Thursday, March 15, 2012

MY-MUNOFS III Singapore Trip

Many say that the goal is always better than journey.  In my opinion, there are times where the journey is more rewarding then the goal.  For the past few months, I've been a part of the MY-MUNOFS Middle School team.  Early last semester, around September, I applied for a Chairing position at the  MY-MUNOFS III Conference. In late October, I received the results, I was the Environment Committee's Head Chair. I was in; part of a large group of student officers from around South East Asia.  This was a significant milestone for me, as it was my first successful application to anything.  In the past, I've either attempted and not submit, or attempted and wasn't chosen.  This was the beginning of a long journey, to MY-MUNOFS III.

Once I was part of the team, I began attending the MY-MUNOFS practices, chairing for the Middle School delegates.  On top of that, I was mentoring new chairs, teaching the "new" delegates how to debate, editing resolutions, as well as helping the directors with other issues.  One of the specific "duties" I needed to accomplish as a chair, was to write two Chair Reports.  These were different than previous Chair reports I had to write because of the fact that they were to be done in PowerPoint form.  These Chair reports had to be written so that Middle Schoolers could easily understand the topics.  Thus, for the next few months, I would have to continually mentor the delegates so that they would be ready to take on the other delegates from the other schools.

On February 10th, 5:00 am, myself, and 20 other people, boarded a bus to the airport, and began our "physical" journey to MY-MUNOFS III.  We arrived at the airport, ready for our flight, but to our dismay, we were delayed.  Some computer problem resulted in multiple double-bookings, which led to a long wait.  We got on the plane, but we still had to wait for the random Amway people to trickle in.  By the time we left, we were delayed about 1 hour.  The flight was about 5 hours long, Many of the delegates took the time to work, editing resolutions and perfecting their speeches.  I initially wanted to watch some of the new movies I haven't seen such as, Tintin, or Chinese films such as 那些年 or 星空. I started watching Tintin, but as I saw the others working, I got up and walked around helping the delegates with their work.

When we finally arrived, I felt excited.  Excited for just being back in one my my previous homes; excited for the food I was going to eat; excited for the conference; just generally excited for everything.  After a long wait at immigration, we finally got on our bus, and headed into the city.  There, I was greeted with familiar sites, such as my dad's old office building.  I once again witnessed Singapore's wealth through it's modern icons: the Singapore Flyer and the Marina Bay Sands.  Its been a while since Singapore's famous landmarks was the old Sentosa and the Merlion.

We got to our hotel, the Fort Canning Lodge, on Fort Canning Road (basically at the end of Orchard), where we divided up into rooms and took a quick rest before getting lunch at the Park Mall right next door. By a stroke of luck or fate, I got the biggest room and had no other roommates.  After we had a somewhat satisfying lunch, the other students returned to the hotel, while Mr. Giordano and I went to the school to register, as well as for my chair meeting.

After two hours of just procedural matters, I left OFS to find Mr. Giordano and take him to the Far East Plaza for some local Hainan Chicken Rice.  We got there and just had the time to eat some Hainan Chicken Rice.  It was awesome, just the way I remembered it.  Afterwards, we walked around Orchard for awhile, looking for Ms. Rowe's favorite, Violent Crumble, as well as just talking with each other.  It was great talking with Mr. Giordano, as I got to know him better.  After a long walk, we finally took a cab and returned to the hotel.  After a quick meeting with the teachers clarifying some details, I went to my room and retired.  The next day would be chaotic.

I awoke early, eager for the day ahead of me.  I changed, had a quick breakfast, and waited for one of the teachers to take me to the school early.  After a quick final meeting with the chairs and the Secretary General, we took our positions onstage for the Opening Ceremony.  After he ceremony, I returned to my Committee room and began to prepare for the delegates.  I met with my other Co-Chairs, Mitsu and Jonas, as well as my awesome admin staff, Yan, Camillla and Neha.  Once the delegates arrived we went through some quick procedural matters, and then let them go to prepare for resolutions.

A side note: the delegates, the middle school delegates from the other schools, were somewhat ________.  I am not kidding.  They don't listen to instructions, they didn't prepare for the other topics; they all focused on their own topics and didn't prepare for anything else.  They were stubborn and very one-directional.  They needed alot of prodding to get things done.

Finally, after a long lobbying and causing session, we had finalized 7 resolutions.  We began debate in the afternoon, and finished two resolutions.  After the first day, I had another meeting with the chairs and the Secretary General, discussing the matters of the day.  Afterwards, Mr. Giordano and I, went to look for a cab to take us to a mall near our hotel.  There we shopped a little, and ate alot.  I visited the food court there and tried to have a bit of everything.  It was amazing.

The next day, we debated the rest of the resolutions, and even included a crisis.  Though they didn't really understand the crisis, it still went by quite quickly.  After a tearful closing ceremony, we left the conference, and proceeded to an early dinner at the ION.  The dinner at the ION was a bit depressing, seeing as we ate at a Taiwanese style restaurant, but the food was ok, and the rest of the night just begun.

After the dinner, we returned to the hotel, got ready, and went to the Night Safari in Singapore.  It was really fun.  A group of students followed me around, as we watched a show, took the bus and walked back.  After a long day, some of students joined me in the "fish-eating-feet" spa treatment. It was really cool.

The next morning, we had a long breakfast with thank yous and tiny recognition for impressive people.  For my hard work as a Chair as well as the de facto leader for some, I received an awesome key chain with Tintin and the Blue Lotus on it.  Afterwards, we headed to the airport, got on our flight and returned home.

All in all, it was a good trip.  I had a lot of fun hanging out with the students as well as meeting new people.  I was  a bit annoyed with the quality of debate we had, but because they were middle schoolers, I let them go easily.  However, in my opinion, our students are a lot more prepared than others, which means that I do not recommend going back, because it won't be a challenge.  I do however, wish to see OFS send a middle school team to TAS for MSTAIMUN in the near future.