One Asia Cultural Ambassador

Disclaimer: Parts of this write-up is in reference to the information found at http://musicforone.org/
Click on the link for more info about the organization.

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One Asia Cultural Ambassador (OACA) is a program for Asian youths to promote friendship among the ASEAN and South Korea region through cultural exchanges, activities and global leadership programs for community development. OACA is organized by the Music for One Foundation. Music for One Foundation is a performing arts based organization dedicated to work with children and their communities worldwide to reach each child’s full potential through music and music education. Qualified applicants should be a professional or a student in one of the following areas of studies: music, dance, arts, photography, ceramics, sculpture, fashion design, industrial design, indigenous arts and so on. The purpose of OACA is to promote international cooperation among ASEAN and South Korea through exchange of the cultural arts and support community development in host countries establishing cultural identity in context of global arts education.

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Gan Kee Huong (standing, in white shirt from left)
Gan Kee Huong (standing, in white shirt from left) with OACA participants and organizers

Gan Kee Huong, a Year 3 vocal major participated in this event from 11th-17th of January 2015, which held a concert on the 15th. This particular event was held in Yangon, Myanmar. He applied online via the Music for One Foundation webpage to participate. I had an interview with him to ask about his trip to Myanmar and the activities he did while he was there.

Q: How did you feel when you were going for this trip?

I felt very excited when I was selected for this program because the program stated that this was volunteer work. We went there to provide music education for the children from poor families that could not afford any education for their children.

Q: What did you do during the trip? Could you give some insights about the whole trip?

On the first day, we went to the Sandarama Elementary. This elementary school was fairly new and only started about 3 years ago, hence they still lacked some facilities for the children. This school has 300 students and 20 teachers to provide education. All of the finances for this school comes from fundraising and donations efforts from the help of the Gitameit Music School and Legacy Music School.

During the morning session, we were separated into 2 groups. One group would be doing the music part while the other, the art part. For the music group, we taught the children 3 songs, which are Nabiya (Butterfly), 3 bears and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star while for the art group, the taught them how to make a crown.

Gan Kee Huong (seated, in blue from left)
Gan Kee Huong (seated, in blue from left)

During the volunteer work at Sandarama Elementary School, I felt so happy to have the chance to give them some music education. Because the financial burden, the parents’ of the children could not afford this type of education. All the children were so excited when we taught them the three songs. After lunch, we had a mini concert, which the children performed the 3 songs in front of their teachers. Not only that, they did some dance performances and comedy for us. And of course, OACA members also performed a song for them too.

Other than doing volunteering work, we also visited the Shwedagon Pagoda, which is one of the famous pagodas in the world. It is one of the main attraction of Yangon, Myanmar. Shwedagon Pagoda is 2600 years old and it is the oldest pagoda in the world but there are no documents about its construction and its age is still a matter of debate.

Other than sightseeing, we were very honored to have attended a choral masterclass conducted by Prof. Tommyanto Kandisaputra from Indonesia who is a well-known conductor in Indonesia. In his masterclass, I learned several vocal techniques and he has great knowledge in his field of music.

On the 14th, we visited the National Museum to explore Myanmarese culture. It was against museum rules to take any photos in the museum. In the museum, we saw the development of Myanmar and how the country has developed. There were also traditional instruments of Myanmar. Some of them triggered my interests, especially the Myanmar Harp.

Gan Kee Huong (left) with other OACA ambassadors
Gan Kee Huong (left) with some of the participants of OACA

On the next day, we had a public concert at Legacy Music School, Yangon. There were a variety of songs in the program, which included traditional music from Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia, pop music, arias, classical and jazz music. During the concert, I can see the love for music from everyone and felt proud to perform their traditional music. At the end of the concert, we performed a song from the Asian Youth Choir for One (AYCO) event, titled “A Thousand Winds”. This song is a very meaningful song to all the AYCO members that were involved in this OACA program. This is because most of the OACA members are also AYCO members and it brought back a lot of memories while we were in Korea.

On the 16th, we had a short discussion about Global Citizen Education. This discussion was about the future plans for this kind of program and what we can do to help them.

 

Q: What do you think was the outcome of this program?

This was a very meaningful program to me. This is because I had the chance to teach the children within my ability. It is very touching that I can help them in their education and they can learn something from us too. Although it was such a short period of time to be with them, but at least I am happy that I applied for this program. I do hope that next year and in the many years ahead, Music for One Foundation will organize more programs like this one, so that I can do more volunteer work like this for the children.

 This article was written by Mabel Soong, 2nd year student of the B. Music Classical program.

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