So I finished my first Model UN, and I have been bitten by the MUN bug, well and truly. It was 7 days worth of an experience of amazing people, and amazing experiences. I think I learnt a lot, and some reflection is in order.
I learnt to appreciate my blessings.
Coming from NUS, the 3 of us were unaware of the way people viewed our school. To us, it seemed very trivial that we came from NUS, what’s the big deal we thought. But then when people found out that we were from NUS, then they were like ‘wow, that’s my dream school, etc’. I realised that I was really blessed and fortunate to be able to be in NUS, where the education syllabuses are really decent and comprehensive. People actually envy us and I guess that made me stop in my tracks and be thankful for what I have, not just good education, but also the fact that the government actually subsidizes a lot of our education fees, almost 3/4 so that we don’t have to be in debt (unlike the Aussies who told me about their debts). I guess I also was thankful for a really fun personality I have been gifted with, and it made it easy for me to talk to everyone and anyone in the room, in the committee, even people who I met on the bus, in the lifts, while waiting for food, etc. I am really quite thankful for this extroverted me. BUT at the same time, I guess I am really grateful also to have an introverted side of me come out at the end of the day/sometimes even in the middle of the day, when my brain decides it has had enough of human interaction and it just wants to go away and find peace. Both sides coming together help me keep my sanity and make many, many friends.
I’m grateful to meet people who made me strive for a better standard of English.
Honestly, being in Singapore, the quality of English deteriorates or improves very much depending on the types of people and the various circles of people you hang out with on a daily basis. Furthermore, if some of us tried to improve our English, it is not a surprise when people give you a stink-eye or feel that you are trying to show of. Therefore because of that it is hard not just to improve or hone your English, but also to be able to speak and think clearly and sharply. This 7 days of MUN provided exactly what I had been wanting for a very long time, it provided me a challenge, one that I relished thoroughly.
In MUNing this week, I also learnt the importance of diplomacy.
I’m someone who is hot-headed and temperamental, I never liked to come to a similar ground with someone I did not like, I always believed that I should fight for something I believe in at all costs. However I learnt that diplomacy is really important to come to a compromise. Two fighting parties, sometimes refused to agree because of country’s stances, sometimes they fought because they were egoistic. Whatever the reason, I saw a little of the reasons behind negotiations and reasoning, I saw that if done for a substantial period of time and convincingly enough, it could yield results, as shown by Draft Resolution 1.1 and 2.1. What I learnt was that sometimes, being patient can really pay off and give nice results. However I think I also saw why certain people/countries/delegates would not budge. Ego aside, they were true to their country’s foreign policy. So perhaps that’s the hard part, being convinced by a particular argument and yet not succumbing to the resolution because they had to stay true to their country’s foreign policy. That was rather eye-opening for me.
The need to be willing to make friends and not be cliquish was another learning point for me, albeit I observed this in a negative way.
I was highly annoyed when I saw the way delegates stayed in their cliques/school groups and throughout the conference refused to sit with and mingle with other delegates from other countries/schools. I was annoyed because isn’t the point of the conference allowing individuals to learn from and with other people? Maybe that wasn’t why some people came. But it definitely was for me, at least. Also I am thankful for the street feeding community service we could do. It wasn’t much, and it was but just a gesture, but I appreciated the chance to meet the street friends, and more so I saw the significance of the feeding, it was not so much to just give them food because they had none, but more so it was a platform for the street feeders to talk to them in the hopes of getting them a job and taking them off the streets once and for all. It was meaningful.
I’m extremely thankful for the chairs from SPECPOL, Christina and Salman.
Without them, this MUN experience for me would not just have been not this good, but also really good and fruitful in terms of learning. They were patient and a decent balance between strict in committee proceedings and yet fun, interactive and also warm out of committee. I was able to understand how the rules of procedure for MUN worked and also understand a little more of why they love what they love. they also taught me things, like, when you’re successful and on the right track, there will always be people targeting you, being jealous. And so what you do is keep a cool and calm head, and you go in and deal with the threat/crisis/issue. This was an important life lesson for me this conference.
I’m thankful for all the people I met.
They are diverse and fun. I appreciated meeting so many different kinds of people that I would have otherwise not been able to meet. It felt really good for me to be able to mix with people who were open to ideas and opinions, who challenged me on my points of view, who made me want to do better, research more, think harder, deeper, better. It was really nice to meet people who were MUNers but majored in Chemical Engineering, Law, Arts, or doing some major that perhaps had much less to do with politics or even nothing to do with it at all. They affirmed my point of view and belief that you should always pursue what you love because you love it, not because someone tells you that it is for a future job or vocation. I met people who told me that whatever I do in life, I must love it, I mustn’t do something just because it is particularly relevant to a future career per se, but I should do things where I am able to pick up skills and life lessons from, and most importantly, enjoy it immensely. I am thankful to be able to trade stories with the people around me, to know that despite being from a different continent, a different environment and lifestyle, we share the same values, we share similar experiences, we made friendships and bonded over similar or even differing interests, I cannot even count the number of TV shows I was introduced to.
I have to also give a shoutout to my AMUNC 2016 teamNUS girls, Amanina and Cassandra.
We entered this AMUNC not knowing what to expect. We were told to go and come home safe and just make sure of that. I think we didn’t know anything, from not knowing how to write a position paper to not exactly understanding what rules of procedure were. Given that we were this unprepared, it is a miracle that we achieved what we did. One Most Diplomatic Delegate award, Best Small Delegation award and one Honourable Mention, that’s a lot! I’m really proud of us and thank you for living with me for those few days, it was a good experience and I would do it again.
The experience gave me a taste of the outside world, the world that is not NUS. I often describe university to an individual as just a bubble, and a bubble that unless you are in it, you would be unable to understand what it is and what it makes you, especially me, someone who is very much affected by the atmosphere of the surroundings and the people in it. I felt like that atmosphere made me thrive as a person, and also whatever potential I had in me was pushed greatly, especially mentally and even in that when you are tired, you still have to work to read the draft resolution, negotiate, push for things to happen, defend your stance, etc.
It was a wonderful experience. I know that in the background work the Secretariat made a lot of things happen, so to the unsung heroes of this event, the photographers and admins, thank you very much.
May the #postMUNsyndrome or PMS continue for a week or two more, until the pictures be released and we can miss this event all over again.
The Honourable Delegate of Germany