As a fellow orchestra member, besides competitions and performances, trips like this is what I look forward to very much. Back in 2013, Foon Yew High School’s ( Kulai branch ) string orchestra came to my school for an exchange. This year, Foon Yew High School, the one in Johor, hosted an exchange consisting of string orchestras from 5 different high schools! Wow!
We departed to Johor around 7.00 in the morning. You could see the that most of us barely had our eyes open. As soon as the bus started to move, everyone was so tired that we all fell asleep. After a few hours including a stop at a rest are where we had lunch, we finally reached our destination. We were welcomed by the students there, who were super friendly and warm! All of us were a tad bit surprised by their warm welcome as it is not often that we see such spirit in our school where some people are a bit shy or unwilling to participate. They were constantly so high-spirited and always trying to create a cheerful atmosphere, especially during game sessions.
Thankfully, I was in the same team ( Starlord ) as my orchestra’s president, Miao Re and one of my section leaders, Anne. The other team members were really nice people too. We had sessions where our teams would practice a simple piece together which we had to perform on the last day of this exchange. We were also divided into A, B, C groups where we had to practice another harder piece to perform as an orchestra on the last day as well.
Looking outside from our dorms, we could Singapore just across the sea. The view there was just incredible, especially in the early morning when the sun rose. At night, we would run over to each other’s dorms for late night talks, which I really enjoyed. Oh, I also miss the mealtimes! We had a tradition where we would greet everyone from each school to eat before starting! It was pretty funny at first, but it was something small that made us all feel like a big family.
Their school was enormous. So, during the station game session and bath time, we had to run at the speed of light. The station game was really fun. For each game, the winner would get 4 notes, while the loser would get 8 notes. At the end of the game, one person from each team would have to play all the notes. The team with the shortest time wins. It was a really good concept, something I’ve never done before!
Despite all the fun, there were still people who only knew how to complain. Yes, the toilets were a bit a older than the ones in our school. Yes, the school was big and we had to walk a very long distance to reach another place. Yes, the food catered may not be what each of us like. However, we would just have to make do with everything. For this trip, we only paid RM100+, so we have to have in mind that we get what we pay for. You can’t possibly such a such which is considered small nowadays, and expect a 5-star hotel type of accommodation and food!
Through this exchange, I learnt quite a few things. One of it is that we have to appreciate everything that we have. Some of things that we have, others may not have. Vice versa. Secondly, it is important for every single person in a team to tolerate, look out and understand and cooperate with each other to make things happen. Otherwise, even the best plan will fail.
From my point of view, I could see that every single person, teachers and students, from Foon Yew High School worked really hard and put in a lot of effort to make this exchange the most wonderful experience for everyone. I am truly thankful for all their hard work and enthusiasm! This is one of the best memories I’ve ever had as a Kuen Cheng High School Philharmonic Orchestra ( KCPO ), previously known as Kuen Cheng High School String Orchestra ( KCSO )!