IMO Diary 2016 Entry 1, 6 May

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After the recent announcement of the Malaysian IMO team, today marks the first day the 2016 team gathers together.

Today’s event is ExxonMobil’s annual contribution to STEM initiatives, i.e. the IMO program and the NSC program. The event was held at the Mandarin Oriental hotel, which is within walking distance from KLCC.

We all came on our own. Kin Aun came from Sunway college, Ivan arrived by plane from Penang yesterday, Zi Song came from UTAR (he’s currently at an IOI camp), Hanissa came from home and so did Li Xuan, whereas I came by bus from Malacca.

Hanissa was the first to arrive at the Mandarin Oriental, while Kin Aun, Zi Song, Ivan and I on the other hand were at Suria KLCC having lunch. Hanissa later on joined us. After lunch, we put on our suits, and made our way to the hotel.

Hanissa was our guide, and we took the underground pathway from Suria KLCC directly to the hotel.

The hotel was quite grand indeed. Once inside, we made our way to the Topaz room where the function was held. Surprisingly, we were asked to changed into t-shirts provided by ExxonMobil (but wasn’t the dress code formal?). We only managed to take a few photos before the organisers asked us to change into their T-shirts with ‘ExxonMobil’ and the IMO 2016 logo printed on it, as the ceremony was starting soon. Ah, there goes our chance of taking badass photos. Interestingly, the T-shirt had the hashtag BeAnEngineer on it.

Around 1430 we were seated and the other guests started arriving. The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd runner up teams of the 2015 NSC were present too as they were invited to a Sakura Science Exchange Program in Japan. (Fun fact: a member of last year’s NSC champion team, Tan Bing Chieh, was also a finalist in the IMO selection process). Dr Sakinah, Mr Suhaimi and Mr Iqbal were there too, along with some of our trainers such as Mr Tan and Mr Loke. This year, Mr Suhaimi will not be our leader, instead Mr Iqbal will be leading us.

The ceremony started after the arrival of the deputy minister of MOSTI. Following the opening remarks by the emcee, the executive officer of ExxonMobil Malaysia, Mr See Kok Yew, gave a speech. He mainly touched on the economy gravitating towards a knowledge based economy instead of the old resource based economy. The deputy minister of MOSTI gave a speech after that. He talked about how innovation is vital to the national economy and we should nurture young students to become innovators.

After that came the mock cheque presentation session. Dr Noriah, the director of PermataPintar received the mock cheque for the IMO program from Mr See Kok Yew.

A photography session ensued, where the six of us were on stage with the deputy minister of MOSTI and we had a banner!

The end of the photography session marked the end of the function, and high-tea was served.

There was a plethora of choices to choose from, ranging from delectable desserts to fulfilling small bites. The waiter’s service was good too. And.. There were lots of cutleries.

At the table, Mr Suhaimi gave us a short briefing on the following IMO program schedule. It was soon time to leave. I had to make a move first as I had to catch the bus back to Malacca at BTS that was leaving at 1815.

Although being selected to the IMO is fun, a certain responsibility comes along with that privilege. There is not much time to celebrate now. It is around 2 more months to IMO, and we have to start our preparations without further ado.

And so our journey begins.