By Wang Fengjuan
Late on October 24, Tang Shi Xuan picked up his younger sister Tang Xin Yi from Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, to attend the 11th China-ASEAN Youth Camp (CAYC) and the 4th China- ASEAN Youth Summit (CAYS) which would kick off in Beijing on October 25.
Tang Xin Yi is a sophomore at Sun Yat-sen University who, as a representative of Malaysian students, would participate in discussions at a mock meeting. “Opportunity to engage in faceto- face communication with students from China and other ASEAN countries all in one place is rare, so I hope my sister learns a lot from the activity,” explained Tang Shi Xuan. CAYS, organized by international students, has grown in size and now attracts students from all countries involved.
International student Tang Shi Xuan is in his second year of postgraduate studies at Peking University’s School of InternationalStudies. When he was a junior at college, Tang participated in earlypreparations for the first CAYS. He served as secretary general of the second CAYS.
“I first found out about plans for CAYS from senior Jaslyn Seah when I was a junior and thought it was a great idea,” recalled Tang. “Spontaneously, I was assigned to the preparations team.” Many accomplishments of the first summit were groundbreaking. People from many different departments came together alongside Tang Shi Xuan from the Liaison Department, background which made him an ideal candidate for a leadership role and eventually secretary general.
“I knew I needed many cooperation partners, found them and talked to them myself,” Tang illustrated. “We even looked for corporate sponsors, which was incredibly educational.” The student team meticulously made every preparation from soliciting student representatives to scheduling activities, selecting venues and assigning responsibilities.
Through CAYS, Tang Shi Xuan met many international students from Southeast Asian countries as well as numerous Chinese students with interest in SoutheastAsia. “By communicating with these students, I learned more profoundly about the situation in their respective countries and found we have a lot in common,” he added. “It was a rare experience.” Tang Shi Xuan still keeps in touch with the friends he made in the organizing committee of the second CAYS and at the second summit. Tang continues to invite them to gatherings even after they graduate.
In 2016, Tang Shi Xuan was first exposed to the model ASEAN discussions. When he took the post of secretary general of the second CAYS, he placed considerable focus on the agenda of the talks.
“The topics discussed at the ASEAN Summit were close to our lives and related to the youth of ASEAN,” said Tang. “All the participants took the debates seriously and introduced welldesigned suggestions with practical reference significance.” The mock discussions involved special role-playing activity in which students must argue for the interests of countries other than their own, which put them into others’ shoes. During breaks of the meeting, students from a certain country tended to offer advice to the assigned representatives of that country, which was particularly fascinating.
“An event spontaneously organized by the international students, CAYS features a diverse organizing committee and a diverse range of activities,” he continued. “The event has only been improving over time, and now students from China and 10 ASEAN countries actively participate in it.” For the past two years, Tang has taken a step back from specific preparatory work for the summit, but he continues to maintain contact with the organizing committee and keep a close eye on the event.
“I can confidently say that the CAYS accomplishes the objective of helping youth from different countries become real-life friends,” Tang beamed.