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From:    "Matt Ho"
Subject:   Thoughts on KCSU
12:36 PM - 2000/06/04

Dear All,

Thanks Ernest for his great effort in bridging current and old Kingsians together,
Superman's enlightening views and Jeffy Ng's dedication in revitalizing King's Spirit.  I am really lazy when comparing to Yukki and other folks.  So I hope I could share some thoughts (wild and non-structural indeed) with you all on King's too.

Just surfed school's official page and noticed SU has grown into the following structure in 8 years:

Representative Council
Executive Committee
Extra-Curricular Activities Sub-Committee [was a Standing Committee]
Student Welfare Sub-Committee [was a Standing Committee]
Study Campaign Sub-Committee [new]
Publicity Sub-Committee
Ad-hoc Committees:
Christmas Ball Ad-hoc Committee
Leadership Training Scheme (???) Ad-hoc Committee
Study Tour Ad-hoc Committee
Student Union Square Ad-hoc Committee [new]
Extra-Curricular Activities Interflow Scheme Ad-hoc Committee [new]
Experiencing Day Camp Ad-hoc Committee [new]
I.T. Ad-hoc Committee [new]
Secretariat Ad-hoc Committee [new]

Looking at this structure, I have some questions flashed in my mind:
Why individual students, teachers, parents, clubs and societies, or even alumni NEED a SU in KC?

What is the DIFFERENCE to the above stakeholders if there had never been a SU in the past 8 years?  And what is the IMMEDIATE DIFFERENCE if the SU is disbanded tomorrow?

What are the CORE COMPETENCIES (unique strength in which NO other organization could excel better) of KCSU, at least the executive arms of the Union?

I am not going to repeat current symptoms and phenomenon observed by Jeffy and others as Martin's great essay have already covered.  Such problems exists in Martin's days, in my school days, and in Jeffy's days.  It happens in King's, in other schools and in universities.  The problem of picking up a right leadership exists in SU, so do private companies, legislature and needless to say in getting a fit Chief Executive for the SAR.  Should the exciting discussion on Ernest's page is also happening among current students, I would think that SU has done a good job in adding value to fellow students in their learning process.  That said, Jeffy may wish to think about not only the "internal" of "microscopic" side of the situation but also the "external" or "macro" side.  Both sides interact each other.

The basic trends in current management always talking of focusing an organization on its core business and outsource non-core activities to other more able parties, simply because we are living in an interdependent world.  Of course, the core business at my schooldays does not necessarily the same one now.  In those days, I think there was one and only one core business, or goal / focus, that is to revitalize the good tradition of continuation (????) in order to foster the King's Spirit. (My personal interpretation on King's Spirit is simple: strong sense of belonging, be the positive leading force in the community, and in short, students are proud to be associated with King's and in high spirit).

Having said that, I must confessed that I cannot withstand the temptation to run a big enterprise and intervened in non-core activities (probably that's why you still have to organize Xmas Ball :), I regret a lot opening that Pandora's Box without getting a girlfriend from it).

Without a clear and focused direction, almost no one could mobilize his executive team effectively, let alone one thousand students.  Executive members, Class Reps and other staffs would lost focus and easily turn out to do nothing but bluffing.  "Garbage Out, Garbage In" and it would be more difficult to attract able and enthusiastic students in taking up the next session.  The viscous cycle goes on.

Assuming we are willing to refocus on the core business of SU and regain the momentum, Jeffy may wish to first repositioning SU among the above stakeholders and identify what should be the goal of SU and what is core to do.  Pass all non-core activities to other ECA clubs or even outsiders, no matter how grand and nice these initiatives are.

For instance, consider delegating the ball to Dance Club, IT to Computer Society, etc. If they don't wish to take it up, just let go, cause SU should not assume it would be better performed than specialized societies.  Save the scarce human and time resources on SU's main subjects.

By the way, I believe that SU is just one of the many means to build King's, if after careful thoughts and students find that this tool has stood in the way of making KC stronger, please consider folding it up.  We are here because we have ultimate passion towards King's College, not King's College Student Union.

Finally, a weird thought on the leadership problem.  Clubs and Societies executives are easily filled with under-performed students because most of the posts, especially chairman positions, are monopolized by sixth form students, which is probably a school policy.

Fact already tells that picking up people from such a small pool of candidate creates a "Holland Bottle Cap" allocation exercise.  Perhaps it may help if SU could persuade the school authority to give the assumption that sixth form students are more matured and capable, and open any forms' students (even S.1) to bid for the chairman posts.  I recalled that in my schooldays many S.3 students are much more capable and dedicate in organizing activities than S.6. students.  One of the out-performers is Law Wing Cheong.

Forgive my laziness not typing in Chinese.  Just some outdated as above and I have confidence that KC and SU still have good future in the good hands of Jeffy's team.

Kingsianly Yours,

Matt Ho

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