I mentioned in one of my previous post that I’ve stepped down as the President of Unimates at the end of last month. If you’re wondering what Unimates is, we’re basically a student society for International and Exchange students in USYD. Unimates organizes weekly events and trips to help International and Exchange students to settle down in Sydney and USYD.
If you’re curious, go to the society’s blog to find out more. If you’re coming to USYD for the first time, do join us. We’re open to everyone, International or local student. (Yes, I’ve just sneaked in an advertisement for Unimates).
I’ve actually mentioned Unimates six times in my blog (here, here, here, here, here, and here). Seven, if you include this post. But this is the first time when I’ve explicitly spoke about Unimates. It’s not that I’m ashamed or embarrassed, far from it. Basically, at that time, Unimates was becoming the focal point in my life and I just needed a little private space where I didn’t have to talk about Unimates every single time. So subconsciously, I semi-banned Unimates from this blog.
Hell, I didn’t even follow Unimates on Twitter until twenty-four hours ago. Not that I was very active on Twitter in the first place. But you get the idea.
But now that I’m no longer actively involved, I’ll lift the semi-ban on Unimates.
About two weeks ago, I wrote a farewell message and posted it onto the Society’s blog. Considering the two years stretch I’ve spend in Unimates – as long as my National Service – there was certainly a lot to write in my farewell message.
One thing I like about farewell messages is that they are the simplest, yet at the same time, most complicated messages to write. To me, a farewell message is a four-in-one message:
- Short preview of your history and achievements with the organization/place
- Thanking everyone and the very important people during your time there
- Distributing “good lucks” and “best wishes” to the people left behind
- Actually saying goodbye.
And let’s not forget about the tone of your message.
I like writing farewell messages. The longer I know someone, or the longer I’ve been in an organization, society, et cetera, I try to compose a creatively crafted and well-written farewell message. The main problem was trying to keep my farewell message short and sweet. I struggled for a day or two before I came across a simple solution: just tell a story.
So for the farewell message, I told a story (somewhat).
Note: The original was posted on the Unimates’ blog. The farewell message reproduced here is a word-for-word copy. The only minor edit I made was to adjust the layout.
I’m no longer President! Bye-bye everyone! And screw you pelicans!
In case you have been hiding under a rock, holed up in your home, or plain unaware of what was going on, I’m no longer President of Unimates.
Effective on 1st June 2012 (last Friday), Patrick Ward is now President of Unimates.
Yeah, I was just as shocked when I received my retrenchment letter.
Here’s me about to bitch-slap Patrick:
No firing or bitch-slapping ever took place. What actually took place was that Patrick was elected as President at the Unimates AGM on 14th May 2012. I wrote about it here. On 31st May 2012, my term officially ended and all Presidential superpower was transferred to Patrick. As for that photo above? I was just asking Patrick to say a few words during dinner at Unimates Night. No bitch-slap ever took place! Honest!
If you’re thinking, “Wow, this guy has such a short term. Only 6 months as President.” That’s because I was supposed to finished my 1 year term as Vice-President. But due to circumstantial situations, I was elected as President and took over last year November.
Anyway, now that I reflect and look back, I’m pretty amazed about how far I’ve came. I can say that I spent close to two-thirds of my university life with Unimates. Sure, I joined various other clubs and societies over the course of my university career, but Unimates always remained the focal point.
But, it wasn’t always this way.
When I first came to USYD as a fresh-eyed undergraduate in July 2009, I joined Unimates and only turned up for the Welcome BBQ. My reaction to Unimates back then was:
I wasn’t too impressed with Unimates (“For Fantastic Fun and Friendship”? Come on. That’s kitschy). This went on for my entire first semester. It wasn’t until the next semester, in the beginning of 2010, that I decided to give Unimates a try. I wanted to put their motto to test.
It turned out that Unimates wasn’t too bad. The events allowed me to explore of Australian culture while at the same time widening up my social circle. It’s an understatement to to just say that Unimates has many people from different cultural backgrounds. Unimates is so diverse that at any event, I can always count on meeting someone from a new country. It that sense, my attitude to Unimates changed.
So at the end of Semester 1 2010, when Unimates held the Annual General Meeting (AGM), I decided to run for 4 committee positions and spectacularly failed to get elected at all.
Yu Heng, the outgoing President at that time, told me I could still be a General Committee member. So I thought, why not? It’ll offer me a good chance to learn the ropes.
Even then, I didn’t got off a good start. At my first official event, the City Tour, I lost my entire group and got shitted on by a pelican at Fish Market.
Yes, that’s me two years ago. Now stop gawking.
Anyway, one more semester rolled by and Unimates held a General Meeting because some of the committee members were leaving. Joyce (who was to be Treasurer later) and I got elected as Coffee and Cakes Officers. Or as the Constitution now states: Coffee and Cakes Coordinators.
So as Coffee and Cakes Coordinators, Joyce and I were essentially controlling the backbone event of Unimates. We had to power to make or break Unimates. Furthermore, I realized that this was my chance to capture power in Unimates!
Dave Ball approves
So I planned, schemed and began laying out my course of action. Soon, I realized that having one ally was not enough. I needed one more ally to complete the trinity of power that will dominate the Committee and steamroll any opposition.
Hmm…. who shall it be? Turned out the answer was sitting right beside me:
So another semester passed by, and Unimates held the next AGM. Joyce was elected as Treasurer, Thea elected as Secretary and I was elected as Vice-President. Once I became Vice-President, I realized I need a makeover if I wanted people to take me seriously. No more looking like a hobo. Gone was the fedora, gone was the shaggy hair, gone was the facial hair. I got a haircut, shaved and started dressing more appropriately:
And the rest was history. After six months as VP, I took over as President and from the Iron Throne, ruled with an iron first and iron heart. Forever shall my name be spoken in fear and awe.
So there you have, the history of my rise to power*
Aside from that, I had the one of the best times of my university life with Unimates. I would like to thank the outgoing committee members for all their hard work and effort. Without their dedication, Unimates would never been where it is today. I would also like to thank everyone from the previous Committees for letting me have a chance to develop personally, and for providing one of the strongest bonds of friendship I ever had. You people were truly awesome.
I would also like to thank Ben Yan, Danny Wang, and George Hwang for mentoring me when I first became Vice-President. Without their patient tutelage, I would probably cause a colossal fuck-up.
I would like to thank the two Presidents of SUAMS (Sydney University Association of Malaysian Students) for working so closely with Unimates during the past year. Thanks, Andrew and Wei Ming, for Sharing the Malaysian Love, especially after my fellow Singaporeans called me a traitor (okay, okay, I should have joined the Singaporean Society). But seriously, you guys are top blokes.
And I would also like to thank Sarah from TCA (USYD Teochew Association). If she didn’t inform me about the Masked Murder on the Dancefloor Cruise Party (quite a mouthful), Unimates would not have taken part in this awesome, awesome event. So many thanks to her! From one Teochew nang to another: jiatbẹung (Sorry, that’s the only phrase I know).
And many thanks to both Joyce and Thea for being the rock and the hard place. With their firm support, their complete dedication and their tireless efforts, I probably wouldn’t be able to achieve anything. I was basically standing on the shoulder of giants.
Once again, thanks everyone, for the great memories and the great friendships. Especially you, the Unimates member. Thank you for your support! And thanks for reading my ramblings during this semester.
I wish everyone the best for the exams. Without further ado, I bid you good night, and good luck:
VP S2 2011/ President S1 2012
For Fun, For Friendship, Forever
*60% of the story is fictional. The author takes no responsibility. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.