Monday, June 09, 2008

my turkish adventures: turkish language olympics (part 2)

Casts of the Turkish Tv show 'Hakkini Helal Et'
Half of the 7000 crowd that I sang to

That's me singing :)

Being cornered by 'fans' asking for MSN adds

'world choir' during the finals

Posing with Malaysian flag with the host of the finals

Us with the main actor of 'hakkini helal et'

The empty seats in the Gaziantep stadium before the show

Once you join the Turkish Language Olympics you will be treated like a mini superstar and you will be even more famous in Turkey than you are in your own country. Almost all Turks who knew you were a participant of the competition would want a photograph with you and yeah, by the end of the competition most of our muscles were strained because of all the smilings

The Olympics received huge publicity that we were in newspapers and on the tv every single day of the competition. Even I had a fair chance of being on Turkish tv and newspapers. During the finals I was singing in the 'world choir' and close to 8000 people attended the finals in Istanbul and at the same time the event was shown live on Turkish national tv as well as 24 other European countries. Cool, huh? We sang about 6 songs, all in Turkish of course and I never had so much fun in my life.

Singing in front of 8000 people was something surreal but being backstage and getting to know different people from different cultures was equally exciting. I became closer to the participants when we were waiting backstage while watching the finals onstage through the television.

Oh and Sakinah, Isil, Sumeyra and I even made an appearance in one of Turkish's tv show called 'Hakkini Helal Et'. We were acting as Mongolians participants of the competition. We met up with the cast of the show which was really cool.

The fame and popularity we got in Turkey was....unbeliavable, to say the least. There was this one time where some of us were invited to a cafe in the hotel and we were seating in a row and all these Turks were looking at us like we were some kind of unknown species. It got a lil scary but then they started making conversations with us, trying to get to know us and our countries. While we were on our way to Istanbul from Ankara we stopped by Sakarya for lunch. I thought we were just grabbing a quick lunch and then would continue our trip to Istanbul.

There was lunch, alright...with another 600 local people! School kids and local people came to one of the high schools and met up with the rest of the participants while we were trying to eat lunch. But they were all very friendly and nice people so I didn't really mind eating my lunch while being asked to take photographs and chit-chatting in Turkish.

After Istanbul, the Malaysian team as well as 7 other countries were sent to Gaziantep, like I mentioned before 'home of baklava' and the best place to get the dessert. When we arrived at the airport, reporters and cameramen were already waiting for us and they even played Turkish music to celebrate our arrival. After that we were taken on tour around the city of Gaziantep on buses and the buses were honking along the way and we were supposed to wave to the passers-by like we were some kind of superstars. Lol.

The next day we met up with the Governor of Gaziantep and I 'bodek' him a little when he asked me what do u like most about Turkey. I told him 'Istanbul and GAZIANTEP'. And he started to give me a wide smile, "Oh thank you. Istanbul is very nice but traffic jam is really bad there. Gaziantep is more peaceful and quite." Ok, governor. Well, he was right actually but between Istanbul and Gaziantep, I like Istanbul more 'cause I'm a city girl, you know. ;)

On our last night in Gaziantep I was asked to perform my 'Sahit Olsun' song but I didn't expect to perform in front of 7000 people in a stadium!!! But I had to do what I had to do. We went shopping during the day and I was actually more worried about my voice rather than the 7000 audience 'cause I sounded really tired. And it was at night so I couldn't really see the crowd thus my nerve was at an optimum level.

After singing my song, I heard loud applauses from the crowd and people backstage was like 'cok harika!' and 'cok guzel!' which meant 'very good and excellent'. Performing in front of 7000 people in a stadium while being viewed live on local tv? I'd never done anything like this before in my life. But thanks to Turkish Language Olympics I was given the chance to be like 'Celine Dion' for awhile. Haha right.

Another post on the way!

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