Saturday, January 27, 2007

今非昔比

看了Owl's blog 后, 我也不得不同意一些他的说法 - 今时不同往日...

Genus has certainly come a long long way. Both in terms of its musical development and performing standards, as well as it's group dynamics and culture.

We have a larger orchestra than before (in my Committee days, we were about 40 strong). We have an abundance of experienced players in the orchestra, unlike in the past, where a "Year 6" was considered an "untouchable" in terms of his stature in the group. We are tackling music which we dared not even dream of challenging in the past (e.g. we're now taking on Pictures at an Exhibition at ensemble level. Together with the Bach's E major concerto in the same concert). We have better instruments than before, having acquired some decent Niibori and Prime guitars over the last 10 years. We also now play under a professional and renowned conductor, who will hopefully lead the group towards higher musical achievements...

So many positives to the way Genus has grown.

We are able to progress thus far, because we have adapted well to changes.

改变 : 往往是令人抗拒的. 也是令人担忧,甚至于恐惧的. 但重要的是, "改变"也是必然的,它的确是不可避免的.

We have adapted to changes in our Administration (CFA) setup and personnel, to changes in their demands of the group. We have adapted to changes in our own group's musical leadership, when we were forced to undergo a change in conductor by CFA (yes. we have survived 2 years of Dommy's dark reign... ). We have also adapted to the slow by sure change in the makeup and thus culture of the group, whereby more Alumni members retain their membership and stake in Genus, choosing to come back to campus every Saturday to rehearse with the group.

The Executive Committee (EXCO - or simply the Comm ) responsibilities have been passed down for generations after generations of undergraduates, as the group needed an active lot of youthful, and spirited volunteers to take charge of the administrative organisation and day-to-day running of the group. This fact has not changed.

Yet - this is my personal opinion - along with all the other "changes" that Genus has undergone, the spirit and willingness to commit to the group (and thus having to sacrifice personal time and efforts) seemed to have been dampened in some of the recent Committees, and even completely "lost" in several members amongst them.

Perhaps students now are much more conscientious of their studies and schoolwork, that they have little time to spare for such things as "CCA"s. Or perhaps the demands on the EXCO has become much higher now compared to before, as there are more members in the group to manage, especially with the emergence of a large cohort of 难以伺候的"老家伙"们.

To me, these "reasons" sound a little hollow and unconvincing. Every Committee (past and present) has their own set of challenges to face, and I don't agree that the Committees nowadays has a tougher job on their hands than we had in our time.

It is simply a matter of ATTITUDE.

The fact that there are still some dependable and solid Comm members (albeit much fewer numbers than in the past...) now is proof - that 要做的话, 是绝对做得到的. 重要的是有没有这份"心".

GENUS在下来的几年内或许回面对青黄不接的问题. 主要原因并不是吸引不到足够的新人来加入团队,而是不能好好地挽留住一些曾经加入,而有潜质的新生会员. 在这种情况之下,能挺身而出来担当Committee的将会是寥寥无几. 而那些被大伙儿提名为Committee会员的也难免会把这份"荣耀"当成是一种"负担". 象是被别人arrowed to do the shit job 似的. 以这种心态来接受执委会的任何职位的人, 试问他怎么可能会全力以赴,尽心竭力地付出呢?

Genus may have adapted well to many past changes and the challenges that came with them. Maybe it's time we also start thinking about changing the Committee structure (as well as the election process ) and the way we run the group - to ensure the right people with the right attitude are in the right roles.

2 Comments:

Blogger wai said...

I think the people with the right attitude are in the right roles! It all boils down to the batch. Usually there are too few juniors such that anyone, willy-nilly, ends up in the committee - with the more committed people in the bigger roles, and unfortunately pulling most of the weight. Such commitment is visible in a junior - their attitude manifested in the way they regularly attend practices, refine their technique, and come to the fore as able players. The current system allows all to contribute to the committee in terms of our insights and observations about who would be the ideal choice to lead. One other thing is experience - I feel that the level of leadership fluctuates between each batch, due to the presence of committed people and also experience.

I think this committee when they started out was quite inexperienced when it comes to leadership - but they have improved by leaps and bounds since. Especially since they seem to be very open to our suggestions, which admittedly can be put forward in quite a demanding tone sometimes. And there are a few dedicated ones - like the P who forsake her holiday home to deal with Genus matters, the VP who never fails to help us deal with the administration in the dozens of minor matters that crop up each week, the CM who turns up week after week and juggles Robert and us and the ensemble with great patience. And probably others too, in smaller, less noticeable but no less significant ways.

In terms of commitment, the alumni has built up over a number of years - and I doubt you'd be able to find many people within each batch, or even within 2 to 3 batches, that view this music-making as their weekly entertainment, and thus something that they would willingly throw themselves into to for years on end.

Indeed, I can think of committees that could do worse. One suggestion on our part is that we think very carefully about our suggestions before voicing them - if possible, to identify problems with likely suggestions before highlighting them to the committee. This is because in light of our situation, usually we'd be in a better position to suggest solutions, due to accumulated experience.

Perhaps some other measures ought to be put in place - measures to deal with the afore-mentioned worse committees. But Genus has weathered worse, and will do so again. A Genus constitution has been mooted in the past, but I've never really seen the need for it, due ironically to the way the majority of the members seem to see this activity as an after-thought, mostly. A means for them to earn CCA points or socialise. Still, circumstances may change and this idea may yet come to pass.

A part of me find it quite amusing to debate all this, because it's the same debate that seems to occur cyclically every year. I remember having similar doubts and thoughts around this time for the past two years. Just remember the situation is never as bleak as it seems to be in the moment, and all will seem well again after the concert. ;)

11:39 AM  
Anonymous hansen said...

Firstly, althoughI'm no longer in GENUS, I remain very impressed by this year's comm. But then the only evidence of them working is the emails, which is plenty.

Secondly, I'm not really sure what mai siow siow or wai is saying, but what I personally fear is that this year is the peak of GENUS. And thereafter, what we can see is degradation.

But it is to be expected, and what we can hope is that this spirit to commit somehow pass on to the new batches. Maybe I'm wrong but with the bulk of 'dinosaurs' from 1998, this passion to stay and serve seems to start from us and it passed on.

Constitution? Committment? Maybe it's better to show them that GENUS = fun and a place to gather with guitar playing friends, that will ensure the legacy pass on.

We need another Mr A perhaps?

9:21 PM  

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