Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I Believe That Children Are Our Future!

Way before I was a radio DJ (for want of a better word)... yes, even way, way before I was Deputy Editor of a magazine... I was a teacher in a secondary school.

For 3 years, I taught English & Geography to Upper Secondary School kids. I was also a Prefects Mistress, teacher i/c of Boys Brigade, and a Form teacher to 3 batches of students before I left to further my studies.

And then, I went back to school again after completing my Masters degree in Psychology. I became a school counsellor at my alma mater. Back among teens - where I feel most at home.

So in many ways, today's conversations struck a chord with me. The Necessary Stage (TNS) is putting up a play called Talentime, which targets teenagers, aged 13-16. Director Alvin Tan (whose also Artistic Director of TNS) tells us that they've opted to use Forum Theatre to engage these teens.

What's Forum Theatre?
Forum theatre was developed in the early 1970's by Brazilian director Augusto Boal. Boal believed that theatre could serve as a forum for teaching people the strategies they needed to change their world.

Cast members Karen Tan and Andrew Lua explain to us that after acting out a 10-minute skit - featuring a teenage girl who makes all the wrong choices - they then replay the skit, inviting the teen audience to come forward & role-play what they think she should've done.

In so doing, they process the issues themselves, and seek to find better solutions to problems. Therapy through theatre? *ponders* Maybe, maybe. I wish I had this creative tool to engage my students back when I was a teacher & school counsellor. It sure beats imparting a boring Moral Education lesson!

Tasked to engage & transform teens through the power of Forum Theatre. TNS' Director Alvin Tan, with Andrew Lua and Karen Tan.

I must admit that throughout the interview, I kept thinking "Where have I seen Andrew before?" He looked so darn familiar... But somehow, I just couldn't place him.

Until after the interview, when we were chatting briefly outside the studio, it suddenly hit me. OMG, he's the Starhub man! *chuckles*

Remember that TV commercial where a bewildered wife faints upon seeing three of her husband dash out to do a silly celebratory dance in front of the TV, when a goal is scored?

Well, that's him! He's the Starhub man! After my mini epiphany, I just had to take a photo with Andrew. Hey, I'm a fan girl! *grin*

Anyway, back to youth. Today, we also chatted with 3 undergrads from the Singapore Management University about their charity involvement.

Irene Ong, Justin Chan and Jerome Tang [pictured] are each heading a different Community Service project at SMU. And it was heartwarming for me to hear them share with such passion and conviction.

What I love about SMU is that they do not only look into the academic development of each student, but also their overall development - right down to instilling compassion and encouraging contribution. That's true education for you.

Also joining them was Theodore Teo, Assistant Director of the Office of Career Services at SMU [pictured, in orange]. Outside of work, he's also Vice-Chair of an organisation that shares best practices for international volunteerism. So this is a man who walks his talk!

Theodore really impressed Stan & me because he actually lugged a 12kg foldable bicycle into the studio. After our chat, he was planning to cycle to an appointment in town. He tells us that he used to ride a motorbike, but because it didn't do much to save the environment, he's resorted to cycling everywhere. Now that's another conversation for another time!

Oh, what inspirational & spirit-lifting conversations for a mid-week morning!

No comments: