Thursday, June 08, 2006

Day 17 - Bi-cultural Celebration Show

I went to school at 8.3o am this morning, thinking the Bi-cultural joint celebration was at 9 o'clock. It was scheduled at 1.30pm, so I went back to the hotel to wash Jaymes' uniform.

When I returned to the school at 12.30pm, I was mad to see Jaymes eating an ice-cream. He had been having a bad chesty cough since the first week he arrived, & I had warned him to keep off crispies, cold drinks & food. He saw me from afar & threw away his ice-cream. I gave him a good scolding in front of his classmates.

This has been happening among the kids. They ate lots of crispy snacks, drink cold beverages, refuse to eat vegetables - then they have constipation, developed sorethroats & coughs. They asked for Strepsils, cough syrup, prunes..... but they never stop eating their snacks nor cold food.

The kids went up to the multi-purpose hall to rehearse their songs for the show.

There would be reporters & camera crew from the local newspapers & TV station at the performance. The kids were told to behave & give their best.

The celebration opened with Principal Chen Baohua giving a welcome speech. The MCs for the show was our very own Alvin Lim & Chinese student, Fu Ying.

Our students, in their BDSS uniform, sang 'Jia' (Home) a song by Singaporean singer Chen Jieying. The lyrics touched the hearts of the Chinese teachers, who promptly asked for the song.
The Chinese students were dressed in their costumes & gaily made-up. They were well-prepared compared to our hastily put together performances.

Some of the dances by the Chinese were of professional standard. One girl, Tong Ling, performed an awesome Korean dance. Every movement was so graceful & beautiful. Another girl, Du Yifan, performed a Dragonfly dance. She was so flexible. After seeing these two girls perform, I suddenly wanted to have a daughter, and let her learn dancing & play musical instruments. The Chinese parents should be very proud of their talented kids.

The Chinese put up a very good show. From the dances to the musical instrument performances. They were very absorbed in it, they clearly enjoyed performing for their guests. You see the brightest & the most sincere smiles on the faces of these children.

A dance performance by our Singapore girls Karen, Isabelle & Jia Pei added a sparkle to my eyes. They performed a dance to the tune of Supermodel. They are the uncovered gems. They received a flood of screams & wolf whistles. ha ha....I was truly entertained.

Alvin Lim had many girls screaming their hearts out for him when he performed. The Singapore students gave him a standing ovation, more in jest than credit for his performance. Alvin was very shy & he had stage fright, so he was like a wooden puppet. If he had been less restrain, he would have the whole house down.

The reporters requested an impromptu performance of the Manzhu dance the girls had learnt. The Singapore teachers were taken aback by this request. But we were not disappointed, it was well done & the Singapore teachers heaved a sigh of relief.

Towards the end of our program, both National Anthems were sang. Then came the school song of Fushun Fu Zhong. Our kids had learnt the song last week, so they were able to sing together with their Chinese counterparts. It was one touching moment. A coming together of the children of two countries, building ever-lasting friendships.

Our children received many gifts from their Chinese friends. One even received a special edition set of Chinese Literary books worth more than 800 rmb (S$160). Jaymes received a beautifully carved knife from Tong Ling, the girl who performed the Korean dance. It looked expensive too. I told Jaymes to return it but he said Tong Ling would find him rude if he were to return the gift. I'm also worried it would not pass the checks of Singapore Custom.

The homestay guardians of the kids came to pick them up at 5.30pm. After the kids had left, Vice principal Xuan again asked us out to dinner. This time it was to a Korean BBQ restaurant. I had noticed there are numerous steamboat & bbq restaurants in Fushun. You see them on every street & corner.

The one we went to was Handeguo Korean BBQ restaurant. It looks pretty expensive. VP Xuan ordered a 'whole-cow' set. It consists of the various parts of a cow. We had to mix our own special dip for the meats. It was a combination of sesame sauce, minced garlic, scallions, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce .......

I was having a slight soreness in my throat, plus I had been having too much meats for the past few days, I didn't dare to eat much. The whole table was covered with plates of food. Not enough space to place them? Stack them on top of others. It was the Chinese way of feeding their guests. They have to make sure you have too much to eat. Personally I felt heartached because to me that means waste. The hosts ensured that they would pack the leftovers back home if we couldn't finish it. Before, it would be embarassing to the host to bring back leftover food, but now some people have come to realised the wastage they have created. Also since they are among friends, they dared to bring it home.

I would have to treat them the same way when they come to Singapore. Our dainty portions & few dishes would be an insult to them. And liquor & beer, it is a necessity.

I remembered a Chinese student once remarked that when his father & uncle were invited to dinner in Singapore, they had to eat bread when they went back to the hotel. The Singapore friends had invited them to an expensive restaurant in a 5-star hotel. There were braised abalone & sharksfin soup & the bill came up to almost S$1000. But the Chinese businessmen still felt hungry. Different country, different custom.

At 7.30pm, the Chinese teachers called the Chinese guardians to check on the kids. They were fine. We ended dinner at 9.30pm & VP Xuan made a detour, he wanted to bring Mrs Er & Mr Tan to watch the folk dance, but the dancers have dispersed. So we went back to the hotel.

.............cold Korean noodles..............

At 10.36pm, as I was watching TV, I heard a loud 'boom' & the room shook for a few seconds. The windows were rattling hard. Having experienced a horrifying tremor, I jumped out of bed & rushed out of the door. No one was outside the corridor. I went back into my room & looked out the window. There was not a soul outside. I went back to bed. I wanted to call Mr Yao but gave up the idea. They could be asleep.

What had just happened? Was it my imagination? hmmmmm.......

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