10 Things I Learnt In Primary School

  1. The smallest childhood experience can have a significant impact on your thoughts of your adult life
  2. Dashing with a best friend to the water cooler and proclaiming “HAHA I reach first!” and giving a smirk on the face
  3. Writing the same English word about 20+ times down an exercise book can actually improve your spelling and hence English ability
  4. Writing the same Chinese word about 10+ times down an exercise book may not actually improve your spelling and hence Chinese ability
  5. Saying that your mother wants to complain about the teacher can actually hurt the teacher’s heart
  6. A large fish pond with a bridge are essential for any school garden (too bad not all schools have such luxury)
  7. ‘Smoking’ was lingo for sneaking out to the mama shop to buy candies and soft drinks
  8. How to prepare a WITS presentation with a fish bone diagram which possibly sown a seed in preparing for PW presentations
  9. How to type a sentence in WordPerfect for DOS which possibly sown a seed for video editing in Adobe Premiere Pro
  10. Music and singing “Sing Your Way Home” and “Top of the World” are essential for all music lessons and all excurison bus rides

10 years after we graduate from CBPS, my friend organised a gathering with some of my primary school classmates and even 3 of our teachers. Some of us change, some of us still look the same. Some faces I don’t recognise, while some faces grew more mature. The teachers have progressed, the students have progressed too. The image of us in the teachers’ eyes are always the little kids running around. The image of the teachers in our eyes are role models which taught us for at least 4-6 years of our lives. (My primary school was really small and I actually had the same Chinese teacher for 5 years (who is also my art teacher) and same form teacher for 3 years and same PE teacher for 6 years.) Fond memories still remain.

I still remember how my friend and I would play the recorder as others sing songs on the excursion bus. How I joined Computer Club and Innovative Club and we create a model of a city with a train moving around using recycled materials. How I had my first experience in a WITS project presentation. How we made a lot of noise in class and tried to mimic some Chinese drama shows. How being a prefect means you can get food at the tuckshop (yes, that’s the word, not canteen) 10 minutes before everyone else. How someone can actually have a crush on you at the age of primary 5? How it rained as we hiked to our campsite in Pulau Ubin. How we ran around the field touching the trees at the edges. How we played “S-T-O-P STOP” at the back of the staircase. How we fed the fish in the gigantic pond. And many many more.

The building is still at Ang Mo Kio St 44. Sometimes I walk pass and wonder if I can trespass inside and peak at the memories.

And how we bid farewell to a school which is no more.

Chong Boon Primary School.

Forward We Strive.

Rag Exposed

Inspired by SirWhale‘s script style posts
There is now an actual documentary produced. Watch it at http://bit.ly/ragtoriches

REPORTER: NUS has just completed her 51st year of rag and flag. What do you think is the true spirit of rag?

RAGGER 1: All about my friends, the bonding, experiences..

RAGGER 2 (proudly): The sense of satisfaction of creating something out of nothing.

RAGGER 3: How we can use recycled materials to create the best and most beautiful float design.

NUSSU REP (even more proudly): It is a NUS tradition so we must uphold it.

RANDOM NUS FRESHIE: Rag? Orh, the Chingay float thingy ah.

REPORTER: What inspires you to spend all your holidays on float building?

RAGGER 1: All my friends are here. They ask me to join, so I join lor. Besides, they say it is a once in a lifetime experience.

RAGGER 2: It’s all about the human creativity and innovation. How we can come together and invent something out of nothing..

RAGGER 3: Yah, inventing something that looks beautiful from recycled materials. We buy, er no sorry, collect recycled materials, for example red cans, to create the red colour roof that we want.

REPORTER: Did you just say buy? I thought you are supposed to use recycle materials?

RAGGER 3 (on the condition of being anonymous): Ya we recycle the red cans that we buy. Otherwise, you expect us to collect cans from the coffeeshop like the uncles and aunties meh? Those cans have to wash and scrub, some more there will be soil and maggots inside. Very troublesome leh. Then if the cans are dented also cannot use. Besides, there will also be white cans, green cans and definitely not enough cans for our red roof. So we buy red cans, then drink ourselves or let the plants help us drink lor. Same for newater bottles.

REPORTER: Wow, I did not know that. What about those milk cartons?

RAGGER 3: Oh that. Well you don’t expect us to drink tens of cartons of milk and fruit juice right? So, we buy the carton material straight from the factory. Cheap, clean and perfect for our float building.

RANDOM NUS FRESHIE: (gives a surprised look)

REPORTER: Where do your groups get all the money to buy these things?

RAGGER 3: With the support of our alumni and some sponsors. At least our float is in-house engineered and built, unlike¬† some other group which outsource their float’s pneumatic¬† system to some company and spend thousands of dollars.¬† Heard their rag cost a whooping five figure sum.

RANDOM NUS FRESHIE: Five-figure! So much money for one stupid float?

REPORTER: What? That expensive?

RAGGER 3: Yah, it is quite unethical and unfair to those of us who spend our own effort and strength to build the float…

NUSSU GUY: All the floats are judged fairly according to our rules and regulations…

REPORTER: What about the smoke? How did you get the smoke puffing at different directions?

RAGGER 2: We use fire extinguishers. Very innovative right? Since these extinguishers are already left lying on the wall for decades unused. Haha. So we make use of this opportunity to spray the smoke through some piped system at different sides of the float.

RAGGER 3: Yep, talk about making use of whatever resources and materials we have.

RAGGER 1: Ya, very fun. That day my friend anyhow spray at me…

RANDOM NUS FRESHIE: One hall’s extinguisher was harmful to the environment. Make everyone cough and choke. Like what the heck?

REPORTER: So, do you think the time and money is well spent?

RAGGER 1: To bond with my buddies and gain teamwork experience, definitely. All the supper and long nights spent on building the float, once in a lifetime mah.

RAGGER 2: In the spirit of innovation and hard work, yes.

RAGGER 3: It is well spent, otherwise how can win?

REPORTER: So, is it just all about winning the title? For honour and glory?

RAGGER 3: Er…

REPORTER: Isn’t the money and time better well spent in some overseas community project or donated to the charities? I mean, a five-figure sum can easily build a school in a third world country!

RAGGER 1: Building up the spirit and what they call…cama-something…camarader…aiya you know that word!

RAGGER 2: As I’ve mentioned, it is in the spirit of creating something new. Without money, how do are we able to invent something so beautiful and entertaining?

RAGGER 3: Hey, don’t anyhow say. We did not spend five-figure unlike some other group. We are very cost-conscious and spend the minimal (whispers) and declare the minimal. More money is collected in flag day anyway so who cares!

RAGGER 1: I also got go Orchard with my buddies to collect money with the tin cans. So don’t say we never do our part for charity okay!

NUSSU GUY: A total of over $480,000 are collected on flag day for our beneficiaries.

REPORTER: But wasn’t rag intended to show off creativity to the general public so that they will donate money for flag? Now that the two events are separate, rag just seems like another entertainment show?

NUSSU GUY: If there is no rag, there is no flag. If there is no flag, there is no rag.

RAGGER 1: Flag was very fun with flashmob! Somemore we collect money for charity mah.

RAGGER 3: Yah, we must also collect the most for flag then we can win the overall shield. Otherwise no shield.

RAGGER 2: Don’t need to win the overall shield. Win best design is good enough for our creativity skills.

REPORTER: I sense some rivalry here. Is it just about claiming that title for your group?

RAGGER 3: Maybe, if some other group can spend some five-figure just for the title, then perhaps it is just for honour.

RANDOM NUS FRESHIE: I do not understand why people can drop everything they have just for the title. Ten years down the road, they would probably look back and laugh at themselves.

REPORTER: Some of the floats were very impressive. What happens to them after the rag day?

RAGGER 1: Dunno leh, my friend ask me to pick the rubbish and throw in the bin.

RAGGER 2: The best float should be preserved for display to showcase our creativity.

RANDOM NUS FRESHIE: They should recycle for next year!

RAGGER 3 (again, on the condition of being anonymous): Hmm, I think some of them are being driven straight into the garbage area, literally.

REPORTER: Thank you very much for all your responses. It is amazing how 6 months worth of work, for one day of glory, and all goes to the trash. And the many man-hours and money spent. And much more hard work, sweat, blood and tears. All in the name of the so-called ‘RnF Spirit’…

(to be continued…)

Freshmen Orientation Week, Choices Production , Start of Sophomore Year

After finishing NM2208 during special term, I would rate it as my favourite module so far. No exams, all graded based on assignments which were mini design projects…I wish more NUS modules could be like this! Less emphasis on examinations = less mugging and memorizing = more out of the box thinking.

FOW was good, although of course FOC was better. My group, darth vader had quite enthu group of guys but a few not so enthu girls. We had a great time at West Coast Park, and the amazing feat was that 200 over people bidding for their modules in the midst of our games at McDonalds. All thanks to Wireless@SG. Our group actually managed to win the most enthusiastic group, although I think in terms of cheering we are actually quite quiet. But they said we had good attendance and we participated in most games actively…that’s why. It was quite funny because some of the girls couldn’t even remember everyone’s names on the 2nd day and I had to keep testing them. Haha.

Food for thought: About thousand over litres of water and thousands of plastic bags were used in the name of fun. Is it worth it? Is it a wastage? Probably. Water can be sourced easily through the water cycle, although in water-scarce Singapore we are taught to save water. Plastic bags harm the environment when they are buried or burnt. Maybe someone can invent a more environmental friendly way of playing with water bombs and perhaps save the hundreds of similar camps which play water games. And earn some money.

I think the best part was when Guo Ting suggested we should go NTU for our flag day. As the saying goes, the most dangerous place is the safest place. True enough, as there were nobody else in yellow ‘competing’ for our business. Some of the people who saw the nussu on our shirts remarked: “wah NUS dare to come here collect money ah” “you have come to the wrong place” etc. Nevertheless there were still many people who donated. The most fun part was when we did two freeze flashmobs in front of their McDonalds. We stood in the shape of a heart, held our cans in front, and froze for 5mins and took a video. It certainly caught attention as many people thought it was innovative and donated money. The next one we did was not as successful, as we stood spread out and pointed at someone standing in the middle. All in all, I think flashmobs are darn fun and we should do more of them.

Our flashmob video was submitted along with another entry to represent SoC. There was an online voting and SDE was spamming it. After clarifying there are no rules, being computing students, we set up tens of laptops to spam the voting automatically using iMacro on firefox. Haha it was quite funny. In the end our votes were 6000+ against 3000+. But alas, the votes were removed from the judging criteria and SDE won the prize in the end.

Rag day was impressive. Amazingly, SoC won the least cost float, which is probably the first time we won something I think. And being least cost is certainly keeping the spirit of rag, unlike some other group which spent $x0,000 amount of money and even outsourcedk the pneumatic systems to some company.

Amidst the orientation, I had to rush off for Choices for 3 nights at ian’s and yoga’s house. It was very tiring as the camera rig was very heavy and it seems as if I have done hundreds of push-ups as my arms hurt. It was a good experience working with the actors, and my first time working on set with extensive lens and lights. It is very challenging to pull focus, and much more when most of our scenes were night scenes. Besides Yoga’s house had limited space to maneuver around. ian’s condo was very nice. We also went to Jurong Point to film, in which they were nice enough to grant us permission. The security guards were watchin us and people were staring at us as if we were from mediacorp.

After all the rarrar, school starts. I’m quite looking forward to this semester as finally I’m studying more of what I like to study except for one – math. May God’s favour be upon this semester!