nuSTUDIOS Film Camp

Last Wednesday to Friday, I attended NUS nuSTUDIOS Film Camp. It was a camp organised by the NUS film club CCA – nuSTUDIOS – under Centre of Fine Arts to teach filmmaking to anyone interested, so it was not really an orientation camp. Alas, there was only one other freshie present.

I arrived at CFA Practice Theatre, and we started off by introducing one another and some ice-breakers by remembering names. After that we had some introductory courses about creating a film, lights and camera by some of the seniors. Most of the stuff I’m quite familiar, except the lights which I’m new too. Kinoflo, Red head and stuff sound foreign to me until now. After lunch, we boarded the bus to aloha loyang chalet in which we will spend two nights there.

The afternoon was spent brainstorming and concepting our short (<5 min) film which we are supposed to create by end of the camp. The theme was environment, and it was quite difficult to decide as everyone had different ideas on how and what to talk about. It’s quite a weird and uncommon theme too. By dinner, we managed to decide our sequence with the help of our seniors, and I helped to come up with a storyboard. Our story was about solar power and involved blackout. Since our shots include night scenes, we decided to start receeing for our shots after dinner. We went around the rooms and decided how and where we should film.

At night, we played some card games and chat till about 2am before we slept. The next morning, some of the nice seniors made sausages and eggs for breakfast. We played some games of BANG! and related card games before we started filming at 11am. We did the day shots in the one of the bedrooms first. I realised that without lights, life was a lot easier in my previous short film projects. But now with lights, we actually took quite a bit of time to figure out what was the best adjustments for the best shots. Using diffuser, gels, different angles, combinations etc. It was a hard time for the gaffer (mainly our senior who helped us) to configure and decide.

After lunch, we continued our shots in the bedroom and finished at about 4pm. We played some more card games before dinner. When it was dark enough, we began our night shots in the living room. It was very funny, as our senior who acted in our film was very spontaneous and funny. There was like a KTV system in his laptop, and he was singing away happily and exaggeratedly. In the last shot, he was supposed to curse and swear in hokkien and he did it very well haha.

The last night, which was also Toby’s birthday, we got him a cake, had a mini-celebration, played card games and chat till about 4am before going to sleep. Haha we sure did have some fun. The next morning, 3 or 4 hours later, we all woke up with a daze and packed up and went back to NUS. Back at NUS, we had brunch and learnt video editing in Adobe Premiere in the nuSTUDIOS production room. They had 2 or 3 coms there. If only they had Macs. Well anyway, after the lesson and capturing, Danny took over the initial editing, while I helped to record the voice-overs. I did most of the editing later, but gave some chance for the others who never try before to try using the software. We managed to finish our videos by about 6pm.

After that, there was the BBQ cum film screening. It was drizzling, hence we moved our screening indoors. My brother Jacen came as he was one of the guest speakers lol. Besides Zo Gang, other films screened include Singapore Standard Time and a Korean short called Come. I think that SST documentary was done very well, as it contrasted very well between the instant gratification ambitions of singapore and the arts scene. It interviewed a botanist, as well as a theatre veteran. Although they were separate interviews, they seem to be talking to each other in the content as well as the way the film was edited. It was fantastic and it showed how Singapore tried to plant arts seeds of esplanade like trees, but for the arts scene it doesn’t work like planting instant trees.

After that we had some FAQ forum with the filmmakers, screened both group’s short films, had some BBQ food and went back at about 11pm, taking the last NEL train home. It was a good experience for me I think, not of knowing how to make a film, but more of getting to know like-minded people in NUS with similar interests and passions about filmmaking. I’m considering to join nuSTUDIOS now..

God Is Still Sovereign

Sunday morning I went with a friend to visit Bethesda Serangoon Church, as he is interested to visit a church with more traditional conservative services. The worship style was “open Sunday”, whereby anyone can spontaneously go up to the different microphones and offer to sing a hymn and/or give some edifying biblical verses. They gave a hymn book entitled “Christian Worship” which is very much shaped and designed like a Bible.

After that was the communion. It is quite different as compared to my church as they have a huge piece of bread and everyone peels a piece from it, and the wine is poured onto a few glasses and everyone drinks from the same glass. Everyone customarily takes out tissue to wipe the glass before and after they drink.

The sermon was actually pretty good. The preacher spoke about Jeremiah 27, in which the Israelites were given a message by Jeremiah to obey and submit to Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. He mentioned an analogy of this harsh irrational instruction whereby the leader of Singtapore ask us to submit to Malaysia. He went on to talk about Job and suffering. The crux of the message was that life presents us with a variety of circumstances, some of which are tough, cruel and irrational. However, God is still Sovereign. Whatever happens, whether good or bad, is permitted by Him and true to His will and way.

It seems that God is speaking to me. Even as I went back to church for Teenedge service, Ps Whit spoke from Psalm 61-63. He said that throughout the Psalms, David was complaining and lamenting to God. God gives us permission to pour out our worries, concerns and complains to Him. However, we must continue to remember and maintain that God is sovereign over our lives, he is faithful, awesome, everlasting etc. We can never reconcile between the fact that God is sovereign, and that yet we have suffering in our lives. We will never fail to complain about the sufferings in our lives to God, but however, we must remember to praise God for who He is: omni-scient, omni-potent, caring, Abba Father. We must remember to be a little “schizo”: complaining to God, yet praising God.

(On a side note, it was encouraging that jon prayed with me during prayer time in teenedge..)

I was watching some of the promotional videos for Hillsong’s This Is Our God album. Mike Gugliemucci, from Planet Shakers, talked about his “Healer” song. It is an amazing testimony, he got cancer a couple of years ago, but he has remained strong and continued ministering to others and God. The video talks about his heartbeat, how he wrote the song, and how he overcome the obstacles. Even though he had to have an oxygen tube around his nose during the night of the concert recording, he persevered. God’s presence is evident in the video, and whenever I listen or watch it, I can feel the spirit pouring out of the song.

This song was with me during one of the toughest times of my life. Even though I did not really see the words of the song being fulfilled, God is still sovereign and true. He is still God, our Saviour, Healer, Creator, Maker, Father and Redeemer.

The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling,
a scrubby plant in a parched field.
There was nothing attractive about him,
nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over,
a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—
our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on himself,
that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him,
that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
Through his bruises we get healed.

– Isaiah 53:2-5 (MSG)

Cycling and Southern Ridges Hike

Thursday evening, went cycling with some of my JC classmates…ashish, jin, jy, and mao. We cycled half the eastern PCN…from east coast, along changi coast to changi village, had dinner there and back. shorter than the last one which I cycled the whole loop. However, this time, I chose the more expensive $15 Giant bike for 5 hours, while mao chose the $20 Ralleigh bike lol. The bad thing was when dark clouds gathered and it started raining pretty heavily while we were cycling back along changi coast. There was no shelter nearby, and the next few shelters were occupied. By the time we reached a big pavilion, we were drenched from head to toe. We kept our handphones in a plastic bag in my bag, and we decided to continue since we were already wet. By the end, we were completely drenched. My shoes and socks were carrying like 10ml of water or more each. haha. it was cold on the bus.

Friday morning, I went for a hike to Southern Ridges with some of my air force mates. Fortunately, we changed the meeting time to 1pm, and hence I could sleep later haha. We ate subway, and began our hike up Mount Faber along Marang Trail. It was hot, but the route was quite shady. It was quite tiring as there were lots of steps. Once at the top, we were rewarded by a view of Sentosa, the Cable Car, Keppel Harbour and the Southern Islands. Quite a nice view. I think I only seen the view at night when I drove up mount faber the last time.

After walking through Mount Faber, we reached the famous Henderson Wave bridge. It really looks quite interesting and it’s quite high from the road level. 78m from mean sea level at the highest point. The wave design is only on one side of the bridge. It’s quite nice with the wood flooring and certain parts of the bridge whereby you can sit down and enjoy the view. I think can even have a busking performance there, although there won’t much people walking past. haha. can even have a outdoor play or something.

After that was some Hilltop Trail to a place which look like people like to take wedding photos, and then the Forest Trail, which is a pretty long metal boardwalk going downhill through the forest. My friend mentioned that it would be better and more rustic feeling if the boardwalk is made with wood instead. The metal makes the bridge looks very furturistic, leading to the Alexander Arch bridge, which is supposed to look like an leaf across the road.

After the bridge was HortPark, an admission-free plants exhibition kinda place. There were many interesting plants and seeds for sale, and we saw the pitcher plant and another carnivorous plant – called Venus Flytrap (from wikipedia) which uses a “snap trap” to trap insects as its prey. We tried poking it and indeed, the thing closes. There are like red hairs inside which sense motion. I even tried to put an ant inside and see if it digests it. lol.

HortPark was really HotPark, as there were not many trees and it was very hot. The other exhibits were like showcasing how rich people can decorate their gardens, and there were some greenhouses at the end which are used to test and research plants for Gardens at the Bay. We continued walking and soon we reached the shady Kent Ridge area. We went up the Canopy Walk, and had a view of Queenstown and surrounding areas. Canopy Walk is simply a high wooden bridge built at the height of the trees.

We reached a heritage building – Reflections at Bukit Chandu – which showcases the Malay Regiment during WW2. As there was a $2 admission fee, we decided to skip it. We had to trace back our steps a little to continue to the other side of Kent Ridge Park, before reaching a look-out point, where we were once again rewarded with a view of Pasir Panjang Harbour, the ports, ships and polluting environment of Pulau Bukom. haha. inconvenient truth.

We took a break, and soon dark clouds were gathering. We decided to end our walk soon and try to find our way out to Science Park. The rest of the walk is nothing much anyway, it’s walking through NUS (lol) and to the infamous Clementi Woods where someone was supposedly “sexually assaulted”, whatever that means. We managed to walk past Normanton Park and took bus 92 out to Bouna Vista before it started raining.

It was an interesting walk, not really a must-see thing, but good to go if you are bored of other places in Singapore. Well, it’s Singapore man, not much attractions, so we have to keep finding new places to entertain ourselves.

Youth Sunday 2008

Last Sunday was Youth Sunday and I think it’s the best and most happening Youth Sunday ever! Firstly, I was playing keyboard, and it was my first time playing for both church services on Sunday…so far I only played for Teenedge and Jordanites. We arrived in church at about 7.45am, and we thought we were the first! In fact, Ps Watchman and Josh arrived earlier than us! haha. It was good and fun, and josh managed to master the riffs for most of the instrumentals. we managed to do the long intro (but we cut it short) for The Time Has Come, and the instrumental for Hosanna, and also One Thing. I think the best part was to link Hosanna to the chorus of Magnificent. Other songs we did include I Am Free and Enter In.

I was wearing a new bright blue shirt which I bought some time ago but haven’t wore it until now. Joice commented “suddenly” blue shirt and orange tie…lol. Ps Watchman said, wah, your shirt is so much more modern than my dull looking one.

I managed to do a Youth Sunday “THX” intro clip for the start of the service using Motion. Along with the polariod countdown timer, the lights controlled by Bryan, Clarence doing the MM, and Joanie on sound, and  Jere queuing everyone, everything turned out well. There was a lot of anticipation created by the countdown and the THX hahah. Jared kept prompting us when the countdown was going on, “58 seconds, 57 seconds…” and very funny, during the last minute of the countdown to 11.15am, Colin Sim suddenly ask us to take band group photo. lol. The visualisations created by iTunes projected on the ceiling look cool too, like some laser lights pointing forward.

And of course, the short film was the best part of the service. Sunday’s Best, directed by Jere and I, turned out pretty well. Pity that the Easislides caused some flickering. But anyway, the audience laughed at the scenes that were funny, especially when Uncle Micckal turned out to be the father lol. I guess it was touching at the end too, and I could see tears from Lyd’s eyes at the end of the film. That was really a sense of satisfaction. I guess the short film related to the hearts of everyone.

Pastor Whitley surprised all the cast and crew of the short film by presenting to a us a pseudo Oscar award lol. He actually took the trouble to make trophies for us! He presented them to all of us before his sermon and we were quite shocked. Zack wasn’t around in first service, and we were joking again that he’s acting out his Sean character haha.

Pastor’s sermon was a bit cheem though, especially for younger people. But I guess he was relating to the adults. Before communion, we played the Matt Redman song again – When All Is Said And Done. Finally, at the end, was the dance by Jereld, Shaun, Ben, Trixie and Kady. They all wore masks, which was an interesting effect. aha.

My friends, jr, kc, yt and her bf, came for the 2nd service. Although some of them were slightly late, they managed to catch the short film and they said it was good. Had lunch and chat with them at Kovan later, and some of them managed to catch the objective of the film, which is good.

Kudos to everyone who helped in one way or another!

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 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.

VJC 04S64 Gathering

It was since dunno how many years ago when my jc class last met. shu took the intiative to organise the outing at essential brews at holland village. she sent an email about a month ago and everyone replied. the attendance was quite good, almost everyone who was in singapore came, EXCEPT FOR KX! lol.

As ashish observed, after so many years, it seems that the table positions haven’t changed. Those who normally sit together in the canteen in the past still sit together now. lol. and we had two long tables. just nice. the place is quite homely but weird cos we have to take off our shoes and sit on the floor. it’s quite interesting, cos most of the girls going to their 3rd year of studies, and some of them it’s their final year. lol. time flies and they are now faster than us guys. quite a number of gals in NTU, and those in NUS include sara in chem eng, sherilyn, fenni in building, and a few others.

some of them really looked quite diff. mat looks more mature, pretty and ‘marriable’ as what nl said haha. jj looks more macho and built…gym training was obvious. shu looks more mature too. the rest are more or less the same. I found out that wx is going SoC with me too! cool.

We had a good dinner and catching up with one another, with the guys on one side talking mostly army stuff (as usual), and the girls talking abt uni stuff. we also updated one another and asked the girls abt uni life. most of them are working as interns at different places now as it’s vacation time. lance brought his dSLR and we were happily snapping photos away. we left at about 10.30pm after 3 hours of meeting. lance drove some of the girls back.