Thursday, December 19, 2013

AFSTRI's 2013 Cultural Night

If Phileas Fogg went around the world in 80 days in Jules Verne's novel, the Association of Fellows, Scholars, Trainees, and Residents at IRRI (AFSTRI) took the audience around the world in three hours through song, dance, and poetry during the annual Cultural Night. I'd normally come in quietly and just watch from the comfort of one if the seats at the Havener Auditorium; however, Ando, AFSTRI's current president, assigned me as one of the masters of ceremonies that night. I was co-hosting with Man. I sighed... I wouldn't be taking photos then.

But despite being backstage most of the time, talking with participants about last-minute changes to their presentations and our impromptu spiels, Man and I did enjoy the co-hosting gig. Since the theme was "A Night Around the World", we thought it might be good to ask the audience to sit back, relax, and fasten their seat belts; this was going to be a zip through the globe.
And what a fast trip it was: Five continents. Fifteen countries. Three hours. While short, that trip allowed the audience to catch a glimpse of the vibrant cultures around the world.

For me (who only watched some presentations), my favorite bits were the dance by Vietnamese scholars (they always have the most choreographically complicated routines), the "Dinner for One" skit by the German contingent, and the traditional and the modern songs performed by a Spanish student. Here's a video (from YouTube) of the tv version of "Dinner for One":

(I'm putting it here so that I can watch it on New Year's Eve, as is tradition in Germany, according to the performers)

What made this year's Cultural Night unique is the intermission: Man and I conducted a human auction -- we "sold" the (legally allowed) services of eight members of AFSTRI to raise funds for a scholarship. In total, the generous audience donated more than P10,000! I'm looking forward to hear what food the AFSTRI members cooked and where they conducted their hikes and tours.

Til the next year's Cultural Night! :D