The dignitaries and the judges at the reading contest – A traditional dancer.
30 May 2007 – Wednesday
We spent the day judging a newspaper reading contest at a Muslim highschool. Our friends Agus and Catherin teach English there and they had been asked to judge but they felt having a couple of Bulais to do it instead would be good. They also recruited an Indonesian sister – who’s name I will have to fill in later – to be the third judge. Her husband and her had served as mission president here, they had lived in Hawaii for 6 years, and she teaches and tutors students to pass the TOEFL test. She has also judge this type of contest before.
This is really a big deal in Indonesia. There were 9 or 10 schools represented for a total of 23 readers. They each had 5 minutes to read an recent article from the Jakarta Post. They were given their choice of 5 articles to read. They were supposed to be TV news anchors. When I realized that this was going to take 2 hours of listening I was not really excited, but surprisingly it went quite fast and if we could have shut down the music it would have been even more enjoyable than it was. We judge them on performance and fluency – how they presented themselves and how they read.
I thought this would be very difficult but once we had heard 2 of them we had a pretty good idea as to what we were going to hear and see. The quality varied greatly but as I later told the participants they were all winners just for taking part. Choosing the winners turned out to be easy because we added up the three judges score. While we each used different scale of numbers, we came very close to agreeing on who were the best. The young lady who won was first on mine and the other sister’s list and Mary gave her 2nd place. We had her first place as our 2nd place.
After they had all read we went back to the office and Agus and Catherin totaled the scores while the judges talked about what points I – I was the chief judge over the nation of judges (we are in that period in the Kitab Mormon) – would mention to the group before announcing the winners. The main one was to read slower, learn to break the sentences into more interesting segments but to be sure to at least pause for punctuation. Also that wanted was not want – ted.
When we came back out to the performance area, some students were putting on a traditional Indonesian dance. This one told the story of a dispute between some rich men and some poor men over the affections of some women. Unfortunately we did not get back in time to see the first part but what we saw was very good. The students had great fun and the story ends with the chief – who was disguised as a maiden – reveals his true identity and makes the two sides make up. I got some of it on video but only a small portion.
I got to speak to the contestants and then stand on the stage and announce the winners. We thought there were only 3 winners but it turned out there were actually 4 prizes given. So after giving out the 3rd and 2nd place trophies I had to go back and give out the 4th place. The trophies were very big and gaudy but very light – they are plastic. The first three winners not only got trophies but also digital cameras – donated by someone I met but do not have any idea of what or who they were. The winner also gets a four foot trophy for their school. I am in many, many pictures with the winners – maybe I will see myself in the paper.
They treated us as very special guests. Thanking us a half dozen times – and with me thanking them for the honor of being judges. When we left they gave us lunch and some beautiful fruit baskets. We did not eat the food because Agus and Catherin insisted on taking us out for lunch. Of course this meant we had to drive back to Tangerang – we were in the car for a total of 4 ½ hours toda – to their area. We had a very nice and delicious lunch at a place in the mall. It was not expensive but the food was very good and just enough to fill me up.
We left the apartment at 7:30 a.m. and arrived home at 6:00 p.m. Strangely enough I was tired but not as exhausted as I was on Monday. We watched a little T.V., read from the Kitab Mormon, and then I read from the D&C before turning off the light on a very different but good day. The only down side was that we did not do anything about getting ready for the class that will start tomorrow night.