What a proud, uplifting and memorable morning I spent (together with my husband) at SMJK Poi Lam school in Ipoh, Malaysia on Monday, October 3rd. A full cultural welcome was given to us at a special assembly held at 7:30am as part of a presentation for certificates for the DEECD Innovations Showcase 2011, where my two Chinese friends had videoconferenced in two special cultural performances as part of my presentation there. See Malaysian Students in Real Time Performance for Innovations Showcase As we arrived at the school we were ushered into the Principal’s office. The principal, Mr Lau Swee Mun, is one of excellence ranking in Malaysia. There we had a very informative chat discussing many educational issues some relating to technology. Next we were ushered to the assembly area to the beat of the kompang (Malay drums), through a student guard of honour, including the Chinese dragons, joker and flag bearers. The students were dressed in National Costume representing the three cultures of Malaysia – the Chinese, the Malay and the Indian. To our delight one student was dressed as an Australian! This was a very emotional moment for me, especially as I am sure that events like this are normally set aside for people or events of high importance. Once seated on the stage and facing the student assembly, the national anthem of Malaysia and the Perak anthem were sung. The treats continued with a traditional Chinese dragon dance welcome, complete with a joker.
the Chinese dragon with Joker
This was followed by:-
- a Wushu demonstration by 4 expert students
- a very creative, innovative choral speaking performance “Jom! Let’s Visit Perak!”
- Choral reading and Acapella “One moment in time with the Lion King”
Choral speaking "Jom! Let's Visit Perak1"
We were amazed by the confidence and professionalism of the two MC/s who happened to also be the two students who created book trailers as part of our Globalstorytelling project for the Melbourne Writers Festival. But mostly, I loved seeing the creativity of my friend Veronica Woo and also of Yew Yan Koon and their fantastic work using performing arts with the students.
The assembly was entitled ” Little Big Classrooms 2011 Innovations Showcase” and it was held to honour the students who took part in the Videoconference linkup as part of the Victorian Education Innovations and Next Practise Showcase in May 2011. These students would be issued with their certificates which had been signed by our Victorian Minister for Education.
After a speech by Veronica, myself and the Principal, I was able to give each
student their signed certificate. (Veronica had withheld the issuance of the certificates until I came to Malaysia). Veronica had told me that:-
These students will in Malaysia, students will be awarded maximum bonus points of 20 marks for their involvement in any form of extra curricular activities at the international level.
In return, Innovation and Next Practise and a number of staff, including me received a certificate signed by the Perak Director of Education. This wonderful assembly concluded with the crossing of the two country’s flags – Malaysian and Australian.
A traditional meal of Malaysian Nasi Lemak
– Malaysia’s national dish was offered to invited guests, parents and a number of staff. It was great to be able to continue conversations with the Principal, to meet face to face members of the Malaysian Writers Festival committee, the reporter from the local newspaper, parents and a principal from another school. Special times were also spent with some of the performing students, getting to know them and learning of their ambitions. Shyness was overcome and we were able to work through our different accents and way of speaking.
Many cultures represented
What a wonderful, honourable, exciting, emotional treat and event to be actually part of. Thank you to my two special friends and colleagues – Veronica and Yew Yan Koon. Thank you for connecting, communicating and collaborating with us, taking on risks, sharing, pioneering and innovating what technology to experience what it can do for learning on a global level.
As Veronica said:
“The classroom is my world and the world is my classroom!”
Thank you for being part of our little big classroom!
I need to find the Indian word for thank you
Veronica, Evon and me