Nepal – The Day The Earth Shattered

Along with thousands of lives…

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Last month, I participated in Project Sagarmāthā, which was oriented around providing monetary aid to the victims in the recent Nepal earthquake on 25th April 2015. Over 8,000 people died from the earthquake and many homes were devastated as well. It was a really shocking and agonising incident for all.

OVERALL FUNDS COLLECTED

Public Donation Drive: SGD $17,441.40

School Donation Drive: SGD $11,971.00

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In this project, we organised a School Donation Drive and a Public Donation Drive throughout Singapore, to collect donations for the Nepal earthquake victims. It was definitely a tedious process, having to design posters, ask shopping malls for permissions, being rejected and then asking other shopping malls, having to prepare all the administrative documents for the booth itself, etc.

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Overall, it was an eye-opener as that was the first time I participated in a planning committee of a donation project. I didn’t realise so much effort goes into the preparation of the event. Since this was a extremely spontaneous initiative ((we immediately took action after the earthquake occurred)), we did not have much time to work with. Thanks to our team leader and mentor teacher, we managed to settle everything in just a single month 🙂

But something really unfortunate happened. Despite all our planning, the police informed us THE DAY BEFORE THE ACTUAL EVENT that the first day of our donation drive clashed with another activity. How atrocious omg… And they were the ones who initially gave us the green light. In the end, we could only hold our drive on the second day. But that wasn’t all. We had to message ALL the 100 volunteers to notify them about this change. However, I personally called them up one by one because I felt this was of utmost emergency and they deserved to receive a direct apology from us. Each time I called, I braced being lambasted by the volunteer for having ruined their plans, but omg they were all so understanding and cute!!! They sounded genuinely sad, and expressed interest in participating for any future projects if we decided to organise them. I was really touched by how nice they were!

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On the second day, we swore we would do our best in order to make up for the lost time. I was the I/C of Plaza Singapura Mall, and worked for both shifts from 10-3pm and 3-7pm. I also decided to be really high so that the volunteers would feel excited as well. AND THEY WERE! I made the briefing very short and fun, like I told them, “When people ignore you, you can’t scold them like OI COME BACK HERE YOU IMPOLITE BRAT, but you can always curse them under your breath ^^ haha jk”

Most notably, I want to highlight the volunteers from Class 4L, because they were really really cute HAHA among them, there was this girl who was really passionate and she filled up two whole tins by herself!! I mean like, the traffic flow at Plaza Sing is really massive, but she definitely deserve some credit for collecting so much donations. I really want to thank them personally, as I had a great time because of them :3

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Even though this project made me so much busier over the last few months ((considering my OCIP Project Myanmar as well)), I really enjoyed this project and I am SUPER motivated to start up my own charity project with a group of friends as well in the future! I’m just so blown away at how just a bunch of students can raise close to $30 thousand for disaster victims O: indeed, it’s quite insignificant if you compare it to international aid, but like because of what we did, perhaps at least 50 out of the 23,000 people injured might be able to receive daily necessities and survive! That’s just so heartwarming ❤ And not to mention, I interacted with many members of the public, and a lot of them rejected not because they didn’t want to give, but because they already contributed! Like church, or school, or company work, etc. They may not have helped in our project, but that’s not the point, the main thing is to help the victims, be it one way or another. Idk I’ve always been a bystander in natural disasters, simply donating to causes or tweeting my well-wishes and stuff, but this time, I actually helped people with my own hands! It just feels so sweet and I’m definitely going to participate in similar projects in the future ((omg not that I hope for more natural disasters to occur so that I can join such projects HAHAHA)) okay I shall stop rambling here xD I know all my latest posts are not related to anime, so well too bad for you then

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Myanmar – Waking Up To Poverty

HELLO!!! I recently went on an Overseas Community Involvement Programme (OCIP) to Myanmar, and helped out in an orphanage of a small rural village. It was a 8D7N trip, and it was one of the most enriching experiences in my entire life. This post will simply serve as a story of what I have learnt about the children and about myself as well. Hopefully, it will encourage readers like you to embark on similar journeys and lend a helping hand to people in need 🙂

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I am an INFJ.

“Though soft-spoken, they have very strong opinions and will fight tirelessly for an idea they believe in.

So indeed, I’m a heck of an introvert, probably because of my lazy eye haha xD But when it comes to my beliefs and values, I won’t hesitate to dedicate all that I have. ((That’s one of the reason why I started this blog, writing on human equality and rights.)) And that’s also the reason why I volunteered to be Overall In-Charge of a team of 32 poopheads through this arduous journey that we all embarked on together as one. It was definitely a golden opportunity for me to help the needy, and being a leader meant that I could contribute so much more.

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Of course, I had to muster a lot of courage. I was scared whether people would listen to me. I was afraid whether my planning would be adequately clear and detailed. But most importantly, I feared whether I, as the leader, could maximise the entire team’s contributions to the orphanage.

Looking back, I think everyone did a great job 🙂

First up, we completed our originally intended construction for them – a well-sheltered boys dormitory. It was expected to take five whole days, but due to our efficiency and teamwork, we finished it earlier than planned, opening up more time to interact with the children.

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Mainly, we taught them English, involving the alphabet, basic greetings and crucial words that would be used in daily life. Side Note: I want to highlight and acknowledge the painstaking efforts of the English Committee, for they actually drew each letter of the alphabet out, accompanied with a beautiful illustration of the corresponding object. For example, ‘A‘ and ‘Apple’, ‘B‘ and ‘Boy’. Apart from that, we also taught them nursery rhymes like “Mary Had A Little Lamb” and “London Bridge Is Falling Down“. The language barrier was the largest hurdle we faced, and to be honest, it was quite difficult trying to explain words using bodily actions, but we did it in the end, and this sense of accomplishment feels really surreal haha 🙂

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Of course, not all the lessons were so dry with academic content 😛 There were Handicraft sessions, which mostly comprised origami and colouring; Hygiene classes on washing hands and brushing teeth; Games like soccer, Frisbee, basketball and makeshift bowling using our recycled bottles of water HAHA. So what is basketball without a hoop, right? To be honest, that and the soccer goal post net were the accomplishments that I was most proud of. Without realising, I utilised the skills I previously learnt in Scouting and was creative in terms of sourcing for suitable materials.

((WILL INSERT PHOTO HERE ONCE MY FRIENDS HAVE UPLOADED THEIR PHOTOS IM SORRY ><))

However, not everything was as perfect as I’ve described. Initially, we prepared a detailed timeline that we planned to follow. But then, there were numerous unexpected events. We overestimated time taken for each lesson, so there was a lot of free time. Some of the children also prefer to play with the balls, instead of colouring, etc. In essence, it wasn’t a smooth-sailing journey, and as the leader, you would have to come up with a solution as fast as possible. So, aside from the physical lethargy from construction work, I had to cope with the mental stress as well. Thankfully, the bus rides were long, and there was air-conditioning, which meant quality sleep haha x)

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Another thing was the number of casualties. At the start of the trip, everyone was in the pink of health. Then, everything changed when the Fire N- *cough* I mean, when people started to fall sick. On like the fourth day, three of my team mates were down with fever, and that triggered me to become more concerned for my friends’ well-being.

Also, my friend’s birthday happened to fall on one of the days, so me and another close friend of hers discreetly planned and bought the celebration food and beverages from a supermarket. It was a really budget birthday, but well it’s already plentiful for someone as unworthy and undeserving as her 😛

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Last but not least, I’ve learnt that it is one thing to preach about helping the needy, and another thing to lend them a helping hand first-hand. Beforehand, I thought they were merely a handful of handicaps that were in despair and desperately required support. But I realised sadness and poverty does not in fact go hand in hand. ((OKAY I SHALL STOP WITH ALL THE HANDS IM SINCERELY SORRY I GUESS I COULDNT… HAND-LE IT)) The children there were all cheerful and bubbly and they lived in satisfaction of what they possessed. One girl even told me she’d been to Singapore before and as much as she long for that modern affluent lifestyle, she is contented with this tight-knit community and relaxed environment. I’ve always had the mindset that poor people tend to be sad, but I’ve woken up to realise, maybe that’s not the case.

From the wide-known lyrics of Jessie J, I quote:

“It’s not about the money, money, money. “

So, as cliché as this may sound, but do we really need money in order to be happy?

((potential essay question for A levels haha))

Whatever the case, I’m extremely grateful to everyone who made this trip a success, namely our tour guide Ms Su and Mr Ye, and our beloved teachers, Ms Seah, Ms Ng and Mrs Koh. Of course, I also want to thank the other 31 uncooperative jerkpoops for this unpleasant and antagonising trip I had to suffer through with them. If there is a chance to go for another OCIP, I will definitely go for it! 🙂 here are just some random photos, not all otherwise it would flood the post haha

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HOPEFULLY IT WILL BE A DIFFERENT COUNTRY THOUGH BECAUSE I LITERALLY CANT STAND HOW MYANMAR LOVES TO PUT ONIONS IN EVERY FREAKING DISH.

Like this is probably what goes on in the kitchen:

Chef 1: “Hey Chef 2, what dish do you think we should cook? Onions with vegetables, Onions with beef, or Onions with Onions?”

Chef 2: “I think Onions with vegetables sounds good.”

Chef 1: “Great! Hey, how about we add some variety to the dish!”

Chef 2: “That would be fantastic! Hmm, I was thinking maybe pieces of roast chicken perhaps?”

Chef 1: “EW what no! I was thinking, why don’t instead of just onions, we have shredded onions, diced onions, onion rings, onion balls, onion syrup, ONION-FLAVOURED ROAST CHICKEN OMFG IM A GENIUS”

Chef 2: “Well done. Here’s an onion-flavoured cookie to reward you.”

Chef 1: “Omg I’m so touched I’m crying.”

Chef 2: “Yeahh… I don’t think that’s the reason why.”

Okay, I’m sorry. But yeah I believe you can tell I’m not a fan of onions. And just a few updates, I recently had some difficulty supressing my inner gamer so I played TERA: Fate of Arun for a little while. But I’ve since uninstalled it haha Self-Control A+ lol I’ll try to blog more XD I have quite a few topics I wanna talk about. That’s pretty much all, thanks for reading this lengthy post haha feel free to share your experiences of Myanmar or anything else in the comments below 🙂

The Most Important Body Part

Today, my crush patted me on my shoulder, alongside words of encouragement.

Today, my close friend smacked my shoulder really hard, as his way of greeting me.

Today, my parents put their arms over my shoulder, complimenting me over good deeds.

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Through the course of my junior college life thus far, many of my friends have broken down from the sheer pressure due to school commitments. Having persisted through such an arduous and hectic lifestyle, all they really want is a pillar of support and encouragement.

Recently, I came across a heartwarming story. Despite going against scientific facts, it conveyed an inspiring message – our most important body part is not our eyes, ears, nor heart. It is our shoulder, for friends and family to cry on and lean on.

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In Singapore, it is common to see people rushing around, to and fro, from work, from school. Sometimes, we rush through the crowds so hastily that we tend to focus all our attention towards the destination, the end-result, blurring our surroundings and neglecting the people around us. I myself committed such a heinous crime. Being in a pragmatic and meritocratic society, I decided to orientate the two years of my JC life towards the attainment of academic success. And in the process of mugging and rubbing subject notes all over my depressed face, I did not even realised that my shoulder had turned cold.

But that wasn’t all. A few weeks ago, my close friend broke into tears, after screwing up an important project work. He was frustrated enough, and was simply overwhelmed by our suggestions to help salvage his work. I tried to comfort him, but that was when I realised, I couldn’t. I tried to think coherently for words of solace, but I couldn’t and I ended up just standing there, staring into space. At that point in time, I feared that I may or may not, have acquired a state of apathy, and may or may not, have lost my shoulder.

Or maybe I didn’t misplace it. Instead, I jettisoned it on purpose, in order to be rid of useless dead-weight. I discarded it, ditched it, hurled it vehemently on the ground, for it invited these annoying people to lean on me, shed stupid tears on me, to pass their baton of burden onto me, slowing my pace as a result. It was a hindrance, an obstruction, barricading the achievable success that was almost within my wrinkled hand’s reach.

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And that was when my crush, my friend, and my parents tapped on my shoulder.

It felt strange, unfamiliar, as if a foreign organ was being transplanted into my body. I didn’t realise until I noticed it, dirty and soiled from being tossed onto the cold hard ground previously. But as if graced by their touch, the body part was restored, back to its clean original state. Their words, praises, greeting, encouragements, infused the body part with brimming hope and energy. This optimism spread throughout my worn-out body, rejuvenating it, revitalising it, reviving it.

I realised then, that life wasn’t meant to be lived alone, wasn’t meant to be shouldered alone.

 

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What Is Your Name?

The moment we step into this world, we are bestowed with a name tag, that continues to follow us for life.

Nice to meet you! My name is Leslie Lim Ze Yong. What is your name?

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As similar as my name is to the term “Lesbian“, I am, unfortunately, a guy. Plus, I don’t “lie” as much as my name would suggest. So as you can see, my name does not reflect or even hint at any of my personality traits. Nevertheless, names are still rich in meaning and significance, which I will be expounding on in this post.

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Imagine a world without names. How would you call someone else without confusing others?

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In Akatsuki no Yona, all the people who share the same ability of paralysing others with their eyes are cursed with the title of The Blue Dragon. Similarly in Durarara, Akane is an innocent and sweet child. But due to the reputation of her family being a violent gang, people associate her with the same features and tend to avoid her.

Hence, the fetters of stereotypes engendered by these labels, restrain one’s individuality, compelling one to become a puppet of society – abiding others’ expectations of them. These hasty generalisations also attaches unfair characteristics onto them, which they may not actually possess.

Thus, categorising people based on common traits is not an ideal method of identifying people correctly.

And that is why names are fundamental for any society.

Durarara!!x2 Shou
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But not only do names provide us with an identity, they act as a pokeball of our entire life. When friends call to us, they are not merely saying out our names. Instead, they are referring to you – the person who has had a significant impact on their lives; the person who has went through thick and thin together with them. Just like how Ash is calling out for HIS butterfree, not just ANY butterfree.

Critics of Murano in Kiseijuu (Parasyte) are incessantly harping on how excessive she is in terms of her character in the plot, and how silly her repeated questions are. But in my opinion, those critics are very myopic. The “Izumi Shinichi-kun” she refers to, is not ANY Izumi Shinichi-kun. Instead, she is referring to the Izumi in the past, before the transfusion of Migi; the Izumi who saved a cat from being thrown stones at; the Izumi who WORE SPECTACLES. Therefore, this repetition is vital to the plot as it contributes to the contrast of past versus present regarding Izumi.

Names aren’t as simple as they look, huh?

Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu (Parasyte: The Maxim)
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And that is why, like I said before, names entail so much more meaning and significance than you can ever think of. Names literally encapsulate our entire existence.

As a result, we should never look down on anyone’s name, for it would be akin to dismissing their existence.

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Their names represent their happiness, sorrow, toil, jealousy, anger, failures, accomplishments – all the sunshine and storms they have been through in their journey thus far. ‘Bob‘ is not just A Bob, but THE Bob who was involved in construction projects, together with the help of several anthropomorphic work-vehicles, a.k.a. ‘Bob The Builder‘. We need to respect each other’s names and acknowledge each other for who we are.

So screw Ginti, because our names do indeed make a difference, an astronomical difference that only YOU can make. We need to take pride in our names and cherish them just like how Ash cherishes his pokeballs! Names are not simply a tool for conversation, THEY ARE US. See how the characters in Yowamushi Pedal unceasingly moans each others’ names when cycling: “Sakamichi!“, “Manami-kun!“, “Sakamichi!“, “Man-” YOU GET THE POINT.

All I hope is that after reading this article, people can be more proud of their name and say them out loud with no shame. Who cares whether you’re a Benjamin, Muthu, Mao Ze Dong, or even,『Blank』? No matter what your name is, other people should never judge you based on it, but most importantly, you yourself should never look down on your own name.

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Thankew for reading my post! ^^ My name is Leslie Lim Ze Yong. What is your name?

P.S. Like seriously, if you don’t mind, share with me your name in the comments below! I’m really interested in getting to know more names out of my social circle :3