Let’s take a step back to when I first came to MASCA.
Early 2015, I was an innocent boy with no idea, no perception and no attachments to MASCA. I was freshly rejected from becoming MASCA Victoria’s HR Director, a position in which I lost to Qistina Zainir (still sour about it). Once I got over the need to be in MASCA, an offer came along for me to apply to the National Executive Team. I hesitated signing up but friends encouraged me to every day until I finally did. 2 weeks later at the 2015 Australian Network Leaders Summit (ANLS), I was appointed the National Policies and Strategies Officer (in which at that point I thought was the fanciest name ever).
My first few days, I was already put into action, speaking my mind out on every detail of MASCA I felt wasn’t right. I made a name for myself at ANLS speaking up against Alumni and Current Council Members and having a stand for what I felt was right. I was so amped, I took over Fiesta Malaysia in Melbourne with my best friend just to be involved in MASCA Victoria and the National Council. I did not let anything hold me back and sure enough, this attitude got me far. 5 months down the road; I was promoted to fill in the vacant National Liaison Director position.
At this point, I was prepared for my workload to shift in focus, but it didn’t. In fact, it more or less doubled and even worse, I was left swimming in the deep end without any help! I was handling communications with partners of MASCA which included the newly formed Malaysian Students’ Global Alliance and I was also still responsible over the Policies and Strategies side of the council. This shock in responsibilities stumped my growth and abilities in the council. I felt really demotivated to come back from that fall and kept my distance from the council. At that point, my life was darkened with negative energy especially when a close friend came close to death due to suicide attempts. Together, both her demons and mine got the best of me.
Before the darkness clouded my judgement, I was set on taking over the helm in Victoria State. I knew what had to be done and I knew how I was going to do it. I made a pact with Qistina to run as Chairperson with her running as my Deputy. When the MASCA Victoria AGM came, l held back from submitting a nomination. I attended the AGM on capacity as a National Council Member and I put on a smile as everyone who knew me kept asking, “why aren’t you running?” To be completely honest, every time a council member was elected, I kept asking myself the same question. As the AGM closed, I walked out, went home and distanced myself from MASCA entirely.
Later, in February 2016, a few days before my birthday, I got a call from Qistina. She told me about her health issues and I was worried for her and only her, that was, until she brought up MASCA Victoria. As the Chairperson at that time (the 2nd position she took from me), she expressed her concerns and her inability to continue and told me the position was going to be vacant one more time, before I leave Australia. At that point, I felt bad for her but I told myself, “how many times does an opportunity have to show itself to me before I actually get up, go out and take that chance.” I submitted my candidacy and 2 weeks later, I was the Chairperson of MASCA (Victoria State Chapter).
Since then, I have never turned down opportunities that came my way. It might be scary to think about what will happen if something went wrong and that’s human nature, but eventually, someone has to take that opportunity. If I never took the position in February, what would have happened? Things might have went amazingly well, or there might be that possibility that things would’ve gone down hill for the state of Victoria. Until the day I retire from MASCA, on the 11th of September, 2016, I will tell myself the latter version and keep on reminding myself, I made the right call. Life is too short to let worries and regrets hold you back. Don’t sit on the sidelines and watch everyone take your opportunities away and then blame the world. Go out there and take this opportunity of a lifetime. Be the next, Chairperson!
Mohammad Hasif “Hyphen” Irfan
MASCA Victoria 16/16