The Wayoung’s journey…looking forward to the future!

By Lee Kean Wei

First and foremost, I wish to congratulate the students who participated in the KDU Flicks Fiesta Competition. A large number of them came from The Wayoung Final Year Screening, which was held on 12 July 2016 at PenangPAC.

There are at least 3 nominations for each category, which is already a huge recognition! As their lecturer, I feel proud of their achievements. Though we may not know whether they will win any of those awards, their nominations fill me with pride.   

Three of the enlisted films came from the Wayoung, and they are also the top three short films in my heart. Why do I say so? Well, their topic of choice and content are special and outstanding with great technical skills such as angle and camerawork, not to mention editing skills. If you were to compare their broadcasting productions from the first and second assignment, you can see huge progress being made.

I begin with “Akar Pula”, produced by Urban Films. For me, it feels very much like a Yasmin Ahmad production, which speaks of the cohesion of races and cultures in a beautiful manner. I really admire them for choosing this topic, as some may say that traditional cultures are dying, but do we really take steps to protect them? Culture will change as time flies, so these students had the awareness of highlighting the Malay culture to grab people’s attention that we are losing our own Akar Pula. They took it from a different angle, which is a Chinese girl’s view towards a Malay Akar Pula. I am deeply impressed by this unprecedented twist of plot, with such great perspective of preserving Malay cultures.

Many youngsters may be glued onto their phones, having more focus on Facebook likes and catching Pokemons than their own culture. From a technical aspect, I can say that the colours are refreshing, which makes you feel like watching it again and again, with good camerawork and colour collection. I would also like to highlight the fact that this short film had professional actors and actresses starring, and all free of charge for only a college students’ production! They completed the story in a direct manner, and this film helps the audiences think about the dying side of cultures. It also sends a strong message that we need to actively preserve our traditions.

Secondly is “A Silent Love”, produced by The Fleek. I believe this short film has touched many of those who came for The Wayoung screening. The story is about a child being bullied in school who ended up venting his anger at his grandmother, and finally learning the sign language after seeing his grandmother pleading to her boss. What we look for in a movie is how the story is being constructed, and for that they built this short film in a very comfortable manner so that it can generate deep feelings. The pre-production, production and post-production stages required meticulous details. I am indeed glad and touched that they managed to present these three points which I always emphasise during lectures.

The key is this; if you do not arrange your story properly, then you cannot proceed with the next stage. Their detailed preparation was shown in the scene of the school teacher hitting the boy, and the angle suddenly changed to his grandmother working in the kitchen. Normal films will definitely show you the caning scene which may cause negative effects. With the change of angle, they have shown mature editing skills that reaches commercial film standards. Besides that, songs are also important as they have to blend with the film. The Hokkien song which was used creates emotions and the flashback method reduced the crowd to tears. It was that tiny spark, which brought the entire short film into a whole new level.

Thirdly is “The Lunchbox” by Haze Productions. Personally, I think that the film is a major breakthrough among broadcasting students in the college. It has fulfilled one of my dreams, that is to have films that will provoke people’s thoughts. The story can be a little tough to understand, but it trains an active audience to start questioning themselves: What is the story all about? What are the values behind it? The filming angles and editing looked very natural, and their cast looked professional in carrying out the plot and emotions of the story. Though there were a limited number of cast members, they pulled through it wonderfully. I am amazed by their ideas to have a story which speaks of human lives.

From the Wayoung screening, I can see and confidently speak of the limitless possibilities they have. Everybody can get creative and produce something they can call their own. Producing can come in the form of thoughts, and thinking should not be restricted. In the near future, I look forward to future invitations by their batch for probably The Wayoung 2.0, and I wish them the very best of luck for their future career!

And to all Han Chiang College students who intend to major in broadcasting, I have something simple to say. You have lived your life for almost 20 years, there is bound to be incidents that will happen every day. Some of these incidents can be used as a story for your short film. Are you going to let it pass through your lives? All these can be transformed into content, as your own life is already a short story by the things you encounter! Observe these happenings and turn them into a story plot. And never forget, that as humans you have limitless possibilities!

The Wayoung Official Trailer 2016

Rank colleges & universities by rate of student loan default

By Dr. Chow Yong Neng

An article in Education Drive entitled “Clinton hire signals more trouble for for-profits” caught my eye. In this analytical briefing, the author related that the hiring by Hillary Clinton of Rohit Chopra as a part of her presidential transition team would spell more troubles for the for-profit universities and colleges in the USA. The author opined that due to Chopra’s track record of exposing financial irregularities in two significant cases against for-profits (citing Corinthian Colleges & ITT Tech), any institution in the US  with high student loan default rates will be hit if Clinton clinches the presidency in November 2016.  Interestingly, Hillary Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton served as the honorary chancellor of the for-profit Laureate Group’s Laureate International University, better known in Malaysia as the owner of Inti International University and Colleges from 2010 through to 2014.

The bulk of the defaulters of student loans in the US are indeed coming from the for-profit universities and colleges. The aggressive and misleading recruitment methodology is the main cause coupled with the lower than average employability of graduates of some of these institutions in the US together created the student loan default crisis.

It was reported that till December 2015, Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Negara (PTPTN) collected only RM7.9 billion from its borrowers which was much lower than the RM15 billion that it had targeted to remain financially healthy. Although PTPTN does not provide the demographic details of its 1.25 million loan defaulters, generally it is an accepted fact that the bulk of these people were students and graduates of public institutions of higher learning (IPTA) as opposed to private institutions of higher learning (IPTS). Although there has been good coverage of the consequences that blacklisted PTPTN loan defaulters  would face in the online press and personal finance sites such as  iMoney,  and even a popular motoring website, the message seems not to have percolated through.

Perhaps the power that be should seriously be considering arresting this problem “upstream”.  That is to make it harder for students from universities and colleges with high default rates to get loan or limit the number or quantum of loans for these institutions. A “league table” of the institutions with the highest PTPTN default rate (and number) should be published to make this policy more transparent. If this is implemented more funds will be channelled by PTPTN to institutions with better loan repayment records among its graduates and former students. This will have the direct effect of forcing all institutions to ensure that they produce employable graduates (who are also not underemployed).

The most heard of excuse from loan defaulters is the fact that they are unemployed or underemployed hence if PTPTN disburses its loan in accordance to the track record of the institutions (in terms of loan default rate), it will reduce the default rate and number accordingly. It is a no brainer really, you should only give out loans to people who have the best chances of repaying and minimise your risk by reducing the exposure to those with a high chance of default.

The billion ringgit question is, will the power that be and PTPTN collectively have the political will to publish this “league table” and take the same path as envisaged that a Hillary Clinton administration (if elected) would do.