International Day (2017-2018)
ASEAN (One vision one identity, one country) is a group of ten nations united to create peace love and harmony within its region. It is the genesis of International Day for these countries celebrating their similarities and differences.
Once upon a time, not so long ago, countries such as China, India, Japan, North and or South Korea could not be mentioned without the dread and fear of war and bloodshed. While steeped in an antiquated backdrop and lifestyle of voodoo and witchcraft Africa was deemed primitive. A people so marginalized, they were adjudged as backwards. Looting, pillaging, plundering wreaked havoc without and within. Fast forward. Today, ‘times are a changing’! That great dispenser of mistrust, tension and disharmony seems to have dissipated into a growing atmosphere of unity and synergy.
In keeping with this and in acknowledging her status in the region, CPI School’s version of International Day, Friday, September 22, 2017 is sandwich between the UN general Assembly, International Day of Peace, 21st September, observed around the world as a day “devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples” and 26th September, the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.
Faces of different shape and appearance beamed with fresh, friendly excitement and cheer greeted the morning. Frenzied excitement busied everyone everywhere; even those up to nothing at all! Then it happened! A familiar sound. That sound for which excitement yearns! Yet, a sound that lethargy loathe. Like the five foolish virgins, still unprepared! But, it was time! Everyone repaired to the auditorium.
Surely, school days are not all made of this fanfare! So when it comes! Let it be! A bedazzling array of cultural dress, custom, posters, ascended the hallways and stairways. You should see them!
Big one! Little ones! Fat ones! Thin ones! Short ones! Tall ones! Even small, half-pint, baby-sized ones! The oversized, the undersized, the downsized, not a few! Africanized, Americanized, Japanized, emphasized shades and hew. The urbanized, the westernized, the naturalized, synchronized all in one! But none radicalized, traumatized, mesmerized from the uncivilized clan!
Just when and where they found time to secure these fine assortments of regalia! Angels know how!
Bathrobes, nightgowns, dress gowns true; T shirt, no shirt, tattoos too!
Grass skirt, not Hula skirt but garland yah! Hmm, small pity; not even one little coconut bra!
Well clad, half-clad dancing glad. Yes! And one tall guy was flinging the hip wildly!
Space was limited! Movement was crammed! Enthusiasm contagious! A spirit of true warmth and friendliness occupied the scene and was evident on most all the faces. The worn and tired; the joyful and happy; visitors and well-wishers; coordinators and teachers, ensuring that all things work together for good to them that are gathered in fun and learning on CPIS International Day.
A call to order and the formalities commenced. All joined in the singing as the National Anthem of Thailand was played. The King’s Anthem then echoed and was sung also. This was followed immediately by the singing of the CPIS School song. The Academic Dean, Dr. Libato, committed the proceedings of the day in prayer.
Rarely seen before, gathered on the campus of CPIS were: Americans, Africans, Koreans, Indians, Thais, Chinese and Japanese; but not a weapon of ‘mass destruction’ in sight. A spectacle of models strutted their stuff to the invisible world of onlookers everywhere, not to mention teachers, parents and student in abstention.
The flag parade, fanfare and introduction of couples, modeling as representatives from each of the seven countries, evoked cheers of chants and laughter as cameras flashed and clicked. Feature acts from the various counties were performed by the cast of Kindergartens through to the high school.
Dopamine rushed oxytocin to release endorphin thus stimulating serotonin. Such was the renewed joy and verve excited by the heartwarming sound exuded by the combined effort of the Kindergartens and grades 1 & 2. O, the spontaneity of innocence! Toddlers garbed in dainty little outfits, coupled with their refreshing sounds and actions exuded ‘a breath of fresh air’. At such intervals, the school band delivered interludes of music.
Grade 3 was up next. They, too, provided some moments of renewed pleasure and elation from their presentation. Grade 4, grade 5, grade 6, grade 7, grade 8, grade 9. Grade 10, grade 11 and grade 12, each one contributing unique moments of highlights from Asian cultures of yesteryear. An African tribal dance, a delightful little display of Japanese martial arts, Chinese traditional dance, Thai dance, un-Thai dance –wild dance- and Hawaiian dancing females, among others, all supplied fits of titillating thrills of amusement to the audio-visual domains.
At the appropriaate time, the models were called, quizzed and questioned as a means of identifying a winner. Creativity, content and team work were the hallmark of the Judges throughout.
Performances by the School band and two solo accompaniments cushioned the suspense built up in awaiting the announcement of the eventual winners, Mr. & Miss USA. Alas! “All good things must come to an end”. And so it was! “All is well that ends well”. Dr. Libato made a closing prayer.
It was now a free-for-all everywhere! Photo shoot and to the booth!
Food, food, food! Food galore and much more! Food in bit-size quantity representing the various culture and country. It was a day to revel in fun and happiness. Yes, the idea of school was lost on all. Based on the Judges observations, it was difficult to select an outright winner. Everyone, however, gained consolation prizes of some sort or type. Karaoke, awards, games winners of groups and other contest abounded through the afternoon. Yet, slowly and steadily one-by-one, two-by-two, lovingly and contentedly, the crowds drifted away into the evening.
Small wonder! If mere humans can engender such a grand festive spirit of, food and fun and frolic; common sense dictates that it is possible to envision the fostering of a world, yet future, where indeed peace and harmony, brotherhood and love rule and reign in the blissful absence of dissentions and divisions.
Although in its embryonic years, International Day CPIS live up to the highest ideals of its tradition. Emblematic of learning in a perpetual atmosphere of fun, food and friendship.