南洋大学校友业余网站

Chapter Heads Close Door Meeting
and
NTU Vice Chancellor as Vice Chancellor of Nantah

── 陈国相 ──


Dear 8th NUAGR Committee Alumni,

I am very disappointed to note that two weeks away from the Reunion, there are still two major issues that stand to divide our fellow alumni. The Reunion is supposed to be a time of celebration. But it is being turned into an event of division.

(1) The closed door meeting for "chapter heads and representatives"

Nantah alumni groups are not "chapters" of any centralized body under which they operate. There is no higher leading organization that dictates from above to the individual groups. A meeting of these separate groups is not a meeting of the branches of a single organization. Nantah alumni groups are ad hoc units created by individuals, some taking a more formal form by giving themselves a constitution and regularly electing a slate of officers, others operating in a loose and casual way, appearing only when the name of an alumni organization is needed to perform a special function. Nantah alumni groups are not found in every locality where Nantah alumni reside. Where they exist, Nantah alumni organizations do not always get the support of the majority of the alumni in their areas. In a word, Nantah alumni associations, individually and as a combined entity, cannot be deemed to be representative organizations of all the Nantah alumni. For this reason, whatever decisions related to Nantah made by "chapter heads and representatives" cannot be considered to be valid until they are discussed and ratified by the rest of the Nantah alumni. That there has never been any attempt to bring forward the decisions of "chapter heads and representatives" for ratification is a major cause of the contention among Nantah alumni today.

When an organization calls a meeting of all its subordinate units, "chapter heads and representatives" are given an agenda and pertinent information well in advance of the meeting to allow for preparation, including discussion among local members. So far, I am in complete ignorance of what would be tabled for discussion at the meeting. I have tried to bring up some topics for discussion at the annual meeting of my local organization in order that the President and others who are attending the Sabah Reunion could say something on behalf of our group when needed. But I have been advised by the President that since no notification of the agenda has been received, there is no reason to guess what would be discussed. If Presidents were asked about the views of their own groups, they would simply have to express their own opinion. This can only make the decisions of the meeting even less representative.

If it is wrong for "chapter heads and representatives" to make decisions that would affect all Nantah alumni, it is obscene to make those decisions behind closed doors. Why the secrecy if the meeting is about Nantah? Who are supposed to be kept outside the door? What is the rationale for dividing Nantah alumni into two distinct classes, insiders and outsiders?

(2) The invitation of the Vice Chancellor of Nanyang Technical University (NTU) to speak at the "Nantah Night" banquet

I found it very strange that your e-mail contains so much information about all the other events, yet so pitifully little about the main event. My curiosity led me to your website, where I noticed that on the agenda for the evening, the Vice Chancellor has indeed been invited to speak, and he would be speaking as Vice Chancellor of Nantah, reporting on the current situation in Nantah. (The name "Nantah" is used without any designation or qualification, implying that it is our Nantah.)

I remember a few months ago, there was a heated discussion on the subject which was followed by a posting on the website showing an agenda which did not include the Vice Chancellor making a speech. Now he has quietly returned.

I think a very unhealthy development has taken place. Some people are trying to use trickery to get their way. These people have gone beyond the bounds of discussion to resolve an issue. This would not only put division, but also sow suspicion among us.

Indeed, the situation is worse than when we first began the discussion about the invitation. Now he is no longer coming as the Vice Chancellor of Nanyang Technical University, speaking about that university, but of Nantah, and about Nantah.

But the invitation to speak can only mean to be symbolic, because this reporting about the developments at Nantah is just going to take ten minutes. I have suggested before that if there really was an interest in knowing what was happening at the NTU, let us have someone from the university to lead a discussion, where questions from the audience can be put, and comments invited. Why do we need the symbolism? Are we so desperate that we have to take any woman with breasts to be our mother?

I am utterly disgusted with this development. If I put this alongside the call for a closed door meeting of some "chapter heads and representatives", I begin to see the dark clouds ahead of us. But trickery and secrecy are only done by people without hope.

I have hope in preserving the good image of my alma mater.

K.C. Tan (史地第一届陈国相)
First Batch
History and Geography

2002-5-24


Dear Members of NUAGR Organizing Committee,

I congratulate you for your effort to resolve the difference of opinion between you and those alumni who do not think there should be
 (1) a closed door meeting for chapter heads and representatives, and
 (2) a speech by the Vice Chancellor of Nanyang Technological University.
You have now replaced
 (1) with a Representative Meeting, and
 (2) with a speech by a Guest Speaker.

But I am sorry to say that until I have more information, I cannot go all the way to embrace your decisions.

I have to know if the Representative Meeting is still closed to other alumni attending the Reunion; is it meant to be a forum for exchange of opinion, or a group making decisions affecting the entire body of the alumni; if it is making decisions, does it consider those decisions to be final, or is it adopting a mechanism to have those decisions ratified by the entire body of alumni. (I am intrigued by your request to "those who are interested in the meeting of Nantah matters", to register "with the Chairman of the Even(t), TanSri Lim Guan Teck". It does seem like the Representative Meeting is going to discuss "Nantah matters", and not only has a Chair been chosen, he is also to receive "registration" from those who wish to attend the meeting.)

In the case of the speech by the Guest Speaker, has the person been identified; what is the purpose of slipping someone into the action-packed program for a mere four minutes; practically, can you ensure that all the preceding cultural performances and entertainment items would be conducted on time; theoretically, why do we need this kind of symbolic gesture.

I apologize for being seemingly so pressing. But given what has happened before, I do need more solid clarification beyond the apparent to get to a correct assessment of your effort. I anxiously hope to be able to conclude that your effort is genuine, and that it would lead us back to unity.

Best wishes.

Chen Guoxiang (陈国相)

2002-5-28



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2002年6月3日首版 Created on June 3, 2002
2002年6月3日改版 Last updated on June 3, 2002