Learnings from ASEAN Power Shift – Emily Oi

Learnings from ASEAN Power Shift – Emily Oi

By Emily Oi (MYD15)

It was a fast 72 hours, isn’t it?

MYD survived ASEAN Power Shift. We had grown tremendously throughout the past 3 days. Policy track was no child’s play. It was a bitch, and still is. We listened, we struggled, we argued, but we eventually compromised.

MYD Family after many tribulations

MYD Family after many tribulations

It was amazing how things worked out within the MYD team. Adding to the fact that nine of us (MYD) did not know each other prior to the conference. We got lost, we fell, we questioned, but we reintegrated. It was exciting to see how our passion to stop climate change drove us through these challenges working together.

Other delegates may perceived us as strong and well prepared, but we are still learning and fragile human too. Our team almost broke down and scattered by the second night.

Despite all the cracks and disagreement within the team, we moved on, as a team. We knew that it is not only about the paper, it is the people, the bond that existed. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t the best result we expected, but the process was priceless.

Team meeting over tea time

Team meeting over tea time

It was those little moment that mattered. Waking up early for shrub planting, staying up for endless meetings and homework deadlines, hanging out at Floor 14 and food courts, short interviews with other ASEAN delegates and participants, photo shooting all the time.

It was the little element added by each members that counted. Adrian, the demanding mentor; Amalen, the joker plus shameless promoter; Emily, the happy-go-lucky optimist; Jolene, the green beauty pageant; Merryn, the epic quote-producer; Rachel, the pure and innocent paper; Roxanne, the powerful and ambitious artist; Shak, the fun-seeking explorer ;Thomas, the back office fighter; Wanji, the funny conservation biologist.

APS was short and sweet. It gave us many new insights, new expectations and new motivation. It taught us how to be open-minded by placing ourselves in the shoes of others. It taught us to hold on to our stand and beliefs. It taught us the power of people, power of collaboration, power of synchronization.

Our MYD’s journey does not stop here, in fact, it just began. We are still fighting hard to get on the road to Paris. Just like APS, it will not be easy for sure. But it will be priceless.

#MYD15 – Malaysian Youth Delegation – Malaysian youth climate movement at international United Nations climate conferences, UNFCCC, participants will be mentored and hold engagements with various climate expert bodies and dialogue with Malaysian policy makers and negotiators.

#ASEANPOWERSHIFT – A conference gathering youths from 10 ASEAN countries with the focus on finding pragmatic and possible solutions to tackle climate change and empower youths with creative skills and knowledge to initiate their own actions.

Learnings from ASEAN Power Shift – Merryn Choong

Learnings from ASEAN Power Shift – Merryn Choong

By Merryn (MYD15)

Being in the policy track removed layers and layers of presumptions that I had.  I see, feel, and understand better the importance of youth coming together in creating action, because the existence of this group in bridging the gap of those suffering and those who are fighting for a stand.

Merryn Chong in action

Merryn Chong in action

While delegates were busy fighting to make a stand for respective countries, some were unable to make their voices heard which are often those who are most affected by climate change. In fact, there are also those in the room who could not voice out their opinion because of a lower proficiency in English. It suddenly came to me that aside from differences in nationality, there are so many other social problems and political issues inter-connected in this bigger picture that makes finding a solution for climate change even harder and complex.

I particularly like the metaphor “culture as an onion.” Onions, like cultures, come in different shapes and varieties; the color of the core permeates each layer. If one is not skilled at slicing and peeling an onion, it can cause eye irritation and bring tears to the eye. Similarly, when crossing borders and cultures, we must learn the skills of bridging culture and become culturally sensitive in order to better facilitate negotiation. I must admit that this “eye irritation” did happen during our discussion and meetings. The entire policy track negotiation was not an easy process, even when we acknowledge the different parties’ interests and concerns.

During the short duration of this conference, it has opened up my eyes to more climate change issues and solutions going on in ASEAN region. There is definitely still a lot more for me to learn and improve in this aspect. I often feel handicapped in formulating a statement because there are so many aspects that inter-links with the topic discussed, which I still lack sufficient understanding.

We learned to listen and see things from a different set of eyes - Merryn

We learned to listen and see things from a different set of eyes – Merryn

When I look back, one heart warming thing is is, I think I have found a new family, a family who consist of brothers and sisters from different parts of Malaysia that shares the same passion and vision. They have given me constructive criticism, support and advice before and throughout the entire ASEAN Power Shift in Singapore. I am grateful for the people I met, the knowledge gained in knowledge track, the invaluable experience in policy negotiation, the homework assigned that pushed me in getting interviews done, and the late night meetings that bond us closer together. These three days has definitely opened my eyes to greater possibilities in the future.

#MYD15 – Malaysian Youth Delegation – Malaysian youth climate movement at international United Nations climate conferences, UNFCCC, participants will be mentored and hold engagements with various climate expert bodies and dialogue with Malaysian policy makers and negotiators.

#ASEANPOWERSHIFT – A conference gathering youths from 10 ASEAN countries with the focus on finding pragmatic and possible solutions to tackle climate change and empower youths with creative skills and knowledge to initiate their own actions.