Culture Lab : Sarah Tang, a student in engineering, relates her Culture Lab experience in Vichy
Sarah Tang, a student who recently graduated from Nanyang Technological University, has been invited by the French Institute of Singapore to go to France. She shares with us her experience of the Culture Lab session « Democracy and Human Rights » that took place in Vichy from July, 1st to July, 14th 2012.
René Samuel Cassin once said: «There will be no peace on this planet as long as human rights are violated somewhere in the world».
I cannot agree more – that the subject of democracy and human rights is fundamentally so important to the progress of the society, and this is also the reason that I signed up for the programme.
And what better place to study and explore this issue radically, but in France - the birthplace of «Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen» in the spirit of the French Revolution, in the spirit of fighting radically for human rights.
Indeed, right in the heart of France in a small town in Vichy – I witnessed the greatest display of courage in the July 10 ceremony held at l’Opera Vichy to honour “Les Quatre-Vingts” who bravely voted against the constitutional change to establish an authoritarian regime alongside Nazi Germany. Even 73 years long after the WWII, we encountered citizens - young and old alike, huddling under umbrellas in the heavy rainstorm to be part of this meaningful ceremony.
Evidently, this was a group of people who strongly believed in what the ceremony signified - the courage to fight against all odds (yes, even against Nazi Germany) and stand up for the right for democracy.
And that moved me deeply. I was reminded again on how fundamentally important democracy and human rights is to keep the integrity of a society intact. One must admit that democracy and human rights has always been a difficult issue. As a group of people from different countries and different culture that came together to discuss this difficult topic, it was obvious soon enough that the slight nuances and the slight differences can cause the greatest debates and even conflicts. In one of the sessions however, we went back to basics. We were given an assignment to describe the Declaration of Human Rights to children - and it was then that we realized that regardless of how difficult and complicated the issue is, there remains fundamental desires to have rights, dignity and respect – and this is consistent across race, religion and nationality.
The students of the Culture Lab session "Democracy and Human Rights", with Sarah Tang on the right
The workshop reignited in me this courage to dream – to dream for a world without frontiers, against all odds and against all difficulties. As part of the workshop, we were asked to write a poem on our dream and I shall conclude here by presenting it.
Je rêve d’un monde sans frontières entre les gens
Où l’espace entre les gens disparaitrait
Où l’amour dissoudrait les piliers métalliques
Et étrangers deviendraient des amies
De voir un monde sans discrimination
Où il existe les différences
Mais il n’existe pas les conflits
Où Noir – c’est une couleur comme Blanc
Mais un rêve – il existe comme un rêve
Jusqu’au on va vers-le
Alors, rêvez ; croyiez et allez !
Visit Sarah Tang and the group’s blog by clicking on the following link:
The group has also contributed to Canal Académie: