Applying Knowledge and Experience from
IATSS Forum & Paying Forward to Community

Participant's Voices


  • Country : Malaysia
  • Forum : 58th batch (2017 Autumn forum)
Assalamualaikum (peace be upon you) from Malaysia. My name is Adyla and I am born and raised in Sabah, Malaysia. My parents are from Selangor and I come from a family of 7. I am Malay, but I also part Arab and Chinese. In Malaysia we often joke and call this “Rojak” which means a type of fruit salad as it symbolises a mix of various races. I intend to put my all into learning as much as I can from this programme from the various experienced and respected people from different fields. More than anything I wish to take home the experiences I gained so that I can contribute to my country. When I first heard of this programme I did not think I would be selected as there were so many experienced candidates during the interview. Being given this opportunity means a lot to me and I will put my heart into experiencing all that the Forum has to offer. I marvel at Japanese discipline when it comes to order but also the gentle spirit in which it interacts with Mother Nature. I come from a developing nation and in Sabah alone we have many conflicts between the interests of development and the conservation of our natural forests. The topic “Sustainable Community Designs” will help me understand more on how development can be achieved without the damage to natural resources and also how I can play a part in the developments in my community. I look forward to all the interesting lectures especially OVOP which I believe would be beneficial to developing rural areas in my country. I also look forward to not only know more about Japan but also get to know more about my ASEAN neighbours. Thank you to everyone involved for organising such a beneficial programme and for creating a platform for young leaders to grow and learn. Looking forward to meeting everyone soon.
Assalamualaikum (Peace be upon you) and hello again from Malaysia. It has been several months since I have returned to Malaysia since my amazing journey with IATSS Forum. I'm looking forward to the new batch of participants and I pray they gain as much as they can from this program as I have. IATSS Forum provided such a unique opportunity for me to grow as an individual as much as it provided the opportunity for ASEAN members to grow together and understand one another. I still smile fondly when I remember all the friends I have gained during this journey. The unexpectedly cute and fun judge, the serious but respected 'Abang' (big brother) of our group, the talented artist, our very own budding politicians-to-be, the preppy business woman, talented musicians/singers and so many other fond memories. The little time we spent together has meant so much to me and I still miss them dearly. To think we came from different backgrounds but created a bond over such a short period is a blessing I cherish. There was always time but every day it lessened I was always struck with the thought "if only I had more time". There was so much to do and so much to learn. Here are my personal tips to maximize the use of time during the training: 1. Always be on time. As much as this is a norm for Japanese I can't confidently say it is the same for ASEAN members. During my journey we were always chasing time between each training. So, it really helps the staff as well as the entire learning process if participants were on time. A tip from Silk-san: “Take picture while moving.” 2. Walk like you are running. In this case it seems the Japanese have their own speed. When rushing for time it is best to match the pace of the speaker/staff. I do recommend taking a slow leisurely walk during off days just to soak in the environment in Japan but for official days walking fast is a much-needed skill. 3. Digest the objective of each programme beforehand. This is very important as it is not only necessary for you to fully understand the programme but will also save time when you need to ask important questions. Our batch really enjoyed 'question and answer' sessions which drag a lot of time off our schedule. 4. All lessons are important. Always keep this in mind. There is always something new to learn, something new to discover. Having a good attitude when facing each new day will help keep you energized. 5. Sleep well. It does not do good to miss out on sleep. Your mind has to be awake in order to fully utilise time. Avoid sleeping during lessons by stealing short naps or moving around during breaks. Taking coffee helped me a lot. 6. Performance cannot go well without practice. A lot of presentations and performance will require you to give some time for practice. Some of us even took time to practice in hotel lobbies and hotel corridors. However, in public places do take note to respect others. 7. All work and no play make life dull. Find time to spend with other members. Sometimes we had ping pong activities, movie nights and even cycling together to nearest stores. Time spent with others creates a stronger bond. Keeping to yourself in the room will waste precious time for you to get to know one another. 8. Be with the volunteers. I cannot explain how important this means to them and to you. Building relationships with ASEAN members as well as the community that helps make IATSS forum is a rare opportunity. When volunteers conduct activities, spare your time to be with them. I had many opportunities to join with them and loved every moment. We had nagashi somen in Autumn, laughed a lot during rakugo and cried during storytelling. These are things you cannot learn in the classroom. 9. Check your checklist. There are a lot of checklist to take note of. Reports checklist, schedule checklist, flag duty checklist, fb update checklist and so many more. Checking and reviewing the checklist is very important to help keep you on track. Please try your best to submit reports on time. 10. Last but not least is individual day. Although it might be daunting and somewhat scary to travel alone, I can assure you travelling alone in Japan is a very thrilling experience. You also learn a lot during the process when travelling alone. I met so many different people when travelling alone. There was a young lady who climbed Mount Inari in her kimono with her luggage, there were the Japanese girls who took shade under my umbrella, the kind lady who tried to show me the way, and the uncle who gave me his pen as thanks for giving my seat to his wife. I don't think I could have experience this closeness with the community if I was travelling in a group. So how you chose to spend your free time will also be a valuable experience for you. During my whole journey there was one message that I will always take to heart. Everyone has the same opportunity (the same time, the same place, the same lectures) but whether you learn from it or not depends on you. Whether you choose to use the limited time well, or not, depends on your own convictions. I wouldn't say my time management has improved greatly after returning home but I do feel that my appreciation of time and my awareness of how limited is more defined after my journey with IATSS Forum. I hope future participants will also have a deeper understanding about this as I have and use their time wisely in this wonderful opportunity given.