My Learning Journey as a leader in TMC-ABSS Youth Wing 2017
Marcus Loh is a Higher Diploma in Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Management student at TMC Academy. He is also the student leader at TMC-ABSS Youth Wing. In this reflective piece, he shares about the opportunities provided during his course of study and how he manages the leadership role.
As a start, let me introduce myself. My name is Loh Cheng Hao, Marcus. I am 19 years old this year and currently studying Higher Diploma in Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Management. Before I came to TMC Academy, I was studying in ITE College West with a Nitec certificate in Food and Beverage Operations. My personal interest is in bowling sports.
What’s ABSS all about? ABSS, also known as Association of Bartenders and Sommeliers Singapore, is an association for the bartenders in the industry that was formed up by a group of beverage managers, For TMC-ABSS Youth Wing, we are a group of students that helps ABSS with some of their events, and entitled to join the competitions to let us understand better about the Beverage industry in Singapore. The members in the team are Erick (Assistant-leader), Evangeline, Ethel, and lastly myself being the leader of the Youth Wing.
Before being part of the Youth Wing, I did not hear of this organization, even though I had a slight interest during one of the modules that I studied regarding Food and Beverage. I have always wanted to know how a beverage outlet really runs its business, as well as making diverse types of cocktail/mocktail. When I was chosen to be the leader of the Youth-Wing, I was unsure what was required of a leader, but with the help of the ABSS members and TMC Hospitality lecturers, Mr David Chan, Ms Nikki and Mr Pinaki, they started to brief to me on different things I had to do, which slowly made me feel more confident to contribute.
The first event that we helped at was a charity event at the Ritz Carlton Hotel that has over 500 guests, where we had to make lots of pre-made drinks for everyone to try. It was a tiring yet fun experience as I got to meet different people from the organization, as well as two previous cocktail competition champions, which was great to meet them and gain some knowledge from.
The second event was the mocktail competition that Mr Pinaki and Mr Chan, as well as the school helped to organize. This time, all four of us from the Youth-Wing, as well as some of the students and TMC staff participated in the event. The top three winners from the student category will have a chance to compete in the National Cocktail Competition held at the Raffles Town Club. It was my first ever mocktail competition as I did not have much confidence in the past. I was very nervous during the competition, but it was a wonderful experience from the beginning of planning the types of syrups and juices to combine, as well as the garnishes and glassware to be used. It was not easy but I overcome my fears to do my very best.
Nearing to the National Cocktail Competition, Ms Nikki needed help from the Youth-Wing. Two of our members, Erick and Ethel, qualified to join the competition from the mocktail competition we had in school. It was a 3-day event and we got the chance to observe how the National Competition, as well as the Asia Pacific Cocktail Competition was conducted. We also got to see many different talents from the cocktail category to the student category.
The last event that we helped at was the recent Asia Pacific Cocktail Competition, which was held at the Square at Clarke Quay. This got me very excited as not only was the style of drinks they made amazing, but there were competitors all around the globe from China, Japan as well as Italy. It amazed me to see the different skills sets they have in order to perform the drinks presentation in front of an audience.
From all the events that I have volunteered at, I have learnt that doing something for the first time is never easy, but with lots of practice, confidence and belief in yourself, you can do lots of amazing things. As a leader, you will go through a series of tasks that can be challenging.
Through the planning of events, I understood that coordination with the team, passing down the correct information to all of the team members and having teamwork with one another are very important criteria. You have to trust each other and always put a thinking cap on when things get tough, finding different strategies to resolve the situations and if anything goes wrong, never ever give up. We always find ways to inspire oneself to improve and doing the job well.
As for the fun times, I made a couple of good friends from the events. The best moment for me was watching the *Flairing category at competitions as I get to see many unique styles of flair, as well as the music that goes well with the tricks that amazed everyone. Speed bottle opening was amazing as well, with contestants opening 6-8 beer bottles within the fastest time.
The experience from these wonderful events made me feel that whenever we are working, we got to be serious and really coordinate with one another well. I also learnt that as a leader, we should give some time to the rest of the team to come up with different ideas to brainstorm, instead of commanding and giving them orders. We should be fair to one another whenever we are working as a team to strengthen team bond and reduce conflict. From that, if someone in the team is not confident or in the best of mood to achieve the right things, motivating them could really boost their confidence. We can also give them ideas on how to improve to make them do better in the next competitions. These are my thoughts on being a student leader.
My future aspiration and career goal is to be a food and beverage manager. The experience from these events also helps me a lot in my sport because of the confidence I gained. I hope to one day be a professional bowler.
*Flair bartending is the practice of bartenders entertaining guests, clientele or audiences with the manipulation of bar tools (e.g. cocktail shakers) and liquor bottles in tricky, dazzling ways.