Monday, November 30, 2009

Reflections from SSEAYP PYs Hosting

Playing host to the Ship for South East Asia Youth Programme (SSEAYP) Participating Youths (PYs) had given me a memorable experience. What better ways are there to forge friendship with friends from other countries besides staying together under one roof?

In the weeks leading to the hosting period, I was hesitant in whether to bring them around Singapore. That was the study week right before the school exams. The decision to host them was made just a day before meeting the PYs. It was a decision well made.

Over the course of 2 days and 2 nights, I learnt much about Cambodia and Myanmar as much as they learnt about Singapore. The following are some of my take-home points after the hosting.

Alex (Cambodian) shared that MediaCorp TV soap operas are screened everyday during the prime period in Cambodia. Cambodians adore Singaporean celebrities and Alex even calls Zoe Tay as "Bobo" (the name of the character in one of her popular shows). Interestingly, Alex said that one reason why Cambodians love Singapore shows is that our productions usually promote family values and good moral values.

When Alex and Thu Yein heard that Singapore politicians meet their constituents once a week during Meet-the-People sessions, they were amazed. They don't have any channels to meet their local political leaders when they want to.

Thu Yein (Myanmar) shared that he likes our Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong because SM Goh frequently travels to his country. The friendship fostered by our political leaders with their counterparts built over the years is valuable. The efforts to build ties with other nations are consistent.

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