About this segment: Person of the Month is an initiative by the University of Malaya Law Review which aims to feature a prominent member of the University of Malaya’s Law Faculty towards the end of each month. The purpose of this segment is twofold. Firstly, to give due recognition to the contributions of our student leaders and secondly, so that their achievements might inspire other members of the faculty towards greater success.
Lim Ming Ying, an alumnus of the Faculty of Law, University of Malaya
Lim Ming Ying, or more commonly known as Kimberly, is an alumnus of the Faculty of Law, University of Malaya (UM). A kindred spirit fuelled by her positive outlook on life, the formerly active member of the Faculty shines in student-run activities and legal research without forgetting to care for the environment. With a burning passion to improve herself, Kimberly never fails to put her best foot forward in all her endeavours. After graduating in 2019, Kimberly is now undergoing her pupillage at the Penang branch of Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill.
The self-proclaimed nerd describes herself as “an avid reader with an affinity for arts and literature”. True to her word, she loves dabbling in the various forms of art and literature, including watercolour painting and calligraphy. Analysing her favourite scenes across films, movies, and television series also happens to be one her favourite pastimes. Aside deriving enjoyment from watching shows across media platforms, Kimberly revels in reading intellectually challenging books that compel her to contemplate about life — naming Jodi Picoult as her favourite author.
With such defining interests, Kimberly initially hoped to venture into English literature. She shared that she did not even consider law school until the opportunity presented itself to her. As fate would have had it, her choice to take up law led to a surprising fondness for the subject. She discovered herself falling in love with the law with each passing day.
“I have absolutely no regrets pursuing law for my undergraduate studies. As dramatic as this sounds like, I believe I have become a much better version of myself after reading law for four years”.
During her time at the Faculty, Kimberly spent most of it participating in various Faculty activities such as LawNite (now known as Lex Gala), Community Awareness Week, ALSA Student Exchange Programme, Orientation Week and UM Law Society. One of her most notable feats was her role as the Director of LawNite 2016/2017. The light-hearted nature of the project with a focus on event-planning contrasted with the other academic-oriented projects, thus prompted her to be part of the committee in her first year.
When Kimberly was later crowned as the Director in her second year, she felt the struggle to shoulder her responsibilities whilst balancing her studies. Nevertheless, she managed to hold on to her sanity, crediting the tremendous support her teammates showed her in ensuring the smooth execution of the event.
Kimberly giving her speech as Director of LawNite at the Pullman Hotels and Residences
Her moments with the LawNite committee carried significant weight as it helped enhance her traits and capabilities. She elucidated:
“It is through LawNite that I’ve improved both my leadership qualities and soft skills — how to deal with people, communication skills, planning an event, and most importantly, to be able to solve unexpected issues or crises here and there”.
When asked about her opinion on the revamp of LawNite into the current Lex Gala, she praised the team’s courage to make such innovative change and still holds faith in the success of LawNite, irrespective of the name it bears.
Kimberly was also a prominent member of the Orientation Week Committee for two consecutive years. Although Orientation Week was daunting for many, she enjoyed the programme as a freshman. It inspired batch unity and enabled her to connect with brilliant seniors which laid the foundation for the upcoming four years at the Faculty. Immediately after the conclusion of the programme, there was no doubt that she wanted to be an Orientation Week Committee Member (JKO).
After successfully landing a spot on the Student Affairs bureau in her second year, Kimberly continued her venture in her third year, this time as the Treasurer. Due to the position she held, Kimberly maintained a more professional rather than intimidating persona — the latter being a staple façade. She fondly recalled:
“There's just something really fulfilling about helping juniors adapt to law school, even if JKOs are oftentimes viewed as scary seniors. Being able to engage with juniors was definitely a pull factor that compelled me to apply and I have absolutely no regrets!
Kimberly (front row, far left) with the committee for Orientation Week 2017
On top of her extracurricular activities, Kimberly partook in legal writing. From a young age, Kimberly was a keen writer who often wrote short stories. She even submitted a piece for a writing competition and was placed 34th out of 406 participants. When she directed her talent towards legal writing, it came to fruition with her article entitled ‘The Malaysia-North Korea Hostage Crisis – An International Law Perspective’ being published on University of Malaya Law Review’s website. Armed with her creative proclivity, she found that her artistic inclinations aided her in composing legal articles and opinions. She clarified that even though the law may seem rigid because they are deemed as facts, that is not the case each time.
“The law isn’t always just black and white. There are myriad of colours to be explored when it comes to the law, it is all just a matter of perspective!”
Additionally, Kimberly’s involvement in the field of legal research — rooted in her inquisitive mind and love for research — is most impressive. Through her work as a research assistant and judicial clerk, Kimberly has enhanced her research skills considerably. Law is deeply intertwined with legal research but most law students view it as a mundane chore. Kimberly, on the other hand, truly adores the feeling of locating the information she has yet to uncover and she relishes in the fulfilment of attaining information which fits its envisioned purpose. As a bonus, she learnt some valuable values along the way.
Working as a Research Assistant for two senior lecturers at the Faculty, Dr Sik Cheng Peng and Dr Sarah Tan Yen Ling, allowed her to widen her horizons and expand her knowledge in specific areas of law which would not have been possible otherwise. This experience has instilled in her patience and perseverance, both equally vital to endure the difficulties of research.
“When it comes to research, more often than not you will not be able to find what you are looking for in a blink of an eye. It takes lots of time and reading before you find something that is useful; do not despair if you can’t find an answer! Keep looking and you will find it eventually, one way or another”.
Kimberly during her Judicial Clerkship under the Research Unit at the Palace of Justice
Another unforgettable experience for Kimberly was when she had the unexpected opportunity to work as a Judicial Clerk under the Research Unit at the Palace of Justice. She reminisces the three months dedicated to this job, which is “nothing short of amazing”.’ Since her tasks involved researching materials for Court of Appeal and Federal Court judges, Kimberly was acutely aware of the social gravity of her work, as the findings directly assist the judges’ deliberations.
It gave her immense pleasure to aid the judges in this manner, in addition to writing speeches and opinions. On top of that, she was able to witness the inner workings of the system and encounter many people of high calibre and excellence. Interacting with kind and humble judges earned her the chance to receive their words of wisdom and guidance in life. She shared:
“Some key points I’ve taken from a few judges are; be unapologetic over your beliefs and decisions. Trust in yourself. Allocate time for yourself every day. Choose happiness. There is so much more to life than just this slight bump in the road which everyone may hit”.
As such, Kimberly highly recommends students to give it a try if the opportunity arises, for it would certainly be a memorable experience.
Kimberly with the Chief Justice of Malaysia, the Right Honourable Tan Sri Tengku Maimun binti Tuan Mat at the Palace of Justice
Amidst her busy schedule, Kimberly allocates time and effort to the environment. The environmentalist disclosed that her affinity for the environment stems from exigency. Despite its relevance to the world, the environment remains an underrated topic which the majority does not take seriously.
“Mother Nature affects everyone on Earth, yet we don't see much that is done to preserve and protect her. Not many people care, which really is sad when you think about it considering how vital the environment is to us all”.
Kimberly opined that someone must do at least something to protect the environment, no matter how minute the effort may seem. With this in mind, Kimberly tries her best to promote environmentalism in her own way by writing about climate change laws for her project paper, presenting the topic during the Student Seminar on Environmental Law at University Kebangsaan Malaysia, and moderating the ALSA International Student Conference 2019 —Environmental Issues: Are We Doing Enough?.
Kimberly believes in advocating for Mother Nature. Here is Kimberly moderating the ALSA International Student Conference 2019
Despite her endeavours, she felt that they are inadequate. With a pure heart, Kimberly sets out to do more in the future. She plans to spread awareness for the environment via various platforms, such as participating in more forums and talks. Furthering her education in environmental law is also on the table.
Being a law student, stress is inevitable. With her plate loaded with activities, surprisingly there were only a few instances where she was pushed to the cliff of mental breakdown. Truth be told, Kimberly does not feel that she has faced many adversaries, perhaps due to her natural tendency to see everything in its best light and keep a positive attitude. However, whenever confronted with such overwhelming stress, for instance, during her tenure as Director of LawNite, she would remind herself to not be too anxious about matters that cannot be controlled, but rather focus on the solution of existing problems. It does not, though, mean that action is futile, one cannot just sit still and hope that things will work out on its own. Kimberly emphasised on facing your hardships “from within”, together with perseverance and positivity.
“Your mind is a very powerful tool, you know; when you approach the problems optimistically, it really changes a lot of things”.
Kimberly’s motto in life is to always seek positivity. Here is Kimberly (centre) with the LawNite 2016/2017 committee
To unwind and let loose from all the stress, Kimberly always finds it helpful to understand that stress is part and parcel of life. Appreciating that fact allows her to relax as she knows it will eventually subside sooner or later. Her go-to method is to fall back on her hobbies, recalling the words of Federal Court Judge YA Dato’ Vernon Ong: “you must make time for yourself and do the things you love”. She realises the importance of setting aside time for the things she likes such as doing art, writing fiction, and reading novels. Her hobbies offer respite from the mountainous work load, keeping her happy and sane.
“It’s a rewarding feeling to be able to do things you are fond of, and it’s so important for self-growth and preservation too”.
As her journey in law school has ended, Kimberly gradually transitions into the next chapter of her life. When asked about her upcoming plans, Kimberly revealed her intention to practice for a year or two after being called to the bar, before eventually pursuing her master’s degree. In due course, she hopes to venture into academia to educate the future generation, following what she believes to be her passion for sharing her knowledge with others.
Looking back at her time as a student, Kimberly does not have any lingering regrets or unresolved feelings. Though in retrospect, she would like to have socialised more and befriend those beyond her social circle. Sending a message to her past self, she would encourage her younger self to join more activities beyond the Faculty and associate with more people from other courses, simply because it would have made life more interesting.
For those still struggling in their law school journey, Kimberly advised: “Dawn aka the first appearance of light, breaks only after hours of darkness”. Students must continue to find positivity and happiness, even when you are clouded with anxiety or sadness. It is important to remember that you cannot compare your progress with anyone else’s, as everyone has their own timeline in life — it is okay to reach for the finish line at your own pace. Kimberly added:
“Do not worry about things that are beyond your control — this is a saying I remind myself each day because I tend to worry a lot, but when I realised that worrying only robs me of tomorrow’s happiness, I decided that enough is enough. Change your mindset and you can change your world”.
Written by Azra Athirah.