First and last Culturama

Once again, dancing hasn’t disappointed me in being a learning and enjoyable experience. I learnt so much about the hip hop culture of the USA. It’s so loose and free. I feel like this time I immersed myself in the dance so much more. When I was dancing there was nothing going through my mind – it was almost like meditation. I felt so much more fluid this time when dancing yet still in control. Knowing I have so much control and command over my body felt almost empowering (even though it was a choreographed dance). I feel like I’ve also learnt to importance of letting go by taking part in this style of dance because hip hop dances are all about being loose and letting go. I feel more convinced that I love performing dance through this experience. Now I know for sure that I’ll be looking for similar opportunities in university.

Starting Culturama

After completing Kahaani from last year, I was inspired to undertake more dance activities. The biggest one came right my way: Culturama! Not only did I have an opportunity to be a part of this huge annual show, but I also got to explore different cultures and their dances while I was at it. In Kahaani we only did Indian dances whereas in Culturama I had the choice of numerous countries across the globe. I chose to audition for USA, France and Latin America because I wanted to participate in as well as learn either a contemporary or a classical one. More so, I never got the opportunity to explore a western style dance so this would be my shot. I was cut out of the French dance only because I was the only male who showed up at auditions, so they had to make a completely new choreography. I was selected for Latin America and USA, of which I chose USA because I enjoyed the dance much more. I’m looking forward to learning the entire dance and experiencing what it’s like to be a part of such a big dance show.

Finishing Green Umbrella

Now that I’m continuing to participate in the GC, I decided to take it a step further. I opted to be the media coordinator, so I was in charge of the blog. In this role, I had to write up blogs updating the relevant stakeholders through our blog website. I never imagined that I would be writing a blog for… well, anything. In all honesty, most of the other things went by in a blur, until we starting planning for the grade 11’s project week. I helped out in planning it, giving tips about what I saw and what I liked about the place. This moment made me realize that this is my final year in high school and I’ve got a much bigger role to play now that I’m older, I’ve got more responsibility. I also realized that I want to do something like this in the future, helping people out. It’s part of who I am, I enjoy helping out. Going further, I think I’d like doing something like this at my university as well.

Finishing student voice for grade 11

Now that G11 is coming to an end, we’re starting to wrap things up and preparing for the future. We still held the same responsibility of being in charge of the grade and helping our community. It was still fun talking to my classmates about issues in our school and what affects our grade. There was a lot of debate and conversation required to enhance our understanding as well as reach conclusions. I enjoy partaking in such collaborative activities because it’s a good mixture of socializing with work because we’re getting work done through socializing, which is something I believe is the best of both worlds. This activity helps us work towards solutions through collaboration, so we get work done and along the way there are many jokes and fun, which help in socializing.

Learning outcomes

In class we were given this table as a reference to see how we approached the learning outcomes through our CAS experiences. I wanted to post it because I believe it helped me understand and organise my thoughts about how my involvement in activities has impacted me.

Learning Outcome Example
Identify own strengths
and develop areas for
growth.
I always loved EDM and I stood in awe of the DJs who are able to mix different kinds of music together. I was always curious to see how it worked and when I learnt how to do it, I felt excited about it too. I never thought I’d be interested in music like this but it turns out that I was so good that I was appointed leader. I knew that I enjoyed being a leader and helping people out, but when I taught people about one of my favourite hobbies (both DJ as well as HIIT) I realised that I am much more committed to the role.
Demonstrate that
challenges have been
undertaken, developing
new skills in the
process.
I learnt about getting over certain barriers in order to achieve goals through service. In Green Umbrella, when we went for Project Week, I had to overcome a language barrier in order to communicate with the people there. However, with the help of a translator we were able to pass this barrier and achieve our goals for the trip and even help the community out. Similarly I had to overcome a language barrier in Music Therapy which was coupled with the the uneasiness of a old age home. There was an unsettling feeling when we entered the old age home but we were able to adjust ourselves and adapt to the surroundings in order to help the dementia patients. As cheesy as this sounds, I feel like the language of music can be understood by all. Just the cheerful tune or the upbeat rhythm can be interpreted and can make anyone listening smile, even if they’re going through dementia.
Demonstrate how to
initiate and plan a CAS
experience.
I planned the project week trip along with my friends and we had to figure out a lot of things: where to stay, our service requirements and even safety issues. It was an independent experience where I learnt a lot about the effort that goes into planning a trip, and even if it is just for enjoyment, there are many things that need to be considered. I also had to come up with HIIT routines and lead them throughout. I had to set everything up, which required a lot of communication between departments, and then I had to lead and create routines that would be helpful to all those who participated.
Show commitment to,
and perseverance in,
CAS experiences.
I took part in MUN for the past 3 years, along with numerous conferences where I was able to learn a lot. I also remained committed to the goals of our GC when we went to Green Umbrella for project week. I helped develop and initiate solutions that we were working on in the GC for the past year. I then chose to implement these solutions when I went for project week.
Demonstrate the skills
and recognise the
benefits of working
collaboratively.
When working collaboratively communication is key. Without effective communication we wouldn’t have been able to coordinate an entire trip to another country for project week. Without communication we won’t be able to tell other delegates in our committee what our views of the issue are. I wouldn’t be able to address issues in the school in student voice without being confident either. There is a certain level of confidence required as well to speak up. Only by being collaborative can we achieve a holistic solution.
Demonstrate engagement
with issues of
global significance.

When we went for project week we had to work with two main issues of global importance: education and wastage management. In the community that we worked with there was help needed for both these aspects and we initiated some steps that will help the community develop and we can work towards solving their problems.

In MUN the crux of our debate was always an issue of global significance where we had to reach a conclusion with the best possible solution for the issue at hand. We had to understand the nature of the issue, the countries affected by it and how the proposed solutions would affect

Recognise and consider
the ethics of choices
and actions.
We have to be considerate and aware of other people whenever we make decisions because our actions can affect others’ lives. In MUN that is what we have to consider, the consequences and in student voice that is what we observe. Without being respectful towards the elderly at Music Therapy with Apex, the elderly wouldn’t be comfortable around us, which might not be helpful for their dementia. So through my CAS experience I learnt about being respectful of others and that I should consider how my actions affect others and not only me before I choose to do those actions.

 

No parents, no teachers, no one to supervise us, what do I do?

Project week was the first time that I have gone outside Singapore without any supervision whatsoever. Just us four friends. We decided to go to Phnom Penh where we worked with the GC I contribute to at school, Green Umbrella. We stayed at the school for 3 days where we worked on multiple projects: surveys regarding the plastic press, solar energy initiative, and the library, all of which we are working on at school. We also conducted a leadership workshop that the head of Green Umbrella, Sokrath, asked us to do.
Admittedly, when we first reached the boarding house and saw the rooms, we were all pretty uncomfortable by the situation because of numerous, creepy insects. Despite that, we kept our goals in mind and went to Karuna Kumar School and helped teach children English. It was truly inspiring to see all these students there who are less privileged than we are yet they work so much harder to learn, and they were only in the fifth grade! I realized that a lot of the things that we have we take for granted and it is easy to look over important day to day things that we never notice. For example, on the first day, I realized the value of water and how important it is to have a clean, reliable source of water. I also learned to be adaptable to situations and prioritize goals over accommodation.

On the second day, I went around houses and asked a few questions regarding their energy supply and their waste disposal. Over here I saw first hand how the lack of education can affect society because these people were unaware of the damages that burning plastic has on the atmosphere yet they still burn waste plastic because they don’t know how else to dispose of it. Before coming to project week we assumed that the village had little to no electricity but when we reached there we learned that they actually have an ample supply of electricity, with enough energy to basic appliances. It was nice to see that the people there are making the best of their situation and making the best of their situation by using what they have to their advantage. They use their resources wisely and try their best to have no wastage because they know the value of what they get. From this, I learned that maybe I should do the same, try not to take things for granted and use what I have efficiently so that I don’t waste any of my resources.

On that same day, we conducted the first session of our workshop for the high school students and I never realized how big a language barrier can be when teaching someone something new. There were many people who didn’t understand the first few times we explained something and later on we had to go individually to some people to help them. In the end, their inspiring drive to improve their community persevered and they played their role in the workshop to learn what we had to teach.

We were soon on our way to the hotel to stay in the city for the last two days. On our way there we went to historic sites where we saw the tragic history of wars that occurred in Cambodia. It was pretty gruesome but there was this uplifting shrine where visitors put bracelets on the wooden stumps around the graves of the victims of violence. This hopeful gesture was something that was something that lifted the hope of humanity within me, knowing that we have learned from those horrific events and now we know now that compassion is much better than violence.

All in all, it was an enjoyable trip with many stories and fun adventures that brought upon many lessons. I think this experience has shown me how it is like to be completely independent and has given me confidence as well that I will be able to survive, and I won’t lose anything either (I was terrified that I was going to lose something but I’m so glad I didn’t). Project week has shown me that I am ready to be more independent and I can’t wait to utilize these experiences and learnings when I go to university

SEASAC MUN

I once again got to learn and develop my speaking skills in front of a large audience. This time I feel like there was a little more pressure because there were quite a few people I knew at the conference, so if I mess up these people would know. It could come back to me if I did poorly. Considering this is also a very big conference, I will have to give it my best. I wasn’t drafted at first but when I heard I got the part I was looking forward to being a part of this international conference. This was the first time that I was going to a conference in SAS (Singapore American School). Although it was a new environment, just being a part of the MUN conference made me feel like I’m still part of this community. Like all other MUN conferences, I enjoyed partaking in this one and took solace in the feeling that I contributed to the community by providing my perspective on the issue.

Last Music Therapy Session

On the last day of our therapy sessions with the patients, I entered and left Apex Harmony Lodge with a heavy heart, wondering what would happen to Vincent (my assigned patient) in the future. Will he be assigned another person to listen to music with? Will that person treat him well? Will his nephew visit him again? Throughout my experience I learned a lot about respecting the elderly and being cheerful, even when there isn’t any response or the environment may seem dull.

Furthermore, I knew music was something that I could connect to and the music was a very personal thing I liked to engage in. Seeing how music impacted these patients, who are struggling to even recollect memories, showed me just how powerful music is. Regardless of age, language or even disease, everyone can enjoy music. I hope to use these learnings in the future when it comes to helping my family and being aware of how to help.

When we left, we were surprised with a certificate of appreciation and thank you quotes from some of the patients that nearly brought me to tears, (although I didn’t because there were people around).

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