Celin Khoo Roong Teng’s odyssey in law school is truly one for the books. This final-year law student at the Universiti Malaya (‘UM’) embodies pure grit and grace even in the face of the most challenging quests. While this combination of virtues has impressed upon others her poise and capability, those who are more familiar with Celin recognise her altruistic and endearing spirit best. Her diverse experiences further solidify her as a role model to many.
Much of her early childhood — which finds its roots in the historical town of Malacca — was spent with her beloved maternal grandparents as her parents were stationed in Klang Valley for work. At the age of seven, however, she joined her parents in the rush and bustle of the nation’s capital. She has called Puchong home ever since.
If one were to ask Celin about the origins of her law school dream, she would reminisce upon her secondary school days in Catholic High School, Petaling Jaya when she first began to carefully consider her future. The study of law piqued her interest as the legal field emphasised two of her favourite things — language and logic. With her parents’ affirmation that she would find reading law to her liking, her fate was sealed.
‘I have never regretted reading law — I find immense joy in the process.’
Celin’s love for the law is punctuated with her impressive feats as a leader. While she previously served as Vice Secretary of the University of Malaya Consti Team (‘UMCT’) for the 2019/2020 term, and Treasurer for the Tun Suffian National Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition 2021, Celin is best known for her tenure as the Editor-in-Chief (‘EIC’) for the University of Malaya Law Review (‘UMLR’).
Furthermore, she is also well known for her stellar academic achievements. Celin has been on the Dean’s List for every semester since her first semester in law school. Nonetheless, it is natural for one’s path to be fraught with difficulties. Time management struggles are a common symptom of her active disposition. Often prompted to sacrifice her sleep to meet her commitments, Celin is no stranger to the challenges of striking a balance between her downtime and studies.
Celin featured as a judge in the UM Mooting and Debating Demonstration 2022
Despite coming on board as an Online Editor in her first year, she was afforded encouragement and support from her seniors to conceptualise a new segment named ‘At a Glance’. It started with her aspiration to assist those who are not able to keep up with everyday news by providing an overview at the month’s end. Today, the ‘At a Glance’ segment still continues on.
Celin pioneered new initiatives and revamps for UMLR during her tenure
Celin was both surprised and honoured when her seniors encouraged her to apply for the top-most position for the next tenure. Previously, the position of EIC was reserved for third-year law students. While she had her seniors’ faith, Celin had her own share of self-doubt of walking through unchartered waters in being the first second-year EIC due to the great expectations and highly skilled nature of the position. She is fortunate to have supportive seniors like Ms Zafirah Jaya, Ms Peh Qi Hui and Mr Tan Jia Shen — the former EIC and Managing Editors — who ceaselessly provided reassurance and support throughout her tenure. They even jokingly claimed to be offering a year’s subscription of free advice renewable upon request. After a day of deliberation, Celin made the decision to apply for the position of EIC. The rest, was history.
‘Being in UMLR has provided me with a sense of fulfilment and purpose throughout my journey in law school.’
Managing styles differ between every leader. During her time as the EIC, Celin was highly attentive and engaged in all editorial matters. Although taxing at times, she claims that such an approach was very rewarding and helped maintain the high work quality. The Editorial Board led a fruitful tenure of reformation under her leadership where she made innovative efforts to revise policies, conduct editing workshops, introduce new initiatives whilst increasing the quality of publication. One of the many triumphs of her Editorial Board was the first revamp of the UMLR website since its inauguration — a mammoth task due to the intricacies involved. Further, Celin created yet another new initiative named the Citation Initiative that brought light to the history of citation styles, and more.
She is thankful to her team of incredible Editors whose efforts and perseverance were integral to the success of the tenure and publication of the fifth volume of University of Malaya Law Review. Celin is also immensely blessed to have a supportive and skilful Executive Board that sets a high bar for the following tenures to come. In addition, she expressed her gratitude to the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Dato’ Associate Professor Dr Johan Shamsuddin and Academic Advisor Dr Sherin binti Kunhibava for their unwavering support and guidance.
Safe to say, Celin’s monumental efforts have not only cemented her legacy in UMLR’s history, but also made the Law Review more accessible to its readers. Her unbridled dedication and ambition as the EIC will surely be remembered for years to come.
Celin and Mr Luc Choong with Tan Sri Datuk Zainun Ali, the Keynote Author of the University of Malaya Law Review Volume 5
The world of legal publication has helped Celin gain an eye for detail. Interestingly, she has applied this same expertise in other areas as well. Expanding her list of stellar achievements, Celin has created a name for herself in the Faculty’s mooting scene.
‘The first time I had a taste of mooting was during Route to Moot. I had so much fun and since then, I became more involved in this path.’
Celin’s interest for mooting was unearthed after participating in the compulsory Route to Moot programme organised by UM Moot Club. From there, she embarked on her mooting journey by participating in the Novice Arbitration Mooting Competition (‘NAMCO’) under the influence of her seniors. She is indebted to her dedicated coaches — Ms Alyson Phung, Mr Joseph Khor, Ms Jacqueline Hannah Albert and Mr Raphael Kok — who provided her a sturdy foundation in oral submissions and memorial drafting. This experience later catalysed her profound growth in the competitive scene.
Celin with the Novice Arbitration Mooting Competition (‘NAMCO’) teams and coaches
Celin was selected to participate in the Foreign Direct Investment International Arbitration Moot Global Rounds 2021 (‘FDI Moot’) in her second year. She absolutely adores the strong camaraderie and sense of togetherness between her teammates while braving through endless nights of training. Her team comprising Mr Ignatius Joel Nathan, Ms Leezzie John and Ms Harsha Kaur was nothing less than incredible. Their coach has also played a crucial part in their growth. While missing a trip to South Korea for the competition due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, they were the Highest Ranked Team in the global rounds and ranked in the Top 32 overall. They also bagged the title of the First Ranked Claimant Memorial (Best Memorial) after impressing the panel of judges. Celin admitted that she has a soft spot for her FDI Moot journey and often reminisces the experience.
Celin alongside her Foreign Direct Investment International Arbitration Moot Global Rounds 2021 (‘FDI Moot’) Moot teammates, Ms Harsha Kaur, Mr Ignatius Joel Nathan, and Ms Leezzie John
Celin has been invited to speak at numerous events, including the Legal Citation Workshop for Lex Imprimis 2021 and Lex Virtus 2022, Competitive Mooting Forum at the Route to Moot 2021, Memorial Workshop at the Route to Moot 2022, and Online Learning: A Law School Survival Guide 2020.
While it may be difficult to believe, she admits to being anxious when she has to present before an audience. Her concerns stem from the pressure to perform well while ensuring that her content is engaging and highly accurate. However, she is able to ground herself by focusing less on the crowd before her, and more on her material. Celin’s growing familiarity with her content acts as an anchor, eventually conquering the uneasiness.
Celin as the speaker for the Legal Citation Workshop at Lex Virtus 2022
She was also exposed to research on highly niche topics, for instance, the Philippines stock market and securities policies of the United States of America. Although the limited time frame given to complete each task created a fast-paced work environment, she was not fazed by it; rather, she looked forward to going to work every day because of the warm work atmosphere. She remains in awe of the close-knitted community in Khazanah and their genuine adherence to their three core values, that is to hold themselves accountable, respect different viewpoints, and support one other.
The gentle guidance and encouragement from her supervisors and colleagues at Khazanah helped Celin develop her skills and confidence
Celin’s pursuits in law school can be demanding. Thus, she ensures that she sets aside time for herself if for nothing else, to take a break amidst the torrent of academic work.
When asked, she suggests two tips that have been extremely helpful in her law school journey — mind mapping and effective planning. While the first tip may appear banal, one should never underestimate the power of mind mapping. It is easy to have a jumbled mess of thoughts while processing complex principles. Mind mapping can assist in maintaining a coherent and logical flow of thinking.
As for the second tip, one can only plan efficiently if there is full awareness of commitments and tasks. Doing so would allow for a suitable schedule to be tailored based on one’s personal needs. Recognising strengths and shortcomings is also essential so that any difficult subjects or tasks are able to be identified, permitting for more energy to be allocated to such challenges.
In regard to her future, she is yet to have a definite plan for what she will do after graduation; two years spent behind the screen has made her grateful to be able to step foot in the Faculty again. It has been a blessing for her to reunite with her friends and she wishes to create more long-lasting memories together. Right now, she simply wants to focus on enjoying her final year as a law student and live in the moment.
Celin credits her growth and achievements in law school to her friends, seniors and lecturers. She is thankful to her friends — Ms Chia Jia Xin, Ms Chris Ng, Mr Edward Lee, Mr Geoffrey Jerry Mosiol, Mr Ignatius Joel Nathan, Ms Law Chi Kay, Ms Leezzie John, Mr Luc Choong, Ms Natalie Jong, and Mr Teo Tze Jie — for their support through difficult times. Celin owes her mooting accomplishments to her mooting coach, Mr Raphael Kok, for shaping her into the mooter that she is today.
Celin’s involvement in the Legal Aid Clinic is also one of her highlights of law school
Her accolades serve not only as inspiration to others, but act as a testament to the blood, sweat, and tears poured to achieve them. While Celin’s sincerity and dedication in all that she does leaves behind a lasting legacy for all those who come after her, it is her generosity and kindness that truly sets her apart.
Written by Rabiatul Insyirah.
Reviewed by Siti Nur Radhwa, Chrystal Foo, and Pravena Sreetharan.