One of the things I love about my Fulbright experience is that every day is completely different from the day before; I often find myself thrust into the public eye in ways I couldn’t have ever imagined.
Yesterday was one of the hottest I have experienced since I’ve been in Singapore. It was a beautiful, clear day with no cloud cover; a day I frequently dream of 9 months out of the year in Seattle. But here, no cloud cover = really harsh sun. Equator = sizzle.
I headed over to the US Embassy to talk through a few things about my program. The folks in the Community Liaison Office are fantastic. And – I found out that one of them is from my home state and went to college in the town I grew up in. Not uncommon in Singapore, but really rare in the US. It was fun to talk with her.
In the evening I attended Victoria Junior College’s Musicfest. It was amazing! Three of each of the best student soloists, dance groups, bands, and vocal groups performed during the evening. I was so impressed! Not only are the students at VJC some of the kindest young people I have ever met, but they are academicaly gifted, socially conscious, and talented in the performing arts. (Sounds like I’m also describing the students at NWS!) I was also impressed with the student emcees who were funny and didn’t use notes. The production values were high; the evening went off without a hitch.
I was one of three judges for the event; we had to rank the performances in each category. The other two judges are local professional performers. It was fun.
At the intermission (which lasted 30 minutes), an entire meal was served to the audience. (Buffet style) Noodles, desserts, otah (spicy fish grilled in banana leaves), dim sum. I couldn’t believe it. I asked if they did this kind of thing during every performance. Yes, they said. Of course. You mean, this doesn’t happen in the US?
There’s something to learn here. The amount of energy expended in thinking about the community, the audience, the guests, is something I have rarely experienced in events I both have planned and attended in the US. As I move forward as a theatre educator and practitioner, I want to be more mindful about the audience, about the entire experience of attending a play. The folks st VJC have this down.
So I did my judging and marking and disagreeing with the other judges, thoroughly enjoying myself all the way.
A band of teachers performed last; they were great! The students loved it.
When the Performances were finished, the emcees introduced us and we had to go on stage. I was surprised (and delighted) to hear the students I have / am working with cheer for me as I came on stage. So sweet!
As they announced the results of the competition, we got to hand out trophies to the winning groups. That was fun! And also awkward. Shaking hands, trophy giving. Photographs. Never done that before. And then came the bouquet and the box of chocolates and the thanks.
I rarely get flowers, so even though the bouquet was huge, I carried that sucker across the island, through a crowded train and a bus, back to my apartment. The downside? I need to keep changing the water in the vase – need to be careful of mosquito breeding grounds…