Well, The very first Asian Cross Cultural Exploration (ACCE) programme is a cultural exchange organised by ASEAN countries and Korea. Held over 10 days in the 3rd largest city of Korea, Daegu, student representatives celebrated our cultural diversity through the two themes of the camp: Music & Food!
Note: Most photos in this post are taken from my Thai friend, Zadine's facebook album. Thank you for the awesome coverage!
The amount of youth energy bursting from my fellow participants was just amazing. Never have I met so many people from ASEAN countries and Korea, let alone undergraduates from my generation!
We spent the first two days giving presentations on our countries, with many of them wearing their colourful traditional costumes!
For the music theme, we got hands-on introduction to traditional Korean instruments, as well as enjoyed jaw-dropping performances by the multi-national musical group, HATA. Made up of musicians from Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Turkey, Uzbekistan and India, they even gave us coaching on their specialised instruments!
Why stop at playing instruments? Let's make them! With guidance from our Korean instructor, we made our very own percussion instruments from seemingly trash that you would throw out without blinking. Oozing with creativity, we managed to put together a percussion piece at the end of the camp!
As for the food theme, we visited the hypermart chain, E-mart, to get our ingredients for two days of cooking! Here's a little fact I discovered:
If you watch Korean dramas, you will know how much they value beef and keep the prized meat for special occasions. But did you know that top-graded local beef is even more expensive than imported USDA and Wagyu beef? And its not as if the imports are cheap in the first place!
For the first cooking session, each team was given a recipe for a traditional Korean dish. My team had the opportunity to prepare Chap Chye, a kind of cold-served glass noodles in a colourful mix of vegetables, sliced meat and drizzled in sesame oil. Even the Koreans said it tasted authentic!
The second cooking session required each country to prepare our speciality dishes for dinner! Vietnamese spring rolls, Laos Beef Noodles, everyone was set to impress! Till now I'm still darn amazed at how our Thai counterparts carved out pretty decorations on-the-spot to go with their equally good Tom Yum Soup and Green Curry Chicken!
What about the Singaporeans? Okay I admit, we cheated. With Prima Taste pre-mix packs that is. As Team Singapore only got a half-past-six food club president and a wrong-skills-here pastry chef, we tried our best to whip up Laksa and Chili Crab Pasta for everyone! Might not be close to your Long Beach or Katong Laksa, but we were glad that the flavours turned out pretty fine and were well-received by our friends! Never throw face ah!
On certain days, we also left the campsite to explore historical grounds and downtown of Daegu, more about that in upcoming posts!
Although the trip concluded more than 3 months ago, every bit of it continued to linger in my memories as fresh as ever. The countless friends we met, the meaningful bonds we formed and the fabulous moments we shared are one hell of an experience that are impossible to forget. Harmony of Asia? You bet!
Apparently, the camp was major enough to be featured by several Korean television programmes. Here's one of them that my Korean friend recorded, covering pretty much what we did for the entire camp. Psst, I got my 20 seconds of fame at 6:05! Any kind soul willing to help me translate my subtitles? Although I was pretty much talking in circles. Nervous la.
Here's another one that showed our percussion piece! You might have to like HATA's page to view it!