Since this is my personal reflection, which is meant for me, MYSELF, I am going to write this as the way my thought processes.
I choose to write because it gives me more time to think. When I speak into a camera, I am a bit self-conscious, and I don’t like it when there’s a silence, which means I probably just keep talking and talking. I don’t want to do that with this, I need time to fully process and think it through.
Let’s start at the beginning. Since grade 9 or 10, I always knew that I am going to join IFP and I always knew I am going to love the conference itself. I remember I used to sneak into the Peace One Day conference held in Singapore when I was gr 9 or 10 and absolutely love its atmosphere. To be honest, I still half-heartedly think that the training we had at the beginning of the year is a bit waste of time, but it’s worth putting the effort to go to so that you can get into one of the conferences because trust me, the conference is BEAUTIFUL!
But in terms of skills, I think I learnt a lot. Although, I always knew that I am good at public speaking or controlling the crowd. I used to run mini-workshops (skills based: leadership, collaboration…) or various activities for orientation in the past. However, most of them are usually light-hearted, and I always aim it so that the audiences are having fun and at their highest energy. Through IFP, I learnt that there are of course different moods you can set in a conference, and it has as much of an impact if not more, to the audience. For example, a more down-time for reflection and a deeper, meaningful discussion (candle time…).
Most of the stuff I did before as I mentioned earlier is more light-hearted, hence this is my first “serious” conference I facilitated in. And I can see the differences and I’m learning a lot. We have a much clearer, more important goal that we want the delegates to get by the end of the conference.
Another interesting thing, maybe because of the confidence I have through past experiences, I thought that I can just wing the speeches sometimes. But during this trip, Sanjay asks us to create scripts, and it was planned to the smallest detail of it. I think our team shall thank him for that. Because after that, our team was working with the plans with more concrete checklists to check off like have we got a presentation, a script if we do then let’s run it through while timing it. (Although, my best speeches were unplanned 😉 )
However, what’s most important that I got out of this conference is that it got me thinking, reflecting A LOT. I cried because I realised that I miss this feeling so much. The pumping energy in me trying to make everyone feeling happy and comfortable, the me who gives the best to make everyone smile. And the happiness felt when all the delegates are happy, and all smiling. Because if they are happy, I am happy to the fullest.
In Singapore, there’s not much time I felt like this. But you can see the difference in me, during orientation, or when we go to our service partners, my energy runs through the roof, seeing them happy makes my day. But the feelings don’t last very long, as soon as we got back, everything is back to normal. I don’t know why before, but now that I think of it, maybe because people at our school, the students, the teachers, don’t need any of this, everyone still survives and thrive anyway without the energy in me.
I want to live in the IFP world, even though I and my friend used to talk that it’s a fake world. It’s too idealistic. It’s very sad, but it’s true to some extent. The past workshops I’ve done in the past was very beautiful, too, but as soon I am out of that world, I hit back to reality. Everyone goes on with their life just fine. We went back to our original lives worrying all about tests, colleges or family. To be honest, I’m afraid that IFP is going to be like this, too but seeing that we all still talking to each other on social media (like every day), I’m super glad. Now, I’m thinking of how we can bring the IFP world and share it with the outer world. And now I’m thinking of how I can make use of my own energy to benefit the world, how I can make everyone happy and hence myself happy to the fullest always.
IFP makes me think a lot. One of the delegates wrote me a letter saying that I have a potential to be a great community worker rather than a scientist and ask me to keep that in mind. And to be honest, it shocks me. I remember I used to tell people to do what makes you happy. And I’ve been thinking of what makes me happy, and I overlook the fact that helping people is what makes me happy the most. Now, I’m not too sure, I need to think more about my career path.
One of the many interesting conversations I had with the delegates. I think we somehow are defined of who we are by our pasts to some extent, especially matters like life and death. I remember talking to this delegate. I know him, at least the one at the conference, and that’s who he is, I think. Then, we got talking, and he told us that he has killed 2 people and he was also once shot, he fights a lot. I thought you know before that I would be so scared of anyone who has killed a person, A PERSON. But I realise my mind during that time was like, “Really? Oh my god. Tell me more.” And we got talking more and more. And I still see him as the way he is. I don’t know how to explain it, but during that time, we just listen to each other, advice each other, it really was a place without any judgements at all and if the world could just be like this.
During the passion speeches, I don’t know, I think in our real life, or maybe just me, I was always afraid to cry mostly about my own personal problems. Never shares it with anybody, because I always thought that everyone is just to busy to care. But again in here, when everyone has problems, instead of forcing that one person to man-up, be strong and face through it, and that it’s okay, and just pretend that it doesn’t happen; we encourage each other by being vulnerable altogether. People just want to be listened, and we did. And when you did so without any judgements, you can actually feel their pain. I say we embrace each other faults and passions. And only then, we all became one. It was very clear.
Before going to the conference itself, I was really afraid that what if they got out of the conference feeling that I shouldn’t have come here, what if they didn’t get anything out of it. And I have to say I WAS WRONG. But it’s also thanks to their open-mindedness as well. We, 17 years old, talking about violence, and they are a few years older, have done so much more to their community, have experienced real violence when we are only talking about the theory bits. But instead of judging us, they embrace us, they admire us, they open their mind and heart, getting as much as possible out of the conference itself.
Another, I thought I was on average a better listener than everybody else. The point is that when I listen to people, I look at them in the eye and listen. However, during this conference, at one point, during the candle group discussion, I was taken back when it’s my turn to speak, everyone leans in, their eyes focus on me, they just look so keen to listen. I was shocked, that the confidence when I look right into their eyes when they speak is gone. I just looked down at the candle and talked instead. It means a lot to me. These people are so real, so nice, so beautiful, they are going to do the world a big favour!
A few days ago, a delegate post on social media, “Best speech quote: Life without challenges is meaningless.”. I am soooooo glad that some of my words or my actions or ones from my mates, can have a slight, slight, slight inspiration and hope for some delegates. Because seriously in some cases, those slight hopes can save a person’s life.
The delegates said that we inspire them, but the truth is the delegates inspire me 100 times more than we inspire them. They know what they want and they do it. They have a burning torch of passion in them. They don’t care about where they are from, what they are capable of, literally, they are not afraid to make mistakes, they are truly brave people, they just do something to change what they want to see changes in.
Now, I want this IFP Maesot experiences to keep my life in check. I want to live with passion, with the energy to make others happy, without any judgements, to listen to problems and embracing everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. Because then, I can be happy, and peaceful within myself and hopefully it’ll have a domino knock-on effect by bringing peace to others too.
P.S: I MISS IFP and the DELEGATES!
Hello everyone! I am very glad that I got chosen to be part of the facilitators’ team to lead an IFP conference that will be based in Maesot. Currently, we are divided into several groups planning the actual activities on each day in the conference itself. And I, with another person from East, and with 4 other people from Dover, are planning activities on the theme of “Making a Change”.
First of all, let’s talk about the whole group atmosphere. I don’t want to be frank, but since this is my reflection post and about my opinions only, I think I shall be honest with myself in this writing as I am in my head. In the past, there is from time to time, at the back of my head, where I felt like this is not an authentic experience as it supposes to be. I feel like people do stuff because they are told to do because they want to impress but not because they want to do so. Sometimes, it feels a bit fake. Not only me, I’ve talked to some people, and they have expressed similar concerns. However, this might be just some prejudices that I have against people in a school lead activity.
However then, I thought to myself, this is not about me, this is about the delegates who come to the conference. They want to get something out of it, they want to make connections, they are real people out there. So, for once, I shall not think about my own comfort, and just plan the conference. Once, I’ve accepted the fact, I think I start to see people from a better spotlight. Maybe, I was wrong, maybe it was me who’s not true to myself, maybe I was just not comfortable with a different group of people that I used to work with, maybe we all are in the same situation after all. I think my thoughts have evolved better for the group! 🙂
Then, back to my final group. I think we worked well together, we all each have an equal say in coming up with the conference. I can sense that everyone is comfortable enough in a group to comment on everyone else’s opinion nicely which is nice. Maybe, one more thing we need to work on is I think we are a bit behind schedule. I want us to finish the planning of the activities and prepare for every nook and cranny.
Overall, I am really, really excited to meet the delegates! I am ready to be inspired, I am ready to make connections!
Looking back from where I first started IFP in the beginning of the year, there are quite some moments that I like to look back and reflect. Without a doubt, the joint training at Dover really stood out for me. It’s the first time that we are exposed to work with completely new people from Dover, and it really inspired me with the fact that everyone was really opened and friendly. It really does help me to improve my collaboration skills. Because in UWC east, we mostly work with people who we tend to know about them a bit already, however, when we are put to work with the students from Dover, I think it really brings me out from my comfort zone. It allowed me to share my ideas with others as well as listening to theirs as well. That also brings me to the next session: Active Listening. After that session, I think a good peace builder also needs to be a good and active listener, too. Remember the time when we are divided into group Jay and Kay, where 1 group is meant to go to the other country and helps giving advice but instead a chaotic debate occurred. This happens because we didn’t really listen to the other partner to whether what exactly is the problem they have and what they need help with. We just assume that something is the problem hence come up with a solution that is not going to help them. This makes us reflect again on our local services in our school as well as our abroad conference soon. We should be a good listener first, LISTEN to their problem and ask for help and then discuss together the solution.
Now, it makes me think about the team that we are going to be in to lead the conference. This is really important in my opinion. A team needs to feel comfortable with each other enough to bring forth an idea or ideas for improvement but not to the point where one is completely ignorant of your responsibilities and tasks in the group. After the personality test, I realized that there sometimes should be a balance in the different personalities. When you have 2 very strong personalities with the same skills in the same group, it might be very hard to get things done to one unable to compromise to another. Hence, it’s better to have a cooperative with different people with their own strong points to compliment each other.
The one last session that I remembered was the Social Media session, I remembered that I had so many good discussions with different people on that day, and it was very nice. To be honest, there are times that my enthusiasm has lost out a bit during the sessions, however once in a while, just to sit down with some other people who share rather similar or different opinions with you and discuss some issues really help brighten and sharpen my inspirations and enthusiasm a bit.
My other IFP reflection:
Thank you! Have a nice day! 🙂
Last Saturday, we had our second joint sessions with the Dover campus. And I have to say that it was really fun! It’s a bit different from last time because, for this, we get to mix with about 2-3 others from East and 2 others from Dover, and you have to stay with them for almost the whole day, discussing various activities to lead later for everyone without any supervisors. In here, we can really see everyone’s most comfortable behavior, so it in a way kind of break the ice between the Dover and East and that’s as closest as we can get together.
During this session, I think I learn how to balance between voicing your own ideas and listen to other people’s ideas. Because I used to lead a conference in Cambodia for about 20 people in a similar way as in IFP, and it went really well. I also used to organize icebreakers, and activities for the orientation in the boarding house, too. So, I feel like I know what to do and what to avoid. However, not everyone in the group knows that, and maybe they also have their own experiences in leading some activities, too in the past that I don’t know. So, we might all have different styles, so I think I learned to speak my ideas when I think it’s a good idea, and at the same time trying to open up to other people’s style of organizing activities as well.
In one of our last IFP sessions, we were given about 10 minutes to think about something that you are really passionate about to share it with everyone under 1 minute. I didn’t really have a chance to go up there on the spotlight and share about my passion so I guess I am just going to do it here. I think what I really want to touch on is that I just want everyone to be nice! I have been here quite a couple of years, and so many people have told me so many stories and the root of the problem is all just come back to some people being a bit insensitive. I know it sounds hard but just try to bring the best out of you whenever is possible. Your best is good enough! For example, when you see a person who is sitting lost in a new class, why don’t you just smile to him/her and make them feel a little bit more included? Imagine yourself in their position and you would also have wished that at least someone would have reached out and make a casual check with you whether you are okay or not.
It’s hard to not judge anybody, I think it’s almost inevitable, it’s like a part of a human nature. However, if you are forming a judgment in your head, don’t show it in your face. Just think in your head but why show it on your face in front of them?
It’s also hard to like everyone. However, if you don’t like someone, just don’t associate yourself with them, but you don’t have to talk bad behind them or show that you really hate them. You never know how far those actions and words of yours can affect someone’s life, they can really pierce into someone’s heart deeply. You also never know what’s going to happen in the future. You can die in any minutes. You think you can act harshly now because they did something bad to you, and you think it’s okay because you can always pay them back later. But trust me, nothing lasts forever. What happens when that person suddenly is gone, you regret that you should have done something at that time. We all are going to die at one point, so why not just try to see the best from all and enjoy being in the moment with everyone?
I mean I am not perfect myself. Most of the thing I spoke of above, I speak it from my own experiences. There are things that I have done and regretted or wished I could have done or things that I have felt myself. However, the thing is nowadays I like to live my life to the fullest and make myself enjoying the moment. I communicate with people the same way I like them to communicate with me. Because after all, it also comes to your own selfish motive as well, like you also are going to feel good when you make someone else feel good.
I think this activity really forces you to explore what you really feel passionate most because sometimes it’s not always so obvious to know that you also have something that you want to share with others. Moreover, you are only given 10 minutes to think, hence what comes to mind first would be something that is most genuine to you.
I think it’s really nice to write about this now and reflects. Even though I like to live my moral life by this mission, sometimes I myself tend to forget about it. So, now when I am writing this again in this blog, it actually helps to remind myself again as to what I want me to do and reflect on how I am doing now and kind of rechecking some of my past gestures again and work on towards my future actions. 🙂
In our last IFP session, we did a simulation where there are 2 countries (Jah and Kay), where Jah is not a very developed country with a high rate of diseases and deaths, illiteracy… and Kay is a developed country with high employment rates, economic booming…etc. Basically 2 completely opposite countries. And I was a part of country Kay. During our planning, we discuss very thoroughly on how to improve their country but not very much on how to convince them to follow our ideas. This is because we already assumed that when we go to country Jah, they will automatically listen to us and to our advices. But what a complete flop, when we go there, we started to realise that they have already made up their mind to not listening to us. Hence, even though, we are able to present our ideas at the end, I felt that those advices just go from one ear to another of them and the heated debate is more about “yes” or “no” to the advices rather than analysing which one of them works and how can we improve them.
I think I also realise some mistakes that our country make as well. I think we start to get caught up in trying to win and have a superior take on the debate and we forgot that our main goal is to help Jah to develop as a country not to make them agree to accept our advices. We should have asked what their plans were to make their country better, and support them with their own plan.
I think it all comes back to IFP conferences that we are going to hold in several countries as well as the services in our school. Rather than going straight and plan what to do to help them. We should go there first, talk to people in that area of what their challenges are, and what their plans are toward this problem and whether we can help in anyway after all. Only then, we can start pitching some advice ideas and discuss alongside with them whether they are going to work or not. Because after all, one of the expert in the problem is them.
Sundac is a local service that our school has collaborated together so that we can interact and help in away with their clients who are with intellectual disability. It’s to some extent a very new experience for me. Because, I have been in this similar kind of service before, I used to work with people with Alzheimer’s, or intellectual disability or elderlies…etc where you are in a situation where both partners don’t know each other and don’t speak the same language and you have to find other ways to communicate.
However, what’s new to me is that instead of us going to their place and do the service after school about 30 minutes, they come to our school instead and do the service for almost 1 and a half hours. We actually sat down and ate lunch with them and moved on to activities that we do in the plaza. Of course, in an unusual place with strange people who you don’t know before must be really overwhelming for them and would obviously make them kinda scared and not really open to you. For example, in one activity, when we have to stand in a circle and hold someone’s hand, I asked one of the client whether he wants to hold my hand. However, he rejects me! I was pretty sad actually, however I just maintained my smile and continue the activities smoothly.
Later on in the activity, some of the clients actually came to me and ask me to hold their hands which is very nice! So, what I learn is that sometimes your good intentions might not able to get through. And you can do nothing about it, you don’t have to pout or stress about it. You just have to be you and continue to do good, and eventually they will open themselves up and accept you.
I think one magic moment is when one of the client speaking in Chinese and I actually understand what she was saying. Then, we just had a conversation together and it was beautiful. I think she suddenly feels more closer to me and vice versa even though it was not a very deep or complicated but just a very simply basic conversation.
One interesting thing as well after we’ve conducted this service twice is that although we all do the activities out in the open during lunch time where a lot of our friends were passing by, I felt like I didn’t see them at all. All we do were just staying happy in the moment and be with the clients, which is really nice!
After all, I think the service is going good so far, we’ve had couple successful sessions with the clients where all of us are seen to be laughing happily while also helping them with their motor skills. What I want to focus on next time though is to become even more close and comfortable with them more like by knowing all of their names, and not afraid to hold their hands and talk with them even more.
Below are just some of the photos and videos that is taken during our activity sessions with them!