CCA Reflections 2016
The theme of Singapore Youth Festival (SYF) 2016 for Arts was “Artist & Space”. My group’s collaborative photography work was awarded the Certificate of Recognition. My group members were Dimatulac Adara Rei Duazo (1E1), Margaret Elisha Fontanilla Feliciano (1E1) and Yong Min Wen Ashley (1E3). The work was exhibited at the SYF Art Exhibition that was held from 1st July to 10th July at The Art House.
Our work entitled "Walked Spaces", is inspired by Dawn Ng. We adapted her concept of photographing objects in different spaces by photographing people walking in different spaces instead. Through our observations of people walking, we learnt that the way they walked spoke volumes about their different personalities and even emotions they felt at that point in time.
In the exhibition, an array of artworks from many different schools were shown. As I strolled through the exhibition room, I was able to spot many different types of medium being used in many artworks. Some groups painted using charcoal, pencil and acrylic. Many of the artworks were painted from not only the physical perspective but also from the psychological or social-cultural points of view. The students interpreted the theme of “space” very differently and creatively. They were able to present their understanding of space in their artworks clearly by capturing a temporary moment in time or an enduring record of history. After viewing this exhibition, I am inspired to be more experimental in my use of materials, as well as more imaginative in exploring various themes and points of view.
The artwork, “Play Pretend”, done by Ashia Abdulleh Kobayashi from St. Margaret’s Secondary School, is one of my favourite paintings in the exhibition. This artwork portrays a girl standing in front of the mirror, reflecting on her childhood memories. The artwork reminded me of my own happy and relaxing childhood in my hometown.
Yu Qian Qian, 1E1
This was my first time participating in the Badminton C Division South Zone competition. Truth be told, I was more nervous than I had ever felt in my life. However, I told myself that everything was going to be fine.
Nonetheless, when I was playing, my hands started shaking. Despite the initial nerve-wrecking start, it was better after my first and second matches were over. I was no longer as nervous as before because I was able to manage stress. Despite not winning the matches, I had gained invaluable experience and I believe that with practice, I will do even better in the next nationals.
Elyse Lim 2E3
It was a humbling experience as a student-conductor as I was able to conduct ZWinds for numerous performances and parades over the years. Looking back, last year’s school NDP rehearsal was the most memorable. It was raining then. In spite of being drenched, the band did not stop. We continued to perform our task and marched along to our band music.
Another highlight was the SG 50 Parade held at the Braddell Heights Community Club. There were many rehearsals with the marching contingents and I was proud to lead the Band to support the parade. Though the hours were long, and we had to sacrifice our weekends, I felt that our spirits were high, as we were all performing together.
The tenacity and resilience that were shown by the band members had taught me that I must face my own challenges with these spirits.
Adora Chiew Ni-Cole, 4E4
This year, we did not meet our expectations. We did not expect to have ended our ‘C’ division basketball season so quickly. We reflected on our performance and felt that we did not put in our best efforts. We lacked confidence on court. Our defence was poor and sloppy and we allowed our opponents to break our defence easily. There was no communication and encouragement on court. We can only strive to do better in our next season. From now till then, we would have to put in extra effort during our training.
Being a captain is not an easy role. I have to lead my team, encourage them and motivate them to perform better on court. Though it can be difficult to manage my emotions during the game, I have to put my feelings aside to lead my team well. There were moments that I feel I did not do a good job as a captain. I still have many things to learn and I strive to work harder in future.
Crystalbell Pang, 2E3
The Boys' Brigade has provided me a thrilling and wholesome experience for me. It has certainly helped me become a more well-rounded student. As an awardee of the Founder's Award, the highest award a Boy can attain, walking the road to Founder's has had me experience my share of trials and tribulations. Thanks to the unbreakable bonds between my BB mates and I, as well as the reliable officers and teachers, I was able to achieve the award. I am confident that this award and my experiences in BB as a whole will contribute to my future pursuits and endeavours, both in future education and in work life.
Aaron Jed Fusana Bernardo, 4E2
The performance for the national day concert was fun and spectacular. As we were performing, the whole school was as enthusiastic as we were and everyone enjoyed themselves. Even though we probably missed out some dance moves and made some mistakes, it was still a very wonderful experience for me as I got to spend time with the whole choir.
Michelle Lee (3E4)
Before “Zephyr”, we spent many sessions practising the six songs for the concert as a section and also as a full orchestra. We played famous pop songs such as 《菊花台》 and “Nobody”, and also well-known classics like 《赛马》 and 《瑶族舞曲》. During these sessions, we cooperated well as an orchestra to make “Zephyr” an enjoyable and memorable concert – not just for the audience but also for ourselves.
Jolyn and I played 曲笛 (qu di) and 新笛 (xin di) for the concert respectively. The experience was fun and exciting for us as it was our first time performing in a full concert. Even though we felt tired at times due to the long practices, we bonded with our peers very well. Even after CCA hours, we continued to spend time practising our instruments on our own too. This trained us to manage our time well so that we could a proper balance between CCA and our studies. We became more united as an Orchestra as we constantly helped each other during practices. Above all, our skills have improved immeasurably and we have become more confident performers. We are now better prepared for future performances and challenges.
To all CO members: Let us keep up the good work! Let us soar to even greater heights and reach limitless boundaries!
WE BELIEVE. WE ACHIEVE.
TOH XIN YING, 3E4
JOLYN LEE JING RONG, 3E3
On 3rd of April 2016, a group of Chinese Society (Calligraphy) students took part in a national calligraphy competition organised by the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), 第十六届新加坡全国书法大赛. It is an annual event where schools and the general public come together to showcase their talents in calligraphy.
As soon as the school bell rang, the organizer announced the start of the competition. As the duration of this competition was only an hour, we hurriedly folded a piece of paper 20 character-lengths long, with the help of the invigilators. As soon as we finished, we quickly dipped our brushes into ink-filled plates and started to write. Things were a little sketchy at first but as we got into the rhythm and the flow of the words, the quality gradually improved. Time flew and in the blink of an eye, 45 minutes had passed.
Though we did not get to win any individual awards, we took heart in the belief that the most important aspect of a competition are the learning experiences it provides, none of which are found in normal classroom settings. However, much to our elation, our school was voted the best team by the judges. We were honored to receive this award, but more importantly, it was the work of our peers and teachers who gave us the needed support in order for us to succeed.
All in all, the event was a fun and enjoyable experience. Although we did not win any individual awards, being awarded the best team is testament to the effort that we put in and acts as a source of encouragement to spur us on to reach for greater heights. Maybe in upcoming competitions one of us might clinch a prize. The competition also emphasized that there will always be people better than us, and that we should always work hard and stay humble.
By Tseng Kuo Hao 曾国皓, 3E3 and Tee Jing Hong 郑敬弘, 3E5
It is an honour to be able to perform on stage during the Mid-Autumn Festival celebration. Despite performing numerous times, I am still nervous just before every performance. However, when I am actually performing with my dance mates, I am usually more at ease. Considering that we have plenty of trainings and practices for that particular performance, I would proudly say that it was really one of the best performances that Dance has produced. Through our numerous strenuous trainings, I could see my dance mates and myself becoming more elegant dancers. That really makes me proud of being in my CCA. It gives the dance members and me a sense of ownership and pride in what we do as we perform together on stage, thus, making that performance a memorable experience for many.
Sophia Seo, 3E3
The Human Values play has given me with the opportunity to further strengthen the bonds between myself and my fellow CCA members. The rehearsals provided me with an avenue to escape from the stress of school and home. The play has provided me with the opportunity to explore a new character. The requirements to step out of my comfort zone, I feel, had helped me develop into a better and more capable actor. From my perspective the play is incredibly enriching, as it explores many new themes, deviating from the rather normal plays that we partake in.
Dillen Singh Selvan, 4E1
The Girls' Brigade National Drill Competition requires the whole contingent to execute a range of drills. The competition is held every 2 years. Throughout the trainings, there were many obstacles faced. At the beginning, an outstanding problem was that attendance was bad, and hardly anyone had interest in drills. Besides, the competing team was made up of both the Secondary 2 and Sec 3 students. Hence, it was difficult to bond together. Drills-wise, everyone was not in sync too.
As a commander, I had trouble teaching them at first. I faced difficulties leading the team and getting them to work with one another. However, through these obstacles, I believe everyone learnt a lot about teamwork and commitment. The drill competition needed everyone to work as a team and motivate one another constantly. Despite the initial obstacles faced, everyone became very motivated and encouraging, which was very heart-warming.
Everyone also put in their 100% in drills, with a target in mind – to achieve gold! We eventually achieved what we wanted and I'm proud of this team!!
Melody Neo, 3E4
Preparation for Zephyr with my GZ mates was sheer hard work but I enjoyed every minute of it. Zephyr has brought together CO and GZ for the very first time. I was indeed honoured to be able to play a couple of pieces with my good friends in CO, namely, 步步惊心and 战台. The audience was great that night. I could see their happy and excited faces. The feeling was indescribable. Although the concert was over, this was indeed one of the most memorable experiences in Zhonghua.
Kei Shiraishi, 4E5
Our school, Zhonghua’s Trampoline Gymanstics “C” Division boys, won the 3rd place in the National Schools Trampoline Competition. It was an exciting competition as we had to face pressure from the other competitors. We won in the end and it was a surprising result. It was very momentous as it was the first time that we won as a team. We were very satisfied with our results as it was due to our hard work. Having this experience will definitely motivate us to further improve our skills as we are now more aware of the standard of the competition. We will strive to nd improve our result in the next competition.
Lee Yuan Hau, 2E4
The experience of taking part in the Splash Awards was very memorable. In line with the theme of cyber-wellness, we designed an application to tackle cyber bullying at its roots. The process of designing and building the application gave us insights regarding social issues; in this case, how cyber bullying takes place in our society. We were delighted to be able to play a small role in putting an end to cyberbullying. Although we did not win the competition, we felt that we had gained so much more than what we had lost. The process was all that mattered. Our deepening friendship with our juniors was one of the things gained from this competition that we are immensely thankful for. Besides, we would never have come this far without the support from our teacher-mentors and the school. We are grateful to all the time and effort our teachers dedicated to us throughout this competition.
Gladys Tan, 3E3
The army exhibition that had been ongoing in Serangoon was a fun experience. There were many army personnel at the event, who were very friendly and skilled in their area of expertise. They showed me the overall use and functions of the equipment that were on display.
One of the more fascinating pieces of equipment was the night-vision goggles. These goggles allow the wearer to be able to see far-off objects in the night. The goggles were also surprisingly light. I had the opportunity to try on a pair of goggles and navigate through a maze in a pitch-black. Though the experience was short-lived, I enjoyed every moment of it. It has given me an insight as to what I will be trying out when I do National Service.
The station that I had enjoyed the most was the station that had displayed an array of lethal weapons. I had played my fair share of “First Person Shooter” video games which utilizes virtual weapons, but seeing one up close in real life and trying it out gave me more understanding as to how I am supposed to correctly use the gun. One of the most memorable “guns” I had seen and tried would be the rocket launcher. It was unlike what I had seen on the Internet; it was heavy and weighed almost 10kg. I felt very privileged to be able to hold as this weapon can only being held by authorised personnel.
Overall, I had learnt a lot from this exhibition. Even though Singapore is prepared for any spontaneous threats, we should not take our safety and stability for granted and be vigilant at all times. Everyone plays a detrimental role in keeping Singapore safe and secure.
ER YONG KENG RYAN, 3E2
I feel that it is very important to have this course in order for us, cadet leaders, to grow more and be better leaders in our various individual work unit. We are able to bond more with other cadet leaders from our area. We learnt how to manage our differences and appreciate the different styles of leadership.
I have learnt to step out of my comfort zone and be able to stand out from the rest in order to lead. As a leader, I have learnt that it is important to be adaptable and be able to thinking out of the box. As a leader, it is also important that I take initiative and ensure that my team mates are able to work harmoniously.
As the unit head, I must be able to lead the whole unit. During trainings, I have to make sure all the cadet leaders cooperate to complete their tasks. I will point out cadets’ mistakes and be responsible for their learning. I will make sure that everyone is on task so that training can run smoothly.
I have met many people during my trip to Vietnam, and most of them are struggling in at least a few aspects of their lives, unable to live comfortably. They, unlike us, are very driven to a single goal – survival. They try myriad ways just to earn money to support their family. Every single second is spent on doing this, or doing that, all of which geared towards earning more money. I can really see how fortunate I am compared to the Vietnamese and have learnt to appreciate all that I have and to cherish those close to me.
During my visit to one of Ho Chi Minh's parks, while strolling around, I noticed a female adult reading a book to a girl around the age of seven as they sat on a bench. The tour guide, Mr Tree, said that she was a tutor and that young girl was her student. He explained that in Vietnam, they had very little space, even in homes. Even a tuition class had to be conducted in a park. His casual tone made me realise how common such a thing was in Vietnam. It made me realise how fortunate I am back at home, to have a classroom with fans and lights and a proper whiteboard which teachers can use to teach. Conversely in Vietnam, they are at the mercy of Mother Nature. It helped me come to the realisation that I am better off than many people and that I should not take it for granted.
One day, on the bus on the way back to Ho Chi Minh City after the visit to Cu Chi Tunnels, Mr Tree began to share his knowledge of the cruelty of the war the Vietnamese fought in the Cu Chi Tunnels. He told us of the many people whose genetic makeup was altered and were disabled since birth as a result of the many cruel biological weapons the Americans used.
"Vietnamese children like those that we met earlier on in the primary school are usually never able to pursue higher education and grow up only to do lowly jobs. Even my son may not be able to get educated..." Mr Tree told me, as a hint of sadness flashed by his face.
I thought about how lucky I already am in Singapore, having parents that would pay for my future university studies.
On the plane bound for Singapore, I was no longer the person I was before. The experiences I gained there made me realise that the trials of life I have faced so far are completely nothing compared to those of the Vietnamese. I have learnt that whatever knowledge I possess of this world could not possibly measure up to that of a Vietnamese, especially those who are suffering from the deep scars of war.
The trip has made me a much more grateful and contented person, happy just to be experiencing life's simple pleasures. I am truly grateful for the experiences I have gained through this trip for it has taught me so much more of the great world we live in.
Participating in First Aid Competition is truly an eye opener for me and the team. My Team and I have learnt about being a first aider and having a sense of pride in it. Taking part in this Competition training is by far, tougher, compared to normal trainings. However, the amount of knowledge gained from this event over the course of 7 months is tremendously high. Participating in this event, is very different from what I expected. I initially thought that we only needed to physically fit and agile to win the championship title. However, I was mistaken. I have learnt to be a skilled first aider and act with professionalism. I also learnt the importance of leading the team so that we could achieve our eventual goal.
Through these trainings, I have learnt many core values. Firstly, it has allowed me to learn the true meaning of responsibility. As I was in charge of the team, I had to lead my team to treat the victims and make responsible calls of action. It has also taught me the meaning of excellence – we were expected to do our best to save every victim. These values are meaningful and useful as I can apply them in life as I fulfil other duties and roles.
Sean Yap 3E4
It is always quite unnerving before every competition. During one of the matches, we performed well during our first set, with us winning 25-12. However, in our second set, we lost with a score of 23-25. The last set was slightly better for the team as we won with a score of 31-29.
Throughout the entire game, I was very anxious as this was the final match and we needed to do well to have a good placing. I saw the team’s morale dropping during the second set. My team mates seemed to have accepted the set as a loss and were not even trying. They lacked motivation and were not giving their all to win the set.
On hindsight, I could have provided more motivational support to the team, as I am always on the side-line watching the match. Although I shouted, cheered, and encouraged the main team, I believe that I could do more by pointing out the many faults to my team mates and alert them to the opponents’ weaknesses. If I could turn back time, I would play a more active role in the team and try to boost the morale of the team.
Lee Zhuo Xuan, Sean, 4E3