The road to presidency: Lim Cheng Lei

By Christine Wan

To start our interview series with the MC nominees, we speak to Cheng Lei, a Year 2 Information Systems student who is running for the position of President.

As the sole candidate running for the position, his fate will be determined by a Vote of Confidence – more than 50% of the USC Community has to vote “Yes” in order to institute him as the USC’s 15th President. Failure to receive more than 50% of the votes means that the seat will remain empty throughout the Internal Elections. A by-election would then be conducted after the Internal Elections, to fill the position of President.

Regardless of whether the President is voted in, Internal Elections will take place this Friday (28 Aug). During Internal Elections, successful candidates will vote on how the positions are assigned amongst themselves. Candidates can also withdraw or be voted out during this stage.

On being the incumbent Hon Gen Sec

1. How has being the Hon Gen sec for the past year been like? Was juggling everything manageable?

There have been crunch times, but I’ve enacted some changes in how people can use the spaces in Cinnamon College during my term. Things are more transparent now, and people can see how others use the spaces. I still had to step in and deal with how to prioritise the use of the space; although we say that booking the spaces are on a first come first serve basis, there are times where we need to prioritise cases over another.

2. What do you wish you could redo in your one year term as Honorary General Secretary?

One thing that I wish we could redo: how we set up for Open Day. We had ambitious plans on how to refresh the college, but we did not factor [the] timeline very well. We were rushing up until Open Day itself, and there was one item that we didn’t get to set up. We put it up later, after Open Day. So if I could redo it, I would change the approach and factor in ample time to get things ready.

Running to become USC president

3. Why did you specifically sign up to be President?

I felt that it’s important to have continuity in each term in the MC. Having prior experience in MC means that I know how to organise, how to brainstorm solutions to help USP, and what to improve upon previous years.

On why specifically president, I can say I’m in a better position to spearhead change, and continue to serve the USP community given my experience.

4. What are the first things that you would implement if you get elected?

I would like to move towards initiatives that connect the MC to the USP community, give people more visibility within USP, and open up avenues to reach out to the MC on an informal level.

That said, I haven’t decided what approach I would use, and I think we should consult the elected members to align our visions before rolling out any initiatives.

5. How have you campaigned yourself thus far, and how will you proceed?

Beyond the campaign period, the things I’ve done in the previous year have shown what I can do for USP and also give me a sense of credibility. I think I’ll spend the rest of the campaign period trying to connect with people, talking to people. I think a one-to-one interaction to get feedback would give me a good start for how to approach it.

On juggling his commitments

7. How busy are you, and how do you plan to balance everything?

There are external commitments, but I feel like I’m in a better position than the previous term. [Last term] I had two SG50 activities, and now that they’re over, I can concentrate more on USP. I believe that if you are committed to something, you should spend a certain amount of time on it. So though I had my summer internship, I still came back over the summer to render help to the FOP Organising Committee.

8. How do you spend your free time?

Do I even have free time? *laughs* Most of my free time is spent on community work, which I am extremely passionate about.