Friday, November 21, 2008 ;
School celebrates UN Day
The actual UN Day was the previous week but the school was hosting a international school volleyball meet, so it was celebrated on this day instead.
Just as well, because my mom flew in just in time to bring me the SIA uniform and the kids' Malay costumes to wear.
We had to wear costumes from our home country. After giving some thought to it, I find that it would not be meaningful for me to wear a qipao. All the local Chinese moms will wear qipaos. I am Sporean, how best to show the Sporean flavor?
I recalled the late President Ong Teng Cheong and the series of orchid-motif batik clothes line he introduced long long ago. I skyped my sis back in Spore a few weeks before UN Day to ask if such clothes were available. Negative reply.
Spore is made up of so many ethnic groups. If I wore an Indian sari to represent the Indians in Spore, then it would not be meaningful too, because the other moms in the school who are from India would stop me and ask, "hey why are you wearing our national costume? you're not Indian?"
So I settled on the SIA uniform. It is uniquely Spore. Now, the kids. They also sell the same batik-patterned shirts but they are all short-sleeved and the temperature at this time was about 10deg already, too cold for short-sleeves. They don't have thermals to wear inside too, all our thermals are in the boxes. So my mom bought them some Malay costumes.
We have to stress that we are not representing the Muslim faith, but the Malays of Spore. The natives of Spore are the Malays, and so, it is meaningful to wear the Malay costume. The SIA uniform is also a variation of the Malay kebaya, am I right?
This is ds2's class getting ready for the welcome song (start of the day).
A lot of the European boys did not have their national costume available here, so most of them wore sports jerseys with the large name of their country printed in front, like "Italia" for M, my neighbor's son, and "Denmark" and so on.
But the most prettily dressed were the Koreans and Japanese. First, their costumes are easily obtained here in Tianjin because there are many Korean and Japanese stores. Next, their national costume, in nature, is very elegant and bright and elaborate.
Especially the Japanese kimono. Is there another country's national costume that takes so much effort to put it on right? The material of the costumes are so luxurious too. Lovely.
After a parade (all students from Nursery up to Grade 12) in the field (and lots of photo taking, which I missed, cos I was busy preparing the satay), the kids had some class activities then gathered in the school gym for the UN Day concert.
The concert and lunch were organised by the PFO (Parent Faculty Org).
This item is presented by the Chinese staff in the school. All the local Chinese. They sang the Olympics song "Welcome to China, Welcome to Beijing" and the lyrics are something to the effect that every nationality must come together to be friends.
This is the high school choir. A lot of Korean girls. I was drooling at their beautiful costumes. Wonder if I can get my hands on a cheap but pretty one. :-) I was observing all the details of their dresses that I forgot what songs they sang. I think Auld Lang Syne was one of them. Anyway, the theme has to revolve around world peace and multiculturalism.
Then the PFO members themselves organised parent and student groups who volunteered to present items to create more awareness of each culture they represent.
This moms and kids group from India sang a very catchy Bollywood song. The moms even danced to it. Very hip moms.
Japanese Taiko Drum performance.
A mixed group of elementary and high school students, I think. They sang songs of different languages. Both ds had come home singing this "hello" song since last month too.
It goes something like "hello, bonjour, buenos dias, ni hao," then some incomprehensible singing from the 2 boys. I think they remember the tune more than the words of different languages, so they make up the rest of the song.
The teachers also sent home a note asking us moms how to say "goodbye friends" in our home language, so that they can get the kids to say farewell to each other at the end of each schoolday, using different languages.
I had the strong urge to write in the space "Goodbye, friends". That's my home language. Then I switched back to non-prankster mode, and wrote "朋友们， 再见！". Although I half wanted to write in 4 languages, in Malay and Tamil too.
My mom was seated between me and this lady, who was very friendly and chatty. Turns out she's from the PFO. haha. She's American I think, but her ancestors were from Tibet, she said, so she's wearing the costume of one of the tribes from Tibet. It was so attractive that I asked her if I could take a picture of her. My mom's in a kebaya she borrowed from a Peranakan lady in church.
After the concert, we went to the Nursery to serve out the portion of the food we prepared for Nursery. The PFO circular had said to prepare food from your home country, provide recipe and divide into 2 portions, one for elementary school lunch, one for high school, and if you have kids in Nursery, then another 3rd portion for Nursery.
So Sat night, me and mom were toiling in the kitchen marinating all the meat.
Sun early morning, I woke up to grill the meat in the oven and to fry the peanut sauce.
Then mom helped me to skewer the meat chunks with toothpicks (we did mini-satay sticks, so have to reverse the order since I think toothpicks may not do well in the oven) while I pack the cucumber cubes and sauce.
A lot of work, not sure if it's worth it, after I saw what other moms brought. Some just bought cakes.
Anyway, my mom helped serve fruits in the Nursery to all the other kids.
I saw some girls in the Nursery play with the baby dolls and they set the 2 dolls up at the table to have tea together. It was so cute, I had to take a pic.
This is one of ds2's teachers. She's from Germany, so she wore a tee with a German word.
This girl was wearing a Chinese costume and her mom was wearing a qipao too, although her mom is obviously Caucasian. Maybe her dad is Chinese. Both mom and daughter are so beautiful.
This is ds1's friend, Pete, who was at N's BTS party (blogged previously). He had such a stylish trench coat on. But underneath it, you can see the traditional Korean boy costume. He's so adorable.
ds1 was running around the playground when me and mom arrived to say hi to him. He was such a darling grandson. He at once shouted to his friends, "Hey that's my grandma, she's here to visit me!"
So I took a pic of my mom with ds1 and his friends. The one in black traditional Japanese boy costume is R, and the one behind is M, who is wearing the Italia jersey. His dad is Italian, his mom half Japanese, half German.
I took this pic because I found it so amusing that kids are just kids. Even decked out in their glorious shiny costumes, they still sit and roll in the sand. I don't know if their moms will be horrified, but I saw the girls in their elaborate dresses just plonking themselves down on the sand to play.
I think we'll just let kids be kids. What they're wearing never gets in the way of what they want to do.
Then my mom took a pic of me and ds1, but I was actually in the midst of taking off his jacket to show off his costume fully. Too late.
Later that day, ds2 and I were playing on the steps of the bleachers in the school gym, waiting to collect my empty containers after people finished the food.
Mom took a pic for me. Can't remember what game I was playing with ds2, that our bodies should be twisted in that manner.
That's T and her son Gab. Colombian attire. So cool and flashy. Her ruffles and her son's ones match! I like the flowers in her hair too.
The crowd in the gym during the high school lunch time. Everyone was queuing to try the cuisines from all over the world. Since it was organised by the PFO, they had already instructed us parents to eat last. Students and teachers eat first. Only after they are done with lunch and back to classes, then parents can eat. A lot of parents couldn't wait till 2pm to eat, they were too hungry, so a lot of them, like me, brought our own food, or ate at the school cafeteria. Some thick-skinned ones, or maybe they didn't read the PFO's instructions, went ahead to eat, even before the students.
In Spore, I wonder if they would have been told off, since parents kind of lord over the teachers and school heads so much. But the parents who ate first were told by the PFO heads to wait. Of course, they told them off nicely, so they were not too embarrassed.
Still a long long queue. If Dh were here, he would start giving suggestions on how the tables of food should have been placed so that the queues would move faster and not cause a bottleneck in one area...
Maybe because he is always full of ideas and is very vocal about them, that's why he couldn't take it any longer where he was previously, and quit to do bowmaking.
But I must say most times, his ideas do sound logical.
The food table. There was only one long line of the food table, so students had only one choice, to start the queue from the head of the table. For 500+ students and teachers, I think that is really going to take long.
Sporean table. Sporean moms. My satay is one of the items there. There were samosas, gado gado, fried shrimp and other finger food. I didn't eat any, at all. Except for the gado gado, which a mom packed for me to bring home.
USA table. The mom in the cowboy hat is very friendly.
Korean table. The Korean moms are so united, they even brought Korean stuff to decorate the table.
And a European mom! Her hubby's Chinese. And she can speak fluent Mandarin.
ds2 at home, mimicking one of the Korean teen student's performance. He sang a very upbeat Korean pop song, dancing and doing actions on stage. Very lively item which captured ds2's attention. The repeated hand action at the eye caught on with ds2.
Then he began using his fist as a pretend microphone to announce the next item. Very funny. Especially his posture, like he was standing really straight to make announcements. VIP, is it?
Forgot to mention that, at the same time, Dh's boss and a violin specialist are in town too, and Dh invited them over to our house for dinner the same night of the 27th. It was quite a day, cos the moment I reached home, I was in the kitchen preparing dinner.
Fortunately they liked the dishes. I prepared Korean and Chinese food.
I know Americans love dessert, but I think I failed them that night. I had nothing! No cake, no cookies, no pie and no icecream. Man!
So Dh cut lots of fruits, and I set out a platter of assorted chocolates. I think ds1 took most of the chocolates though. Grrrrr.
Then we took a group pic cos his boss and the violin trainer were leaving the next day for Utah.
rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow