Saturday, January 28, 2012

Thank You For The Memories, MSAJ

"Caring about others, running the risk of feeling, 
and leaving an impact on people, brings happiness" 

Harold Samuel Kushner

I consider myself lucky to be able to be part of the family of MSAJ (Malaysian Students' Association in Japan). I prefer to call it this way, instead of using the rather heavier terms such as "excos" or "committee members", simply because that is how I see ourselves in the group. In terms of experience, I was among the newbie in the family, although that was a totally different thing if you go by age. It was my first year elected into the committee and I have learned a lot from the others during the past twelve months.

To bring the curtain down on the wonderful journey we have gone through, the Annual General Meeting (AGM) for MSAJ Kanto branch was held last weekend at the National Olympics Memorial Youth Center in Yoyogi, Tokyo. To make the even more interesting, a small-scale Chinese New Year party was also held right after the end of the AGM, as it was the CNY eve on that evening.


A stylish poster for the event, with a shining dragon among the motifs. We are lucky because we have our talented Siang Thye to design most of the event posters.

As always, the meeting began with an opening speech from Awadh Asyraf, the president of MSAJ 2011, and it followed up with a brief summary of all the events held throughout the year 2011 by the Secretary, Chye Sin. Subsequently, each exco members from all the six bureaus - Registration, Web System, Welfare and Communication, Culture and Social, Sports and Recreation, and Academic and Career, presented their reports individually. 

To be fair, 2011 has not been an easy year, especially with the triple disaster in March. Most of the events had to be either cancelled or postponed and rescheduled. One of the event that was hugely affected was the Career Fair, supposedly held in May but was pushed to August eventually. Nevertheless, with Awadh as the captain of the ship, we managed to pull through the year with all the obstacles and challenges faced. Awadh has certainly deservedly earned his post as the President with what he has done.

 Awadh in the middle, with his opening speech to everyone in the hall.

Chye Sin, the secretary presents her annual report of activities carried out throughout the year.

People sometimes wonder why people like us would wanna use up our precious time working for the benefit of others. We could have spent our weekends to catch the latest movies at the cinema, or probably hang out with our friends at the malls. Yet, our weekends were used up for meetings, to plan for activities and events every few weeks. 

The answer is pretty simple. It comes from just a single word - "passion". If you dislike doing something, no matter how hard someone else pushes you, it will come out to nothing. However, it is a different case when you have the passion and interest in something. No matter how much difficulties that come to your way, you will still work tirelessly to get an end-result you desired. 

Another reason is, I quote from Chai Ei, is that you get the privilege to spend the money from MSAJ's account lavishly. Literally, haha! You see, MSAJ is actually quite rich because it has been earning hundreds of thousands of yen worth of profit each year, and the digits just keep increasing every single year. Like what Mr Wan Yusri mentioned, this is a non-profit organization and it is only apt that the profit earned should be spent for the benefits of the students. Just in case anyone wonders where MSAJ gets its income from, no, we do not get any financial assistance from the Embassy of Malaysia in Tokyo, nor the government. Instead, those money mainly come from the members' registration fees and the annual MSAJ Career Fair, or in other words, we generate our own income.


Each of us was asked to prepare our speech, but I end up talking spontaneously of whatever that came out from my brain at that moment haha!

It is a human nature that it is hard to satisfy everyone. Being among the committee members in MSAJ has taught me that hard lesson. No matter how much we've tried, there will always be some individuals out there who will never be satisfied with the efforts we put in every events. The President used to call them the ungrateful ones and I don't find it hard to disagree.

One example was some distasteful comments we got during the Career Fair last year. There was this guy who complained that it has been the same companies participating in the fair year in year out. Worse still, some thought the companies we invited were "small and not famous" ones. To these people, I guess they should learn how to be appreciative to others. I am not against people who voice out their opinions, but certainly not in such irrational and irresponsible way. If these people feels that they can do a better job, MSAJ is more than ready to welcome them to join the organising committee of the Career Fair.

Among the MSAJ members who came to the AGM.

Situations like this reminds me of a piece of writing by Raja Petra Kamarudin, in which he questioned us which category are we in. Here, I am not touching anything related to politics but I would like to draw an analogy between what we faced in MSAJ and also the political scenes back home. Sometimes, many people overlook the importance of an Annual General Meeting. The truth however is that it serves as an important platform to elect your representatives that will chart the journey of the association for the next one year. So, my question here is pretty simple.

Are you amongst the less than 30 or so Malaysian students who attended MSAJ Annual General Meeting each year, or are you amongst the more than 2,000 Malaysian students who didn't attend, or didn't even attended any events organised by MSAJ before this? If you are in the first category, then I value your comments and criticisms. If you are in the second then your comments are of no importance and it would be better to just keep your mouth shut.


The committee members of MSAJ Kanto branch 2011, with Mr Wan Yusri and Mr Muhammad Annizam.

Together with Nasrudin, the two of us were in charged of the Bureau of Welfare and Communication. There wasn't any clear-cut events our bureau held, but I guess I was satisfied with the few little projects that we managed to carry out, while helping out the rest in other events. One of them was to get one of the popular Malaysian restaurant in Tokyo, Rasa Malaysia Cuisine Ginza to offer discounts to students who dine there. In return, they get to advertise their restaurant at MSAJ's webpage. So, it is a win-win situation.

We also managed to get some sponsorships from the same restaurant in the form of food vouchers to be given out during the lucky draw session at Malaysian Night 2011. Although I personally didn't win any vouchers on that night (I gotta say I don't have much luck in lucky draws haha!), seeing the smiles on the faces of those who got lucky that night was enough to give me a great sense of satisfaction.


A cake to mark our graduation haha!

However, the biggest event I was involved in was none other than the MSAJ Career Fair 2011. It was scheduled to be held in May 2011, but later postponed to August due to the worries and fears of most companies to come to Tokyo a couple of months after the 3.11 disaster. Being one of the coordinator, we started working almost a year earlier, in October 2010.

It started off with sending out invitations to Japanese companies in Malaysia, and making arrangements for the staffs who are coming over on the event day, as well as making reservations for the venue, promoting the event to the students in Japan, etc. The team started with only three of us, but slowly grew to a wonderful team that had made it one of the most successful career fair ever held by MSAJ, joined by 28 companies in total.


Jun Hui, campaigning on why she should be elected as one of the excos in the new committee.


The end of the election session to pick the new committee members for the year 2012.


The newly elected President of MSAJ Kanto branch 2012, Lai Chai Ei giving his maiden speech.

On the event day, I was the coordinator-cum-participant. Along with the other two coordinators and our team members, we made sure that everything was in place before the event started. Once everything was ready, I switched role and became a participant and went hunting for jobs with the companies at the career fair. That promoted one HR staff from a company who asked me, "Excuse me, I thought I saw you coordinating this event earlier this morning and now you are coming for a job interview?"

Although we had fewer students that we had hoped for in 2011, the fair turned out to be not bad, considering the fact that it was a year full of uncertainties. The most satisfying moment however, after a year-long effort and time being put in for an event like that, was to hear news of your juniors and batchmates getting job offers from the companies participated in that fair you organised. It was one of the best reward you can get and a simple "thank-you" from them would certainly put an icing on the cake.


The new line-up for this year. It is a well-balanced team, with quite a number of new faces coming through. 


A dialogue session with the representatives from the Embassy of Malaysia, Mr Wan Yusri and Mr Muhammad Annizam.

The AGM and Chinese New Year Party was attended by Mr Wan Aznainizam Yusri, the Head of Chancery and also Mr Muhammad Annizam Mohtar, the Second Secretary of the HR Department of the Embassy of Malaysia in Tokyo. During a casual conversation with Mr Wan Yusri at the party, he invited he to join the Embassy futsal team in the sports festival later this year, since I am no longer qualified to represent any university teams in a couple of months' time haha! 

I guess for the first time, I heard Chinese New Year themed songs played at an event in Japan. Listening to those songs and having good food on the eve of Chinese New Year had more or less cured the longing to be back home to celebrate the occasion with our family. The festive atmosphere that night had certainly taken away some homesickness we had.


Home-made gyoza by a Malaysian family. Most of our Muslim friends had gyoza for the first time at that party.


The second cake of the day. This time it was chocolate sponge cake. And look what's at the bottom right?

Our Minister of Finance a.k.a. Treasurer, Iman Amira came out with a creative idea of distributing ang pows to everyone who attended the AGM and CNY Party that evening. This is what I love about the events we had since last year because there will usually be some elements of surprise at most of them. A good example was the two return tickets from Tokyo to Kuala Lumpur for the winners of the lucky draw during Malaysian Night 2011. It was not announced to anyone until the event night itself.

This time, this ang pow thingy was kind of a surprise as well. I bet those who decided not to attend the event must be feeling a bit regretful now, right? Haha! So, the moral of the story is, try to be more active in students' association activities and who knows you might purple packets at Deepavali party next time lol!


Long queue waiting to get their first packet of ang pow of the year from Mr Wan Yusri.


See how happy Siri (his name is, coincidentally the same as Siri from iPhone haha!) was to get his ang pow.


Awadh, giving some pieces of advices to the new committee members for one last time.

To all in the family of MSAJ 2011, like what the Japanese always say, "otsukaresamadeshita", and thank you for the great memories!


life is beautiful said...

Thank you for joining the family of MSAJ. 2011 has been a successful one with the leadership of the both presidents and treasurer, and of course you. I have to say that you did very well and did great contributions to the committee.To tell you the truth, I has been learning from you actualy,haha.(oopss) felt like i didnt contribute much in the committee.
well, I will do my best this year.
On behalf of MSAJ, I thank you for everything Calvin.=)

calvin said...

@ chyesin:
otsukare to you too =D
have wanted to join in msaj activities more actively during my early years in japan, but apakan daya, i was just too far away and msaj at that time was almost non-existent.

i'm sure everyone have given their best and should be proud of ourselves.

learned from me? haha, that's a big compliment, you know? i'm more than happy if the juniors have learned something from the seniors members during the period.

and now, i guess you are one of the senior member in msaj already and your junior-junior yang comel is waiting for your guidance haha! :P

all the best and i'll drop by msaj's events as much as i could XD