Is it time to start writing again?
Is it time to start writing again?
Last Thursday was a very meaningful day.
I played photographer at Aa’s event, Social Change in Action’s Be the Change Expo.
The SoCh team essentially comprises of individuals and interns who believe that children hold the key to a better, happier future, and run workshops that empower children to make the changes they most wish to see in the future.
It being me, I didn’t go easy on the kids at all. I love conversations and I believe being able to speak off the cuff reveals how much one knows about one’s subject matter. So I asked questions. I interrupted prepared speeches to have conversations instead. I probed. “What if it flops? Who should be responsible? What if people revolt? Do your peers hate you?” I love playing the devil’s advocate.
Most of the kids I met are amazing. They were bubbly and friendly. And were not afraid to admit that there might be flaws in their plans. They believed in goodness, in kindness. Some believed their actions can lead to great things. Others believe that small acts from individuals are what ultimately counts.
So a few kids read off their charts and Powerpoint presentations – but hey – those were beautifully done, and I say A for effort, guys! Apart from the foreseeable and understandable jitters at the start of the day; one teen who was more interested in his mobile; another who whined about everyone taking her picture (hmm)… I had such an amazing time.
The kids from Endeavour Primary, particularly, impressed me heaps. While other groups where still busy setting up, or chitchatting, waiting for more people to arrive, a young gentleman – cool as cucumbers – approached me and asked if I would like to visit his school’s booth.
Their project was simple – encouraging their peers to keep the library neat and clean. The way his team answered my questions charmed me thoroughly though. They brought up the importance of being ‘socially aware’ and ‘responsible’ when I asked them how this project is important beyond keeping the library clean. When I asked how this project would benefit students after they leave the library, they tell me that these actions ‘become habits’, and students will not stop at keeping their libraries clean – they will keep their canteens, their classrooms, their homes clean as well.
Their responses were in no way scripted at all – I threw far too many curveballs. They were sincere, honest, and they lived and breathed their projects. And it is that passion and belief that really moved me. Several groups with older students from ‘better’ schools had fantastic projects, but it almost seemed as if they felt their own projects were beneath them. They were momentarily caught off guard when I asked questions that were not expected, and sometimes, the problems in their work were so apparent, but even through leading questions, they fail to see them.
Endeavour’s teacher-in-charge as well, was a gem. She sat by her students’ booth, partially hidden by a pillar, silently supporting her kids. You can tell from her smiles that she was so, so proud of her team. At no point at all did she have to step in: not to remind them, not to coach them. Neither did she leave her spot, even though the students were brilliant on their own, and obviously needed no help from her.
And this was just one of the teams that made my day. Special shoutouts must be extended to the lovely boys and girls of Queensway Secondary and their sweet, sweet teacher; St Anthony’s Primary, Anchor Green Primary, St Anthony’s Canossian Secondary, North Vista Primary (Gorgeous booth!)…
My favourite project, “Greening for a Cause” came from a school whose identity has, regrettably, escaped me now. (Blue uniforms! Who are you guys?!) Commonwealth Secondary? I hope I got you right!
This team of teens thought that the usual song and dance items they put up when they go for community outreach projects at old folks’ homes didn’t quite connect with the elderly, and thought they’d do a bit of gardening with them instead. After pushing forward the idea, seeing through the project; the team thought that was that. Until they received a call from the homes telling them how much their elderly companions enjoyed the experience, and invited them back!
Now I’ve been on community service projects like these not too long ago myself and I could see the disconnect between the old folks and some of the activities proposed… but GARDENING? Why have I never thought of that? It involves nurturing something into maturity, and is a project that has far-reaching, long term effects. Genius!
At the risk of sounding sentimental and sappy… I walked out of the Expo with so much joy.
Now I have been in and through and around and about our education system, and I know it has many faults and areas that need major relooking. (Selection criteria for its officers, for instance.) BUT. The naysayers who love groaning on and on about how our education system produces only robots and regurgitation… People who think ALL our kids are pampered and spoilt and self-centred… The parents who think only ‘branded’ schools can groom thinking children… Maybe… You are just hanging with the wrong crowd..?
For all the disappointments and frustrations I’ve had with people and schools; teaching and learning, I’d like to remain hopeful… Because after all, according to the lovely Kylie Minogue, “The kids are alright.”
So it’s been close to two months since I last posted a word.
Yes, I am very ashamed, but I assure you, I have been busy as a little bee and undoubtedly, a tad lazy as well.
I lose track of time easily… Attributing that to the fact that I
work on a freelance basis do nothing these days is inaccurate, of course. I’d never been blessed with the gift of tracking minutes, hours, days and such.
So imagine my shock when I was waiting in the car for B after I’d dropped him off to pick up a few things at the supermarket, and I heard November Rain playing on the radio. It was raining. It was November. (How poetic.)
IT IS NOVEMBER!
ONE MONTH TO DECEMBER!
2013 IS COMING!
Internal Panic Ensues. (While on the outside I maintained a steely calmness congruent to the stormy skies, etc..
It’s almost a year since I became part of the unemployed statistic. I have learned so much, gained so much, loved, laughed, cried so much.
I have lost track of time. And it is not a bad thing, because I’ve learnt to count time by the experiences I’ve had, the people I get to meet on slated days, the determination to have a good day this day, today.
Numerically, my days, hours, and minutes are not that different from another person’s. (Long as they are on Earth.)
But emotionally, and dare I say, spiritually… I pass time using my own measurements.
Sharon brought these amazing masks to the workshop on Wednesday night and boy, did they transform all of us.
Everybody had a B-L-A-S-T getting possessed by the masks. Our bodies changed. We moved differently. And we finally got the answer to the question, “How does your face look under that mask?”, when Sharon got Daphne to hold her expression while unveiling her face. Our faces actually took on the masks’ expressions! Even when no one can see what goes on under them!
Okay. I have no idea if I am making sense right now. Let’s just put it this way. It was loads and heaps of fun.
No guesses which was our favourite mask.
Of course, the troupe also discovered my special talent for playing the dirty o’ man. Who knew? Such a unique talent I have. Am sure will come in handy some day.
After a serious, serious day in class and in a freezing cold office, I was so glad to let off some steam during rehearsal in the evening. I know I haven’t gotten round to elaborating on the project much, but the new people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with are an added bonus. Whyyyy didn’t I do this earlier? (Oh. Bills to pay. That’s right.)
Tonight, we got to see the gorgeous venue where our site-specific piece will be performed. This stunning building is an old fire station built in 1930; granted conservation status in 2007.
(Yes. Comes complete with two fireman’s pole. Batteries not included.)
I’ve always had a thing for old buildings, even if they are kinda run down, so this visit was suchhh a treat.
In the meantime… enjoy the space.
Finally… A tribute of sorts to a previous occupant/explorer. Kinda sad it met with such a sorry end.
NOT FOR THE FAINT-HEARTED!
R.I.P Mickey. 8X/
Berlin Moscow. Fabulous little joint.
Russian Ice. Complimentary!
Of Bears and Berlin. A chocolate treat with tea.
Fearless birds with a taste for croissant.
The spectacular Jewish Memorial.
Royalty at a bargain.
How not to love?
I’m not the only hungry girl.
Died and gone to Adidas Heaven.
Back with a new project.
Today marks the start of a new project: fresh faces, fresh moves, fresh start.
Day one of rehearsals always gets me really nervous. How will I measure up? How will I cope? How will I fit in?
That, combined with the excitement of learning something new, is a potent mix.
I can’t go into much now – Rehearsal #1 is still 3 hours away. But the buzz is certainly kicking in.
How is this experience different from starting out at Dream Country though? Well, I will not be mentored by Char for one. And that essentially means zero familiarity and maximum anxiety. Also, Bestie is out of town for this entire duration with limited to zero contact with the digital world… which just means I’ll have to pent up all the goodness and badness of my days to come until he returns.
My nights have been wrought with all sorts of bizarre dreams. Shakespeare printed onto retro rock-styled t-shirts, lost objects found, people crowded into spaces too small… Please, all of you, fingers crossed for me!
That said, I’m headed off to Koh Samui on a four-day mission with my cameras. Already, I’m beating myself up over the 4 rehearsals and 2 French classes I am missing. Again… my high school ghosts are catching up with me. “How can you skip town? How can you miss lessons? That’s truancy!” I know. I have too many voices in my head and I give them too much credit.
In the meantime though, I know I still have to lay the Berlin spirits to rest. Right on to the next post!