April 18, 2017

Term 2 Round–Up

After winter, this term has been an absolute joy - as we experienced the transition from winter to spring. However, there have been a number of memorable events as well, which I'd love to recap.

Firstly, I was involved in a number of conferences, both as a participant and as an organizer/facilitator. Youth Speak Forum 2017 is AIESEC Warwick's annual flagship event, in which there were keynote speeches by internationally recognized academic personnel, a panel discussion, workshops by sponsors, and many more! Warwick Train the Trainers Conference 2017 (Warwick TtT 2017) is another one of AIESEC Warwick's annual training conferences, whereby students within the AIESEC network from all over the UK learn how to deliver effective public speeches and presentations, thereby qualifying them as a trainer. Having had to solve many problems and coordinate with people displaying different work styles, I learnt much about (the highly clichéd) the power of a team and critical problem-solving skills. The memories made were great, the experience was challenging and eye-opening, but I believe that the skills I picked up from these 2 conferences will go a long way for me.

y conference team for AIESEC Warwick

My conference team for AIESEC Warwick’s ‘Youth Speak Forum: Leaders of the 21st Century

My conference team for AIESEC Warwick Train the Trainers

My conference team for AIESEC Warwick Train the Trainers’ Conference 2017

Having been elected as the Vice President for Finance of AIESEC Warwick 17.18, I attended the National Strategic Conference 2017 (NSC 2017) to learn more about my role and how to perform my duties effectively. I also managed to network with those currently holding the position within other entities in the AIESEC UK network. This conference was also an awards ceremony for the outgoing leadership team within each AIESEC UK entity, and my direct predecessor won the award for best Finance structure amongst all the entities within the whole of AIESEC UK - leaving me with huge shoes to fill.

The incoming Executive Board of AIESEC Warwick 17.18, including the Entity President for 16.17, Timothy Yeo (3rd from left)

The incoming Executive Board of AIESEC Warwick 17.18, including the Entity President for 16.17, Timothy Yeo (3rd from left)

While extremely tiring and at times stressful, I believe that these experiences have built me into a leader with stronger character, while at the same time making me self-aware of my own strengths and weaknesses. At this point, I have a better idea of what my job scope entails, and I feel really excited to take on this role as a challenge next year!

Next up, the most interesting thing that happened to me in Term 2: the annual Singapore Society drama production. Thought-provokingly titled Bumiputera, the production this year was special because it was entirely student-run, including the writing of the script, which differentiated it from the previous years' productions. I was really proud to be a part of the cast for this production as it was my first time stepping out of my comfort zone and getting involved in a professional production of this scale.

The cast: Iffah, Jodie, Serena, myself, Jeremy, and Okky

The cast: Iffah, Jodie, Serena, myself, Jeremy, and Okky

We first started the whole process with auditions back in Term 1, and then team-building/self-expression exercises while Edward, the playwright, brushed up the final touches on the storyline. In Term 2, we moved on to script reading and a thorough breakdown of the characters' roles in the whole play. It was definitely a confusing period for us as cast, because almost all of us (with the exception of Iffah) had no prior theatre experience. Only 2 weeks prior to the show, we did our first full-run, realizing a number of flaws in our acting styles, the storyline as well as our character backgrounds.

THE classic dressing room selfie

THE classic dressing room selfie

It was only then that the cast decided to be proactive by coming up with a list of suggestions on how to make the storyline clearer to the audience - this was taken and implemented in good faith by the directors and as they say, the rest is history: the production turned out to be a stunning success. Many still came up to us after the show and said they didn't understand the whole idea behind the story completely, but they made it clear that they appreciated the effort and emotion delivered with every line, which was heartwarming.

Looking back, I'd like to thank my fellow cast for the initiative and time put into making this a success. But more importantly, I'm really grateful to my producer (Ching Yi) as well as my directors (Dominic Nah, Edward Eng, and Ang Kia Yee) for always being so supportive and encouraging of our efforts during every rehearsal. Never once did they show anger or disdain at our performance, no matter how disappointing or discouraging it was, and never once did they show any sign of demotivation no matter what obstacles came their way. For that I truly applaud them, and I'm most definitely glad to have worked with them.

Row 1 (from left to right): Stage Manager Alex Zhong, Assistant Director Ang Kia Yee, Co-Director Dominic Nah, Main Director & Playwright Edward Eng, Assistant Producer Joshua Ting. Producer Ching Yi is in Row 2 (second from right)

Row 1 (from left to right): Stage Manager Alex Zhong, Assistant Director Ang Kia Yee, Co-Director Dominic Nah, Main Director & Playwright Edward Eng, Assistant Producer Joshua Ting.
Row 2 (second from right): Producer Ching Yi

While it was a tough process, I can safely say that I took away a few things from this experience: I now understand theatre a lot better (which will help me in my role as Cultural Officer of Singsoc ie Producer for next year's production), and I also know my capability to be stretched in terms of time-management. This will always be a special experience to me and 10 or 20 years down the road, I am very sure I will look back and smile at the memories made. For those interested (and also for my future reference), links to 2017 Singsoc Production: Bumiputera are below.

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EY7Qh_w6lnI
Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVAtlCs7c68
Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tWyyNDPxBY
Part 4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdzttlODPjU
Part 5: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKyMlSG--BQ

A fierce face to match my sharp outfit.

A fierce face to match my sharp outfit.

Overall, this term has gone by quickly, so much so that I have rarely had time to take a breather. There were times where I questioned my ability to cope with it all, and whether I had bitten off more than I could chew, but I persevered through. Now, I believe that I am much more capable now than I was at the beginning of Term 2. At the same time, I can't begin to express just how thankful I am for all the opportunities given to me, the inspiring people I've met, and the humbling experiences I've been through.

And thus, the end of Term 2 leaves me grateful for whatever has come, and hungry to conquer whatever comes next ie the summer exams. Till next time.

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