NO, IT’S NOT a student demonstration protest/cry for peace! It was a varsity project I was involved in, more than 20 years ago.
UM’s Za’ba College had in June 1990 organised the “Youths for Peace – The Second Asia-Pacific (APC)”. It was modelled after the United Nations’ General Assembly, and a follow up to the inaugural Asia-Pacific Conference held in August 1988 (which was the “first of its kind organised by an institution of higher learning in Malaysia”).
The 2nd APC enabled “undergraduates of the Asia-Pacific region to exchange thoughts and ideas and thus bring the message of peace and global understanding to the leaders of tomorrow” (according to the program book which I keep till this day!). The week-long conference from 3rd to 10th June saw the participation of undergraduates from 23 countries.
I was a member of the organising committee. As the Manager of Souvenirs, I was tasked to find advertisers for the program book as well as sourced and dealt with the suppliers of souvenirs.
The conference began on 4th June with the opening ceremony and keynote address “The Role of University Students in the Mission of International Peace” by HRH Raja Nazrin Shah, the Regent of Perak and Pro-Chancellor of UM. It concluded on 7th June with the presentation, debate and adoption of the Joint Resolutions, and a closing ceremony on 8th June by Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr. Syed Hussein Alatas at the Park Royal Hotel.
The week-long program also included a day tour of KL-Selangor (3rd June); an informal night at 10 Kia Peng, KL (3rd June); a tour outside KL (8th June) and a Cultural Night at Dewan Tunku Chancelor (9th June).
Three things stood out after all these years…
One: I was unfortunately the person responsible for the uniforms which made us all look like Bank Simpanan Nasional staff! Yes, do take another look at the group photo above.
Two: Wee Li (the Director of Delegates) would not let me forget the “Full page advertisement Page 33”.
Three: During this conference, I made a good friend in Thai delegate Racha who later befriended hubby on a separate occasion in Macau. A few years later, hubby and I literally bumped into Racha on the streets in Boston, US (link). The friendship among the three of us is one classic tale of FATE (link), and we are still in touch till this day. (Incidentally, when we left for Moscow in 2005, the Brunei delegate who was working in KL at that time, turned up at the hotel to bid us farewell!).