MAD PANDA

It took me a while to choose my next interviewee.
I wanted to choose someone to talk ’bout some specific topics, stuff that made sense to me. And the answer sometimes comes from the most unexpected places…this time it came from Myspace.

Me and André, the writer from Mad Panda Blog, go back a long way, before the Myspace hype, the blogging hype…man we go back since the days of mIRC, if I put it in Internet ages (now half of you are like: mIRC? what the hell is that? ahah). Something like 4 years ago he told me he was studying for a degree in the exact same area as I am, which caught me off guard and made me realize that I had little knowledge ’bout his interests besides hardcore.

Time flew  since then…he finished his course and I’m about to finish mine, meanwhile Myspace emerged, we both joined that network and recently he started putting his page to a different use. Taking advantage of the Myspace blog tool, André, a.k.a. Mad Panda, started talking ’bout animals, bout braille…at first I thought “what the fuck?”, but he always finished with an edgy comment that somehow made perfect sense when reading his whole posts. And then it simply made me think:  “well, this is interesting, here’s a nice idea, never imagined I could learn stuff through myspace”. And I became a reader.

So here you have, a new interview with a new blogger, who I invited to talk about himself, his interests, and most of all his work as a Sociocultural Animator, maybe one of my future jobs. It’s a big text but very worthy, so, as I already mentioned before, if you are not here to read and get knowledge, then get the fuck out of my blog and keep on with your ignorant life, I don’t want your visit.

Here I proudly present you the words and thoughts of André, the blogger from Mad Panda Blog, this is for the ones that still care:

Tell me about the last thing that really surprised you.
A: Well this morning (April 6th 2009) I was on my way to work and passed by a trash bin, one of those big ones, on fire. Six people passed through it and no one did anything. To aggravate the situation, the bin was close to a parking lot and a kindergarten.
I stopped, lifted the lid up, phoned the firemen and while they didn’t come I threw some buckets of water inside the container. Something as simple as this and no one did nothing.
What really surprised me was how people can be so busy with their lives that they don’t realize this kind of situations. And this leads me to thinking: if something so simple as a trash bin on fire at the middle of the street goes completely unnoticed to people, I can only imagine stuff as social causes, civic conscience, the conscience of the way things are heading right now…the simple gesture of helping someone is something that doesn’t even come near the vocabulary of many people.

What’s the latest objective you’ve accomplished? (personal, professional, whatever)
A: The main goal has always been to finish my degree in Cultural Animation and Communitary Education, which I did. And I can’t complain because, since I finished my degree, I was unemployed for just 1 month, which is good, really good. Although I haven’t worked yet on what I can call my dream job, I’m doing what I can, and as we speak I’m developing some ideas and planting the seeds.
Right now I’m also working on part-time with children, which was also one of my objectives professionally. Oh! And I started to take lessons to obtain a driver’s license.

Why the choice to use the Myspace blog? Didn’t it seem risky to use a tool so little known from that site?
A: Ahahah, man one day I was putting my myspace page all pretty, with some fashion photos and stuff, and it was making me some confusion at the time. Since I wanted to create a blog for some time then, I thought: instead of using it as everyone does, I gonna try something different. I really like to invert the utility of things, and I do it whenever I can.
Yes it’s risky, and if I analyze it, the blog has very few comments, although some people already talked good bout it to me in person. It’s a poorly explored tool indeed, people whether don’t want to write, or they are too preoccupied with the overall looks of their page and don’t care about the blog…and some don’t really have anything to say, so it’s good that they worry about the aspect of it.
There’s an arab saying which says something like “if you ever think you should break the beauty of silence, think wisely on what you’ll say”, and I think that can eventually happen to me.

Best restaurant you ever ate on?
A: Well if we’re talking about a restaurant to dine with my brothers and sisters I have three choices: Redentora, the mythical Galos de Cacilhas (Cacilhas Cocks ahahahah) and Taberna do Quinzena (Santarém). But if we are talking about a fine restaurant to take your pussy out, definitely the Terra Restaurant.

What is, for you, Sociocultural Animation? (this one is to enlight my readers and see if everyone stops thinking we do clown work ahah)
A: I could start talking about elaborate definitions and theories with fundaments taken from thousands of books, but I’m opting to say what Sociocultural Animation IS NOT.

  • Sociocultural Animation isn’t:
  • Painting kids faces in birthday parties;
  • Wearing masks or costumes of some mascot and walk around the streets making a fool of yourself;
  • Taking care of children or elders like a babysitter;
  • Giving extra-school explanations [bad translation of this one probably].

Bottom line, Sociocultural Animation ends up getting into many areas. For example, a sociocultural animator can manage people, being or not a coordinator of a team of other animators. One can also organize events, and then it gets into logistic management, marketing and public relations…or work in schools, not being a teacher but complementing both the teacher’s work and the curricular plans of those schools with heavily educative initiatives, more educative than some classes. An animator can also work in a library or documentation archive, having the opportunity to create activities over there.
In my perspective I see the Sociocultural Animator as an educator, very near a professor. And as an educator he can work with publics from 0 to 100 years old. It’s in this perspective that I created my blog, what I did there can be faced as an Animation initiative, as I detected a necessity and I tried to give response to it, in this case using a less known tool of myspace.
But being a Sociocultural Animator is much more than what I write over here. For me, at least in the perspective I place myself into, an animator is someone capable of stimulating the dynamics of any group to their activities. He is someone inside a group but not belonging there, and is there to say “you have the ability to do this or that, you can do it”, he’s the stimulator, the person who orients the individuals to take the reins of their own lives.
One day someone explained me the role of an animator in this way: when I child is learning to ride the bicycle, you are the person who gives the first pushes and then lets go. You are the person who installs the little side wheels and then lets the child discover the rest. It’s this and much more.

It’s Sunday and there’s nothing to do, any original idea?
A: Two weekends ago I went to a meeting of monitors from a vacations colony of the Diocesan Caritas of Leiria. The meeting was in a Pedrogão beach-house that the institution has there, and it was very positive.
I monitored this colony last year on voluntary work, and let me tell you, there’s nothing like it. I can’t put in words what I went through over there; they were magic moments, stuff so intense you really have to experience to understand. I worked with a majority of children coming from dysfunctional families, many of them are already institutionalized, and it’s amazing what we see, hear and feel with them in those 15 days. Those children have indescribable life experiences, and it’s so good to know that during those days you are their parents, older brothers, and their joy.
You asked me ‘bout a Sunday suggestion? Associate yourselves with a cause and give some of your weekend free time to someone who really needs it, whether it is a child, a young person, an elder or a handicapped.  To those of you not sensible to this idea, grab a longboard surf board and put your asses in the water, or just grab those same asses and do some walking, preferably away from the urban world.

Your favorite band.
A: I don’t have a favorite band. I hear a lot of music, sun up to sundown, when I’m getting dressed for work or even if I’m like relaxing and doing some readings. I like all kinds of music, but I have a special taste for hardcore and punk rock music. But I also enjoy Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong, The Roots, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Jimmy Hendrix, Alice Cooper, Reef among other things. Lately I’ve been listening to World Music, especially African music (not kuduro nor kizomba or funaná). On the hardcore/punk rock sphere, a band that speaks to me straight to the heart is H2O, GO!

What movie has recently disappointed you the most?
A: Right now I can’t remember any movie that disappointed me, but I can tell you I’m not very into happy-ending movies. I like movies where the villain stays on top, cause the villain is more like the people in general. There are no heroes on this side of the screen.

What brought you to the blogging world?
A: I already visited the blogging world some years ago. My blog’s name was Horizontes de Outono, it was made in less good times of my adolescence, as you can see by the texts I posted. It’s still online, just the other day I was there and my account is still active. If you want to check it: http://www.horizontesdeoutono.blogspot.com
This one on myspace has lesser personal contents, but it ends up being personal in a way cause what I post over there comes from my personal interests, but I do it more like an activist, an “educator of minds”, if I may say so myself.

From what I’ve been reading, your posts come from the work you are doing at the moment…tell me a bit  more ‘bout that work, its context and what you’ve been doing.
A: The majority of the posts I’ve been making are related with my work, that’s a true fact. But not all are going to be like that.
Well I work with children with ages ranging from 3 to 11 years old in Lisbon and Setúbal, it’s an animation company which does weekend birthday parties and during the week goes to schools to teach science in a fun way, with simple experiments that children can do by themselves. The main company is canadian, but in Almada there’s the franchising of the company, and it’s unique in Portugal. It’s a funny job; I’ve been learning a lot, not only about science but also about the children themselves, how to deal with them. And since these ones are from what I can call an upper social class, it’s interesting to compare the differences to those with who I’ve worked/work in the summer. And this job allows me to have more flexibility and deal with different publics.

Environmental and wildlife preservation issues seem to have a big importance for you. How did you get into these issues and made them your concerns?
A: Those interests came at an early age. As far as I remember, I’ve always had much interest and affection for animals. While growing up, I became aware of some things that weren’t right, and I went to make some little personal attitudes towards those environmental issues, while reading some books and talking to some people, which ultimately culminated in my activist crusade for animal rights, where I became a vegetarian, associated with some causes, signed hundreds of petitions…etc, etc.
Nowadays I’m not vegetarian, only due to health issues, but soon as I get better, here we go again! And I didn’t abandon activism. I’m scheduling a visit to Project 270 in Costa da Caparica, it seemed like an interesting initiative. And in my line of work, there are tons of themes where we speak about animals, habitats and sea life among other things, and I always try to inspire kids to treat animals with respect so that they develop a certain empathy with other beings.

What drives you in life? (legs or means of transportation not accepted as an answer)
A: Music, music, music, music, friends and friends, and the pursuit of happiness. Ahahahahah.

Feel free to express yourself, last thoughts or whatever:
A: To the kids reading this: always respect your mother/family. And by family I don’t just mean blood family. Be cool, stay in school and don’t abuse on drugs. Ahahahahah.
For the grown-ups: before we leave a better world for the future generations, we got to worry about leaving better generations for our world. Be young till you die and stay positive.

Peace!

MAD PANDA BLOG

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3 Responses to “MAD PANDA”


  1. 1 limpa_vias 16 April, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    “I have three choices: Redentora, the mythical Galos de Cacilhas (Cacilhas Cocks ahahahah)” haha genial!

    Curti de ler a entrevista, really nice!

  2. 2 pedrocas 17 April, 2009 at 12:32 am

    ao contrario do outro mano q entrevistas-te e q te disse que nao curti nada por pensar q é o mestre de tudo nesta vida! ahah este curti 100%! muita honestidade e boa vibe!

    vê bem quem entrevistas oh bazeza e para a próxima atende o telemovel!


  1. 1 Stuff you should check « WALKtheWALK Trackback on 19 January, 2010 at 8:42 pm

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