Sunday, March 21, 2010

BRATs -- Day Three (15/3/10)

Today, first thing in the morning, Sing is King was informed that half of us would be heading to Kawan, a temporary shelter for the homeless. The lucky (or unlucky, whichever way you look at it) six would be helping the volunteers to hand out food to drug addicts.

Part of me wanted to go, so I raised my hand when they asked for volunteers. It would be nice to see and talk to these people, find out what they were really like, because I've always wondered. Another part of me wanted to stick to the original plan of roaming the streets to find something interesting to write about. Sure, volunteering for Kawan would've made for a very interesting piece indeed; but me being the sentimental sap I am, I'd have probably turned it into something bordering on mushy, which I wasn't sure was what they were looking for.

My decision was made for me, however, when Sharm looked at me and said, "No, you stay. You can look for stories for your article." Oh, okay, then.

We were split like this:

Sharm, Me, Stephanie, Ken, Keesh

Greg, Aminah, Sharannya, Han Ming, Isaac

Sean, Pau Ling, Aishah, Kelvin

We all walked the Kawan group to the shelter on Love Lane and met the English woman in charge. After Sharm chatted with her for a bit, the other two groups split up and left. The video group was allowed to go a little off course to Carnarvon Street, whereas we articles + photos people headed to Moh Teng Pheow Nyonya Kuih, a well-known Nyonya kuih shop off Chulia Street. It was, to our dismay, closed on Mondays, so we walked along Chulia Street itself to see what we could find.

A little (tiny, really) kopitiam caught our eye and we stopped to poke around for a bit. Unfortunately, people there were rather uncooperative and became even more so upon my informing them that I don't -- can't -- speak Chinese. We bananas are a disgrace to the Chinese race, you see. Sigh.

We gave up after a while and left, with very little information on anything except the life of a particularly talkative old man before and after the Japanese occupation. That was quite fail.

Check out the prices of their food, though! 80 sen for roti kahwin! (That's toast with kaya and butter, btw. Sharm told me. Yum yum.)

We headed to Carnarvon Street after that to see what we could find -- nothing. We came across the video group, though, videoing Sean who had managed to con-- I mean, talk an apom balik man into letting him try making some of the kuih. It was good to know that not our whole group was having fruitless attempts to get our assignments done.

Next, we went to Muntri Street and came across some students practising band instruments in this enclosure at the back of St. Xavier's Institution (Ivy's old school). Like yesterday, out of sheer desperation, we approached the chicken wire fence and began to talk to them. It was pretty easy, since there were around our age and had heard of BRATs.

We hadn't actually entered the compound (even though the back gate was wide open) because of the intruders-will-be-persecuted-or-something-like-that sign. However, upon deciding that the St. Xavier's Institution Marching Band would be our article and video, Sharm marched right in, threat of persecution or not, looking to speak to a teacher.

Long story short, we got interviews (both for the article and on video) with the guys from the band, as well as a few performances for our video. I was the interviewer, btw. It was so awkward. I mean, really. Ho Hui Jan, BRATs, The Star is not VJ material at all. When I get nervous or excited, I talk really fast, and, well -- that's a story for later.

In order to take the band from an aerial view, we got our tallest group member, Kelvinder, to climb the basketball hoop post, with some help from a band member.

How very 'gaya' he looked up there with the big video camera.

The Saints (as they call themselves) surprised us with amazing covers of Can You Feel the Love Tonight, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, and Smoke On the Water. I kid you not.

I had never seen so much brass in front of me before, nor had I seen actual bagpipes -- being played too! Bagpipes, they're like this floppy green bag with sticks poking out of it, and I swear they look like they're breathing when they're being played. I hope the two bagpipes players weren't too freaked out by my fascinated staring.

Once we were done filming, we thanked them and started making our way back. The video group stopped at a coffee shop, where Sean managed to cajole yet another hawker into letting him try his hand at cooking their food. The rest of us returned to the hotel.

After lunch, when we were working on our assignments, we were told that every group was to give a performance that night. Our original plan was to do the Thriller dance, then it turned into the Single Ladies dance, then Keesh and Kelvin refused to dance at all. It took a while to get everything sorted out, but we finally did, and hilarity ensued. I'll get back to that later.

As they were editing the St. Xavier's Institution Marching Band video, they replayed some parts over and over, and it was then that I thanked my lucky stars that I have never been interested in being a VJ. The very first part where I introduced myself had been accidentally cut out or something, so they used subtitles instead. So that was remedied, but my machine gun-speed speech unfortunately could not be.

"Canwehaveyourname?" asked Ho Hui Jan, BRATs, The Star on the laptop screen. Jessica and Niki's heads snapped up.

" 'Do you have a name'?!"

"Please don't tell me you're putting that in."

Epic fail, Ho Hui Jan, BRATs, The Star. Epic fail.

Oh, oh, we were introduced to the Algorithm March! It is SO FUN, I love it so much. The song is my alarm tone, and Angelyn's too. It was girls versus guys, and the girls won. Obviously. Hehe.

I can't find the original video, so here's the Cebu inmates' one:

It had been an awesome day so far, but something happened to make it even more so.

Niki Cheong picked my blog to be featured in R.AGE! Niki Cheong, celebrity blogger Niki Cheong who gets goodness knows how many hundred ('thousand'?) hits on his blog daily, picked my blog with its measly few tens of hits a day to be featured. He picked Aishah's too! We were in Wednesday's StarTwo (in R.AGE), as well as the R.AGE website. Youshah, we're famous, yo!

A screenshot for posterity. Hehe.

Anyway. Who wants to know what Sing is King did for group performance in the end? We danced to two songs and sang one.

Girls: Soulja Boy (Crank That) dance
Guys, minus Keesh & Kelvin: Single Ladies dance
Keesh & Kelvin: I Believe I Can Eat (sung to the tune of I Believe I Can Fly)

Now, who wants to see the videos?! They're on Andrian's blog, in this post. We're the second video. Thanks for uploading the videos, Andrian! In return, I give you more hits! Haha.

Sing is King got requests for an encore, which we happily fulfilled. The first encore in years, according to...Sharm or Ivy, I can't remember. But yay!

Team Awesome's song was really good, though! Choong Hou brought his guitar and they changed the lyrics of Coldplay's Yellow to fit the BRATs experience. Dimming the lights, they sang, enunciating properly so we could catch the lyrics. You can view them here, on our official Tumblr.

After that, we continued working on our assignments and handed in whatever we could, since we'd be given some time to complete unfinished work the next morning. Those who were done with their stuff were camwhoring and playing Choong Hou's guitar, and I followed suit. Always laughter and singing with us BRATs, even past midnight on a weekday.


  1. wow.. well its often that photographers and videographers climb up to get their work done.. haha.. but do be careful.. =)

  2. Yeah, it looked scary at first, but he seemed fine. (: The vid had a cool aerial view! It was Sharm's idea.