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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[Short Story] – Toy City

‘Welcome to the beautiful city of Sindria!’

That was what the sign at the entrance of the city read, before everything was destroyed.

Sindria was a developed town. It was dotted with residential houses, with shops lining the streets and roads. At one corner, you could see a father waving goodbye to his beloved wife and daughter, most probably going off to work; at the other, an ambulance with paramedics rushing to the aid of an unconscious man; or in the centre, where the mayor of Sindria was standing out in the balcony, overlooking his city with a proud grin on his face. But all these are now just memories, lost away in history…

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“Just one more block at this corner…” A sky-blue haired guy muttered to himself, as he meticulously placed the last block. “With this, the amphitheatre is complete!” He took a few steps back and beamed with self-admiration for helping this city build such a magnificent and outstanding piece of architecture. He had chanced upon this toy city quite recently and has since, taken a strong liking to its people. As a result, he decided to invest his time in developing the city further and allowing it to prosper to greater heights.

“What should I start constructing next? A natural waterfall in the countryside? How about an aqueduct across that valley?” The young guy wondered out loud.

Out of the blue, a loud voice thundered from above. “Or what about you don’t build anything at all and leave MY city right now?” Looking up, he noticed an orange-haired man clothed in Sengoku-inspired heavy armour, glaring at him. The man was sitting in a chariot with fiery wheels, pulled along by a pair of flaming pegasi. As the man drew closer, he could feel the heat in the atmosphere intensifying.

Remaining his composure, he spoke calmly, “I beg to differ. On what basis, Tyrius, should I follow your orders?”

“Tch.” Tyrius clicked his tongue, as he jumped off his chariot and landed forcefully onto the ground. The pegasi flew off into the distance, drawing the empty chariot along and leaving a trail of embers behind. Tyrius shrugged and turned his palms up in resignation. “Looks like you’re still being a disobedient little Venile as always. Do you really wish for me to teach you a lesson again, my dear?”

Venile clenched his fists, upon the mention of his total defeat against Tyrius in a previous duel.

Knowing that he had struck a nerve, Tyrius sniggered and continued, “Look, I found this toy city earlier than you did. I was the one who built the ballistae and all the other defence mechanism in the city to protect from the invasion by the Rhodoks a few years ago. And I even introduced liquefied gas for them to cook meals more efficiently. I have made a lot of contribution to this toy city. So, if you do not want to lose to me for the second time and suffer the embarrassment, get lost. Now.”

He has a point, Venile thought, he indeed has made a lot of improvement to the society. But he could not just give the city up to that incapable jerk. “Well, then why did you abandon it? When I came here, there was no one in sight.”

The redhead sighed. “Argh, because another god waged war on my other toy city and so, I had to go and defend it.”

“So you just left this city all on its own, didn’t you?” The bluenette retorted.

Tyrius scratched his head in frustration. “So what if I did? I can do whatever I want. This is my city.”

“Not for long. After this, it’s going to belong to me.” As if the atmosphere was not tense enough, the challenge Venile issued had heightened the intensity in the air sharply, and both individuals seemed to have developed an overpowering aura. Tyrius’s one radiated with orange and red sparks whereas Venile’s aura glowed a deep sea-blue colour.

“Let the duel begin then. Don’t regret it after I beat you hard and good, just like I did it last time.”

Immediately, both of them declared in unison, “Aschente!” The battle had officially begun.

“By the name of Venile, I am the God of water and ice. Infuse me with the spirit of the leviathan and bestow upon me an eternal blizzard!” Blinding light emitted from Venile, and when it ceased, he was fully equipped in his deity form. He was donned in a deep blue mysterious robe, and had a hood that covered his sky-blue hair. Long sleeves enveloped his arms as he wielded, with slim gloves, an ancient wooden staff and an open book that looked very worn and tattered. At the head of the staff, laid a mystical orb that changed colour periodically, ranging from icy blue to sea blue. Tiny water droplets and snowflakes seemed to revolve around Venile as well.

There was a slight hint of an impressed look on Tyrius’s face, but it transitioned into a smirk in the blink of an eye. “My turn.”

“By the name of Tyrius, I am the God of fire, metals and blacksmith. I hereby summon the power of the djinn and take on the avatar of the phoenix!” Instantaneously, he burst into flames. As the flames died down, he was also completely equipped in deity form. Comparing to Venile, the redhead had even lesser armour. Other than silver-edged scarlet shoulder pads and knee guards, he also had a waist guard that composed of silver-edged maroon plates. A chainmail plate covered his groin and thighs only, leaving everywhere else of his body bare. He was bare-footed and did not wear any gauntlets too. Tyrius licked his lips, expressing his excitement to savour the joy of fighting. “Let’s brawl.” And as if on cue, his fists blazed up in flames and his body started steaming.

Venile wasted no time as he casted the first spell. [Glacial Storm] A powerful snowstorm was catapulted straight towards Tyrius.

“Oh no, don’t throw snowballs at me,” Tyrius joked. But in the next instant, his eyes changed expression and he became serious all of a sudden. [Drought] The air suddenly became extremely hot and dry. All the snow immediately melted. But unbeknownst to Tyrius, the snowstorm consisted of shards of never melting ice as well. The ice shards rained down on him, with one plunging deep into his arm and one scratching the side of his face. “I see you have gotten stronger.” Tyrius admitted as he plucked the shard out. “But I’m afraid I won’t be defeated so easily.” [Fiery Talons] Before Venile realised, the redhead was dashing towards him with a blazing claw. The bluenette hastily casted a spell. [Aqua Shield] But it was too weak. As Tyrius approached even closer, the water already started evaporating from the heat radiating from him. Venile tried to dodge but Tyrius was too quick. He leaped and swiped at the bluenette’s chest, tearing away the robe and scraping his flesh. Venile clutched at his chest, trying to hold the pain in, but fresh blood was already gushing out of the injury.

“How did you like that, Venile?” Tyrius sneered. He grabbed hold of the bluenette’s chin and pulled him close, whispering, “Why don’t you just give up now?”

“Ne…Never.” [Frozen Fist] With that, Venile landed a punch directly into the redhead’s abdomen, making him cough out blood. Tyrius immediately leaped backwards to distance himself, such that he could recover from that blow.

“You annoying little prick. I am tired of you already. Prepare to face my wrath.” [God Spell: Lava Plume] Countless streams of fiery waters materialised out of nowhere and jet towards Venile.

“I am not going to be defeated by you once again.” [God Spell: Tidal Burst] A gargantuan tsunami appeared and surged towards Tyrius.

The two attacks collided but they were on par with each other. The lava streams smashed into the body of the tsunami but either side refused to let the other party win. Tension built up as the forces kept becoming stronger and stronger.

Just before everything exploded, a bright light started to shimmer in the centre.

“By the name of Elymerath, I am Queen of all Gods, and the God of air and wind. Transmute me into the griffin and bless me with the divine power of the angel!” [God Spell: Holy Void] A bubble of vacuum appeared, enveloping the disarray of fire and water. At once, everything exploded but all impact was apparently contained inside the vacuum. Then, the bubble burst into a shower of sparkles and a woman clothed in feathery armour and humongous, beautiful angelic wings, came into light.

“What in heaven is going on?” She demanded in a loud, resounding voice.

Tyrius and Venile immediately recognised the lady and bow in respect. “Queen Elymerath. We apologise for our unruly actions.”

“Don’t the two of you know what happens when two god spells clash with each other?” The pair looked down in guilt. She continued, “I understand that both of you were fighting over a city. Then tell me, where is your beloved city now?” With a sudden realisation, both the redhead and bluenette turned around, but to their horror, the toy city was no longer there. In place of it, were devastated ruins of destroyed buildings and structures.

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All the houses had collapsed. Trees burned as the countryside turned into blazing deserts. The town hall was destroyed completely and the amphitheatre was covered in rubble. The walls built around town had tumbled down, crushing roads, cars, the entire landscape. Parts of the city were also partially submerged in water. Sindria had been utterly obliterated.

In the corner of the city, there was a woman and a young baby girl, the only survivors of the entire incident. The woman was crying profusely and the girl had a look of confusion.

“Mommy, when will Daddy be coming back from work?”

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Author’s Note: Hello! A year ago, I had to do a Creative Portfolio for an English Literature project. The theme I chose was natural disasters, and so, I wrote three short stories revolving this topic. Of the three, Toy City focuses on the idea of natural disasters being caused by the gods above, specifically volcanic eruptions and tidal waves. It’s titled as such, to highlight how, to the gods, cities are simply toys, trivial objects they play with. Indeed, I am portraying gods under a negative light, for I value human life and I do not believe they should be toyed with. Anyway, I wanted to post this particular story on my blog because as you can tell, it was inspired from popular fantasy/magic anime plots, e.g. Magi (Sindria Kingdom), Fairy Tail (magical spells), etc. “Aschente” too haha I found that No Game No Life phrase super cool I’m sorry for plagiarising it >< I assure you I thought of these character designs myself, but then when I went online to search for anime representations, I found these characters which look similar to those in my story lol. Either way, I hope you enjoyed this short story :))) Not really aspiring to be a writer or anything, but any suggestions or comments are totally welcome :3

Tyrius – Sanada Yukimura (Sengoku Basara)

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Venile – Random Ice Wizard I found on the Internet + Jellal’s hair and coolness (Fairy Tail)

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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.

-♍-

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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