By Sophie Low (18S07A), Chairperson, Calista Chong (18A01A), Vice-Chairperson, and Ng Hai Ning (18A01A), Vice-Chairperson
Ever wanted to mesh smarts with style, diplomacy with strategic maneuvering, and socialising with intellectual pursuits? If the answer is yes, then HSTA is the CCA for you.
Although HSTA stands for the History and Strategic Affairs Society, our members do not merely comb through the annals of history, or sit around scheming to land another checkmate. We are the resident Model United Nations (MUN) club in Raffles Institution, and one of the oldest in Singapore.
You might wonder, what exactly are MUNs?
MUN conferences are a two to four-day long affair where delegates engage in incisive debate over a range of controversial issues which afflict the globe today. More than that, delegates also put their scintillating wit and charms to the test through intensive flirting lobbying, where they attempt to garner mindshare, and inspire a shared vision. It is a rigorous and holistic exercise that considers not only academic smarts, but also soft skills like leadership, communication, and everything in between. Of course, in recognition of one’s skills, awards such as Best Delegate and Best Position Paper are also given out. Debates (and socialising) over the past few days culminate in Socials, which include a dinner and dance held in places ranging from school halls to the National Gallery.
So, how does this club run?
MUNning may sound daunting, especially to those without experience, but rest assured! Our CCA sessions, conducted every Wednesday from 2.30-5.30pm, will sufficiently equip you with the necessary skills to take on the challenges of debate and diplomacy, as members will be trained in lobbying, resolution writing and be challenged to engage critically with hot-button issues. Along the way, you will also learn to view current affairs with a discerning eye.
The CCA is usually trained by the senior Y6 batch, who is more than qualified to do so. We have consistently bagged the Best Delegation award at Singapore Model United Nations, Singapore Chinese Girls’ School Model United Nations, and more, through numerous individuals achieving, inter alia, the Best Delegate, Outstanding Delegate, and Honourable Mention awards.
(inter alia: Meaning “among others”, this is a phrase often seen in the drafting of resolutions at MUNs as delegates attempt to sound smart and sophisticated.)
Do we do anything besides MUNning?
Besides participating in MUNs organised by other institutions, we organise our flagship conference, the Raffles Model United Nations (RMUN) annually. One of the most prestigious MUNs for secondary and junior college students, we attract around 300 local and international delegates each year, and all our members play an integral role in staffing, chairing, and executing this MUN.
In a CCA where discussion centres around how to make the world a better place, we are not all talk, and no action. HSTA members can also volunteer for projects such as our Step Up, Speak Out! initiative, which aims to encourage interest in current affairs, and improve the oratorical skills of primary school students through weekly sessions at an after-school care centre. We also organise Fun with MUN, a pre-RMUN preparatory workshop for novice MUNners to pick up the basics and orient themselves before the conference.
Who should join HSTA?
If you’re a curious individual interested in current affairs, then:
Do not fret if you’ve never MUNned before! It is never too late to start MUNning, and many of our members who joined without prior experience still go on to bag numerous accolades, establishing themselves in the MUN circuit as forces to be reckoned with.
If the description of the activities above sound like something you would be interested in, then come down for our CCA trials!