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…)