Local Music and Art Forms
Singapore is well-known for being a multi-racial society. Different ethnic groups have their own distinct flavour and identity and therefore have put forward a significant contribution towards Singapore's flourishing and vibrant arts scene. Lately, the government has also been increasingly promoting cultural awareness, targeting at the younger generation. The various ethnic groups have also joined hands assimilating the better aspects of modernity into their traditional culture, therein culminating in a unique fusion culture of their very own. Although being such a small community, there are many talents spotted in every nook and cranny, excelling in the performing and visual arts scene.
Our project mainly introduces the different performances of dance and music by the various ethnic groups in Singapore. Our school has a wide selection of extra curricular activities catered for each race, specializing in their very own culture, music and dance form. Through collaboration with them and further in-depth research, we have been provided with valuable information. Interviews with local professional artists have also been very useful as they gave us a further insight into their myriad of art performances. These have greatly enriched our project.
Our school has an ATM line to an ISP ( Internet Service Provider ). This enables both teachers and students of all levels to gain convenient access to the Internet. There are special computers installed in selected classrooms and our four computer laboratories boast of the newest and most advanced equipment in the computer technological world. We are especially proud of our newly-acquired iMacs. The school also has a Cybernet club whose members are responsible for maintaining the school webpage as well as keeping it up to date. The club members also render free service to various organisations, clubs and school departments by assisting them in the creation or revamping of their own unique webpages. Our principal is a staunch supporter of Information Technology and encourages creative use of IT in all areas. For example, our school has a Cyberfoyer, where four computer terminals situated in the school foyer give students a chance to gain unlimited access to the amazing world of Internet. Our school offers e-mail accounts to all students at extremely affordable rates for easy and speedy correspondence. Finally, Singapore is a country which places much emphasis on Information Technology and the like in the upcoming 21st century. Residents in this island nation thus get to enjoy the wonders of the Internet wherever we may be.
First of all, there were the technical problems. All the problematic equipment and the unsuccessful attempts at producing satisfactory work constituted a "life form" which almost overwhelmed us and dashed our hopes. For example, the videos we had to use were difficult to import and modify. SoundEdit Pro also left us rather depressed as it stubbornly refused to work out. Fortunately, both teachers, seniors and the computer laboratory technicians were constantly by our side to provide invaluable assistance, encouragement and whole-hearted support. All this spurred us on to greater heights.
Secondly, numerous students from all levels were actively involved in this project. We also collaborated with various extra-curricular groups and clubs. A problem thus arose as it was rather impossible for all of us to meet up on specific dates and discuss the layout and outcome of our project. The students working on the project were split into three groups so as to complete different components of the webpage at the same time. In the end, we faced the distressing problem of working out a uniform colour scheme for all the components and compiling and putting the whole project together. This problem was relatively easier to solve than the first one for all we had to do was to work together, hand in hand, as a team.
Thirdly, we found that the category we decided on covered a diverse range of topics, from various areas like architecture, fashion and food to countless others like festivals, religions and cultures. This we discovered when we first got down to brainstorm for the project. Numerous ideas were brought up, and all of them gained nods of approval from the eager and excited faces gathered around the table. However, to solve the problem, we had to call upon God's greatest gift -- the brain -- in order to eliminate several topics. We had to rationalise and decide wisely so as to cover the selected category in a concise and orderly manner and bring the vibrant Singapore arts and music scene right in front of your very eyes.
The creation of this webpage has enabled each and everyone of us to gain an awareness and appreciation of the local communities surrounding us. We have also acquired a valuable "gold mine" of knowledge which will invariably prove helpful in the times to come.
1) How did your activities and research for this International School CyberFair project support your required coursework and curriculum requirements?
This project was helpful in the sense that its contents coincided with part of our state curriculum. In preparation for the new millenium, the new education system emphasizes on creativity and art appreciation instead of just on books. The government has also been encouraging schools to increase students' involvement in art. For example, our school organises biannual Art Festivals to allow artistically inclined students to showcase their talents.
Throughout the course of the entire project, all of us had to learn to co-operate with one another and work hand in hand to meet a specific deadline. We realised the importance of working at the project consistently and not leaving it undone until the eleventh hour. Our researching, compiling and Internet skills have also certainly improved by leaps and bounds. What was perhaps the most rewarding was the satisfaction we got from the successful completion of the project and the sense of camaraderie and unity we truly experienced while working on our webpage.
Hopefully, thousands of students all over the world can take delight in the wide variety of art forms as we bring them to the heart of the local art scene with our webpage's delightful graphics and detailed information. It will help to make the subject much more interesting and alive for these students as they can experience it firsthand from the Net rather than poring over the pages of "dead" books and almost falling asleep in the process. We have a firm belief that students learning directly from the Internet will grasp the topic faster and more easily.
In conclusion, we would like to say that this project of ours has been very helpful indeed to us, increasing our understanding and appreciation of the local art forms both as students and as members of an increasingly cultural community.
2.What information tools and technologies did you use to complete your CyberFair project?
Various information tools and technologies were enlisted during the course of the project, and in our narrative we have specially divided them into two categories, "Hardware" and "Software", for easier reference:
All the above information tools and technologies helped us to a great extent. Most of them were very advanced yet user-friendly, and the images and effects we produced livened up the entire webpage and gave it a vibrant burst of colour. The videos and sound clips also helped to make the page more interactive, and the animated pictures of moving objects further enhanced our site and provided an overall creative touch.
The programme we found the most user-friendly was Dreamweaver, as it enabled us to create webpages without the usual tediousness of keying in everything in HTML. Pictures, texts and links were incorporated with much more ease than usual, and the programme also had a special feature which gave us a first-hand glimpse of how the page would be presented on the Internet. This helped us make all the necessary ammendments quickly and accurately. At the same time, the digital cameras also proved their merit. They allowed us to take pictures of real-life objects without the usage of film, and images could be incorporated directly into our webpage as no scanners were needed.
Personally, we thought that the most valuable and precious tool which aided us in our project was our own cultural heritage and our original understanding of the need to preserve the fragility and balance between the various cultures. It really made our load much easier as we could practically voice out our feelings in words. We had an easy time sharing with others our thoughts and views and how we thought all of this helped us. This, of course, indirectly enhanced the attractiveness of our site and made our webpage more genuine.
3) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.
We approached a few professional artistes and conducted interviews to find out more about their experiences and interest in the arts. Through interaction with different races in our community, we were also able to have a clearer perspective of their contributions to the local art scene. Some of the students even made their way down to art exhibitions and performances to experience for themselves the wondrous and fascinating world of arts .
We should not neglect our proud heritage amidst all the modernisation as more and more younger Singaporeans are giving up our traditional culture and succumbing to Western influence. Therefore, we feel very honoured that we can present our local art scene, across the world via the internet, thus playing a small part in increasing the awareness of the arts and conserving our own unique local flavour.
4) What has been the impact of your project on your community?
Upon embarking on this once-of-a-lifetime challenge, our club members sought help and advice from several clubs and societies in our school. We also asked them for help in the areas of research and information collation. In the course of our cooperation, we established excellent working relationships with the members of the various clubs. Interaction amongst the club members gave rise to strong bonds and firm new friendships, and all of us had an unforgettable time working together on the project.
As you will see, our webpage has mentioned and elaborated on various aspects of our unique Singaporean culture. These include dances, music and art forms from each of the main local communities in our country. The bright and attractive pictures, interactive videos and sound clips, easy navigation, detailed yet interesting nuggets of information and humourous animations will hopefully help to increase the awareness of Singaporeans regarding the extreme importance of a country with a national identity of its own, as well as the significance of having an exuberant arts and music scene with a distinctive flavour, one that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. With a relatively new presentation style which proves refreshing to the eye, our website could even encourage all those locals out there to develop a stronger sense of belonging towards our mother nation.
Putting up the webpage on the Internet was also a significant move. This will actually enable millions of people from nations all over the world to gain access to it. We hope with eager hearts that the webpage we have slogged over and in which we have injected all our creative juices will give other individuals an opportunity to experience our island's art and music forms and gain a deeper understanding of our harmonious society.
We would like to express in this narrative our heartfelt wish that our page will encourage others to inculcate in themselves a natural effinity and appreciation for the vibrant mix of cultures in this world and strive to preserve them in whatever way they can.
5) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?
Firstly, our school's various ECA groups, namely the Indian Orchestra and Society, The Malay LDDS, The Angklung Orchestra and the Chinese Painting and Calligraphy Club, provided us with many sound clips, videos and pictures that added colour and exuberance to our webpage. They also shared with us the origin of these artforms and information. Their assistance played a huge part in the success of this project and we would like to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt gratitude to all of them.
One other special person we would like to acknowledge for his significant contribution is Mr Tan Swee Hian, for he proved extremely helpful by answering our questions patiently and with a smile. He even gave us a book on his works to assist us in our cause.
We would also like to convey our warmest wishes and heartfelt thanks to our dedicated teachers, Miss Tan and Miss Lee, as well as the computer laboratory technician, Mr Tan, for sacrificing their precious time to assist us in our project and see us through our difficulties.
Last but definitely not the least, we would like to thank Mr Goh Beng Yeow, International Ambassador (Singapore) of the International Schools Cyberfair 1999 who gave us invaluable advice and suggestions.