SoC Camp Xcalibur 2008

Last friday to monday, I went to NUS School of Computing (SoC) Freshmen Orientation Camp 2008…themed Xcalibur. Went to NUS from Harbourfront through the peak hour rush traffic…I was late by abt 20 minutes. Alighted outside Heng Mui Keng Terrace and walked thru BIZ1 to reach COM1..my first time walking through that route…lots of stairs to climb!

Day 1

Finally I reached Seminar Room 1 (SR1), and most of the people were there already. There were 6 groups…each group about 7 freshies and 4 OGLs…so not too many people. My group was called Cerberus, the 3-headed dog, and there were 4 guys and 3 gals amongst the freshies. okay lah not too bad, at least not all geeks here. (I suppose geeks won’t attend orientation camps haha)

Of course, the first game we played to get to know each other was whacko…after which we had a game in which we had to challenge another group to do some actions. we also learnt some cheers for our group during lunchtime. After catered lunch, we have a amazing race photo hunt around NUS, in which we had to go to different places in the campus by looking at the various photos in order. The seniors gave us some guidance, and we walked to Eng for a mini treasure hunt; SRC to transfer a pail from one end to another using our legs; Science to try to flip a carpet while we are standing on it, Biz to play Jenga, and Central Forum to transfer water from one bottle to another using strings. We even used a ‘legendary’ shortcut from Science to Biz in which some seniors never even walked through before. lol.

We ended at SR1 and we were the first group to arrive! woohoo. we played some simple games while resting, such as guessing your own character, and polar bear. It was then dinner time and night station games. We had 3 stations, first of which is to blind fold everyone except one leader, and the leader is supposed to guide us to pick up as many ping pong balls on the floor. after that, each ping pong ball has a mathematical operations or numbers. then we have to form the biggest number possible using the balls. 2nd station was let’s stick together, which is quite an atrocious one. Each of us has to pair up with another of the opposite gender, and we have to hold a soft ball in between two random body parts, determined by a dice. The first set include head, shoulders, wrist, thigh, back, while the second set include forehead, cheek, ear, elbow and stomach. some were quite gross lol. the last station was a live photo hunt, in which we had to compete with another group and make changes to a room and see if we can spot the difference. After all these we had a mass game of a relay race in which each of us have to hold 4 balloons and stick to one another in one row and walk as a group.

At night, we moved into Eusoff Hall and some of the GLs went to the infamous Fock Seng to buy prata for us to eat. After supper and chit chat and all, we slept at about 2am. I think it’s kinda different and anti-social as compared to army, because in hall, everyone stays in their single rooms and they shut their door in their own whole of isolation once they are inside, and there’s not much interaction between us except when in the toilet lol.

Day 2

In the morning, we played Reverse Hide and Seek, in which we know who are the people hiding (GLs and seniors) and we are supposed to find them around the Central Forum, COM1 and BIZ1 and BIZ2 areas. my group decided to split up, as each hider has only limited space for 4 seekers or so. so they calculated there will be at least 3 people who have no place to go haha. rachel and I went to central forum and we combed the whole library area but to no avail. finally we decided to walk along an ulu corridor overlooking the road, and we found someone hiding in a corner behind a pillar. haha. after that, I tried to look for the other person there, but couldn’t find. but later realised that he’s hiding in one of the staircases and one of my group members was there already. my other group GLs guided me to BIZ as there are more hiders there. Faizal told me to go up an ulu staircase to a Muslim prayer area, and there he was…chua. the place was so secluded that no one came for the next hour or so. in the end, raphael, michelle and chris came and we chat for a while before the game ended.

After lunch, we had a telematch at the basketball court area. It was one with many stations and we had two chances to complete it in the fastest time possible. First station was to find whistles in a bucket of flour using your mouth, pick it up and blow them. second station was to transfer water from one pail to a bottle using a t-shirt. third station was to transfer the water from the bottle to a smaller bottle while 2 are blindfolded. fourth station was to transfer a marshmallow from one end to another using our mouths. last station was to blow 3 balloons and then burst them. final stop is to take a ‘cute photo’. haha it was fun but tedious. luckily I didn’t have to do the flour part. and I don’t know how to blow a balloon, yes.

We were all tired out and we went back to hall to bathe and soon it was dinner time. After dinner, we are supposed to design and create our cosplay custome for the finale item, create a weapon for the cosplay, as well as paint a banner. I volunteered to paint the banner while the rest did the cosplay stuff. I would say I don’t quite like to do this kind of things, and Sue agrees it’s a waste of time too. lol. We managed to get Esmond to draw out the 3-headed dog for us…he’s a great artist. I transferred and traced out the dog on the banner and started painting it. we only had limited colours blue, gold, green, red and black. have to make do. it’s been a long time since i’ve done such art and craft things! I think I’m so noob at banner painting lol. I’m only good at such stuff in photoshop. Yan Lin helped me to paint the banner after I’m done tracing. During the cause of painting, we accidentally pasted a masking tape on the banner, and it created a silhouette effect. We discovered that it was actually quite nice. We decided to use the technique to mask out certain areas of the dog and the words (that is such a photoshop term lol), and we managed to spray paint the background black and cause the dog to glow. in the end, the final product actually looked quite cool.

After the banner, I helped Emerald and Yan Lin to create the fan “weapon” for the female lead for the cosplay, and looked at other group’s production. there was one group with a cute purple dragon which looks like a cross between barney and a pokemon. haha.

It was late, about midnight, and we had to sleep early to prepare for a long day the next day. after KC’s long debrief, we finally went back to hall to sleep.

Day 3

The day started off with breakfast, and then we took chartered coaches to Sentosa. The coach took us to a bay near Palawan, and we had to walk all the way to Tanjong Beach, a pretty secluded and quiet place as compared to other beaches on a Sunday. The first half of the day was playing water bomb leagues, in which we took turns to versus one another in different related games. It was quite fun but each game lasted only 3 minutes so it was very fast over. It suddenly rained and we had to all hide under shelter. After the rain, we played for a while more before lunch.

After lunch at the beach, we played some monkey using frisbee while others played the Ultimate. The next game was called Snake and Ladder, which is like an amazing race of sort with some twists. There are 20 checkpoints, and each station is like a point on a snake and ladder grid. To advance to the next grid, have to roll a dice. Instead of rolling a dice, we have to choose a poker card from 1-6. 1-4 gives you the amount of spaces you can advance, 5 is to go back one space, while 6 have to draw 1-4 again to determine the number of spaces you go back. Initially we were quite far ahead, as the first card we picked was 4 and we managed to sit the tram to overtake others. However, later in the game, we kept picking negative cards and kept going backwards. It was quite demoralising and we soon lost the sense of satisfaction.

Most of the station tasks were centred around photo taking, and we had to take photo with people eating ice-cream, with ang moh, with different statues, with the guys’ shirts off, with the guys doing push-ups and many others. The whole walk was from one end of Sentosa to the other end at Siloso beach. Our malaysian friend in my group, his first time in S’pore and Sentosa, commented that now he knows more about Sentosa than NUS. lol.

Finally, we finished the race and went to a pavilion to rest. Before dinner, the SDU part begins. As all camps are sponsored by SDU, we have to have some matchmaking related activities. lol. each of us were paired to a secret pal through a simple card matching game in which you have to find your matching character e.g. Romeo and Juliet. However, as there are not enough girls to play, some groups have to be ‘threesomes’ lol. poor thing.

We had a ‘candlelight dinner’ in the pavilion before it started raining cats and dogs. this time it was so heavy that it delayed our return to NUS. Once back at NUS, they sabo-ed a few couples to dance and do some funny stuff. We also played a game in which all the guys have to be blindfolded, and the girls have to lead them to throw balls at one another. Last man standing will win a prize.

The next part is the best part of the night – Fright night cum night walk. The first part of the night walk was a group one, in which we have to walk in groups of 10 or so. While waiting for our turn, we watched a jap movie called Ghost Train, which was quite interesting lol. The girls were screaming while some fell asleep due to the shagness. The night walk was quite interesting, as we explored an underground drain of sorts at the bottom of SDE and central library. It was eerie, with the atmosphere enhanced by forcing us to put a green gel around our torches. We also went to a top roof access by going to the 5th floor of the lift. Apparently, it seems that these are common places to be used for nightwalks as there are many artifacts left behind, such as candles, incense, a wig and some trashbag to disguise as a dead body.

the second part of the nightwalk was with your SP only in COM1. however, as I was the second last group to walk, to minimise time, my group had two couples walking together. hence the level of scariness was decreased. I walked with xiang ning, yourong and his SP. It was quite fun actually. The preparation was immense as they included a lot of props, ‘skulls’, and the scarers mostly wearing scream masks or powdered their face etc. There was even one station in which we had to reach into a bucket of ‘blood’ to take out a piece of ‘heart’. some girls are easily scared and screamed a lot, while others simply cling on to the guys. My group even decided to try to bluff the scarers by sending an empty lift to the 3rd floor when we were supposed to be in it. lol.

the seniors said that it’s their first nightwalk organised in dunno how many years of history in SoC, and it’s the first in the new COM1 premises, so it was history making. we ended at like 6am lol and we slept till abt 9+am.

Day 4

The last day was a short one. After breakfast, which my OGLs treated us OCK curry puffs, we went to SRC for a bath (we didn’t bathe at all after sentosa! lol) before proceeding to a function room in YIH for our finale event. they ordered buffet lunch from stamford which was pretty sumptuous and good. Everyone ate well. We had some table games which we played Incan Gold card game, which is quite fun and interesting. Maybe next time can try find it at Minds’. After that, we had our cosplay performance. Many of the groups’ performances were quite impressive, especially the sotong and the super mario which are very comical. they had an elaborate custome and story as compared to my group. I’ve to last minute impromptu come out with a story with aalok and yan lin in order to be on par with the other groups.

During the prize giving, my group was announced to be the noisist group! lol. thanks to our enthu (and slow?) OGL Sue. We parted ways at 5+pm, and managed to find NELers to took bus to KR Bus Terminal, bus 10 to Harbourfront and NEL home.

Overall, the camp was fun, made a lot of new friends, and hopefully these friends will last when school starts. I also found out that there are a lot of people who are in SoC but it was not their first choice (esp the girls), I think it’s quite sad cos they can’t study what they like. Quite purposeless. However, there’s still a large proportion of foreigners who are not present in the camp.

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