Conference,  Life,  Reflection

Lessons Learned: BAIMUN II

I have been a keen believer that perspective is important. It is maybe one of the reasons why I find it hard to hate anyone–or being provocated to dislike someone else. I always believe that there are some other perspectives that I might not know about, secrets that people don’t tell, feelings (of others) that I somehow can’t feel, stories that stay hidden, or witnesses who are not willing to talk.

However, BAIMUN has given me the chance to look at things in a truly different perspective.

See, I have always been the delegate, never the ones in front moderating the floor, until IGN gave me the chance to do so–and I truly thought it would be just like some other MUN experience like the others I’ve had, not knowing that this experience, made me look at things differently.

So here’s a compilation, of the things I learned on BAIMUN II.

I. Don’t Die Useless

One of the keynote speakers on the first night, Kak Melanie Subono, one of the most well-known activists in Indonesia told me how she started the hashtag #JanganMatiSebelumBerguna, which means don’t die before you’re being useful. It is something that we hear a lot yet we underestimate it. Not only she said “don’t die before you’re being useful“, she also put tons of emphasize that we don’t know when will death come, when our time is up. It can be 100 years from now, or one hour.

All these times, I’ve tried my best to be useful for everyone around me, but was it enough? Will my good-doings still bring good upon this earth even when I’ll die?

II. Stay Humble, Lower Your Ego

I’ve heard several stories, about MUNs and how the BODs don’t get along well. I’ve been friends with people from both sides of the stories, but being one of the Dais actually made me realize that it is not necessarily one is a good person and another one is the opposite, they’re both great people but somehow can’t lower their ego and be more accepting of differences.

See, as Shimar said on our last briefing, it is usually hard when people of different cultures and languages and backgrounds come together, there must be differences. What I felt like Shimar forgot to highlight is that Board of Dais are mostly smart people with tons of MUN experiences behind their belt. BoDs are most likely the dominant of the human-relationship dynamics, they’re most likely the ones who unintentionally intimidate other people, most likely be the truly critical ones who question and being skeptical about everything. None of these traits are bad, but when you gather those kinds of people in the same room, it might gone bad.

Some of the most insignificant differences might come off as weird, or when people can’t find any common ground or interests with you, or if they somehow can’t vibe with you, which is totally fine, but if you don’t lower your ego, it is hard. You might feel like the other person is odd or strange, or simply because you can’t vibe with the other person, you feel like you deserve a better friend (?) if that makes sense.

I guess, my message for myself is, to remember, that you’re not perfect so don’t expect anyone else to be. Also, you don’t have to be friends with everyone in the room. You can still embrace the differences and still be friends. Or you can stay acquaintances, but still embrace the differences. It is all up to you, but life is too short to fill with hatred.

III. The Arguments, Not the Voice

I guess, I’ll just have to quote one of my favorite poet-slash-sufi-slash-muslim-figures-of-all-time, Jalal ad-Din Rumi:

Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.

As I’ve said, co-chairing in an MUN conference is totally different in delegating. You see things based on the perspective of the Dais now, what do they expect, and how you can deliver those expectations wrapped nicely with your words.

Our delegates have been nothing but kind, but obviously life can’t be perfect, so there were several misunderstandings (again, due to differences), but we managed to sort things out together–although it didn’t end with a happy ending, more like a very anti-climactic instead. Wish I can tell more, but since I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or reputation publicly on my blog, I think the title of this is pretty self-explanatory.

IV. Connection, Attachment, and Saying Goodbyes

Writing this one is tough, as it took me back to September 2018 when it all started. Attending my first international conference, questioning when will I be able to meet everyone again, wondering what will my life be after knowing them but also knowing how unlikely we’ll cross paths again.

I remember how hard it was saying goodbye, and even several conferences after that. How I cried to sleep, or even on my way back to my home country.

This conference made me realized that I no longer cry, I smile instead. But what hurt me more is the realization that it is not that I started to embrace goodbyes, it is because I put my walls even higher and thicker than ever before.

I no longer get attached. The more I meet people, the more I feel disconnected instead. Which is sad. In my earlier posts about conferences, I’ve always wrote “I won’t be able to get used to goodbyes“, which is true. I’m still not used to it, apparently my resolve is different, not that I expected but it worked, in a sad way, it works.

To close this post, I’ll give you another quote from Rumi:

The world exists as you perceive it. It is not what you see, but how you see it. It is not what you hear, but how you hear it. It is not what you feel, but how you feel it.

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