Saturday, June 28, 2008

LLTC- Part 3

Day 4:

When we thought there was morning PT, we all felt like dying. However, Day 4's morning PT invovles something which we call "Banglarobics". We have learnt a dance from the Indian adaptation of "Pretty Woman"

The video is above if you want to view it. Banglarobics was quite exciting and it doesn't involve much of your physical endurance or fitness. We had Banglarobics because we are going to visit an Old Folk's home later in an activity called "Journey With The Dream". We had to follow the footsteps of our founder and be aware of the plight of the needy in Singapore. I went to the Pertapis Old Folks Home where they take care of mostly malay and muslim old folks. As I am not familliar to the language, it was difficult for me to talk to them and I could only talk to those who spoke english. There was this malay woman who was really friendly to me and the others who sat around beside her. It almost took me through this time warp where I sat beside my grandparents listening to them sharing their life stories with me. I left the ladies section of the home with a warm feeling in my heart.

We then proceeded to the men's section of the home. It was then I had a talk with an old man who was 77 years old. His conversation with me is probably one of the deepest impressions I had of this camp.

He told me that he had an operation on his kneecap due to some problems and since the surgery he has been experiencing numbness in his kneecap. He also shared with me about some of his health problems and what he does to keep his condition stable. I tried to dig deeper into his thoughts and I raised the courage to ask him this question.

"Sir, what do you do when you're all alone and the pain becomes unbearable? What was going through your head at that point of time?"

He replied with an answer that literally shattered my heart.

"When that happens, I just say: God, please take away my part from this world. Why do You let me live to suffer like this?"

Could you imagine the amount of pain going through a man who lost his will to live? What could be more painful than that? How can his children make their parent suffer like this? Doesn't this break their heart? Because it broke mine. There's this feeling that I'm crying inside. It feels horrible. I was shocked. As the person in charge said, "Your parents raised you from a drop of blood to somebody. Ask yourself: Do you even bear to abandon them in an old folk's home?" The activity formed part of my Personal Mission Statement.

Time flies till after the dinner, and the beginning of the Solidarity Lasalliana. Basically it calls upon us to reflect on each of the food items placed before us. They were the bittergourd, the cup of water, the rock sugar and the ketupat. The activity reflects us to call upon our actions in the past, all the hurt we have done to the others and what we could do to change all of that. They played some pretty insipiring songs to us to aid in our reflection. This formed part of my Mission statement as well.

Affirmation was the next item in our schedule. It required us to write something, anything you want, to any person just to affirm him/her. I was thinking, "If I don't take this opportunity to at least buck up the courage to write a note to those 3 girls we offended and write something really sincere, there won't be a second chance again". So I did. Trust me, it wasn't some sort of love note. Who'd have feelings for someone whom you seldom or rarely talk to and only knew because of an awkward situation? I just said that we're sorry and all the best. This was a time where emotions ran high, and all of us were giving hugs to each other as we ran out of papers to write affirmations. It was a good conclusion to the last night, and the best thing was, you realize that when you're feeling alone, there's always people around you who is willing to help you. Sometimes, we just don't see it.

Day 4 ended well. Now it's time for our graduation....

LLTC- Part 2

As I said, Day 2 for us began at 5:45am. To do what? You might be thinking.


I wasn't really expecting that. A 3.2km run at MacRitchie Reservoir. I couldn't imagine that I could do it. After all, I felt like a living zombie when I got up and put on my trusty NewBalance 787 (2 years old!). It was a tough run because the other teams were blocking the way and there was a lack of communication between the group members, resulting in lags in certain points of the run. I had to push Jason Tay to keep running as he's not really a very fit guy, although for someone his size he is a really good runner already. There was a lack of teamwork, and that was something we had to work on.

After the run was showers. I didn't realize that a cold shower in the morning felt so relaxing. After showers was laundry time. In LLTC, my definition of laundry means:

1. Spam Deodorant on Shirt
2. Put Shirt on Chair
3. Put chair under fan
4. Hang towel.

I didn't have enough sets of P.E attire to last me for five days. I rewore them. Alot. Following Laundry was lecture time. We had to learn the 7 Habits mentioned by Covey. Day 2's lecture is about changing yourself and your mindset. I don't wanna drone on about the lecture as it would be really long. Basically, the first 3 habits were:

1. Be Proactive
2. Seek First To Understand, Then to be Understood
3. Put First Things First

From reading the habits, I guess most of you can probably infer what each habit mean. I must say that Covey is a really great man to have written something that is timeless, something which can be practised even a hundred years from now. The change starts within first. If you cannot even change yourself, how can you influence others to follow your ideas? The first step is always difficult, but the first step is always crucial. Though the lecture was long and tiring, probably because of the run, I tried to focus even though my environment was coaxing me to sleep.

The fun part was after the lectures. We got the opportunity to go Dragon Boating in Kallang! The weather was perfect. I was fully charged and energized because I slept like a pig in the bus. I was freaking exhausted. The watersports centre reminded me of the Sec 2 Inter-House Dragon Boat, where Lawrence received a thrashing. Fears of Dragonboating came in. I remembered my muscles crying out for pain and rest last yearl. I wasn't too optimistic about our LLTC house winning due to the events last year. However, we had a very good instructor who planned a good strategy for us and even corrected our strokes individually. However, I think it was due to a mix-up in communication, we came in second place.

I remember rowing like I've never rowed before. I was pushing my arm to the limits. I remember going beserk and shouting "CHIONG AHHHHH!!!!" When we were close to the finish line. I believe that it was the first time I ever lost my sanity in sports. It feels... great to abandon your usual self. There was the usual reflection of what we learnt after the activity, and then came the shower time at Kallang.

I realized that I did not bring an extra pair of P.E shorts. I had to wear my wet one over my clean underwear. So my underwear got wet in the process and I couldn't change them because I did not bring enough underwear too. I am so underprepared for this camp. Sigh... I had to wear them for the whole day. It's a really bad experience.

After the Dragon Boat we had loads of time to do our group project, which involves us drawing what we learnt during LLTC and to do our personal reflections as we wait for the other groups who went to Sarimbun for Ropes Course for dinner. It was really chaos in our dorm. There were loads of sick jokes being shouted across in our dorms, and we were laughing our heads off making fun of Jason's body odour. Not a nice thing to do but occasional teasing can strengthen friendship bonds. The Sarimbun batch came at 7:30pm and we had the usual dinner. LLTC food is really killing us as most of us are like, hungry-ghosts reincarnated after such exercise. And we had only 3 plates of food to share. I mean, I'm ok with the physical training but what I can't stand is that they give us sooo little food. I felt that it was like... a refugee camp instead of a leadership one.

After dinner was a heritage play about the life of our Founder by our facilitators. It's like a musical. They really did a great job and I learnt alot from that play, and I was clearer on the purpose and life of De La Salle, and what I should do as a participant of LLTC. Following that was the usual rush to complete our group reflections and personal reflections.

Day 3:

There isn't much that happened on Day 3 as we went for our morning run again. Axel accompanied us and this time, things were a little more interesting as we were running in first place when Jason couldn't take it anymore. I was pushing him from behind and literally trying to encourage him by shouting "THE FINISH LINE IS JUST THERE! DONT WASTE YOUR PAST EFFORT BY GIVING UP!" or something like that. I must tell you that the smell that emits from Jason's body stays on your hand even after you washed it with soap. Imagine the pain I had to go through pushing him. However, all this is worth the effort as we manage to stick as a team and finish first. This means that we have an early and longer bath! Muahahaha...

After that was lectures again, and this time it teaches us the correct learning attitude and how to improve relations with others and within your teammates so that all of you can cooperate well and be more productive. To sum it up, here are the habits for "Public Victory":

4. Think Win-Win
5. Seek First To Understand, Then To be Understood
6. Synergize

We didn't do much during the afternoon as it rained at Sarimbun. I didn't manage to do the Challenge Pole and only walked along a log at about 5 storeys high I think. It was really scary when you look down and you tend to grab the rope and walk. Grabbing the rope gives you a sense of security, but we're not supposed to do that. Halfway I heard the belayer shout "BOY DON'T HOLD THE ROPE!". I stopped. And thought "If I don't let go, how can I challenge my paradigms this way? I won't even have the chance to change myself. This is a behaviour of cowards. Don't be afraid." And I let go and started to walk. It was scary looking downwards. I have to look forward to feel less afraid. I completed it and I learnt something about this

There are times where you might think that the road before you is filled with danger and disasters. There are times where you feel afraid. Stop looking down and look forward. It is only then you can see the finishing line and it is only then you know that you are so close to success. It is only then your mind pushes your body to move forward.

When it rained, we played some games to kill time. I want to mention in particular the game where you pass a message in a row from the 1st person to the last person. A really funny thing happened. The original message was:

That's the way I like it, Uh huh, uh huh, uh huh,
That's the way I like it, uh huh, uh huh
That's the way I like it, uh huh.

It became this:

That's the way uh huh (x3)
That's the way uh huh (x2)
That's the way uh huh (x1)

Vrain (not sure about spelling), somebody's twisting his balls.

There were loads of transformation along the way.

It started with Vrain fell down and twisted his nipple,
to Vrain fell down and twisted his slipper,
and finally twisting balls.

I laughed like some madman when I heard this. How can the change be so drastic?

After games was lecture again... I shall end here and continue to Day 4.

Friday, June 20, 2008

LLTC- Part 1

I'm back from LLTC. I believe it was the most inspiring and interesting camp ever. I've learnt alot about myself through the reflections they gave me and understood the true meaning of Lasalle's Dreams. However, the road to Lasallian Leadership wasn't quite easy as we all thought it would be. It then dawned on me that Leaders have to go through hardships and stress before they can even lead a team. The journey started with 6 SJI guys and 6 St. Patrick's guys, a facilitator who always like to suan me, and another facilitator who was busy with other OT (Organising Team) jobs.

Day 1:

Reached there half asleep. I saw loads of my classmates including a huge bunch of unknown St. Pat's guys. I wasn't really sure what they planned for me during to last me five days, but since I'm here, I thought that I won't really wanna waste my $100, so I was ready for whatever they planned for me. We first "checked in" to our hotel, which was actually my class. 3G2-2. We were really shy if not thanks to our Facil, Axel, who make us do ridiculous forfeits in order to make us break the ice. For example, Jason Tay have to kiss another guy's hand and I had to hug a St.Pat
s guy half-naked (Thanks to Axel). This made us lessen the tension a little and we started chatting a little bit. After this was a welcome to the LLTC by Kenny, one of the chief organisers for LLTC, and we had to complete what I think was the most challenging tasks throughout the whole of LLTC.

We had to walk, I mean literally walk, from SJI to Saint Anthony's Primary School (My Alma Mater). I wasn't too familiar with the route since I have not walked from SJI to SAPS before. I had to rely on my teammates to ask for directions. A big thanks to Mahdi for the directions asking and Axel for the mentos. I could only help when we reached Bukit Timah road, where I followed the bus route of 985, a bus which goes to CDANS. There were times were we reached crossroads and I had to decide which way to go. Thank God I managed to make the correct decision as majority of the groups lost their way. We were the first team to reach there after overtaking a group that had a 30 minute headstart. The walk was really long. About 15km I think. We were sweating like pigs after the walk. I wasn't too tired during the walk but my ankles started to ache really bad when we were resting. Curse the lactic acid. I must say that the food LLTC served was really horrible.

However, the good news is that we do not have to walk back to SJI. We took an MRT and a bus back and arrived at around 2:30pm. Since we were the first team to arrive at our destination, we had the priviledge to bathe! A big relief for us. We had a very very special bath in a very very comfortable place. Now, for those who are interested to know, you can ask me personally. Let us not waste time imagining things here. We had to attend a talk by Bro Mike on Principles and Paradigms. I must say that Bro Mike is a very talented speaker. I was really focused when I listened to his lecture as he has this style of mixing humour with knowledge. I shall elaborate on that later on.

Then came the games. I must mention particularly an incident where guys make a fool of themselves in front of girls. We were playing this game called Star Wars, where one person from each team is the "Jedi" while the rest are just.... "non-jedis". It's like a game of dodgeball with tennis balls, and the Jedi cannot be killed by tennis balls but can be killed by the other team's Jedi. The game is won when the Jedi dies or all of the other team's member are eliminated. I guess we were too focused in the game and we threw the ball like barbarians. I could imagine the look on my face when I threw the tennis balls until my hand became sore. That, I think, was a little too harsh for us and the gals from the other team brought up that point.

We felt really embarrassed and wanted to apologize. It was a mistake to send Mahdi as a representative. He tried to act really cool about it but screwed up real bad. Another mistake was that we actually thought we could make up for it by going to them individually. We ended up embarassing them instead. That day was really really bad for us. It got worse when we discovered the amount of reflections we had to write for the camp. 33 pages of reflections. And for me, as the Scribe/Secretary, my job is doubled as I had to record everything my other group members said on a piece of paper. It was very tiring. As the whole LLTC experience was really enriching and I want to record every single moment, this will be split into parts.

I shall end this by giving you a preview. Day 2 for us begins at 5:45am.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Came back on a..... A319

No I did not fly on a G5. It was a small Airbus A319. It was quite cramped inside but heck, it's a one hour plus flight. I must say Phuket is still a nice place, especially our resort. I must say my parents did make the right decision by becoming a Laguna Holiday Club Member. Quite expensive but worth it. Our suite is like, three-storeys tall with a balcony and chairs on the roof. It overlooks a lagoon where you can take its shuttle boat to the beach. I got myself a temporary tattoo there and it does not wear off in two weeks. So this means that Mr Sirhan is going to kill me when school reopens because the design of the tattoo makes me look like a gangster, or at least I think it makes me look like one. However, the most memorable experience in Phuket was quite a surprise for me.

See, on that day, we went for the Safari tours which is a 5-hour half day program. Upon reaching the place. I was waiting for the jeep to come, and I saw that in my group there was this really chio British girl I think. I could hear from her accent. Even my parents could tell. It's difficult to "imagine" things when you see that for more than 5 times. The sad thing is that I didn't approach her, if not I could have made one new friend. I'll leave the fact that you guys think she's chio or not by putting pictures of her later on, but she really looks better in real life. I've missed my shot, and I don't think it's ever gonna come back. However, no regrets, no learning. Next time I'll try to be more friendly with people and not only with those I know. Full details of my trip with pictures is on the next post. So Stay Tuned?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Flying On A G5

Okay, it's not a G5. It's some budget airlines to Phuket. I'll be back on saturday.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Breaking The Ice

Well, this is my first blog post after a long long hiatus. Throughout my absence I just did not feel like a need to blog. I had nothing in mind to write, because of my really screwed up results. My results dropped by a freaking 6%. This is going to be hard to accept. To add on to my misery, my holidays are gone too. Teachers left a huge pile of homework to us, and I will be away next week to Phuket and for LLTC on the last week of school holidays. I hardly have time to finish my homework. All these things are stockpiling endlessly in my mental warehouse. I think I'm going to explode soon if I don't finish them. To add on to my troubles further, I have ZERO motivation to study. I just want to disappear from the world for awhile. No. not suicide or anything, but I'm going to cut off all forms of communications and technology I have. This will make me un-contactable and make me disappear.

I really don't know why I would want to do this but something inside me wants to. The feeling of switching off your handphone for a span of days or weeks is great. You may think I'm crazy but that's what I feel. So, I'm going to start my hermit-type lifestyle tomorrow. I'm seriously becoming weirder as the years go by. But before I break all forms of communications and technology, I just want to write about a trip to Guangzhou, China from Saturday to Tuesday.

The trip was part of my mom's company outing to a place called QingYuan. You guys wouldn't know it anyway, but just know that the place we went is an hour's drive from Guangzhou. The highlight of the trip that on Saturday was the White Water Rapids. Based on some freaking high mountain in China, we were supposed to sit of some raft and endure 2km of rapids. Two persons to one boat. It was pretty exciting but tiring at the same time because the screaming's tiring. It was freaking exciting. After that we went back to the resort. The good thing is that it has loads of hot spring pools. The most unique one was the one with fishes in it. It's said they're supposed to clean the dead skin off your feet, and it was really ticklish. I won't go into details. Went back to Guangzhou on sunday.

As my mom has to go back to office on monday as she's really busy. Well, I'm not suprised as she's the DGM of the company. I went shopping in town with her collegue and his wife. They're both 30+ and they're really cool people. My mom's collegue loves gaming and collecting toys and his wife loves it too. So, we went to the wholesale centres in Guangzhou (Air Conditioned) and bought loads of things. I bought a necklace for mom, some cool bumper stickers for my dad.

But most of all, I bought a set of Dragonball GT figurines for S$9. The price of them in Singapore would be like.... S$30+ dollars. I bought some pirated PC games. Only 2 of them works. I bought 5 of them. One of them is Resident Evil 4. It's a really scary game. I stopped playing it because I felt that the tension is killing me and the character moves really slowly in the game. The other was Musou Orochi. Really fun game for those who enjoys Dynasty Warriors.

But, the best thing I've bought in Guangzhou is....

Okay, the picture wasn't taken by me but you can roughly know what it is. Stealth Bumblebee. Really cool because in the Stealth Version Bumblebee has his helmet or visor or whatsoever down, it makes him look really aggressive. Furthermore, I haven't really seen this back in Singapore so I decided to buy it. I wanted to buy the Die-Cast Version of Ironhide but haha, I have my budget constraints. It was really worth it. That really summarises my trip as I don't want to write those cliched reflections again. So... this ends my post and just want to tell you that I won't be posting for a long long time I guess. Ciao!