Described as a social empowerment initiative – anchored by three core values of discovery, diligence, and determination – for youth in Singapore, we organised the fourth edition of “I Am Talented” over the past two Saturdays (the second with the Central Singapore Community Development Council). As always working with the team of volunteers and staff, anchored by David and his leadership, was a pleasure, and there were five (new) perspectives which stood out for me this year:
From the nine workshops we had last year, there were 15 – from stop-motion photograph to passenger relations management to song-writing – this year. On the first Saturday I spent some time in the robotics workshop, where students designed and programmed a mini-catapult, and it was a joy noticing students from last year joining us again, and a privilege seeing the trainers conduct the workshop with passion and professionalism (and over lunch we had a great conversation about Singapore’s education system too) (Photo Credit: AIS Cube).
Even though he was down with acute bronchitis the past week, lawyer Josephus Tan not only joined us on the first Saturday, but delivered an inspirational sharing. Our students can be rowdy and may take some time before settling down, so he took the first half of his talk to build rapport, and once he got their attention his story touched many of us. He was candid, he was honest, and his sincerity – I think – meant that he was perhaps the best speaker we have had the privilege of hosting at “I Am Talented” (Photo Credit: Laurence Putra Franslay).
Trainers are key to “I Am Talented”, and their contributions – time, effort, and patience – for the over 200 students were clear during the finale showcase. Despite having just nine hours the dance students put up an entertaining performance. The fashion design students showcased and shared the garments they had prepared. And the broadcast journalism students compiled a video of their interviews and reports from the various venues. Even the technical glitches and the momentary lapses did not distract audience from the great work (Photo Credit: Laurence Putra Franslay).
Another thing I got to do was to mentor Glennis and Ryan – both participants of “I Am Talented” last year – to emcee or host some of the sessions. It took some time for them to get used to the scripts, to rehearse, and there were the inevitable nerves, yet they were committed to do their best. The reception and applause they got were proof of their achievement (Photo Credit: Laurence Putra Franslay).
And finally, “I Am Talented” would have been impossible with just the six of us. Behind the scenes, on a day-to-day basis, staff and volunteers from the Central Singapore Community Development Council – especially Qamar and Yan Li, who saw to the administrative and logistics arrangements, did the pre-event preparations and checks, and supported us in our late-evening meetings or in any way possible – were gems. They saw to the needs of the students, came early with us to set up the venues, and were bedrocks of our success (Photo Credit: Laurence Putra Franslay).