It has been curdling up in my mind for quite a long time already and I guess I really need to write this up just to clear up my mind.
It was never in my mind to somehow in touch and being an event organizer for a big international event. I am not even a professional in this field, so yeah, it’s just a view from a person who somehow involved in this kind of things.
My father is a super great manager. He is helping here and there for managerial advice for many organizations. Since I adore him so much, I enjoy listening to all his story about his companies and organizations. Then, I jumped in a real life situation of what he always tell me.
Singapore 23rd International Biology Olympiad 2012
When I graduated from NTU Singapore, I joined International Biology Olympiad 2012 as a Team Guide and there I started my first big international event. There are more than 50 countries attending this event with at least 6 delegates per country. We need to house the 4 students and minimal 2 juries per country. Both student and juries should not meet in any condition, not even communicating until the scheduled time. My duty is just a simple one, just follow the protocols and I will guide 4 kids from the same country who won’t have their gadgets for a week event and ensure they all follow the schedule. Pretty simple, huh? That’s what I thought until all those unpredictable details come in. Somehow, I guess to cut the cost, we stayed in a student hostel which house a person in a room.
Firstly, Somehow, I guess to cut the cost, we stayed in a student hostel which house a person in a room. OK, so every morning, we need to knock on each of 4 high school kids’ room, so that they will be on time for all the schedules. Easy peasy for me since I am such an early bird myself since I was in high school. Until the nightmare raise when we understand a situation. Just like us, the highschooler at that time is so depends on their gadget including their phone to get them awake and see the time. Damn! When they surrender their gadget to us, automatically, they don’t have anything to display time. No watch, no table clock inside the room. So, knocking the door to wake them up is a must. We, as a guide, need to catch the schedule as well and we don’t have enough time to go to some convenient store just to buy a table clock for them. So, damn! Another problem comes about room placement. Those 4 kids from each country is located in different floor to let them socialize with another country folks. Meanwhile, I stayed in another floor. The key of the floor basically allow an access for the elevator to your floor only. So, each morning, we will start with chaotic screaming. Because in every floor there is only a guide that we can call to wake our kids up. When that guide already gone with their kids to the bus. We are screwed if our kid are still upthere sleeping like a baby. We will eventually get scolded by our senior guides (I got the position as a Kuwait team leader is basically because I know a bit of Arabic and I am Moslem myself, so I can help them easier for daily prayer and all that stuff). But the thing is our motivation is not the fear of scolding (our senior guide is basically a volunteer like us who know no more than us, so yes there is no superiority anyway). More like, the events won’t be running smoothly if we don’t do our duty well. We try our best to solve this things. Some initiate to take care each other kids and smuggling himself to go to grocery store to buy some table clock, some towers initiate a daily rooster as elevator keys guard every time. First day was chaotic, but then in EACH NIGHT DAILY EVALUATION SESSION, we take this issue to the higher management which is the senior guides and chief guides and talk each other about what we will we do.
Secondly, Some country has their own needs and wants. I once so fed up with my team. Why? Because I guess my kids was not so used to be in a communal setting. They are always in highly exclusive position in their country. They want to be exempted from the schedules, from the queue line, from the ordinary set up. Once I got scolded by the high levels because I don’t inform them that the jury of my team wanted to leave earlier due to the party having alcoholics drinks that makes them uncomfortable. I didn’t really get it since I thought I can’t by pass my protocols. So, yes, I got my lesson that I can actually ask the high levels management for exemptions.
Once near the closing ceremony, I am so tired and I ended up hugging one of my senior guide (disclaimer: he is my best friend for 6 years too) and crying my tears dry in his arm. I am so fed up and tired for the lack of sleep and all the scolding. He hugs me for quite sometime until my kids all finish their prayer in some hideous place of the building. After that, I just continue my duty and smiling to all the participants and committee again. So, for them, it’s OK to be human, it’s OK to feel tired and fed up, as long as you still continue your given task and not make a scene in front of everyone. Two of my kids are quite sensitive about my well being too, so basically I don’t want to let them down because they see me crying. So, yes, they don’t know and be happy with it.
In anyway, in their committee, I find a very solid circle of friend, who share the bad and the good together during the whole events. Let us be human, and let us socialize. The G7 is one of the most valuable circle of friend I have ever had. They even spend their time to come to my graduation ceremony and bring flower and the Kazakh’s doll. It was such an eye-opening and fun experience. And I got a lifetime friendship 😀
–to be continued–