By Wang Fengjuan
As the celebration gala unfolded, Lim Zi Xuan enthusiastically went over performance details with other international students wearing national costumes. The gala was a highlight with strong Southeast Asian cultural flavor of the 11th China-ASEAN Youth Camp (CAYC) and the 4th China-ASEAN Youth Summit (CAYS).
Lim Zi Xuan, an international student in her fourth yearnof undergraduate studies at Peking University’s School of International Studies, has participated in CAYS for four consecutive years.
“I was just a freshman in 2016, but I could already tell that the 1st CAYS would be significant, so I signed up to volunteer,” she recounts. “At the 2nd summit, I joined the logistics department of the organizing committee and often tackled details that were easily overlooked.” She was honored to accept the post of deputy secretary general of the 3rd CAYS, a position which oversees the public relations department, publicity department and preparations for the gala. This year, she is heading the activities department.
“Many people are curious as to why I came back to head the activities department after serving as the deputy secretary general,” Lim Zi Xuan smiles. She has learned much from CAYS, and the experiences from the past three summits enable her to avoid pitfalls when preparing activities.
At the 1st CAYS, the display of traditional national costumes had already become the highlight of the summit. This year, an online and offline interactive beauty contest was organized to display an even wider range of traditional national costumes.
“In additional to making the traditional dress displays more attractive, we are also encouraging more students to participate in the pageant to radiate the charm of traditional clothing to more people,” Lim Zi Xuan reveals.
Scheduling and recruiting competitors have been the most difficult challenges in organizing a beauty pageant. The organizers had to contact students from different countries to confirm their costumes, make-up and rehearsal and performance time, which required constant change and coordination.
“Although the students who participated in the beautycontest came from different schools and need to accomplish their academic tasks, they came together to take pictures and rehearse. Because we introduced online voting, contestants all had to pose for a final portrait in full makeup. When some Vietnamese students from Beijing Foreign Studies University were posing, the lighting was insufficient, so the organizing committee had to reschedule. “Everyone was patient and cooperative,” Lim notes. “The serious and professional attitude of contestants motivated us to do our best work for the competition.”
Looking back at her four years of work on the summit, Lim Zi Xuan says her most lasting memory was preparations for the 3rd CAYS. That year, the summit was scheduled two weeks earlier and featured a speech by Dr. AKP Mochtan, then deputy secretarygeneral of ASEAN.
“That year, students on the organizing team devoted every waking hour to preparatory work,” Lim gushes. “We didn’t have a design department, so students in the secretariat had to learn a lot and start using what they learned immediately. So often, the three of us at thesecretariat could be found in the library all day and then on sofas in the hotel lobby working on our laptops until midnight. It was exciting and fun.”
“At the opening ceremony, Dr. AKP Mochtan’s speech was inspiring and made us more aware of the responsibilities we shoulder,” Lim Zi Xuan illustrates. Her experience serving as deputy secretary general of the summit gave her an immense sense of achievement while also prompting her to reflect on her shortcomings. Everything became part of the driving force pushing her to make the summit better and better for the students to follow.