Sunday, May 29

Calendar of Agenda (May)

A look-back on what I busied myself with in May 2005:
1 May Labour Day
5 May Singapore Poly. Campus Crusade for Christ BBQ @ East Coast Park
12-13 May Went back Secondary School help Ms Yew (IT stuff)
16-19 May Singapore Poly. (School of Info-Communications Technology) Freshmen Orientation Camp
19-20 May Singapore Poly. Campus Crusade for Christ Chalet @ Aloha Loyang Resort
21 May Vikings Showdown @ Sentosa - Singapore Poly. Freshman Orientation Activity
22 May Vesak Day
24-27 May Singapore Poly. Mass Orientation Programme
28 May Singapore Poly. Community Svcs & Cultural Club BBQ @ East Coast Park

Tuesday, May 24

Singapore Polytechnic - ROCKING MY WORLD! (Part 3)

I went for the following chalet right after the ICT Club F.O. Camp 05/06 - see Singapore Polytechnic - ROCKING MY WORLD! (Part 2).

[19-20 May 05] || Campus Crusade for Christ Combined Polytechnic Chalet between Singapore Polytechnic & Ngee Ann Polytechnic || Aloha Loyang Resort

A time of praise and worship with the Campus Crusade Worship Team

19 May - Day 1.

I arrived at the Aloha Loyang Resort in Pasir Ris/Loyang at about 3.30pm, less than an hour after I finished my camp over at the other side of the island (Singapore Polytechnic - Dover). Phew - I was tired after the 4D3N camp but at the same time excited to return to a place where bittersweet memories gather in my mind. But first I had to satisfy my tummy - thankfully the buffet lunch was still available.

I had missed most of the games they had played earlier on (the programme started at 10am but I was unable to make it so early - camp was still on). So I only joined in for the final, impromptu game of Water Bombs. I didn't get as wet as expected - probably because I was still unfamiliar with most of the freshmen who were there so I wasn't a target. Washed up later, went for a game of frisbee in the swimming pool, and washed up again. Then it was time for a sumptuous buffet dinner (Oh heavenly food! Food so good that I have not seen or tasted since the ICT Club F.O. Camp began!)

Ronald (an SP Campus Crusade staff) and I during dinner

After dinner, we gathered for an encouraging time of Praise & Worship (led by the Campus Crusade Worship Team) and the sharing of the message with the Gospel as the theme. The message was rather cute, using an anagram of a master wanting a hamster as his pet, never letting go of hope that one day the hamster would be reunited with him. In the same way, God loves us so very much and hopes that one day we will acknowledge him as our Saviour. (Aww. How sweet.) We then broke up into groups to discuss methods we would use in our endeavour to be Polytechnic Conquerors for Christ - to share the Good News of the Gospel.

Variety Night! The most fun part of the chalet! To kick the night off, "Pass-the-Parcel" was played, and the "victims" had to do stuff like drinking milk out from a baby bottle, and sucking a sour lemon and a bitter tea-bag. These were just the appetizers. Thereafter came the REAL Variety Night. First up was the Miss Universe Beauty Pageant (Aloha Loyang). We used a face painting kit to decorate our to-be models.

Left: Joshua, my group's model. Right: The crowning of Aloha Loyang's Miss Universe!

The next part of the programme was the Campus Crusade Idol Challenge, in which participants had to sing/dance to contemporary Christian music.

The Commercial Challenge ensued and we had to come up with our own interpretation/creation of a humourous commercial. My group came up with the following ad - I started by saying: "One day, on the bus..." (One girl opens burger pack... "Mmm... I'm hungry.") (Another girl nearby gets jealous and snatches with the first girl for the burger.) I end off with the snide remark: "McDonald's McSpicy Double. (tongue slurp) Irresistibly delicious."

Next up was the Manhunt Competition, in which wannabe hunks pitted themselves to see who had the most muscles. The Variety Night ended off with a impersonation of the Eagles and Jay Chou by our seniors, but the night continued without sleep for me as I tinkered on the portable keyboard along with my friends almost through the whole night.

20 May - Day 2.

After a buffet breakfast, more Praise & Worship and Thanksgiving, I was barely half-awake as I took the bus home to get a good rest for my next day's activity - memories of the great times I had fellowshipping the night before still fresh in my mind (besides the fact that I constantly almost dropped off to sleep).

Great times fellowshipping with my group!

Monday, May 23

Singapore Polytechnic - ROCKING MY WORLD! (Part 2)

Continued: Being a part of SP really rocks my world man!! So I'm back from one whole week of orientation activities from 16-21 May(including a camp and a chalet). It's been a tiring but worthwhile week - getting a few hours of sleep on the first night, which gradually decreased to no sleep at all on the next few nights. Meanwhile, more activities await me this week (Mass Orientation Programme) and next week (CCA Week) as I struggle to complete blogging. Words just can't describe how much fun not only I but all the freshmen enjoyed during these events, but I'll try to recall my experiences here in parts so I don't drive myself nuts typing thousands of words at a time.

[16-19 May 05] || Information-Communication Technology Club Freshman Orientation Camp 05/06

16 May - Day 1.

Didn't get much sleep the previous night because I was too excited for the camp. Adrenaline pumping, I left home with 4 loaded bags (a haversack, a travel sling-bag, a sleeping bag and a shoe bag). Carried like a ton of clothes because I had a one-night chalet after the camp. Anyway, soon after traversing up the oh-so-high hill of my future school-block, we gathered into our groups - 8 of them in total: Blazers (my group), Bullshit, Cherokee, Fire, Hi-5, Ozone, Samurai 6 and Summit. Icebreaker games followed, after which we painted our group emblem (which we had to carry around everywhere we went). Later we converged into our semi-luxurious bunks - air-conditioned classrooms with carpetted flooring! Accomodation was good, but food was not. Our catered packets of food for lunch and dinner were more like leftovers. Much as the Organising Committee apologized for the lack of satisfactory quality of the food, we campers too empathized with them because this was unforeseen.

Today was spent mostly playing station games around school - man, the campus was BIG! But at least we got to know our way around better. Though exhausted by evening after a whole afternoon of games, it was hard to anticipate that there were even more thrilling and tiring activities headed towards us. We gobbled up our dinner, stomachs churning, thereafter playing "Zhong Zi Mi Ma" ("Guess The Number") where the group whose representative guessed the correct number had to consume a horrid dessert "delicacy". My group wasn't affected so badly - we had banana chunks in melted chocolate sauce (which rather tasted like banana split, just that it looked disgusting). Other groups had stuff like M & M Chocolates in wasabi!

Later after midnight, we played "Battle Royal". We had to go around the whole campus (which was divided into specific areas) looking for Light Rings (light sticks). The scary thing was that few lights were on around the campus, so the whole place was dark and we didn't know what to expect. There would be Angels (which we had to chase to gain a Light Ring) and Devils (which would confiscate our Light Rings or make us do forfeits) lurking around. We kept a lookout for Angels and ran for life when we met Devils. Every 10 minutes or so, our Group Leader would recieve an SMS telling which areas would be closed. If we happened to be inside that area and got caught, our Light Rings would be confiscated. Of course, we could risk staying inside the cordoned-off areas. The game lasted about three hours but was, I would say, the most thrilling and heart-stopping game I have ever played in my life. You never knew what you might expect the next moment. After this, a Night Walk was supposed to be held, but it was cancelled due to our lethargy after "Battle Royal" ended. Moreover, sightings of ghosts and strange noises around the campus had already been experienced by those who placed the Light Rings, so we didn't want to take any chances. (Even though SP is only around 50 years old, many buildings are far much older than that; some of them having even been used during the Japanese Occupation for who-knows-what. Then there were several cases of suicides and accidental deaths in some parts of the campus. Spooky.) Paranormal experiences aside, we finally settled down for a few hours of sleep after bathing at around 4am.

17 May - Day 2.

We woke up too early at around 9am. The first programme for today was supposed to be lunch at around 12pm. Note that our meals were superbly essential in providing us with sufficient energy for our main activity today - The Amazing Race! Lining up in our groups and told to close our eyes, three members of every group were taken and hidden around parts of the school-block. We had to locate our groupmates before starting on the race. After passing five locations around SP's campus, our next clue was "The Immobile Mercedes vehicle". We pondered for a while before my groupmate recalled one such model of a bus near Cathay Cineleisure in Orchard. Sure enough, it was there, but we had to pass tidbits with our mouths (girl-boy alternating) before getting the next clue: "Go to the nearest golf ball that isn't surrounded by golfers or other golf balls." After a hint given by our generous Group Leader, we arrived at a dome-shaped golf ball-like structure behind the Orchard MRT Station exit. There, we had to knock down metal cans from a distance using whatever means we could (we used our footwear and planks of wood). What followed was probably the most embarrassing station at Lucky Plaza: three thick-skinned volunteers had to blow a condom until it burst - with so many passers-by around!

Stations that we went to next were the Istana Park (where we took a group photo), Fort Canning Park (where we sang/echoed "She'll Be Coming 'Round The Mountain), Clarke Quay (this really stumped us - solving a mathematical problem by counting individually how many windows of each colour the MICA Building had) and Marina Promenade (where we played a game similar to "Charades"). After which we proceeded back to SP by bus or train, full of fatigue.

My group, BLAZERS, at the Istana Park, with our group leaders Sonia (at the extreme top-right hand corner) and Subash (at the extreme bottom-right hand corner)

The colourful but mind-blowing windows of the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts Building

We had SHIM NITE that night (SHIM standing for She-him/Shemale) - man, it was so - transsexual! ROFL. Each group chose a male representative and dressed him up in the most creative and sexy way they could using a limited number of items. After catwalking out one by one accompanied by music, they were asked a number of questions regarding their sexuality and more. There were tall and short shims, shims with D/E cup bra sizes (LOL!) and shims that were uncannily manly or even perfectly female! It was one night of humour at how good the male candidates could perform as someone of the opposite sex. Unfortunately, Jua Xian, my group's shim, had sprained his leg so he wasn't able to perform well without limping. But great work in trying your best, Jua Xian!

Left: Dressing up Jua Xian, my group's shim. Right: The expert shims (who were actually our seniors) from last year.

18 May - Day 3.

Wild Wet Fun - Under the Sun! Palawan Beach @ Sentosa - Island Life, LOVE IT! It was here that everyone got burnt - real bad. By the end of the day, I was a half-cooked lobster. Nevertheless, we had fun. The first game was Water Strike (similar to the PC game Counter Strike). Eight groups were positioned at eight different corners of a marked-out boundary on the sand. Each group had to defend their own emblem (a hoop layered with newspaper, with their group name drawn on another layer of white paper) from water bomb attacks by the other groups. At the same time, they had to attack other groups' emblems. A group is dead when a distinct hole was torn through the papers. Alliances could be forged between/among groups. However, though the alliance between Blazers (my group) and Ozone worked out fine at first, one member from Ozone betrayed us and smashed a water bomb head-through my group's emblem, rendering us DEAD. Then my group had to split up evenly and join two other teams as "prisoners of war". Eventually, Ozone emerged as the winner when all the other teams' emblems broke through. Other station games we played after a hearty packet lunch were Volleyball, Frisbee, Dodgeball, Touch Rugby, Water Captain's Ball, Tug of War (my group didn't play - no time) and Dog and Bone. Out of these games, my group enjoyed Volleyball and Dodgeball the most.

On that night just before dinner, we met a large congregation of Temasek Polytechnic (TP) Students' Union people. Seeing their colour-coded shirts and more importantly their DINNER (they had food like Duck Rice and Hokkien Mee), I initially felt a tinge of jealousy. However, after dinner, pitting SP against TP in the "3 Cheers Chant" and "Bombing Game", I felt really proud of SP's enthusiasm!

We were lucky that there was a bus hired to bring us back to SP from Sentosa, because we were super dead-beat by nightfall. Being the third and final night for the camp, what a great way to mark and remember the night by having a Disco Nite! The innocuous classroom plunged into darkness as an atmosphere akin to discotheques arose. Disco lights and "smoke" engulfed the room as we danced to songs like "Let's Get Retarded" and "Accidentally in Love", and balladed to slow tunes like "I Swear". The mood was high and although not everyone was totally involved (some people, like me, are not really the "dancing" type), those that did dance really DID dance. The only time I actually, really danced was during a slow ballad, with a "match-made" girl I didn't know. Almost tripped over her when I first started - haha. But the overall feeling was romantic and great (I'm not hinting anything). After Disco Nite ended, I spent the rest of the night (and wee hours of the morning) playing Heart Attack, which kept me awake.

19 May - Day 4.

The final day. After packing our stuff and having breakfast, we had a testimonial writing session. We had to tape a piece of paper on our backs and go around writing testimonials on other campers' backs, without signing our names. It was a fabulous way to acknowledge and appreciate each other. We also had group photo-taking and "friendship dances". At the end of it all, we each received a contact list of all the campers, group leaders and the Organizing Committee and the camp T-shirt. A wonderful way to conclude the camp; the end of the ICT F.O. Camp 05/06 but just the beginning of a promising polytechnic life and many lasting friendships.


Tuesday, May 10

Singapore Polytechnic - ROCKING MY WORLD! (Part 1)

Foreword: WOOHOOOO! There's never a dull moment when you're at Singapore Polytechnic, as I came to find out even before school officially started... sensational activities, innumerable friends and best of all - looking forward to school every day. I have never regretted choosing Singapore Polytechnic as the school of my choice. Here's a recap of the first orientation event I went for.

05.05.05 - 3pm-9.30pm - East Coast Park Pit 28

The cameraman's impromptu shot.

An impromptu photo of my recent acquaintances: (from left) Me, Vinson, Aaron and Jeremy. Too bad my group didn't take a proper group photo.

The perfect numerical day for the PERFECT gathering of freshman ("freshies") and seniors. Well, the weather wasn't that perfect - the torrential rain had dampened spirits amongst us and wiped off most games from the schedule of activities for that day.

[Mad rush for time!]
I had just finished a briefing for my Freshman Orientation Camp (School of Info-Communications Technology) and was rushing off from Dover MRT Station to Bedok MRT Station. Luckily, though the meeting time was 3pm, they waited and I managed to catch them at 3.30pm.

[Getting there was tough man.]
Well, since showers from heaven were pouring down so heavily, we took a bus from Bedok Interchange and alighted somewhere in Marine Parade. Walking through the void decks of the HDB estates was more like wading feet-deep through rivers of water. UMBRELLA SHORTAGE! (I had to share mine with two other people.)

[Underpass Havoc!!]
Down at one of the underpasses connecting Marine Parade to East Coast Park, a noisy revolt gang of around 100 members were making a din. Not quite to that extent, but we DID make a lot of noise down there - got into our groups and formulated our group cheer/song. My group Team 2's one went something like V-V-V-I-C, C-C-C-T-O, O-O-O-R-Y, V-I-C-T-O-R-Y! VICTORY VICTORY IS THE BEST!. Lame or whatever you might think it fit - take note that we were already drenched mice cuddling together in a mousehole. Haha. What followed were the mass singing of popular songs like "Therefore Being Justified By Faith" and "Peace Like A River" (with actions).

[Beach games! SH-IOK!]
The first game when we arrived at the beach was what I would caption "Fill-The-Bottle." (I had already played this game before.) Basically we had to fill two 1.5 litre bottles with seawater using whatever means deemed fit. For my team it was the boys' shirts and a pair of Converse shoes from Jeremy ("Oh - my Converse shoes!" - Jeremy). We lost. Forfeit for our team: Jump into the sea (of course the shallow regions) to get wet.
We won the second game of "Pass-Things-using-Chopsticks." There were ping-pong balls, rubber bands and marbles.

Forfeit for the other team: Do the Banana Dance inside the sea! This included "Dip Banana" so that we could sabotage the other team to get wet!
Third game was "Poison Ball". We won as well too - we had agile boys in our team. Haha.
The final mass game was "Build the Firmest Sandcastle and Collect Water Bombs, then Attack your Opponents' Castles." It was one whole lot of a mess - we got drenched sourly again. This time with wet sand. But what a great time we had.

[Wash Up & BBQ]
After a quick wash-up we sat down as a team for a meal of BBQed food (or should I say - cold dish because of the rain - just kidding). Only there wasn't enough. The expected turnout of participants was lesser. Even so, the timely rest was enough to invigorate our senses.

More songs like "Peace Like A River" and other games emerged again. Later we broke into our teams again to share with each other about our Christian walk with God. Those who were not Christians took part in the Sharing of the Life - the Good News of the Gospel - and considered whether they would like to accept Christ into their lives. A closing with the evangelistic songs "So You Would Come" and "My Redeemer Lives" ended the night on a sweet note. Accompanied by the guitar, melodies of the Christian songs filled the otherwise quiet and damp night air. I felt really encouraged during this choral gathering.

First and foremost, thanks to Joseph and Angela, our team leaders, for being such great Campus Crusade leaders to our team (Team 2 - VICTORY). They never failed to bond the team together and even assisted us in our games when they weren't required to. Suffice to say, going all out to care for our team members was very appreciated. Next, thanks to my team members for making our team such a success! We bonded well all throughout the activity. Not forgetting ALL the Campus Crusaders for making the event feel worthwhile (and our BBQ Chefs too). And thanks to Ronald for his friendly correspondence/follow-up with me, even after the BBQ.

P.S. Campus Crusade, here I come! CCA Week's coming soon and I know what I'm going to join!

Monday, May 2

钱不够用? Thou shalt not splurge.


I admit it. I have always been somewhat of a miser from the start. Well at least I have been "trained" to be one since young. Maybe I'd prefer the phrase: "Saving for a rainy day."

-----A saddening thing.-----

Recently, my mum read a newspaper article about saving for old age and how someone found that the golden years were so difficult to cope with. All because of the fact they shared in common - both my mum and that someone had married late.

It's really a saddening thing. What's the big deal? You ask. Well, maybe your parents married young. That doesn't mean life is great for you. But I would profess that you would be at a greater advantage to take care of your parents (when they're old in the future).


The fragility of life - wonderful yet not eternal. An effortless, velvety road we learn to drive on, only to give way to a rugged tarmac of portholes when we least expected it. My mum... was in her mid-thirties when I entered this world. My dad... just exactly a year older than her. My maternal grandma... mid-seventies and struck down by kidney failure, swollen legs and regular trips in and out of hospital. New bills are coming in ever so often. Luckily there's the MediShield scheme. My paternal grandma... in her eighties and coping with eye and orthopaedic problems.

-----Revelations. Realisations.-----

Just think - even before I establish my career well, my parents are well around or over sixty. My grandmas - God will decide. But the point here is that once all the above-mentioned surge into their golden years - illness, disease and death will be inevitable. Not being even 30 years old (don't know whether I would have been married yet), and with a bank account amount that's not very likely to be decent, it would be a challenge for me to juggle my finances and time between my future family and them. They would rather I spend more with my would-be family than them - but on the contrary, my parents/grandmas brought me up after all.

HOW ON EARTH TO GET BY? Without prudent saving, tonnes of expensive bills (resulting from taking care of probably FOUR elderly people) will crash head-on with my yet unestablished career! I still have polytechnic, National Service and probably University to go - not to mention getting a job! By the time I finish all this my parents will well be over 60 or 70! HOW TO COPE!! *Somebody SAVE ME!*

-----Splurge not, waste not.-----

My parents have been saving since they started work. Now only my dad works. His salary is not decent considering the amount of experience and qualifications he has. Sometimes he urges us to spend more and not worry about it - somehow I feel that we have just enough to get by. But it's not that we don't have enough finances - there's enough - at least for now; maybe not for the future.

Another habit I feel that's good for me to cultivate - NOT to splurge. Money should be spent more on NEEDS than WANTS. I try best to stay away from luring temptations. Instead of keeping up with the rat race about having the latest model of gadgets or being the most trendy, up-to-date, fashionable talk-about in town, I would much rather save for "rainy days."

I mean - what's the use of endlessly updating yourself to fit into the crowd? "YAY! I got the latest Nokia handphone model!" But hey - guess what? A few months later and *poof!* comes out a NEWER model. Then you get your eyes set on it and long for it - AS IF you can't do with an older (but still functional) phone. It's a futile chase - one I wouldn't want to even embark on. That's the reason why I don't believe in chasing after branded products and services when I have similar alternatives.

-----Parting comments.-----

Fashion and the futile chase of branded goods - evolving all the time! What's the fun or use of going after them? I'm contented with my food. I'm contented with my clothes. I'm contented with where I stay. Blah blah blah. Brand me unspoilt, laid-back, slowpoke, outdated, unevolved or whatever I don't care about - but I'm just sticking to my morals of not splurging unnecessarily.

There are MORE worthwhile things to spend money on for me.