tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
So we had our first actual dance workshop today. Two dances: the crazy hiphop dance, and a contemporary jazz abstractish dance for Unspoken Words. I'm getting there (I'm not stumbling as much) but there's till some kinks to be sorted out.

On Monday we'll learn who does what for the first Whisk next Saturday...hopefully it'll be good!

I bruised my hand this time - the webbing between my index finger and my thumb. Was drumming the wall too hard. Ow. Remedies, anyone?

Why was I drumming the wall? There was an open-mic thing today, and I was part of the WorldSmart Band that was developing this new song. We didn't have all the lyrics, so it was a lot of "dadadaaa da daaaaaaa" stuff, and I wanted to make myself useful so I became the percussionist. It's a bit interesting to use the walls as a drum...

People have really awesome talents here. I feel a bit like a fraud sometimes; everyone's so amazing, what do I have to offer? Why am I here? What right do I have to be here? But I got inspired too for future open mics - perhaps a Rabinrath Tagore poetry recital (Bengali, English, Malay?), or a reading of a passage of Velveteen Rabbit that is really touching, or some ulek mayang stuff. Let's see.

I wish I had the brains to initiate the dikir barat earlier. Might have had some willing subjects. Problem is, it's hard to explain the concept with nothing to show...

We had our first intern meetings today - ours was just tossing ideas, and sharing silly stories about people's reaction to WorldSmart. Diana's friends were worried that this was some sort of a prostitution ring and told her that if she didn't call in a week they were going to send Interpol after her...har...

I'm trying to get them to set up (or let me set up) a WorldSmart Blog. We already have the newsletter, but that's not immediate and isn't very interactive. The blog would be a lot more interactive for everyone, with instant postings and discussions and places to upload stuff. Some way to connect with us.

I should have conceived this as a Special Project, true. Damn my extremely delayed-reaction brain.

We're supposed to have dinner with a friend on Sunday but she's not well so we're on standby. Hopefully she gets better.

Nanu's coming on Monday yay!

If there's any WorldSmart crew reading this - hello! Do keep reading and do comment if you can. The facility's filters actualy block LiveJournal, so I can't show them this blog then and there, but I placed the address in my Me Page and maybe someone can jot it down and visit.

Gee, I'm extremely sleepy today. Slept at midnight, woke up naturally at 5:50. Not even dawn yet. And now the sun is setting. Perhaps I should rest.
tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
My photos are on Imagestation, but I haven't quite figured out how to make them public without other people needing to register. Anyone have ideas? I figure there's some sort of a toggle but I haven't figured that out yet.

I'm now an intern with External Relations! These are the PR and admissions side of WorldSmart. I may be getting a special project related to the WorldSmart website; I'll only know tomorrow.

A few days ago we had mini auditions to see our talent and comfort level with singing, public speaking, and dance, as well as a short discussion on photography. The dance we did was extremely complicated and I messed up a lot; I did OK on singing, and I did pretty well on singing. These auditions were to put us in groups for the Whisk performances - dance, vocals, MCing, sign language and pantomime, and something else which I don't remember now.

I thought I would be a shoo-in for MCing, since I talk a lot and keep volunteering to try out. I figured I could have a chance in sign language since I picked it up quite easily. Vocals were so-so. I had no confidence in my dance chances, since I messed up big time and was so supremely uncoordinated. I'd love to perform on stage, even dance; I just thought I won't have the chance.

Today we find out which workshop we're in. What do I get? Dance.

Clearly Nina had too much beer on her birthday. Or something like that (tm Reuben and some other folk).

I love you Nina and I still want to dance please don't kill me eep!

It isn't a guarantee that I will perform, only that we get concentrated training in it. I'd still love to perform; it's such an exhilirating thrill being on stage, such an absolute high. It would be a bit disappointing for me if that doesn't happen...but oh well...

Such is the peril of a self-confessed attention seeker, ha.

Speaking of Reuben - he's in the Singapore news! Lucky guy. He got media attention, and a 50% scholarship. I tried for both and got neither. Bah.

Still have plenty of work to do. I'm in the Bus Team for North America (yet another surprise) so I'll be entertaining everyone on the bus ride, kind of. And there's the other Me Page and Country Pages to do. And a Country Presentation for Malaysia's National Day. And a fashion show. And who knows what else.

I have gone mad indeed.

tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
There's been quite a number of news articles that have compared Up With People to American Idol:

St. Paul Pioneer Press:
It was surreal moments like that — a little more subversive, a little less "Up with People" — that made this year's "AI" concert more than just a guilty pleasure.

Hollywood Reporter:
While such Up With People-style entertainment might not be in huge demand these days, it's crucial here because onstage individually, with virtually no production around them, most of these recent amateurs do not have the skill or presence to carry 15,000-seat arenas. Nor should they be expected to.

Toronto Sun (about Idol 2):
It was all good, clean, preppy fun, like seeing the Up With People Players work a Super Bowl half-time show. In 1978. In the Retro Dome.

E! Online (about Kelly Clarkson and Idol 1 finals):
Then, doing their best Up with People impression, the 10 finalists sang a medley of songs they had performed throughout the competition.

When fandoms collide, indeed.

Mhairi, the girl of the family, came by to visit during the weekend with her husband Chris. She's cool, and quite funny. The whole family's addicted to Sudoku and they're getting Mhairi to try it too. Har.

Chris liked stir-fry so Val cooked some stir-fry beef and broccoli. She was following it from a Weight Watchers cookbook but it was nothing like how I knew stirfry so I was trying to give some tips on how to make it more authentic. I'm surprised she didn't shoo me out of the kitchen. The American instructions just make it too complicated (marinating for an HOUR? Taking out, then putting it back in again?) but it's all simple really.

Their soya sauce is really salty. Seriously SALTY.

I have a new phone charger! We went to Best Buy to get one. And they seriously have EVERY ELECTRONIC GADGET KNOWN TO HUMANKIND. I have never seen a shop quite like that before. They have every part for everything - and they all look rather nifty. Even my new phone charger looked different, like some sort of alien pod or something. At least it works (and it was a lot cheaper than I expected), so that's great.

They refer to the Barnes and Nobles nearby as "The Library". These are my kind of people.

Speaking of books - Derek a.k.a. Host Dad has a very interesting hobby. For the past 13 years, he has been watching the Books Bestsellers List in the papers, and had kept an extensive chart of all the books that are listed - complete with rankings. He says it's to find new reading material; well, he's got 2222+ books to choose from. I don't know if that's dedication or insanity.

On the subject of Brand New American (or British) Food Tried In Denver - add quiche to the list. It's some sort of savoury pie-ish pastry with eggs and cheese and meat. (Ours was meatless since I don't eat pork) It's REALLY yummy. The cheese and the eggs separate so there's this really interesting effect. Add some sausage and pepper and it'd be my kind of meal.

Today we went to the Denver Nature & Science Museum. I'm a science museum nut; I insist on visiting one everywhere I go. This one focuses more on nature - geology, wildlife, that sort of thing. There was a nifty space exhibit, a Native American exhibit that gave me the chills, and a Health exhibit where apparently if you complete enough checkstations, you get a health profile of yourself. I've grown an inch (or that could be my shoes), gained 5 kilos (that's odd), and am decidedly unfit, since I was already exhausted part-way through the 3-minute stair walk.

There were exhibits where you got to choose (virtual) food to eat; I remember one exhibit was a breakfast shopping game, and they asked if I wanted chocolate chip cookies. I said Yes, and it adminished me for making an unhealthy choice. Oh come on, I deserve a treat. There was one exhibit styled like a Chinese restaurant (two more were Mexican and Italian restaurants) and for every food item you chose, it'll tell you the nutritional information. When I chose a regular Egg Drop Soup, it said "If you have no problems with MSG - spice is nice!". For goodness sake. MSG is NOT a SPICE. It's a FLAVOUR ENHANCER. Get it right.

Tomorrow we'll find out what internships we'll get. I have decided to do internships - I chose External Relations, Performing Arts, and News Crew. We'll also probably find out if we're going to be dancing, singing, or speaking publicly for the WorldSmart Celebrations.

tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
This will yet again be a short entry, as I have a headache.

We had a fieldtrip today. University of Colorado - Denver, and the Colorado State Capitol. The UCD trip was to learn more about the Direct Instruction component - college classes. There are classes in Intercultural Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Leadership, and Conflict Resolution. Those taking Direct Instruction would get indepth classes 3 hours a week; the rest of us get a general class once a week, and some other instructional activities.

Let me derail here to explain all this Direct Instruction and "rest of us" stuff.

In the WorldSmart program, we have 3 hours a week for Project Time. In Project Time, you can do one of the following:

* Direct Instruction college classes (usually for credit)
* Special Projects - design your own project
* Internships - there's plenty - Performing Arts, Event Management, Extrenal Relations, News Crew, Operations, Research Assistance, Regional Learning, and so on and so forth

Originally I had signed on for the DI classes mainly for credit. Yesterday they had a Professional Development fair detailing all the different internships - and they all sound interesting! You could work behind-the-scenes of the WorldSmart Celebrations (or WSCs, or "Whiscs", which I'm now referring to as "Whisks"), talk to the mayors of the city to introduce the program, do media interviews, update the WorldSmart website, plan community service events, go to a city in advance and work with the Local Organizing Committee...so much stuff. And I was conflicted. Do the class, or do the internship?

I don't even know if I'll get any credit honoured for this program. I'll only know when I get back. Our college is so disorganized sometimes and after Curtin's snafu I don't think they'd honour it. And the internships have more to do with what I want to do in my life (especially the media and performing arts - I've already expressed interest in the website). I'd rather not go through the trouble of papers and assignments and studying - things I came here to avoid - only to regret it and have it all go to waste.

I talked to my dads (Real Dad and Host Dad) about it, and they both said I could - and should - do the internships. After today's presentations, my resolve is stronger; the classes sound interesting, yes, but they're mainly theory and I'm more interested in practical matters. I'll still have class exposure, even if it's not as long, and I am always free to take a day off and join a class instead if I want to. They'll even write a letter to my college with information about what I did if I request it. So hey, best of all worlds.

I'm applying for the following internships:

* External Relations - divided into two: one deals with admissions and helping potential students enrol in the program, and the other is public relations works - meeting mayors and NGOs, doing media interviews, writing press releases, and managing the WorldSmart website. It should be obvious why I'm applying for this.

* Performing Arts - works behind the scenes of the Whisks, from show planning to preparation to performer prep to performance to post-performance (and all other Ps and letters of the alphabet). Stage crew basically.

* News Crew - not really an internship but a special project. Basically, research the current news and special events and keep everyone updated on what's going on around us while we're travelling. Google ahoy!

I'll also sign on for two Operations-related special projects; the Bus Team, which basically helps out with organizing the bus travel from city to city, and the City Coordination team, who do the morning meetings and make announcements. They're small stuff so it shouldn't be too much work.

I hope I don't drive myself nuts with all this. I probably will, though.

OK! back to the field trip. So after the presentation on classes, we had a historian come in and talk about Denver using a slide presentation. Basically photos and pictures of various parts of Denver history. Denver was a town known for its mining; many people came over the years to mine for gold and silver. Not everyone was successful. It's also one of the highest cities in the US - over a mile over sea level. And the city of Denver was named to basically impress someone in Congress who resigned right before the naming. Right then.

Apparently a few people weren't too happy with his presentation, but I personally was neutral about it. At least it wasn't dry.

We then walked to 16th Street, the shopping area (think Singapore's Orchard Road). I wanted to try falafel and didn't have the time. We were all looking for places to eat - it was FULL everywhere - and we went to a food court instead. Katie, Christy, and Brandi all had Korean food; Cris had salad; and I had meatloaf. Tastes like undercooked hamburger. They also had GIANT baked potatoes (I seriously never thought potatoes could get that large) - with butter, they taste a lot better than the ones at Kenny Rogers that we had on my farewell gathering. The one at Kenny Rogers (in Berjaya Times Square) tasted like flour; this tasted like potato. Yum.

I left everyone alone to get to the post office - 23 cents local, 70 cents international for postcards - and it was quite a long line. By the time I was done, I was rushing to the Capitol for our tour, but it was SO HOT that I got exhausted and decided to go for the later tour. I met up with Ana and Krista, and we moved to under a tree, where we talked about airlines and visas and such. Gaby, Hiroko, Nina, Melissa, Miho (whose name I can NEVER get right) and Cris joined us later. Whee picnic! Almost...

Our tour began at 2:30, and we were led around by Kelly Rose, a very cheery college student. There was a tapestry with the women of Colorado (the only male was Harvey the rabbit, a character in a Pulitzer-winning play written by one of the women in the tapestry), the House ans Senate offices, endless brass and stianed glass, and cannonballs from the Civil War that were now staircase fixtures, meant to be rubbed for good luck. (The brass on those things were pretty much worn off)

Fun fact: The dome's gilded with gold. Denver has a hail problem. Last time, during hail, people would place pans on the drain to catch the hail and the gold that got chipped off from the dome, Now the dome has sealant, so that doesn't happen; also, there are filters on the drains to catch any loose gold dust.

Fun fact 2: Colorado has a state symbol for everything. Including state fossil - the stegosaurus.

Everyone, save for me, Yoga, and Diana, went back to 16th Street for shopping. And then it started to rain heavily. Nice timing. Diana liked Manbai's "Kau Ilhamku"; I just realized that Reshmonu's "Hey Waley" had random Tamil & Hindi at the end, which would amuse Cris greatly since she's into Indian music. Yoga's got requests for Sheila Majid and Siti Nurhaliza.

I need more free downloadable Malaysian MP3s, man.

Katie shared some of her rhymes with me. She writes socio-politcal raps (which kind of work better as poetry, but hey, different strokes and all). It's very different from anything else I've heard; perhaps with some tweaking of the rhythm, and some music, it'll all come together. Twas funny, because we were talking about the raps before entering the bus, and then on the bus there was a talk radio discussion about Korea and the Axis of Evil. Ha.

The water coolers at the facility have cone-shaped glasses. Apparently this is a common American thing.

I just heard from Ivy, my BRATs editor - they were planning a National Day BRATs supplement with writings from youths about their thoughts about Malaysia. I suggested an article about the foreign perspective of Malaysia, and she gave me the go-ahead. Tomorrow there's the Stereotypes activity, which does something similar, so it will be interesting.

My PDA is sending out alerts one hour early. I wonder why.

OK, so this wasn't a "short" entry really. It could be longer but I'm short on details at the moment. Feel free to ask questions, and check out the WorldSmart photo set!

Catch you later.


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