Re: Orientation camps.

Recently, I can’t go on Facebook without seeing posts or be asked in real life by family and friends about the whole sexualised/risque nature of NUS uni camps. (For more info: see here).

Now, while I don’t agree with the blanket ban on all orientation activities – I think it sets a dangerous precedent but hey this is Singapore – I find it troubling to see numerous posts on Facebook from acquaintances defending these camps to the core. You would think it was their religion or something when you read some of them. I know standing up for your beliefs is important and all but guys, pick your battles. Life is too short to be arguing constantly. Most of these posts are saying oh these things didn’t happen in MY camp in which I was part of the ExCo so of course it doesn’t happen in the whole of NUS (which consists of numerous departments and faculties). Just because it didn’t happen in your camp doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen at all. This all feels eerily similar to victim-blaming of those that were sexually assaulted or harassed tbh. It’s not helping to solve the problem of sexualised forfeits in camps.

While the camps that I attended freshman year were not as horrible as those mentioned in the media or those that I heard stories of from my friends, I remember having a cultural shock when OGLs brief us the games and the possible forfeits that we have to go through. Even the most memorable and enjoyable one – Tembusu Orientation Camp – was not spared. There was a game where teams have to go through an obstacle course made of ropes where it inevitably ended in members being transported from one point to another by other members – basically strangers met just hours ago – and having no control over where they’re being touched. I was so nervous once I saw what I had to go through but I just kept quiet and braced myself. Looking back, I know I should have spoken up and said I was not comfortable but I guess I just wanted to fit in. Everything was so new to me back then and so different. There was also a Blind Date night game where everyone is blindfolded and the OGLs match us up and bring us to different parts of UTown. Thankfully, I was paired with someone nice (in fact, someone I was crushing on) but still.

Overseas readers might think, ah this sounds very tame actually, but you have to understand that Singapore is pretty conservative. Being brought up in such an environment, I consider myself pretty conservative as well. We didn’t have such games throughout our entire 18 years of education so seeing all these games once we entered uni, I can understand why many freshmen and parents were shocked.

Another thing I’d like to add before ending my response is that many posts I’ve seen have said how orientation camps were how they forged friendships. While that is true, the way they say it seems to imply that these camps are the only way to make friends in uni. That once school starts, it’s oops you missed your chance be a loner the next 4 years. That is just preposterous. Only 350+ FASS students out of an assumed 1000 attend such camps each year. Does that mean the majority of students go on their uni life without making friends? Please. Camps may be the stepping stone to creating friendships but taking similar classes and going through the struggle of studying and earning that degree is also another great way to make friends. In fact, most of my uni friendships were made with people I wasn’t close to/hadn’t met in camps. So please, stop the exaggeration. I know you’re upset with the blanket ban (and rightfully so) but do not make the situation worse with dramatic statements. It doesn’t help your cause nor the university’s.

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Graduation, amongst other things.

Today, it was Amira’s turn to don on the graduation mortarboard and I couldn’t be more happy for her! Mine was 3 weeks ago and I still remember that special warm fuzzy feeling inside seeing all my friends from different stages of my life gathered together just for me. Is it selfish of me to feel like that? It truly was a special day and I’d definitely remember it for years to come.

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Very happy of all our successes so far! Who knew we’d make this far from being nerdy secondary school kids? 😀

Anyway, Amira dropped the big news that she’s getting married this December! 10 December, which is 5 days before my birthday. My first reaction was like WOAAAAAAH. I mean it wasn’t wholly unexpected since her boyfriend and her were pretty serious but still! My second reaction was omg I am so happy for my friend. I guess it shows the strength of our friendship (10 years and going now!) that I wasn’t jealous/feeling small of myself/comparing myself with her. Which I feel is talked about a lot more in TV shows or those self-help articles that you can find online (looking at you Thought Catalog). I just can’t help feeling so happy! Hopefully I’ll get to participate in the whole wedding process since most of my cousins are either married already or around the same age as me.

Ahh today was so good. The only thing that’ll make it better is if an interview email comes through (pls pls pls). The Quest for a Job is still ongoing, in case you’re wondering. I have faith in Allah that things will work out and at their own pace but I can’t help having totally panic-inducing and anxiety days where I feel completely worthless and undeserving to live under my parents’ roof even though I know full well that I have my own set of accomplishments with many more to add in the future. Gah. I’ve always said I’d love to fast forward to 2017 where I’ve hopefully settled somewhat into my job and living life with considerably less worries. But I know all these days will lead up to that one day I get a permanent job. Till then, I’ll just have to wait and survive it out. Pray that I do, guys 🙂 #stillholdingontohope

That time when I spent too much.

Which was last Saturday.

Met up with 2/3 of Kambengs (Amira unfortunately had to give tuition) for the Parade of Bands event happening in the middle of Orchard Road. Of course, we went to support WSMB 🙂 Every time I think of WSMB, I can only think of happy memories even though most of the time was spent under the hot sun marching away…I think my brain has washed away any unhappy memories I had during that time. Ah, the bliss of time.

We went to Innisfree first since we had some time before the parade started and omg I discovered the magic of their face masks. I saw a middle-aged lady buying 30 face masks at one go and I thought she was crazy at the time but now that I’ve tried one (Bija face mask; apparently really good at targeting skin problems which the Lord knows I need some help in that department), I am tempted to buy as many as her. I feel like it really does clear up all the blemishes and make my skin look clearer ❤ Why did I take so long to discover them sigh. Also I bought their volcanic pore mask which is pretty good for me too! Already spent about $26 at this point.

It was another stupidly hot day (I would like the monsoon winds to come back this way please) and we spent most of the time trying to find shady areas that were not blocked off by CISCO guards. Why they blocked it off I have no idea. They cite “security reasons”, being afraid that we might get knocked down by the marching bands but lol most of the bands were too small to take up the entire width of the road.

But yes, West Spring performed!! For like the shortest period out of all of the bands, I feel zzz. But it was great seeing some familiar faces like Limau (and his protruding stomach). I couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride seeing the juniors marching down the street.

Afterwards, Syu and I headed to Kino while waiting for iftar time while Fatin went home and holyyyyyy I lost my shit in there. THERE. WERE. SO. MANY. BOOKS. On so many topics! I swear Singapore suffers from really good bookstores. I always get jealous looking at bookstagram photos of cute indie bookshops overseas. Kino isn’t indie but their selection of books is so awesome I wanted to cry right there on the spot. Also, their manga selection is A++. Recently, I’ve been obsessed reading Orange on MangaFox so I was absolutely delighted seeing the first two volumes on their shelves! Plus it was the last two copies hahaha. I immediately grabbed them even though they cost $36 each but I justified to myself on the way to the cashier that they will be graduation presents to myself hurhur. I love how my brain thinks sometimes. So, another $60+ spent there.

On the way to Cine’s McD (cos we wanted to try the new salted egg stuff), there was this group of people giving out cookies and sampul surat raya which I thought was a fantastic idea. I’d really like to get more into these kinds of projects but 1) I don’t know where to start searching for one and 2) sometimes I get too intimidated and chicken out which I know is extremely bad of me. I should just #gojer and experience new things cos how then would I grow as a person??? Baby steps then.

While chilling at Macs, Syu and I had the most loveliest chat of our friendship so far talking about anything and everything under the sun. And I do mean everything. I confided in her about my fear of commitment and we also talked about Bangtan (of course). I think we analysed why Bangtan is our favourite group out of all groups in Kpop haha. I might write a separate post on that soon.

Later, we went to explore Scape and wow, I love the vibe there. The mall is so hipster and there’s cute handbags that sell for pretty cheap! I bought one for $15 cos I realised that I had no bag for Raya. I had to tumpang Aishah’s bag last year hahaha.

Now can you see why I said I spent too much that day? 26+67+15+5.50 (for food) = money flying away sigh.

Someone pls employ me soon. I need the moolah.

But I really did enjoy myself a lot on Saturday so….*self-justification*