Before the Summit
I was looking through the list of items to bring, and under 'Optional', they said something like "souvenirs from your home country". Since I'm very rule-abiding, I'm like "Oh no! No souvenirs how? Will an opened packet of ba hu work?"
But then, my mom (unwittingly) came to the rescue!
The last time she visited, she left behind a bag of keychains, so that's what I ended up bringing to the conference today. Although in the end, I didn't really see the international delegates give anything out. I did give some keychains out to a few new friends though.
And since they didn't write anything about a dress code, and my suit is at the dry cleaners (no way am I risking my suit by cleaning it myself haha), I went in a pair of jeans and a fluffy but nice top. Thankfully, most people turned out to not be in suits, so I'm safe! Oh, and I forgot my DSLR (and I probably won't bring it tomorrow either, because it's bulky and heavy, so only iphone shots for this!)
Oh, and I got to school early and managed to see this:
Pretty, right? I hope this means spring (and warmer weather) is on its way!
Anyway, I read that the reception booth was from 11, so I arrived a little before. Turns out it's from 11-12:30, so I had way too much time on my hands. So I did what I always do, and read a book. Managed to finish it too.
The Summit Starts
At around 12:30, we finally went into the 大講義室 (big lecture hall), and the opening ceremony started! Turns out that there were 300 participants!
Oh, and they had a representative of each country send a delegate to carry the flag, and guess which country didn't have a flag?
Although I think they only realised my existence at the last minute, because at the end someone said something like "and we have a delegate from Singapore, but we don't have a flag ready. Thanks for coming though"
Then there were the opening speeches, and the Prime Minister ( or was it his office? ) also sent a message.
Out of all the opening speeches, I really liked the speech by Mr. Wataru Aso, which outlined the four traits of a leader:
1. Willingness to take full responsibility
2. Listens to all opinions and praises the good in them (because the one thing people hate is to be ignored)
3. Is decisive
4. Is optimistic (if you only see problems, you can really accept new ideas)
Then there were the keynote speeches. I'm normally a very pro-Asia person, but the first speaker was so "Asia rising, West declining" that I felt like I should defend the merits of Western civilisation. Maybe it's because I like logic and believe the first principles are the cornerstone of everything. But no matter what, it was certainly vey thought-provoking. I managed to speak to him after the speech too, and apparently the line was too long and a few people were cut off. Good thing I made my way there ASAP.
The second speech was on Fukuoka and the speaker was really interesting. I already knew most of the material though, except about the start-up visa, because of the Black Zemi.
The last speech was about sports and world peace and seeing things from the other's point of view. Plus the speaker (who's Japanese) seems to speak fluent Pashto (I think? Or Dari?). I found him very optimistic, but it was not bad. I mean, he mentioned wanting to go to North Korea (and he did go) to see what it was like with his own eyes, and he found it to have kind people and delicious food. I'm sure that there are kind people there, but I do wonder how much was an act put on to show the foreign visitors that North Korea is actually functioning as a country. To me, while going to the country itself is probably the best way of seeing how things are on the ground 99% of the time, there are probably cases like North Korea where this may not be the case.
After that was the cultural performances, which had an Indonesian dance, Japanese dance, Indian dance and ANKLUNG PERFORMANCE!!!
And the first song was Rasa Sayang, so I was quietly singing along for the first verse hahahaha. I don't want to generalise and say all Singaporeans, but I think quite a lot of us know this song too. Singaporeans, am I right? At any rate, here's a version of the song:
After that, we finally had dinner, which was stand-up style buffet. I had a lot of fun, and managed to talk to more people than I expected.
Plus, I became friends with the lady who did the Indian dance and her daughter, and discovered they live super close to me, so we're going to hangout some day!
That's basically my day in a nutshell. Now, I need to go and make my poster for the poster session tomorrow :D