Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Orientation Camp

Orientation Camp was awesome. Not kidding, not being sarcastic. I am browner, bruised, and (leech-)bitten, but I had a ton of fun.

Our pavilion-mates and pavilion neighbours!
(Photo credit: Dhama)

The night before, I was actually sick; the pile of used tissues in my wastepaper basket was steadily growing as I was packing. Things were not looking up. However, I refused to feel any sense of foreboding since I had promised myself to have fun at camp. Stuffing tissues up my nose, I adamantly shoved clothes and other necessities into my bag and prayed hard to get better. (It worked. I was fine by the second day!)

The journey there wasn't fun. You combine a fever with a rowdy karaoke session on a bus you can't get off, and you get one hell of a headache. I feel that tone deaf people shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the mic in karaoke sessions, especially since they tend to sing the loudest anyway.

On to better news. The cult and I had a massive stroke of luck barely half an hour after arriving at the campsite -- the five of us had been moved from our respective tents into a pavilion! Upon hearing our, uh, highly exuberant cries of joy, Melvyn muttered to the other facilitators (also seniors), "Keep an eye on them." We were utterly innocent, though. We turned out the lights when they told us to, didn't talk through the night, and -- most importantly -- didn't sabotage the water balloons that had so temptingly been left in a basin next to the guy facilitators' pavilion, which was beside ours.

Ying Ying, me, and Trishi beside our pavilion.
(Photo credit: Dhama)

Other highlights of the camp were nighttime jungle trekking and stream trotting. The former was better than the latter for me because I didn't keep falling down. Plus, we saw fireflies...all of two of them. Nevertheless, the fireflies (one blue and the other green) were so pretty; I couldn't help thinking of fairies as they floated off. There were some orang asli (aborigines) there snickering at us city kids fighting our way through the jungle while they strode effortlessly through. This conversation made us laugh, though:

Us: Omigosh! Look! Fireflies!
Them: Mana ada api lah. Kelip-kelip, tu. Apa lah. ("That's not fire. Those are fireflies!")

All throughout the trek, we were helped by more experienced guys, be it the lecturers, facilitators, or fellow participants. I took a bit of pride in rejecting their offers at first, but had to start accepting when the trail got steep. Most of the time, I couldn't actually see who my helper was -- there would only be a hand being offered to me and a male voice saying, "Need a hand?" or something to that effect. The trail wasn't as hard as the one we normally do for prefects camp, but it was nighttime and hard to see. This fact freaked me out because I'd heard there were leeches, but there were far less of them than at previous camps. I got bitten, anyway, just once.

Not my leg. Yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck.

Stream trotting was a lot harder, but thankfully it was during the day. Every time I'm dumb enough to kneel, I am painfully reminded of the bruises on my knees. Some parts were really frustrating, because at the big rocks, there would be facilitators or lecturers pointing out safe places to place our feet to climb said rocks, and I inevitably would not be able to reach. (It was like that awful prefects camp a few years back where the facilitator told me to give up on the rock climbing because I couldn't reach the next rock.)

Twice I fell and had to be dragged up the rock. The second time, Teddy had the rather unfortunate task of dragging me up the rock by my arms, which was a little funny since I was feeling a bit like a teddy bear (or rag doll) myself. It was a huge relief to finally reach the waterfall, though. Now I can finally say I've seen and splashed around in a waterfall!

Photo credit: Li Ying

Night games were fun. Imagine a bunch of teenagers running around from station to station in the darkness, screaming our heads off for the fun of it. Terrifyingly epic. Talent night was funny, and it was nice that the guys who stayed at particularly tough parts of the jungle trail or trail to the waterfall to help others were acknowledged and given a little something.

You may have noticed I haven't said anything about the No Apologies sessions. This is because I have nothing to say. You know that part in the movie Mean Girls where the coach teaching Health Ed or something goes, "Don't have sex. Because you will get pregnant. And die."? Imagine that drawn out over six hours. Sure, there were activities and stuff, but the basic message was 'Don't have premarital sex. Don't have premarital sex. Don't have premarital sex. Don't have premarital sex. Don't have premarital sex.'

From we♥it.

Because I'm not sure I've done a very good job of summarising Orientation Camp, here's a list I came up with titled Camp Participants/Facilitators Say the Darndest Things!

  • "I need to poop." [awkward silence] "You didn't hear that."
  • "Who is the president of Student Council?" "Uhh... Mary?" (Correct answer: Melvyn)
  • "Bond. Ionic Bond." "James Bond or Ionic Bond now?!" / "Wanna form a covalent bond?"
  • "Sexy? I'm innocent...like extra virgin olive oil."
  • [while everyone smiles for a group photo] "Say 'abstinence'!"
  • "And he was helping me down, and his hand was really sweaty. But you know what? My hand was sweaty too!"
  • "So are you guys having fun?"  "Nooo."  "Please just say yes. So are you guys having fun?"  "Yeees." (Sorry. Being woken up at 3.15 a.m. makes petty little brats of us all.)
  • "I am the strongest, smartest, most handsome PINK POWER RANGER!"
  • "You look a lot less intimidating in your pajamas."
  • "Oh, I just dropped something!"  "Where? What?"  "My jaw."

A huge thankyou to the facilitators (some of whom volunteered!) for making the camp awesome. You guys all got far less sleep than us yet seemed so much more chipper and alive. Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou. Hopefully, those of us who go for future Orientation Camps as facilitators will be as energetic, nice, and sporting as you guys are.

Orientation Camp ftw!


  1. You guys are really really awesome. The best part of the camp for us other than the preparation was when you all thanked us on the last day of the camp. You'd only know heart warming it was when you're one of the facilitators. We are as thankful as you are for making our last camp such a memorable one. I wish I had spent more time with you all though. Rock on. :)

  2. "Say 'abstinence'!"

    HAHA. I'm guessing this was after your No Apologies session or a really awesome school motto.

  3. Kai Shin:
    Kai Shin! Thanks for reading! :D You guys did a truly awesome job, and that bit of recognition was well-deserved. I've helped out at a camp once before, and the activities then didn't come close to this camp's, so I can only imagine how much effort you guys put in. Thankyou so much! :D

    NO APOLOGIES HAHA. Although, I think maybe it should be our new thing when taking photos. ;D