Saturday, April 21, 2018

From Beijing To Oxford (Price Media Law Moot)

Our journey began October last year.

The first hurdle was the Asia-Pacific regional round held at Beijing on 29 November to 1 December 2017. The memorial submission deadline was 2 November. Which meant we had about a month to draft our memorial, and another month to prepare for orals.

Also, it was the first time ever that our university was competing in the Price Media Law Moot, so essentially we were traversing into uncharted waters.

Our team consisted of three oralists, two researchers, and a coach. Not a bad crew, but still undermanned relative to most other teams (which had four oralists covering for each role).

The Top 4-5 teams from our region usually advance to the International Round at Oxford. Last year, 2 teams made it as far as the Semi-Finals in the International Rounds, 1 team into the Quarter-Finals, and another into the Octo-Finals. We were competing in arguably the toughest region.

We wouldn't know our opponents and have their memorials until the eve of the competition day itself.

The pressure was on.

Three grueling days of competition (and sleepless nights prepping against our opponents) later...

We emerged as runners-up at Beijing - and clinched our ticket to Oxford.

Beijing Mission Accomplished 

Freedom and Diversity

Price Media Law Moot is an international mooting competition running for its 11th year. It focuses on international humans rights law (particularly on freedom of expression) and media law (particularly on social media).

The competition consist of two phases: Regional Rounds and International Rounds.

The Regional Rounds take place in 7 regions: Asia-Pacific (Beijing), North East Europe (Kyiv), South East Europe (Zagreb), Americas (New York), Middle East (Beirut), Africa (Johannesburg) and South Asia (Delhi).

The top teams from these regions qualify to the International Rounds.

(Teams from certain countries - such as UK, Singapore, Australia - are exempted from the Regional Rounds and automatically qualify to the International Rounds.)

This year, 42 teams competed in the International Rounds.

For such a infant competition, it's a truly a paragon of diversity.

Destination Oxford

We didn't have the best of starts.

We arrived late on the registration day itself, and made it just in time for the exchange of memorials. Just like in Beijing, we had less than a day to prepare for our opponents in the preliminary rounds the following day. The other teams faced similar time constraints too, but they probably didn't have to struggle with jet lag as much as we did.

(Mooting Tip #1: Get a good travel agent)

Sadly, our entourage had diminished. Our researchers couldn't travel with us to Oxford. So any last-minute research was left to our stressed-out oralists to shoulder as well.

The Preliminary Rounds was a nail-biting affair. Although we won all three of our matches, we scraped through some of them by razor-thin point margins. Our opponents were formidable, coming from all corners of the world, common law and civil law. And so were the judges, who range from lawyers to academicians to activists. It was quite an interesting challenge adapting to the different styles that our opponents and judges had.

The Preliminary Rounds ended after 2 days, and we made it to the Octo-Finals (ranked as the 7th team). Also in the mix were the usual powerhouses - SMU, NUS, University of Oxford, University of Technology Sydney, NLU Delhi, University of San Carlos, etc.

On Day 3, The Octo-Finals proved to be yet another close shave. We won unanimously, but each of the judges gave us only a slight edge over our opponent. We had lost all memorial points, a single judge's vote would've been enough to give them the victory.

(Mooting Tip #2: Don't screw up memorials)

There wasn't time to breathe and celebrate. The Quarter-Finals was up next, barely an hour later.

Finally, this time, our luck didn't hold. We fought hard, but lost.

Our journey ended at the Quarter-Finals.

Halfway to the top

Context Is Everything

So was our journey a success or failure or somewhere in between?

If anything less than winning the competition is considered a failure, then I suppose we did fail (along with all the 100+ participating teams worldwide).

If success is relative to each team's experience and resources, then context is everything. And when it comes to context, the facts speak for themselves. I need not explain any further.

Oh, wait! But there's one more important detail: one of our speakers finished as the 6th Best Oralist of the Preliminary Rounds.

The Journey Continues

More importantly, the question is where do we go from here?

Stronger, and upwards.

Our journey to Oxford doesn't need to end here, on a cold afternoon of April.

There's always next year. There's always a new hope.


This post is inspired by, and dedicated to, Team UM of Price Media Law Moot 2017/2018: Lee Suan Cui, Iqbal Harith Liang, Sahari Sha'ari, Loh Jing Rou and Winnie Choong.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

3 Reasons Why Moving Places Is Such A Pain

I hate moving places.

I've only moved places twice in the last ten years - the second time being just last weekend.

The physical hassle of migration itself - packing, moving and unpacking - is one thing. But the real pain is mental and emotional.

My life is empty

1. Changing Habits

Whenever you move to a new place, you're forced to change your habits.

The locks on the door and gate are manifold - I need an extra 2 to 3 seconds to enter the house.

The stairs is steeper - I can't hop my way up in haste (and nearly tripped and fell the first few times)

The kitchen is smaller and more packed - I have to gingerly move things around to avoid breaking them

The bedroom is bigger, but the angles and dimensions are different - I have to puzzle hard over the arrangement of my stuff

The entire house faces the opposite direction - I can't enjoy the natural light of the sun in the morning

Sure, it's ultimately just a matter of getting used to the new place. But it's still such a pain to change habits you've subconsciously built up over the last few years.

2. Evoking Memories

Packing is a walk through memory lane. As you rummage through boxes you've stashed away in some obscure corner, you're bound to uncover buried treasures from the past.

Photos of your younger years, fresh-faced and smiling.

Souvenirs attached to touching appreciative notes.

Your favourite clothes.

Your old Backstreet Boys CD albums.

The random lucky draw gift you won and never got to use or give away.

Nostalgia carries about a powerful wave of emotions. Especially if you're someone who constantly peers far into the horizon, like me.

Happier times

3. Starting Afresh

Ultimately, moving out feels like moving on to a new phase in life. A rude awakening. A chapter is closed, a new adventure begins.

You're moving to a new neighbourhood. People are different there. And they lead a different lifestyle.

Should I move on to a new job?

Should I take on a new passion?

Should I make new friends?

Even as focused I am, I can't help but feeling if moving out is a sign of bigger changes to come. 

Changes I should make. Changes I should've made long before.

Keep On Moving

It's funny that I can feel so affected with moving out. After all, aren't I always rambling on about changing lanes and climbing new peaks?

Maybe this time will be different. 

Maybe this time I won't stay put in one spot for far too long.

Maybe this time I'll keep on moving in life.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

I Hate Myself And I Want To Die

I hate myself and I want to die
And there is never a day when I think
Life is beautiful

To surrender and yield
There is no reason
In fighting our daily battles

Happiness does not last forever
Even if it's true
All we can do is harvest and hope

I want to live the moment
But first
Let me take a selfie

The world is a horrible place
And it's crazy to think
Life is beautiful

* * *

Sorry! I got the lines totally in reverse order! Happy April Fools' Day! :D

* * *

Life is beautiful
And it's crazy to think
The world is a horrible place

Let me take a selfie
But first
I want to live the moment

All we can do is harvest and hope
Even if it's true
Happiness does not last forever

In fighting our daily battles
There is no reason
To surrender and yield

Life is beautiful
And there is never a day when I think
I hate myself and I want to die