Yes, so my prediction was correct. The Caravan, which will move school from one ASEAN country to another for the next few months, aim to educate and enrich our youths of what being an ASEAN country is all about.
Student handing out goodie packs.
On Thursday, the Caravan stopped at Sekolah Menengah Masin (noun, not adjective), and also present were 100 students from Sekolah Menengah Sayyidina Hasan, another 100 from Sekolah Menengah Sayyidina Husain, a few from STPRI, another few from Maktab Duli and (correct me if I’m wrong) I think some from Anthony Abell’s College.
Our school’s entourage arrived at about 12.00pm and was greeted by a teacher who handed out a lunch pack. I didn’t really get off to a good start as I was slightly annoyed that students weren’t allowed to eat in the canteen because “baru jua bagas becuci“. So they had to sit on the floor eating their food next to drains. After that she gave a glorified speech about how important this event is and everyone was reminded not to misbehave as God forbid higher “authorities” ever find out that we’re imperfect human beings. Urgh. Our students were in a very cheery mood and were nicely behaved ladies and gentlemen so they didn’t complain.
Inside a mass-produced lunch pack
Present as the guest of honour was the Secretary-General for ASEAN, Ong Keng Yong who gave a simple opening speech about ASEAN’s three doors of Peace, Prosperity, and the People. It was a very heartfelt speech, where you can just hear his pride and passion.
Guests of honour, some you recognise, some you don’t. His Excellency is in the middle.
After the speech came a question and answer session which was actually quite interesting. One student came and asked, “what is the most difficult thing about being a secretary general” to which his excellency replied, “first, all the travelling and you never get to sleep properly in an airplane” and the next was “convincing people from other countries that we care about them as well as our own”.
Inside the goodie pack: a newsletter, an information pamphlet, a notebook, a pen, a keychain.
I found the ASEAN Quiz thing, which came right after that very interesting. Basically, three teams (from different schools) compete against each other in this quiz about ASEAN. The questions were easy and trivia-like and they mainly go like,
Who were the first members of ASEAN who signed the Bangkok Declaration?
- Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia
- Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar
- Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei
- Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philipines
It was actually quite fun (I obviously love trivias).
Well-behaved ladies and gentlemen of 5Juara
After that was my faaaaaavorite part, which was the Digital Media Presentation Competition. The three schools; Sekolah Menengah Sayidina Hasan, Sekolah menengah Sayyidina Husain, Sekolah Menengah Masin, each had 2 entries (I think). Basically they make a little “digital media presentation” (fancy name for video clip), that is to do with ASEAN followed by a short speech explaining or clarifying the ideas and perspectives in the video after that.
One of ASEAN’s delegates showing and videos of the ASEAN Knowledge Caravan stopping in Thailand.
Most were actually quite typical: shows the ASEAN countries’ flags and signature landmark (e.g. Brunei’s SOAS Mosque, Malaysian Twin Towers) and their objectives and aims, with patriotic sounding music in the background. Some were more creative and storylike, detailing travel pictures of two Australian tourists who went all over South East Asia and typically enjoying themselves (I almost expected some mention of Thailand’s sex industry huhu). Some were actually fun, short clips of South East Asian countries compiled into a 6-minute video with some rock music in the background.
However, one video, made by a little lady named Qamarina, surpassed the others. The perspective was really brilliant. Though the video was simple: consisting of still pictures from newspapers which were not of better quality than the other videos. The music was also simple, and there was only subtitle like text at the bottom, if I’m not mistaken.
Anyway basically, first it showed how the Asian Tsunami had affected countries like Acheh and Sri Lanka and included devastating pictures of all the damage and suffering which got everyone’s attention. Then, the video showed how members from each ASEAN country actually gathered efforts to help Acheh, Indonesia, like how brothers and sisters help each other in times of need. There were pictures of people stacking up supplies into vans, the doctors, the engineers, with humble materials building back what Acheh had lost.
The speech right after that explained something about the fact that ASEAN was actually more than an association, it made us a family, and that is what it is really for. To help in times of need, and to watch each other’s backs. Qamarina, the speaker, was so sweet and articulate and made everything so moving. Everyone (keep in mind 90% of the crowd consisted of restless teens) was just silent.
Needless to say, this particular video won the competition (I’d create an uproar if it didn’t). I’ve been trying to get my hands on it since Thursday, because a video like that shouldn’t just be stashed away! But apparently now I need to write a proper letter to the School asking for permission, saying that I’ll be posting it up online. Grr, sometimes, I just don’t get all this red tape! But I promise I’ll post it up as soon as I get my hands on them.
Anyway, I thought the Caravan was really nice. I’m not really sure about the students but I learnt a lot that particular day. For now, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite dance performances that day. Anyone has an idea what it is? My guess is it is Indonesian. I thought the fan and hip action is actually quite graceful and sensual at the same time. 🙂 I believe you can actually hear me ooh-ing at one point. Enjoy!