Saturday, December 17, 2005

This post was originally extemely-obscenely long, but in the end, it got to the point where I had about a full essay and I basically hadn't covered what I wanted to. As such, I deleted the entire damn thing and started off on a clean slate with this.

First of all, if you've been reading my blog, you might be wondering if I've stopped blogging for good. Well, the good news is, I haven't. The reason why I haven't been blogging is well, not because I haven't been typing anything, but as I mentioned above, my original post was unfinishable and I had to save a ton of drafts without actually posting anything. For that I apologise profusely.

Anyway, here's a highly gisted version of what I wanted to say. Two weeks ago, I went for an Outward Bound Course, held at Outward Bound Singapore on Pulau Ubin Island. If you don't know what that is, I'm not going explain. Just go over to Anyway, our course was a mobile one, which meant that we were staying in the great outdoors in pitched-up tents. All of us were a kinda disappointed, since we were so looking forward to slacking like hell during the course. Oh well. Anyway, a total of 8 people from my squad went for the course, namely Hao Bin, Wei Bin, Jing Feng, Chor Theng, Baikar, Marcus, Zi Xian and myself. Haobin, Weibin, Jing Feng and I were together in Marco Polo watch.

Well to cut everything extremely short, we had activities such as kayaking and a sea expedition, a land expedition, rock climbing, you know, all the outdoor stuff. But what I'd like to mention is that Marco Polo Watch was special for three main reasons:

1) We were an all-boys watch. 9 of us from Maris Stella High and 5 from Jurong West Secondary.

2) For the first time ever in Outward Bound Singapore history, a watch, namely ours, managed to finish all the food rations given. That's saying a lot, since all the other groups had tons of food left at the end of the camp.

3) Again, for the first time in Outward Bound history, this time not just Outward Bound Sngapore, we had three instructors for our watch. Not together, as one watch is supposed to only have one, but one after another, due to a magnitude of reasons. Our first instructor, Serene, took us for half of the first day, before coming over to tell us that we were going to change instructors, as there had been a glitch with the management. So, along came Angela. Well, everything went fine till the second evening, when Angela came over and told us we were going to change instructors again. Apparently, she had aggravated her old back injury earlier and had to see a doctor. So, from the third day onwards, we had Wilfred. It's been a good experience, having not one, but three different instructors, as we got to have a taste of three different leadership styles. All of them were great, I'm happy to say.

That's it for Outward Bound. Here's a picture of my watch:

Friday, December 09, 2005

Not the best week of my life?

Finally dragged my lazy ass up to blog. Went with Baikar, Hao Bin and Wei Bin on Wednesday to watch Aeon Flux at Plaza Singapura. Personally I felt that the story concept was pretty good, though some parts of the movie were pretty lame…but never mind, I’m no movie critic. Played pool after that, and I sucked that day for some reason. Bad luck. We stopped after a couple of games, seeing that it was already about 5 plus, and we parted our ways after that. The others went home, while I, on the other hand, went over to X Square to meet Beatflash a.k.a Lester for the first time in person. I played a bit of co-op with him in Doom 3, but after a while we got kinda bored and decided to switch games. I’d always wanted to have a go at Star Wars Battlefront 2, to see what it was like, you know, but unfortunately there was only one disc left for one Xbox (we both rented one each) and Lester had to play something else. He chose NFSU: Most Wanted. Anyway, not to digress too much, Battlefront 2 rocks! Really cool game, you get to play a number of character classes a la BF2 e.g. clone trooper, jet trooper etc, pilot vehicles like starfighters….good fun, I say. I’m gonna buy it as soon as I can scrimp up enough.

Anyway, Baikar and Marcus came over today to play soccer. Marcus as usual was late. We played field soccer first, before going on to the street soccer court and again, I sucked at the game, which is saying a lot, since I’m not really good in the first place. Bleh. More bad luck. Anyway, it was a mistake, playing barefoot on the street soccer court and running about (I had to play barefoot as I only had my field boots with me), now I’ve got a ton of blisters on the soles of my foot. Even more bad luck. Was hoping to do some Halo 2 tonight after the guys left, but unfortunately, Mom came back when I wanted to go down and switch on my Xbox. Yet more bad luck.

I’ve got campcraft competition training tomorrow morning, and I’m supposed to be excused and allowed to come late as I’ve got music theory lessons at 9am on Saturday mornings. Unfortunately for me, I’ve to go open up the NPCC room as I took the key the previous training. I’ll have to wake up extra early, go to school and open up the room, wait till someone comes by and rush over to my music teacher’s house, before returning to school again after that for training. And to top it all off, I’ve just remembered I’ve got music homework to do. Seriously, my luck this week sucks.

Friday, December 02, 2005

I'm rather on Cloud Nine right now and this time, I won't beat about the bush on telling you what I'm happy about. Well basically today Marcus, Nigel and I went for the Air Pistol Competition at CDANS organised by Swiss Cottage NPCC, and I'm proud to say I won! This, despite my gun being sabotaged (more on that later), a bout of nerves and this being the first time I've ever shot an air pistol. Here's a look at the Individual First trophy:

It's the first time Maris Stella NPCC has ever scored such an achievement, but that's not all: My team managed to get the Team Champion award as well! Not bad for first timers, eh? Sad to say, though, neither Marcus nor Nigel managed to get an Individual Award. It would have been totally unreal if they did, though. But hey, a total clean sweep of all the male Gold trophies isn't too bad, yes? How's that for a Double Kill, eh? =D

Anyway, here's a look at the Team Champion trophy:

All right, enough gushing about how good I am. Right now, I'm going to tell you how I almost didn't win due to my gun bein sabotaged. You see, an air pistol, like most weapons, has a front sight and a rear sight, which can be calibrated like an air rifle by having sighting shots and then correcting the sights by turning the knobs on the side of the gun. If for example, your aim is good and you fire at the center of your sighting target and find that your shot goes somewhere else on the target instead of where you aimed, you adjust the knobs accordingly until your shot goes to where you aim.

Now, during the competition, I was in the second detail, a detail being a group of people firing at a time in the lanes. Being in second detail meant that someone used the same weapon I was going to use before me. Well, when it came to my detail's turn to fire, I of course was feeling nervous already. Sending out the target and loading my weapon, I aimed directly at the center of the target and fired. Bringing back the target, I saw, to my horror that the target paper was still unpermeated by a pellet hole. "WTF?!" I thought to myself, starting to panic. "Could it be that my gun was not working properly?" Maybe it was because my aim for the first shot was out. Well, never mind that. I'll try again. After firing the second shot, I brought back the target paper again and found to my dismay that the target paper was still perfectly untouched. By this time, my heart had leapt into my mouth. "My aim can't be that bad," I surmised. " Maybe I should try recalibrating the sights again." So I turned the knob such that my shot would go lower and fired again, without success yet again. After three shots, the target was still untouched?! WTF was up with that?! I argued with myself over whether to report a faulty gun to the officials, but afraid that it was just my aiming that was horrendous, I kept my mouth shut and kept on turning the knob that would bring my shot lower. Taking aim once again, I fired and to my surprise this time, the pellet made a hole, right at the top of the target, on the edge, in fact. Puzzled, I now realised that my sights had been totally out and that had led to the shots going out, but due to competition stress, I couldn't figure out then how a perfectly good air pistol could have its sights so terribly out of target. After all, the previous user had calibrated it, hadn't he? To cut a long story short, I turned the first knob at least in one and a half circles and the second at least three quarters of that, and to top it off, I had used up all 20 sighting shots and 3 sighting targets to calibrate my faulty revolver.

Thus started my actual competition shots. By now, I had calibrated the gun to the extent that the sights were still not accurate, but I now knew how to correct for the sight's error. As I was now firing actual shots that would count for points, I decided to leave the sights as they were and not try to calibrate the gun fully. This decision, coupled with a steady hand proved to be the competition winner for me, with me now firing all my shots, save for 4 of them being a result of misfire into the black area of the target. Now basically the target I was firing at consisted of 2 areas, the outer white area and the inner black area, with the black area consisting of rings of 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 points, which meant a bullseye. The white area consisted of rings of 1-5 points. I fired 30 competition shots. 5 in the white area. 25 in the black. You do the math. So I won, defeating even the people at Swiss Cottage NPCC, who had air weapon shoots as part of their normal trainings. Happy though I am, I'm feeling a mix of relief, joy and anger now. Relief because I pulled it off even against the odds, joy because we scored a Double and anger. Anger because I realise now that my gun had been sabotaged by the person who had used it before me. That person had totally screwed up the sights by twisting the knobs a couple of hundred degrees on purpose. In fact, Nigel's gun had also been sabotaged. What happened to fair play? What happened to sportsmanship and equal opportunity? I see now, the maliciousness of the people who want an unfair advantage in a competition which should have been fair. As it is, I'm now having the last laugh.