F1 Grand Prix Singapore Season Ambassador

Volunteering as a GPSS Ambassador was an interesting experience. I was deployed at Ion Orchard on Friday afternoon, and at the Circuit Entrance near Raffles City on Saturday evening. The interesting thing was that I was one of the older ones among the volunteers, as most of them were from polytechnics and private institutions, and hence 17-20 years old. The good thing was that they said I look like I’m 18. Haha. There also seemed to be more females than males.

At Ion Orchard, for most of the time, I was standing outside the Orchard MRT station exit with another girl and guy giving out random souvenirs such as fans, flags, luggage tags, ear plugs and brochures to tourists and Singaporeans. I would say that I was slightly biased, as I tried to give more to tourists (Ang Mohs) than to Singaporeans. After standing there for a while, one would notice that that particular MRT exit is pretty useless: it leads to a dead end of the road where one can’t cross to anywhere else. Everyone asks us the same question: how do we get to the other side? We probably told a dozen people to use the underpass at basement 2, while some young European girl did not know what was an underpass, and I was thinking how do you say basement 2 in Chinese. One of the more interesting incident was when a Black German guy requested me to help him take photos of almost every angle at Ion: The (outdated?) YOG clock, the entrance of the MRT, the LV, Cartier, Armani boutiques etc. and of course, with the beautiful ambassadors with our photo backdrop. He was very enthusiastic about F1, and we gave them a giant YourSingapore F1-themed flag for them to wave around. Other than that, there was not much of a crowd, and the rain did not help in that. Another interesting incident was when a Chinese National asked me for a place in Chinese, and I could not figure out the English name of the place. He then asked me what was the road junction, I said Orchard Road in Chinese, and he asked me what was the other road, and I did not know how to say Scotts Road in Chinese. That was pretty funny.

Over at Raffles City, it was more fun yet more crazy and hectic. We were giving souvenirs to an ever-streaming crowd into the gates 3 and 4 of the Marina Bay Street Circuit. Within 5 minutes, many of the souvenirs are quickly snapped up. We had to time our giving in 15-30 minute intervals, otherwise we would finish all of them too quickly. The kiasu Singaporeans would wait and crowd around you, and snatch the souvenirs from your hands before you know it. Some of them actually wait around for the next interval. There was this strange uncle who wanted to ‘date’ one of the girls, and he actually came back to disturb us later. There was also this interesting guy sitting at McDonalds with a huge Panasonic AVX DV camera, and 2 huge and bright gold/silver headphones. A Korean Broadcasting Network cameraman also filmed us as we were giving out the stuff. There were some nice tourists who wanted to take photos with us (we are like stars haha). Some people asked us for directions to the different gates, but we were not quite trained in that, but fortuantely there was an F1 fan in our midst who could help out. One of them said the Circle Line was closed, which was weird. Probably he did not know his way there.

I was wondering, it is named the Marina Bay Street Circuit, and what if some unsuspecting tourists actually take the MRT to Marina Bay and realise that they are in the middle of nowhere? Haha. I think that the Marina Bay MRT Station was built at the wrong location – it was built when the master/concept plan of Marina Bay was still in the draft stages. Now that it is better refined, it is evident that the station location is nowhere near any of the exciting developments: it is quite a distance from MBS (Sands), MBFC (Financial Centre) and is still in the middle of nowhere.

As for school stuff, recess week is just over. Time flies. I have not done much during recess week but God is amazing in multiplying my time. Restful increase and I shall ace because I have the mind of Christ!

Sandcastle

Sandcastle is an interesting debut feature by Boo Junfeng. Actually I would name the film Sandcity (Chinese Literal Translation, a pun on Lion City) while my friend said Dragonflies would be a more apt title. In any case the movie gives a small taste of Singapore culture in the 2000s from the point of view of a 18-year-old kid, En.
There are a number of different possible motifs in the film. The movie starts off with a montage of almost patriotic footage of nation building in the 50s and 60s, with a nostalgic version of ‘Home’ being sang in Chinese. As En discovers about his deceased father’s past, he digs out an under-represented missing part of Singapore’s history. The uncompleted jigsaw puzzle of the grandparents has a missing piece which relates to this.¬†En finds out that his dad was in the student union, which actively proteste against the English-isation of the Chinese schools. Such activities were often branded by the Govt as pro-communist. Most people thought that he had been “brainwashed”, while his grandfather thinks that the brain is not possible to washed. The only thing that the people have was a sense of determination and strong beliefs, striving to build or find the ‘Utopia’ under the sea.
Juxtapose to modern Singapore, as images of celebrating National Day flash, and as En prepares to go to the army for National Service. “Training to be soldiers, fight for our land. Have you ever wondered, why must we serve?” Because just like our forefathers, we are striving to keep the Utopia (or still finding it depending on your point of view). Is it a patriotic film? Not necessarily. It is not exactly just a political thing, but it is about a group of people with common beliefs, building a common identity.
Such a notion is very vulnerable, like a sandcastle, which be easily washed by the waves and storms of the seasons. Just like life, it is gone in the twinkling of an eye. It is the belief in our hearts that keeps us going.
Will you have such strong determination and courage to do what you believe in against all odds?
Is This Home?