Monday, July 14, 2008

Oldtime Penpals vs this Programme

Yes...that's what everyone who is involved in this exchange Programme seems to be saying. I can't blame them for feeling this way.
I did ask some of the kids and even some parents I spoke with...all felt that the experience and exposure for both sides is invaluable. Over the last month or so since Wuhan, the kids on both sides have grown very closed...even the parent hosts felt it too!
People of my generation would recall this...when we were still in school, back in the '6o's, most of us had pen-pals.
Pen-pals are friends made through letter writing. Some may be in Singapore while others were mostly in foreign countries.
Despite such long distance friendships, we were always waiting with great anticipation and excitement for the arrival of the next letter. Most of us never, ever met our foreign penpal in person, only through photos. But still the friendship that developed can be deep and intense.
Some penpals grew so close they even got married to each other later on in their life.
But...Exchange Programmes such as this, as well as the internet connections worldwide, have more or less dealt a death blow to the once upon a time sweet culture of penpal friendship.
Nothing beats making friends and being with a friend in person, face to face.

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