Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Life & Death

Take nothing for granted
Live life to the fullest in order to leave life with no regret.
Who we are today was planted in the seeds of yesterday
What we become tomorrow is built on the deeds done in the moments between 'now' and 'then'

When the race is run, when our deeds are done, when we lay down to rest;
Let our stories be told:
with tears and laughter and with fondness and sadness
and in the telling of our lives, we touch eternity.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Visit by YOG Zimbabwe Delegation to Victoria School

Today, Victoria School was graced by the visit of the Zimbabwean YOG delegation.
Upon arrival, they were warmly welcomed by the Kompang players made up of students from the Regional Studies Program.

Next, Mr Low our Principal brought them into the Heritage Room to welcome them and give them an introduction of Victoria School's History
Zimbabwe's Chief de Mission, Mdm Busi Chindove also signed our guest book in the Heritage Room:

After that, the delegation was brought on a tour around the school and they had a chance to participate in a Biology practical session in the lab conducted by Mr Gabriel Pallai:
The objective of the lesson was to see how learning takes place through repetition and students were given a diagram to trace while looking at the arm movements reflected in a mirror:

After the Bio practical session, we had the assistance of Mr Amir to introduce our guest to a floorball- a sport that is gaining popularity in Singaporean schools. Here we see Mr Amir dazzling the crowd with his amazing stick work.

Mr Amir gave a brief introduction of the game:

After the brief intro, our Zimbabwean guests took to the court to try their hand at taking some shots at goal.

Mr Amir then proceeded to referee a short game for them:

After a robust game of floorball, we all met up in the Learning Studios for some light refreshments and exchange of gifts. We appreciated the kind gesture of thanks given by our guests who shared with us their appreciation in English, Ndebele and Shona:

Chief de Mission, Mdm Busi Chindove extended her warm invitation to all Victorians to visit them back in Zimbabwe and celebrated the start of a new friendship between our 2 countries:

It was a memorable experience and we also managed to take pictures with 2 of the Soccer players from Zimbabwe who were from Prince Edward High School.
Tapiwa Chikaka and Edward Mwanza are students from Prince Edward High School which is the Zimbabwean school that was twinned with Victoria School. Although Prince Edwards was not able to send a student delegation to Singapore for the YOG; nevertheless we were able to share a moment of friendship with their students through Tapiwa and Edward as they were part of the Zimbabwean soccer team.

We hope and believe that this is the start of a new and last relationship between Singapore and Zimbabwe; as well as for Victoria School and Prince Edward School.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hostel National Day Dinner (and more drumming!!!!)

Last Friday, Victoria Hall celebrated a belated National Day for Singapore for all our boarders by hosting a NE-themed dinner.

Boarders were asked to come in to join us for a dinner featuring local cuisine like Laksa, Dim Sum, and Satay.
There were NE quizzes, Chap-teh competition and most of all, more drumming!!

Hot on our heels from the Olympic Village, we figured that what we can do at the Olympic Village to bring the community together there, can be done in the microcosm of VS. So here we have our own Victoria Hall drum circle-- featuring Principal, Mr Low Eng Teong!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Youth Olympic Games- Hosting the Zimbabwean Cultural Booth at the Olympic Village

Over the duration of the Youth Olympic Games, different dates were set aside in the Games Village to showcase the life and culture of the various countries from all the different continents. From the 17-19 Aug, the Games Village showcased the various countries in the African continent. From 17-19 Aug 2010, Victoria School hosted the Zimbabwean booth at the Youth Olympic Village.

We set up the booth to share with athletes and visitors more about Zimbabwean life and culture. At our booth, we taught visitors to say simple greetings in the Shona language, engaged our visitors in simple activities.
Here we see Miss Shyamira getting finer points in Shona pronounciation from visiting Zimbawean athletes at our booth.

At our booth, we also had hands-on activity where we introduced African drumming to our visitors with drums like the Djembes and Congas. Here are some Track & Field athletes from Romania learning some basic hand drumming techniques and telling us abit more about themselves:

All the schools involved really pulled out all the stops to make this a happening event. Our hands-on drumming circle proved to be a great hit and generated alot of crowd interest such that I was hardly able to leave our booth during peak hours (more on that later). But in the lull moments, I tried my best to capture the other performances and activities that were taking place.

Here, a few booths down from us was the Tunisian booth hosted by Swiss Cottage Sec, which who brought down their dance troupe to enchant the audience:

Throughout the day, there were also lots of activities for visitors and guests to try out. One of my favourites (and the VS boys too) was the circus arts group that came to let our boys try their hands at twirling, juggling, plate balancing, diablo whirling:

Where Victoria captured the hearts of the visitors was in our ability to engage with them through our walk-in, hands-on drum circle. Right outside our booth, we had laid out some African drums which me and the boys took turns to lead and facilitate rhythm structures for the crowd to join in.
In previous posts, I mentioned how VS had conceived of this idea and prepared for this by sending me for a Drum Circle Facilitation course in Jun. The idea was use traditional african rhythms as a platform for visitors to engage in musical dialogue with each other.

We were most pleased whenever we saw members of Team Singapore drop by! With many present and old Victorians doing us and the nation proud by presenting the country in their respective sports, the VS booth soon became a gathering point for them to touch base with friends, teachers, juniors alike. Here are some Team Singapore Soccer players with us jamming away.

I loved the way we infused the African rhythms with a touch of beats the 'Jalan Besar Stadium' :)

Later on in the day, Team Singapore's Handball players came by. One of their players, Clement Choong, is a Victorian who graduated last year in the first batch of students taking GCE PE. Their solid drumming and team-work caught the attention of Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister of Education, who was touring the booths on that day.

Soon the beats and vibrancy of the drumming started to catch the attention of athletes whose own cultural heritage had infused them with a strong sense of rhythm. This soon led to opportunities for rhythmic dialogue across various cultures. In this session, the Brazilian athletes had infused a strong samba flavour mixed with strong pounding bass lines from the Argentinians:

For others, they just took this as an opportunity to jam with each other and have some fun. Here we have the Egypt team, who just came by and asked "Hey, give us 5 mins and we show you some of our music" So I said "OK." And they proceeded to rock:

The beauty of the drum circle concept is that it allows people from different walks of life to gather together and achieve a common understanding through rhythm. And the secret to this is in being musically trained, the secret to each sessions success is the ability for us to listen to each other and try and engage in meaningful dialogue with each other using a spontaneous rhythmical language which transcends the limits of speech. Here we see the boys from Montenegro gather with us to talk about their upcoming football match and just jam with us. In this clip, we can see that we are all trying to sense each other's rhythms and timing and learning to find a common way to play with each other:

However, we were not the only group to move the crowd with our groove. During the afternoons, a shrill whistle would pierce the air and the Stompers from Punggol Sec who were hosting Swaziland who take their turn.
Using trash cans, bins and other recycled materials, they took their inspiration from the performance group STOMP to churn out some awesome beats. Where VS african drum circle was free-flowing and spontaneous, Punggol's Swaziland Stompers were precise and spot-on with their sharp stop cuts, timing changes and sheer energy!

When our boys saw them, we were awestruck. In fact we felt a bit intimidated that we would be performing and playing next to such a tight group. But the true Olympic spirit shone true. Each time our groups passed each other, we would wave and nod. At first we were quite shy...ha ha. But each time they perform, some of our boys would go and watch; then when we perform, they would come over. Then suddenly the magic words were spoken- "Er... Excuse me, can we join in?"
And then what followed was magic:

2 groups of boys from different schools and different back grounds meeting together to find a common understanding. As hosts for visiting athletes from different nations, I believe that the example we set is crucial to showing our committment to Excellence, Friendship and Respect. It was truly a proud moment for the teachers from both schools when we saw our boys spontaneously develop friendship and respect for each other and unite to give a great drumming performance without any prior rehearsal. On Thu 19th Aug, which was our last day at the village, the alchemy achieved by our 2 schools had attracted members from other booths which had brought along their own percussion instruments.

So at 5pm, we faciliated a massive jam for all the student percussionists involved in the village booth presentations. I tried to facilitate the session by assigning parts and show casing different sections of the circle.
The chemistry was so tight by now that I could insert calls and responses with no problems as well as vary and improvise the rhythms by introducing accent beats and ended with a superb stop-cut.

At the end of the day, that what Olypism is about.
Sharing and giving of ourselves. When the crowd had dispersed, the VS boys and the boys from Punggol sat down together to try out our african drums; we on the other hand we so impressed with their self-made instruments. The boys explained to me how they used ballon sticks as drum sticks, how to drill holes in the trash bins to attach drum skins and tuning lugs.

Seeing them seated with each other, learning from each other made the effort and exhaustion of thse 3 days all worth it.

Each and everytime I undertake student projects for the school, I'm always reminded that it is through events like this that Victorians come through and truly make ourselves something more- Empowering ourselves and others in the process.

I am glad that in my time in VS I have had so much opportunity to discover myself and growth together with the students. I have given you all my best and gotten so much more in return.
Wherever we are, wherever we go, may we carry Victoria's fame and our intent to keep her flag unfurled.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

YOG Soccer: Singapore vs Zimbabwe @ Jalan Besar Stadium

Friday night was a memorable occasion for all Victorians. For our inaugural YOG in Singapore, Victoria School had been paired with Zimbabwe as their hosts in Singapore.

Through the support of generous donors, alumni and other well-wishers, Victoria School managed to get tickets for the ENTIRE school population to watch yesterday's soccer match where Singapore played Zimbabwe. The match was all the more significant because it brought Victorians back to our old campus in Jalan Besar (Tyrwhitt Road)

For such a large outing, we wanted to make sure that Victorians upheld themselves well and since the majority of students had to take public transport there, we wanted them to be safe in their walk to and fro from the stations. So with typical characteristics of Victoria School, we see our Red Shirts and Black Shirts in action stationed along the way to the stadium:

As our boys filled into the stadium, we could feel a strong sense of both national and school pride. Seeing the entire school fill the upper grandstand to support our Singapore team, captained by Jeffery Adamn Lightfoot, our very own Sec 3 Victorian, gave all of us a burst of pride and exhiliration in anticipation of the game to come.

In our distinctive 'bumble-bee' PE attire and our clappers, we definitely rocked the stadium:

As the national anthem was played, the boys sang so much louder then they did during morning assembly.

Anticipation was high and spirits were roused as Zimbabwe had laid down a hefty challenge in their pre-match press interviews.

When the match started, Singapore surpised everyone with a quick and decisive early goal
The cheers of jubilation rocked the very foundations of the stadium.
We quickly followed it by a second goal and by the end of the first half, Singapore, led the game 3-0.

As we watched our nation deliver success beyond expectations, focus was also on Jeffery our own Victorian hero. Media coverage for the YOG committee was so impressed with the show of support of VS for Jeffery that that wanted to interview his classmates to see what truly makes a Victorian something more:

Baik lah, Jeffery!!
We are so proud of you.

At the close of the first half, Zimbabwe was awarded a penalty and managed to bring the score to 3-1

However, it was clear that Singapore had dominated the night's game and
in the 2nd half we mainted the 3-1 score to win the game.

What was apparent was the way in which the boys from both teams hugged and clasped each other when the game was over. Despite the hard fought game and heavy expectations on both sides, everyone truly enjoyed the experience of a well fought match that brought out the best in everone.

Next week, VS hosts the Zimbabwe cultural booth at the YOV. More updates then!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

YOG Torch Relay- Cheering the Torch!

Today has been an eventful day, having started at 8.00am when our VS Wushu Team went down to Kallang CC to perform for the National Day Observance ceremony.

At 2pm, we brought our drums and instruments down to the junction of Siglap Road and Marine Parade Road to cheer the YOG torch as it passed by from St Patricks to ITE.

The ASEAN scholars had practiced with me some drumming as we are twinning with Zimbabwe during the games period. So we brought our tribal rhythms down to the road and infused it with the unqiue VS Spirit!

We were very well received by the various contingents and delegates as they went by in the buses. The waves, smiles and cheers were just fantastic. Even the general public in their various modes of transport stopped to take pictures of us :)

Best of all, was when the we found out that the torch was approaching, carried by our Head Prefect, Surya-- it was then that we pumped up the volume and all gathered together to cheer with pride for VS and for the nation!

More to come when I update this blog with further YOG events that we are involved in!

VS Wushu Performance @ Kallang CC

Today, the VS Wushu Team was honoured to be invited to perform as part of the National Day Observance Ceremony.The occasion was graced by our guest of Honour was Dr Lee Boon Yang.

So here's a clip of the VS Wushu Team in action:
First up was a slow event with Samuel Tan from 2B doing his Free-style Taiji:

Samuel has really improved from all his hard work and training and I'm sure he will do well as he moves into Sec 3 next year.

After Samuel's graceful Taiji, we had the entire gang of fast moving Chanquan and Nanquan athletes come up to dazzle the crowd.
First, we had Lee Jing Wei performing his Spear.
Jingwei reccently returned from an invitational competition to Beijing representing the Singapore Wushu Youth Team and garnered 2 Silvers!

Next was Hui Dhar who just joined wushu last year. Hui Dhar had no prior wushu experience and has just finished learning his Changquan routine. Despite this, his hardwork and diligence is seeing him improve day by day, bit by bit.

After that was Bernie Ang, who did his Sabre. Bernie was plagued by a series of injuries last year and we saw little of him but this year he's made a fantastic comeback, representing the school in 3 individual events. He's also more seasoned in competition and performance.

Then we have our 3 Macho men- Wei Chung, Darren and Jec.
All performing free-style variations of Nanquan and cudgel.
I must say with the 3 of you, the 'Yang' energy in the team has certainly gone up! You are the future boys, my hopes rest in you.

So enjoy the following clip:

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Old School with New School twist

Last year, during the weeks when I was preparing for submission of the GCE PE Coursework, I spent the weekend stuck in the PE Dept compiling video footage of coursework, printing labels, cutting DVD, etc.

Lucky this year got Miss Sheikha helping to do the documentation of marks and coursework logs.

But it's crunch time again, so gonna be stuck here again compiling video, printing labels, cutting DVD, etc.

What do you do when your weekend burn and you need to lift your spirits?

Well, for me it's loud old school rock :P
So here's some old school rock with a new school twist