Written by: Nicholas and Michelle Cheong
Edited by: Gan Pei Zoe
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, most public places were closed, and events were cancelled, including the highly anticipated Sunway’s Got Talent 2020. Sunway Echo Media interviewed Stella Wong and Jack Hoh from Sunway Student Ambassadors (SSA) to get more information on what the event could have looked like had it not been cancelled. Through this article, Sunway Echo Media hopes students of Sunway can appreciate the efforts of SSA while anticipating the return of Sunway’s Got Talent in the future!
Their theme for this year was neon-coloured and futuristic. The changes that set this year apart from the previous years were the introduction of virtual auditions and the Sunway’s Got Talent website. Candidates had to register themselves through the website. Candidates were also required to record themselves and send in the video recordings instead of attending a physical audition during the selection stage. The use of online platforms demonstrated leverage on the current advancement of technology.
Not only that, but SSA was also able to invite some notable guest judges such as Daniel Veerapen, Juwita Suwito, and many more through mutual connections. A week before the actual performances, there was supposed to be a full-day workshop conducted by these judges to further polish the candidates’ performances.
Although the ticket-selling did not commence before the cancellation, the committee members were expecting a full-house of around a thousand guests.
As a famous saying goes, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” In order for Sunway’s Got Talent 2020 to commence successfully, extensive logistics were undertaken by the organising committee. Venues such as the Jeffrey Cheah Hall and classrooms were booked in advance for the event. However, the committee members were not spared from facing challenges and obstacles when organising the event. They were unable to request for a refund on the buntings and Sunway’s Got Talent t-shirts that they had ordered. Besides that, finding the judges and sponsors for the event was one of the biggest challenges they had to face as it put their negotiation skills to the test. The task of reaching out to public figures and coming to mutually beneficial agreements was not simple. It was important for them to give credit to where it was due in order to establish long-term connections.
Careful consideration was taken by the executive committee on how best to inform the various stakeholders and to deal with the cancellation of the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Emails were sent, fees were refunded to participants, and each sponsor was given compensatory funds, among other formalities. Jack, the organising chairperson, expressed that such steps were carried out with a heavy heart as he felt it was unfortunate they were unable to see the fruits of everyone’s collaborative labour this time. The committee members had conducted many meetings on campus that ran for hours into the night.
On the bright side, it was Jack’s first time as the chairperson for such a large-scale event and his greatest positive takeaway was learning first hand the ins and outs of people management. As the cancellation of an event does not often occur, and with the circumstances of this one so unforeseeable, the committees are now more prepared for future planning. Looking ahead, they hope to bring Sunway’s Got Talent back next year provided the conditions allow them to do so.
Their biggest success was in regards to the organising committee itself. Vice President Stella conveyed that she was very proud of and grateful for the committee’s efforts despite their ongoing study commitments. She had seen improvements in their leadership, communication, coordination, and task management skills. Both Stella and Jack shared some words of advice for other clubs/societies/individuals interested in organising an event themselves – “Having a clear goal and direction is fundamental as it is what motivates you and gives you something to hold on to in times of trouble. All team members must work well together towards their common goal. Enjoy the process because, in hindsight, you will miss all those late nights on campus! Finally, be passionate, own your work, and don’t forget to be nice to others!”