Sunday, November 25, 2007

The experience in India was amazing, but I really don't have time to relate it here, so I'm just going to paste the article I wrote for the college magazine.

Missionary, tourist or celebrity? That was the question Mr. Pang posed to us during our reflection session on the 5th night. Did we come for this 9-day OCIP trip to Tamil Nadu with the mentality and true spirit of missionaries, putting in all effort to touch the lives of those we encountered and persevering under sickness and hardship, or were we simply tourists or celebrities, going to see the sights or expecting to have first-class treatment and bask in fame?

We believe the results speak for themselves. From the 14th to the 22nd of November 2007, a group of 16 students and 2 teachers from CJC set off on what would be an absolutely unforgettable experience to Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu, India. Trepidation and nervousness about what would be in store for us was in our minds as we assembled at Changi airport on the morning of the 14th, but at the same time there was a palpable sense of excitement as well.

Our trip to Tamil Nadu was hardly a sightseeing touristy one, with a sense of purpose etched deep into the fully-packed schedule we had almost every day in Tuticorin. Over there, our main activities were to teach two English-medium classes of 7th and 8th standard students lessons on English, Mathematics, Physics and Biology, the syllabus for which was among the many preparations made before we embarked on our trip, and alongside such pedagogic activities we visited various slums, tuition centres, a home for physically disabled children and an old age home.

During the 5 days we were in Tamil Nadu we were positively swarmed by children who were simply so happy to see us, and the welcome we received from the students and staff, in addition to that from the community was a truly a heart-warming one. Despite the language barrier for many both sides never ceased trying to communicate, soon finding that the most effective way of simple communication was just through a smile or wave.

The living standards of the people would be deemed by Singaporeans as substandard, and yet they never failed to always try and give us the best they had, pulling out the stops in their hospitality towards us. Although classroom were sparsely equipped and classes were often as large as 60 students each, such conditions failed to dampen the enthusiasm for learning and curiosity of the students was overwhelming, a dearth of which can be found in our country in spite of everything we have. During our visits to the old age and handicapped children homes, our interaction with the old folks and the handicapped children allowed us to understand their situation, and being able to bring joy to them through our games, performances and activities brought smiles to our faces. Through our visits to the slums and tuition centres, we discovered how the people in the slums still have a sense of purpose and satisfaction in life, and although poor, they did not fail to extend their warmth and hospitality to us. The eagerness to learn, and the value the children and students at both the tuition centres and school placed on education was truly an eye opener for us.

Part of the experience we had was also illness. By the 6th day, almost all of us had fallen ill, with fever, vomiting and diarrhoea being the order of the day. Through it all, however, it was mind over matter as we persevered, taking everything that was thrown at us with gritted teeth but without battered spirits. Sickness was a challenge, surely, but it was something that we were prepared to face going for this trip.

Simply put, this trip was a truly amazing experience, quite impossible to put down in words to have the reader truly understand, and it made us realise the reality of what it was like in poor places, helping us to appreciate what we have while at the same time allowing us to realise that love, peace and joy can exist and are independent of the place and material comforts. Missionary, tourist or celebrity? Perhaps some of us went for the trip with differing mentalities than those of altruistic nature, but at the end of it, touching the lives of those we encountered and having our lives changed in return – missionaries, that’s what we were.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Hello. I will be away in India for OCIP from tomorrow till the 22nd November. I just know it'll be an awesome experience, but at the same time there's someone I'll miss really bad. That's my only regret, really.

See ya soon. =)

Friday, November 09, 2007

OCIP meeting today was pretty fruitful, I guess. Delegated the content segments for everything and once everybody does up their parts, the handbook for all the lessons'll be complete. It felt like something was achieved today, so that can't be bad. And Sunday's fundraising at St. Anne's! Loads of stuff to do, loads not done, too. I haven't even gotten my immunisation jabs for the trip la. Die.

Okay off to do something productive now, namely doing up whatever I can of the lesson handbook.

My financial status now is infinitely screwed. I have a little money in my wallet, but my net worth is currently into negative figures because I owe Aaron a hundred bucks. Sorry bro, I'll pay you soon =)

Normally if I owe people money...wait. I don't normally owe people money, but on the occasions that I do, it doesn't take long for me to repay what I owe. Unfortunately my dad decided to cut my allowance. Normally I get money when he sends me out and all, but nowadays I get half or less of what I normally get, or sometimes nothing at all. If what I get now's only enough to cover a meal, at the rate I'm going I'll probably take 412091425235 years to save 2 bucks. Oh. I don't have that many years. I guess I'll starve to save money then. NOT. Hahaha.

Hard times, I guess. And I think my parents weren't happy with the way I was spending. Still, the peanuts I get now aren't nearly enough. Oh well.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Intellectual conversations occur all the time when you talk to me. Here's one example.

phyllis: do you want me to screaaaaaaaaaaammmmmmmmmmmmmm at my laptop screen till i vomit blood?

phyllis: then die

andrew: haha

phyllis: then you'd have to attend my funeral

andrew: too bad

phyllis: hahahaa

andrew: HAHAHA

andrew: ya

andrew: then

phyllis: ): ): ):

andrew: i'd be attending



phyllis: HAHAHAHA

Brilliance is often mistaken for retardness. HAHA.

Monday, November 05, 2007




And thanks for the tissue. Hahahaha.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

It sucks to be sick. Session this morning at the St. Anne's hall made the flu worse cause the aircon was just so cold. Now my nose feels horrid, my throat feels scratchier and there's the occasional coughing. Blah.

Just came back from dinner at this coffee shop selling crab bee hoon at Ang Mo Kio. The famous one somewhere near avenue 1, where the waiting time's supposedly usually one and a half hours long. Luckily we only waited for about half an hour and there were other dishes to occupy my attention first. Haha. It probably would've tasted better if my nose didn't feel like crap, but who's complaining? 77 bucks for the crab beehoon alone, and yes it was fairly good I guess.

OCIP fundraising tomorrow at Holy Spirit church, I hope we do well. Going to rush back to St. Anne's before session starts cause it's by some outside speaker and I wouldn't want to miss it.

Yeah that's all for now I guess. My posts are getting more mundane and boring cause I'm too lazy to think of interesting topics to talk about. Haha. Oh well.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Today was a super lazy day. Woke up at 8 plus, went back to sleep till 10 plus. Then had breakfast and originally wanted to use the com, but my dad was using the internet connection and there wasn't anything to do. So I went back to sleep. Had lunch at 12 plus after waking up, saw that my dad was still using the internet and then went back to sleep again. Slept till 3 plus, dad STILL using the computer, read a little and then took another nap till 4 plus, when I got ready for church. Mass at 6.15, dinner and then came home to play some Halo 3. Haha so the only productive thing was going to church, I guess.

Anyway in short, today I:

Woke up
Went back to sleep
Woke up
Ate breakfast
Went back to sleep
Woke up
Ate lunch
Slept again
Woke up
Slept yet again
Woke up
Went to church

Fun-filled itinerary as you can see. Haha.

OCIP meeting tomorrow at 2. Wished it could early in the morning, cause the fact that it's right smack in the middle of the afternoon just spoiled any plans I'd wanted to make. I'm still excited about the trip though.

Haven't run in quite a bit now, off I go later. Gosh I need the exercise.