Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Dinner at Malaysia House

On our last night in Berlin, the Malaysian Embassy invited us for dinner, hosted by Datuk Zakaria Sulong, the Ambassador, and his wife, Datin Hazizah Ahmad at Rumah Malaysia.

Rumah Malaysia is really gorgeous, both interior and exterior and the Ambassador and his wife are really hospitable people. Albeit their status and the grandness of their place, they were humble and everything was casual. Datin brought out boxes of sweets and cookies, apparently brought over by the Yang di-Pertuan Agung himself, for us.

We had a dinner of rice, sambal udang, mutton curry, fish curry, dhal, tauhu sumbat, and stir-fried cabbage. For many of us, this was heavenly as we haven't had rice for almost a week! Even if we did have rice, it wasn't like this and it definitely didn't have all the familiar dishes.

SIFE UMS would like to thank Datuk Zakaria Sulong, Datin Hazizah Ahmad, and En. Muzafar Shah Mustafa (the Deputy Head of Mission who came to Tegel Airport to greet us when we arrived in Berlin on the first day) for their kind hospitality during our visit to Berlin.

Breaking chains for change.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

SIFE World Cup 2009 DAY 3

Today is an even more important day. And in fact, there was a whole load of goings-on as it was the official Last Day of the competition.

Let's begin off the top: SEMI-FINAL ROUNDS.

An even more critical point as we have to make it through this to take on the world stage. In all honesty, winning the World Cup is just a bonus, what we really wanted was to tell the world Our Story.

Semi-final round was even more nerve-wrecking. Bigger room, more judges.

Not too long after our presentation, we had the semi-final round results ceremony and immediately after that the four winners of each league will do their Final round presentations...on the World Stage. The announcement was even more nerve-wrecking than before.

Unfortunately SIFE UMS lost to Canada's SIFE Memorial in the Semi-finals and thus we didn't get to compete in the Finals. It was quite disappointing actually because as we've said it before, we really truly wanted to tell our story to the world. What made it worse was that when we saw some of the final presentations, we truly believed that we did so much better. But that's the way competitions go, and we bet it's a typical feeling in everybody who didn't make it too.

Whatever it was, I would say that we are still extremely proud of our achievements at our FIRST participation in the World Cup. We missed the one final step but as far as first-timers go, we've already had a very successful journey.

From all of us in SIFE UMS: Congratulations to SIFE French University from Egypt, SIFE World Cup 2009 Champion.

SIFE World Cup 2009, another memorable event. We'll be back next year :) See you in Los Angeles!

Breaking chains for change.

Monday, October 5, 2009

SIFE World Cup 2009 DAY 2

Critical morning. Today, we HAVE to make it into the Top 16.

Is 10.35am an auspicious time?

Superstition aside, this is our first attempt to wow them. This is what we are here for. And this banner confirms it.

It really gives one a sense of pride and achievement to see that in print.

Strategy-wise, our strongest opponent in League 7 is South Africa as African countries always have very strong community-humanitarian projects. We are confident of the strength of our projects too. Nevertheless, it's always a must to seek some divine assistance.

As usual, we have our multi-faith prayers session. Turns out that this ritual is sacred and for all future members, please take note: join in the prayers with a sincere heart and clear conscience. When you pray, you really want it.

Our turn came and we entered this small, long room for our presentation. Hearts thudding, still trying to smile. 24 minutes to show the judges why we were there and to convince them that we deserve to proceed to the next round.

That evening, the results were announced. League after league, they announced the two semi-finalists, the third-placer, and the recipient of the Spirit Award. Can you imagine? Having to sit through six league announcements, the suspense almost killed us. When they called us to go up on the stage we were partially relieved.

But did we manage to make it into the next round of competition?

SIFE Dr. Jose Matias Delgado University from El Salvador got the Spirit of SIFE Award.

SIFE Auckland University of Technology from New Zealand was awarded Third Place.

Which means SIFE University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and

SIFE University of Malaysia Sabah, Malaysia

made it into THE SEMI-FINALS!!!

For the Semi-Finals, teams were divided into four leagues with four teams each, competing for that one place in the Finals. League drawing time again and this time, we kind off lucked-out. We drew number 15 which made us the second last to choose our league and presentation time.

We had absolutely NO CHOICE at all. Hello toughest league. Hello league with last year's World Cup Champs. SIFE UMS will be competing in League 4 at 10.25am the next day with

SIFE University of Tirana, Albania;
SIFE Maseno University, Kenya and
SIFE Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada.

Can we do another miraculous job?

Stay tuned for the Final Day!

Breaking chains for change

Sunday, October 4, 2009

SIFE World Cup 2009 DAY 1

Hello all! Here we are in Estrel Hotel and Convention Center in Berlin. The hype is already up, there are so many people from so many countries and nationalities around. It is hard to go into an elevator and not meet some other SIFE member from other competing countries.

We got here not too late since we were already in Berlin for the past few days, so we just had to move hotels, but it is havoc here! The hotel boasts of 1000 rooms but the receptionists seem to be in a tizzy to check people into their rooms. And we really needed to move our things into our rooms as we have to get ready for the Cultural Fair. Azalia and Dalveen had to go for Parade Rehearsal and the Technical Team has to go for Technology Check. Everyone is running around and just being crazy!

The first day of the event is the always the one that is most fun, where all 41 countries show off their national pride and traditional threads and bites. The hall became a cultural celebration.

In a way, I would say that Malaysia's booth was represented a little differently this year as we portrayed a lot of East Malaysia, especially Sabah. We handed out traditional Rungus bead necklaces (courtesy of Sabah Tourism Board), fed the crowd amplang and kuih cincin, and of course, Kinon the Orangutan was there to greet the world.

Oh yes, meet Kinon, our orangutan mascot.

We were all dressed up in a myriad of traditional costumes. In this picture taken with Zul Saadon, SIFE Malaysia Country Director, we are (from l-r) Indian saree, Punjabi kurta, Sabah's Dusun Tindal and Kota Belud's Iranun costumes (male and female).

After a couple of hours in the hall with much dancing and fiesta-ing, we were hyped for the opening ceremony, where each country gets their 30 seconds of fame on stage when they announce all competing countries.

It's a sensational feeling.

The Leagues for the Opening Round competition the next day were determined that night. This is done by a random program and Malaysia was in League 7 with Ukraine, El Salvador, South Africa, and New Zealand.

Who will go to the semi-finals?

Stay tuned for SIFE World Cup '09 Day 2!

Breaking chains for change

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pre-SIFE World Cup

The beginning of SIFE UMS' physical journey to the World Cup. For the five days we were in Kuala Lumpur, we had several things to do before leaving to Berlin.

And for that five nights, our 'home' was this beautiful, classic, but apparently very haunted building: The Heritage Station Hotel. Maybe we were just to chaotic so I don't think many hauntings occured to us when we were there.

On Monday, the 28th of Sept, we had a presentation to some big shots of Khazanah Nasional, right at the top floor of Mercu UEM.

Tuesday, the 27th, we had to make a courtesy call to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Wisma Putra.

Wednesday, another presentation in the Ministry of Higher Education with Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, Deputy Minister of Higher Education. En. Redza, Chairman of SIFE Malaysia, and Dr. Kassim, our incredibly supportive Deputy Dean of Student Affairs, were also present.

We did alright at this point of time, but PRACTICE was the keyword throughout this journey. The presenters spend a few hours, several times a day practicing the presentation. Are we ready for the competition? Bring it on!

Breaking chains for change.

Friday, September 25, 2009

SIFE World Cup 2009

Today SIFE UMS begins its physical journey to Berlin. After months of preparation, hardwork, turmoils, obstacles, sweat, laughter, tears, sleepless nights, and puffy eyes, we are leaving for KL, our first part of the journey.

SIFE UMS will be in KL for the next five days doing more preparations (read: practice, practice, practice!) and courtesy calls with the big people before we leave the country on the 1st of October.

For the first time, the Malaysian team will be showcasing several never-seen-before ethnic groups (stay tuned!) during the cultural fair and we'll be bringing along a furry friend :)

Keep us in your prayers and thoughts. Wish us, the pioneering SIFE UMS team to be competing at this level, the very best. We promise we shall strive and do our utmost to succeed.

Remember our mission statement:
Breaking Chains For Change

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


SIFE UMS would like to wish everyone a very Happy Malaysia Day!

Embrace cultural diversity, like us :)

"For we are of one family, Malaysia."