Today in school we had our Hari Raya Assembly, followed by a shared snack. The children - and staff - were encouraged to either wear traditional Malay costume or to wear green, the colour of Hari Raya. I managed both! I had bought some lovely fabric recently and decided to get my own 'baju' made. There are many little tailors shops dotted around here, and I have happened upon a great one very close to where we live. He's called Mahirah and is an elderly Malay gentleman. He speaks very little English, and I speak virtually no Malay, but we manage to communicate through mime and drawing pictures - and lots of laughter! He charged me a mere $20 to make the baju - that's about 10 pounds, amazing value.
The top is made from embroidered Thai silk, and the skirt is some kind of silky fabric.
The whole of the Primary School came into assembly (we're usually split into KS1 and KS2 as there's so many of us) and it looked so fabulously bright and colourful with everyone gathered together.
We were treated to traditional Malay drumming and dancing from some of the secondary students (the school takes children from Pre-Kindergarten to age 18).
There were also performances of Hari Raya songs from the Primary Choir and some other soloists.
Then it was back to our classrooms for our shared snack.
The children had all been asked to bring in food to share... and they certainly rose to the challenge! I have never seen so much food in one classroom. Here's just a small selection, including some of the vividly-coloured cake you see so often here:
Later in the morning we were back in the school hall, this time with all of the Secondary classes too..! This was where we really started to regret the fact that the school hall has no air-conditioning - no walls either, come to think of it - only a few fans. This assembly was to launch our official Eco-year which we hope will culminate in the school becoming the first International School in the world to be awarded the prestigious 'Green Flag Award'. The school (International School Brunei) already has a good record of environmental work - impressive in a country where there seems to be relatively little awareness of these issues. However this year, lead by our eco-teams, we'll be taking several projects forward (including 'Million Trees', beach clean-ups, recycling, etc) and also raising awareness of the plight of the Proboscis Monkey which is only found on the island of Borneo but currently endangered due to the destruction of its Mangrove-Swamp habitat.
The assembly was attended by the British High Commissioner who unveiled our new school logo in honour of our environmental work and our efforts for the Green Flag Award:
It wasn't a day where we got much work done in the classroom (my class were so upset that we didn't have time for our spelling test...) but it gave the children plenty of food for thought (not to mention food to eat!).