Outgoing Secretary Wai Wan on opportunities, learnings, accomplishments over 4 years in the committee

With the current committee ending their term of 2019-2021 at the upcoming Annual General Meeting on 4th August, we sat down with some of the committee members to reflect on an eventful 2 years. 

While his eye for detail and experience as a committee member in his previous term eased his transition into becoming Secretary, Wai Wan continues to discover and expand his perspectives on the drama education landscape till this day.

Outside of SDEA, Wai Wan is a full-time educator but a part-time employee to his loving cats and was surprisingly was born at 1337 hours coincidentally proving his true gamer self! 

What are you most proud of accomplishing over the past 2 years as secretary? 

That’s... a tough question – not because I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot over the last 2 years, but because I feel like a lot of the work that we do tend to involves so many people and so many team members.

It’s difficult to say whether anyone accomplishes anything personally but I think one of my favourite parts about my term as Secretary is overseeing the quarterly networking session Let’s Connect. For iterations in the past two years, we’ve been trying different ways to engage with our membership through wacky activities, novel concepts, even despite the COVID-19 lockdowns or restrictions. While each session has always felt a little raw and rough around the edges, I’m most proud of how the team always rallies around the events to offer new and fresh ideas, as well as to contribute to the overall success of the events.

What is something you have learnt serving as Secretary? 

How to take meeting minutes!

Okay, actually the thing that I’ve learnt, and am still trying to learn to this day, is just how diverse SDEA and its members are – everyone's working on something a little bit different, and coming from a place that’s a little bit different from each other. That’s one of the biggest things I’ve learnt about, which I’m glad to have because it was one of the things I wanted to learn when joining the Committee four years ago.

I knew that naturally, the Singapore drama education landscape would be big, but I was not prepared for just how immense it actually is – permeating all levels of education and also in many parts of the community. I think that’s what makes the job challenging and exciting, though, because balancing all these different ambitions and aspirations can sometimes be a little tricky. 

You were a committee member in the last committee, and are now the secretary. How do the roles compare? 

For starters, being the Secretary means being in the Executive Committee, which can sometimes be a bit of a step up from being in the Committee. 

Many of the functions remain similar – such as attending and being present in Committee Meetings in order to decide the direction(s) of SDEA, responding to ad-hoc happenings (and dare I say, crises), and being involved in the programming and management of key SDEA events as part of their sub-committees. 

However, being the Secretary also means that you’re expected to be more vigilant about certain matters – especially things like the Association’s SOPs, its constitution, and its membership base. 

What are your plans after your term is over in August? 

After my term is over, I intend to continue supporting SDEA in whatever ways I can, such as by being involved in Level Up! Fest.

At the same time, the Committee(s) I’ve worked in believe that a proper handover also requires us to remain on hand to support the new Committee – at least in the short term – so that the good work that SDEA does can continue in the face of leadership renewal.

Though I will still be hanging around, lurking in the shadows, I have decided not to run for another term because I’ll be focussing on some personal projects. 

What are some words of advice you would like to give the next committee? 

When in doubt, go back to core principles of what you believe the Association should stand for. There will be times where you may question your own decisions, or times you may fall short of the expectations that the members may have for the Association. Take it on the chin, and use the opportunity to learn and understand where or how they come from. 

You, the members, and the supporters of SDEA all want SDEA to do well, so continue to be an advocate for their voices, aspirations, and ambitions! 

Wai Wan's s term as Secretary will end at the Annual General Meeting on 4th August 2021, where a new committee will be elected. If you are a member, we invite you to attend the AGM and/or run for committee. Find out more information here.