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.



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