Thursday, December 31, 2009

Voice from the Leader

This is Ah Seng, one of the co-leaders and the secondary photographer for Amazing Team IX. Before our luffable Li Siam starts to blog our journey into the Sichuan world, I would just like to add on this entry from a personal view.

We started off this project in July09 with the intention in mind to aid the victims of the 512 earthquake. In between, there were a few mis-communication with our China volunteers counterpart that sometimes dishearted our actions. But we perserve on. Putting administrative and political issues aside, I believe no matter how hard the journey is, as long as we come with a good intention, volunteers will somehow work together for a common cause.

Despite being through a few winters in my life, the weather was harsh on us. It was amazingly COLD!!! Garangly, we all try to keep ourselves alive with tons of thermal clothings, gloves, heat packs, hot drinks. Everyday, it was either cold, very cold, or very very cold!

The kids were lovable, the teachers were extremely helpful, and our China volunteers did all they can to assist us in our project and making ourselves at home. The Chinese keep on saying this: "虽然气候是如此地寒冷,可是我们的心是赤热的!"

We had piece out a team so efficient, so crazy, so united, that I can't help by toasting them with a 3元 雪花啤酒 each.. haa.... Every single one of them had contributed to the project in their own unique ways, well done. GOOD JOB.

Mural paintings, floor layering, wall plastering, washing, brooming, manual labour, arranging books, library-ing, teaching, kacang-putih-ing, playing, sharing, facilitating, eating, eating, eating, drinking beer and alcohol, laughing, firework-ing, bridging, in-between-ing, all that we did and more.

Thank you.

Project - Final

Sichuan Sweethearts (less Ah Gong and Grace) have returned to Singapore safely on 27 Dec 09 around 1am, less the fever/flu/rash that many had after the return to Singapore.

Whilst our dear Kian Seng is still busy compiling all the pictures; dear Chelsea editing her pictures to perfection, this is the sneak preview of what Team IX had contributed in Sichuan, China.

You Zha Primary - Dormitory. We did a mural painting of the underwater world which fascinated the children, washed and patched the walls opposite to the mural painting.

You Zha Primary - Library. In hope to inspire the children to learn more English we did a cute alphabet listing, wall stickers of a garden of flowers, refurbished the library with new chairs, tables, shelves, flooring and a TV.

You Zha Primary - did all these within 2 days (18 & 20 Dec 2009), to educate the children the concept of loving their fruits and vegetables.

You Zha Primary - on 22 Dec 2009, the children performed their 体操表演, donning the t-shirts that were pooled from the contributions by the public and donors.

Tong Ji School - Despite the short stay of 2 working days, we decorated the psychology room with a piece of our kampong.

Tong Ji School - The mural painting of the multi purpose room, of which the theme is Return to Society. We also refurbished the room with new chairs, tables, flooring and a projector.

That's all folks! Till the next update which will be a detailed description of Day 1 - Singapore to Sichuan.

Miss Paparazzi

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Day 1 - Before Boarding

This is an update from Singapore Changi Airport, 1.21am before our boarding.

We're really excited about the trip! Coast-2-Coast Team X just came by to see us off, and we were all immensely touched by their kind gesture. Their energy was infectious to keep us wide awake at this unearthly hour. Right now, we're wondering... how are they going to head back home? Ka-ching to Taxi-Drivers! ^-^

Oooh, I wonder if we're going to freeze our butts off in Sichuan land, but with the love from our dearest Sichuan Sweethearts, we shall survive all odds! Love always overcomes EVERYTHING!

Okie, going to reunite with the rest of the team members. Hopefully there will be internet in Super Sichuan! :D

The Sichuan Sweethearts
Coast-2-Coast Team IX

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Team Building Video Highlights!

I think the singing part have alot alot alot of room for improvement~

Monday, October 26, 2009

Team Building Highlights!

0900 - 1130: Team Building Workout
1130 - 1300: Makan @ West Coast Market
1300 - 1500: Reflections
1500 - 1530: Team Building Workout II
1530 - 1630: Reflections II
1630 - 1800: Group Discussion

Thursday, October 22, 2009

我们的主打歌 - 《扎西德勒》

In a few simple words... "If you get lost and lonely, don't despair. Those who do not give up, will eventually find light"

Dry-Fit Tee (Final version!)

After some feedback from the customers, we have finally come out with the final design to suit the general public. Yr little help will goes a long way for us to achieve our wonderful project in Sichuan. Thank you once again.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

2nd Meeting for Project C2C IX

Final Coasters Team:
Leaders: Grace, Jinnie, Kian Seng,
Logistic: Alvin, Yi Bing, Joyce, Shelby
Publication & Publicity: Chelsea, Gilbert, Wen Qing, Hwee Ming, Li Siam
Welfare & Cultural: Yi Ting, Clytia, Zack, Iris, Ke Rui

Fundraising: Eliza, Khoang, Shan Li, Willy
Supporting: Wilson, Aisling

Date: Wed, 21-Oct
Time: 1915 - 2130hrs
Venue: West Coast Community Centre Meeting Room #02-06

Agenda of the meeting:

  • Update of project status
  • Update of T-shirt design and on-hand orders
  • Update of respective teams activities for Fundraising. Publicity & Publication, Welfare & Cultural, & Logistic respectively.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fundraising Tees ready for order!

Good quality Dry-Fit Tee @ only S$10!!! All proceeds will go to our project costs in refurbishing 2 schools in Sichuan, e.g. painting, buying books and bookshelves, setting up a library, a multi-purpose room, etc...
Pls call me @ 9876-0237 or email @ if you wish to place an order with us.
Thank you for your support & kindness!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

1st Meeting for Project C2C IX:

Date: Coming Fri, 09-Oct
Time: 1915 - 2130hrs
Venue: West Coast Community Centre Conference Room #03-03

Agenda of the meeting:
  • Background of Project C2C
  • More information of the expedition
  • Getting to know the fellowship of the Coast
  • Group distribution
Things to bring:
  • Cheque of S$800 payable to "Ayer Rajah-West Coast CCC"
  • Burning questions involving the project
  • A wonderful attitude to get to know your team-mates

See u then!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fundraising Tee ver.2

Still under-going some fine-tuning to the design.
But this limited edition Dry-Fit Tee is ready for orders! Pls give us your support!
Goods will be ready in end Oct 09.

Recruitment Updates

Interview Slots:

25-Sep-09 (Fri)
1900hrs: An*
1920hrs: Jo***
1940hrs: El***
2000hrs: Wi***
2020hrs: Za**
2040hrs: Lo*
2100hrs: V**
2120hrs: Li****
- Closed Shop -

26-Sep-09 (Sat)
1600hrs: Gi*****
1630hrs: Wi****
1650hrs: Lo*
1710hrs: Ir**
1730hrs: Kh****
1750hrs: Hw** Mi**
1830hrs: Cl****
1910hrs: Yi T***
1930hrs: Ch*****
1950hrs: Al***
- Closed Shop -

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Project Coast2Coast IX:

5.12 Sichuan Earthquake, 68,712 Dead, 17,921 Missing, 4.5million Injured, 7,000 Disabled & Countless homes destroyed.

Do you want to lend a helping hand to help them rebuild their dreams & confidence?

Expedition Dates:
13 Dec 09 (Sun) – 27 Dec 09 (Sun)

Participant Cost:
S$800 / person
(Pls note that this subsidized cost is applicable only for Singaporean & PR.
For foreigners, you would have to fork out the full volunteering cost.)

Volunteering Activities:
Simple Construction work, Mural Painting, Interaction with children
Pre & Post expedition activities

Criteria for Volunteers:
Heart of selfless volunteerism
(if you have skills like paramedic, first aid, psychology, teaching, etc.. would be great!)

Kian Seng @ 9876-0237,
Jinnie Lim @ 9873-5023,

Recruitment Interview Dates:
25 Sept (Fri), 1900hrs - 2130hrs OR
26 Sept (Sat), 1600hrs - 2100hrs

West Coast Community Centre,
2 Clementi West Street 2 #02-06 S(129605)

Pls email or call us to make an interview appointment to let us find out more about you, and also for you to find out more about this meaningful overseas project.

Pls download & fill in the application form below.
Thank you, and looking forward to seeing U.

Day5: 文殊坊 - SINGAPORE

1030hr. On our last day, we popped down to one of Chengdu's touristic site, 文殊坊. We had a good time eating small tibits here and there until we finally headed over to the airport.

Yes, Chengdu is really the place for you to relax and retire and as there are so many good things to eat, so many good places to visit, and nice people all around you. I will be back in Dec again to experience it all over.

Day 4: 四川省彭州市通济中学 - 四川省彭州市小鱼洞編镇九年制学校 - 小鱼洞大桥 - 中法桥白鹿九年制学校

0830hr. 平平brought us to a traditional market to taste her recommended noodle and fried patty. The soup-based is those pig intenstines which I wonld not go into further details. But it was one of the best 粉 I ever tasted. Sedap!

This area in 彭州市 is affected quite badly because they are situated very near to the epicenter. The debris from two sides of the mountains on both sides came crumbling down crushing all the houses below it.

1030hr. Arrived at 四川省彭州市通济中学 where the teachers explained to us how this fateful day destroyed their schools and killed a few of their students. The problems they faced is the shortage of teaching materials, books, tables and chairs. He showed us that many of the things like tables and chairs and bed frames were salvaged from the debris to re-use. The feeling is like, "Got exterior but no interior".

A lot of construction work were still on-going. This was also the place where the Hong Kong team came to interact with the students on a day event and helped to shift the tables & chairs in the classrooms.

1130hr. Similar situation is at the四川省彭州市小鱼洞編镇九年制学校 where re-construction is on-going. The library is of a smaller scale but the books are still in a mess as there’s no proper system to set it up.

One unique thing that we observed is that the new structure of the school also included the handicapped and wheel-chair accessible concept. This is pertaining to the students who were handicapped during the earthquake.

1400hr. 小鱼洞大桥. This bridge was situated along the earthquake belt and thus it came crumbing down with the shaking and vibrating of the whole structure

1500hr. 中法桥白鹿九年制学校. This school was built by the French, and has exactly a 100years of history. This This school was used as a research by the Institute of Geology, China Earthquake Administration because of the amazing way in which the 2 school buildings were separated by a difference of ~3m above ground.

We ended the end of our recee trip with a simple porridge buffet near 平平's new home. Finally, something not so oily and spicy. Back in hotel, we had many things to start working on.... bleh...

Day 3: 长虹培训中心 / 北川中学 (绵阳市) – 汉旺极重灾区–汉旺板房

0730hr. A busy day lies ahead of us as we drove off to 绵阳市. 北川中学 was one of the schools that was totally destroyed in the earthquake and the students were now relocated to its temporarily premises at 长虹培训中心, a training centre.

This school had a number of volunteering groups working with them before, and the students now are able to resume back their studying life, even with online lectures via Internet. On the surface, this school seemed to be on track back to recovery stage, but of course there would be many untold stories from the individuals that we may never hear.

After visiting the school, we had lunch at 绵阳市 famous for its 粉.. or noodles.

Along the way to 汉旺镇, I had the scared of my life as my driver nearly had an accident with a bicycle who shoved his bicycle out onto the expressway just like that. I SHOUTED AHHH!!!!! But luckily my driver managed to avoid the bicycle driving with this superb driving skill, missing him by maybe 10cm?

Driving in China is really something very unique. First thing is, they are left wheel drive. Secondly, people cross the road like nobody’s business. The driver has to be very vigilant on the road to beware of these reckless pedestrians, cyclists, or drivers, yet fierce enough to be able to maneuver on the China roads. Thirdly, the design of the road is bad. U-turn was done in the overtaking lane without extra spacing. There are many ‘slots’ in the expressway that allowed pedestrian/cyclist to cross and there are many blinds spots that can be so dangerous!

周大哥 explained that some of the countryside people anyhow walk before it’s like crossing their own paddy fields. They do not understand lines, or directions on the roads….. oh well….

1400hr. 汉旺极重灾区. This town has became a deserted town with many buildings in half-collapsed shape. Rubbles everywhere with signs of people having no chance of escape at all. Sights of clothes, shoes, prams, mops, doors… give you the creep of what is it felt to be caught in the middle of an earthquake with nowhere to run. It was explained by周大哥 that many bodies were left to rot in the debris as it’s almost impossible to dig out this mess.

The infamous clock showed 2.28pm, the time where the 512 earthquake played a major prank on the Sichuan people.

These were so-called ‘familiar sights’ that I saw in Banda Aceh. I called it a total wipeout. It teaches me not to take safety for granted, but Singaporeans are just too fortunate to understand the perils of a natural disaster.

1500hr. 汉旺板房. They claimed it to be the world’s largest temporary residential site for the earthquake affected victims, which is something not to be proud off. This place is really, really huge and I can’t see the beginning or the end of it. This 板房 is special in a sense that the volunteers’ group are very well organized. We talked to the person-in-charge who explained to us how the volunteering system works. For e.g. anyone who comes in to volunteer at this campsite must go through one week of strict training like sweeping the floor, plucking the weeds, etc, to make sure he can survive the harsh living conditions here. From there, he/she will proceed on to help the victims in whatever skills they have.

We also met up with volunteers from Shanghai, Beijing, who selflessly sacrificed their personal time to spend their time serving the people here like opening a barber shop, setting up a library, teaching classes, etc.

1700hr. We headed back to Chengdu but were stuck in a very bad traffic condition due to repair of road. It took us almost 3hrs to get back to Chengdu city where we were treated to a good feast of 益洲烧鸡公. Yummy! I also drank a bottle of 雪花啤酒 to end the day with.

Day 2: 四川省青少年发展基金会 -油榨东莞台商爱心小学-筇崃安家落户

1100hr. Our first primary task was to have a meeting with our China counterparts, 四川省青少年发展基金会 to have a common understanding on how our volunteering partnership between Singapore & Sichuan can work out.

Chairman: 藏璐主任 (who looks a bit like Jet Li!)
Assistant: 周小华助理

For more info. on their organization, you can refer to their website >>

Ms Isabelle Yeo, the Vice-Consul (Commercial) of the Consulate Of the Republic of Singapore, also joined us on the discussion to work out how we can make this potential C2C project as fruitful as possible.
The rules of the discussion were very simple. We aimed to make our C2C project meaningful by contributing to the victims of the 512 earthquake not only with monetary contributions, but also with our own sweat and blood in a physical manner. The itinerary for this recee trip would be to visit a number of sites to allow us to identify what are the potential areas that we want, and capable of doing so.

1500hr. Time was late, but the Chengdu people do not seemed to have any complaints at all even when we suggested visiting one of the sites in the afternoon. Along the way, I can feel the passion of 周大哥 as he shared his experience and views on volunteerism, especially on this 512 earthquake. I cannot remember exactly what he quoted, but his view was, no matter on colour you are, no matter what language you speak, as long as you have a passionate heart to help people, the heart of selfless volunteerism will bring you far in life.
We reached 油榨东莞台商爱心小学 after a 2hr mountainous car ride. From the look of the school outside, the building looked clean and impressive. The construction was contributed by the Taiwanese businessmen. After talking with the teachers and person-in-charge, we then realized that there were many problems that they faced in the challenge of rebuilding the whole school system.
i) Shortage of water supply due to their location of being lower in the mountainous region. The pressure level of the existing piping system was not good enough to give them a continuous flow of water. This resulting in the children to not having enough water to drink (especially in hot summer season), not enough water to wash clothes or even to maintain a proper flushing system in the toilet

ii) Shortage of teaching materials, books, stationeries, uniforms, etc. Poor conditions of tables and chairs.

iii) Shortage of teachers to handle the numerous children who were relocated from their previous villages destroyed by the earthquake

iv) Overcrowding in the dormitory

v) Lack of Health & Moral Education on cleanliness and personal hygience

1800hr. We left the school at evening time, and advanced to an even higher part of the mountain. The road was narrow and bumpy as we drove high into the clouds and drizzling rain. At the end of the mountainous road was 筇崃安家落户, one of the relocated villages that was moved into the mountain region. Many had lost their loved ones in this disaster, but we had little time to interact with them and understand more. We had a glimpse into their living conditions and untold miseries.

What touched me was that despite their plight, they were so generous in wanting us to stay with them for dinner.

2000hr. We headed back to 成都市 in 平平's Nissan Tera, and with her safe driving skills, we reached the bottom of the mountain safely in almost 1.5hrs time. All of us had a quick dinner at 筇崃市 beef-noodle stall before we reached our hotel 2300hr. We were tired, but I guess our driver and guide were even more shacked out.