Tuesday, 28 April 2015

The EXCO Experience

Today’s throwback_Tuesday* photo is of Nova and Sandy. This photo was taken moments after the Annual General Meeting of 2010 ended. In the photo, we have Nova (the outgoing president) consoling the incoming president Sandy, who was overwhelmed with emotions. When I was looking at some of the old photos for the Throwback project, this came up and it spark my curiosity. So I went and asked both Nova and Sandy about what had happened that day, and after hearing their reply, I just felt that this is the appropriate photo for this week (since the Election Day is just around the corner).

Quote from Nova
‘Sandy was feeling rather overwhelmed. She was in my team the year before so she knew how hard things were going to be and how much we have sacrificed for CSS. I guessed it finally dawned on her after the election how big and heavy that task is and felt that she may not be able to do it. I remember telling her of course she can’t do everything alone, which is why there is a team. God chose her to lead the team so all the members can be lead to a closer relationship with God.’

Quote from Sandy
‘I was in doubts about myself before the AGM. I was not a good manager, I was overly emotional and I was afraid of a lot of things, especially of my capabilities. And these traits are not healthy personalities for the president. But I was also praying that if it was God’s will to use me as His instrument, I will. He has given His life for me and it is just appropriate for me to do His will. Looking back now, I realized that it was good that I was weak, because it made me realize that my team and other CSS members were always there to help me.’

Sandy’s team held one of the longest EXCO terms that I know of. She was in charge of CSSUPM for 1 year, 4 months and 5 days. And if I were to be honest, I think she is still treasuring each and every single one of those days.

To be frank, being an EXCO in CSSUPM is one of the greatest challenges you would face during your university life. It will be a whole new experience. It will be an experience filled with stress, perhaps even more than what you can imagine. It is an experience which will bring you out of your comfort zone. It will be a tough journey requiring a lot of strength, sacrifices, courage and most importantly the hunger to serve. And most of the time, it will be an uncomfortable experience, filled with all sorts of challenges, setbacks and uncertainties. But sometimes it is our reluctance and fear to take a step forward that robs us of the opportunity to experience things more amazing than we can even think of.  And CSSUPM is one of those instances. Being elected as an EXCO is currently one of the greatest platforms for you to stand on in this university. It is an opportunity for spiritual growth and maturity, in bringing you closer to Jesus. You will get to know new people, explore a new world, and experience a deepening in your own faith which will not be achievable by any other activities during your university life. You will also start friendships which will extend beyond the walls of St Anne’s chapel and last for many years to come. It will be a life changing experience. And it may be overwhelming. But do not be afraid or worried that you may be small, or untalented, or if you are not pious or not suitable to be an EXCO. Because there will always be those who are alongside you, journeying with you, working together with you and helping you. These are the other EXCOs and CSSUPM members. And this has always been how this family grows. And if there’s one advice which I think we all could collectively give you: It is to never lose sight of each other because we are all here to take care of each other.

Ex-President Stanley during an orphanage visit back in 2011.

During my involvement with CSS, I have realized a great number of things. I remembered sitting in a dark hall, next to Nova, watching the silhouettes of the CSS juniors’ right in front of me, back during the CSSUPM Annual Camp 2010. They were in a session of Taize. The atmosphere was quiet and calm, a contrast to the Praise and Worship session we had an hour before. The previous session, combined with helping out the camp organizing committee for the few days at that Port Dickson hall had drained me; physically, mentally and emotionally. I was tired. I was exhausted. And yet, at that very moment, amidst the repetitive chanting of the Taize prayers, I saw something I haven’t really noticed before. I saw a quality time spent, by everyone with each other, and with God. I felt satisfaction. I felt happy. I remembered telling Nova, all the troubles, pains and tears were nothing when compared to that one moment, in that small hall. Because at the end of the day, it was all worth it.  To many of us past EXCOs, our greatest satisfactions has never been about ourselves but are rather found in seeing all of you grow and mature, with each other, till the point by which we don’t even mind what we had to go through just to experience these moments. What I’m trying to say here is that, sometimes the road is rough, and you are so worn out that you just can’t go on anymore. Do remember that it’s at these times when you will realize that there will be a moment which makes it all worth it. And I humbly ask for you to keep on looking out for these moments.

Nova still kept the JMail message I sent to her back in 2010. And yes,
she did reply that 'It was ALL WORTH IT!!!'

Do not be surprise if you look back a year from now and found that you are entirely a changed person. Very often, the person at the end of their term is almost always different than the person they were before. They emerged as individuals who looks to be able to take on the world. And for many of us, the seniors who might or might not be still around in CSS nowadays (Gerald, Clement, Me, Stanley, Medna, Jenna, Leo, Nova, Sandy etc) we were never the way we are in the beginning. We started off exactly like how you are now. Clueless when we first joined. And yet we made the decision to take on the challenge, to learn from the experience and to mature from it. Back then, we were all afraid but we also found out that the moment you offer yourself willingly and wholeheartedly for God’s use, He will grant you talents that you would never thought you could have. And it is now your turn. It is now your decision whether to take up the challenge or not, which will make that difference in you.

We, the CSSUPM family, are the church. Without all of us, the chapel
will be no different than all the other lonely buildings in
the campus (Photo taken during the 2011 camp)

But what if, you are not chosen for the role of an EXCO? What if you were not nominated? What if you preferred to be an ordinary member of CSSUPM?  Congratulations then, for you have chosen to play an even more vital role in CSSUPM, the support role. Please continue to support the EXCOs and each other to the fullest of your capabilities. It is your support that CSSUPM EXCOs can never get enough of. And it is also your support which will keep this 'family away from home' together.

CSSUPM, where hugs are aplenty... and free :)
(Taken during CSSUPM Annual Camp 2010)

Written by Alan
Inputs from Nova, Sandy and two other CSS alumnis who wished to remain unnamed.

*throwback_Tuesday is an ongoing effort by Alan on the CSSUPM Facebook group which seeks to reintroduce past photos (and thereby, experiences and stories) of CSSUPM to the current generation of students.

**if you are a nominee for the upcoming AGM and have read this and found it informational, please do not hesitate to share it with your other fellow nominees :)

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Shallom everyone...

In conjunction with the upcoming AGM, we have a collage of photos of the all the previous EXCOs since 2008... Photos are credited to those who took them... which includes: Leo, Timothy and Gary.
Left column, top to bottom:
1) Dominic's team (27th January 2008 to 12th October 2008)
2) Clement's team (12th October 2008 to 24th October 2009)
3) Nova's team (24th October 2009 to 31st October 2010)
Middle column, top to bottom:
1) Sandy's team (31st October 2010 to 4th March 2012 - The longest term held by a team that I know of)
2) Stanley's team (4th March 2012 to 17th March 2013)
Right column, top to bottom:
1) Medna's team (17th March 2013 to 11th May 2014)
2) Agnes's team (11th May 2014 to 30th April 2015)
As for this coming AGM... please give full support and vote wisely for the better future of CSSUPM and St. Anne Chapel...


Here, we would like to congratulate our nominees of CSSUPM!! Please remember their names, their faces and their special moments in our society. Give your full support to them on our AGM day!!

Shallom everyone...

As usual, CSSUPM will organize Annual General Meeting once a year to choose a new batch of EXCO to lead CSSUPM and St. Anne Chapel. The AGM this year will be held on 30th April 2015 (7PM) at St. Anne Chapel itself. All CSS members are compulsory to attend this meeting. May this upcoming new batch of EXCO will lead CSSUPM and the chapel to be more known to others Catholics members in and outside the university campus. Amen.