Germaine aims to be an all-rounder

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The room lights up when she walks in. This 13-year-old is cheery, positive and chatty and takes part in … everything!

This year, Germaine Soo was in her school’s musical, on the debate team, a writing programme and is still involved in a project for gender equality.

Here’s what she has to say about trying out every activity she is interested in:

“I have constantly wondered about the direction I should take, worrying that the activities I choose may not always be the best for me. Finally, I thought of a solution. If all the programmes and activities I choose are all-rounded, what’s there to worry about? Moreover, isn’t it better to live your life to its fullest, rather than allow half its potential to go to waste? After all you only live once, right?

“So I’ve been joining numerous activities. This year, I played Brigitta Von Trapp in my school’s The Sound of Music production. I was surprised to get such an important role. The only reason I auditioned was because I love drama. In fact, I’ve been in the school musical for three years straight! Along with the drama crew, I practised for half a year for the four shows. I was still a bit hesitant as I was not confident of my singing. But with the help of my singing coach in school, I made it!

“I am also involved in a project funded by (social enterprise company) Leaderonomics to promote gender inequality. I believe that society should not dictate the activities you choose to participate in. For example, a boy can dance ballet as much as a girl can play football. The project involves a one-day experiment where boys and girls exchange lives and dress as the opposite gender with the objective of raising awareness that both genders are equal. To further entrench the point, the experiences of the participants and their feedback is recorded, and this video will thereafter be used to promote our gender inequality campaign.

“Another activity I took part in was the ‘World Scholar’s Cup’ supported by Yale University. Our school selects people to take part. It’s a competition which includes competing against people from around the globe in areas such as debating, writing and general knowledge. Our team actually qualified for the championship round in Yale University (Tournament of Champions), however we decided not to go in the end.

“In addition, I will be going to Tokyo Chiba Prefectural High School for a learning trip and an art expo at the end of this year with local artist Jane Yap. I have been going to her for art classes since I was eight because art has always been my passion!

“From last year, I started attending a debate class at the Malaysian Institute for Debate and Public Speaking (MIDP). Even though it isn’t one of my strong points, I still decided to do it as I believe debating will play a very important role in my future.

“I am also involved in the Junior Writers Programme organised by writer-editor-trainer Brigitte Rozario (founder-editor of Thots n Tots). I joined because of my love for writing and because I wanted to improve this skill. Thanks to the help of my teacher, my story, along with those of the 19 other participants, will be published in a book at the end of this year.

“Sure, it may be fun and exciting to join these numerous activities, however I also have to take academics into consideration. That is why I would do my revision with any time available. Sometimes, it’s tiring to participate in so many activities at once. So, my advice is to have a balance in your life. Rest is equally important as work, and always do the things you enjoy the most, making the best of it.”