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

Participant's Voices


  • Country : Malaysia
  • Forum : 50th batch (2013 Autumn Forum)
There are specific phases in our life where we are inspired by events, people, and ideas to strive to nurture ourselves to further excellence; however without guidance or a plan, we may not have the resources to go as far as we would like to. Therefore, I’m absolutely thankful to be able to participate in IATSS, an opportune forum for young professionals from ASEAN countries to further developed themselves by taking the initiative to hear new ideas and share their own too. Knowledge sharing is fundamental to any change we seek as an individual which ideally leads to further inspiration to people and communities around us. I am excited, eager, intrigued, nervous, a ball of butterflies in one! I look forward to an awesome trip of self development and meeting people from other countries and learning more about them and their motivations too. I have never been to Japan and have always been fascinated by its language, culture, people, history, arts, literature, sports, music and the list goes on! I know this will be a momentous event in life and I’m truly grateful for the chance given to me and I hope to make my family and country proud too.
The important lesson I learned at the IATSS Forum – THE PROCESS-
There are many lessons learned throughout the AMAZING experience at IATSS forum. For me, the most important lesson learned at the IATSS forum is that, process is more important than the end result itself, it is the quality of the execution that will define the quality of the result. The result here doesn’t mean success or failure; it merely means it is an outcome, which at IATSS forum is very much reiterated to enlighten the participants. When a process is well thought out and well executed, no matter what the result is, you walk away feeling satisfied, happy and complete, which I think is a precious lesson which we need to be reminded of at every phase of our lives because sometimes we are so use to our daily lives, we lose touch of taking initiative. Our schedule is packed with many activities and sharing session, it is a learning process from start till the end. All participants come from a diverse background, and during an activity, there will be differences and disagreements, and to ensure a fair process for a fair outcome and it is sometimes a feat to achieve. Say for example, if the process is not inclusive of the members voice or participation in activity, could be due to language, understanding, logic, speed, strategy etc, then there will be definitely be people who feel left out from the activity and program, and even thinking that, “I don’t belong here”, this creates a separation between the active participants and the ones trying to catch up, no matter at what stages of life you are, no one wants to be left out, no matter how stubborn you are, acknowledgement is what motivates us. When we went through Gasshuku (team building) on the first few days upon our arrival, where we probably still hold on to “who we are” from back home, I was about to give up feeling like a complete failure because I fail to listen or understand anyone, likewise, no one seem to understood my intention and was taken wrongly. I was extremely frustrated, but then I chose to give myself another chance and I must learn to acknowledge differences no matter how vastly different it is from mine, it was helpful when our facilitator, shared something very simple yet impactful, which helps me get through this, she said “free yourself”. Those words were what adjusted my mindset. (it was not easy!) It is not about losing yourself, but about discovering yourself in a place and process, where no one knows us, which is something we are unable to attempt if we are in the comfort of our own home country and comfort of the people who already know us. The activities are the vehicle of exploring ourselves and acknowledging the diversity of others, say if we don’t feel happy or listened to, we will never be able to contribute our 100% and that will affect us as an individual, and even in the middle of the task, you will feel like failure or outcast and would probably turn to the passive. This would not be a process that would bring a quality outcome not an outcome where all individuals will agree to. However, if the process is inclusive of everyone’s ideas, voices, and combining it as one unit and one voice, the strength of the group empowers the team members to be themselves during the process of contribution, thus no matter the outcome, everyone have contributed their very best. This brings a great quality outcome because everyone is motivated to be at their best. The process and understanding that inclusion is a very important factor is one very important lesson that helped shaped me, and I am very very thankful and grateful for being able to be reminded of this during the IATSS program.