Fire.

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Time to revive a dead blog.

This year marks my last arts camp. It really comes full circle this year. This is also the year where I am demoted to being a councillor after two amazing runs as House IC.

Being a councillor is really … different. Not that I have not been one before- I was a councillor for Orientation Week in my freshmen year. Filling bottles, providing welfare of all sorts, shapes and sizes is our duty and our mainstay.

Being a councillor also means, by exclusion, not being a House IC. This means that in this unique case, the responsibility of  caring for the house comes second only to the responsibility for caring for my immediate freshmen. This means following the lead of my OGLs, and helping to herd the stupid freshmen around. You might think this is difficult to do, but it really isn’t (note: stupid freshmen).

Being a councillor, I’ve come to realise after these five days, is really not a demotion. Not by a far stretch. Being a councillor being being able to have truly meaningful conversations with freshmen, other councillors and OGLs. It means forging very real, close and true bonds with each and everyone in the OG.

Being a councillor made me feel emotional again.

 

When I was House IC, I felt the House as a unit- you see the rough, average, and mean representation of the House, which takes after what you choose it to be. Yes, you feel the House spirit, and the surge of energy and inspiration when you feel the whole house behind you- be it in the mass games, tug of war or just shouting PENIS in the Lecture Theatres. But as a councillor, wow.

Different.

As a councillor, you are in the thick of it (that’s what she said). You see each and every person among you. You can feel what each of them feels, not “on the whole”, or just a rough gauge, but the very real, very intense and very unique emotional signature of each person that you care for. For me, it was my freshmen, my fellow councillors, and my OGLs.

This year, I joined R4, and my OGLs were Terence and Samantha.

 

To Samantha:

I am constantly reminded of Joey when I see you. The same motherly care, perseverance and eye slits. But far more than being like her, you have really come into your own this camp. The qualities you exude are something truly remarkable and commendable. The selflessness that rivals much of mine, persevering so hard to the point of falling sick, and taking care of the painstakingly small details. I am so glad I had a part to play in choosing you to be Nauf and Andrea’s R10. I am proud of you.

 

To Terence:

From that intimidating freshie to the OGL that you are now- you are the one that has impressed me the most. To see you grow and be comfortable in the role that has been placed upon you, and keeping a level head despite all the constant challenges that have come your way. Terence, you have done me, Chow, and everyone else who had faith in you proud. The way you led the freshmen and your councillors is really something else, and the care and protection that you have provided is unparalleled. We are all behind you for OWeek.

 

To Andrea:

Welcome to Happy Valley Retirement Home! I’ve said this a thousand times and I would say this again- you are by far the best decision I have ever made to come into R House. We will reminiscence about your freshmen days, to your OGL days, and now, to your epic run as House IC and winning. I secretly had the goal of making you cry before the end of camp, that’s why I engineered the “final cheer”- to give you the emotional moment that you can bring with you and look back on should you ever feel lonely on your travels. My gift to you because I am poor. Proud of you Andrea. It was an excellent run.

 

To Nauf:

Welcome to … unhappy mountain non-retirement home. The newly-minted House IC back from the mountains. Your overwhelming dedication to the House is exceptional. Never mind that you are new- every House IC grows into his or her own over time. Your horns might be green, but your heart is a fiery Red. Shape the House to what you will. Never let anyone else steer your opinion, or affect your judgement. After all, you’re the captain now, and the House is always, always behind you in everything that you do.

 

To the R4 councillors:

You are the best bunch that I have met, and trust me, I am a good authority on this. Every day, looking out for the freshmen, sleeping only after they do (and sometimes even after Terence and Sam), doing all the menial tasks for the freshmen. I really salute you. Your dedication really pushed me harder and harder to do likewise for the freshmen, despite my frail body and old age. But I am proud to have stood and served alongside you guys. I remember how by Day 4 you guys were shagged out and drained, but still volunteered to accompany the freshmen around school and toward Botanic Gardens. I hope my efforts that day to cover most of you have made it a little bit easier. Terence, Sam and I truly cannot thank you guys enough.

 

To the R4 freshies:

Ok let me try this. Georgia Jiaxuan Jamie Cheryl Clarisse Evette Laural Felicia Cory Cornelius Joel Raymund CheongYi Wyatt Tommy. Phew. Did I miss anyone out? Truth be told, I gave up memorising your names on the first day. I was thinking I’m too old for this. But as the day went on, I felt this compulsion to know each and every one of you better. You guys have such wonderful personalities, and I am so happy to be your councillor. Although you all cannot comprehend how important I am, I guess its better that way. Just remember me as that umbrella-carrying, inappropriate joke-making, apple-giving, water-refilling angry old man. If you want personal dedications you can PM me.

 

To the OComm:

Justin and team, you guys did a great camp. Many of you would have left with regrets, but that just shows the undying passion and spirit that you guys have. I am just happy that I am able to share the burden with you guys, and assist in any way I can. It was a tiring six months, but I think you have give yourselves a pat on the shoulder after this. Also, please clean up my club room and settle accounts. Thanks.

 

That kind of concludes a memorable Arts Camp 2016. Here in a different (but not diminished) role, understanding that we are just a speck in a long line of specks, as numerous as the stars in the universe but also just as bright , and that we all have different lives, grown into different roles, and that we live forever as long as people remember us.

“We all change, when you think about it, we’re all different people; all through our lives, and that’s okay, that’s good, you’ve gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be. I will not forget one line of this, not one day, I swear.”

-The Doctor

I have been Freshmen, Councillor, House IC, President, but I’m really just me, in the end.

 

-Xiao Wee

 

Oh yes wait a minute Mr Pres-man

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Morning readers,

It’s been a while, for those who visit periodically. At the same time, I welcome first-time readers to my little space/sanctuary/corner of the internet. If you need an introduction; a little directory to what this is (and how to pronounce the site name), click here.

Back to the topic at hand. First, the reason for my absence- a little update, actually. Note that this site is only updated when I feel like it, it is by no ways a diary which is regularly updated.

So eagled-eyed readers would know that I’ve taken up a new role; a new job; a new journey. Same old passion, but in a new capacity.

Nothing new. People dependent on me? Check. Demanding schedule? Check. Continuous thinking, planning and execution? Checkity check. I feel in my element- people say it is an arduous journey, a lot of responsibility, a truckload of expectations. But I’m used to it, and I thrive.

I’m not boasting- I don’t like to exaggerate. Partly because I’m not the only one here. My beloved group of people are fighting together with me. My 36th management committee, their subcommittees, the various Project Directors and their own subcommittees.

Now, we are in the process of planning. A lengthy, drawn-out process. And sometimes, this irks me. When I took up the job, I simply want to go out and carry things out. How childish, earlier-me. I expected better. Sorry man.

Now, I understand. I’ve always taken great care in choosing the right people, in planning the right plans, and detailing the smallest details. What you guys see as a boring, long wait, is actually an investment. It is an investment of trust from you, an investment of dedication, time, effort and heart from my #united36th, to give you the best projects, the best welfare, and the best time and experience you can ever get; an experience you deserve.

I am excited for the line-up that we have. I think me and my team will bring to FASS a certain kind of quirkiness, a dash of gunpowder, and maybe, just a truckload of overall badassery.

First up, check out our noticeboard outside LT9 (outside the Deck) this coming week.

I go where I am needed the most.

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I have been delaying this post for the longest time.

Summer, summer, summer. It has been an eventful, tiring, delightful but extremely fulfilling summer.

Chronologically.

Arts Camp.

Could not have asked for a better R10. What you guys accomplished during camp was special. You never forgot our motto despite everything and anything- I thank you for trusting in my strategies, in my pairings, and my leadership. I don’t think I need to say anything more as the spark that we have, transcends words.

My partner-in-crime Bryan. Lai liao. To be paired with a like-minded individual such as yourself, spending every waking moment thinking of the welfare of individual freshies, to how to win the games, to just really enjoying ourselves, I would not have chosen anyone else to lead the house for Arts Camp (sorry Huanz). I often look back at the picture at West Coast, where we are both pretending to be in the linking arms catching game thingy, and I would look at the genuine laughter we were sharing. Good times. Good job.

Seniors. All of you. Thank you for showing the freshies what family is. Thank you for coming back to R House year after year, camp after camp, day after day. I see my own freshies, my batch mates, my seniors, and it feels me with such pride and admiration for the work that you do. I hope you guys had fun. Yessar.

Freshies. You crazy fucks. You crazy crazy bunch. When I started Arts Camp,I had the mentality of retiring- letting Bryan do most of the work. But even before the camp started, when I saw your enthusiastic faces- be it under the names of Larry, Laridwan or Larissa, I thought to myself,”No.” I have not retired. I still had one last camp to lead. One last run to the finish, with all my people with me. You guys are the best. Truly.

Ocomm. Clement, I was so relieved to know that you were PD. You are a true leader in your own right. The way you led your Ocomm, the way you treated them, and the way they performed during the camp was commendable. You made it a camp not just for freshies, but also for the Ocomm. What they lacked for in camp experience, they more than made up for it in spirit and enthusiasm. I am honoured to have experienced this wonderful camp you and your Ocomm have executed for us. A job well done.

It has been my honour to serve the house, to serve R10, to serve the freshies. Remember- winning is secondary, family is everything.

Rag.

My other family. From the countless nights at the rag site, to intense discussions with each other, I’ve seen each and every one of you grow and I am extremely proud to have walked, carried, hammered along this journey with you.

Michelle- I know you have not heard this from me before, but you were one of the reasons I decided to help rag. I’ve noticed you since you were a freshie, and part of me was convinced to help you when I heard you were PD. You might not be the most eloquent,the most meticulous or the most clear-headed PD, but to me you are the one with the most heart. To me, that is what’s most important. I am proud to have worked under you, and please, keep this heart going.

Huixian- fuck you. The most meticulous DPD in the world. I hope you miss me swearing at you at the rag site for no damned reason. Thank you for keeping everyone together, keeping tabs on everyone, and worrying for all of us. Please go buy a new phone.

Clarissa- Hello awkward choreographer. To be honest I always cannot hear what you are saying and I just nod. Because I don’t need to hear what you are saying to know what you are going to say. Your heart for the freshies is something I admire and completely understand for it has always been my motto. I hope I have helped at dance- what I lack in expertise and technicality I try to make up for by shouting.

Suqi, Liyun, Sandra- all the tanks in the comm. The designer, the seamstress and the buyer. You girls are the unsung heroes of rag. The float, the costumes and rag itself would not have been as beautiful as it is without you guys. Thank you thank you thank you.

Builders. Another group of unsung heroes. I am so thankful that you guys stayed on with us all the way. The pride from being a builder is not standing on stage, it is when people spoil something on stage and you think,”I could fix that.” Being a builder is spending your time at the rag site and doing stupid things like playing with paint, cutting endless strips of cardboard and getting burnt by hot glue. I thank you for your dedication, and I hope you have made a few friends that will last for life here.

Dancers. You guys rock. From the lost faces that greeted me in the first few training sessions to the confident, fierce and passionate dancers on stage, you guys are nothing short of extraordinary. It moves me- the determination to do full runs back to back despite your exhaustion, the tenacity to come for trainings despite your leprosy, and the superhuman endurance to continue practicing despite all your knee problems. You make the faculty proud. You make Rag proud. You make me proud.

OWeek.

I’m bummed I didn’t join the house for many of the activities, even when I was at central forum with you guys, I was always so tired I would be sleeping even before you started your suppers and HTHTs. 

Like what someone said- I had my own special version of OWeek. 

Truth be told, I was so tired after Rag that half of me did not want to go for the finale. Then I saw your faces- and the other half slapped this half that was wavering.

To R House and R1, you are the best. I am so thankful for those who came back from Arts Camp to help out, your OGLs and seniors really needed your energy, and being freshies really helps to bond the newcomers better. Freshies, thank you for your enthusiasm- although I don’t get to see you often, I trust that your seniors and your compatriots have shown you what R House is about.

Bryan and Andrea- you guys are like Batman and Robin. I didn’t have to come back as often because I was so reassured by your leadership- you guys didn’t need me. Both of you are leaders in your own right, and again, I am proud of you and what you have accomplished.

Naufal- Big big shoes to fill. But what better person could we have chosen to fill it. We, R House, will be with you every step of the way. Yessar.

That concludes my summer.

Every now and then someone comes up to me and asks,  “You’ve been doing this for so many years, not tiring/boring/sian ah?” How can it be sian, when every summer project comes with different programmes? When every single freshie that comes for each orientation project brings with him or her a unique personality, unique experiences and unique views? It is an immense joy and honour to welcome these bright, fresh minds into the faculty, and to be their friend. They never cease to amaze me and spur me on to work hard and to my best to serve them.

No, it will never be tiring, it will never be sian, it will never be boring when I have the bestest bunch.

Thank you for taking the time to read everything. Thank you for everything.

-From the biggest badass to the bestest bunch.

Untitled.

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Functionalist, structural.

Every one is a gear, moving, keeping the machine in check.

Every one a purpose; a statistic. Dispensable but indispensable at the same time.

Zoom in.

Affect, stories, experience. Unique but the same; shared.

I have served my purpose.

I’ve stopped caring. Not for myself, of course. I’ve stopped caring for myself a long time ago.

This is why I hate emotions. When I let it fill me, it burns.

Like water in the lungs of a drowning person.

It stings and burns.

But it fills.

But is it fulfilling?

Of course it is. Society says it is. “It makes you feel alive!”

Bullshit.

Would you rather be alive in constant torture or dead within calm?

Constant torture that is neither a test nor rewards you. Just unbridled, constant torture.

I’d rather be dead.

I’ve served my purpose.

Happy Chinese New Year.

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Greetings readers. It’s been a while.

Let’s get right to it. I study sociology. Sociology tells us that everything is subjective. History, narratives, facts, non-facts. All are subject to the work of authors and owners; all cannot thereby be objective reality. Reality is always framed; represented.

Therefore, sociology lets us view the larger, structural predeterminates of our lives. We sometimes question ourselves if we truly have individual agency, or is everything controlled by structure. The answer to that is of course (hello Foucault), power.

But I digress. What does this all mean for the average person? When history becomes just a story you choose to believe, when the victors are simply the people you choose to take the side of, when losers are just the Other.

What does this mean for Singaporeans? With the advent of social media and other, less regulated or “propagandized” media which serve to show us scenes behind the official “story”; which serve to feed us separate accounts of our history, and air the dirty laundry of politics in Singapore, there seems to be an air of dissent within some Singaporeans.

Of course, as with lewd perversions, these things mostly happen on the internet. Similarly, practitioners of said lewd perversions are often brought to prominence on the internet. That makes consumers of said lewd perversions people who have access to the internet.

That means us, the self-entitled youth.

Often, we simply believe these other representations of history and “truth” just because of its sensational factor- the fact that knowing these “new” narratives imbue us with some sort of unknown power that makes us some sort of martyr against the system.

So we “revolt”. Online forums hating on the PAP, upon CPF, upon alcohol bans and generally against every little thing the government does.

Yes, it is necessary to develop a critical eye and that it is our prerogative on what to believe or what reality to construct for ourselves. But sometimes, it is also important to consider what realities others have constructed for themselves, and not be quick to be a colossal anus and dismiss everything which is the “official”.

To have a critical eye is not to criticise, but rather to recognise the mechanisms behind the ordinary; the everyday; the common sense.

To denounce certain (or all) policies as a conspiracy that would doom us all would be to belittle those who are actually constructing reality as their “truth”.

To simply be critical is not good form for the sociologist. Neither is it good form for the educated amongst us. Knowledge is a double-edged sword. Using it wisely will double its benefits, but be a dumb fool and watch the ridicule multiply as well.

This Chinese New year, I’ve had the fortune of meeting people who have offered me unique perspectives on the state and its policies.

Perhaps not exactly unique, but definitely perspectives that I’ve forgotten. Forgotten in the midst of all this education which have made me question everything in the wrong way- from being overtly-critical (and I mean criticising) of everything “official”.

Sometimes, it is good to take a step back, and revisit things. Education doesn’t make you any greater than the uneducated. It is just empty calories; pretty frosting on top of a cake.

Thinking that you know everything about the plight or experiences of a particular group of people and actually hearing them can be a humbling experience.

Listen. Shut the fuck up and listen.

Happy Chinese New Year

Christmas.

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Bit of a review of my year, bit of everything in my life (and not).

Christmas. The season of giving. Really isn’t. To me, every day is the season of giving.

Friends would know that I often go out of the way to help them, talk to them, and care about them.

 

 

Except that I dont.

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My Little Secret

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Greetings, readers. I apologise for the dearth of updates. This semester has been a tiring one. I will try to post more frequently now that it’s the holidays and I have nothing else to do really. No promises though.

My little secret? Let me just skip all the pleasantries and break it out for you right now.

I have forgotten how to cry.

It’s true. I cannot even remember the last time I cried. It was probably in lower secondary, when I broke something, and It hurt like a bitch. And I cried like a bitch.

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