Targeting students of the Monash University Foundation Year (MUFY) program, the School of Arts and Social Sciences organised a contest - the ‘Monash Arts Scholarship Contest for MUFY Students’ on the 24th of September 2016, in order to intrigue and nurture students' interests in pursuing an education in the field of arts and social sciences. The MUFY participants stood the chance to win a scholarship to pursue an undergraduate degree with the School of Arts and Social Sciences in Monash University Malaysia.  

The contest comprised three rounds – a ‘Trivia Bowl’, followed by a ‘Malaysian Film Pitch’ and lastly an elocution competition for the top three finalists.

The first round required the students to answer 50 online questions individually. The questions tested the student’s general knowledge, and spanned across all the disciplines in the School of Arts and Social Sciences, with the questions ranging from geography to movie trivia to Malaysian and world history. The students were literally out of their seats (trying to get a better look at the screen) during the ‘Trivia Bowl’, which was moderated by Dr Ghislaine Lewis and Mr Adrian Yao.

Students were color-coded into groups for Round 2, the Malaysian Film Pitch. In their groups, the students were required to develop and pitch their ideas for a Malaysian film in accordance with an assigned genre, a quote and a prop. Genres were inclusive of ‘romantic comedy’ and ‘sci-fi’, while the quotes varied from “There’s no place like home” to “I’m going to make you an offer you can’t refuse”. The props were the most intriguing, including a balloon, a miniature car, a telephone and a film clapper board.

The students’ presentations exceeded expectations – they plotted and drew storyboards and even enthusiastically acted out scenes, clearly leaving an impression on the judges – resident lecturers from the School of Arts and Social Sciences; Dr Jonathan Driskell, Associate Professor Dr Sharon Bong and Associate Professor Dr Andrew Ng.

The winning group, ‘Group 1’, pitched a film entitled ‘Sook Ching’, a horror film set during the Japanese occupation of Malaya. The group was zealous in their pitch and went so far as to act out several scenes of their film.  

The top 3 finalists, Sharifah Azlinah, Jeremy Tey and Lui Hao, continued to the final round – elocution. They were randomly assigned topics relating to current cultural trends and following several minutes of preparation, were required to share their opinions before a panel of judges within a 3 minute timeframe. 

The esteemed panel of judges were also lecturers from the School of Arts and Social Sciences; Professor Helen Nesadurai, Associate Professor Joanne Lim and Mr Timothy Wong.

The finalists gave their very best during this component, engaging the audience and the judges with their articulate yet entertaining presentations.

The grand prize winner was Mr Lui Hao, who presented the topic ‘Why do you think superhero films are so appealing to audiences?’. Lui Hao was also part of the winning group of the ‘Malaysian Film Pitch’ and was also the highest scorer of the trivia bowl. He was awarded a 50% scholarship with the School of Arts and Social Sciences as well as a cash prize of RM3000. 

The second prize went to Mr Jeremy Tey, who was awarded a prize of RM2000. His assigned topic was ‘Currently the voting age in Malaysia is 21. Should it be lowered to 18? Why/Why not?’.  Along with Lui Hao, Jeremy too, was part of the group that won the Malaysian Film Pitch.

Last but not least, the third prize winner was Miss Sharifah Azlinah, following an enthusiastic presentation on the topic of ‘Hipster cafes – Are they popular for the food and drinks that are “value for money”, or is it something else?’. She was awarded a cash prize of RM1000 for her placing.

Thank you to all contestants who participated and supported the Monash Malaysia School of Arts and Social Sciences's initiative, to foster and encourage interest in the evolving world of social sciences.

Congratulations to all the winners!