Interview with Poi Shie Chee – ITC Asia Pacific Grand Finalist 2020
Written by JA Malaysia Alumnus – Richelle Khor
“International Trade Challenge (ITC) was a completely new topic. For someone who does not have any entrepreneurial aspirations such as myself, it was my first step away from comfort zone.” Still yet to complete secondary education and in the most important year of the entire schooling history, 17-year-old Poi Shie Chee was enthusiastic to share her wonderful experience during ITC Asia Pacific Finals 2020. As the only Malaysian grand finalist, she brought triumphant news to us when her team successfully garnered acclamation from the panel of judges. One innovative idea after another, her ever-expanding intellectual capability showcases the emergence of a promising generation that crafts the future framework of a knowledge society.
Shie Chee was treading on a foreign realm; she had never envisaged herself to be representing Malaysia in a formal presentation. It was a spark of interest to explore entrepreneurship that galvanised her to overcome her resistance towards public speaking and face the media without feeling flustered. “My partner and I are Mandarin speakers. We spent three months trying to perfect our presentation. In that period, we did not waste any time.” In attempt to apply SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat) analysis in both her action plan and team dynamics, she was resolved to impress the judges with her shrewd discernment in devising a logical, full-fledged proposal. The acknowledgement she received during the national finals became her catalyst for growth, injecting her with the confidence to pursue higher accomplishments in the domain of public speaking.
Passion for self-enrichment encompasses the relentless exercise of problem solving- as Shie Chee advanced to the international arena, she faced challenges posed by cross-border communications. While persistently emphasising her rigid practice of playing by the books, she revealed during the interview that her initial discussions with Emila Rebekka from the Philippines resulted in a divergence of opinions. Fortunately, the two agile representatives of different nationalities and diverse cultures compromised to a common ground, “The key to a harmonious communication is two-way understanding. Whenever we realised that we were not able to express our ideas clearly, we switched to WhatsApp so that our responses could be better structured.” Patience is quintessential in fostering mutual understanding; the same word may hold other significance for someone brought up in a different environment. The vision of a global community where cultural barriers is demolished would only be cemented when people are conscious about being thoughtful in conversations.
Although ITC prepares students for the qualities revolving around entrepreneurship, it is undeniably the microcosm of the world today. The annual event is a congregation of thoughts that assembles aspiring students to become each other’s source of inspiration. The commercial world has been witnessing the global phenomenon and ITC encourages students to ride on the trend, “It is definitely positive for our future. Social media platforms make it possible for young people to enjoy a wider range of studying and career opportunities.” Valuable information is exchanged; technology, insights, and knowledge can be shared. Students learn about respect, self-expression, and excellence while extending rapports. At a young age, they are exposed to the power of collective impact and dexterity in handling diplomatic relations. In such advantageous environment, the continuous cycle of empowerment is ignited.
Revealing her inclination towards scientific studies, our talented alumna Shie Chee does not intend to realise a career in business. Nevertheless, she strongly recommended students to not only take part in ITC, but also other JA programmes to ascertain a future direction. It was ITC that brought her attention to self-examination when she observed that the brainstorming process of product development and material research appealed to her more than the preparation of financial plans. As she noticed the amusing parallels between the regulation of scientific experiments and process of innovation, the orchestration of her self-discovery was completed. Shie Chee’s eagerness to explore is exemplary of the curiosity youths today should possess; she refused to commit herself to a stagnant world. The realisation from ITC shall accompany her as she progresses and we wish her the best of luck in her future endeavours.