Sunshine, heated debates and 10 analysis-free days – what more can a politically savvy engineering student wish for. Singapore, a.k.a. “The Switzerland of Asia”, was this year’s final destination for 21 lucky ETH Model United Nations members, who got to attend the biggest MUN conference in South East Asia, enjoy great food, make some new friends and as a bonus – get 3rd degree sunburns along the way. A Chinese Proverb states: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”, or in our case, with a single plane ride.
Singapore welcomed us with beautiful weather, awe inspiring architecture and spacious food courts. The day continued with a visit to the Russian Embassy to meet one of the highest-ranking Russian diplomats in Singapore as a means to get to know the country, which most of the delegation would be representing in the upcoming conference, – The Russian Federation. The diplomat was really a master of his profession: dodging revealing questions exquisitely and spreading patriotic propaganda every chance he could get, which gave the delegation valuable insights as to how to represent this nuclear superpower in the coming days of debate.
Soon, the main course of the trip was upon us – 4 days of gruelling debate. The first 2 days were, as expected, inefficient, as people were starting to get to know each other, making alliances and blocs, and, last but not least, undermining each other. Intrigues raged, feelings got hurt, backs were stabbed, but at the end of the 3rd day progress could be seen. Productive discussion started sprouting, transforming into resolutions and, on the 4th days, even getting passed. While the mornings were filled with conference matters, finding allies and fighting for leadership, the evenings were dedicated to group dinners with the other delegates from ETHMUN and other activities (all organized by our two exceptional head delegates) to help loosen up, relax and do the very thing everyone came here to do – have fun!
After the stellar performance of the delegation and the success in getting awarded two 1st place trophies in various committees, most of the delegation did exactly what ETH students normally do in the learning phase before the upcoming exams: they went to a beach resort island not far away. The upcoming doomsday in August couldn’t scare these brave folks, as they splashed in the salty water and began their transformation into fully fledged tomatoes. While the majority was getting recruited into the tomato army, some decided to stay in Singapore itself for a few more days and go see the fuzzy black-white balls of cuteness – pandas! Sadly, like all good things, the 10-day trip also had to come to an end, but the cheap Michelin starred restaurants, the opportunity to meet new people from unique cultures, as well as getting closer to people you already knew, leaves you eagerly expecting the next big ETHMUN conference. The adventure may have lasted only 10 days, but the memories will be there forever. Where to next?
By Rakhym Annabayev