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 successes.
Lee Suan Cui or better known as Suan Cui (picture taken at the Faculty of Law, University of Oxford, UK)
Lee Suan Cui, or better known to the members of the faculty as Suan Cui, is a final year law student at the Faculty of Law, University of Malaya. Looking back on her four years in law school, Suan Cui is known to be an outstanding individual who has participated in various moot competitions. She was part of the Student Representative Council 2015/2016 and has been involved in other activities in which she was the Pemudahcara Mahasiswa for 12th College 2015/2016 and the Champion as well as the Best Speaker for Debat Speak Up 2016 organised by the 12th College University Of Malaya. Suan Cui was also previously a translator with 3 market research companies, a piano teacher and has indulged in online business entrepreneurship.
Suan Cui and her IMLAM teammates during the Award Ceremony in Singapore. (From left: Mr. Raphael Kok (coach), Mr. Gabrielle Nicholas Rohan, Ms. Syafinas Ibrahim, Ms. Lee Suan Cui, Ms. Khoo Sher Rynn and Ms. Amanda Lee Jing Min)
Recalling her journey as a mooter, Suan Cui started mooting only in her third year in law school. According to Suan Cui, she was too busy working that she barely even had time to juggle between studies and work. It was unfortunate that she got a bit off tangent for online business, but this has allowed her to allocate some of her time to embark on her mooting journey. Her first attempt was during International Maritime Law Arbitration Moot Competition (IMLAM) 2017 which was held in National University of Singapore. She still remembered vividly that the deadline for registration was extended. Back then, she and her roommate thought “Why not we try something different?”. They got into a team and went through hell and heaven mooting for the very first time. Suan Cui believes IMLAM 2017 was an amazing mooting debut experience for her.
She admitted that Maritime Law, the subject matter of IMLAM is one of the toughest areas of law to moot on, especially with the limited resources and experts available locally. Nevertheless, her first mooting experience was so special and memorable because her team went through a rocky journey to emerge as the Quarter Finalists. Additionally, Suan Cui was the 8th Best Speaker in the preliminary rounds. For her, these achievements were already considered a success considering it was her first attempt in mooting. Although the moot problem was a painstaking 107-paged technical legal problem, she actually enjoyed dealing with it more, as compared to a philosophical moot like human rights. She said, “It involves responding on your feet to come out with practical arguments when all your judges are experts in that area of law. The most amazing experience in IMLAM was juggling dual roles and going through all our opponent’s arguments and authorities in their memorials. I believe that if it was not because of the team’s meticulous efforts and strategy, we wouldn’t have beaten Sydney, the defending champion and memorial champion of the year!”
Suan Cui and her Price Media teammates who emerged as the overall and memorial first runner up during Regional Rounds in Beijing, China. (From left: Ms. Loh Jing Rou, Ms. Lee Suan Cui, Mr. Iqbal Harith Liang, Mr. Raphael Kok (coach), Ms. Sahira bt. Shaari, Ms. Winnie Chong Su Win)
Soon after that, Suan Cui proceeded to represent the university in Monroe E. Price Media Law Moot Court Competition (Regional Round in Beijing) 2017. This was UM’s first time in joining the competition. There were 14 teams in the Regional Rounds in Beijing and 42 teams in the International Round in Oxford. Her team emerged as the 1st Overall Runners up and 1st Memorial Runners up. Subsequently, her team represented the university in the international rounds, which was held in Oxford in 2018. Suan Cui was the 6th Best Speaker in the preliminary rounds and her team made it to the quarter final.
Opted for Price Media as her second moot experience, Suan Cui never thought she could do something so different from IMLAM, which is so technical in substance. She stated that Price Media is about international human rights law and it is quite philosophical in nature. It involves a lot of reading on pressing, unsettled issues such as revenge porn, fake news and social media liability, polished advocacy skills rather than intuitive ones as well as flexibility to adapt to a distinguished pool of judges in regional and international rounds. In the regional rounds, the judges were from different Asian countries, like China and Philippines whereas in the international rounds, they get judges from the UK, US, Europe, India and even Singapore.
Suan Cui is a mooter that is always open to explore different areas of law, regardless of knowledge and interest. She believes that “a good mooter and advocate should be able to moot anything”.
Suan Cui as the best oralist in both general and final rounds of the IMC 2018
In addition, Suan Cui participated in the Internal Moot Competition 2018, where her team was the champion and she won the ‘Best Oralist’ in general rounds and ‘Best Oralist’ in finals. She also took part in the Flash Moot Audition for Law Asia and Asia Cup and once again – her team was the champion. When asked about joining internal competitions despite her vast mooting experience, Suan Cui believes that “each mooting competition should be treated equally. Take every mooting competition as a platform to learn and the process of learning never ends!”.
Champion of the National Malay Mooting Competition 2016
Despite Malay mooting competitions being rather relatively obscure, Suan Cui still noted her participation in the National Malay Mooting Competition where her team emerged as champion, as one of her personal mooting achievements.
During the interview, Suan Cui shared about her struggles in managing her busy schedule while actively trying to improve herself through constructive criticisms that she received. Unfortunately for Suan Cui, not all criticisms are constructive- she admitted facing drawbacks such as being discouraged, but Suan Cui believes that in order to strive for the best, we should not be afraid of criticism as long as we know that we are doing the right thing. She went on saying that the key to success is focus. For her, life is about making compromises and sacrifices. Mooting required her to give up on all her jobs which provided her a side income of about RM4000 to RM5000 monthly. But if asked whether she thinks it was worth her sacrifices, Suan Cui stated that she will without hesitation say yes, it was worth it. She added, “Mooting broadens my horizon and teaches me valuable lessons that I definitely cannot get from just working my part time jobs or going to classes. Put it simply, mooting is an eye opener to me. It teaches me not just about law, but about life too!”.
Suan Cui as the Student Representative Council 2015/2016
Recently, she was selected for both Asia Cup and Law Asia. Suan Cui stated that the key is focus in order to excel. She was once told that success is not about the 99% effort that you put in, but it’s about not omitting the very 1% that will lead to your failure. The reason why she was so eager to moot so much is because she do not have much time left in the faculty so while she is still around in law school, she wants to moot as many times as possible.
Suan Cui while mooting during the Price Media Moot Competition Finals for Regional Rounds in Beijing China.
Suan Cui believes that the very least every mooter should do is to constantly take up new challenges, to be inherently flexible and adaptive and always, always yearn to improve. She added that “there is no such thing as ‘I am good enough already, I don’t need to listen to anyone anymore’ in mooting”. Being asked about the greatest impact mooting has made in her life, Suan Cui said that “it is working with and getting close with students that I don’t usually hang out with in the faculty. Mooting really trains students to be a professional team player”.
Many of her friends have advised her to stop mooting since she is already in her final lap now. But instead she said, “I have this burning fire and passion to fight for the faculty (to win of course, whenever possible) and also to train the young, future mooters. I will try to be better as the best way is to lead by example. The Price Media team this year actually helped to mentor the UM-NUS team. It always feels good to see learning by way of collaboration between mooting teams. It is a healthy learning process and not just limited to juniors learning from seniors, but applies vice versa as well”.
Last but not least, Suan Cui would like to take this opportunity to express her utmost gratitude for every single opportunity and benefit that the Faculty has given to her, which include but not limited to sponsoring mooting competitions, opportunity to travel for moot, training from lecturers, alumnis and practitioners.
“Do not delay on embarking on your mooting journey. Start as soon as possible, moot genuinely for the right reasons, grab every opportunity as though there is no tomorrow and you will leave the faculty without regrets!”.