After the first contested elections in recent memory, the 34th Law Club MC was elected on August 26th 2013 after a day of voting. With the conclusion of the internal elections on September 2nd, Justified interviewed the new MC to get to know them better, as well as members of the student body to find out what they would like to see from the new Law Club.
First up, Danial Hakim and Lee Weiliang, President and Vice-President. Both were members of FOCC ‘13 (Vice-President and Law Camp Head respectively) and are also avid performers, having sung at numerous law school events such as LSRIC’s Valentine’s Day celebrations, and Open House 2013.
Justified: As an overview, what are your plans for the upcoming term?
Danial and Weiliang: Hello! We’re really glad that the student body has given us the support and confidence to be part of the 34th Law Club Management Committee, and we will do our best to address concerns and push through initiatives during our tenure in Law Club. Broadly, the MC will proceed on three main principles, all of which lead towards the concept of increasing unity among students in Law School:
– 1. Identifying good practices from the previous MC and continuing them;
2. Improving upon addressing the needs of the student body; and
3. Increased avenues and opportunities for all students to be involved in Law-related activities
To us, unity hinges upon the idea of togetherness, of student life contributing towards the identity of a Law student (which traditionally come from the prestige of being in NUS Law or fuelled by the competitive spirit in sporting and academic events). The 34th MC aims to give everyone as many options as possible to make new memories and friends through new experiences, and also increase networking opportunities in the process.
Over the next few weeks/months, we are looking to kick-start a few initiatives: looking into how we can streamline accounting processes for sub-clubs, starting work on this year’s Moratorium, working with NUSSU to see if we can bring Starbucks/Subway to BTC, increasing presence on social media through the Media Committee and expanding the roles of Class Committees to gather feedback better and have a look at our fellow students’ needs, among other things. Do keep an eye out for our upcoming welfare event as well — you’ll know what it’s all about pretty soon!
Justified: As the President and Vice-President, how do you guys complement each other in terms of working style and personality?
Danial: We’ve worked together in the past year as members of FOCC, so we know each other pretty well. We are both thorough in our work and take pride in it, and it is always good to have each other to ensure that we have addressed every issue that might pop up. Although both of us do take time to assess situations meticulously, I might be firmer in enforcing decisions whilst Liang has a softer touch (I assure you, this does not mean he can be taken advantage of!), so we do complement each other’s personalities in that sense
Next up, Charmaine, the Welfare Director. Charmaine was both Secretary of FOCC ‘13 and Treasurer of the Y1 Class Comm, and is one of the few people we know who enjoys teh-o-kosong bing from the Summit.
Justified: What is it about the position of Welfare Director that appealed to you?
Charmaine: The position of the Welfare Director gives me the opportunity to push for initiatives and improvements that the student body wishes to see and to plan events (such as chill outs) that would make Law School a better place.
Justified: What would you be in your ideal welfare pack?
I think foolscap paper is a must. Some pen refills will be good too, but that’ll be logistically hard since everyone uses different pen models. Oh and instant coffee/ tea bags – and lots of food. Om nom nom.
Joshua, the Sports Director, was the FOCC ‘13 Logistics Head – and spent a summer interning ESPN, bringing a real legitimacy to his new position.
Justified: This year has been a landmark year in the history of law school sports! How are you planning to build on the success?
Joshua: I’m really glad it’s been a great year for law school sports – kudos to Hurwitz!. The captains of their respective teams have been working very hard to ensure that their teams have been training well to achieve better performances, and as Sports Director I’ll be working closely with the captains to help them towards success and better results in the many sporting events still to come (LAWMED/Law Frat/Justice League etc).
Justified: Do you see yourself as the one bringing law school together with sports as the medium?
Joshua: That is exactly the end I have in mind – I think the fact that law school has a mugging culture (not that it’s a bad thing!) and is located on a different campus doesn’t help either. People are usually too busy or find it too troublesome to support the sports teams (which usually play at KRC). However, I believe quite a number of students are actually really passionate about sports (signing up for the different sports events etc). Although it may be quite difficult to inculcate such a culture in the school, I have a few things in mind — promotion of more sports interest groups, ensuring that the different sports have training grounds available nearby, buying the necessary equipment etc. There was even a suggestion to include sports as part of the law curriculum! I’m not sure how feasible that is, but there’s definitely plenty of room for improvement and I hope to do what I can to improve the sporting culture at law school.
We then interviewed the Creative Director and Publicity Director together, given their closely-related job scope. Yiting and Yunheng were Storyline Head and Publicity Head of FOCC ‘13 respectively, and were directly responsible for the very popular Matric Week and Rag t-shirts, among many other things.
Justified: How would you describe the personalities of your fellow MC members and how do you hope to use them to bring out the image of law club?
Yiting and Yunheng: We’re one big family – the image of the law club, if anything, should reflect that harmony. But rather than using the personalities of the people behind it to bring out the image of the club, we’re just going to try to share the fun with the school. Justified: Any cool new merchandise in the pipeline? Yiting and Yunheng: We have a few ideas but let’s hold our horses! Let us know if people still want reprints of old merchandise before we start making new ones — the existing designs are still extremely popular.
Next, we talked to Tricia, the Corporate Relations Director. She was the FOCC Marketing Head, and was also the brains behind the success of the Matric Week finale event, PUTS.
Justified: Who’s been the most interesting sponsor you’ve worked with, and what’s the most extensive sponsorship you’ve secured so far?
Tricia: The most fun and fulfilling sponsorships are always the ones dealing with collaterals. For me this mostly came from this year’s PUTS! I think the two that stood out the most for me were the apparel sponsor for the girls, LoveBonito and the florist, Mirage Flowers. It was really fun getting to go down to the studio to look at samples of clothes and also meet with the florist to discuss our vision of the decor for the event and to hear their input as well! Another memorable sponsor was MayBev, which very willingly provided us with all the alcohol for PUTS this year. This was one particularly accommodating and generous sponsor and the entire process of working with them was so smooth!
Justified: What do you enjoy most about the process?
Tricia: I like all of it! Firstly, the searching process, looking for sponsors that will best be able to cater to our requests and after that the negotiation process where we try to strike a deal that is the most beneficial to both parties! But, the best part is really when you successfully reach an agreement, the satisfaction and relief is really quite indescribable!
We then talked to Samuel Koh (affectionately known to his friends as SKoh), the Academic Director, who is not only exceedingly intelligent but an ardent supporter of Manchester United as well.
Justified: The moratorium has been a thorn in our side for quite a few years now – what are your views and how do you hope to change things this year?
Samuel: My aim is to facilitate a better understanding of the pros and cons of voting for or against having a moratorium, so that when the time comes for us to vote, we will make informed and well-considered decisions. I will do my best to canvass opinions and advice from both seniors as well as law firms in order to achieve this. I will also engage our SMU counterparts at a suitably early point in time so that the SMU Year 2s are equally well informed. Concrete plans regarding other details like the possible variation of the moratorium voting requirements, or the shifting of some of the key dates concerning the voting of the moratorium are still in their nascency. Needless to say, I will keep everyone posted of the relevant developments in the coming months!
Justified: Who’s your favourite judge, and what do you admire most about him/her?
Samuel: My instinctive decision would be to go with all the law lords who had mercifully volunteered a simple “I concur” in all those dreadful seminal UKHL judgments. However, if I have to give this question some serious thought — It would be a tough call, considering I hardly read many of the cases in detail (woops! — now I’ve blown my cover). Based on the couple of judgments that I have read thus far, Baroness Hale would be my pick. She is very incisive and insightful in expressing her views, and has, most of the time, offered a gratifyingly simple breakdown of the legal issues at hand. Interestingly, she is one of the few judges in the UK apex courts that have a background in academia. However, seeing the quality of judgments that our very own Justice Andrew Phang delivers on a prolific basis, it should be of no real surprise to us. Another judge that definitely deserves a mention would actually be Justice Choo Han Teck, simply for the number of dissenting judgments that he has offered when sitting on the Court of Appeal bench. By Singapore’s standards, he is, in my opinion, putting up quite a valiant front.
Next up, Jun Jie, the Finance Director. JJ was this year’s Rag Float Head, and led the team behind the amazing backdrop and props we displayed this year that helped us garner a Silver Medal.
Justified: Most of us would instinctively avoid the paperwork and red tape that comes with handling finance matters – do you feel the same way? Do you have plans to streamline the process to make it easier?
JJ: Somehow I think I am innately attuned to handling these things from back in my NS days to my role as the Float Head for this year’s Rag! Truth be told. it is very leceh for us to fill in form after form and acquire signature after signature just for us to get our (rightful) money back. While it is nigh impossible to change or streamline accounting processes per se (given that they are set by the accountants over at OFS – something which we have little sway over), I will try my best to assist the sub-club treasurers make sense of the regulations (they must serve a purpose at the end of the day… right?). So, really, help us help you.
Justified: What was your proudest moment leading this year’s float team?
JJ: I guess my biggest takeaway from Float 2013 is that no matter how ambitious you are, you cannot make it a reality without a committed team behind you who are in for the long haul. Furthermore, Rag – at least for us in Law School – has never been about winning. Instead, we, the seniors, are merely facilitators for the freshmen to enjoy themselves, make new friends and work together towards a common goal. Back to the question – my proudest moment must be on the night of 6 August when we first arrived at UTown to deposit our props. I think many of our freshmen were overwhelmed (to an extent) by the Floats from the other faculties and how seemingly inadequate ours fared when compared to their quasi-Float-mounted-on-lorries structures. However, I was very touched and encouraged by how they cheerfully shrugged off the naked cynicism and unconcealed disdain on display by people from other faculties when they walked past our holding area. I guess it was then that when I felt that we, as seniors, had achieved our goal for Rag 2013. We do not need medals (of any colour) to tell us whether we had succeeded – the enthusiasm and passion shown by the freshmen is more than enough to vindicate us
We then talked to Jotham, the Secretary, who was the Vice-President of the Y1 Class Comm and is an avid fan of Terry Pratchett and Disney movies.
Justified: I’m sure many of us have benefited from your meticulous organisation of tutorial swaps – do you have plans to continue this on a bigger scale?
Jotham: There’s been a bit of talk about getting the school admin to handle tutorial swap match-ups directly themselves — Skoh and I have been discussing and will be looking into this! My current personal view on the matter is that it’s best for a student organisation to handle it, and probably in an informal manner – the good thing about us handling it ourselves and having a somewhat publicly accessible spreadsheet with our contact numbers on it is that it’s easy for us to contact one another and discuss and work things out.
Justified: Do you have plans to make the class comms more involved this year?
Jotham: The way the Class Comms were managed by the MC last year was extremely flexible — more or less the Class Comms could do whatever they want, and hardly any work imposed top-down. This I think is good, because that’s part of what makes Class Comm fun — the free rein to think of what they want to do for the batch! I’m therefore a bit wary of imposing any formal requirements on the Class Comms, though I do wish to encourage them to be active, and I’d be more than happy to offer some personal thoughts on their ideas, if they seek them. A lot of what a Class Comm can and will do is really up to the Class Comm itself, but also depends on what budget we can give them — which depends on how generous our sponsors will be! But I think it’s good for there to be a substantial budget (as we had last year), because batch unity is an excellent starting point for developing faculty unity.
Justified then spoke to Clarence, the Events Director, who’s Y3 and an old hand as far as experience goes. He also is the Vice-Chairperson of the Singapore chapter of ALSA.
Justified: In your 2+ years at law school, what is your favourite event you’ve participated in/organised, and why?
Clarence: Truthfully speaking I don’t think I’ve had one favourite event! I loved all the chillouts I’ve attended because I really enjoy just the food, drinks and the homey cozy feeling all around when people are just milling around, chilling and talking nonsense.
Justified: We’re already looking forward to the Law Club-LSIRC collaboration for the Mid-Autumn Festival Celebration — any similar plans for new events this upcoming semester?
Clarence: I do have one that I am thinking of right now – I just took part in the Singapore Academy of Law Charity Concert and some of my friends participating with me were suggesting that we should have a concert for the faculty – and I think it is very plausible given the immense amount of talent in law school. I think the concept of a full-fledged concert showcasing all the talent in law school is a very interesting idea, and I will look into something like that – for now. Of course if anyone has any ideas for a novel event, feel free to bring it up to me!
Last but definitely not least, we spoke to Linzhe, the new Resource Director who is also one of the pioneer batch of Law + USP students.
Justified: We hear yours is a new position in the law club MC – what does it entail?
Linzhe: The main job scope of a Resource Director is to oversee the Central Committee, which we hope to enact (which includes the Sports and Media Committee, as well as Events and Acad). More specifically, a Resource Director will have to assist the other directors in manpower and logistical issues for their respective events and committee needs.
We here at Justified are looking forward to the new Law Club and their plans for the year ahead, and wish them the best in taking up their new positions â˜º