I think, therefore I write. (我思,所以我写。)

Cogito ergo scribo

Thursday, August 20, 2009

DIY 30-Hour Famine (II)

[I wonder if it was because of the lack of sleep, or maybe ageing, i actually can't recall in details the sequence of the events in the camp!]

After the Survivor game, the participants were to return to our respective groups and discuss about the lessons learnt. I felt that this game had indeed created a mock-up atmosphere of post-catastrophe refugee camp. The difficulties in looking for your family, the need to re-build our own home from scratch with limited supplies, the unscrupulous business people who would take advantage of the situation and jack up the prices of the supplies in need, the shortage of medical supplies, the conscienceless employers and gangsters who exploit the refugee in need of money, the desperate victims who would turn into mob in times of crisis... these are things that we knew about but have been very fortunate to not have to experience it ourselves. With this game, we could have a mild taste of how it would be like to be in the situation of the victims, and gain a better understanding what kind of hardships they would have to go through in order to survive.

Then what followed was something i had been waiting for -- soya milk! Uh huh, before joining the camp, i've actually read and heard that there would be soya milk being given to the participants at frequent interval as replacement for food. Yet this camp was different; for the entire day, we were only given the soya milk once, as dinner i guess.

After dinner, we did some dancing led by the senior members of the organising group. I guess this was the way to keep everyone upbeat, since everyone was starting to feel the hunger.

We then watched some performances of singing by local singers and a magic show by a handsome young guy. The singing made everyone very pumped-up and started dancing, and made a long line of "train" going around the hall.

After we settled down, we had an activity on rescuing a candle from a box within 7 seconds, signifying the statistic of a child who dies from hunger every 7 second somewhere in the world. We were later told that there was actually more to this activity after getting the candles from the box. The original plan was for us to light up the candles, but then there was fire sprinkler system in the stadium and it would be wiser to not take the chance in playing with the fire and then activated the fire sprinklers accidentally.

(Frankly, i can't remember clearly if this activity was carried out on the first or the second day. It was nothing much to this game even thought it was meaningful, and hence i can't really recall much about it.)

The programmes in the late evening were some speeches with slides show, given by the same senior members. It was a very long talk about how pitiful the kids of the poorer countries are, emphasizing on the cause of this event.

Well, for what it's worth, i totally agree with what they said about how unfortunate many people are at the other side of the world and how blessed we are. But then, these are not something that we do not already know. I mean, for people who actually attended this camp, i presume we all wanted to contribute in a small way to those unfortunate people. To tell us once is ok, but to talk about it over and over again, and in a mushy and overly-sentimental way, personally i feel it's overkilling.

We were then asked to call our loved ones to tell them how much we love them, and also to write down on a piece of paper our thoughts and the lessons we learnt from the camp so far. I didn't call anyone, and for the writing, it was the first time that i really didn't know what to write. It took me quite some time to finally put down something equally mushy as well.

Anyway, the whole thing dragged on until almost 10.30pm when they finally announced that it was time to sleep. I was already dead beat (and hungry). The energy was at its lowest, so i was rather surprised when they said that everyone was to wake up at 6am the next day!

So Sui and i chose a nice location to lay out our sleeping bags on the floor. We went to the toilet to wash up, and it's not hard to imagine that with that many people around, we gotta wait for our turn to use the basins. By the time we were ready for bed, it was already near mid-night.

To save money and to ensure the compressor does not overheat, the aircon was switched on for a few hours, and then off again for a few hours during the entire event. The aircon would be turned off at 11pm until morning, and i was wondering if we would all feel suffocated in the middle of the night because there were so many people in the stadium.

This was the first time i slept in a stadium with a thin sleeping bag (which i borrowed from my SG cousin). I could feel the hard floor and had a very tough night. I kept waking up and didn't go into deep sleep at all. Sitting on the floor for so many hours with my thin buttock was already making my butt hurt. Then sleeping on the hard floor made it even worse. I woke up the next day with body aching all over.

On Sunday (16/8) morning, i was awaken by the light music broadcasted in the stadium. It was hardly 6am yet. The organiser was waking everyone up with the music. So i dragged myself up and felt as if i was half-dead.

We cleaned up and then the first activity for everyone was yoga! Three yoga instructors were invited and they taught us some simple yoga postures and breathing techniques. It was good actually, kinda like waking everyone up.

I forgot to mentioned in the first post that we also did yoga on the first day, but it was called the "laughing yoga". Basically it was just some dumb moves and then laugh laugh laugh after every move. It was amusing but dumb nonetheless. I still prefer the normal yoga that we did on the morning of the second day.

After the yoga session, we had another group game of making little stars with newspaper. It was a dull game of cutting and folding the newspaper into stars, at the request of the host who acted as the boss who bought paper stars from us if we were able to produce the number of stars she requested in a stipulated time (e.g. 30 stars within 5 minutes). Not much to this game except the message that was brought out was the pathetic pay that the kids make at the poor country, which was used to feed the whole family.

The game was kinds draggy and after we were done with it, we had our "brunch" of soya milk. This was the second and the last time we would be given the soya milk.

We then had a break and when we were all back to the stadium, it was performance time! There were singing performance by local singers and dance performance of MJ impersonator (dancing to "Billy Jean"). We then did some dance moves ourselves by following the group leaders on stage, and finally it was more singing performances by our host.

Our host was a young lady with petite built and a cute and pretty face. She has a very sweet voice, and i only got to know later that she used to be a local singer too at those 民谣 cafe. She has stopped singing and it was her last performances. She could really sing very well. There was another guy partnering with her on stage, when he played the guitar and both of them taking turn to sing.

Earlier on, we were each given two pieces of post-it to write down the songs that we would like to hear, and also some words of thoughts. We were then to post the post-it on the bulletin boards. So the two of them were basically reading out the post-it notes and singing the songs that had been requested.

When they were on their 4th songs or so, it was already 3pm and time for me to leave. I informed my group leader and then bade farewell to Sui. With that, it ended my very first 30-Hour Famine experience.

Well, from Saturday 12pm to Sunday 3pm, it seems like it was only 27 hours of fasting. But then, my last meal on Saturday was my breakfast that was finished at around 10am. Then after i left the Southern College, mom sent me straight back to SG. We did stop by to buy some snacks for me to eat in the car on our way to SG, but by the time i finally got my first bite, it was almost 4.30pm already. So all in all, i did fast for 30 hours as well.

I cannot say i really enjoy this camp very much. There were some enjoyable moments and positive learning experience definitely, such as the Survivor game and also some performances. Yet i didn't really like the part where they were making the whole thing a tad too sensational, encouraging everyone to hug each other, saying "i love you" and all. It was just too mawkish for me.

I also didn't like the part that they made the sleeping time too short when everyone was actually very tired after one day of activity and fasting. This might cause people to fall sick, when we still gotta work on the following day. Oh, and i don't understand why they only distributed soya milk twice instead of more frequently like the other camps that i had heard about. My guess is that they did not get sufficient sponsors for it.

But then, having said all these, bear in mind that what we did was for charity. We weren't there for fun or to enjoy. The main purpose is to raise money and to experience the hardships of the people living in poverty, specifically the children who suffer from hunger. I think for that, the organiser did a great job in pulling it together, and for a great cause too.

So would i do it again? Probably i would, but i'd wanna go for the one organised by World Vision itself instead of the DIY camp.

And lastly, a side note, i lost 1KG just over two days.


Share your cogitation

Thursday, August 20, 2009 @ 2:43 am: Some phrases
Wednesday, August 19, 2009 @ 4:25 am: I need to sleep well
Tuesday, August 18, 2009 @ 3:57 am: DIY 30-Hour Famine (I)
Monday, August 17, 2009 @ 1:31 am: Am back, alive
Saturday, August 15, 2009 @ 4:48 am: Weekend activity
Thursday, August 13, 2009 @ 6:13 pm: MC
Thursday, August 13, 2009 @ 1:01 am: Washington DC - Day 1 (III)
Wednesday, August 12, 2009 @ 3:58 am: Down mood
Tuesday, August 11, 2009 @ 6:07 pm: Unwell
Monday, August 10, 2009 @ 11:12 pm: Headache