There was a hint of pride in the air around SAI International School as the children bustled about preparing for their Independence Day celebrations this weekend. But in addition to their Indian celebrations on 15 August 2009, students had been learning about, and preparing for, a special day of South Korean culture to be held on 14 August 2009 in the school.
Korea finally gained independence from Japan who had ruled the country since 1910 when the Japanese unconditionally surrendered to the allied forces on 13 August 1945. For political reasons the first President of Korea, Mr Syngman Rhee, chose 15 August as the official date of independence and it has remained so for the last 64 years.
As we have a number of Korean children studying here at SAI International School it was a wonderful opportunity for all the students to learn about their history and culture to help them understand a little more about their Korean classmates. The whole school from Class I to Class XI took part in a mixed media art competition on the theme ‘Independence’ with the best of the entries being used for the exhibitions to be held that week. Children sat at tables or squatted on the floor, surrounded by paints, brushes and other artist materials and diligently painted, glued, glittered and coloured their artwork to ensure completion in the one hour allotted to them. South Korean flags and the Indian tricolor lay side by side as each child allowed their creative energies to flow through their fingers to the paper in front of them.
Meanwhile, the teachers were guiding their students in preparing collages of comparative studies of the two countries and their struggle for independence. The children researched and learned about the national symbols of each country from the significance of the flags to the national tree, flower and emblem. It was quite surprising to learn both countries share the majestic tiger as their national animal and made their bond of friendship seem a little stronger. Sion Yang and Hye-Ree Sung of Class VI loaned a number of items to the school for the exhibition as a newspaper, coins, flags and books in Korean print. Dolls in traditional dress, fans, chopsticks, music, masks and carved wooden artwork added to the South Korean flavour and the finishing touch was a beautiful hand-painted silk hanbok, a traditional dress of Korea, gifted to the school by Hye-Ree Sung.