Interview by Toh Boon Kheng
Wearing a white shirt and a warm smile, he entered the SRC Office, ready for the interview before he even sat down. With light-hearted charisma and a humble demeanour, this was indistinguishably the SRC President of 2015/2016, Kenneth Lee. Easily having one of the tightest schedules on campus, we were fortunate enough the slot a few minutes in his lunchtime to ask a few questions, and hopefully shed some new light on the year-long president.
Hello, Kenneth! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a 3rd year Medical student right now. I enjoy sports and music. I lived in the Middle East for like, 10 years of my life. I was born in Scotland. And, I, love the SRC.
So, you ran for President of the SRC a year back. Would you like to share why?
I ran for president because for me, I felt like, as compared to the other posts, for example, VP of Medicine (because I am a Medical student) was very academic centred, but I also wanted to deal with some of the welfare issues the students might have. So, I thought that President would give me a nice, well-rounded scope to work, if you will.
How has it been (as the SRC President)?
It has been very challenging. It has been very rewarding. Challenging in the sense that, things we wanted to implement, things the students have wanted for many years, even before I was here, we tried them, as the other SRCs have done. Sometimes with slight success, sometimes with no success. Rewarding in the sense that, for example, our student discounts or the shuttle service. Even if one student benefits from it, take the shuttle service, go get a discount at one of the restaurants, and come back, then it is rewarding for us because our job is really to serve the students. If we have done that, then that’s our main goal.
Apart from the shuttle bus service and student discounts, are there any notable achievements to you that has been reached over your term?
Perhaps in the sense of the IMU Cup, where this year we have added the Photography competition and the Arts competition. That was a great part of, in fact, Richard’s vision (SRC Sports Representative) was to make IMU Cup not only for sports people, but for people who are interested in humanities, the arts, and those areas. I think it is really good, because it allows many more students to participate in IMU Cup. We are also thinking about other things for the next committee to add cultural events in IMU Cup, but all that is still in the works. Oh, and the Pandan Serai (cafeteria) renovation. We are quite pleased with that. It is looking really nice. I actually had lunch there the other day, it was nice. We also had the online booking system for sports facilities around IMU. So that has streamlined the process quite a bit.
You mentioned that not everything was successful. Are there any qualms or concerns you would like to bring up?
I mean, really, if you are a student who drives. Are you? No. Okay, well, for students who drive, everybody knows that people complain about parking. It’s been there since the last SRC, been there since the SRC before them, and the ones before them. We’ve tried everything. You know, tell DBKL to not summon our students, to make the roadside parking legal; it doesn’t work. I mean, we have exhausted every single thing we can, however, sometimes there are just too many barriers for what we want.
The IMU Student Representative Council members of 2015/2016
The new SRC Committee will be elected soon; all the campaigns are going around. Does it bring you back memories of your own campaigning process?
Definitely. Well I still remember the days when, we (some of my friends who are in the SRC now) first decided to run for SRC. We did our photoshoot, made our posters, wrote our manifestos up. What they (the new SRC candidates) are doing now is what I went through a year ago, and perhaps seeing the sense of optimism and enthusiasm that comes with trying to get into a new role. That brings me back to the good times. And the fact that I had to run twice as well, so I had double memory of it. *laughs*
Do you have any advice for the SRC 2016/2017 candidates?
Be hopeful about what you are trying to achieve, but also be very realistic in what is possible and what is not. With the SRC, you have a slightly more responsibility to play around with. Of course, we, the SRC, are just a bunch of students trying to represent the students’ voices. It is really to keep their heads on straight, be realistic about their goals. You can’t just say like, “Yeah, we’re going to build a 5-storey parking,” or whatever it is, you know. It has to be realistic.
What is your vision for the future committee?
Well, there are a lot of things that we have thought of. Perhaps we didn’t implement, perhaps we couldn’t get around to it for whatever reason. My vision is that they continue the work that my colleagues have done. And also not only to continue what we have done, also to come up with their own fresh ideas. I’ve seen, through interviews with some of the candidates, there’s a lot of great ideas. Some ideas, I could not have imagined to come up with, so we are hoping really that they can step up and do a better job than we did. Of course, my committee did a great job, but I want them to do better.
Is there anything you would like to add before we end this interview?
I would just like to say, good luck to the next SRC candidates. Good luck to them in the elections. And I hope they survive the next year.