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Published: 04 Nov 2011 10:44AM (Singapore)
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Jamming at SG Jamboree
Amidst fun and laughter, students learnt important lessons from the Community Engagement Programme at the SG United Jamboree 2011.
By Abigail Chua Si Yi, Chen Shuyi
Together with the students, Associate Professor Mr Ho Peng Kee joined in the drumming session during the SG United Jamboree 2011. PHOTO: Chen Shuyi

On 19th October, approximately 150 students came onboard the Community Engagement Programme (CEP) during the annual SG United Jamboree at the Orchid Country Club.

In a departure from the inaugural SG United Jamboree held in Jan 2010, this year, students could choose to hone their skills at drumming, drama, song-writing, photography and cartoon drawing workshops.

But what the students took away from these workshops were more than just the artistic skills alone.

The SG United Jamboree is a flagship CEP youth programme. Through the activities, the students were exposed to the tenets of CEP, such as crisis preparedness and communal harmony.

Creativity was abundant as students put their artistic skills into use while bearing the theme of CEP in mind. PHOTO: Chen Shuyi

For example, the students were required to write lyrics to the tune of Katy Perry’s popular hit ‘Firework’ to express their thoughts and feelings of being a Singapore youth.

“I feel that song-writing is a way where we can express our feelings towards something. We can also further utilise song-writing to promote something,” said Shak Li Yang, a secondary three National Police Cadet Corp (NPCC) cadet from Presbyterian High School.

“Because music is a universal language and is a platform for all personalities and emotions, students can better understand music writing and express themselves through the workshop,” said Ms Jill-Marie Thomas, trainer of the song-writing workshop.

Despite her students’ shyness, Ms Thomas finds that some of them actually have hidden talents for lyrical writing.

“If I had more time, I wish to put their lyrics together to make a full song and send it to the students,” added the professional songwriter.

Drama workshop trainer Mr. Benjamin Lee shares the same sentiments as Ms Thomas: “More of these engagements outside the regimented classroom environment allow them free form expressions, such as drumming and acting.

As long as the students are happy in doing these kinds of activities, I think that is a success in itself.”

This year, Chairman of Home Team Volunteers Network Steering Committee, Associate Professor Mr Ho Peng Kee also took the opportunity to visit the SG United Jamboree.

Touring the workshops, Assoc Prof Ho joined in the fun and observed the students in action.

He feels that conveying CEP messages among youth in Singapore is just like planting a seedling; lessons gained from the workshops will take root in the heart and spark off interest and greater awareness in future.

“Hopefully after a session like this, each of them can go back and be our ambassadors and tell five or ten friends each,” said Assoc Prof Ho.

“We are throwing a stone into a pond. When we throw, there is a ripple. But hopefully the ripple will continue to expand outwards.”

One of the key goals of the SG United Jamboree is to allow participants to form friendships and bonds.

“As we go through life, we should build networks of friendship and grow them,” said Assoc Prof Ho.

“These are the networks that hold us together in a crisis.

Participants bonding as they explored Orchid Country Club in search of photo opportunities to express the theme of ‘Unity’. PHOTO: Chen Shuyi

Li Yang added: “We made a lot of new friends through group work as we were grouped together with people from different schools.”

Indicating his interest for coming back for more of such events, he said: “Because I like to socialise, it has been a fruitful day where I’ve learnt many things. I would want to come back again.”
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