Blogathon: #49 – WrapUp

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So this is the last post for the Blogathon! After our community projects on the tour, we would get together for a wrap-up session, which allowed us to process our experiences and share what we’ve learnt. So consider this a Blogathon wrap-up.

We managed to raise (as of me writing this) $76. US$71 and AUS$5. To be honest I am slightly disappointed at the amount; my first attempt at Blogathon (well, Project-Blog), I managed to raise $137 with very minimal promotion. This time around, I promoted it everywhere – my crew list, BoG, alumni, LJ, elsewhere, tried the Blogathon games, and got very little in comparison. There is still time to donate, and Up With People takes donations year-round, so please contribute where you can!

I would like to thank the following people:

  • My sponsors – thanks for the support
  • Naoko for so graciously filling in for me when I was away
  • Sara and the bSpies for being cool monitors
  • Lorelle for being pretty much the only UWP alumni person reading and promoting this! Really great to have reconnected with you!
  • Everyone else that has read through and followed our Blogathon journey
  • Everyone that promoted me on their blogs
  • People that chatted with me online (MSN, Skype, Google Talk, IRC), whether I know you or not
  • Up With People, for being gracious and excited about the idea – I hope you’re not too disappointed with the $76!

Here’s a recap of all our Blogathon posts:

Thank you for your support and time and have a good life! Don’t forget to sponsor!

Sponsor Me – Raised: $76 – Sponsors: 6 – Sponsor Me

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Blogathon: #48 – Songs Review 4

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So very near the end! Don’t miss out your chance to get exclusive Up With People tracks just for a simple sponsorship!

With Everything Changing – another Carpenters/ballad!ABBA-esque folky song wondering if anything ever stays the same; the subject matter’s rather different from all the other songs. This is more about dealing with change and wondering if we will still be able to cope with all the changes in life. Easy listening.

I Am A Person – this is a very different Up With People song. Unlike the others (but perhaps vaguely closer to Keep The Beat), this is very dancy – almost like 80s Gloria Estefan or Paula Abdul or old-school Madonna. I’m wondering which show this is in because it’s so unlike all the other songs! This song laments about not being treated like a person but as a number, a “digital excuse”. (Perhaps the same lament school students make?) The rap is…a surprise.

El Puente – a Spanish guitar ballad, one you half-expect to hear under your window or on a gondola. I don’t understand Spanish though, so I wouldn’t be able to translate. Up With People does often sing songs in other languages – they’ve done Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, and Japanese, as far as I know. There’s most likely more.

Moon Rider – a guitar ballad about the world – I’m thinking from the title that this is from the perspective of someone on the Moon reporting about the Earth. It’s actually pretty poetic, and has a very theaterical feel to it by the end. Definitely a very unique Up With People song, but a very good one really. I think this was very popular too.

Where The Roads Come Together – an acapella’ed intro song, with a slight barbershop-quartet feel, about life and all the different paths people’s lives can take. Music (pop rock; drums & guitar) kicks in after the first verse. Sounds like a song to close a show with (like We’ll Be There).

Pays De Coeur / Hartelijik Land – I think this is French but I’m not sure. A theaterical ballad, with choruses; sounds to me like a girl singing a monologue about her life or the path she’s on (but I don’t speak French so I may be wrong). She may be singing to a certain place (Hartelijik?) too.

And the very special tracks…donate $50 or more and you can choose from one of the following:

Up With People 1965 – the song that started it all. A folksy banjo ditty that will make you want to do a jig (or at least it makes Michael Bowerman want to do a jig).

Up With People 1998 – the same song (possibly a verse shorter), just updated into an upbeat pop track. Notce that the occupations change as well – that’s a recurring thing.

If any of those songs appeal to you, even just for the curiosity factor, then SPONSOR SPONSOR SPONSOR! You won’t be able to get them anywhere else for a long time!

Sponsor Me – Raised: $76 – Sponsors: 6 – Sponsor Me

Blogathon: #47 – Songs Review 3

Sponsor Me – Raised: $76 – Sponsors: 6 – Sponsor Me

We’re nearly at the end! We still need sponsorships though, and as I promised, any verified and proven donations get Up With People tracks for every $20. This post and the next will give more details on the songs you can choose from:

Keep The Beat – a pop-dance song, with techno influence, that also carries the metaphor of music as humanity. The dance for this is killer difficult…and we got the easy version.

Calling Home – this is one song you’ll never find on an Up With People CD. It’s a fun Broadway-ish song about calling home during the tour – mixing and mashing styles, languages, tempos (it goes into a very slow ballad in the middle) – you name it. It was deemed too “internal” though, so it never got used in a show. But it’s such a fun song to bop to!

The other songs I haven’t heard yet, and I need to post this now, so stay tuned in 30 minutes for the last Songs Review instalment – including the two special tracks!

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Blogathon: #46 – In The News

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I get regular Google alerts whenever Up With People makes the news somewhere. Most of the time it’s just the string “up with people”, which doesn’t mean anything to me. Sometimes it’s something being compared to Up With People (i.e. it’s “shiny-happy-strange” reputation). Once in a while I’ll get something that is actually talking about Up With People the organization – recently there’s been a lot of press in North Platte about Up With People coming over, and there was a news article about the reunion and about a wedding between two alumni members.

One article I just got alerted about puzzled me though. Apparently Up With People caused some sort of political rift?

From the Google Alert:

REVIEW : Politicians now speak from conservative dictionary
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (subscription) – Little Rock,AR,USA
… The turning point in the war of words between liberals and conservatives came in August 1968, when the group Up With People sang at the Republican National …

What did Up With People singing at a Republican convention have to do with anything? Did they inadvertedly cause something to happen? I’ve been trying to log in, but it’s pay only and BugMeNot’s not helping.

It was really bizarre getting that alert – the Up With People is non-political. Most of my crew were of liberal leanings. Even if we had a Republican (which I’m not aware of; we did have a few socially conservative people but I don’t know their politics), it wasn’t a matter of conflict. We weren’t told to pick one side over the other. Besides, with all of us from all over the world, it won’t have worked. Just take Australia as an example – their “Liberal” party is apparently very right-wing.

Now I’m severely curious. What happened with Up With People at the Republican event that apparently caused some sort of a rift? Can someone solve the mystery?

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Blogathon: I Am Back

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Ok, whatever it was that took me away from the computer has ended, so I’m back now. Thank you Naoko!

Sponsor Me – Raised: $76 – Sponsors: 6 – Sponsor Me

Blogathon #45 – Apprenticeships

Ok… So I’m talking about the various methods of Alternative Education.. This is interesting.

Apprenticeships.

In most places these days they’re called Industrial Training, where you learn the skills on the Job (for some reason, shows like the Apprentice and the Simple Life 3: Interns come to mind). I’m not talking about those apprenticeships.

I’m talking about the ones where you are actually APPRENTICED to a person in that business for at least 6-7 years of your life to learn the skills.

In Malaysia, a lot of the normal mechanics still do that. A large number of their personnel (their staff) have been with them for years, especially after dropping out of high school. They’re given some pocket money and plenty of hard work in order for them to learn the ropes. For them, it’s a different environment from school and it’s one where they get to learn something useful and something that they can survive on in the future.

It may seem traditional, but this method of learning is still viable and alive. And the good thing about it?

It gives these kids another chance. Dropping out of school isn’t that bad after all.

Blogathon: #44- SAC

Or Self Access Learning.

When I was a small kid, wayyy back in primary school, my classmates and I were introduced to this module called “SAL.” I always loved SAL as it meant a time to simply laze back when it came to learning English, though I was never diligent enough to finish the required Five exercises to gain the reward, which was to read the storybooks in that room. It was the only time in our school timetable that we were allowed to read storybooks during learning periods.

Why am I bringing this up?

Self-Access Learning was actually the Government’s attempt to get the students to choose their own learning materials and for them to learn English at their own pace. During this time, students (mostly those below 12) were encouraged to go to a small shelf/filing place with a certain color, pick the exercise they wanted, and then complete that exercise, using the final code at the back to go look for the answer sheet to see if they got everything correct.

The files were all color-coded (I remembered taking a lot of the easy ones, and those were yellow, I think) and choosing all the ones that I knew I had the answer to. The excerises weren’t easy, but they were fun to do. One of them involved standing in front of a mirror to see what the words looked like in a proper sequence.

It was a different method of learning, and I wonder how many schools still practise it. That exercise showed me that I had to learn things on my own, and I couldn’t rely on being spoonfed, but in my later years, I was.

However, SAL is definately an alternative mode of teaching and learning, so if you’re the one doing the teaching, you might want to think about adopting it for your next class.

Now… what do I write in 30 minutes? ^_^