A Quick Guide to the CUMaS Committee

This post is about the Cambridge University Malaysia Society (CUMaS). If you’re not interested in this sort of thing, you might want to close this post and stare at your reflection in the mirror while wondering about your life goals.

Also, I’ve never gotten used to the fact that the society’s name is a giant grammatical error.

But anyways. Some of you first years, and maybe second years, may have noticed that the AGM is coming up and that our overlords are stepping down. This is your opportunity! Being in the committee is some of the most fun you will probably have in Cambridge (unless you do anything else for fun). You also get to run the events your way, gain some experience in organising stuff, and generally everyone in CUMaS looks up to you. I used to be Publicity Officer, and though we had work to do, it was always about organising fun, entertaining events for people, so it’s never a stressful thing. Your fellow committee members are likely to become some of your best friends, and you get to run events your way!

So if you’re on the fence about whether you should go for it, I’d recommend that you definitely try to run for the CUMaS Committee. I believe the details are here: http://www.cumas.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Details-on-Committee-Elections-2014.pdf

I’m sure you want to know what position you’d want to run for, and what your job entails. The following guide will likely be completely useless, so please talk to the current committee, or past committee members, about the position.


The Guide:

As you are likely aware, one of the main aims in the CUMaS constitutions is “to promote, uphold and represent the interests and welfare of Malaysian students in Cambridge University in particular.” As a committee member, you will likely meet this goal by holding lots of food-related events throughout the year.

Also, this upcoming year is CUMaS’s 20th Anniversary! We expect the next committee to organise something spectacular, and more importantly, something involving lots of food.

The roles in the committee (in AGM voting order) are:


The President’s job is to keep CUMaS running smoothly. He has an exciting, usually insane, vision for the future of CUMaS. He is able to manage small children during committee meetings as well as direct them towards accomplishing his goals. He must be able to look important during meetings with people from outside CUMaS, and must be able to give speeches at talks. He must also be good at giving the other committee members lots of work to do.

A good President:

  • Ensures that society members are kept well-fed, especially during winter.
  • Has experience managing kindergarten or primary school children.
  • Is able to get things done even when no one wants to do anything.
  • Will tell everyone in his life, in his CV and in his eventual job that he was President.
  • Is handsome and/or beautiful.

Salary: One dinner per year, paid for by CUMaS membership fees.


The Secretary is also generally in charge of ensuring CUMaS runs smoothly. She takes minutes, collects membership fees and actually gets most of the work done. She usually organises the first event of the year, the Garden Party. She is in charge of the hotly contested elections at the AGM and ensures that no vote-buying, vote-stuffing or blackouts occur. She is also acting Vice-President in the committee, which looks better on a CV.

Note: due to traditional psychological gender and height biases, the Secretary is usually female and short.

A good Secretary:

  • Assists in ensuring the society members are well-fed.
  • Makes sure the committee actually runs.
  • Can type really, really, really quickly at meetings.
  • Brings snacks to all committee meetings.
  • Welcomes freshers to CUMaS by asking them for money.

Salary: One dinner per year, paid for by CUMaS membership fees.


The Treasurer has one of the more straightforward roles in the Committee. He collects money from sponsors, ensures sponsors actually pay us, manages the CUMaS bank account, frequently uses the stupid authentication machine every time he logs into HSBC’s online website, ensures that members pay for every event on time, checks Google Drive every day to make sure people have actually paid, sends e-mails to members who have yet to pay, manages the budget for each event, stops committee members from asking for more money for each event, reimburses committee expenses, handles tickets for termly formals, organises the Malaysian Food Feast (including venue searching, food sourcing, volunteer recruitment, volunteer assignment, budget and entertainment), deals with unexpected financial crises, handles payment for stash, makes nice Powerpoint presentations for the AGM, pays for the expensive annual committee dinner, keeps the price of kangkung low and several hundred other tasks which randomly pop up.

A good Treasurer:

  • Minimises costs involved in feeding society members.
  • Is competent at multivariate calculus, time series calculations, statistical modelling and arithmetic.
  • Loves Google Drive.
  • Must ensure that enough money is saved at each event to pay for the committee dinner.
  • Enjoys reminding friends, acquaintances and strangers that they haven’t paid yet.
  • Is translucent about CUMaS funds.

Salary: One dinner per year, paid for by CUMaS membership fees.

Publicity Officer

The Publicity Officer ensures that information flows through CUMaS efficiently. This mostly involves sending out a lot of e-mails. She is also in charge of the website and Facebook accounts, and must be able to meet monthly targets (1,000 views per week and 100 likes per post respectively). She is usually in charge of communication with other societies and their events, and must ensure that, for once, Mastana does not clash with MNight. She is responsible for ensuring sponsor’s activities are well-publicised at the bottom of the e-mail.

A good Publicity Officer:

  • Informs society members about events involving food.
  • Is skilled at using lame puns.
  • Has a strong Bahasa Malaysia vocabulary for CUMaSKini.
  • Is comfortable about regularly sending out last-minute e-mails at 4am.
  • Ensures MNight is sold out.
  • Likes spending their day on Facebook.

Salary: One dinner per year, paid for by CUMaS membership fees.

Entertainment Officer

The Entertainment Officer entertains people. He is generally in charge of making sure each event is organised, and is definitely in charge of each term’s formal. His major task for the year is ensuring the success of Malaysian Night. He is traditionally the director or producer of the MNight, and is able to inspire a ragtag group of students to produce a play (or maybe, one day, a musical) worthy of West End. He is comfortable with destroying his social life and happiness in the eight weeks leading up to MNight.

A good Entertainment Officer:

  • Is capable of inventing innovative methods to keep society members well-fed.
  • Books one Trinity formal a year.
  • Ensures the Garden Party has a bouncy castle.
  • Is an experienced director, producer, scriptwriter, backstage organiser, lighting manager, songwriter, and dancer.
  • Can provide enough debauchery to satisfy the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eight, ninth, tenth and eleventh-year medics.

Salary: One dinner per year, paid for by CUMaS membership fees.

Sports Officer

The Sports Officer organises the various sporting events CUMaS is involved in. She arranges for weekly sporting events in Michaelmas term. She is in charge of begging members to join any sport in the Nottingham Games. Most importantly, she ensures that a comprehensive training program is implemented after the Nottingham Games in preparation for the Oxbridge Games. She is usually the manager and coach of most sports teams, and is allocated a multi-million pounds budget for player transfers during the winter and summer breaks.

A good Sports Officer:

  • Keeps players well-fed before, during and after training.
  • Plays football, basketball, badminton, tennis, squash, Ultimate, table tennis, netball, volleyball, chess, checkers, Scrabble and carrom.
  • Never loses to Oxford.

Salary: One dinner per year, paid for by CUMaS membership fees, unless they lose in the Oxbridge Games.

Welfare Officer

The Welfare Officer ensures that members’ general welfare needs are taken care of. He is everyone’s best friend. He is their shoulder to cry on and their confidant. He helps freshers by settling them into Cambridge life, giving assistance where needed, and warning them about St John’s. He conducts the marriage ceremonies for CUMaS couples and provides family planning services. He is in charge of the Freshers’ Banquet, the Freshers’ Camp and the £50 MNight Haribo budget.

A good Welfare Officer:

  • Reduces society members’ stress levels low by keeping them well-fed.
  • Is immune to the effects of Week 5.
  • Will be there for you when your job’s a joke, you’re broke and your love life’s DOA.

Salary: One dinner per year, paid for by CUMaS membership fees.

General Committee

There are also three (not six!) General Committee positions, as well as up to four appointed positions with no voting powers. Although these are general roles with no specific title, committees have usually assigned a specific position for each committee member. These change from year to year, but here are some of the more common roles:

  • Graduate Representative: She tries to bridge the gap between undergraduates who are too busy having fun and postgraduates who are too busy doing work. She also organises dinners for postgrads.
  • Sponsorship Officer: This is the most important role in CUMaS. He convinces people to give money to a society for the purposes of feeding the members.
  • Technical Officer: She ensures that the technology is in place for all of CUMaS’s food-related operations. Preferably proficient in HTML, CSS, AJAX, WordPress, C++, Java, MATLAB, R, FORTRAN, BASIC, Flash, Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, iTunes, DOTA / DOTA 2, Google-Fu, Printer Voodoo and photography.
  • Logistics Officer: He ensures that food is bought, cooked and transported to each CUMaS event. This is the second-most important role in CUMaS.
  • Socials Officer: She assists in organising social, food-related events together with the Entertainment Officer. She must enjoy clubbing and socializing with the opposite sex.
  • Alumni Officer: He reaches out to alumni to organise fancy buffet lunches and dinners where they can reminisce about the best days of their life.
  • External Officer: She organises the Outreach program, where current students remind prospective students that Cambridge is still the most highly regarded university among traditional Asian parents, and that the food in Cambridge isn’t that bad.

All of these roles are usually rewarded with a salary of: One dinner per year, paid for by CUMaS membership fees.


Good luck, and remember, above all else, to have fun!

Note: if you haven’t noticed by now, this post is satire. It’s only 50% true. Even the title is a lie, it’s not quick at all.

One Life Ago: Contents

Well it’s been a while. You may have noticed that I haven’t posted for quite a while. I always thought that life would get a lot easier and less hectic after SPM, but the exact happened. I have no one to blame except myself. The choices I made after SPM weren’t the usual lazy ones I usually make, but they’ve led to so much fun and interesting experiences that I have no regrets with spending so much free time.

But it wasn’t all rosy. Mostly the reason why I didn’t update this blog is because Streamyx was down. More on this later.

I typed out some of these on the plane to London. That was over a week ago and I still haven’t posted what happened in December. So without further ado, here’s what happened a lifetime ago, in December 2009:

New Old Blog

Well! Some people tend to change their blogs now and then, some change theirs every month, some change it so often that I get sick of following them. Of course, there are some who just stick to one blog forever, and to those people I’m so grateful. You make my life easier.

But… I’m changing my blog! For a really long time I’ve been using Blogger, because it’s just so easy and simple to use. Plus I think I was 12/13 (?) when I started my first blog a long  time ago. I don;t even remember what that was about.

A little history about the blog. The major blog I’ve been updating for the past year (or two? Three? I don’t remember) was hosted on Blogger. I think everyone knows Blogger. Most people opened their first blogs there. It’s simple, it’s free, and it was something like “OMGWTF I get to have jiannmeng.blogspot.com which has my name in it! So cool!” So that’s what I used, and that’s what I liked for a really long time.

As time passed though, a few things really become annoying to me. I nitpicked about certain small details. For example, Blogger only gives you 1GB of space for pictures. Seems like quite a lot, but that’s only if you automatically resize the photos you  upload. Doing so you could hold lots and lots of pictures, but I’m always thinking, “What if I ran out of space? Do I have to delete old photos?” Probably the answer is yes, and I cannot bear deleting historical stuff. If you look at my harddrive, I try to save every photo I take, no matter how irrelevant. I don’t know why, it’s just one of my idiosyncrasies.

Even worse, I really like uploading high-resolution stuff. Even when resized reasonably, that’s about 1MB per picture, in total about 1000 pictures only. I can’t really live with that.

So I decided to use Photobucket. I think everyone knows that too. Unlimited storage! But that leads to different problems. Stuff like having to copy the link of every picture and manually setting a fixed size so that it wouldn’t overstretch the layout, stuff like that. It’s really, really annoying for some reason.

So, what to do? I wasn’t sure, but then Raina told me about Tumblr, which looked pretty awesome. But a short while later I realised it wasn’t for blogging, it’s more like Twitter. The layouts were nice, but you really couldn’t customise your post too well. Stuff like adding pictures to posts and editing the HTML of the post was just plain annoying. So, what next?

I was looking at WordPress. Probably the best of all, but if I took their free service I’d again be limited by storage space and all that stuff. But you can download WordPress (it’s open source) and use it on your own website, making it truely your own blog. I liked that.

Which means, how would I host my own website? What hosting company should I use? Above everything, it needs to be cheap. I’d be spending my dad’s money if I wanted to host my own website. Shopping around, the cheapest I could find was something like USD4.99 a month. RM200 a year.


It’s actually not a lot if you think about it, for a whole year. But still, I’m quite reluctant to dish out TWO HUNDRED BUCKS a year, especially if it’s not my own money. Find something cheaper…

Nearlyfreespeech.net. Interesting. It’s pay as you use, so the more you use, the more you pay, but also the less you use the less you pay. I like it :O

So how much would it cost? Looking at the pricing structure, I think it’s about 30-40 US a year. That’s on average RM100 a year. I think I can convince my dad to approve of that. After all, this is more like a hobby to me. We all spend some money on our hobbies… I think mine is pretty cheap for a hobby.

Last night, I signed up, deposited some money and promptly spent close to two hours trying to make sense of what a MsSQL database is. This morning, I uploaded all the WordPress files into the server, and a few minutes later, voila, it works!

Of course, I think the definite coolest part about the whole thing is this:


(Yes, it’s centered because it’s awesome)

I have a website! A fully functioning website I can call my own. That is made of plain awesome.

So, what does this mean now? A few things. My Blogger and Tumblr accounts will now be updated anymore. Almost more than likely if you’re seeing this on my old blogs, it’s the second-to-last post I’ll be putting up. Update your links accordingly, please :)

If you’re reading this from the new link, this is a pretty detailed first post, isn’t it?

I also imported all the old posts into WordPress. I’m not starting anew, I’m just making a New Old Blog.

Another thing. The new blog will be under construction for a long, long time. I really want to customise the blog, but it’s SPM season now. That means I’ve wasted close to 4 hours on something relatively useless. If I have free time (and I’m not playing a game, (TF2 is really fun)), I’ll be tinkering around with themes, plugins and stuff. The site might go down without warning since it’s based on a prepaid system and I didn’t credit it with that much money yet. The layout might change everytime you visit, or not at all. I don’t know what will happen.

It’s an interesting new journey from here on.

How to save yourself some time

It’s surprising how many people in Malaysia don’t use RSS feeds to check stuff. Since in an a usual teenager’s internet life, checking through blogs is about 50% of the time spent in a browser (other 50% is spent on social networks -.-), this is a tutorial on using RSS feeds to check all your favourite blogs from one website (so you can spend your time looking at people profiles instead).

Step 1 : Find a RSS reader/startpage. The one I use is called Netvibes.

Step 2 : Sign up for an account.

Step 3 : Search for a button which says “Add feeds”, or something similar to that.

Step 4 : Here’s the iffy part. Search the blog you want to read for an RSS feed or an XML feed. As a shortcut : for Blogger blogs the url you should enter into the box is


Like mine : http://jiannmeng.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

Step 5 : Press save, then close edit.

Now, just by checking Netvibes, you can see all posts made on the blogs you are tracking. Also, when a new blog post comes up, it is very noticeable. Now there’s no need to look through blogs with horrible backgrounds and music anymore.

Hello world!?



What makes for a good first post?


1. Comments about the day – No. I’m much too lazy to stick to a daily schedule. And anyways, it’s 2.28 am and the last 2-and-a-half hours were as exciting as… staying up late.

2. Long-winded article about my thoughts – That can be summarized easily.

“What the hell I wanna go sleep but I’m not sleepy dammit”

3. Emo poem -

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Life is so sad,
And I hate you

Not my forte, that’s for sure.

Nah, this is my first post :

That is all.