The most valuable was the opportunity to mix with people of diverse backgrounds and countries – wider circles that I normally interact with – and the resulting ‘exercise’ and experience in understanding and acceptance, also to agree to disagree at times. It gave me the opportunity to think in different ways – broader, as per a more ‘academic framework’ – that is, not only of thesis or antithesis but also synthesis.
Although I am not in touch with the Fellows of my year on a frequent basis, whenever we do get in touch, I feel a lasting bond of understanding and camaraderie.
(I also met my partner in Tokyo and we recently celebrated our 10th anniversary!)
My experience of the ALFP made me more open-minded, less cynical!
At the time, I was ‘mid-way’ through (and rather exhausted from) a career in three parts – arts and culture (I had my own production company in theatre, television and publications), media (I was a newsreader and journalist) and NGO (I had volunteered with several NGOs for women’s rights and had been working with an NGO providing information, counseling, and treatment re HIV and AIDS)
The ALFP effectively rejuvenated my spirits to continue working in these areas (not to specialize in one) and to apply different ideas.
The ALFP experience also inspired me to improve my skills in research methodology – not for academic purposes so much as generally, in terms of integrity: how does one go about to research something? I had also always wanted to learn more about science, having gone down the ‘arts route’ early in my childhood education. I subsequently applied for and completed an MSc in History of Science, Medicine and Technology at the University of Oxford. I do believe my experience of the ALFP helped to substantiate my application and prepared me for the course. (While at the University, I received a Domus Merit Award scholarship.)
Today, ten years after the ALFP, I am still writing about ‘favourite themes’ and doing what I can in terms of parallel or follow-up action. While there is some uncertainty as to what to do next in terms of the most desirable impact given limited time, I look back at my time at the ALFP as an especial experience. (In fact, I must be getting sentimental for I even look fondly upon the legendary I-House breakfast!)
I whole-heartedly recommend the ALFP program to applicants.
Head of iris PR,
Artistic Director of Kuali Works
|Ms. Lee is a writer, editor, director, lecturer, and co-founder of Kuali Works theatre, television and publishing. She has written/co-written several acclaimed and award-winning plays, and performed at such venues at the Asian Monodrama Festival and the New York International Fringe Festival. She has worked closely with arts practitioners, organizations and sponsors in Southeast Asia to facilitate a broad arts practice and appreciation. She also writes short stories and essays as published in 8 March: The Day Malaysia Woke Up (Marshall Cavendish) and Sex, Stage & State (Kuali Works). A career in advertising and strategic communications has seen her write campaigns for products and issues ranging from shampoo and shoes to the environment and South Africa’s first democratic elections. She is also an immediate past trustee of the Asia Pacific Council of AIDS Service Organisations (APCASO).|