Archive | August, 2005

ICT FO Camp Day One; Part Four (Concerning the NightWalk, and the Showers)

16 Aug

……..the NightWalk was cancelled ("That is Good News!") There were sighs of relief, as people were rather tired. It was 2.50am in the morning.

Either way, we still had to perform the NightWalk, as our bunks were at the other end of the campus, from where we were congregated. Thus, we instead walked in a huge group, in a sort of mass NightWalk.

Pause. I have just found out why (perhaps) the food was unpalatable. From an undisclosed (human) source, it was found out that from last year’s camp, a team of food tasters from the ICT Club sampled each meal personally before ordering. They gave their opinions and comments about the dishes, and suitable changes were made to the menu.

However, this year, they did away with the panel of judges; instead, the choosing was based on price. So, the food was bad.

Continuez.

The mass NightWalk was the exact opposite of what a NightWalk was supposed to be. A NightWalk, for your information, is solitary. Its main purpose is to instill Fear within the walkers, and several methods are used to achieve this result. Other than the solitary nature of the Walk, the next easiest method is to deprive walkers of light. No flashlights are allowed.

Booby traps and terrrible items are placed along the route at regular intervals. Most common ones consist of dead bodies, falling or stationary. There are also disembodied heads "floating" on ropes connected to pulleys (silent pulleys, not creaking ones), and the Walkers are supposed to detect by themselves the approach of the head(s), and scream at appropriate points.

Of course a drawback of installing all these apparati would be the screams, indicating to those behind that a booby trap was near, and they had better watch out. How ironic.

The NightWalk was uneventful.

The booby traps were taken down because the Walk was cancelled, if you remember me saying so.

So we reached our bunk. The OC members announced tomorrow’s waking time, 11.00am. Then we were permitted to sleep.

My group chose to bathe first. We had already agreed to do so earlier.

Unfortunately the nearest mass showering area was a good 450 metres away (could be more!), and travelling there required the use of a torchlight, since the roads were uncustomarily dark.

Once there, we discovered luxurious showering areas (3 in all) and some apparently so big that they needed two different doors. Of course, the actual *number* of showers were not so luxurious for us campers all at once. Impatient ones whiled away the time walking to and fro between the areas, hoping to find one with shorter queues.

For goodness-knows-what reason the number of toilet cubicles in one of the showers-cum-toilets were equally luxurious. I suppose shower cubicles are in great demand during bathing times, but I can’t imagine vast numbers of people coming to use the toilet cubicles (only). Well, for the female toilets, that would be perfectly acceptable due to the eternities spent there, but Really, for the male toilets, put more showers!

The school has an excellent ez-link card payment system for the vending machines. I have tried it. ("It’s Good!") There are shortcomings, as usual (what do you expect? It’s electronic!)

Average number of showers per toilet: only 5! One changing room (out of 3) could be done away with, and converted to a shower. The Reduction of toilet cubicles goes without saying. Out of an estimated 6, 2 could be converted into showers. Sinks? Put more. Benches? Also. We don’t want people standing about expectantly (they walked a long distance to get here, so let them sit and rest!) Also useful for wearing long pants when the floor is wet; they can stand on the benches to do so.

Finally I was back in my bunk. To bed! (sleeping bag rather.) After a long day.

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ICT FO Camp Day One; Part Three (The Battle Royale)

16 Aug

Battle Royale promptly started at 12am. The briefing, I mean. There were 12 zones, A through L. The campus thus divided, we were to collect lightrings, which were to be our sole source of light during the NightWalk, to occur immediately after the game. (Or was it lightsticks?)

We were to travel as a group through the zones. Some zones had more lightrings than others. At regular intervals, we would be informed that certain zones were closed. The game utilized the SMS feature on handphones to do the messaging. As a rule of thumb, if a particular zone is not mentioned, it is open. So the layout of open zones changed with each message.

And what happens if a zone is closed? Well, the Angels and Devils and Zone Masters will move in. There were several pairs of OC members acting as Devils, labelled with red lightsticks. Only one pair of Angels (perhaps more), labelled with blue lightsticks. Also Medics, attending to injuries incurred if anyone fell during running, labelled with green lightsticks. Basically, if you meet a Devil, it’s Bad; they will take your lightrings; if you meet an Angel, Good, they will give you one; if you meet the Zone Master, may God bless you.

Therefore groups in the closed zones at the time of the message should move out quickly for fear of meeting the Devils and Zone Masters. Giving and taking of lightrings include forfeiture.

A map of the campus was presented to us, neatly divided into the different Zones.  I immediately volunteered to be the navigation captain, and proceeded to indicate our position, in Zone F. Our stratagem was to search in the further areas, Zones G to L, since other teams were likely to go to Zones A to E, rumoured to contain the most number of lightrings.

And we set off! Immediately we went towards Zone I. The only torchlight we had was used sparingly. It was owned by Bash, and had several different light colours and a two-function switch. Quite blinding.

We had already passed T10, 9, and 8. Their corridors were *very* dark. Our sole torchlight was used mainly for, but not limited to, the brief illumination of a whole length of corridor and adequate illumination of staircases.

Finally we gave up trying to get to I due to its (extreme) darkness and isolation. We instead perambulated around the areas of F, G, H, and J (only). At times we imagined we saw people, in the corridor after T8 leading towards MLT2. We even witnessed another group being caught by Devils, from the corridor between T7 and the Administration Building. The unfortunate group was at the entrance of the library.

Then the Devils caught up with us! We were at the corridor running parallel to, and between, T9 and T10. Suddenly the Devils came. The rest of my team ran whilst I took refuge within the alcoves of the corridor. After that episode, we resumed our rounds. Someone suggested that we use the lift. Although doubtful whether they were still operating at that hour, it was soon answered when the lift door opened.

Momentarily blinded, we entered. A lift! At that hour of night!

A message came through declaring that the game had ended. Finally!

(Before that we went all the way to Zone A, near our bunks, where we met with *more* Devils.) (And a Forfeit where we had to spin 10 rounds.)

We made our way to the meeting place, FC1. Other teams took a long time to come. After everyone was accounted for, we were told to wait at a gate nearby, for further instructions.

The wait lasted nearly half an hour. We were expectantly waiting for the NightWalk to commence. In the meantime, we were entertained by stories of the different reputed places in the campus (which we soon found out to be poppycock.)

Suddenly one of the OC members announced that……

ICT FO Camp Day One; Part Two (Concerning the Different Groups)

16 Aug

Our bunk is well air-conditioned, though if you set the temperature too low, glacial temperatures would result in the middle of the night. I have assigned myself a spot, second from the door. All footwear is to be deposited at the front, and we sleep haphazardly. That is, until the OC decided to add *more* groups to our bunk. At present only 2, it rose to 3, and finally it was decided on 4. We slept that night looking rather like corpses lined up at a morgue, what with our sleeping bags, and the equal distribution of space that was necessary for such large numbers of people.

Oh by the way, for purposes of posterity, I will disclose the names of the eight different groups (in no particular order): Cherokee, Blazerz, Ozone, Fire, Bull Shit, Hi-5, Summit, and Samurai Six.

Blazerz. We are a strange group in that there aren’t many talkative people, save for Terry and Jia Xian, who create most of the conversation during mealtimes. Even they cannot be buzzing all the time. We strategize, cooperate, comment, and suggest. I was the unofficial navigation leader, and performed well I think. It was partly due to my thoughtful provision of the Singapore Map and Transport Guide. Another member, Edwin Toh, brought the same thing, and thus became our second navigator. We Blazerz are good people.

Cherokee. Mad people, according to Timothy, a member of our group.

Ozone. A concise name, and they could call themselves O³ if they wanted to. Exists in that group an associate of mine.

Fire. They lost miserably during the beach games at Sentosa (on the 3rd day of camp.) Well, Fire cannot play water games, as my associate put it.

Bull Shit. Their aptly chosen name is the laughing stock of the camp, enough said. There are one or two slightly corpulent members, and the group is adept at games using playing cards.

Hi-5. Childish name but good. Likeable people. Quite sporting. Jovial. Quick.

Summit. An ally for the Water-Strike game at Sentosa, it soon changed to enemy when they appeared to be using dubious methods to thwart us.

Samurai Six. Quite a lot of team spirit they had, but weren’t so prominent, somewhat.

So, on the first night we had a game called Battle Royale or something; before, we ate a distasteful dessert (it’s *supposed* to be distasteful) and appointed some boys as our "shims", but more on that later.

ICT FO Camp Day One; Part One (About the Terrible Food, and the Spoiled Handphone)

15 Aug

(I began writing this in a book during the second day of the camp.)

There shall be little sections in this Book written about Malaysian traffic and civil engineering. Quite atrocious stuff. Unfortunately, now it is time for brunch and I’m not in Malaysia. The section devoted to this subject will be kept for later. But it deserves an honourable mention. Now, I shall elaborate on the aforesaid brunch.

This brunch is just one of many meals served during the Freshman Orientation Camp of the Singapore Polytechnic Info-Communications and Technology Club I am currently attending. The absence of a proper breakfast was due to the unearthly sleeping hours the night before (which was due to the compound activities of a NightWalk (sort of) and a certain battle game.) Therefore, brunch.

As usual it is not good.

The food (if you could call it that) tastes like metal, plastic, and wood respectively. There are also strange shades of green in the vegetables. It is generally agreed that the food is tasteless. At least the breakfast is more decent, consisting of bread, jam and nyonya kaya.

However, the opposite could be said for drinks. The drink for breakfast is terrible, whilst the ones for lunch and dinner are good, though a bit bland (what do you expect? It was all DIY), and consisted of grape cordial or lime cordial.

The drink for breakfast was some substance made of Ovaltine, sugar, and warm water. It is an experiment not to be repeated.

Grape cordial wasn’t so concentrated. It would take more than 1 bottle (which was what they used) to sweeten the amount of water in the drink canteen. Quite bland.

The lime cordial was much better. It was more concentrated than I expected for cordials sold in that kind of bottle.

On the first day of the camp we were told to create a name for our group. There were lots of proposal, but none sounded convincing. Our group was singularly silent, and names like Crystal Ballz and Bratz and 4u2c did not sound right. The other teams were buzzing with excitement, but ours followed the maxim of "I see you, you see me", to the extent that our Group Leaders pleaded us to speak.

Only a few of our members put forward names for consideration. We were reminded that the name chosen would be the one we were to use for the duration of the camp, and therefore must be concise and memorable. The other (newly-formed) teams had finished and were permitted to enter their bunks.

Finally it was just us.

*Other* Group Leaders (or GLs) noticed our plight and stationed themselves around us, giving encouragement.

Our GL, peculiarly nicknamed Bash, suggested Blazerz.

Blazerz it was.

Then came the part about the cheer. Our minds were completely drained. For lack of ideas, our *other* GL, Sonia, gave us a cheer, which we promptly accepted.

After clearing our bunks of the tables and chairs (it’s actually a classroom), we went for lunch. Vegetarian. Out of the 50 sets, 40 were vegetarian! There was some error, so we ended up eating rice with vegetables.

There is a running joke amongst us, which began when one of our eight camping groups decided to call themselves Bull Shit. It was received with great amusement, and started off a great series of jokes. It is now presumably still in circulation. Even the seemingly serious Organizing Committee (OC) members could not stifle their laughter. Bull Shit also created an equally Bull-Shitting cheer (one of those jokes.)

Oh yes, during the aforesaid brunch, there was a Highly Singular Occurrence! It involved a spoilt handphone speaker. The phone was owned by Jia Xian, a member of our group. The problem was noticed in the morning, during which only the vibration alert was working but the ringtone was absent. Later on during brunch, someone suggested that he blow into the handphone, as if playing an instrument. Miraculously, it worked! He blew into the speaker itself, and the music started only when that happened. When he did not blow, it stopped. He proceeded to demonstrate the anomaly to the rest of the group.

Suggestions were then propounded. Some thought it was a neat trick; some thought he was operating the Pause button; but no, he was not. We were in amazement.

It may be that the speaker was compressed (in some way) and could not vibrate and produce sounds. Therefore, when air pressure was applied through blowing, the speaker was free to vibrate. It would not work if you press it with your fingers; then, the speaker would not vibrate.

He has yet to switch to another phone.

Introduction

13 Aug

In this Introduction I’ll just skim through what is to be expected in future writings.

I shall mostly be talking about random, disconnected matters, maybe concerning school, maybe concerning everyday occurrences (which go under the category of Highly Singular Occurrences).

It is not my policy to start a subject and leave it hanging. However, that policy may be broken (as all policies are meant to be), due to lack of time. This Book shall consist mainly of little mentions of things as they happen to me and as they occur to me.

Words I emphasize on will be enclosed in asterisks, like *this*. Examples are: Someone *has* to go and mess up those things, right? But we don’t *do* these sorts of things.

Compare those with: Someone has to go and mess up those things right? But we don’t do these sorts of things.

Alternatively, the asterisks can be replaced by a capital letter at the start of the word, as in: We simply Have to do that. What in the name of Goodness are you doing?

Every single thing in this Book is written in British English. Likewise, reading it in a British accent is suitable (*Very* suitable indeed.)

And so it is.

My next writing shall be about the Freshman Orientation Camp of the Info-Communications and Technology Club. A bit late to speak about this, but better late than never(?) Either way, I have to get it off my back. A note: It shall be written as a first person narrative (in other words, in present tense.)