Anita Kapoor, 43
There really is nothing much that separates us as people, no matter our social circumstances. Pity doesn’t help the less fortunate in any manner. Treat them as an equal, and help them lift themselves into better ways of life. That’s what I saw at a workshop Kapoor held for the kids. Unlike what our teachers used to preach – to shut up and listen – she did just the opposite, listening to them and guiding them along the way to personal expression on screen. The children from CARE learnt plenty, delivering their hopes and dreams in a monologue to the camera.
You’re also our host who also wanted to do your bit to raise funds by taking on a challenge yourself. How much have you got to know the guys?
Though we aren’t together as often unlike in the past campaigns, I am getting to know them through the choices they’ve made. I see what means most to them and how they approach things. When you make someone do something he’s fully responsible for, it’s easier to see what he is made of. One could do a lot of dressing up for the camera, but that doesn’t tell me anything.
Do you agree with what CARE Singapore is doing?
I do, because more often than not, charities usually come in as more of a cure than a prevention. And I think prevention is wonderful, so long as the prevention never comes with dangled carrots or strings attached. When you want to help somebody, it has to be unadulterated. It needs to be focused and practical, so what I do like is that they get the families involved. That’s important to me, that the families know what’s going on, what the kid needs. It’s the amount they do with the families, and that’s the key. If mom and dad don’t agree, how is the kid going to change?
What kind of preconceptions did you have?
I don’t feel I need to prepare myself for any of them. I think it’s about being extremely conscious and it’s about training the kids as we go. I don’t think there’s a special way to treat anybody who’s had any issues and problems in their lives, apart from not making them small and unworthy.
How did the idea for a videography workshop with the kids come about?
Kids are perceptive, direct, and easily affected, so I wanted a balance of both context and fun. And I find that there’s always something special that happens to people when they speak to the camera. With these kids, they have tons of thoughts and feelings, and they’ve been through process and change. Maybe they’ve never really had the opportunity to tell their story? So I wanted an outlet for them to own where they come from. You may not be particularly well off or it may not be anything to do with money. It’s not all about poverty. We are not there to bring them out of this or that, because that’s very individualistic. I’m there to have fun with them, and for them to see themselves on camera. I wanted them to hold their story in
their hearts forever.
What struck you the most about the kids?
During the writing portion of the workshop, where I had the kids answering questions about themselves, there was a young man who was deeply affected by the process. What was beautiful? How the other kids handled it. No ribbing. No teasing. They all took it in stride. I saw simplicity, friendship, and kindness. Also, bucketloads of energy.
What have they taught you?
Kids are transparent. They don’t have thick, impenetrable walls. However, when adults not in control of their lives project pain onto them, it can destroy young souls and build barriers to growth. But kids can also regenerate quickly, with empathy, direction and encouragement. These kids will make it big in life. Whether my teaching began and ended with this workshop, I think I was the student here.
Any advice to men who behave like kids?
There’s nothing wrong with being able to tap into your inner child throughout life. It’s essential, and that’s different from refusing to grow up.
Anita Kapoor, 43