Friday, December 28, 2007


I have much to be thankful for over this few days.

Most obviously, the first would be that the MOE SM3 camp went off today, and nothing major cropped up... for a while.

OK, must explain a bit. See, I personally don't think I did a very good job on it, since I would have definitely preferred to have had more prep time, as well as have everything totally settled, so that I can act all nonchalant about it during the actual running, since I would have known that everything was in place.

This time, however, it was a little different. Cos first, we only got the go-ahead from MOE in mid-November, which if you are a uni student, is not exactly the freest time to do an external camp project (read: project datelines.. or is it deadlines?). So it didn't start off with a bang. And then, at the end of November, that's when exams start, so it's also not a good time to do more than just a bit of planning. (Oh, btw, I did ok for the exams. Nothing great. But I passed!).

And then December was kinda busy. Like I had quite some stuff to do. So by the time I came back from Telunas, I had like 6 days (which coincidentally, is how long V is staying in HK) to try and complete the camp program. I mean I had the rough framework up by the 12th, I think, but it wasn't complete. Like, it wasn't complete enough for me to be able to let things go.

Then I fell sick. Was pretty bad on the 26th, slightly better on the 27th. And that was when I felt that quite possibly, I would have to ensure the camp would be able to run without me, as I might not even be there.

I believe at that point, when I was like kinda dead-ish, God decided to step in with all His power to help complete the camp prep. I mean, we were praying and all, but that was probably when I and all the other comm members really turned it over to Him to make things work.

And He did.

So today, there were no major problems in the morning. I mean, I went to a doc to get medicine, and by the time I got down to Palawan, all the camp helpers were there, and C had given them the final briefing, and they were all praying, and R and L were setting up the group logistics. The campers came about half-an-hour later, led by Ri, SK, G and WX. I mean, the fact that we suddenly received replies from people volunteering in the few days between 24th Dec and 27th shows God's provision already.

And you know how I know God was really involved? Well, this was the first SM3 camp I've attended as a uni student that was like brilliantly sunny. Ok, it was more like scorchingly sunny, and I bet I've got a bad sunburn, just that it hasn't reached my nerves or something, but yeah. I mean, it was a nice sunny day for all of us to run around and play games. 1st time in 3 years. So most of the peeps had fun, playing games like Hunter, Fire, Earthquake:

And the balloon stepping game, though I must say I was rather disappointed at the quality of those &@#*^@$ balloons, as a bout 2/3rds of them popped or let out air the disgusting things. No fault to L, but to those lousy QC people who aren't doing their jobs:

And also many other games that were either taken from last year's camp (which the students enjoyed previously), or which I pilfered from various Open Sundays. (Thanks guys, for the piracy lawsuits I know you're not going to level against me).

So all the games went ok. No one got heat exhaustion, no one drowned, only two minor injuries, and at about 5pm, when we sent them all off to shower and get ready to go for dinner, we all were able to take a well-deserved break from work:

Or, at least, they were able to play a bit. I was kinda zoned, and somewhere during the course of the day, I lost my voice, and acquired Gary Busey's.

So everything was going more-or-less according to plan.

C was able to catch frisbees:

Everyone was having a grand time:

The sun was, er, shining brightly behind some clouds...

That was when disaster struck. Due to a matter of miscommunication between yours truly and MOE, there would be no buses to bring all the students from Sentosa to Marina for their dinner.

Now, having served as an MTO for 1-and-a-half years, this is arguably one of the worst scenarios that you face. You screw up, and 200 people are left stranded without buses. It's even worse than having to come up with WITS suggestions in 5 minutes. Worse even than realizing that you failed 2.4 by 2 seconds. It's really.... badong (hahaha).

So that was when we had to scramble. And so R and me finally came to the conclusion that 'boh pian, must give the SM3 students a crash course in Singapore Public Transport 101', and told them to take bus out, then MRT, and then bus to the dinner spot.

Fortunately, again, when we told the group leaders the bad news, it was only 5.30 pm, so there was more than enough time for scrambling. And though some groups reached later than the projected 7.30 time (even after we changed time to accommodate for slower movement), at least all of them got to the end point, and I heard from R that they had a satisfactory time over there.

So for this camp, things I can be thankful for are:
1. That most of the program ran smoothly.
2. That even the major hiccups were quashed.
3. That the weather was really good the whole day.
4. That there were enough volunteers who came down.
5. For a comm that supported me all the way, even though quite a bit of the problems that were last minute were caused by me. haha.

So on the way out, I could afford to take a bit more of a breather, and I managed to get this shot:

Which just about helps to remind us of God's sovereignty.

Oh and I finally remembered what I wanted to write about: Christmas Cards! Received some this year, some from expected people (including one via blogpost), some from unexpected people, but all gratefully accepted and cherished. haha. Yeah. Some are really nice, especially one that is like attached to a quadrilateral portion of processed wood pulp meant to help remove remains from around the main orifice wherein normal people put their daily sustenance.

Ok, enough nonsense for one night.


Thursday, December 27, 2007


Two things to write about now.

First, I must tell the story of the stargazing incident at Telunas, as promised. It all happened when I was walking about near the conference room at the so-named place, and bumped into A and E, who were hanging about there. Thanks to some general knowledge on astronomy, and the fact that I had taken Understanding the Universe just last sem, I could talk a bit about it with E, who knows basic astronomy as well, and A, who doesn't know much about it.

E: Do you see that? That's Orion's belt.
A: Where? Where?
E: There, can't you see. There are these 3 stars in a row. That's Orion's belt.
A: Oh. Ok.
Me: Yeah, and you see four points around it?
A: Where?
E: It's there. Just surrounding the belt.
Me: Yeah. Like a trapezium sort of shape thingy.
A: Oh ok. Yeah.
Me: That's the constellation of Orion. And you see the belt, if you align it, you can see it points to a bright star. That star is Sirius. It's the brightest in the sky.
A: Ah...
E: Isn't it Polaris that's the brightest?
Me: Nah, don't think so. Polaris just stays in one place. But you can also use Orion to help find Polaris. I think. I mean, I know you can use the Big Dipper.
E: Yeah. Oh, and you see that?
A: What?
E: That one hanging there in the sky that's a bit reddish, and doesn't blink. That's Mars. You know it's a planet cos it doesn't blink.
A: Oh...
Me: Yeah. Sometimes in the morning, also can see Venus. Very bright, doesn't blink too. That's why it's called the Morning Star.
E: Yeah.
A: OK.
E: Eh, then how you know if there are black holes?
Me: They can see it cos got radiation.
E: *quibble over astronomy*
Me: *quibble over astronomy*
A: *Just continues looking at stars*
Me: Oh, wait, you see that one over there?
A: Where where?
Me: That one, blinking, moving quite fast?
A: Where... oh yeah.
Me: That's a plane.
A: Oei! *hits me*
E: Hahaha.

Here's a photo of the three astronomer-wannabes. Our amateurish nature can be seen in that we are looking for stars in the middle of the day under a roof.

Second thing is to give thanks to God, who has, despite my ineptitude and physical disability, has chosen to be merciful, and help to make sure that most of the things that are crucial for the MOE camp are being settled. Like really fast. So though it is rather rushed, God has decided to help us rush faster. And has blessed me with friends at IFG who are helping to make it happen.

Ok. That's it. I've got this nagging feeling at the back of my head that I have more stuff to write about, whether it's about Telunas, or Christmas Day, or other events in December, but the headache's in the way. Bother.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007


By a rather fortunate coincidence, December in English is same as December in Latin, hence the 'English' title. I think it's cos it was imported from Latin. But that is just an aside point of absolutely no consequence to this post, apart from it being it's name.

December is almost over, rather quickly too I might add. Wasn't too long ago when I was complaining about having to study for JLPT (which was on the 2nd of December). So here's a rundown of what went on, and what's going on.

After NUS exams (ended 1st December) and JLPT, I was rather free. So first thing I did was to go and crash the Youth camp (Faithfool) that took place from 3rd~7th December. Brother was camp commandant, and must say he and his comm did a pretty good job, what with the rather short planning time they had. Lotsa pictures, lotsa videos, but I don't have them with me, since I only appeared every now and then. A few disturbances, but that's to be expected. Truly, God made a way for them, and blessed the lives of the youths who attended the camp.

Next major event was the Christmas in the Community. It was really cool. There was like publicity and stuff, and even though I wasn't quite as involved as last year, when I was drafted into the band as the bassist, I did help out a little bit... this time, it was to help Uncle H and E give out mikes during the performance. Was great. The Hokkien song done by Js was really funny and groovy, and some of the other performances by some residents of Woodlands was just awesome. The youth dance team from church also showed that all their hard work paid off. And about half the guys in the Youth Min fell in love with a certain young lady who sang accompaniment to her brother on stage.

Went for a spot of shopping with V on the 18th. To get Christmas stuff. Shopping is a tiring business. Shopping in a crowded place is even more tiring. But at least, I managed to find quite a bit of stuff that I could use. Ate some sort of glorified mee goreng for lunch at the basement of Takashimaya. Wasn't that great, though V said J like adored the stuff or something. I think the donuts were a lot better.

After that was the (at that point) eagerly awaited Telunas trip. Those that went the previous year wanted to get back again, and those that were first-timers wanted to see what was so great about the place. Some pictures below, some from me and others from F.

Must admit that it was pretty different from last round. Firstly, there were more people, but less of my kakis who were there. Secondly, it wasn't a completely relax camp, but there was some structured stuff. Thirdly, it wasn't quite as sunny as the previous time, and fourthly, P.J. gave us a healthy dose of his tekan on the third morning.

This here is the example of the tekan that P.J. gave to us. Doesn't seem too bad right? But this is after we had run about 2km (approximated by brother) in sand, along with numerous times we had to do push-ups and sit-ups. My fitness was totally shot through prior to this trip, and I almost died. If you look closely at the picture, you can see me. I think I should be that wimpy one who's leg is collapsing.

The scenery was still amazing despite the relative bad weather. Like this one, which was taken on the third day when the sun finally decided to come out:

This was on the first day. One of the few nice non-sunny pictures I have:

Strangely enough, if you turned 90 degrees to the right, you would have seen this:

And finally, I must admit that ever since I started watching Miyazaki films, I have started to appreciate clouds more and more:

For other pictures, please take a peek at Farand's photo link.

After getting back on the 22nd, had to start doing both PRC camp planning, and writing Christmas cards for important people. Good thing I started earlier on both, but the PRC camp thing may run into some snags. It's like in a couple days time, and we're not fully ready. Managed to finish most of the cards for my CG people by the morning of the 25th though.

Sister got baptized on the 23rd. Woots! It may not have any sort of 'spiritual impact', since it is merely an ordinance, not like a charm or whatever, but it is still something the Lord called us to do, and is a public declaration of our faith.

Had had a mum-side family gathering on the evening of the eve, had lots of food and stuff. Oh and cousin MW is going to OCS. Haha... the poor sod's over there already...

Then it was Christmas! Went for Christmas service in the morning, so full that some of us ended up standing. Scrambled to write a few more cards before the whole thing ended. Then went for lunch at Uncle KC's. As always, he went all the way with food this time. After that, I toddled off to J-8 to go say hi to YL, then went down to town to join many others having an outing

So now all that is over already. Many nice pictures, much nice food, and many friendships renewed. But now is PRC camp planning time, and I'll just need to trust God to work His miracles, because darned if I'm able to do anything.

So yeah, pray for PRC camp, hope that the planning goes ok, and ask that I can recover from an irritating sore throat in time. I probably got it from S at the camp lor. Oh, and I cut my toe on a barnacle. Those devious little creatures are like the most evil things in the oceans of Telunas. (The bugs are also just as bad). Bled pretty bad, but good thing Auntie S was on site to apply first aid.

OK, that's about all I've got. Kinda losing coherence again, maybe write more stuff on Telunas next time. Must remember to talk about the stargazing incident. haha.