Culturama 2019 – USA

This year I decided to do Culturama again, and I was torn between auditioning for USA and Trinidad & Tobago. I decided on auditioning for USA because I felt it would push me out of my comfort zone, with this year’s dance heavily based on broadway and swing. I don’t really have a dance background – my cousin taught me at home, so apart from hip-hop dance, I’m not exactly the most elegant. However, I decided to put myself in an uncomfortable situation as I felt it would challenge my mindset and interpersonal skills.


I was then given the chance to show my hip-hop talents as well which I felt was almost a reward for trying so hard with broadway. I was asked to write a rap regarding US culture over the Where They From (WTF) – Missy Elliot beat. It was a bit difficult at first because I’m not American and I didn’t want it to be too stereotypical but rather to try and encapsulate the diversity and influence of American culture on the world today.


I touched down in the United States

See New York, my Empire State

I had a dream, that my entire race

Would be soon equal, no time to waste

Land of the free

Home of the braves

9/11 still couldn’t kill our faith

Cause East to the west, there’s no better place

Rep New York city gotta Harlem shake

Cause it’s the place where you can be what you wanna be

The dawn’s early light, oh say can you see

American idol or the American dream

The whole world cold when America sneeze

Jookin, jerkin, never cause beef

Charleston step, better step to the beat

Show California love, cause the beach where it at

Teach me how to dougie, then I teach em how to dab

Tasha, Quinn, show em how we do things

Broadway all day, the jive, the swing, I’m king

U19A Football [Grade 12]

This football season was incredible. We didn’t win anything; we finished fourth in both ACSIS and SEASAC. I didn’t make SEASAC, which was my goal for this season, either. But what made this season memorable was what we accomplished on an interpersonal level. The love, respect and chemistry we all had with each other helped us make memories every single game. I also managed to achieve some minor goals as well: I scored my first goal this season, and the next game I scored my second – obviously, I screamed. I also wore the captain’s armband for a game, which was another special moment for myself. Lastly, for Friday Night Lights, I rapped to introduce the team:


Friday Night Lights, the time is here

The Dragon’s den, may they be filled with fear

When they step on the pitch and meet Rich

Or see Kev, or get hit by Aansh with the last-ditch tackles

Get gassed, the King is Jasp

Love O’s, Varun run the show

Dima is the captain and you never really know

With Cesc at right-back but his gadgets go go in the presence of greatness

Ian and Jake so dangerous

Batra is the wall can’t get past it, Banta L2 with the right stick

So it’s Keiron and Quinn for the win

Josh is the heart, I’m the cog in the machine

Hopkins, Mr Top Binz, it’s Ash

Dinsdale, wind our sails, it’s Gav

East go hard, don’t step in our yard

Bersama – (MUN, UWC Day)

Bersama this semester has been very busy. We performed at UWC day and at the MUN conference  In both performances, I was able to perform solo pieces that differed in topic, style and delivery.


The performance at UWC day was a celebratory piece of the school and what we try to embody in the UWC movement. For the performance, we sang the UWC school song, written by Hannah Jones and Molly Stirrat. They asked me to write a short rap that would become part of the song. I was ecstatic when they asked me but I was also nervous because this is something that would probably last a while. The knowledge that the song would probably be performed after I had left the school was the hardest part; the challenge was to write something that would remain true for years to come as well as something that could be understood and appreciated by all, not just high school students. I came up with this:

It’s my squad, it’s my team it’s my crew

And when we stick together ain’t nothing we can’t do

Cause on my own I’m alone, but I still feel at home

When I walk through these halls, I feel in my zone

In this United – World – College,

Opening my mind through the learning of this knowledge

As I open up my heart and I open up my eyes

I see a sustainable future, a force to unite

Save the turtles


Then we performed at the MUN conference. This one was special because I also performed an original piece, a song that I call “We Are Free”. The song is about peer pressure, and being free from it which I think is a timely message in today’s trend-driven age. Below are the lyrics for the song:


Here we are today

And we’ve found a way

Cause we’ve escaped

From this place of pain

We’re no longer slaves

We don’t have to change

In this present day

We can now say…

We are free, we are free

There’s no stopping us

(We are free, we are free)

We don’t have to follow

(We are free, we are free)

We are not held by sorrow

(We are free, we are free)

We have a better tomorrow

(We are free, we are free)

We can now say

(We are free, we are free)

I tell the truth and I make the devil shame

Nowadays I leave enemies in my wake

Cause I’m no longer afraid

And I’m no longer a slave

To other people

No longer needing their approval

I’m finally free, and fresh out of jail

Locked up for putting my person up for sale

But I’ve never known freedom

Killing my self I’ve been charged with treason

I put the king in kingdom

I didn’t need a reason

To stop me being a victim

Only God could judge me, so I’m full of all his wisdom

But hierarchy is arbitrary , always been a visionary

My way or the highway, now i move when I say

Word to Uzi, I do what I want

Now I’ve got the backing so no need for me to front

I’m being blunt

Alpha, riding on my own terms

I went to the mountains, and here’s what I learnt

Here we are today

And we’ve found a way

Cause we’ve escaped

From this place of pain

We’re no longer slaves

We don’t have to change


We will now say…


We are free, we are free

There’s no stopping us

(We are free, we are free)

We don’t have to follow

(We are free, we are free)

We are not held by sorrow

(We are free, we are free)

We have a better tomorrow

(We are free, we are free)

We can now say

(We are free, we are free)


Wave your hands if you know that you’re free

Always be yourself, not the one you pretend to be

I’m breaking new grounds, but they told me I was wrong

I longed to be myself, so I never could belong

And I’m out

You know what I’m about

Finally free, so I scream and I shout

But it’s my power of will, I finally feel

That we are free, just hope I’m bringing you along with me


We don’t have to follow

(We are free, we are free)

We are not held by sorrow

(We are free, we are free)

We have a better tomorrow

(We are free, we are free)

We can now say

(We are free, we are free)

We are free, we are free, yeah

[I’m breaking new grounds, but they told me I was wrong]

He is free, she is free, yeah

[I longed to be myself, so I never could belong]

They are free, I am free, yeah

[We are free, we are free, we are free, we are free]

We are free.

Asian’s Children Education (ACE) – Global Concern (LO6)

Being new to the school, I was also new to the idea of global concerns (GCs). I thought that it was a wonderful idea that we students could strive to make an impact on important issues in domestic and international communities. Thus, I decided to join the ACE GC. ACE works with an organization called JAAGO, who help provide education for underprivileged families in Bangladesh. This is something that I think is extremely important as all people deserve access to quality education, no matter their economic status.


After being part of this GC, for 2 seasons, I think the biggest thing that I’ve learnt is just the need for organization. I’m not really that organised of a person, I’ll admit it, but when I see our GC chair Fayyaz conduct our meetings, as well as have to deal with all the stress and pressures from the IB, it makes me question why I am not more organised in my life.


One disappointment this season was the fact that we had wanted to do the Holiday Fair which got cancelled. Even though me being new, I don’t know what the Holiday Fair was, I recognised that this was a prime source of funding for our GC which now put us in a vulnerable situation since our GC is almost completely based on funding the education of children. Our Goal this year is to reach $1750, which will help us continue to sponsor 5 children.

SGM Murni Child Care Centre – Gymnastics Fun (LO5 & LO6)

In order for me to develop myself as a gymnastics coach and help the kids enjoy themselves more, I decided to go to the gymnastics hall after school where I could observe the gymnastics coaches teach my fellow students. Since I had basketball training at 4:30 on Mondays and Wednesdays, I went to watch and help the coaches from about 3:10 to 4:15 on those days. Doing this definitely helped me because it allowed me to learn new and creative ways of making gymnastics fun for the children. I also learnt how to spot the children properly whilst they’re doing the gymnastics which now prepares me to make sure the children are safe whilst learning different moves.

Bersama (LO2)


All my life I’ve had a love for music. Listening to it, dancing to it, singing/rapping along. Talent wise, I can play the piano, rap and I enjoy dancing. One thing that I struggle to do, however, is sing. This is a source of annoyance for me because my uncles sing, my mum sings, my cousins sing, and my younger sister sings, so I feel as though I was left out in the singing blessings. For this reason, I wasn’t really that excited when my music teacher invited me to the a capella group, Bersama. Initially, I was asked to audition for Aida, but I had CultuRama during this time and so I didn’t want to sign up for too many things or else I wouldn’t be able to do well in school. Then, my teacher asked me to come for Bersama, and I couldn’t really get out of it since I didn’t have a valid excuse to not show up, and so, I went.

Don’t get me wrong, in my room, with my headphones on, I can sing like Mariah Carey but when I have to sing in front of other people, that confidence and ability vanishes. With that being said, I decided to take the same approach to Bersama as I did for Piano Masterclass; having a humble attitude and being willing to learn and take something positive away from the activity. I came to understand that singing in a group has been one of the best things for me, musically, as it has helped me train my ear for music as well as appreciate other styles that I wouldn’t readily listen to. I’ve also been asked to write a rap verse for a song that we’re performing at the end of the semester and so I’m able to not only learn from others, but show what I can contribute to the group.

Personally, I feel that learning how to sing – I don’t have to be great, just decent – will help me with my performances, that for the most part, are just me rapping and dancing. I usually interact with the crowd a lot but I feel as though sometimes my performances are a bit monotonous in the sense that people, when they see my name on the list of performers, already have an idea of what to expect. Learning to sing, however, will help me diversify my performances and allow me to perform my songs that I like, but am currently unable to sing.


One of my highlights this year was Wavelengths, it was our only performance for Bersama of the semester. Not only did I rap my own song during this performance, but we did a cover of Adele’s Rolling In the Deep in which I wrote a rap verse for. This was the first time I had ever been asked to write a rap verse, and I felt a bit of pressure for it to be really good, however ,I was excited at the prospect. It was an interesting process; I did research into the song, considered different ‘flows’ and tried to really communicate through what I was saying.


My verse went like this:

Roll deep, never lonely,

Cause I got the whole team, with me,

And you know this, hoping that your absence,

Will be noticed, thinking you’ll be so missed, so wrong

So I’m coming at you, I’m a savage animal

Discovery channel what I’m ’bout to show y’all

Thought it was skyfall, by the writing’s on the wall

I was running through the Six, you’ll be rolling in your woes


Piano Masterclass (LO1&LO2)

After 3 weeks of Piano Masterclass, I have come to understand my limits as a human being. Before starting the activity, I knew I wasn’t the best piano player, but I considered myself decent. However, after the first session, this consideration seemed very deluded. The issue was that I’m ‘gospelly trained’ in the sense that I learnt by playing in church. What this means, essentially, is that I’ve learnt to play what I play by listening to it. Most of the people in Piano Masterclass are classically trained, which means they have learnt (and most of them have been graded) how to play by reading sheet music and learning a lot of music theory. I immediately felt disadvantaged because my sheet reading ability is very bad and I know basic music theory. Everyone came in playing pieces from composers I’d never heard of, holding a giant book filled with sheet music and I felt quite novice, to be honest. For the first two sessions, I’d leave the activity feeling like I was a failure.


Despite all of this, I am committed to learning how to play classical music and to develop my music theory and sheet reading ability. I realise that everyone has to grow and that just because my growth might be a later stage than everyone else’s doesn’t mean that it still shouldn’t happen. I think that it also teaches me humility and actually, this has allowed me to develop relationships with the other students.


I didn’t get to stay in Piano Masterclass for Season 2, since I had to join Aida but one of my highlights was being able to perform at Esplanade. What made it such an accomplishment wasn’t that it was at Esplanade but that I did it despite me being fatigued from Unplugged, which was the day before. I played a personal arrangement of Kevin Gates’ Know Better. This was a significant performance for me because I was used to just playing chords, as I mentioned in my previous reflection, however, in this performance, I combined my chords with quick and simple melodies. Even though I know my performance was the best that night – that goes to Shoon – I still feel proud of my work, simply because I understand how much I grew from doing that performance.



SGM Murni Child Care Centre – Gymnastics Fun (LO5)


In this service, me and eight of my peers work together to help teach 4-5 year olds how to do gymnastics and help ensure proper technique. I chose this service because I enjoy working with children and witnessing their development. Honestly speaking, I’m not very good at gymnastics (never have been), but I think that this will help me because I understand their struggles and I understand that feeling when your friends are able to do all different kinds of flips and you can’t. Additionally, the children we are working with come from lower income families and so – I’m someone that likes to laugh and spread positivity – I’m hoping we as a service can help be that source of joy and happiness for these children.


From amongst my peers, I have been elected as chair of the service. With this added responsibility, my goal this year is to improve my organisation and my responsibility. I’m not necessarily lazy, but sometimes I slack in my organisational skills and I think that being chair of the service will help me build that skill. It will also help me build my collaborative skills, which are essential when working in a group. Furthermore, working with children, especially them being so young, means that we as 16 year olds need to put their safety and ours (but mostly theirs) first and prioritise it before making them happy. I think in a situation like this, it’s possible for us to want to please them that we neglect the safety risks of the activities.