Full Name: Dustin Chung Ru Shearn
Post: Committee Member
Proposer: Basil Lim (Physics, 4th Year)
Seconder: Pashiini Supramaniam (Chemistry, 2nd Year)
The sky was looming. He stepped barefoot out onto the cold, damp stone and looked out onto what was before him. It wasn’t what was there that upset him, but rather what was not. Eyes closed, he struggled to imagine; the heat of day, the smell of the storms and the blinding rays of the sun. A deep breath. The air was frigid but fresh. A cold gust made the trees applaud and the hills sing. He shivered. Cold wind screamed in his ears. Exhale, then repeat.
My first experience being overseas in England happened two years ago when I did my A Levels in Concord College. Going from the warm and wet city of Petaling Jaya to the freezing rural village of Acton Burnell was certainly an experience to remember- I felt excited, adventurous and even anxious about the future like any other first-time boarding student with little exposure to England might feel. Optimism aside, however, one thing that did plague me for the first few weeks of my time here was homesickness. My large pots of Bak Kut Teh suddenly turned stingy bowls of lentil soup. The weather was so cold I lost the ability to sweat while wearing shorts and in fact soon after, I lost the ability to wear shorts in general. I missed home so much (thankfully, Concord later became populated with many Malaysians which did reduce the homesickness by a substantial degree).
ICUMS does its job very well- from even before term started, I felt like I was already part of a family that would take care of me during my time in the UK. All the events, mingles and bonding time (especially during MNight) really eradicated any trace of homesickness in myself and I’m pretty sure in everyone else as well. Now I feel it’s time to give something back, and to help fellow Malaysians feel more comfortable during their studies. I have some ideas that I feel would advance the system currently:
⁃ The buddy system is a good idea to give freshers a small “support group” per se as well as help them ease into life in England and the society. However, I find that this year, the buddy groups were rather inactive.
o I propose getting the groups more involved by hosting more buddy games with more incentive, or integrating buddy groups into current MSoc implements (eg. A “league table” of buddy groups, with a prize at the end?)
In the end, the buddy group system will always have faults/inactivity because of MNight preparation, and the fact that some people may not want to socialise so often- this is unavoidable, but perhaps inhibitable.
⁃ Intersociety competitions (eg. Who Boleh, or a telematch but with those outside MSoc) allow us to socialise with each other as well as those outside of our community.
o I am suggesting increasing the frequency of events like these, and reaching out to a wider variety of societies. To add incentive, there will be a prize for the winning team.
In terms of profiting from these events, I also propose a small entrance fee per team that joins. Teams from other societies will also have to pay this fee, but after the event is over, the society itself that has sent the most teams (or has the winning team etc.) will also win a prize. This encourages more teams to join, especially from other communities.
In addition to eSports and regular physical sports, more artsy competitions such as singing and dancing or even cooking can be held (eg. A small scale “mVoice” with other societies)
o Keep in mind the vast breadth of societies at Imperial College, and how we can use those scopes of interest to our advantage. This will require polling.
⁃ When MNight preparation is at its peak, the amount of activities decrease.
o Granted, this is due to a lack of free time and the need to concentrate on such a large scale production. However, this does affect those who are not participating in MNight but are still part of the society.
The society will always quiet down during this period of time, but I do not feel that it should be silenced. At least a few activities should happen during this duration.
⁃ Currently, MSoc hosts events which are subsidized, allowing for the members to partake in them at cheaper rates. I propose hosting events which appeal to a wider audience beyond the Malaysians (ie. Into other societies, taking advantage of their interests) and allowing others to join us- but paying more than a member would.
o If this addition is successful, we can promote it more by allowing a member to bring one non-member in at a cheaper price.
I strongly believe that ICUMS is a powerful community which can make both new arrivals and existing members feel more at home and that frequent interaction is the best way to do this. MSoc was founded as a society for Malaysians, and so the members should always get the best that we can give and what we give is our Malaysian Hospitality.