Sunday, March 21, 2010

Day 8 : Culture sharing at You Zha

Being Sunday, we were in happy spirits because we had finished the murals and moving onto the walls of the canteen. He Zhu Ren had requested for some paintings of vegetables and fruits on the walls of the canteen to encourage the children to eat healthily.

In the morning, we were split into 3 teams - Parapet wall, Canteen wall and Culture night preparation.
The Parapet wall team would do their final touch up by smoothing the multiple creases in the walls and turning the grey walls into white.
The Canteen wall team would attempt to finish all the mural painting in 1 day, headed by our Art directors - Ah Gong and Wen Qing.
The Cultural Night Prep team would be preparing for the packaging of the Kachang Puteh, the classrooms, and the movements of the students from each station to the next.

The Parapet wall team finished fast, and it was a pretty nice and clean job!

The Canteen was our main concern because of the time constraint. Nevertheless, everyone chipped in a little - say Team work!

Our end product, which we finished at around 5pm - stopped for breaks and lunch in-between.

Khoang was letting the children try their hands on painting too.

Despite being a Sunday, the children had to reach the school by 4pm. The children, who lived in the mountains, would have to travel real far from their homes to the school. The exact distance was unknown to the children, but around a 2 hour bus ride.
We (rather, I), was shocked at this piece of information, which the children had dished out so nonchalantly. We might never be able to empathise with them but it had certainly made us more thankful for ours.

The Cultural Night Preparation team was busy making paper cones and packing KaChang Putehs.
...and cleaning up the classroom, rearranging the tables and chairs, drawing hopscotch, and labelling of signs, etc.
The Cultural Night will be further elaborated below.

I believed some time in the afternoon, the Logistics team was planning for the Sports Night for tomorrow as well.

After lunch, we were greeted by more children dressed in their traditional Qiang tribe costumes. They looked so pretty that we couldn't help but requested for more photo-taking, whilst we marvelled at the exquisiteness of the stitch work. Some of the girls revealed that they had been learning embroidery from their mothers.

Our Cultural Night started at 6pm, ended at 7.15pm. The Cultural Night, planned by Culture & Welfare, was intended to share our truly-singaporean culture with the children by the most common bond - games! We had bought chaptek, zero-point, five stones, pick up sticks and kachang puteh to share with the children.

The games were organised into 3 rooms:
Room 1 : Hopscotch, Zero-point
Room 2 : Five stones, Pick up sticks
Room 3 : Traditional Costume sharing session and Chaptek and Kachang Puteh

The children, after their dinner, were split into 3 teams by the teachers. They were then given a slip of paper for the games facilitators to sign so upon completing all games, they were able to exchange the slip of paper for their kachang puteh.

Room 1:

Room 2 :

Room 3 :

Although there was a little confusion, the cultural exchange went well. Much to our surprise, the children already knew the games, if not the variations to the games. For etc, for Five Stones - the method is slightly different but still 5 beanbags; for Zero Point - they had already improvised into their Tiao Hu Die (basically usage of a stretchable/slightly elastic string and they had to complete a routine of steps & jumps); for pick-up sticks, they used shorter bamboo slips; for chaptek, they have the exact same toy. We can see the joy and excitement in the children faces and they went about proclaiming "Wo Hui Le! Wo Hui Le!"

Perhaps, there might be a significant difference in culture, yet stripping to the bare essentials, there might still be similarities.

Exhausted by the children's plentiful energy which we seemed to be never to keep up, we trotted back to the motel in Total Darkness - apart from the headlights from the occasional passing-by cars, we are gradually giving up our torch lights.

Miss Paparazzi, who couldn't understand why the quality of the pictures differ so much even after brightening, deepening and sharpening.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Day 7 : Traipsing through Ping Le Ancient Town

We were awaiting in excitement as we looked forward to our Rest & Relax (R&R) trip.

To our surprise, a few teachers from You Zha Primary School joined us as our guides as well!

We first proceeded to Bai Mo Jiang Xue Xiao (白沫江), which would be our meeting point if anyone were to get lost.

Us - doing jump shots and all hyped up.
The slogan was found in the school, which we thought it was very thought-provoking. (Translation : the last drop of water on the earth may be Men's last tear)
This is the Map of Ping Le Ancient Town, and we had planned to comb the entire town. And looked forward to lots of shopping that would perhaps, boost the economy of the town by 0.0000000001%.
And so we started walking, blown away by the quaintness of this little ancient town - with its breathtaking scenery, aged buildings, cobblestoned footpath, profound history, primitive folks crafts and with the commercialization as a tourist spot-concentration economics.
Ping Le is well-known for its bamboo crafts and food.

To our absolute delight, it was not cold! At least, not as cold as our days in You Zha (yes, it is relative).

Not a sight you can spot in everyday singapore.

Double checking the map that we were indeed, not lost.

We took another group picture on the bridge - the first bridge in the town, it was 100years and older. The bridge is obviously more sturdy than it looked, although we were immensely worried that it might collapse after we gathered on it.
That was very nice quail eggs, with salt, paper and spring onions!

Our Yang Lao Shi with the very pretty teachers.

By the river - we could see very clear waters and waterwheels. Unfortunately, as informed by the shop keepers, the water level was too low.
Exhausted. We proceeded for lunch - with very delicious corn buns, Zha Jiang Mian and Zhe shou (dumplings).

We also pay our tribute to the town - when in Rome, do as Romans do!
Step 1: Write our wishes on a strip of red cloth, tie it personally to the branches of the wishing tree. Pray under it.

Step 2: Sound the bell of destiny and fortune!Step 3 : Lay your hands on some Kong Ming Lanterns

Not for the faint-hearted, we ate many weird things. Try to identify!

To end this trip, we took some group pictures. Opps, I may have over-sharpened these pictures.

Till the next update,
Miss Paparazzi, who has finally acquired a new lappy after crashing 2.