One of the great things I noticed during the whole Asean Youth Festival was the great organizational skills and the thought they have put into the whole festival. For instance, the Tourist Passes for use during the race that entitles us to use the excellent public transport systems, not one, but two discount cards that entitles the delegates to discounts at a variety of stores, booklets and maps highlighting the activities outside of the festival that happens nearby, even comes down to tie-ins with clubs, bars and restaurants that would waive entry fees for all the delegates. There’s a whole lot more I’ll cover in future posts, but even with just all these, it shows a well thought out, meticulously planned event, that I won’t put it past Singapore to pull off without a hitch.
Needless to say, the organizational aptitude of all the committee members and Liaison Officers, the forum organizers and everyone involved, there’s a sense that there’s no holes left unplugged, meaning they have planned for every contingency, imaginable or not. Even if there’s a problem that might prove too much of a bother, I felt that most of the decision making hadn’t the need to go all the way up the chain, as most of the decision making can be handled by even the L.O.’s, negating any complicated and long drawn out decision making process. Mind you, these L.O.’s are actually youths themselves, some even way younger than me. Coming from a culture where decisions are made from a cascade of approvals from the higher ups, to me this was quite a surprise.
And even if there’s a need to go higher up the chain for approval, the highest level organizers I believe are not even in their 30’s yet! Just shows how much trust and faith they have in their Youths.
There will be an upcoming post that shows how this culture of youth is a big integral part of Singapore culture, and the lengths at which the government supports them but still giving them autonomous rein, by far surprised me the most.
Whoever knows me in real life, I’m quite reserved when it comes to meeting new people. I need to feel them out to see if I can click with them… and if it clicks, I’d be at ease and it’s easier to interact with them and form friendships. Faced by delegates from 12 different countries, it’d be easy to bet that I’d have a hard time feeling out each and every one of the countries, let alone each and everyone of the delegates.
Just like smoking cigarettes, which immediately breaks down the barriers of normal societal interactions that us adults put up, and you can discuss everything from the weather all the way to religion in just one smoke break. Now, my chosen drug of choice is photography, and that in some ways allows you to interact with others that are ‘in the know’ and you have a conduit from which you can interact with others, whether they notice it and strike a pose, or whether whether you catch them being themselves, anything ranging from emotional outburst of joy, laughter, quiet contemplation or even at their worst state of sleep deprivation.
The number of DSLRs present at the events were quite remarkable, but not too surprising. Some of the delegates were like me as well, there for the photography competition; and there were others who brought their own cameras to capture the goings on at the forum, as would I, if I was not part of the competition. So it’s not a surprise that we immediately identify with each other, knowing full well that we all share the same passion, and of course checking each other’s gears, which is to be expected, really. A Singaporean, which was to become my group mate for the forum format, came up to me, and we instantly hit it off. Others, like the one in the accompanying photo, I only managed to get to know over the course of the event. At this movie screening, I still didn’t know he was Andri Tei, the first place winner for the photography competition. But over the course of the event, we’re almost like buddies, more like a mutual respect for each other, being in the same brotherhood of photography kin.
Over the course of this series, I’ll show the importance of any cameras, be it DSLR or Point-n-shoots, in creating a lasting bond throughout all the delegates.
After a bit of shopping directly after our touchdown, and after a bit of familiarization with Singapore’s decidedly awesome MRT system, we were packed into buses for a movie screening at a newly renovated school, named, aptly enough, OldSchool. It’s a great place where, if I recall correctly, artists, musicians, theathrical performers, photographers and the like can call their own, allowing them to use the facilities there to create their masterpieces. The area we were gathering was called the Sinema, where screenings of local movies and film festivals are regularly held. I’ve also heard they do some concerts there once in a while. Hip and trendy place actually.
The movie was titled
‘Journey to Kaabah’‘Road to Mecca‘, chronicling one man’s journey across land, from Malaysia, all the way to Mecca, to perform the Hajj. While not the best movie ever, I reserved all my opinions to myself, opting not to grab the open mic. I’ll be civil on my first night at AYF.
Anyway, this is our first chance to have most of the delegates in one area, so some delegates took their chances getting to know each other. As I had other programmes ongoing at that time, which was capturing all the happenings, emotions, moments and interactions for a special programme, I kinda laid low for a bit, just so I can snag some stolen moments. But then again, it didn’t stay like that for long…
(To be continued…)
To the new friends I made during my AYF, one week stay, I’d like to welcome you all to my website.
I’d like to thank you all for making my trip there a memorable one. From the delegates, our lovely Liaison Officer Dhini and Yi Na, to the event organizers, I’d like to express my heartfelt gratitude for the wonderful hospitality that you’ve shown to us. I wasn’t sure what to expect at first, and having not once ever joined a youth gathering such as AYF, I didn’t know what to expect. But the new people I’ve met from all over the world, the wonderful atmosphere, the great camaraderie, the friendship, I don’t think I will ever forget my week there.
I’ll follow up this post later. Still trying to straighten out all the business cards I have.