Friendship Blossoms

 

Friendship_Blossoms_1Building Ties:Every day on Friendship Express was long, but in the Malaysia leg, the participants always started the day with their own ‘morning exercises’, often involving ice-breaker games from different regions. One such game, called ‘Ratta-Teng-Geh’, participants would huddle in a circle, and sway left and right while having both hands on a friend’s shoulder, knee, or ankle. At this initial stage of the journey, such games helped them get to know one another, building the foundation for becoming friends.

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Friendship Express (FX), the SIF’s annual ‘expedition for good’ saw 50 student leaders from Brunei, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam embarking on a journey spanning three countries from 16 to 29 September, 2013. Photographer Ted Chen captured highlights of the trip and the sparkling moments of joy, laughter and camaraderie.

Photo essay by Ted Chen

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Harmony at Work: Recreation during the journey included this moment of singing ’Somewhere over the Rainbow’ during the participants’ visit to the Bandung State Manufacturing Polytechnic in Indonesia.

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Bridging Cultures: The participants had a go at playing the traditional Indonesian gamelan – many of them for the first time. The shared laughter added to the fun of this cultural learning experience.

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Spirit of Collaboration: The Friendship Express comprised participants studying in three countries – Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Here, a Bandung State Manufacturing Polytechnic student (in orange) works with an Indonesian high school student. The 50 Friendship Express participants and 100 Indonesian high school participants collaborated to brainstorm solutions to the issue of motivating all students in their schools to become student leaders.

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Stories of Friendship: Sharing sessions were many on the Friendship Express, as participants regularly gave insights on their thoughts and experiences. Here, an Indonesian and a Bruneian student speak about the many friends they made across cultures throughout their journey.

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Shared Experiences: Learning took place in the field, where participants worked with rural communities on social innovation projects. Here, the student team learns more about bamboo from Malaysian villager Pak Mat Hair. By spending several days in the home and workplace of the villager assigned to the project, the participants experienced village life and hospitality first-hand.

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Making Fast Friends: Participants share a laugh and get to know one another better while playing games on the KTM Train ride from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur

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Strong Bonds: Time was up on the trip, and there were just as many tears as there was laughter, for this segment of their Friendship Express was over. A hectic two weeks had passed, but it laid the foundation for very strong friendships, as can be testified by many of these participants who undoubtedly have many more meetings lined up.


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