Children's Enrichment Camp Day 3: 30 Nov 2006: Day 3 goes by in a blur of action - I'm still not used to the crazy amount of preparation that the food requires, but it's even more crazy since we're headed out for the outing in the morning at 10am today! The foodstuffs: milo drink tetrapacks and muffins.
The great thing: the muffins are very soft and yummy!
The bad thing: the muffins are very soft and squishy, which makes box-stacking impossible, or the children would eat squashed muffins! And you know how kids are - if a muffin looks at one wrongly, they'll simply refuse to eat it and go hungry the entire time.
The outing to the museum chapel (the music team was tasked with returning to the previous day's scene of the crime) was the same as before, except that this time, I was ready - I had gone out the previous day to get those cheap, red plastic tablecloths (70cents each from Cold Storage!) as groundsheets, so at least the (pampered, fussy) children didn't have to sit on the grass without coverings.
Personally, I rather like sitting on the grass because we do it so rarely in Singapore - I remember a delightful afternoon where I fell asleep on the grass while reading in Cambridge's botanical gardens (free admission on Tuesdays I think; it cost a whopping £2 (S$6!) to enter on other days!), which felt heavenly, but then again I'm often called wierd when I express such sentiments, and most people can't really understand that while the grass may not necessarily be greener on the other side, it can often be softer, spongier, more comfortable, and quite often, of a completely different variety.
Perhaps now would be a good time to relate the amusing events that occurred, its hilarity stemming from Puden korkor's popularity with the little boys and girls. (Puden can be seen on the right picture, playing chee-koh-pah with some of the boys.)
The previous day, we served sausage buns and water, which were delicious, but the water was heavy. I didn't want to waste the food, and the children needed to be fed, but most of all, I didn't want us to be carrying more than half of the meal items back when they were supposed to be consumed by the children themselves.
The breaktime was almost over, and I despaired of getting these kids to eat their snacks: many of them having rejected them, saying "I'm not hungry,". In exasperation, I half-jokingly devised a very simple means of getting the children to eat the food: I announced to the children that anyone who ate 10 buns would get to kiss Puden korkor, and whoever ate 20 buns or drank 10 cups of water (they were distributed in sealed plastic cups) could bring Puden korkor home.
I was foolish and did not expect Puden korkor's popularity; I did not anticipate the sudden rush of children at the food. There was one boy (who was of portly disposition) who ate 6 buns and drank quite a number of glasses of water; I was worried enough to ban him from eating anymore. There were many girls who also did try their best to procure a kiss from Puden korkor, but to no avail. I was VERY VERY worried that someone might fall ill from the binge-eating, and declared the contest over, but some (such as SX and Hyunn; SX can be seen on the left smiling like the mischievious monkey she is) found it extremely amusing to put a dollar-value - or should it be a bun-value on each of the music team teachers.
I was rather dismayed to find out that I was only worth a biscuit.
We had to leave the chapel early as the sky was threatening to rain, and there was another huge mess/mass. Day 3's crowd was larger than Day 2's crowd, and it was tough coordinating the headcount between 4 buses. Thank God for modern technology - one bus left too early without giving us a head count, but we managed to get the count through one of the bus drivers, who had a walkie-talkie with him. Isn't that cool? I want an island-wide-range walkie-talkie too. Without being in the army.
We finally left the chapel without further mishap, although Puden might dispute that: he was almost torn to shreds as the little girls fought to have him sit by their side. I wish I was exaggerating, but I'm not - those primary 2 girls are relentless!
We had a little bit of a break between that outing and the next class, as lunch fell in between them. Remembering lull periods between sessions, I brought movies like I did the previous year, so we were in the middle of watching Titan A.E. to pass the time. The games team had also discovered that we had our own little private movie studio in the form of the music station, so they joined us to watch the movie. Titan A.E. was a hit with everyone - the youth couldn't believe that this "cool movie" was shown during "my time" - my elderly status being a source of constant ribbing among them. Puden elected to show Atlantis after that, which also enthralled them all - but we didn't manage to finish the last 15 minutes of it, which was quite a shame.
The rest of the day passed by without much incident - Day 3 of the camp always feels very routine, as the teachers have already gotten used to their children and everything seems to fall into place.
Children's Enrichment Camp Day 4: 1 Dec 2006: There was a tangible air of excitement that day - perhaps it was the excitement that arose from the children over having to perform for their parents that night, or the almost tangible sigh of relief that the workers were storing up in anticipation of the camp ending.
Whatever the case, Day 4 is always D-Day for me. Between making sure that the kids know their actions, know their standing positions for their performance, sticking down placement lines in the sanctuary to get them to stand in position, ensuring that the powerpoint slides for both parents and children are ready, briefing the teachers and helpers on the sequence of events, helping to coordinate between the entrance and exit of the children during the performance itself, it's always chaotic and a beautiful disaster.
This year was not much different, except that I think I had more fun because I was more relaxed about it. There was a distinct lack of urgency about getting it right (as I was slightly obsessed about with the previous year) and more a sense of making sure that everyone had fun and wasn't stressed out over it, which I think was more important. There's no point in burning/stressing/pissing everyone off/out and forgetting the ultimate goal of this camp: the children's spiritual education, which often comes in the form of the feelings and emotions that the camp evokes when they remember the time that they spent with us. This includes teachers and pre-teen/teen helpers as well!
I think that was the day that Jacob joined us, uplifting everyone's spirits by performing a rather NC-16 version of the Arctic Edge theme song:
Everything went well that day - it was chaotic, but there were no major injuries nor crying fits nor anything. The concert started off slightly off due to a technical fault with the slideshow, but that allowed me to tell very bad artic-related jokes (How do you put a polar bear into a refrigerator? How do you put a walrus into a refrigerator?), and after that it all ran like clockwork. The carpark was clogged though - see the photo where cars are triple/quadruple-parked in the church compound in the picture below!
After the concert, many kids wanted to take pictures with (who else) Puden korkor, which embarassed him to no end - but hey, he was the celebrity of the camp! :-) Mainly due to my advice about the little kids: on stage, smile a lot, and if they don't smile back, just keep looking at them personally, and smile at them until they smile back! I suppose this made his charm simply irresistable to a generation which is starved of good, solid, male role models.
The concert ended half an hour later than expected at 8pm, cleanup took slightly over an hour, and people were already leaving by 9pm! This was highly unexpected, especially since I was waiting for the debrief, but there was some miscommunication and sadly, the debrief did not occur (it had to be done remotely via email, which isn't as effective as it could be.)
The ungodly early hour at which the camp terminated was a shock for the youth, and we headed out to United Square to have our own little dinner at the newly-opened Jalan Kayu Prata Shop, joking to Puden that he wouldn't be able to show his face in United Square for a while, or he would be mobbed by his screaming legions of fans (United Square being, of course, a shopping mall completely devoted to children, and where a lot of the kids at our camp hung out with their parents.) It was there that X decided to have Hyunn's penguin perform the Arctic Edge theme song, which will forever be immortalized in a YouTube video:
Nothing untoward happened to him at JKPS, but as we left for the bus stop, there was kids in the next door Swensens that waved frantically at him and ran out to say goodbye to him. After they returned to their parents in Swensens, Puden shook his head in rueful despair and admitted that it looked like United Square really was going to be off-limits to him for a while.
And on that cheerful note, we closed the chapter on CEC2006, departing for a good scrub and rest at home.
Stuff I'd Like
Borobudor Pyramids, Egypt
Boro Boro Cambodia (Ankor Wat)
Bali Great Ocean Road
Maldives to DIVE!
Great Barrier Reef to DIVE!
See a penguin in the wild
Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil