A bit of history since I have the time. SI.com, obviously a name borrowing of the famous #singapore_indians channel on Galaynet in mIRC which is still active, was meant to follow the footsteps of anakmelayu.com [a million dollar revenue drawing site] by the same creators but has since hit the doldrums and functions like a Friendster-esque pick up joint. I mean why pay cover charge and polish up your pick up lines at the clubs when you can just type one standard cheesy message and Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V it to a hundred different people. [Possible post on the levels of un-intellectual bombardment a female can receive in the near future]
There you have it. The story of a site gone wrong. Unless of course this was some devious Machiavellian plot and this was HOW the site was supposed to work out, as planned.
The crux of my point here is, surprise surprise, nothing to do with Dhool, it's components or aftermath. Rather, let's for a moment focus on the way Yindians answer to interviews.
Somewhere deep down in our genetics, we are all born story tellers. Rajini in Baasha says "Tamizhan vaayeh moodinaal, sethu poiruvaan" [An indian would die if he had to shut his mouth]. Thus, more often than not, interviews with Yindian people rarely are short of penning down the Mahabharata all over again.
Kollywood and Bollywood personalities have learnt over time that it is downright foolish to answer what one really thinks or to answer too much. The Yindian tabloids can be much more cruel than the paparazzi of US/UK whom we are well accustomed to. It has become a necessity if you are in the media world to let your publicist guide your movements and what comes out of your mouth.
Need proof? Indian Movie News used to publish long, beat around the "aala maram" interviews. Now, times have changed and staccato answers are what rule the day. Also, how many times have you caught yourself watching/reading an interview and going "NNB, don't bluff me la. What you really mean to say was...". Get my drift?
We review these Yindians' interview techniques and what WE thought they really meant. Reproduced here with NO paragraphing [to prove their story telling skills] and alignment editing; the words weren't touched. From the same team that brought you their first podcast. O Level students, take note, major summary techniques coming up.
Q. What's the difference between the previous dance groups from NUS and the one which rocked the stage for Dhool 2007?
A. NUS had dance groups like Minnal, Puyal and Sulzhal in the past years. Their dance style was modern folk and we wanted to be different from them. We experimented with dance steps from Paso Doble, Salsa, Jazz and Ballet. Our aim was to be unique which ultimately led us to victory.
What we understood: You won cos you were unique.
Q. Who came up with the choreography for Vidiyal? Who was the brain behind those beautiful dance performances?
A. Everyone's ideas came up together for the choreography. Some of us had dance backgrounds which came in handy. Choosing the right song took us a week sometimes and we would then research about the song and discuss which dance style would be the most suitable for it. We took every step seriously and eight of us played together to achieve what we did.
What we understood: 8 people "play" is better than 1 brain. Always approach a dance choreography like you would a Social Studies project. Research and Discussion. R & D.
Q. Costumes play an important part in standing out from other dance groups. In our opinion you did a great job. Did you get any help from any fashion designers?
A. Well, once we came up with songs and steps, our next task was to design the costumes. We chose colours which would be unique and also used printed materials which helped us to stand out from the other teams. We found that some groups didn't co-ordinate their costumes with their performance. We made sure we didn't do the mistake of making no sense; dressing in costumes that didn't have any connection to the song selected.
What we understood: Story has begun [Re: Well..... costumes]. Not answering to the question. Comprehension skills fail. Also, they managed to make "sense" as opposed to other groups' "no sense".
Q. In our Indian society, a lot of parents find that it's a waste of time for their children to take up dance. But you, NUS students, the supposed “nerds” of Singapore , how did you manage to convince your parents to allow you to join Dhool? What would you like to say to parents who have children who want to take up dancing?
A. When we named our group Vidiyal, we had a reason for adding the letters “NUS” to it. We wanted to show the society that we are not your regular bookworm or "Padikara Jathi" (Studying Caste). We enjoy to dance and we believe that every Indian out there love to dance too. When we entered this competition, we had the chance to prove that we could handle both studies and perform well in other activities without losing focus. Parents have to support and educate their children on what is important. It's a two way process for the youngsters too. If you want to dance, show that your attention doesn't waver from your studies. Prove to them that you can prioritise appropriately. In fact our parents turned up during rehearsals and gave us pointers and comments on how to improve our dance.
What we understood: We are made aware of another caste in the multitude of castes that actually exist. The main reason for joining Dhool was NOT for the prize money or for fame etc. , rather to SHOW that one can dance and study. How noble.
Q. As full time students, how did you manage both your studies and dance practices? We heard that you guys had exams the following day after the finals, how did you cope?
A. All of us submitted our timetables to our leader to come up with a comfortable schedule. Our practice times were kept at a constant 6 – 9 pm. Before the finals our passion took over and we sometimes stayed overnight to practice. We played games to keep ourselves awake and alert during the break times. Although we were pushing ourselves for victory on the other hand we always kept reminding ourselves that we had to study at the same time.
What we understood: Every team needs a leader. The leader needs to be good at timetabling.
Q. Did you feel intimidated competing against well known names like Triadic and Acidhouz?
A. We knew we were competing against those who already have a strong following and reputation as good dance groups, and this made us push ourselves harder. We made sure we did different moves and constantly tried to challenge ourselves to do something different. We set our own standard and tried to break it each time. In this sense, we considered ourselves our biggest opponents.
What we understood: Firstly, obviously research error. Triadiac was not a well known name before Dhool. What we inferred from this answer though, is that, the other opponents are just not "opponent" enough as themselves. Thus, the cliched "Conquer yourself to conquer your enemies" Kungfu line emerges.
Q. Plenty of people out there claim that NUS Vidiyal won due to favourtism. What do you have to say about this whole controversy?
A. There will always be rumours that any winning team had some help to gain that position. Seriously we are tired of explaining this to everyone. There is no chance to have any influence on our winning due the reason that sms voting were audited by the officials and accounted for and was tabulated few mines away before the prizes were given out. The criteria to win Dhool 2007: 60% judges and 40% SMS votes. We did our part by sending mass emails to our family and friends to support us. What people out there fail to realise is that, they could've helped the teams they were supporting if they had sent in their votes as well. And if they feel that the winning was based solely on sms votes, then the winning positions would not be at all like what we have right now. We also believe that the judges should have acted professionally and saved their integrity by not giving comments after the show. They were given a time and a place to comment and we feel that it's unfair to say something after the show that contradicts with what they said during the show. These comments give a bad name to the production companies and broadcasting channels. The public should be aware that the teams are only there to dance and win the competition, and that we do not wish to create and controversies at all. Ultimately at the end of the day, the winners are still the winners.
What we understood: When one is defensive, one talks a lot to defend. If your head is not exploding at reading such a large amount of unparagraphed text you would have realized that judge Selva isn't exactly Mr. Professional and Mr. Popular in their opinion. Also, Megastar and Vasantham have since suffered a "lose face" scenario, due to Selva, in the humble opinion of Vidiyal.
Q. Did any dance groups have any misunderstanding backstage? Was there any drama?
A. We found that the other dance groups behaved very professionally. They were supportive and encouraging everyone backstage. We found a lot of spirit among our fellow competitors. There wasn't any enmity amongst us at all. We supported each other and sometimes even shared our make up.
What we understood: Sharing M.A.C. is equivalent to support.
Q. Some people we know have lucky pens, socks and even undergarments. Did Vidiyal have anything like that? What was your good luck charm? How did you boost your morale before each performance?
A. Well, despite being from different religious backgrounds, we all held hands and said a prayer. One thing that could be considered our good luck charm could be at the end of the day, we all huddled together, joined hands and cheered ourselves by saying “Vidiyal”. Whoever was there joined us, it was not restricted to only the team members. This not only could be considered our good luck charm, but it also helped to boost our morale. When we were performing, we knew that we were not only doing it for ourselves but also for our family, friends and supporters.
What we understood: Nothing really, we were busy reminiscing about our Sec 1 orientation camp, school cheers and mass dances.
Q. What changes do you all want to find in the upcoming Dhool completion? Do you have any suggestions that you wish would be introduced in the upcoming competitions?
A. Well there were already many changes in this Dhool in comparison to the previous ones. Hopefully we'd be able to have a better concrete identity for Dhool. Don't be known simply as an Indian dance competition, but a competition where teams are able to gain exposure. Not only in Vasantham, but maybe on Suriya or the main channel such as channel 5 for that matter. We however, feel that maybe they could've improved with the choice of judges who were there. We felt that they had judges with mostly classical backgrounds, which can be considered a down point for the groups who had a mostly hip hop or modern dance background. Next, we hope that the judges would be more constructive with their criticisms and instead of just saying that they wanted to see something new, they could've also told us what styles they were expecting from us. Certain groups were very good at a particular style of dance, which is their plus point. Expecting them to dance something out of their comfort zone would be unfair to them. Another thing that they can do to improve the competition could be to maybe have an agreement with another channel, and make it a truly Singaporean event and have a cross channel show. And a suggestion to our Indian teams would be that, do not stay only in Dhool. Venture out and try to gain a stand in other dance competitions. Make Singaporeans be aware that there is a Indian dance team who can do what you do best.
What we understood:
a. Choice of judges suck
b. Judges don't talk sense
c. Cross channel what??!? I think this brainstorming session needs to end soon.
d. Teams should venture to other competitions too to show the "Indian" infusion. So, Vidiyal is joining The Dance Floor next season?
Pardon the slicing and dicing. Our inner children were inspired by the return of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Fret not. Did you really think we were going to let you read a serious, expository discussion by us and not lead you on to controversy? After reading the published text, some SI.com readers got on the comment bandwagon [what here at KLKillahs we all know too well].
The Dumb Ones
Uma Devi: I think its unfair judgement..i noe NUS vidayal dance perform was nice. but shld given others a chance as NUS as been getting 1st prize for pass yrs. i guess so. every team shld given a chance every year.. [Comment mirrored by Sugar Gurl too]
Right, I think we should just let Liverpool win the EPL since they haven't done so for many years.
Maya M: ...But then again, how can the Indian society allow another team to outshine NUS when they wanna paint a false picture that only the Local University students are ideal.... How can one blame them, when the Indian society is nothing but full of false ideals and status!
A nationally televised competition is actually a conspiracy theory to cement NUS as the elitists of society. A bit too far fetched even by our imaginative standards.
The Angsty Ones
Selvam S: Yanisha , who the hell let you out of Woodbridge? Maybe the warden should lock you back in and throw the keys away. Bottom line is NUS's victory, if thats what you want to call it, is ill deserved. Nothing has changed in the last decade . I have observed many a times when the "popular" school walks way with the trophy instead of the true winners. I guess we should really point our machetes at the judges who belong to the group of Indian scumbags with warped perceptions, ensuring the " popular" school never loses to the "otherwise". As long as these roaches and the machinations are allowed to endure, we will never see the true spirit of competition come to form. Judges, you truly are a disgrace. NUS, stop patting yourself on the back. You didn't win anything. Yanisha, go back to your cell.
We're extremely sorry your extreme displeasure with the Singapore Education system and the education divide has made you want to place a link from it to any competition you come across and the winners are not to your liking.
Rekha [of the interview team]: This comment page is beginning to bore me. Acidhouz and Diversity fans, I would like to say one thing to all of you. I am VERY VERY happy that NUS Vidiyal won the competition. They were available for an interview that very weekend. However, Acidhouz confirmed and canceled times, BLOODY TIMES! We have given up trying to contact them. Diversity, they were supposedly too shy to contact us, but not shy to prance around on stage in clothes with holes cut out.*shakes her head* NUS Vidiyal may not be the best dance group out there, but I assure you, those guys are the best ones that I contacted for an interview. BTW, I am sure they are having fun with all that prize and money whilst you guys whine about how other groups should've won. In my opinion, the best men, in this case, best men and women, DID win.
Whereabouts do we go to find good journalism when even the interviewers can't be objective? Likening not agreeing to an interview to the clothes people wear? Are you even aware of the lack of logic in your statement?
Back to where to get good objective, in your face, reports on all the happenings in the local Yindian scene: The KLKillahs of course.
Still, in a final look back, perhaps Dhool didn't deliver all that we wanted them to. Before, during and definitely AFTER the competition. But there always is one whipping horse that reminds us that there are lower levels to hit. We hope they win big in Pradana Vizha just to prove that bad programming can make it big. Hurrah for the underdogs!
singapore indians, nus vidiyal, miss vasantham, dhool
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