Serving with a heart: Tham Jun Han vs Devesh Narayanan for VP (Welfare)

By Kintan Andanari

Alas, we have come towards the end of the election season (well, almost) and with most roles contested by 2 people, this only brings good news to the electorate because:

  1. The nominees are probably motivated to outdo each other, and more motivated to table out the best for their electorate, once again exemplifying The Great Rhetoric of Competitiveness Breeding Productivity.
  2. There’s always the possibility of that one candidate running to be real lousy incompetent.
  3. Drama, which is basically the wet dream of all student journalists and gossip-mongers.

While eyeing the same role, both Tham Jun Han and Devesh Narayanan have highly divergent views on how to undertake the job, Jun Han conceives the VP Welfare role as that of a home-maker, Devesh perceives it as that of a servant leader.

DSC_0369
Tham Jun Han (left), Devesh Narayanan (right)

Pitting them side by side, here’s what both candidates have said about being prospective VP (Welfare):

1. Considering that your role is contested by another candidate, what makes you more suitable for this role?

Tham Jun Han: I’ve been around in USP for 2 years, and throughout my stint as the Oweek director, I’ve been working with many stakeholders that I’ll be interacting with should I become VP of Welfare.

Tl;dr: I know the people I will work with.

Devesh Narayanan: Being a freshman, and being unable to attend the camps, my time here has been short. What I do have to offer is experience – wherever I go, I always try to help and serve.

In Meridian Junior College, I was the student council’s vice president, and was the head of student council in my secondary school back in Sweden. As an international student, I headed the MOE’s International Student Council, which earned me the National Young Leader award.

Tl;dr: I am experienced, just not in USP.

2. Should you be elected, what do you think this role entails?

Tham Jun Han: I feel that USP can be a much more homely place, and the role of the VP Welfare is to be some sort of a home-maker.

The idea of being a home-maker is to make the home ‘flow’ smoothly, which is to connect everyone in the community together, to resolve conflicts, and communicate to those who have left the residential compound.

Running a home can be as simple as managing the spaces in USP, which would in turn shape the way people communicate. Somehow, Chatterbox has been relegated to a quiet studying place, and I would like to transform that among the various spaces I have in mind.

Tl;dr: VP= USP’s Home-Maker + Warden of the USPaces 

Devesh Narayanan: From what I understand, there seems to be two central components to this job – the house system, and on-campus residence. I do have some opinion on how the house system works, like its demerits and merits.

On the subject of campus residence, I feel that it is important to maintain the link with USP students who no longer stay on campus. I feel like they have been left out.

Tl;dr: VP= manage the house-system and residential living

3. Why did you specifically signup for this role?

Tham Jun Han: Like I said earlier, the different stakeholders that I interacted with while being an Oweek director will more or less be the same ones I would interact with if I become VP (welfare).

Existing networks aside, I am more aware of how I could streamline the system after talking to them, which is definitely something I could do if I were to become VP (Welfare).

Tl;dr: I will work with the people I have worked with, and am more aware of how USP functions. 

Devesh Narayanan: VP (Welfare) resonates with my kind of leadership style, where the heart always drives the action.

Oddly enough, what inspired me to contest for this was Tham Jun Han’s speech during O-week, and Prof. Kang’s during Dinner and Dance: if you have the talent, please contribute to USP. But guess where we are now, haha.

Tl;dr: Succinct enough. 

4. How has campaigning been like, and how will you proceed from here? 

Devesh Narayanan: Firstly, I put in a lot of time and thought into the write-up on the boards. I run with Abhi (candidate for Hon Gen Sec), and we have been pasting posters on all the lifts. My OG mates have been kind enough to nominate me, but I feel that the elections’ would be an uphill battle as none of my friends back in JC are in USP. (Editor’s note: his JC friends are mostly serving the nation right now).

Tl;dr: write up, running with Abhi, posters, but my JC friends are not here

Tham Jun Han: I’m running with Kwang Ming and Royston and so far, we have been putting up posters. I’m actually against it because posters can actually get a little awkward but since it’s compulsory…. Our posters have our faces on them, and a question asking the community: what is your USP?

I talk to seniors, freshies, and my batchmates on what they really want in USP, the MC shrinking etc, in a way, soft appeal might actually be more effective.

Tl;dr: I run with 2 other year 2s, we paste posters and talk to people. 

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

Devesh Narayanan: it’s a clean slate for me as a year 1, and the least I could do to free up my schedule is by not overloading.

Even if I were overloading, I manage my time pretty well. I have dealt with more gruelling schedules in the past, like when I was taking 2 H3 modules while being the VP for student council in JC. Everything turned out fine.

Tl;dr: I endured worse things in life, like JC. 

Tham Jun Han: Well, I’m not taking any USP modules this sem… hahahaha

6. Tell us something interesting about you

Tham Jun Han: ThamBot, a platform to broadcast messages during the Orientation week, was actually named after me, although I have no rights over it.

Devesh Narayanan: I’ve been a violinist since I was 3, and I have been performing in a lot places like the Sydney Opera House

7. What are your interests? 

Devesh Narayanan: I wanted to study music and astrophysics but I didn’t want to monetise my interests. I also read up on Indian mythologies – the one I’m reading now is about humanising all these stories.

Tham Jun Han: Photography. I was in charge of taking photos during the Freshman Orientation Programme actually.

Hope you have enjoyed our MC elections series as much as we enjoyed writing them. Now, it’s voting time!

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