Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Eunos Emergency Preparedness Day 2008

28 December 2008

It was tough getting out of bed. The fever bug had just left my body, having sucked away part of my soul.

At the market, Yap surprised me when he said that he would be sponsoring the fruits instead of consigning them to the youth group. Thanks to Yap! If you are staying in Eunos, do check his fruits stall located somewhere between MacDonald's and KFC. He only sells fresh fruits in the morning.

Eunos CC was already crowded with people when I arrived. The immense effort in putting up this great show by a small group of us payed off. I was the photographer for the event and managed to capture the many happy smiling faces of the participants.

At 12pm, I left for the Emergency Preparedness Day. After eating the lunch provided for by the SCDF, CERT members as well Zone 3 RC members gathered to do a final rehearsal of the emergency exercise.

My role was a CERT (Community Emergency Rescue Team) leader conducting a routine patrol in the area. I would spot smoke gushing out from a unit at Blk 622 and order my team members to evacuate the residents. Wei Kiat would make announcements through the loudhailer to request for residents to evacuate. I called for the police and fire brigade and they arrived at the scene. After briefing them about the situation, they moved in to conduct the rescue. At the same time, the Combined Platform Ladder of the fire engine would be used to rescue victims from the 6th storey. To end the drill, grassroots leaders would fall in alongside SCDF and await for further commands.

I am not good in acting in front of a big crowd, so I was quite stressed after the rehearsal. As the "main lead", the whole show would fail if I committed some silly mistakes. Luckily it turned out well and thanks to Hock Rong for the photo moment.

Wei Kiat was beginning to fall sick as well. As the most outstanding youth in Eunos, he had certainly contributed a lot to this event.

The SLC students and some of the YEC members chilled over the buffet dinner, before going back to rest.

Hock Rong called and woke me after a 4-hour nap. We met for a while to discuss the year plan for 2009...

Guarding the Carpark with BBQ

27 December 2008

Popped two painkiller pills at 1am and returned to sleep. Fortunately, I recovered a great deal upon waking up at noon.

At 2pm, Hock Rong and I attended the BNSS SLC meeting. The students were very energetic and carried out the meeting in a very smooth fashion. They had decided to name their forum as "Stress in School: To Benefit or To Get Rid".

Some of the students accompanied us to conduct our final round of publicity for Sunday's event. I guess it was a good learning experience for the students that went around with us. Especially Annie who initially was shy but later managed to sell 3 tickets to a household.

Hock Rong treated all to dinner. I felt sick and ate some porridge. Zone 3 RC members would be guarding the carpark at night, so I went home and enjoyed a long nap.

At 10pm, I went to Zone 2 RC to check out the burglary that had happened, before joining my RC members at the barbeque pit. Drank a can of beer after knowing that it could remove heat from the body. There was a wide variety of BBQ food but I restricted my intake due to my condition. Other Zone RC members joined us too. If not for the wonderful barbeque session, the nightwatching of the carpark would be dreadful.

Wei Kiat brought along his Disney-themed Monopoly. Lewis, Hock Rong, Wei Kiat and I played the game until I was bankrupted at about 3am...

Returning the Favour

26 December 2008

We were almost late. I guess all of us were really exhausted the day before. Despite being late for work, Hock Rong came and bid farewell to the Hong Kong exchange delegates. Was surprised when George and Jonathan presented their gifts to me.

A gift from Jonathan (pen from Shirley)

From George

& A Christmas Card!

Off we went via a taxi to Royal Plaza on Scotts, where they will be checking into. We reached just in time. It is a very posh hotel. After sending them up to their rooms, I bid my farewell to them.

After settling the programme sheets for Toastmasters speechcraft competition, I met up with Wei Kiat at the CC to sell the Eunos Healthy Lifestyle Day tickets to the residents at 5pm. I felt bad that Hock Rong had sacrificed his off days to help me accompany my Hong Kong delegates, so it is time to return the favour by ensuring a good turnout at the Sunday event.

At the CC, met Mr Singh and followed him to put up the banner for the Eunos Emergency Preparedness Day. The designated carpark had already been cordoned.

Every door-to-door ticket selling is a different experience. Today, I chatted with a resident who was surprised to see a RC member promoting grassroots activities. She had been staying here for a while but was not informed of any activities. I spoke with her child and also promoted the Youth Group.

At 8.30pm, I chaired the meeting for the Healthy Lifestyle Day until Hock Rong returned from a dinner. The big day is coming... At the end of the meeting, I was already feeling unwell. Had some porridge at the Kopitiam and adjourned early at 11pm. True enough, I would later wake at 1am with a fever...

Christmas with Hong Kong Exchange Delegates

25 December 2008

If not for my parents, the snoozling alarm would never wake me up this morning. At 8am, I checked with Jonathan if he wanted to join us but he declined as he still needs some rest. Lin Qiang was sleeping, so he could take care of Jonathan. Hock Rong was the man of the match - he had drank alcohol before the night cycling, and while we slept, he uploaded photos to FaceBook!

My parents ordered the traditional breakfast set at the Kopitiam, and it didn't miss George's snaps. The Christmas Party that we were attending was organised by Eunos Zone 3 RC. The bus ferried us to MusicPoint @ SAFRA Tampines.

Hock Rong and I had planned to sing at the event. We had even selected our songs and it was a pity that they were not in the list. Nevertheless, we sang 孤单北半球 and 痴心绝对. Being my first time singing to a crowd onstage, I can still remember the trembling of my whole jaw muscles.

Not used to the short span of sleep, George was seen dozing off from time to time during the event. When we returned home, I brought Jonathan for lunch at Prata shop while George and HR took their naps.

I could sense that George is a nature guy, so we headed to the Southern Ridges. And indeed, George brightened up a lot. There was a plant that reacted to music and we were all absorbed into it.

After hiking for a distance more than 7km, through HortPark, Alexandra Arch, Forest Trail, Henderson Waves, Mount Faber Park and Marang Trail, we finally visited Vivocity!

There we enjoyed free delicious Beard Papa cream puffs, thanks to Hock Rong's connections. For dinner, we settled at Seah Im Food Centre.

Looking forward to visiting them in Hong Kong in February 2009!

Photo Credits: George Chan

Saturday, December 27, 2008

PAYM Singapore-Hong Kong International Youth Exchange Programme 2008

Day 1 - 24 December 2008

In the morning, I followed Henry to Yap's stall and requested for consignment of fruits. Yap was supportive of grassroots events and agreed to the consignment.

At 2pm, I reached People's Association HQ at Stadium Link road for the Homestay matching ceremony. This is my first time here. The premise was previously the Kallang Airport. I registered at the Auditorium and waited anxiously for my Hong Kong youth delegates.

The Hong Kong delegates prepared a skit to illustrate the changing face of Hong Kong over the years, as well as a slideshow presentation of the theme of the programme - "youth participation in politics and heritage conservation".

We were given a half section of a map of our residence. Our Hong Kong youths carry the other half... and the matching began.

Meet George and Jonathan! As it was drizzling, I called for a cab to send us back home. My family had prepared a room for both of them.

I brought both of them to take a look at the Residents' Committee Centre, PAP Branch office and Community Club. At the CC, Hock Rong gave some batik scarf to them as gifts.

The places Hock Rong and I initially wanted to bring our new Hong Kong friends to, ended up to be those that would be covered in the second leg of their stay. So, I decided to bring them to Singapore's largest shopping mall - Vivocity.

We took the bus to Eunos MRT station. As we approached the Paya Lebar MRT station, Jonathan felt unwell and we left the cabin. He had a bad stomachache and was feeling nausea. Thank goodness, George had a small plastic bag for Jonathan just in time when he needed it.

The Singapore Post Office building's clinic was closed on this Christmas eve, so we headed to a 24-hr clinic at Marine Parade. There, Jonathan took a jab and had some pills. His pain was so acute that at some points, he had difficulty moving. We managed to send him back to my place and let him rest for the night.

George settled dinner at the Prata shop. He drank his first sip of Bandung, ate Nasi Ayam and Roti John. Through explaining local culture to a foreign friend, I began to see things from a fresh perspective and cherish the things that I have.

Just before midnight, Hock Rong, Lin Qiang, George and I went for a night cycling tour around the Eastern part of Singapore. We cycled through the park connector to East Coast Park where people had just finished counting down to Christmas. We had supper at the food village as the loud karaoke singing "entertained" us.

Next, we cycled to Bedok Camp, where I quickly took a picture for George. Hock Rong spotted the guard duty personnel looking at us and calling to his guard commander, so we quickly cycled off.

The next few stops were Simpang Bedok, PAP HQ, Bedok MacDonald's (where George took a picture of the "You Deserve a Mega Mac" ad) and then back home. We slept at about 5am, preparing to wake at 8am to attend a Christmas Party...

Eunos Healthy Lifestyle Day Preparation

23 December 2008

Was awaken by Hock Rong's SMS in the morning. He had reported sick for work and needed to go to the clinic, so I accompanied him along.

After lunch, we went to the market to propose to fruit stall owners to allow the YEC to sell their fruits during Eunos Healthy Lifestyle Day. We were lucky to meet Henry from the Merchants' Association. He agreed to help us liaise with Yap the next morning for consignment of fruits.

While Edmund and Hock Rong discussed the programme for the event, I rushed my minutes of meeting. There were 2 meetings for the night - Toastmasters speechcraft meeting & RC Christmas Party meeting.

I would be meeting the Hong Kong youth exchange delegates tomorrow. I am hosting them for 2 nights to let them experience Singapore's way of living. As such, Hock Rong and I sat down to brainstorm some of the places we could bring them to visit.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Emergency Preparedness Day Preparation

22 December 2008

At 3pm, I represented Zone '3' RC to attend the EP Day emergency exercise rehearsal. SCDF came with a rhino, a combined platform ladder and a pump lorry. Despite it being an emergency exercise rehearsal, the SCDF displayed professionalism and good discipline. I enjoyed conversing with some of them.

After the drill, my Uncle and I went door to door to inform affected residents of the exercise and promoted upcoming events. We took almost 3 hours to complete one entire block. Even though my throat went totally dry and sore, I enjoyed the visits due to the enthusiasm expressed by the residents. Also, Uncle managed to sell some of the Chinese New Year tickets. The most challenging part of selling tickets is always the final part of asking the residents to purchase. Different people do it differently and it is interesting to learn.

Took a quick dinner and then rushed to MPS. There was a Christmas exchange of gifts after that. Some of us proceeded to guess the content of the wrapped gifts under the mistletoe. Wei Kiat had fun meddling with the gifts. Uncle Wong made good attempts. Jovina won herself a tissue box and staple bullets!

I felt so bad that Hock Rong couldn't join in the gift exchange due to my miscommunication...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Pyjamas Fun Party

21 December 2008

Sunday makes a good day to sleep or go out shopping, but for committed volunteers such as Hock Rong, Wei Kiat, Chee Lee and Ming Choo, they sacrificed their break from work/school to sell tickets for the Eunos Healthy Lifestyle Day.

Walking around your estate can be interesting. A lot of people just walk the same route to work and back to home for decades and miss all the nice sceneries around their neighbourhood. I particularly enjoy the birds' eye view from high storeys when we are doing the door-to-door ticket selling. There was a Malay wedding and it was coincidental that we happened to see the bride and groom being ushered in.

I am still learning from Hock Rong regarding ticket selling. I admire and respect his commitment to talking to all the residents, whose doors are open, before handing over a flyer. We managed to sell about 30 tickets in 3 hours and to 5 blocks of flats.

We saw a cat which we initally thought was dead. When we approached it, we realised that it was still breathing. A resident informed us that the cat had been abused by children. The legs of the cat were beaten, causing reduced mobility of the cat and poor appetite. The cat was likely to be pregnant. As the ears were not clipped, the cat was an unsterilised stray cat. We made a call to SPCA and they picked up the cat within 15 minutes. We both thought it was a very inhumane act by the culprits.

In the evening, Hock Rong, Jialing, Wei Kiat and I attended the Pyjamas Fun Party organised by the Eunos CC Women's Executive Committee. We are honoured to be invited by the WEC. I brought the pyjamas along but was hesitant to wear it. When I reached the CC, I bumped into the pyjamas-cladded Rosalind and decided to show support by donning the pyjamas.

Carin was also wearing a pyjamas and emceeing the event. It was a great experience wearing something that I normally wouldn't wear outside my house. Jialing was so "on" to wear hers when Hock Rong and I wore ours. I can see a camaraderie in the making.

Jialing walked home in her pyjamas and the group of us later went to MacDonald's for some snacks. We all ordered Chocolate Fudge Sundae!

Ranjit weds Inderpal

20 December 2008

Mother, Lin Qiang and I woke early today to attend Mr Sawaran Singh's wedding at Central Sikh Temple. Hock Rong joined us and we shared a cab. There was a large golden peanut dangling off the front mirror which reminded me of the NKF "peanuts"...

The bridal car caught our attention. There is much effort spent in lining the entire car with flowers and scotch tape, unlike the easy drap-on bouquet on the Chinese bridal car.

Prior to entering the temple, we tied up bandanas and hid our hair.

The canteen is located at the first floor of the temple. As we walked in from the entrance, we saw Mr Pang and other grassroots leaders and we joined them in consuming breakfast. Males and females sat on different sides of the canteen. The Sikhs were very friendly and shared with us some of the customs when we were uncertain. We also spotted Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Inderjit Singh.

After the breakfast snacks, everyone headed to the prayers' hall at the second floor. Climbing up the stairs, we were greeted by a splendid view of a fountain bearing reflection from the sun rays.

We sat down in the prayers' hall as friends and relatives queued to offer their blessings to the couple. Here, the males and females are also divided. In the meantime, there was chanting of prayers and playing of musical instruments. Two screens in front displayed the English translation of the chanting. This was useful for non-Sikhs like us to understand what is going on.

After the groom and bride walked in to the front, a man spoke from the lectern, talking about love and marriage. Anand Karaj is given to the name of the Sikh wedding ceremony. You can read more about Anand Karaj at http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php?title=Anand_Karaj.

Some of the sayings left a deep impression in me. These included Marriage = Merry + Age; Marriage means the soul-bride can realise the divine-groom; Marriage is not only physical and contractual but intellectual and spiritual merger; The groom and bride are of equal status like 2 wheels of the same chariot of life.

The solemnisor then get the couple to sign the papers and the priest took over from there. At one point, one end of the scarf of the bride was placed over the shoulder of the groom and they walked round the priest 4 times.

There was buffet lunch reception at the canteen.

As the function ended, some of us continued part 2 with games and forfeits.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


19 December 2008

Eunos Zone '3' Residents' Committee had its block party today. I spotted quite a high percentage of youths participating in our event. Given the short time of notice, our members still could attract quite a crowd for the event.

A professional photographer took a group photo of us with the sponsor for publicity of our Chinese New Year Dinner. Willie shared some very good learning points as we dined in.

At 8.30pm, most of us walked to Eunos Community Club to attend the Emergency Preparedness Day meeting. The emergency exercise would be conducted at Blk 621 Bedok Reservoir Road. It would be a rather hectic day for grassroots volunteers as there are 2 other activities that would be conducted prior to the event, namely the Eunos Healthy Lifestyle Day and SCDF Heritage Tour.

Went to Discovery with Hock Rong. It was quite an eye-opener but due to some irritance, we decided to leave and have a serene walk in the night urban landscape. I chilled at the comfortable sofa of Fullerton Hotel while he glued himself to his SMSes.

Friday, December 19, 2008


18 December 2008

A phone call from Hock Rong woke me up from an impending nightmare. Apparently, I was dreaming about being a photographer of a wedding function and all the photographs turned out to be lousy. Hock Rong had invited me to a badminton session with his nephew, Xavier.

Xavier is a quick learner and a very sharp kid. I was surprised that he knows what the abbreviation "CCMC" stands for (in case you don't, it's Community Club Management Committee). We played for 2 hours and ate mixed chop for lunch.

In the evening, YEC movie screening organising chairperson Jialing mustered the committee to test the sound system in Petal Garden. Hock Rong, Husien, Ming Choo and I went off selling the tickets to our Eunos Healthy Lifestyle Day. Hock Rong became so nervous when he was approaching her unit. And little did we expect that we would bump into her as she walked home.

Had a little rest at home before heading to Downtown East for the movie premiere of Yes Man casted by Jim Carrey. Saying "YES" does open one up to more opportunities. This is a motivational, sweet and funny movie worth watching.

3 Meetings in a Day

17 December 2008

After weeks of anticipation, students of Bedok North Secondary School Service Learning Club (BNSS SLC) finally had their first committee meeting. Next year, these vibrant students would be organising a forum. I was surprised when I reached the Community Club and see nearly all the students already seated together and waiting for me. I'm glad to be mentoring these enthusiastic student leaders.

Had our meeting in the conference room and took a photograph of the students so that they can remember the moment when they made their first step onto this project.

Immediately after the SLC meeting, I dashed to the National Library for my second meeting for the day. The National University of Singapore Political Association (NUSPA) is organising a policy debate competition. I picked the post of Publicity Director for the organising committee to expose myself to a different jobscope. Besides design, I think I would be up to task!

As we adjourned, I met Hock Rong at Plaza Singapura to introduce one of my favourite dishes to him. The Keppa-Tei stall (hope I didn't remember wrongly) in the Kopitiam foodcourt serves the best Chicken Terriyaki set ever! The juicy Terriyaki Chicken with the great sauce soaked by the rice. The shiny egg yolk that calls for you to finish it in a gulp. Fantastic.

We had our second serving at Long John Silver. A cup of hot clam chowder to go along with a fish combo set that we shared. We then returned to the CC for the next meeting.

Later at 8.30pm, the 3rd meeting commenced. I am honoured to sit in the constituency's Chinese New Year Dinner organising committee as a member. I learnt a lot from the seniors and had fun.

Hock Rong randomly took out a basketball from the office and a group of us started playing it. Brings back all the secondary schoolday memories...