A moment in time: Experiences of a Malaysian Intern at BABSEACLE Chiang Mai

Fatin Nadhirah Binti Othman Hasbi, Faculty of Law, University of Malaya, Malaysia

 I was over the moon when my lecturer offered me the chance to do my internship with BABSEACLE. In my home country, Malaysia, I have been exposed to clinical legal education through a programme called Community Outreach Programme (COP). To be able to do an internship with such an established organisation like BABSEACLE is a great honour for me. Prior to my arrival, I was given a few pre-arrival assignments so that I would know the basic information about BABSEACLE.

fatin 1I had many wonderful experiences, especially during my visit to the Wildflower Home and Phayao University Faculty of Law. The Wildflower Project is a weekly occurrence where a legal fellow will teach the young mothers at the Wildflower Home legal lessons. Despite the language barrier, they were all so sporting and they really showed their interest in joining us. I also spent the first weekend in Phayao. We went there for community teaching at one of the provinces together with the law students from University of Phayao. We were there to teach the community about nationality; as many of them were not of Thai nationality. The feeling I got from being able to help the community was priceless.

fatin 3On top of that, another highlight was the International Party at the BABSEACLE House and organized collectively by the interns. It was held on the 4th of July, the day the Americans from the United States celebrate their Independence Day. To ensure that we bridged borders, and did not only focus on one specific country, we also celebrated the Canadian (July 1st) Venezuelan (July 5th)  and Malaysian (August 31st) Independence days. The night was so much fun with food galore accompanied by good music and of course, great company.

BABSEACLE arranged many activities which directly or indirectly helped to develop our skills and knowledge. For instance, I had the chance to attend the session conducted by Professor Susan Brooks (an associate dean at Earle Mack University School of Law) and Judith Reynolds (a licensed solicitor fom Britain) regarding communication for successful training. From the informative talk, I learnt that it is so important to have a good relationship with everyone when it comes to lawyering, not just your clients, as everyone is equally important. Plus, every week, all of us had a movie night where one of us was assigned to set up a law related movie. After the movie ended, we would have a small discussion regarding the movie and its relation to the legal world. In this way, we were gaining knowledge at the same time.

fatin 2At BABSEACLE, there are three main events for the organisation; the Trio to Justice event, the SE Asia/Asia Pro Bono Conference and the Access to Justice Fair. Trio to Justice is a yearly event with a half- marathon for the purpose of awareness raising and fundraising. Meanwhile, the Access to Justice is an event for NGOs to promote their causes. My short period here meant that I unfortunately could not help much in preparing for these events.

All in all, it was a wonderful experience for me and the rest of my colleagues. I had so much fun making new friends from different regions, experiencing different cultures and environments and of course, shopping in Chiang Mai was heaven. The language barrier is just a small challenge. Though we are from different continents, we have the same objective – to help advance social justice. And of course, to be able to work closely with this established organisation was indeed a great pleasure for me. I would like to express my appreciation to BABSEACLE Chiang Mai and of course to my fellow lecturers for this great opportunity. It was indeed a great moment in time for me.

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Author: Daniel Bald

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