tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
1. If you have any good mainstream or ethnic Malaysian or Bangladeshi music (especially dikir barat vids in WMV since they're so hard to find), please email them to me at divabat@gmail.com - either the files themselves or links to the files uploaded on something like YouSendIt. I've got requests for Sheila Majid & Siti Nurhaliza, and I've found people who are fans of Manbai-ish music and Bollywood-style music, so anything along those lines would be great.

2. If you are in the Denver, Colorado, USA area this month, we are having our first WorldSmart Celebration:

Date: Saturday 20th August 2005
Time: 7 pm onwards
Venue: Northglenn Community Center

More details provided as they come.

Come by and enjoy a great show, learn about all our different cultures, and meet people from as far away as Kenya and Ecuador. And of course Bangladesh and Malaysia, though that would be the same person really.

3. I'm doing a scrapbook page about me for the Crew Bio Scrapbook they're making, and I thought it would be funny if you could give me a one-line description of me for decoration. Kinda like an ultra-condensed testimonial of sorts. So do give your best lines - you can give more than one.

4. Jessica Lan(g)don, a sweet perky girl from South Dakota who's in our crew, is a REALLY GOOD SINGER. Seriously; she's even had the Denver MAYOR ask her to sing for church. Now that's something. So if you go to the celebrations, you'll be able to see (and perhaps hear) her.

5. If you want an information card (and perhaps packet) from WorldSmart, email me your name and address to divabat@gmail.com and we'll mail something over. It's completely confidential and optional.

6. HAPPY BIRTHDAY NINA!

Thank you for your attention; in appreciation, here are the Up With People tracks for your listening pleasure. (UWP/WS crew, if you don't want them up here, please let me know and I'll graciously take them down. They probably won't last too long though, since they're in WMA format and on MegaUpload.)

Rhythm Of The World
One To One
Room For Everyone
Unspoken Words
Up With People
Can We Sing A Song Of Peace
tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
Today was a bit of a tense day.

In the morning we had the Stereotypes activity, where mahjong papers with the names of the countries represented are put up, and people walk around writing their perceptions of the country.

Not many people wrote stuff about Malaysia and Bangladesh - both papers had some "talk fast and loud" comments, which I suspect has more to do with me than anything else. And no, Mahatma Ghandi is NOT Bangladeshi. I was surprised that people thought Malaysia had good governance, after hearing the complaints in the country about the government, and someone wrote "Kjak Rtak", whose meaning I haven't the slightest idea of. Huh. Generally, though, people weren't too surprised at the reaction - they've heard it all before.

What was tense was the discussion at the end of the day about the Capitol visit and guest speaker the day before. Katie had talked about the offensive language the guest speaker was using (e.g. referring to prostitutes as "recycled women") and Marcelle replied that basically we give meaning to words, we should try to understand what their intentions were and whether or not they meant to offend. Katie was upset (she thought she was being lectured - she kinda had a point) and Noelle and Brandi were crying too because Marcelle had mentioned how "nigger" was inoffensive in Brazil but "black" was, and that touched a nerve. It led to a discussion on ethnocentrism (basing things on your own culture) vs. ethnorelativism (basing things on the other culture), and how we should be more conscious of potential triggers.

I personally thought that while everyone had a point, there was still a level of ethnocentrism int he comments. "This is bad because it's bad in my culture therefore it should be bad in yours". It's a definite learning curve and I think all of us will have to learn how to relate to each other without needing to push their buttons. I wonder how they'd survive in a culture which would be offended at their notion of being offended - "You think our culture is WRONG? You think you're BETTER than me?!" - that'd be something.

Thankfully the day wasn't all that stressful. We had our first major Whisk Prep - we were taught the chorus of one of the songs, and also the moves to a few dances. One of them was really complicated - you really need to get the rhythm down right. The other was simpler, but it all depended on your partner and group and if they mess up, you mess up too. There was so much thigh-clapping that my thighs are now bruised...red spots everywhere.

I've handed in my Internship application, and tomorrow there's going to be auditions for singing, dancing, and public speaking (and photography though I'm not too interested in pursuing that fulltime). Let's see how that goes.

Also - I made fried rice for my host family today! It was a bit different; garlic paste, Bombay onions, brown basmati rice, baby carrots, no oyster sauce. I thought it was a bit off, but they loved it, so hey.

Does anyone have any remedies for bruises?
tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
Check out my WorldSmart photos on Flickr!

Today was the Opening Session of the WorldSmart August 2005 semester. There were the typical speeches and such, some stories too...the crew went up on stage and did multilingual welcomes and also read their diary entries from their past experiences.

They showed a few slideshows of the history of Up With People (including the song) and what we could expect from the program - including some shots of us on the first day! They had to choose a photo of me looking like a tired bum on a chair, of all things. What was most surprising was that at the end of one of the slideshows, they displayed all our photos that we had uploaded on Yahoo - whether on the YahooGroup or on our profiles. Nice surprise!

We got to tell our stories about why we were there - I told them the whole thing, from me being restless, to the parents not caring, to someone telling me it was a cult...the whole thing. Katie got emotional during her speech; I went over and hugged her, and we cuddled for a bit. Even kissed each other on the top of our heads. Heh. (those hoping for Katie/Tiara will be disappointed as she has a boyfriend. Bah.)

After all that, we had a short break, and then Bob (one of the crew leaders) called up people by country and we were to intro ourselves and explain where we're from. I got a bit flustered, especially since I was the only one openly declaring my association to two countries. (There were many more that were representing more than one country, but mine was made obvious just because I happen to be the only rep for both places.)

We then divided ourselves into groups by region, and us Asians (minus Japan which had its own group) talked with Atsushi (a.k.a. Vick lookalike) and Bob about our experiences with WorldSmart so far. I was the only one who had been to the US before; most of the group were worried about the idea of people in the US having guns. It was quite an interesting discussion, even though I had the feeling a few times that I was unwittingly dominating it...

We had an activity whereby we were given a puzzle piece and we were to write our goals and attributes at the back. After that, we all had to work together to piece the puzzle. After a while - tada! The map of the world! A squished map of the world, but hey, not bad.

Lunch was a buffet of all sorts of things - chicken, pasta, salad, black beans. The chicken was quite nice. Yum.

We did some other teambuilding activities afterwards - going in circles answering questions and talking with each other, a lot of games that involve squeezing hands (GO TEAM A!), and a form of bingo where you had to find people who fitted certain attributes.

We also were to write a letter to ourselves, which would be given to us later in the program. Mine sounded rather dramatic and depressing. Talked to Cris for a while, about how life is so confusing and things don't make sense and how our thoughts just fly...we really do have a lot in common. I think we bonded a bit; we're probably going to be close during the program.

We had some time left over, so most of us just hung out outside, playing soccer or chatting. Shinpei had brought a viola and was tuning it - he's really good! Mindblowing! Danni, Ari, and I were bouncing ideas of what to do for Community Celebrations. I suggested an Up With People dikir barat - incorporating the UWP lyrics and some other cultural things into a dikir barat performance. They quite liked the idea; let's see how that goes.

Speaking of which: I need help looking for dikir barat videos. I've been looking for short clips online to show people what dikir barat is about, and I can't find any. Help! If you know any good ones, drop me a line.

Me, Cris, Che Ri, Rie, Huning, and Natsuko taught each other Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Malay, Bangla, and Spanish. (They weren't as interested in the Malay and Bangla.) The Japanese have this term which basically means "since this is the first time we have met, I hope we can get along" - all that in about 4 words. Crazy. The rest of the crew and I were also talking about traditional dances and love lives and where we come from...loads of good sharing of thoughts and history.

Host Dad picked me up and brought Andrew along - we were going to pick up Valarie, my host mum, from the airport. We had Dominos pizza for dinner...their mushroom pizzas are quite nice. It took a while before Host Mum came by, but we got along really well. There was a bit of tension related to the ownership of one of the dogs (long story) and Host Mum wasn't feeling too good, but she was vary happy to see me and was especially glad with the journal I gave them as a gift. She was especially enamoured by the wooden pencil, hee.

Yay good impressions!

Tomorrow there's more things to be done. Already I'm feeling like I want to work with these people after this semester. It's too much fun!

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