Caysseny Tean Boonsiri is currently a final-year student at the Faculty of Law, University of Malaya (‘UM’). To anyone unfamiliar with her legacy, Caysseny’s unique Thai name may be initially puzzling in its pronunciation. Hailing from Siamese and Chinese heritage, Caysseny is proud to be racially diverse in a country that celebrates multiculturalism. In the hallowed halls of the Faculty, Caysseny has established herself as a prominent mooter, representing UM in the prestigious Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition (‘Jessup Moot’) as early as in her second and third year. Nevertheless, Caysseny is more than just a name in the moot courts. Apart from her illustrious adventures in the mooting circuit, Caysseny’s passion for advocacy and aiding vulnerable communities became her driving force throughout law school, during which she progressively developed a strong affinity for human rights.
Caysseny’s journey to study law was not as straightforward. In high school, she was fond of reading thought-provoking materials, especially on history-related topics. This honourable penchant led her to her first stint in journalism. At that time, the Star Education Board was accepting fledgling student writers under the Starstruck! Young Writers Programme and Caysseny jumped on the opportunity immediately. She was tasked to come up with bulletins for two years under this programme. With every piece of writing she made, a fondness for chasing and writing stories was carved.
When Caysseny transitioned into matriculation, she started to perceive the social realities of Malaysia. She observed that racial segregation and discrimination was an ongoing issue, even within the confines of her matriculation college. Hence, young Caysseny realised that the Malaysian social landscape needed to change. In matriculation, her heart was ablaze with a fervent desire to build a better Malaysia.
However, in deciding her future career, Caysseny was stuck at crossroads. Knowing that her main priority was to further her cause in advocacy, she acknowledged that her pursuit for catalysing change could stem from any career as long as she was equipped with the right skills. When she realised that journalism was not the ultimatum pursuing her cause, she decided to put her background in journalism aside in favour of law school. Compared to the former, the latter might be a better place to hone a plethora of skills, nurturing her to be as versatile as she can be. Little did she know, her earnest hopes of changing Malaysia put her on a journey that changed her first.
Due to her prior exposure in writing and publishing, it was only natural for Caysseny to enter the University of Malaya Law Review (‘UMLR’). At the time, UMLR was colloquially dubbed the ‘baby of the Faculty’ as it was only a year into its establishment. Notwithstanding this, UMLR was considered, and continues to be, the pride of the Faculty as the very first student-run legal publication in Malaysia. Despite feeling a bit out of place as a bright-eyed first year, her kind seniors made her feel welcomed in the board. Their exemplary traits did not end at being amiable and adept in editing; they also comprised bright legal minds of the Faculty — embodying Caysseny’s first glimpse at inspiration in the Faculty. It was with their influence that she worked diligently to improve herself in the hopes of filling the big shoes they would soon leave behind. Her rigorous efforts as an editor bore fruit as dreams turned into reality; she was elected to be the Managing Editor for the 2018/2019 tenure, putting her at the forefront of UMLR’s operations.
Caysseny recalls her first task in UMLR on covering an event on the Rohingya Genocide as one which was way out of her comfort zone. Confronted with a steep learning curve, Caysseny was admittedly unnerved, but she managed to toil through nonetheless. The invaluable experience alone taught her innumerable lessons, including the crux of working in UMLR. According to Caysseny, meticulousness is a skill that all editors should be prudent to. That being said, she also emphasises enjoying the editing process. Although editing may be tedious, oftentimes, the process may turn out to be extremely enlightening as editors grapple with new and unfamiliar topics. Indeed, this was true for Caysseny as she attained excellent knowledge on the fine nuances of the Rohingya Genocide — a gratifying side effect of a job well done. Unbeknownst to her, her first taste of delving into a topic related to public international law foreshadowed the days she would one day spend preparing for the Jessup Moot.