IB Director General, Jeffrey Beard made his first trip to Indonesia recently, accompanied by the IB Regional Director for Asia-Pacific, Ian Chambers. SWA students chaperoned the guests on a tour of the campus, which included class visits where there was time to chat with students.
A special presentation “Embracing the Future, Embracing Asia” was an exciting and eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary dance and music, and featured a drum ensemble on djembe, bedug, Chinese drums, and even iPads. Very cool!
The Community and Sustainable Action Expo was a favorite for the visitors, who were very impressed by the mature student managed project model, the full Grade 6-12 student participation and impact that the projects are having.
The visit finished with a forum on the topic “IB Students Take the Lead” by MYP Student Reyhan in Grade 10 and DP student Nahyeon in Grade 12. Mr. Beard then presented his speech “5 Lessons in Life”, followed by the presentation of a pledge from Founder Indah Wijaya, towards the IB’s project “MYP the Next Chapter”.
The Forum engaged everyone in the audience and the speeches were all very inspiring. The visitors were very moved to receive gifts of student artwork directly from the artists, together with Teddy Babies. It was a great end to a very busy Term 1.
The Mid-Autumn Festival (zhōngqiū jié), also known as the Moon Festival or Chinese Lantern Festival or Mooncake Festival or Zhongqiu Festival, is a popular lunar harvest festival celebrated in many countries in Asia. This Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the eight-month in the Chinese Lunar calendar. This year it fell on 30 September, so we held our celebration at school on 28 September. 28 September also happens to be Confucius (551-479 BCE)’ birthday this year. He was a thinker, political figure, educator, and founder of the Ru School of Chinese thought.
This year the SWA Chinese Culture Center organized this event by collaborating with the whole school community. Our E/X Activities Director, Mr. Derek, and the MSHS Chinese teacher, Mr. Daniel Zhang, were our Stage Managers. Our Arts teacher, Ms. Julie, and the ES Chinese teacher, Ms. Wang Meijin, were our Artistic Managers. Our ES Music teacher, Mr. Ian, and the MSHS teacher, Mr. Karl, were our Music Managers. It was a memorable night for all of us!
Before this event, our Chinese Culture teacher, Huang Lili, spent one month to complete a large painting, “Chang Er Flying to the Moon”, with the help of the Chinese teachers and the students. The legend Chang Er Flying to the Moon is a beautiful fable of ancient China. Chang Er was the wife of the legendary hero, Hou Yi, a great archer who accomplished tremendous achievements by shooting down nine extra suns. The hero was rewarded with a kind of elixir for his deed, which his wife drank in secret. Chang Er rose up to the sky immediately after that and has lived on the moon ever since. Chinese people still believe that Chang Er continues to live in the Palace of the Moon, which is very cold and lonely.
Mr. Daniel and Ms. Lucinda spent a whole day decorating our Arts Lobby. After this effort, Ms. Lucinda graciously wrote a poem as a sign of her gratitude for being a part of the celebration:
Chinese Moon Festival
Hundreds of flaming moons amongst the night sky
Uniting us together many cultures becoming one
Celebrating our memories of those who have past
Rejoicing with those who are present
A combination of culinary, creativity, music and dance
Together we come to remember and to give thanks
As the blazing moons disappear into the night sky
We are reminded that we all shall pass by
But whilst alive we rejoice in the unity we share
Of LIFE, LOVE, FRIENDSHIP & PEACE
Our librarian, Ms. Amanda, made a beautiful and elegant wishing wall. She wrote:
“The Wishing Wall gave the opportunity for people to take a moment to remember their family and friends and to offer a wish for their future. The koi fish in the pond on the Wishing Wall symbolize many noble qualities and ideals; perhaps by wishing on them, wishes really may come true.”
With the PTA’s support, our well-planned Temple Fair had twelve booths. Some booths offered us diverse and delicious foods provided by the parents and the teachers. Other booths gave the families opportunities to participate in the activities to allow them to explore their creativity.
Ms. Tricia wrote:
“The SWA Mid-Autumn Festival was an opportunity for us to truly embrace Asia. I enjoyed making one of my favorite Chinese foods: moon cakes! The next time I have the opportunity to share a moon cake with family or friends, I will be sure to remember the day that I was taught to make them here at SWA. Xie Xie to all for an amazing day.”
After the Temple Fair, we gathered in the Arts Lobby and watched a short play called, “Confucius’ Dream”. With the sound of a Gong, Mr. John descended down the stairs dressed in royal robes and spoke the words of Confucius, “shi zhe ru si fu”, which was a cue for the choir to begin singing “Moon Song”, which was composed by Mr. Karl. This quote from Confucius, was delivered by Mr. John in Chinese classic language. It means that all the things that matter to us pass away, just like running water day and night.
We went on a Lantern Walk to explore our beautiful campus under the bright moonlight and felt the harmony through our parade. Our concert presented a series of fantastic performances prepared by the students and the teachers. Our celebration ended with a Sky Lantern Show. When the Sky Lanterns rose little by little, we believed all good wishes would come true as we celebrated together under the full moon.
For Chinese people, the Mid-Autumn Festival is not only a time for celebration, but a time for us to think of our family, our friends and our hometown. For most of us, we are living in a new country, and of course we are far away from our heart-land. In Chinese literature, the moon is a symbol of homesickness and loneliness. Eating moon cake is not just for tasting, but also meant to give us comfort while thinking about people we are missing.
Through celebrations such as the Mid-Autumn Festival, the SWA Chinese teachers hope to facilitate a better understanding of how beautiful, how elegant and how deep the Chinese culture is. Of course, this culture can be very complicated, but you will be touched and changed by the beauty of many cultures, if you are ready to embrace Asia!
Our ‘Week Without Walls’ has once again proven a smashing success. Even before the trips were finished we were already hearing some wonderful stories about how well things were going. At the base of all these stories is a common message of how positive and willing all participants in the various trip events were. Each time we hear an account of an event, we learn that in large part the activity was so successful because students and teachers worked together to assist each other in challenging themselves and each other in a positive and supportive manner. Each time we work together to cause each of us to open our minds to trying new things, we all win. The numerous positive stories of the class trips continue to roll in – keep them coming!
The week was truly an outstanding example of the positive, collaborative learning community that we aim to build and maintain at SWA and beyond.
Well done everyone and thanks for making the effort!!