Thursday, April 22, 2010

Last day!!!

Any errors are solely the fault of Ms. Paparazzi X who has lost touch and therefore patience with

The morning cued in and we were gathered into Jinnie's room to do an "I Appreciate You Because..." activity. Basically all of us had to plaster our precious canvas around the room and fill it up for everyone else. I personally felt that this activity was a good way to conclude our 14-day expedition, because it allowed us to acknowledge the support we received from one another through the past 2 weeks.

We were then taken to some of the tourist spots to help churn the country's income. We began the trip to Wen Shu Fang, which strangely, only had ONE miserable bookshop. (I mean, isn't Shu Fang supposed to be bookshop??)

Instead, what was in store for us were a tantalising array of ancient art. Ranging from quick-eyed elderly who could weave the prettiest design...

...and a range of unfamiliar cuisine such as cured rabbits.

What a feast it was to the eyes - and the stomachs! ^^

After which, we went to an urban shopping region, much similar to Orchard Road in Singapore to do some last minute purchases. Our main concern was not to get our family and friends some Sichuan momentos, but rather to hunt for a Christmas exchange pressie.

With that, we came to the bittersweet, chillingly heartwarming end to the trip. But!!! Fret not!!! The Sichuan Sweethearts continue to be in touch, celebrating festives and well, non-festives. If Ms. Paparazzi has time and is the mood, she'll continue from here. If not... Awww... too bad! =P =P For now, Bon Voyage! :D:D

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 13

Any errors are solely the fault of Ms. Paparazzi X who has lost touch and therefore patience with

Some of us awoke early for what would be a walk to a Pagoda with Fang Shen. Being near the affected region, the Pagoda was badly hit by the quake and it was far from picturesque.

At times, the happy faces at You Zha Primary School blinded us from the destitution that was meandering behind those very smiles. The human emotions can choose to conceal the facts but these inanimate objects truly revealed the real story behind the episode. The power of the mind startles me sometimes, but I suppose it is for the better because it is much better to anticipate a fresh beginning rather than to brood over a stale past. Even so, the sight humanized many of us who had slightly forgotten the purpose of our trip; we were suddenly hit by the reality of the devastation.

After our morning walk, we headed back to the Shan Zhuang for lunch before we made our way to the old vicinity of Tong Ji Zhong Xue and the 512 bridge. Unlike most daytrips, which usually comprised of visits to pretty sights and scenery, our tour this time focused on the devastation of the earthquake. Little Flower narrated to us how the army would make a human bridge to enable those affected to cross to the other side where it wasn't. It sounded rather gory ... :x

But it was an infinite eye-opener which taught us to appreciate the fact that Singapore is in a quake-free zone (since we are located so near to the equator). Ahh, and yet, it is on such an occasion that we applaud those who have stayed strong and unwavering despite the tremors. For buildings can sometimes be like human beings, unyielding to nature's forces. This particular part of the school (built by the French) emerged from the disaster, unharmed... earning itself the name of "Zui Niu" (which means Super Strong!) It serves as a reminder to us Sichuan Sweethearts to remain steadfast in spite of everything and that even in something as unromantic as plastered walls and shattered window panes (due to the pressure), there can be lessons learnt from them as well.

We headed off to the city of Sichuan for our dinner. This was going to be our last night in Sichuan, and we made full use of it by admiring the night view of Sichuan one last time.

Hosted by our Sichuan counterparts, we had a sumptuous spread of steamboat slurps. Alvin was foolish enough to challenge Kerui into a drinking game in which they competed to see who could gulp down more cups of beer. He lost. There was so much leftovers at Kerui's table, so they played a bit of Zhong Ji Mi Ma, and Zack got the brunt of it. Mwahahah! Too bad Ah Gong wasn't at that table; it would have been more fun watching him consume ALL the leftovers (until he pukes out everything. >:PP) without even having to play the game.

Being our final night in Sichuan, we checked in to a 4-star hotel, equipped with a seated toilet bowl - heaven on this part of the earth!!! - and a bathtub.

Before we bade our final good nights, it was also the revelation of our Angels. Jinnie thought of this mind-game of making us guess who our Angels were, and hilarity ensued when a good part of my Sichuan Sweethearts deemed Kerui as their Angel. :S First, it was Jinnie, then it was WenQing, and then, it was Joyce, followed by Shan Li. Lol!

After all the Angel-Mortal drama (which was rather funny) we called it a night. It was a free-and-easy night, with no curfews, no lights out, and some adventurous went bingeing and P-A-R-T-Y-I-N-G!!!

Till the next update!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 12

Any errors are solely the fault of Ms. Paparazzi X who has lost touch and therefore patience with

For this day, we were Potty Picassos in the Psychology room and MPR (multi-purpose room) for final touches.

After painting, Ah Ma’s army set out to set up the campfire while the rest of them headed off for a basketball match with the teachers.

Ah Ma's army hard at work!

Go! Go! Fight! Fight! Boy, they did alright!

Who's in which team? You won't know unless you were in!!!

After the game, we went to bade our final farewells to the Tong Ji Zhong Xue students.

To our immense disappointment, campfire was called off on the premise that no Christmas celebration of any sort should be conducted within the school.

However, the powers-that-be made up for it by feeding usa sumptuous spread. There, we met our camp hosts, Xiao Zhen and Xiao Yang, lovely ladies who were eloquent conversationalists.

We did not allow the campfire crash to dampen our moods as Zack and Clytia dressed Ah Gong up in the Santa getup. That was definitely the highlight of the night, and Ah Gong effortlessly won over the hearts of many. It was quite funny watching him gallop across the hall chortling a hearty "Ho Ho Ho!", after which, the crowd swarmed towards him, begging for him to grace a shot with.

But all good things must come to an end and after much insistence, Ah Gong, our Awesome Ou Xiang, cued goodbye with a "Jamaican Farewell" to our Tong Ji hosts.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Day 11 : Tong Ji Continuation

Any errors are solely the fault of Ms. Paparazzi X who has lost touch and therefore patience with

At the break of dawn, we were transported in batches to the school in teachers' cars where we had porridge + pickled vegetables and ManTous for breakfast.
Then, were dispensed into our various Work Groups aka Ah Ma's Army, Logistics, Fundraising and PnP for our activities. Ah Ma's Army was tasked to organise the campfire, and was introduced to Yang Yang and Yang Ting, an exuberant duo who emanated the vigour and youth of many 16-year-olds.
Yangting’s meticulous work conduct was really an asset to Ah Ma's Army. :D She has this smile that radiates the room in an instant and infects everyone around her. Above all, she has the sensibility to say the right things at the right moment, and owns unbridled curiosity of the things around her. For the rest of the day, Ah Ma’s army rehearsed the Campfire segment while the rest of the Sichuan sweethearts did their works of art in their respective rooms.

For Psychology Room on level 1, Pretty Zhao Lao Shi had requested for a more peaceful mural. WenQing, in her ingenuity, drew an abstract art of our very own Kampong decorated in serene blue.

We were almost done with the mural by the end of the day. =D

"Serenity"/Psychology room

For the Multi-Purpose Room on level 4, after a discussion between Ah Gong and Zhang Lao Shi, they had decided on the theme of "Giving back to Society".

"感恩" room

Before we even realised, night fell and it was time for dinner! We ate and headed back to the Shan Zhuang for a debrief. There was no blackout that night and so there was no excuse to not shower. We ended the night with our Factiliation game (pst....! we did an evaluation of our Work Group Development - Team Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing)


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day 10: ByeByes & Hellos!!!

by Ms. Paparazzi X who adapted heavily from Ms. Paparazzi Y who wrote the following on behalf for Ms. Paparazzi Original. Any errors are solely the fault of Ms. Paparazzi X who has lost touch and therefore patience with

This was our final day at You Zha Xiao Xue. It was a heart-wrenching moment for most of us, mainly because this school housed many memories for almost all of us. This is the place where we first forged our ties, and got acquainted to China-town.

We ran through the very last of obstacle course with our upper primary students. They had much fun with the free balloons after completing the game!

With our heavy hearts, we packed our bags and left You Zha Xiao Xue. For the final time, we bade farewell to the children, teachers and He Zhu Ren for their patience and warm hospitality.

With much excitement, we embarked on a 3 hour bus ride to our next destination - 通济中学 (henceforth known as "Tong Ji Zhong Xue"), which is purported ten times colder than You Zha Xiao Xue because it is on much higher altitude.

We were shipped to a 山庄 (henceforth, "shan zhuang"):

We explored our new resting place and to much glee, treated to a good lunch by the school. We gobbled up our feast and hailed a bus to Tong Ji Zhong Xue, where we were pleasantly surprised to find well-placed facilities and classrooms.

After we unloaded our cargo of paint, brushes, thinner and more, the principal and the art teacher-in-charge (Zhang Lao Shi) gave us a simple orientation around the school. Then, we were directed to the Psychology Room (on level 1) and the Multi-Purpose Room (on level 4) where we would be painting our murals. Due to the time constraint, we split into 2 groups to carry out the tasks; Ah Gong prepared drafts for the students for the paintings that will be supervised by Zhang Lao Shi after our departure for the walls along the corridors.

Dinnertime came and we proceeded to the spacious canteen for our meal. Unlike the canteens we have in our school, these students will queue up for their pre-planned meals. It is all about equality, isn't it?

The food turned out quite yummy, and the students there agreed that dinner was their favourite part of the day. I guess nothing beats chow-time when you have to be in classrooms from 9am to 7pm. Eeek!

After dinner, we headed back to the Shan Zhuang, where there was an exciting blackout! We learnt from the owner of the Shan Zhuang that blackouts were pretty frequent especially since it was located in the disaster area. PLUS, since it is so brrr... it really didn't matter if we couldn't switch on the fan. Another night with the excuse of not taking shower. Woots!


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Day 9 : Our Final Night in You Zha

Today was a very hectic but fruitful day. And a number of us were down or still down with various ailments - (if i had not remembered wrongly, and many apologies if i did) Ah Ma with inconsistent but frequent nose bleed, Joyce with fever, WenQing just recovered from fever, Shan Li and Kian Seng from flu/cold from the first and second day, Yibing barely recovering as well, Willy and Zack had to seek medication from local clinic.

After our usual wake up call and briefing by Jinnie and Kian Seng, we reached the school at around 9am.

We started our last class with the kindergarten children. They had managed to recite Yi Zhi Shou Zi Bian Bian Bian song. After the hokey pokey dance in the courtyard, we went back to the classroom and distributed the leftover Kachang Putehs. Judging from their expression, it was yummy! We had to hand out seconds and third servings as well.

From 11am - 12+, it was the art lesson conducted by Ah Gong and some. The theme was "Imagination and Associativity" - for eg, Circles can be associated with ping pong balls, teddy bears, etc.

Although there were no pictures, the rest of the team were diligently packing - dismantling the tents, packing the precious blankets, washing all the brushes and buckets, recounting the buckets of paint, bottles of thinner to be brought to the school, paintbrushes, art supplies and repacking into boxes, rechecking with C&W and Logistics teams the number of goodies to be brought over to the next school, distributing the t-shirts for the teachers and etc.

The Logistics team had a bigger issue on hand because they had to plan the sports day that was to be held in the afternoon, as well as time constraints on the sports day whilst not compromising on the children's involvement and enjoyment.

Alvin & Yibing were brief us on the telematch to be held that afternoon. It sure looks complicated.
In a short summary, some of us were assigned to be Game-ICs and Class-ICs. Game-ICs were the station masters as the various obstacles for the children; Class-ICs were to debrief the children of the rules and ensured that the rules were followed. The children, 10 boys and girls were to queue up and run to the first "station" and hit the shuttlecock 10 times or until the Games IC gave the nod of approval, then run to the second "station" and blow a balloon till it was the standard size or until the Games IC gave the nod of approval, then run back to the original queue and the second child may proceed. The intention was a simple telematch and to encourage team and class spirit. While the entire class may not be playing, the Class IC had to encourage the class to cheer for their representatives.

After a briefing from Jinnie and Kian Seng, we proceeded back to 桃范旅馆 for our lunch. Returned back to school at around 1.45pm for the March performance/competition by the students.

The children were seated and wearing the long-sleeved t-shirts with the C2C logo, with the fund contributed by donors.

After welcome speeches by Director He (He Zhu Ren) and the Principal, the March Performance/Competition began!
The children also put on the red ribbon - a symbolism of patriotism.

The Marching Performance/Contest were the gymnastics that were part of their afternoon routine. However, we witnessed their hard work and pride as they marched in and performed for us - every stretch and every action was done with precise and accuracy. To our realisation, we recalled some of the classes were practising on afternoons and late evenings all week for this event. It was no mean feat, considering they were dressed down in their thermals and t-shirts to complete the 15 minutes of routine.

They also performed a tribal dance for us - they had been practising all week as well.
We were invited to join in the dance as well. Clumsily imitating the dance moves from the students.

After watching around 12 classes of marching performance as well as the tribal performance, it was the Sports Day Telematch!
Unfortunately due to a time constraint, we did not managed to go as per our intended plan for all classes to participate. Undaunted, the leaders and Log team communicated with the director and principal, sought their approval and planned for the remaining classes to continue the next day.

Following which, we did our performance for them! Our song list was Dikeh barat, 扎西德勒 and We Wish You A Merry Christmas. Unfortunately due to a hiccup and some miscommunications, we did not complete our performance smoothly either.

The school presented flags as a friendly and thankful gesture for Coast2China and Sichuan Youth Organisation.

The end of the performance and marching ceremony. It was end of the school for the students, and since it was our second last day in the school, we decided to take group pictures (garang-ly) with our thermals and t-shirts.

Taking off the winter coats reluctantly and trying to delude ourselves with chants of "It's not cold, it's hot it's hot! We're Hot!"
Group Pictures in the Library

Group picture at the canteen

Group picture at the dormitory.
Finally, us and our individual certifications of appreciation from the school.

We headed back to 农家乐 for a farewell dinner. It was a simple fare of their famous Mala Hotpot and some dishes.

We wrote our well-wishes onto the Kong Ming Lanterns which we bought from Ping Le Old Town.

Last but not least, we ended our days in You Zha with a bang (literally) - fireworks.

Till then,
Miss Paparazzi