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The Spirit of Friendship: Odyssey! 2023

Written by: Yap En Ting (23A11)

Photographs: Yap En Ting (23A11), Publicity Committees of ELDDFS and HACAS

Odyssey!, a commemoration of International Friendship Day (IFD), was a collaboration mainly between ELDDFS (English Literature Drama Debate and Film Society) and HACAS (Humanities and Current Affairs Society), with Art Club aiding in the curation of visual content. Highly relevant to the arts-centric CCAs, it promoted the awareness of international cultures through exhibitions, while increasing the visibility of the involved CCAs.

Before and throughout Odyssey!, ELDDFS and HACAS put up a series of collaborative Instagram posts publicising the various aspects of the event. While the aesthetic styles of each post were different, Art Club coordinated the colour schemes and fonts used. Of particular excitement amidst pre-event publicity was the free Magnum ice-cream giveaway taking place on Instagram.

A Collage of All the Instagram Posts Related to Odyssey!

The first day of Odyssey! started with the Literature Wing of ELDDFS. It took in live-writing commissions, priced affordably at $1 each. Unlike past events, typewriters were prominently featured in the printing, and the sounds of the typebars hitting against paper interested many, including a few teachers. Students later had the opportunity to try typewriting themselves too. Naomi Huang Xin Ran (23A14) recounts, “When people came down to use the typewriters on the last day, it was very cool to see their faces light up as they saw an actual, live typewriter!”

Lit Wing also exhibited infographics to share poetry from around the world with their own annotations, centring around the themes of Southeast Asia, Singlit and multiculturalism. On other days, there was a physical book display on the topics of identity and friendship, opportunities for students to write poetry live on a whiteboard, and the sale of “Litmus”, the annual publication featuring student-written poetry.

Members of the Publications Society checking out the infographics about global poetry together. (Both of my CCAs in one picture!)

ELDDFS’ Drama Wing and HACAS’ History Wing collaborated on the second day by covering decolonisation. Drama Wing’s handmade infographics explored postcolonial theatre with many examples of such plays from different countries. The whole exhibition showed how theatre served as a tool to resist oppression. There was also a photo booth with props that Drama Wing used for its plays, where students could take pictures with their friends.

Members of ELDDFS posing with Drama Wing’s props at their photo booth.

For History Wing, it had a digitally designed infographic with a scrapbooking aesthetic. Additionally, it used a Google slides deck and a Kahoot! quiz that made their booth more interactive. The booth covered cultural fusion, such as in language, music and food, and even historically in cultural exchange, economic activity and alliances. History Wing’s infographic also discussed decolonisation processes, using Singapore and the Philippines as case studies.

Film Wing also organised a booth to promote the appreciation of critically-acclaimed films from all over the world, such as Egypt’s “Boy from Heaven” to South Korea’s “Parasite”. Their informative infographics included film summaries and commentaries on each film’s impact on culture and representation, and there was also a Kahoot! quiz on the films.

The collaboration between ELDDFS’ Debate Wing and HACAS’ Geography Wing featured a myriad of activities. Revolving around food, Debate Wing’s infographics discussed genetically modified food and the roles of food in different cultures. These were games ranging from guessing food types from poorly-written descriptions and pairing recipes with beverages and guessing their country of origin, to piecing together Indonesian recipes with missing ingredients.

Students crowding around the whiteboard filled with enthusiastic responses.

Meanwhile, Geography Wing’s infographics described the evolution of food originating from China, Japan and India. Students could try matching foodstuff to their origins on a world map, and subsequently learn more about the spread of cuisines and the relationship between the food and culture from the Geography Wing members. Through this interactive activity, I myself was introduced to food that I had never heard of before. Geography Wing also offered a food tasting session, and hosted a game show involving a trivia section and a blind food-tasting section. The Geography Wing Head, Ng Jun Ning Delaine (23A12), reflects, “I felt a gush of satisfaction whenever I saw our participants smile. I truly enjoyed reaching out to our schoolmates and engaging them in an amusing yet informative manner.”

Delaine handing out snack samples to participants of the game show during the blind tasting session.

Odyssey! was especially meaningful for ELDDFS as it was its first inter-wing event this year. Indeed, students from both ELDDFS and HACAS hearteningly supported each other’s booths, attentively listening to all the sharing. It was evidently a valuable opportunity for bonding between the two like-minded CCAs and within the CCAs as well. Finally, the vice-president of ELDDFS, Elkan Ho (23A15), expresses his gratitude, “Everyone who stopped by was extremely engaged and I was pleased to see that all our efforts planning the event didn’t go to waste!”

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