This post is so overdue that I’ve resorted to just writing it as a page because I am quite ashamed of myself and my procrastinating skills. Alright, here goes:
27th June 2014
Despite telling myself that I would go to bed early the previous night, that didn’t happen, not surprisingly, mostly because I was filled with anxiety about what the next day would bring. And by next day I mean the first day of Methodist College Kuala Lumpur’s first Model United Nations Conference. The only experience I’ve had with MUNs prior to this was three years ago when Aifa and I and a few other people were supposed to attend SCMUN in Singapore but ended up having to withdraw because of issues with the submission of our travelling documents; surely that didn’t actually count as a genuine MUN experience? Thus, I had no clue what was in store for me, although the general idea of what would go down terrified me to bits; a) meeting new people, b) public speaking, c) sleeping in some foreign place that isn’t my room at home or my room in SMR.
I woke up fairly early the next morning and met up with Bellyn at Monash before walking to college, dragging our luggage on the canopy walk. MUN dress code was formal, so I wore a long-sleeved black dress and borrowed a navy blue blazer from Harris’ mum, paired with black studded flats (plasters readily in place on my feet), desperately hoping this was formal enough for me to enter MCKL without getting kicked out.
Upon reaching college, we met up with the SUNMUN entourage, rang up Chok under Izzat’s orders to ask him whether he was going to turn up or not but already knowing the answer beforehand, and waited for about an hour before we boarded the college bus that would be bringing us to MCKL in the heart of KL itself.
It took about half an hour to reach MCKL, and by the time we reached the college, we were all fairly late. And it was the kind of late that everyone noticed, because there were 40++ of us from Sunway, making up almost a quarter of the entire conference. Before entering the auditorium for the welcoming speech etc, taking Bellyn’s advice, I put on my dark purple lipstick for a first-impression intimidation effect…although in retrospect, that probably didn’t work out (it did turn heads and attract quite a number of compliments though so yay narcissism and vanity!).
I was assigned to UNEP council – United Nations Environmental Programme – while Bellyn was in ECOSOC – Economic and Social Council- so we parted ways there and I was left alone to contemplate my surely ill fate in a room of smartly-dressed people equipped with eloquent speaking skills and well-prepared speeches. And then I met Danielle from HELP, who was also in my council and having a new friend helped to ease my nerves quite a bit.
Entering the classroom assigned to UNEP, it took me a few walk-arounds to determine that the placard with the name of the country I was representing – Kazakhstan – was nowhere to be found. So I sat down at an empty table while one of the admins handed me a makeshift placard on paper. And then roll call started and then opening speeches started and I was ready to puke a lung or two when I started speaking in front of the room in front of all these strangers that looked so intellectual and smart and ready to devour me with their intellectualness and smartness. The thing about public speaking with me is that I can never really improvise or make an impromptu speech because as soon as I go out there and stand in front of a crowd of people, my mind instantly goes blank. Doesn’t even have to be strangers. I could stand in front of all the friends I’ve made in my life and still have a sparklingly empty mind despite all preparations I’ve made beforehand. So naturally, I had to have a script. And I did. Which helped a tonne, although with all the anxiety, I never really hear myself speak so really, it was just me rushing through the words on my script, occasionally automatically crossing out a few lines out of habit in a hurry to finish my goddamn speech. When I could return to my seat, I thought my heart was going to jump out of my skin.
Lobbying session started soon after that, and mostly that was the time we started to get to know each other in the midst of writing our resolutions. Our topics were “Excessive pollution levels in China” and “Lack of clean water supply in third world countries” and I offered what I could from the research I’ve done for the past few days.
Soon, it was lunchtime at 1PM, and I met up with Bellyn downstairs before we decided to have lunch at Nu Sentral. KFC, of all places. Everywhere else was full, which was a bit surprising for a mall as new as Nu Sentral. Bellyn had to head back early to write a resolution for her council so we left the mall at around 2PM.
Lobbying session continued for a while after that and then it was finally time to debate and I was introduced to the official “format” and “procedure” of how a MUN works. The resolution is opened to the floor and all delegates are allowed to speak for or against it; amendments of the first degree can be submitted to the chair if it was the latter case, and submitters are to present their amendments in front of the council, followed by time allocations for other delegates to speak for or against the amendment, as well as submission of amendments to the second degree if present, followed by voting session on the amendment(s). And then it reverts back to time allocation for delegates to speak on the resolution as a whole and the whole cycle continues until the chair reckons the resolution has been debated on thoroughly enough, and then voting procedure on the resolution takes place, deciding whether the resolution will be passed or otherwise. And that was the completion of one topic in a nutshell, taking up approximately 5-6 hours or even more. We did three topics in the course of two days.
MUN for the day ended around evening and Bellyn and I walked to YMCA with our luggage in tow promptly after that. There was a social event on the MCKLMUN schedule that night but Bellyn and I decided to explore Nu Sentral instead, namely the first Monki franchise in Malaysia that was just opened recently, and also Typo. We had dinner at Manhattan Fish Market and I had a bit of residual nerves left from the whole day of MUN so I only ordered a small portion of calamari appetizer. Realising it was almost 10 by the time we finished dinner, we rushed to Sam’s Groceria to get bread for breakfast the next day and I also had to do a number two in one of the mall’s restrooms despite the fact that most of them were already closed. Still, the prospect of that was more enticing than shitting in the toilets in YMCA.
Safe to say, I will always harbour a certain fondness for Nu Sentral after that night.
28th June 2014
Breakfast was literally in bed the next morning for the both of us, aka bread bought the night before. At 9AM, we walked to MCKL for another day of MUN. My lack of caring for the dress code on the second day could be seen by my wearing of black skull-motif hi-tops paired with a navy blue sleeveless dress. I was also running out of plasters to stick on my feet and wearing sneakers sounded like heaven.
It’s only fair for me to admit that I didn’t speak much at all on the first day. Excluding the opening speech, I raised two POIs and that was it. Heck, even raising my hand to POI made me break into sweat and sent my heart beating as fast as the beats in a circa-1999 blink-182 song. I was slightly better on the second day, going out to speak twice and raising a few more POIs. I guess it was rather evident how nervous as hell I sounded in front of the council, stuttering and mispronouncing and making all sorts of ridiculous hand gestures while my feet wouldn’t stop shuffling anxiously. I could laugh at myself; in fact, who said I didn’t. Everyone says “no one will judge you for who you are when you speak” but that’s hard to believe especially since how I judge people quite a lot when they speak. It would be rather hypocritical to think that other people wouldn’t when I did the same thing.
Our council ended with the presentation of a joke resolution concerning “The regulation of GMOs by private corporations”, and then it was time for the closing ceremony where awards of Most Passionate, Most Diplomatic and Best Delegates were given out. SUNMUN bagged quite a number of awards, congratulations! The biggest problem I had that night, however, was the awarding of Most Feminist Award to some dude purely because he was the only male delegate in the UN Women council and, to paraphrase, “was smart enough to adapt to his surroundings as the only guy in a council full of women”. I am getting quite sick of people lauding men for things like these when it comes to feminism. Oh! This woman says she’s a feminist! Women feminists, they’re all the same radical bunch! Advocating for women’s rights and gender equality! They’re just a bunch of angry women on their hormones! Haha! What about men’s rights? We can be angry men too! Oh! This guy says he cares for women and feminism! Good for him! Good for him for being the nobler gender to raise his concerns for the other gender that isn’t his own! What he says must be correct! Of course we place more importance on a man’s opinions and ideas on women than women themselves!
Of course, I don’t know this guy. But what I can infer from his deliberate effeminate playout as he went on stage to claim his “award” speaks volumes of what he truly knows about feminism.
Bellyn and I decided to just go back to SMR after the closing ceremony, and I agreed after a night of not really sleeping at all – foreign sleeping quarters do that to me sometimes. So we packed our stuff, changed into “ugly clothes” to attract less unwanted attention – it’s really sad that this is a real and substantial worry for women; even then, all the ugliest clothing choices in the world could do little to prevent street harassments and/or assaults – and walked to KL Sentral where we took the LRT to Kelana Jaya station, and then a taxi back to SMR. On the LRT, we both agreed MCKLMUN felt like a dream already. As if the LRT and taxi rides are merely transitions into waking up in reality, reality being SMR and Sunway, of course. But nevertheless, I’d never been so happy to be back within the familiar walls of SMR, to the quiet and solitude of my own room, answering my introversion calls like the true introvert I am through and through.
TL;DR, I attended MCKLMUN and it was a pretty fun and eye-opening experience.