Last December, ExtraOrdinary Horizons went overseas upon the invitation to perform at the ASEAN Festival of Disabled Artists 2014 in Myanmar as our second achievement. Lily was excited to represent Singapore for the first time to showcase unique deaf performing arts in percussion and song-signing.
Organised by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement and Myanmar Independent Living Initiative (MILI), the ASEAN Festival of Disabled Artists 2014 was the first festival for people with disabilities in Asia to present their different performing arts forms & styles, ranging among music and dance. Also, the visual arts exhibits were showcased. It was proudly supported by the Japan-based Nippon Foundation. Many participants in 10 countries and 168 artists with disabilities attended the festival for 7 days.
On the first day, Lily and her volunteer-friend, Aaron arrived at Yangon, Myanmar. They received a warm welcome with open arms from two staff. They were then brought to the Yangon International Hotel for rest. The next day, they visited the Mary Chapman School of Deaf that is located quite near to the hotel. There were a lot of interaction between them and deaf students. If time allowed, Lily wished she could share her inspiring experiences with their deaf peers. She hoped they will never give up on achieving their dreams.
Lily performed at the Opening Ceremony that was held at the Myanmar International Convention Centre (2) in Naypyidaw on 3 December 2014. Its opening ceremony was the most important event to MILI! It aimed at changing perceptions on disabled and promoting awareness on their amazing arts.
She went to meet the group of Deaf drummers from the Nippon Taiko Foundation. They were delighted to meet again for the second time. Before this festival, they met in Cambodia for the SPOTLIGHT – an Asian Festival of Inclusive Arts in 2008.
At Yangon, the festival continued on 5 December 2014 to celebrate the abilities of the disabled. She performed several items in mallet percussion (xylophone) and song-signing: Flight of the Bumblebee, Happy Mallets, Alla Turca, Crying in the Rain, Let It Go (Deaf Version). The closing ceremony marked the success of the festival on 7 December 2014. The MILI was greatly applauded for their hard work, courage and grit, despite their small number of staff working for this festival. Amazingly, it was their first time making it happen!