Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Stepping Stones into O-MUN

I know this is maybe a little bit irrelevant,  but I felt like I needed to talk about my previous MUN experience before I jumped straight into O-MUN.  :)
I first started Model United Nations in Eighth Grade, a brand new middle school program.  I joined because I thought it would be something interesting to do as I really enjoyed reading and learning about current events.  The other students, along with myself, were the guinea pigs.  We practiced debating while also observing some of the high school practices.  After a whole year of practice, we were recommended to join the high school program the next year.

Our high school Model United Nations program at the time was growing slowly as our school only participated in the IASAS MUN (a conference which consisted of six international schools in the South East Asia region as well as other smaller schools) and TAIMUN (a conference which consisted of schools all across Taiwan).
My first speech at a Model United Nations Conference!

My first conference was in my freshmen year, where I went to TAIMUN and was in the Human Rights committee.  I represented the delegate of India and wrote a resolution on the Question of Human Trafficking.  I also wrote some clauses for the Question on Honor Crimes.  I attempted to main submit that year, but was still inexperienced and decided to co-submit and support the other delegates as best as I could.  I distinctly remember once when I was at the podium when someone asked me a Point of Information that I had never experienced before:

“Does the delegate wholeheartedly  agree that without this solution, this resolution will be ineffective?”
I personally had no idea on how to answer, but I saw the delegate who asked me nod slowly, so I tentatively replied, “Yes, this delegate wholeheartedly agrees.”  Later when I wrote a note to her, she replied explaining what she had done, and the effect of my answer.
Untitled picture
The Website I designed for the Middle School Conference!

That same year, because of the success of the middle school MUN program, the school decided to host a conference for middle schoolers.  As a high school delegate, I not only mentored the middle schoolers but  I also helped prepare the conference.  I was part of the first leadership team, as Head of Tech where I created the website ( and troubleshooted any technical issues.  This was the beginning of a series of leadership positions I would take in MUN.

The next year, I once again went to TAIMUN and was in the Human Rights committee again.  However, this time, I represented France and main submitted a resolution on the Prevention of Unethical Human Trials. Sadly, to my dismay, the resolution did not pass.  That year, I once again mentored middle schoolers while being on the leadership team for the conference.  I was the Environment Chair that year and the Head of Tech again.  Running the website while fulfilling my chairing duties as well.
My only picture of me at MY-MUNOFS

In junior year, I not only went to TAIMUN again, but I traveled to Singapore with a middle school team to participate at MY-MUNOFS where I was the Environment Chair.  I remember asking the conference’s Secretary General many questions on Skype because I was unfamiliar with the THIMUN rules as a chair.  My trip to Singapore with the middle school delegates was very special because I became very close with the delegates, so much that I keep track of their involvement and growth in MUN today.  It was also very special to me because I was given opportunities to be more than just a student officer, but also an unofficial chaperon for the students.

When I went to TAIMUN that year, I switched committees and represented China in the Security Council.  I had a lot of fun at that conference because as a P5 nation any disagreement between the five of us had to be resolved through a P5 caucus.  Tensions were high as both Russia and I adamantly stated our positions in the debate on the Question of Cote D’ivoire   I personally prepared more for the other topic, The Question on the Arab Peninsula, but in the middle of debate, I was chosen to represent China during the crisis.

Finally, at the end of the year, I was the Deputy Secretary General for the middle school conference while also running the website.  That conference was special as the director wanted to find a way to make the conference paperless.  After many weeks, I adapted a system that was used at MY-MUNOFS and made the conference paperless.  (This system would be tweaked and then used at IASAS MUN 2012.)

Needless to say, that school year of MUN was very exciting.  I wasn’t prepared however, for the MUN program that I found during the summer.

My first step into Online MUN was during  the summer of 2012, when I saw an old friend from Singapore in this MUN program, even though I knew she wasn’t interested in MUN at all.  I asked her about it and she told me that it was her friend, Dinah Liu (Asia’s Deputy Secretary General), that signed her up (though she wasn’t interested at all).

As a result in July 2012, I Facebooked Ms. Martin, in order to learn more about the program.  I began asking her tons and tons of questions, even went as far as to watch a couple of the online debates on Youtube.  While I was asking her questions, I also e-mailed my MUN Directors: Ms. Sinclair and Ms. Rowe, letting them know about this program and what their thoughts on it were.  They replied saying that I should investigate and find out more about the program before anything else happened.

As the days went by, I became extremely interested in the program because I realized how much fun O-MUN would be as well as the fact that TAS could become a part of this program.  After hundreds of e-mails, I was hooked.  I was really interested to see how I could become a part of the program, as well as how my school, TAS could become a part of the program as well.  After countless e-mails and Facebook messages, I was hooked.  I constantly e-mailed my directors during the summer, hoping to drum up their support as well.  By the end of the summer, I was the new Executive Administrative Officer for Taiwan, and thus began my O-MUN journey.  As time went on, I participated in my first debate, a Security Council debate where I represented China on the topic of Syria.

I’m really glad that I joined O-MUN because not only do I get to go to THIMUN as a result, but I have met so many new people.  The great thing about O-MUN is that, it allows students to network across the world.  At conferences, students usually become friends with students from other schools within the region, but at O-MUN, with delegates logging in from everywhere, its quite easy to meet and talk to people from different parts of the world.


So, in reality, everyone doesn’t hate me, but in my committee, which focus is on Sustainable Energy, just doesn’t like OPEC, because of the Oil.  Like seriously, it took so much work to find 15 people to sign my resolution because everyone wanted to be helping the globe with sustainable energy, but nonetheless, it’s done and I am main submitting a resolution!!! It however will be a resolution that everyone will probably just kill.
So moral of the story, don’t be the hated guy in the conference, makes life sooo much harder.
In other news, I ate herring with stroopwaffels (Sweet and Savory, great combo) which was pretty awesome.  It’s like sardines with caramel soft cookies.  But yeah.
I was so hungry at dinner (cause our food was forgotten), I ate herring with stroopwaffel.

Remembering THIMUN 2013

So, my journey to THIMUN began from long debates and meetings on my 4-5 year old Lenovo laptop.  Now two weeks later of break (basically break, I mean we had a normal school week plus Spirit Week, but after THIMUN I didn’t work as hard as I did before, and we had CNY) I really really want to go back.  I miss every single bit of that trip: the conference, the cultural experience and the team that I got to meet and hang out with face to face.

Looking back, the conference was a lot of fun.  To be honest, I did not know I was going to have that much fun representing an NGO, especially one such as OPEC.  Every face to face conference that I have been to, I have represented a nation and I had allies that were already made for me, policies that have been established since day 1.  While OPEC does have its 12 nations, what was surprising was the some of the delegates had no idea what OPEC was and didn’t even know that they were part of the organization.   Yet, representing OPEC, in a committee whose sole theme was Sustainable Development, was very interesting to say the least.  Basically, on day 1 of the conference during lobbying and caucusing, I realized that I was the thorn in almost everyone’s backside, and that nobody wanted to work with someone who was promoting the use of oil.  However, after a long and grueling battle, I was a main submitter for a purposeful controversial resolution that supported the use of oil in providing energy to LEDC countries with rapidly expanding cities.

During the debates, however, I transformed from being a thorn to a resolution terminator.  The thing is, regardless of how much solar and hydro and all those various sustainable energy resources are used, oil is still the primary component for hundreds of thousands of products.  It is impossible to completely change from oil to sustainable energy, at least not until sustainable energy is fully researched.  As a result, I became known for being a hard delegate to challenge and one of the most outspoken delegates of our committee.  I remember three instances where I was called up as the last speaker and completely trashed the resolution to which it then failed (once again, to any THIMUN delegates in my committee, I am soo deeply sorry for destroying resolutions and perhaps hurting your dreams, aspirations, and grades if affected).

While the debates were a lot of fun, I really enjoyed meeting the different people and making friends as a result.  All you people who I met, I want you to know, you guys were a lot of fun to hang around with for 9 hoursish each day.  One thing that was going to be memorable was that I wanted to play “Another Bites the Dust” by Queen on Friday as I walked in just for fun, but the chairs wouldn’t allow it (this song I chose because I killed resolutions the day before, and I knew mine wasn’t going to pass).  Also, doing the outreach was an interesting experience to say the least (I had no idea, I was that good at selling and just talking to random people).  I felt accomplished when we were successful in our outreach in O-MUN as well as my random outreach for TAS at the dance.

The cultural experience of just going to Amsterdam and The Hague was amazing (and yes this includes the food).  When we visited Amsterdam on Wednesday, I felt that I learned a lot more than I expected.  I had a lot of fun just by riding around the city for 2 hours, walking around, taking pictures and even trying real raw herring (YES JOLANDA IF YOU’RE READING THIS, I HAD REAL RAW HERRING WITH PICKLES AND ONIONS!!! IT WAS AWESOME!!!).  One of the most sobering moments was visiting the Anne Frank House.  That place, gave me the same eerie and somber feeling that I felt when I visited the Tuol Sleng Prison S-21 in Cambodia and the Killing Fields.

Finally, I truly miss out of everything was meeting and hanging out with my O-MUN Team.  One of the funniest moments was getting into the hotel on Sunday morningish, putting down my bags, and immediately singing Les Miserables with Omar and Chris.  That was hilarious and a lot of fun.  Hanging out with all of you, was just indescribable.

Ms. Martin: I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to go to The Hague, and while I was probably the newest member of the O-MUN Executive Leadership Team, I’m glad that I was chosen to go.  Working with you for the past 6 months has been one of the most fun and exciting MUN experiences that I have been a part of.  I look forward to working with you in the future.
Thasbeeh: You are amazing, I have no idea how you put up with all the craziness we bring.  Its really funny how many facial expressions you have.  Thank you for leading our team through thick and thin and ensuring that none of us died on the trip.
Audrey:  I find it amazing that you put up with my craziness for all week.  I thought you would break or snap but no, you kept going.  It was a lot of fun meeting you and yes, annoying you was a lot of fun too!  When we meet again someday, in the future, I will once again retell my eating escapades and try to freak you out again!  Thank you for putting up with my annoying-ness and for being my “shameless marketing” partner with the pens.
McKenna:  Our fearless leader, you were amazing to work with and I learned quite a bit from you.  You are one of the most vibrant people I’ve met, and I think that you will do great things in your future.  Thanks for being the coolest (and prettiest) SG that I’ve worked with and I do hope we meet again someday.
Omar: You’re one of the funniest people I know.  Thanks for just making each day interesting with your weird and less than accurate accents.  We have to sing together sometime in the future again!  ONE DAY MORE!!!! Haha!
Hasan: Thanks so much for the interesting and deep conversations we had over dinner and breaks about religion and just teaching me some cool/interesting stuff about Islam.  You are a funny person though to be honest, I don’t think you look like Mr. Bean, did not see it at all.  Btw, I’m keeping that photo.
Nadine: You’re one of the most straightforward people I know, and that’s what I like about you.  You are an amazing person and yes, thanks for calling me the ultimate tourist.  It’s something that I’ve been told many many times before.  Also, hope you enjoyed that raw herring.  I thought it was awesome.
Chris: Hey Bish!  We make a great singing team, you, me and Omar.  We should definitely do it again sometime.  Thanks for writing the funniest song that I know and allowing me to perform it with you.   I cannot wait to meet with you again and I don’t know, record a CD or something together.  If they have CDs still in the future.
Salam: You were a great person to work with during the debates.  I’m so glad we got to work together during the conference and while I didn’t get to hear your opening speech, I can tell that you are a crazy debater like I am.
Rameez: You are the Energizer Bunny, always full of energy, never stopping to rest.  I hope you never change because someone always needs to be there to keep the energy going.  Your work with the O-MUN website is amazing, and I am just in awe with how much you have done with the site.  Keep up the amazing work and I enjoyed our time together at The Hague.
Russel: HEY SCUMBAG!! It was great finally meeting for the first time in The Hague.  You are an amazing debater, and I see a crazy MUN delegate in you.  I can’t wait to work with you in the future in O-MUN.
Khaled: Thanks for making my day when we took that photo.  Our interesting conversations about Islam is something that I will use to help me learn more about it.  Also for the record, if the situation called for it, I would not hesitate in eating you.  Just saying.
THIMUN: Thanks so much for an amazing experience and I wish this wasn’t my last year.
Jolanda and Albert: Thanks for picking me up at the airport and giving me an insight to the Dutch culture!  I tried real RAW HERRING!! WOOO!
Family: Thanks for supporting me on this trip!  Would not have made it without you guys
Ms. Sinclair and Ms. Rowe: Thanks for supporting me with O-MUN as well as my growth as an MUN delegate and leader.  It has been great working with you these last few years and I wish I had more time to do more.  Thank you so much for teaching me so much about MUN and about becoming a better leader.