DISTED’s alumnus.

Creative minds at work during Lego Mindstorms workshop

An introduction into the world of robotics
An introduction into the world of robotics

Some 21 students and three lecturers had their minds blown away at an introductory Lego Mindstorms workshop organised in collaboration with the Penang Science Cluster (PSC) recently.

The students, who were pioneer members of the newly set up DISTED Makers Club under the supervision of lecturer Dr Low Khee Lam, had a whale of a time toying around with the Lego robotics kits. The session at PSC’s Maker Space at Krsytal Point was facilitated by Mr Edmond Koay, a PSC volunteer, who gave an informative introduction on robots and their supporting roles in our daily life.

Building a robot from scratch
Building a robot from scratch

He further progressed to explaining and demonstrating the intricate details of Lego Mindstorms, a customisable and programmable kit of Lego robots. These Lego bricks, embedded with different kinds of colour sensors, gyro sensors and distance sensors, allow users to programme the EV3 robot to make its own decision.

After being introduced to different kinds of motors that enabled the robots to move around, the students were then asked to put their knowledge to test. Following a step-by-step guide, the students worked in teams to build their own robots. It was far from boring as they were taught to programme their robots to perform a series of movements, one of which was to move around an oval-shaped track.

Students placing their robot to move around the oval-shaped track
Students placing their robot to move around the oval-shaped track

Club advisor Dr Low was grateful to the Penang Science Cluster for conducting the workshop as it gave the students a first-hand experience in exploring the world of action science. The DISTED Makers Club, he said, is open to students who have a strong interest in all things scientific and a flair for robotics.

Lecturer Mr Khor Ee Keat commended the PSC for setting up a well-equipped centre with a wide range of engineering tools and equipment. Mr Teng Wei Jian, another lecturer who accompanied the students explained, “it was easy to master the programming of the EV3 robots, and this activity should not be limited to only Science and Technology students.”

Students Tan Lit Wei and Victor Teh enjoyed themselves during the 4-hour hands-on session. “The assembling part of the Lego components was easy but the programming was very challenging. However, I gained a lot of programming knowledge from the workshop,” Lit Wei said.

Victor, a Diploma in Computer Science student added, “I can put my programming knowledge to good use with the Lego Mindstorms sessions. It was so much fun!!”

To become a member of the DISTED Makers Club, feel free to contact Dr Low at the Staff Room or drop him a message at kllow@disted.edu.my or kheelamlow@gmail.com

Cream of the crop students honoured

DISTED College celebrated its brilliant students who demonstrated academic and extracurricular excellence at its recent Award and Prize Presentation day on 27th September.

More than 300 students were rewarded for their stellar academic achievements, accomplishments in sports and commendable contributions in various extracurricular activities.

Jubilant award and prize recipients with Tan Sri Dr Chin Fook Weng and DISTED faculty
Jubilant award and prize recipients with Tan Sri Dr Chin Fook Weng and DISTED faculty

This year’s DISTED Merit Award was presented to nearly 200 students who had obtained excellent SPM and O-Level results and are now pursuing their pre-university and diploma programmes.

Some of the award and prize recipients
Some of the award and prize recipients

Diploma in Business Studies student Iver Tan received the Wawasan Education Foundation Award worth RM14,000 for her excellent academic and sports achievements plus her active involvement in other extramural activities. Citing her mother as her biggest motivator, Iver holds on to the mantra, “whatever you do, do it well” that has helped her to excel in whatever she does.

For Bee Chern Hsien, a recipient of the DISTED Sports Excellence Award, it is important to keep a strict schedule to ensure a balance between his studies and extracurricular activities. Chern Hsien, a Diploma in Hospitality Business Management student, has participated in swimming and water polo sports at the Malaysian Schools Sports Council aquatic championships in 2012 and 2013.

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DISTED Sports Excellence Award recipient Bee Chern Hsien and Wawasan Education Foundation Award recipient Iver Tan
DISTED Sports Excellence Award recipient Bee Chern Hsien and Wawasan Education Foundation Award recipient Iver Tan

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Student Blaise Yong receiving his award from Tan Sri Dr Chin Fook Weng
Student Blaise Yong receiving his award from Tan Sri Dr Chin Fook Weng

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Four visually impaired students who have made DISTED their preferred college to pursue their studies also received the Bursary for students with disabilities. Toh Chin Yuan, Blaise Yong, Krshmann a/l Vijay Kumaran and Lee Yong Pin are all enrolled in the Diploma in Business Information Technology programme

Chin Yuan and Yong Pin also received the merit prize for their academic excellence, proving that physical impairment is no hindrance to success.

From left: Lee Yong Pin, Blaise Yong and Toh Chin Yuan all ready for the award presentation
From left: Lee Yong Pin, Blaise Yong and Toh Chin Yuan all ready for the award presentation

In his speech, DISTED President Dr Seah Soo Aun urged the students to make good use of their awards as a motivation to excel in their studies.

“I believe your hard work will result in a solid foundation for greater things in your continuous pursuit of tertiary education,” he said.

The ceremony was graced by guest-of-honour Tan Sri Dr Chin Fook Weng, a member of DISTED’s Board of Directors, who commended the students on their exceptional achievements and assured them of the College’s continued support in rewarding their excellent efforts.

New traffic flow and parking zones at DISTED Yeap Chor Ee Heritage Campus

Starting this September, motorists entering DISTED College will need to follow the new streamlined traffic flow and park in specially-designated parking zones around the Yeap Chor Ee Heritage Campus. This major change is part of the College’s efforts to create a safe and secure campus, and to create a positive impression of an organised campus for visitors.

In the first phase of its implementation from 8th September to 31st December 2014, motorists are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the new traffic flow and observe the designated parking zones for staff, students and visitors. Zones A and C are designated as staff parking, while students can park anywhere in Zones B, E, F, G, H, I, J, and K. Zone K, however, is only available up to 5:00pm, after which the zone will be converted into a basketball court. Zone D remains as the parking area for official College vehicles and other authorised vehicles.

The second phase will come into effect from 1st January 2015 onwards, during which the use of authorised car stickers and the automatic boom gate system will be fully implemented. Only vehicles with DISTED stickers will be permitted to park on campus, and drivers will need to use their access cards in order to enter and exit the College premises.

Motorists are advised to observe the new traffic flow and all traffic signage around the campus, and especially to heed the speed limit which is 15kmph.

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