Sunday, 4 November 2007

Nokia Helping Hands: The Finnish Puppetry Experience...


Sigh...


What a glorious way to start the holidays for me!


My parents came to pick me up from Penang on friday afternoon, and by evening I was back home. At 2.30 am, I left for KL on the KLIA-bound bus...


And at 6.00 am, I arrived there, and had breakfast at McD (and burnt my tongue) and by 7.15 am, I was aboard the KLIA Express heading to KL Sentral...




The question is, why was I going round the mulberry bush?



You see, about 1 week before, I received a call from PR-company Text 100, saying that *Nellie Abdullah, Nokia's Product Marketing Specialist (she also runs special events) is giving me a personal invitation to join some of Nokia's staff and members of the press on an excursion to some orphanages, homes and schools in and around Selangor to watch famous Finnish puppeteer Juha Laukkanen at work! The trip was part of Nokia's Helping Hands Progamme...






Me, Juha Laukkanen and his sorta assistant (she's a trainee with the Embassy of Finland) Outi Jurkkola...




Oh My...What an experience it was! Let me recap it as briefly as possible for you...





At the Al-Hidayah Islam Kindergarten, with Juha at work...



First, we stopped at Al-Hidayah Islam Kindergarten in Pasir Panjang (somewhere in Sabak Bernam), where I found a couple of kids on my lap, and another group surrounding me...I felt like some celebrity with a group of body-guards, so close they sat to me!





Snow! Made from shredded paper...I could only carry one child, unfortunately...



Juha's story was of Clara and the NutCracker...It was a great eye-opener for the kids to get to know another culture very different from theirs...The story of Clara and the NutCracker is set in Christmas Time...





Members of the press with Juha. The lady in the red scarf is Puan Khatijah Sulieman, President of Rumah Amal Cheshire Selangor...



And while the press later surrounded Juha for the interview, I was busy getting to know the children, who were super cute and super nice...There was even a group of special children who were there to attend the show...





The group of special children and me...A few of them had Down Syndrome...




On the left, in the light purple Baju Melayu, is 14 year-old Hashim, who has Down Syndrome...He is bigger in size than me, so I thought I would call him Abang, although he was clearly younger than me...



That little 'title' left him so very happy, and when I said "Wa...Abang Hashim lar yang jaga adik-adik ni, ya?", he burst into a wide grin, and gave me a chokehold around the neck!





Little Izzati clearly had her plans...She followed me around throughout the day, and said, every few minutes: "Izzati sayang Kakak!"



Another little darling I met yesterday is little Jordan...Jordan is Patsy Kam's (of The Star) 5 year-old son...He had a tiny little 'tail' trailing down the back of his head!


He was really shy at the beginning, but the 2 hour or so journey from KL to the home helped him 'warm up' to me...



By the time we were at the home, we were firm friends! He chased me around the room, and after a while, I told him: "Jordan, Jie-Jie tired already lar. Want to rest"...

Jordan said, while leading me by the arm: "Ok, you stand here. We will charge you (took my hand and put it into an imaginery plug)"

Me: ??? "But rosak already."

Jordan: "It's ok! We can program you again!"

Me: ??? *Wah lau, kids nowadays*






Just before leaving...From left: Patsy Kam (The Star), little Jordan (tired already!), and me...



Lunch was cooked and provided for. They even gave us crab! But unfortunately for me, my braces prevented me from actually eating them (I would have made a terrible mess)...The sambal was wonderful though....


After lunch, some members of the press left, while the rest of us made our way to the next home...As we had finished way ahead of the planned time, we made a pit stop at the Kuala Selangor Rest House for some tea (yeah lor, makan lagi!)...



The view was amazing at the top of the hill...Simply breathtaking...And there were monkeys everywhere! Although they were relatively tamer than the Penang Botanical Gardens' Monkeys...The concensus is that monyet bandar lebih ganas!





We had some visitors: About 8 monkeys joined us at the big tree near our table...The little monkey with his mummy...Don't ask how come the colour is different...All the babies were yellowish!





Up close!




Our next stop was the Kuala Selangor Tunas Harapan Homes...These homes had a very interesting concept...They had some land, where there was a Hall for the kids and their activities, coupled with a sepak-takraw/ badminton/ volleyball kind of court, and at one side were 4-5 little homes...



Each home was run by a couple...The interesting thing was that if the couple is Chinese, they would foster only Chinese children (about 5 in each home)...Likewise, an Indian couple would foster Indian children, and the Malay couple would foster Malay children...

All the couples were screened properly before being entrusted with the responsibility, and they were given freedom (to some extent) in allowing to bring up the children according to the customs of their respective races...Each home was furnished like typical (I suppose you could say traditional) Chinese/ Malay/ Indian homes...



The system was really great...In this way, the children of different races grow up together, and yet, they do not lose their own culture!





The Tunas Harapan Homes children had a 'uniform' (for special occasions)...Although the pattern and material were the same, the Malays wore their Kurung and Baju Melayu, the Indians in Punjabi suits etc...





The children of this home were much older than the kids from the kindergarten, and clearly understood the story line much better...They were also more 'bold' and outgoing (I am thinking because of the ages)...

Some of the boys even rubbed Juha's tummy when they passed him!



Altogether, it was great experience...I never thought puppetry was like that, having been used to hand and glove puppets (think Muppets), marionettes and Punch and Judy...So it was a wonderful eye-opener for me too...




The journey back from KL to Ipoh was a disastrous one...There was a massive bumper-to-bumper crawl for quite a while...To make up for lost time, the bus driver drove like a maniac and kept hitting the brakes! I was holding onto my seat for dear life...Even than, I reached Ipoh one hour late...


But at least I was safe!




*Note: Nellie could not make it for the event because her mother passed away on the 2nd of November (the day before the event). This blog owner would like to offer her deepest condolences to Nellie and her family for their loss.


29 comments:

Razor blade said...

Daphne, I found your blog through the feature of you in the zine Surf. Great blog you have. I can see the zine chose an apt person to feature. You had a great time wiht the kids and I thnk you deserve being invited for this trip. You go girl! -Razor blade-

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Anon 7.36 am,

I accidentally deleted your comment! I tried pasting it back and it came out (under my name), but it looks soooo weird...Cos it looks like I am writing about myself, to myself! So I deleted it again lar...Sorry...

But thank you for the lovely comment...It was real nice!

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Razor Blade,

Wahlau...Garangnya...

Welcome to me bloggie, and thank you! =) And, yes, I sure did have a great time with the kids...How not to? They were just darlings!

Pi Bani said...

Wah... bestnya can go to all those places in one day. But adoi... making a move at 2.30 am? By the time you balik Ipoh sure smelly already.... :)

sharlydia said...

very meaningful work u'r doing indeed, bravo!

aemi said...

Glad you had fun nai! ;)

Happy that you are getting to do so much more of what we tried to do when we were younger.. Lol..

Love you.. muakzies!

aemi said...

Uhh.. and yes.. remember what I told you about the whole 'you're made for the limelight' thingy??

I was quite correct wasn't I?

It seems just yesterday that we had that conversation..

IBU said...

Daphne,
The rush that is worth every sweat, I must say! Bravo, girl! Keep it up. Wish there are more like you.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

wow, it must be tiring huh? i'd be dead beat come the end of the long day if i were you. but since it was a day full of excitement and an eductional outing, its gotta be totally satisfying.

enjoy your hols, D.

a malaysian reject said...

hi there. first time here but had great time reading about your trips. Its such a nice thing to read this fair morning about another humanitarian rather than a politician with their bombastic plans for humankind. They never actually really do all the things you'll be doing do they. wish i could be there. it looks so fun and meaningful.

Anonymous said...

For someone who claims to have four stomachs and and who says she sometimes has a horrible temper you sure don't look the part. What I see is a petite, sweet, pretty young thing. And a lovely smile. Good job.

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Kak Pi,

Yeah lor...Bau giler...Samore lari-lari after children, and wearing black...Haih...But semua orang busuk oso what!
But...best!

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Sharlydia,

Thank you, and thank you for coming over...Cool name, by the way...=)

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Ae Mi,

'You're made for the limelight'...

Whoa...I really don't remember that conversation (I've got a ridiculous memory, so I actually make a horrible liar), but if it means I'm a drama queen, then Yeap!

Hehe...

You keep well, dearie...*Hugs*

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Ibu,

Yes...The rush that was worth every beat of sweat...Thanks Ibu =)

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Kerp,

Yes, indeed it was educational...I never thought puppetry was like that...I must have had my jaw-drop ;) But it was cool! And Juha was real nice...He talks (everyday conversation) also sometimes he uses gestures!

Thanks D...I will most definitely enjoy my hols...=)

Daphne Ling said...

Hi A Malaysian Reject,

Aiyo...Why so sad your name?

Thank you for coming over...

Actually, politicians have sooooo much power in their hands...They have the resources, the strings, the connections etc. If only they used it for the correct reasons, huh?

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Anon 2.09pm,

Haha! My whole post is sooo long, and the only thing you noticed is how I look? You're a hoot! But...Thank you.

JIMI said...

Daph, what a great trip and treat.

Puteri said...

Daphne, two posts in a row you started with a sigh! ;-) Hope everything is working out for you now. I would have sighed too, after reaching home only to leave again.

Anyway, that was a special treat not to be missed with the puppet shows. Lucky you!

tokasid said...

Dear Daphne:

Happy hols.You need the break from school,right?

You see, sometimes the 'little-little' things that you do, to most ppl are worthless(moneywise), but certain ppl it is something monumental. Like Nellie, she notices your humanitarian thingy and knows she can rely on you.

I am not bodeking you but thats the truth.Hey! Don't be shy one lor....why are you blushing maa..

I think the trip to the orphanage is a success, despite all the busuks gathered by the team. Glad that Juha was a willing puppet ambassador.(maybe you can tell us what he thought of what he saw). From the pics. We can see the kids had a great time and the lady in black from Ipoh did too.

Congratulation Daphne, for sacrificing your precious holiday to be with the kids. No wonder the cute Izzati keep on saying Saya sayang kakak!

the Razzler said...

Dear Daphne ..

I am so glad that you have brought joy to the kids. :) :)

sharlydia said...

find out how i came up with it in my blog http://sharlydia.blogspot.com/

Rita Ho said...

Daph ... you never fail to amaze us with your willingness and genuine desire to make a difference to society at large and special kids in particular. Whoever crosses your path are truly blessed. Way to go, girl! Enjoy your holidays!

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Jimi,

Yeap, special trip and treat ;)

Hi Kak Puteri,

Actually, the sigh (this time) was a blissful, contented one...The type that comes with very snoopy-like look...=) I had fun!

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Doc,

"Don't be shy one lor....why are you blushing maa.."

Gosh...you sound like Mat Salo! =)

From what I could see, Juha loved Malaysian roti...And ketayap, and he loved cakes! He seemed to enjoy his time here as much as we enjoyed getting to know him =)

Sacrificing my holidays? Nah...I got two months! and I wouldn't have missed this trip for anything! Thank God my parents allowed me to go...=)

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Uncle Jimmy (The Razzler),

I think the joy was two ways =)

Hi Aunty Rita,

I had a great time...I don't think it was me bringing a change to society or any of that holy-moly thingy...More like a great eye-opener to me...I would have fought tooth-and-nail (braces and teeth too!) for the chance to go on that trip!

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Sharlydia,

Yeah...I will check it out! Thanks...=)

Rita Ho said...

You are too modest, Daph. I am quite sure you were chosen to join the excursion because of your proven ability to reach out to the children. :)