• An open letter to UIPS Dubai



    Dear UIPS Foundation Day Committee (if there is such),

    Congrats on your 27th Foundation Day. Thank you again for inviting us, parents, to witness our children's fantastic performances. We appreciate that.

    I personally like the concept of "Earth, we're in it together" by the Grade 1 pupils. It gave me an opportunity to let my daughter further understand the message of the song. Kudos to the teachers! It's not easy to mobilize 300 playful kids in a big stage yet you did. Salute to the parents for the showcase of creativity with the costumes.

    We left the gym smiling, amidst quite a chaos.

    Wait what, chaos? The foundation day became a 'frustration' day to many.

    When you invite guests into your house for a party, would you let them feel uncomfortable or irritated? Would you just let them on their own? Would you SCOLD at them because you cannot control their excitement to have fun?

    This morning, we reached school five before 9 because we were instructed to be there between 9 and 10. Apparently, it was too early. We were told that we can roam around first and then bring the kids back to their room by 11. Their performance is scheduled at 12. Since we live nearby, we decided to go home and come back later - it's weekend.

    I brought my daughter back before 11. 11:30ish, we were told that Grade 1 kids are already lined up outside, heading to the covered court and will be performing anytime soon.

    As I make my way to the gym, a massive crowd continues to build up in the narrow passageways en route to the entrance. Almost everyone around me were moaning and complaining about the lack of order. I remained calm. I've been here twice in the past so I'm kinda veteran in these scenarios.

    After about 20 minutes of squeeze-walk, I made it inside. It was packed. No, it was overcrowded.  The bleachers that can sit about 200 people were full. Many were standing on the remaining little spaces around the court, and some seated on the floor.

    There were elderly who can't find a comfortable place to stay. There were pregnant women who cannot sit. One usher said, "Yung buntis upo po kayo." Crowd quipped, "Saan po?"

    There were infants crying.

    The complaining didn't stop. Albeit a disoriented crowd, it was not rowdy - at least the part I was in. There were no pushing.

    The scheduled 12:00 noon performance happened 1:30. There were unexpected lengthy intermission numbers. The crowd grew HANGRY. Who wouldn't? It's lunch time and we're staring at a one-hour and thirty minutes delay. In as much as we wanted to grab something from the canteen, we cannot leave our hardly-fought spots for food - we battle it out to get in.

    The emcee repeatedly asked parents to "please cooperate." We were asked to move back, despite obviously seeing no spaces left to take another step back.

    The same emcee threatened the crowd many times if parents won't cooperate, they "will not continue the program." She added, "Grade 1 parents, hindi makahintay." I know where she's coming from, but those words couldn't be more lowly and distasteful, to say the least.

    If you are doing a big party, make sure you are prepared. Do you even have a crowd control plan? How about accessibility for PWD?

    Putting the blame on parents for the chaos is utter irresponsible. Parents spent significant hours and some sleepless nights in making the costumes that added beauty to the presentation. Don't you think we deserve some little respect?

    We, parents, are your customers. I thought you invited us in this event to join the fun and make us feel entertained.

    (Man, I missed #LizQuenInDubai and Kerygma Feast for this)

    You have a budget. You could have rented monobloc chairs and tents and use that wide space near the gate for parents assembly while waiting, instead of an inflatable slide that once had an accident last year. You could have mobilized better security and ushers to control the crowd flow. Your marshalls were preventing us to exit in doorways where the sign clearly says "exit." You could have so and so...

    As I saw it, your message came to me like, "Mairaos lang, bahala na ang parents."

    We are not asking for entitlement. We are only asking for an orderly treatment.

    UIPS, we look at you as our partners in teaching and enabling our kids as they grow. The fact that we entrusted to you our precious children should be enough reason to not take us for granted. Treat us as your esteemed partners as well.

    We did not come to just watch our kids. We came to celebrate. You could have created an experience wherein you and me, everybody can celebrate this milestone with you. We're in it together, right?

    Don't tell us, "at the end of the day," we enjoyed the performances naman. It shouldn't be just "at the end of the day." It should be a fun experience all throughout the day.

    It's time to disrupt the tradition folks. If the facilities cannot accommodate it, if personnel cannot handle it, simply don't do it. Don't wait for a stampede to happen before you take action.

    Respectfully yours,

    A concerned partner who is willing to listen and co-create the experience.
    Note: The views expressed here are all my own and may not reflect the views of other parents. full-width
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