Blog Program Bicara Negarawan: Day 3

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

In case you missed it:

Blog Program Bicara Negarawan: Day 1 [link]
Blog Program Bicara Negarawan: Day 2 [link]

Anyway..

THIS POST IS A DETAILED RECOUNTING OF DEFINITELY THE MOST AWESOMESAUCE FIVE-DAY FOUR-NIGHT HOLIDAY WORKSHOP EVER!!!

Oh yeah, Tun Dr Mahathir was there some of the time with us too.

So read on for the third day of my mind-blowing time with the program!

Day 3 – Sunday, 28 March 2010

Rush Minute

The hot bath of the night before nearly cost me this morning. I woke up to find the time was 6.45am – and morning exercise was 6.50am!

I rushed out of bed to wake Balaganesh up as well, then brushed my teeth and got dressed all in a hurry. Bathtime could wait until after the exercise session!

All that rushing helped me make it just in time to gather at the ground floor. *winks*

Aerobics Master!

Today’s time with the fitness instructors was much more fun. Catchy, upbeat music coupled with a silly stretching game called “Chickacha” put us all in a silly, light-hearted mood!

The fun part was when we were doing aerobics. The instructors had us shuffling from foot to foot while swinging our arms and one leg backwards alternately.

I think my time in basic dance in UTP made me default to a dance move where my hands were moving in unison with my feet. Next thing I knew the instructors had spotted me doing so, and told everyone to follow suit!

That little stunt earned me the nickname of “Aerobics Master” for a time, LOL!

Bengkel What?

After the aerobics, I rushed back to the room for a shower and had just enough time left over for a simple breakfast before the next session was due to start.

Waiting for the next session // Image by Tasnim Mohammad, USIM

Clockwise from left: Thara Zainal (UMS), Lok Yun Loi (UPSI),
Areej (UPM), Sabrina Zaini (UPM), Berlina Dolores Doyou (UTM),
Wan Ahmad Hazman (UTM), Awesomesauce, Shobana Sandrasegaran (UniRazak)

Dr. Fazley would be conducting our session this morning, and it was a paper presentation session entitled ‘Bengkel visi Gagasan 1Malaysia & pencapaian Wawasan 2020 dari perspektif politik, ekonomi, agama dan kaum‘ (The 1Malaysia concept and achievement of Vision 2020 from political, economic, religious and racial perspectives).

Boy, what a mouthful!

Clueless Debates

Anyway, we were shuffled around into five groups of about ten each. Every group was tasked with examining and presenting the topic from five standpoints: political, economic, education, social, and human capital.

My group got selected to present from the human capital perspective. Do you even know what human capital means? We spent the better part of half an hour thrashing out definitions and context.

If Dr. Fazley hadn’t stopped by and given us some suggestions, we’d have continued on that way for another two or three hours!

Stage Show

After a brief break for morning tea, we went straight to the presentations. A lot of interesting ideas came up, especially in terms of the implementation of 1Malaysia to support the achievement of Vision 2020.

Our group was last in the lucky draw, so we had to wait our turn for quite a bit before we finally had the chance to speak.

Our group presentation! // Image by Thara Zainal, UMS

L-R: “JR” Tey Jun Ren (UKM), Awesomesauce, Sabrina Zaini (UPM),
Mohd Rahimi (USIM), Sarah Idha Nawawi (UM),
Khairunnabihah (UNIMAS), Nurul Dalilah (IIUM),
Cindrew Gan (UPM), Sivabalan Perumal (USM)

Goodbye Genting

Overall, the presentation went smoothly. Unfortunately I kinda screwed up a little when I told the audience I would pass the floor to Sabrina – only to realize it was Tey Jun Ren’s turn to take the mike!

We didn’t have much time after that, because we were rushing to leave Awana Genting for Impiana KLCC.

Still, even with all the packing and checking out, we still found time for a photo or two!

UTPians standing tall! // Image by Yusuf Hashim, UTP

L-R: Awesomesauce, Wen Zhen, Ahmad Bakri, Ahmad Hazwan

One + Three // Image by Thara Zainal, UMS

L-R: Awesomesauce, Berlina Dolores Doyou (UTM),
Thara Zainal (UMS), Lok Yun Loi (UPSI)

The Long Road and the Tour Guide

JASA had provided two buses to shuttle us to the next destination, one regular-sized one and a smaller coaster.

Us UTPians bundled into the larger bus, luggage and all. As we departed and began our journey down the mountain, something seized me and I found myself rushing to the front of the bus.

Practically everyone thought I didn’t have a place to sit and were about to rush and offer theirs until I opened my mouth:

“Can you guys and girls in the back hear me? ..alright, great.”

*clears throat*

(in formal tour guide tone of voice) “Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for choosing JASA Transnational Transportation Services! We are now departing from Awana Hotel in Genting Highlands for Impiana Hotel at the Kuala Lumpur City Centre.

This journey is estimated to take at least 2 hours. Please keep your hands to yourselves, remain in your seats, and enjoy the trip. Thank you!

The resulting laughter and applause was fun!

Second Home Sweet Home

Arriving at the Impiana some time later, we were greeted by suit-wearing security and smartly-dressed attendants. Damn, talk about living the life!

Registration was quick and painless. This time I was sharing a room with Tey Jun Ren (UKM) and Vincent Ooi Chin Siang (USM).

So a quick tour of Room #1431..

Luxurious, exquisite Impiana! // Image by "JR" Tey Jun Ren, UKM

..then of course, there’s the view out the window.

The Two Towers! // Image by "JR" Tey Jun Ren, UKM

Whatever we did to deserve this most AWESOMESAUCE room all the way on the fourteenth floor of a fifteen-floor building, I’m sure glad we did it!

Nightly Preparations

Earlier on we’d been briefed on the agenda for the night. Dr. Fazley was bringing the TV crew for his weekly student talk show, ‘Suara Siswa’, over to the Impiana Hotel so us five groups from earlier on could conduct our own mock sessions of the show, all recorded on camera.

He said the topic would be left up to us, so sometime before dinner JR gathered our group downstairs to thrash out an issue we could present.

After much deliberation we settled on JR’s choice for our topic: discussing whether local government elections should be reintroduced as per the suggestions of the PR state governments of Penang and Selangor – read more about it here [link].

Off we went, preparing the points, assigning duties and responsibilities, suggesting different approaches to use. Admittedly I was nervous – what would tonight’s session bring?

This Is It!

We arrived in the grand ballroom of the Impiana Hotel after a sumptuous buffet dinner.

Dr. Fazley collected all our proposed titles and sprung a gargantuan surprise on all of us. Apparently in the schedule, that night’s activity was marked as Sesi ilmu “Karisma dan ciri-ciri kepimpinan seorang pemimpin agung Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad” (Knowledge session: Charisma and the leadership qualities of a great leader, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad).

He had expected us to craft a discussion topic based on that topic. As a result: he was throwing out all our topics, and he expected us to be ready to present in 10 minutes time!

As an added challenge, he said he would moderate the mock session of the last group – not mine – to present “just to spice things up”.

The entire hall erupted in a flurry of activity as everyone rallied to their own group to rethink their battle plans!

Camera, Applause, Action!

When the camera crew and the VIP for the night turned up – Datuk Yaakob Mohamad, one of Tun Dr. Mahathir’s most trusted advisors during his time in UMNO – the cameras were ready to roll and the action was all up to us now!

(P.S. Datuk Yaakob Mohamad was there to evaluate our factual accuracy in discussing Mahathir’s personality and leadership. I mean, he practically knew the Man personally, so the onus was on us to get our facts straight too, and also to stop our mouths from shooting at the hip.)

Time flew by really quickly. A lot of groups didn’t get to properly conclude their sessions, mine included. We felt the ire (chagrin?) of Dr. Fazley burn slowly around the backs of our necks.

Dr. Fazley, having had experience conducting himself on television for a lot longer than we have, made the last session an exciting one. He played devil’s advocate, feeding our poor choice of words back to us till we choked and sputtered.

Some, skilled and deft in the art of debating, managed to parry the good doctor’s counterattacks and at least one person left Dr. Fazley with the metaphorical egg on his face.

He even began questioning audience members at random when they least expected it, yours truly included! I just managed to swallow my apprehension and spoke – in somewhat halting Malay – about the capability of students to rise to Tun Dr. Mahathir’s level of leadership.

And all that with a camera in my face. Showbiz ain’t easy, y’know!

The Final Hurdle

After all that, Tuan Sayid brought us crashing back down to earth. He reminded us that this was the final night of evaluation. In order to give us all a fair shot at the top five spots for best student, he would ask us questions one-by-one, especially to those who were reticent.

The question-and-answer dragged on for quite awhile. It made me wonder where Tuan Sayid found so many things to ask us. Most of the questions were about our understanding of Tun Dr. Mahathir’s leadership or about the program in general.

Sometime after Tuan Sayid was done asking about what we thought about the program’s objectives, I began to have this niggling feeling that something just wasn’t right.

We understood the stuff we’d discussed while we were here, but we hadn’t hit the nail on the head when it came to why we were all here.

So I put my hand up for a chance to speak. Tuan Sayid didn’t want to let me because I’d already done so earlier. That is, until I challenged him to allow me to speak by expressing my dissatisfaction with the explanation of the program’s objectives.

Sure enough, he smiled, passed the mike to me, and took a step back.

Raison d’etre

I said that if we’d been brought here to just learn and take examples from Tun Dr. Mahathir’s book of leadership, metaphorically speaking, then JASA wouldn’t be spending so lavishly on us.

If we were here to learn how to speak confidently like Mahathir, all we had to do was see him on television.

If we were here to learn why Mahathir is such a great leader, all we had to do was read any one of the countless books written about him.

If we were here to learn how Mahathir rose to prominence, all we had to do was open up a history textbook.

Anybody can look around and say, “We have Mahathir to thank for all of this prosperity!” But how many truly appreciate it?

We weren’t here to just learn about Mahathir. We were here for the chance to ask him questions we’ve always pondered, to sit with him at the same table for a meal, to shake his hand and quiver all excited-like at the close proximity to a living legend of our time.

We were here to be inspired by him. To be changed. Because meeting this man in person is so much more different than watching him on TV or reading about him in a book.

Because when you’re in the same room with him, breathing the same air, actually speaking to him personally about national or world issues, you are experiencing something that many of us can only dream of!

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet such an inspiring, courageous leader

..and though the applause this time was more deafening than ever, I could feel that everyone in that room had not only understood, but felt in their hearts that I was right.

Tuan Sayid smiled broadly as I passed the mike to him once more.

I’m happy to say I got a lot of handshakes later from my friends and even from Datuk Yaakob himself. He seemed emotional, and he talked about how I spoke so well and how I had nailed the objective of the program splendidly.

We had to vote later on for our own picks of the best five students. It was over quickly. We had a quick supper after being briefed by Dr. Fazley about the following day’s agenda.

It was almost 3.00am by the time I got back to the room.

It had been an awesome night indeed.

[read about Day 4 (Part 1) now!]

About Jared

I am all the awesomesauce you could ever want in a handsome, neat package, and you know it.
This entry was posted in Bicara Negarawan, Personal. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Blog Program Bicara Negarawan: Day 3

  1. yiwei says:

    Awwwh Jared I can’t wait to read the next part… and I feel so hyped up once again for the AWESOMESAUCE things you did there!🙂🙂🙂🙂

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