Tuesday, September 15, 2009

KTJ Workshop 2009

Short note: I wanted to make this entry much earlier, but due to some unavoidable circumstances, it took me some time to finish writing this entry. It could be a long and boring one to some, especially those who are not from PPKTJ or KTJ. Nevertheless, I'll just blog about it, as a personal record-keeping sake.
"Maybe inside of me there's a dream of me of making Malaysians here (Japan)
NOT to think the Malaysian way since they are OUT of Malaysia.
But the reality is that they still suck big time.
BUT doesn't mean we should left out the good ones.
And I think I just have to continue on searching for the good ones."

This event started last year for the first time, thanks to the initiative of Ben who came out with the idea to organise such event.
For the second straight year, I got myself heavily involved in this event although there was some regrettable incidents happened after the event ended. More on that later. Back to this event, we decided to give it a more proper and nice-sounding name by renaming it as "KTJ Workshop 2009". During my time when we did our preparatory course in PPKTJ (it was renamed as KTJ starting this year onwards), there wasn't any such event held by the seniors for us. That is why we had to rely heavily on our lecturers to decide on which course and which technical college to choose from the many choices available back then.
KTJ Workshop
Among the main objectives of this workshop is to give a better inside of what factors to be considered before the juniors make their decisions, to introduce the lifestyle in Japan as well as to foster a better understanding and relationship between the seniors and juniors, both in Japan and Malaysia. Details on this event is available here.
The event last year went well, although the attendance of the seniors was quite pathetic. Taking note from what happened then, we started to plan this event a few months prior to the event day. It began with drafting a program and list of activities, informing the sub-chief coordinator of KTJ, Mr Eikawa Hajime that we wish to organise such event again this year, designing a poster for the event, and recruiting as many seniors as possible to attend this event, which I think is the most important and hardest part to do.
I would like to thank Filzah personally, because she was the main person behind getting such a huge number of seniors to attend the event this time. Besides that, you might notice that there was a time when I changed my profile picture in Facebook to the poster above. That was actually another idea from Ben to promote the workshop which I would say quite effective haha. To be honest, it is not easy to get people to be involved in such event on a voluntarily basis, because people just can't be bothered. Like what Ben said, "After two years, everyone will be living their own life with their their free money." However, I have been receiving aids for studying abroad all this while, so I treat this as a way to contribute back to the society, or more specifically, to the juniors.
The event was held in INTEC, UiTM Shah Alam, on the eve of the Merdeka Day. There was one weekend that I was in KL to attend my friends' convocation; so I went to INTEC to make some final arrangements with the lecturers, a few days earlier than the day of the main event. Everything was in place already - transportation for the seniors to the venue, prizes for the bowling and quiz contest, etc. So I thought it was.
The venue of the event - INTEC in UiTM Shah Alam.
On the main day, I took the slowest train in Malaysia a.k.a KTM (Keretapi Terlambat di Malaysia) to Shah Alam station and saw Huey Shan (Kosen 3rd Year) right after getting off from the train. She was among the seniors who's gonna attend the workshop. We both waited there until 9 a.m. because there was supposed to be a bus to pick us up from the station. While waiting, we saw a few other Japanese lecturers who are heading to the same location as well. We waited, waited, and waited; and it was already 9.30 a.m. when the event was supposed to start at 10 a.m.
And you should know what happened.
I called Mr Eikawa and he was surprised that there's still no bus to pick us up. We straight away took the most obvious option - four lecturers took the bus while another two lecturers, my junior and me took the taxi to INTEC. I later found out that the top people in KTJ cancelled the bus at the eleventh hour, and the worst thing is that it was done without informing us. I didn't want to make a big fuss out of it that time because the event haven't even started.
The 2nd Year juniors, all set for the commencement of the workshop.
The workshop was held in the multi-purpose hall of the block where the oversea courses to Japan and Korea are located. I was quite surprised to see the juniors were punctual as everyone were already inside the hall while I was setting up the laptops and other stuff. There were twelve seniors, plus another two who decided to attend the workshop in the last minute - Huei Shan, Rasyidah, Sara, Baihaqie, Kayla (all Kosen 3rd Year), Filzah, Farid, Nurhafizza, Athirah (all Kosen 4th Year), Khalid, Kamal, Luqman, Zulhelmi (all University 3rd Year) and me. I'm glad that this time everyone who confirmed their attendance made their way there and there wasn't any repeat of last year when only three our of almost ten made it.
A brief introduction by Eikawa Sensei was followed up with me MC-ing the remaining of the workshop. It was quite a nervy experience, because I didn't made a proper preparations to MC the workshop, except the materials for the presentation sessions, of course.
Eikawa Sensei gave his brief introduction of the workshop.
I told the juniors not to be too stiff and serious throughout the workshop because I was a participant in a workshop or seminar before and I truly understand how boring it can sometimes be. The hall was just silent most of the time when I talk and I wondered if I really looked that scary to them haha. When we talk serious stuff, we get serious; when we play, we play hard. That was the message I tried to tell them.
It was later followed by a short speech by Hassan Sensei, a local Japanese lecturers in KTJ. I actually met him for the first time when he was part of the study-trip team that visited Nagaoka Kosen early this year.
Hassan Sensei asking everyone to shout "Merdeka" seven times.
Haha, no-lah. I was just kidding.
Before the workshop begins, all seniors who were there introduced themselves, one by one starting from the most junior ones. Some chose to use Japanese, some preferred Bahasa Melayu, but I tried something different; I used Bahasa Iban to introduce myself, to the amazement of the juniors who gave me a blur stare haha.
"Oh hi everyone, my name is Rasyidah."
As for the juniors, they tried hard to remember each and every of the seniors' name haha.
Besides the 2nd Year students of KTJ, the lecturers joined us for the workshop as well. But it was just during the early sessions because I guess they got bored after some time. Who wouldn't if you don't understand what's being spoken by the speakers for almost all the time. That is why I tried to use Japanese and English as much as possible so that both the Japanese lecturers and juniors would understand it. But well, the response was just like I expected. The hall was just quiet that you can even hear the cricket's sound when the workshop was conducted in those two languages. When this situation happens, there are only two possibilities;
It is either they understand everything or they don't understand a single thing.
Among the local and Japanese lecturers who attended the workshop.
Lecturers and juniors, all paying attention to the seniors who were introducing themselves.
It was the same thing last year. Once the seniors switched the language to Malay or Mandarin, the hall turned into a pasar malam. From here, we could tell that language plays a vital role in communication. When we are speaking to another person, the conversation will never last long if the person we are speaking to doesn't feel comfortable in that language used.
The first session was the introduction of MSAJ (coming from a request from its secretary), followed by the introduction of the "Timeline". What kind of timeline you might ask me. Well, it is a flow in which every students in this course would most probably go though, starting from kosen, university and subsequently either continue with their post-graduate or looking for a job. Later, it was a brief session about the Monkasho exam which will determine whether or not they qualified to continue their studies in Japan after KTJ. In other words, passing the Monkasho exam is the ticket to fly to Japan.
Sara answering questions from the juniors regarding the upcoming Monkasho exam.
Every one's attention turned to the main door when Low Sensei came in haha.

Perhaps, those topics were too heavy for them, because they looked to be a bit lost when I explained all those stuff to the juniors. But one day, I am very sure they will realise their importance, just like what I did. The next session was the introduction of kosen, how the study and living environment in kosen etc. I felt they enjoyed it more because there were quite a number of pictures in the slides for this topic. Lesson learned - use more pictures and videos if possible in the future.
During the halfway of the session, the head of the Look East Policy, Ms Kamiliah Ab Wahab intervened to give her thoughts about related topics covered so far. She used to be in the committee of MSAJ too and she shared her experiences of getting involved in students' association and how getting involved in these kind of activities could mould a person into a better and dynamic individual.
Kamiliah Sensei giving some advices to the juniors.
And shared some light moments with them too.
There were a few seniors who reached the venue a bit later, and I went out to guide them to the hall. In the mean time, the seniors and juniors continued their question-and-answer session on anything regarding the life in kosen.
Once they made their entrance into the hall, they introduced themselves to the juniors.
Nurhaffiza talking about her experiences so far in Japan.
Any workshop cannot be held continuously for too long because the participants will get restless after a period of time. I know that very well because I was in their positions before. So, before the workshop proceeded to the next session, we stop for a light activity - group games. I guess the juniors were much smarter than me because there was a tie-breaker question that required them to list down all 47 prefectures in Japan.
Personally, I can only name no more than ten; even a Japanese will find it difficult to name all of them. When I collected the quiz sheet back, I found a few groups who managed to list all 47 of them. It was only then that I realised that the juniors were one step ahead of me. They went online using their mobile phones to search for the complete list =.=
Kids nowadays are just too advanced.
Among the juniors at the nasi kandar restaurant.
Only half of the job done and I had began to look exhausted already haha.
The workshop took a break for an hour for the Muslim to perform their prayers, while the non-Muslims including the Japanese lecturers went to have their lunch in a nearby nasi kandar restaurant. There weren't much choice for us because it was the fasting month and most food restaurants were closed during the daytime.
The workshop commenced at two in the afternoon and the next session was one of the most important one. It was the time where the seniors and juniors were divided into groups according to their respective course and during this time, the juniors would throw whatever questions and uncertainties to the seniors. The juniors were divided into four groups at first - Mechanical, Chemical, Electronics and Electrical, and Civil Engineering. Too bad there was only one junior who wanted to take Civil Engineering and since there wasn't any seniors from that course, I made him enter the Chemical Engineering group. Later however, one senior from that course arrived and I guess he got the chance to enquire about his doubts he had regarding that course.
It was a much better condition compared to last year because more seniors were there this time around. So, the seniors could have a rest to catch some breath in between without having to talk non-stop all the time. I had a sore throat when the event ended last time, and same thing happened this time too haha. I'm not complaining, because my sore-throat lasted for just a day.
Huey Shan who is a 3rd Year Mechanical Engineering senior giving some tips to the juniors.

Chemical Engineering group was luckier as they had more seniors with them.
"The watermelon in Japan is this big!" explained Luqman to the juniors haha.
Owaki Sensei was popular among the juniors as well.
Before the workshop ended, we had a short session to briefly explain to the juniors about the entrance exam to universities. Too bad that everyone looked blur again because I guess this is another heavy topic for them. Nevertheless, I guess it could be better than nothing because at least they are now exposed to the fact that they will have to go through the process of sitting for that exam once their time in kosen ended.
From the survey forms collected from the juniors, I would say that the juniors enjoyed the workshop a lot. Most of them were appreciative towards the effort the seniors made to organize this event. They find the workshop very useful, informative, and the seniors who gave talk were funny, awesome and interesting. There are several points that I would like to point out for further improvements (just in case someone else is willing to take up the responsibilities to organise a similar event in the future).
  • Make time for more interactive Q&A sessions, and minimal session on serious and heavy topics which I guess they find it boring.
  • More seniors from various courses and kosen and universities should be invited to the workshop. This is hard because the seniors attended the workshop on voluntarily basis, and they are not paid by MSAJ, KTJ, INTEC or the embassy. I'm not saying that we are demanding to be paid, but it is just hard to get seniors to attend this kind of event on their own will. So, to those twelve seniors who made it this time, give a pat on your back.
  • Hold the workshop in a better venue to make the session more comfortable. This is beyond the seniors' control. The venue is always determined by the top people in KTJ.
A group picture after a long day.
The main events ended by evening, but there were side events which were the bowling competition among the seniors and juniors, as well as the buka puasa session in the students' hostel. Things were quite in a mess because the juniors didn't seem to know that there is a bowling competition in the evening. The waiting game took over and bowling started an hour late than scheduled. In the end, not even half of the juniors took part in the bowling competition all thanks to a case of "miscommunication".
I was pretty surprised to see the staffs took part in the bowling as well, because it was already agreed that it would be a friendly competition between the juniors and seniors. As expected, the staff team swept most of the prizes. They have been playing week in and week out, yet they still wanna compete with the juniors to win those hampers. Why can't they give the juniors and seniors a chance to enjoy themselves after a long day? This might sound a bit harsh but to me, that is just plain greedy.
Bowling at Ole-Ole Bowling Centre.
Hasegawa Sensei joined one of the juniors' team as well.
But I guess it's because the prizes were prepared by INTEC, so they will be the one who set the rules sigh. In this world, when you have the powers, you can set your own rule, no matter how ridiculous it might sound.
First-placed in the bowling competition. My team, together with Danial and Bai, finished forth by the way.

First-placed team in the quiz contest.
Second-placed team in the quiz contest.
Third-placed team in the quiz contest.

The buka puasa session followed right after the bowling competition. It was a buffet dinner held at the hall of the students' hostel of INTEC. Food were slightly below average, due to the low budget, I guess.
The lecturers' table.
Seniors' table, but I was sitting with the juniors.
One of the juniors' table.

After everything ended, it was time for me to head back to the Komuter station. According to what we were informed before the day of the workshop, there would be two buses to fetch the seniors from INTEC and the students' hostel to the train station. So I thought it was. From what happened in the morning, I knew it could be a repeat again. So I asked the person in charged if there is any buses for the seniors. Guess what reply I got?
"Ohh, I'm very sorry. I have cancelled the busses."
Not a bad joke at all, in the middle of the night when the seniors have to avoid from missing the last train to go back, eh? I don't mind if the busses are cancelled, but can't they just inform us a bit earlier so that we could arrange our own transportation? So, the seniors decided to stay with the juniors for one night since there weren't enough empty rooms to accomodate them. Yet, they could still put the blame on the seniors for not informing them earlier that they are gonna stay overnight at the students' hostel. It is a case of the kettle calling the pot black, isn't it?
Stuck there, I decided to crash at my juniors' place. At the same time, I managed to have a look at their place, how their hostel looked like. It is more like an apartment, four people share one house which has two double-rooms. Besides a shower room, there is a small kitchen and a space to dry their clothes. There might be less privacy for them, but certainly, I prefer this new place compared to the UTM hostel of Kolej Kedua in Setapak Jaya.
Normal thing to have messy rooms among guys.
The two rooms and a whiteboard on the right.

The next morning, I went to have lunch with the juniors before leaving.

The workshop would have been a nice and almost perfect one if not for a few poorly executed incidents. I am not sure whether it was due to inexperience, or they are just taking things for granted. Besides the bus incident in the morning, MSAJ was blamed for failing to prepare the prizes for the quiz winners, when it was already being agreed that INTEC would have a budget for that. There are a few other baseless allegations which I think I will just spare them here but well, this is life. What I'm not really satisfied and felt disaapointed is that how an individual can put the blame on somebody else when he/she failed to fulfill the promises made.
Like I always said, don't commit yourself if you are not afford to do it. You might think that you would look capable by making promises here and there. But the real fact is, you would only make yourself look so much sillier if those are just false promises. Worse still, you failed to fulfill them and putting the blame on others instead. I know it happens everywhere, all the time. That is one main reasons I have decided not to get involved in such events anymore in the future. Let this be a good lesson learned.
It was not a totally bad and worthless effort, because I truly enjoyed the whole process of planning, executing, assessing and getting feedback from the workshop this year. It has been a wonderful experience to work with the rest of the seniors who joined the workshop and when I read the comments in the survey forms from the juniors, saying that they have gained something from the workshop and they enjoyed it a lot, I breathed a self-satisfactory feeling.
It doesn't matter how short the comment is, because a simple "Thank you" would make my day.


lyk said...

Well done Calvin and sorry for not being able to join this year activity>.<

mg said...

hehe Well Done!
dont worry at least now you have experience in organising events to add to your belt :)

fufu said...

wow... MSAJ???? i am still the member in Kansai :) lol didnt know we have such activity in malaysia... cool... ready to go back to nagaoka?? i still havent been to taiping la... ><

Kae Vin said...

loooonnnnnng post indeed.

but it meant nothing to me wor :P

calvin said...

@ lyk:
i'm sorry for not being able to make it to the satay dinner too >.<
one day, we will do it =)

calvin said...

@ michelleg:
organising events like wedding dinner? =P

calvin said...

@ fufu:
it's a new event; it's only the second year such event was held in malaysia for the juniors.

i will still be in malaysia until the end of this month. tell me if you wanna drop by taiping =)

calvin said...

@ kae vin:
i'd be surprised if you tell me you understand about the whole thing in this entry.

anyway, i'm more than glad enough to see you leaving a comment here xD

~Live Life~ said...

Are you under any scholarship to Japan?

calvin said...

@ ~Live Life~:
yes, i'm under jpa scholarship. how about you?

~Live Life~ said...

I am under BNM scholarship to UK.........M...


calvin said...

@ ~Live Life~:
UK.........M... lol!
BNM stands for?