Friday, November 20, 2009

Task: Flash Mob

The Yellow Ribbon's project!

Day Three:


We were the only group to sleep at Sembawang Park. Despite having met weird people in the middle of the night, the morning air was superb! After a short briefing and breakfast, we had a smooth journey to Sembawang MRT. However, to our horror, the shuttle bus service to Yishun only started at 9.30am! It was 8.15am then. So we had to choose between walking to Sembawang Shopping Centre for the shuttle bus or utilize our resources at Sun Plaza. We chose the latter and proceeded to Coffee Bean for their powerpoint after being chased away by security guards for using the powerpoint on the pillar. ): While updating our blog, we received the 9am message.

We started to attempt deciphering the message, and asked around for many people’s opinions. However, we got many places all over Singapore. After much research online and discussion for 3 hours, we decided to head to Bedok Lighthouse @ Lagoon View. We knew that time was tight as we had wasted too much time researching for information. Taking a train down to Yio Chu Kang MRT, we then spent our final bus ride on 76, where we stopped outside Victoria School. The ride took more than we expected, but we made full use of the time on the bus to discuss our presentation.

Upon reaching, we ran to Lagoon View, and went all the way up 25 storeys at Block 5000K to the lighthouse. BUT TO OUR ULTIMATE HORROR AND DISAPPOINTMENT, WE GOT THE WRONG DESTINATION! IT WAS SO SUPER TRAUMATISING. ): We got an option from Ah Hao to either take a bus but face a penalty of one star for every minute we took to reach the bus stop at ECP, or to just walk and not face any penalty. We decided to walk, THE WHOLE STRETCH OF ECP TO THE OTHER END. So brave!

So began our long walk throughout the whole stretch of ECP. We were trying to meet our target of reaching by 1.40pm. However, we were late by 10 minutes. Furthermore, it began pouring again! ): It was very heavy but we still continued on till we found the yellow ‘lighthouse’ at ECP, Area B. We met Gamma walking out on our way, and found Alpha and Delta at the pavilion beside the destination. Alpha and Delta were very kind and waited for our coaches to buy us lunch before heading off to our final destination, which was school, together, with the code deciphered by Alpha.

Back at school, we reached late and were thus required to do 2500 success claps as demanded by Ridtz. They reduced the numbers to 1500, and later followed by a cheering competition between coaches and Alpha-Beta-Delta.

Presentation soon, and Beta will do well.


Task: Everyday Greatness

These are some of the shots that we captured on 'Everyday Greatness' in Singapore. The photos will be explained later.

Day Two:

Rise and shine at 7.30am!

We washed up, had breakfast and went through our plan for the day together. We left promptly at 8.30am, and headed to NUS via Clementi Road by foot from West Coast Park. Along the way, we stopped by Genesis School to attempt completing two tasks, ‘leader’ and ‘children’. However we got rejected as they only accepted appointments. Handling the rejection well, we continued on to NUS. We sought help from a stranger in helping us find the sign ‘I was here’. She directed us to the University Cultural Center via the internal shuttle bus. As we were unfamiliar to the place and were busy discussing our plans, we missed the first bus as no one flagged it. After boarding the next bus, we found the sign!

But as we were heading out, Ah Hao suggested that we should not skip so many stations and to reach for the ‘low-lying fruits’ first, instead of being too ambitious. This led us to re-plan our whole trip to include Chinese Gardens and Sembawang. Learning to utilize our resources fully, we decided to use the wireless network in NUS. However, it was protected and only open to NUS students. We decided to seek help from students there, but ended up wasting too much precious time there. Initially, we were supposed to leave at 9.30am, but ended up leaving at 10.40am, without even finalizing a new route. This brought up our consistent problem of inefficiency during this journey. Following that, we headed to NUH, Science Park Drive and walked towards Kent Ridge Park, and finally to Bukit Chandu. However, the route was very tough as there were many curves, turns, uphills and slopes.

To reach Kent Ridge Park, we also had to pass through a place called ‘Ninety-nine Curves’. According to Judy, it was originally a road where many racers used in the 70s and 80s. As it was too dangerous with the curves and bends, it was finally close in the 90s and is now a normal road for driving.

After walking uphill to Kent Ridge Park, we met an officer from the National Parks and decided to interview her for the task, ‘leader of the community’.

Following this, we continued on to Bukit Chandu and managed to reach there before 12pm, which was our designated timing.

As we managed to attain our target set, we were rewarded by Ah Hao with 3 Snickers Bars! But they were melted and no one felt like eating them at that time. But they are much appreciated. We also had a surprise visit from Pei Yun there, who taught us the idea of delayed gratification. As we had completed a Rewards Challenge of 500 success claps, we earned our reward but Ah Hao did not give us the reward instantly. Pei Yun brought up that we should not always expect immediate results. Leaving through Hort Park and exiting via Pepys Road, we decided to head to Harbourfront, the nearest MRT station. But it started pouring heavily when we reached Pepys Road. Along the way, we stopped along Telok Blangah Road and decided to complete the task at the HDB flats since the rain was getting heavier.

It was difficult to obtain the items required for the task as we realized that the area we chose was not very well-off and were mostly one room flats, with many elderly residing there, without many young children. We had to go through two blocks to complete the task, but with some items still not tallied. However we had excess items as people donated other items which could also be useful for children. We decided the remaining items for other places in Singapore, and headed for lunch at the nearest coffeeshop. We ate wanton noodles for $2.50 and also a hot drink each as the weather was very cold. Following lunch, we were also told that we could have an extra bus ride, plus more help and advices from Ah Hao and Judy. We decided to take a bus directly down to Jurong East from Telok Blangah to complete the station at Chinese Gardens. We took bus 97, and we did our reflections and prepared items that we needed to complete our tasks. When we alighted at Jurong East Interchange, we asked for directions and followed the MRT track down one station to Chinese Gardens. At the MRT station, we found an AXS machine and applied for our permit at Sembawang Park tonight.

Upon reaching Chinese Gardens, we approached the security guard for directions to the Statue of Confucius. He kindly provided us with a map of the place and planned the route for us. However, we were unable to comprehend the map and got lost after the signs directing us to the statue stopped. No one was clear of which direction to take, and we ended up not making good use of our time there. However, we managed to find it finally, after taking a risk of cutting through a large pebble bridge.

Along the way back to Jurong East, Ah Hao told us to go under a HDB block where he went through his observations of us during the journey to Chinese Gardens with us. He pointed that we had to work with a stronger sense of urgency. He also focused on the M (Model the Way) and C (Challenge the Process) aspects of the leadership model we were introduced to. As we continued back towards Jurong East, we realized that Jurong Point, which we were heading towards, was actually located at Boon Lay. Luckily we remembered IMM, and headed here as we had to update our blog and complete our tasks. Entering IMM, we went to Macdonalds directly as we were certain that there would be powerpoints and wireless provided for us to utilize as we had a lousy laptop. ): To our horror and shock, the outlet had closed their powerpoints long long ago, so we decided to search at other fast food outlets. On our way to Burger King, we made use of our good observation skills built up from yesterday, and managed to spot powerpoints at the bottom of pillars in the middle of the mall. So here we are, sitting on the floor of IMM, updating our poor blog while the rest of awesome Beta, are out there completing the rest of our tasks efficiently.

Dinner at Macdonalds now, don’t be jealous! We are super rich.


We also managed to complete two tasks while at IMM, the children's day and flash mob. AWESOME!

We trained down to Yishun after dinner, and walked a whole long long long distance to Sembawang Park as we had headed for the wrong direction initially.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day Two Reflections:

Today was Day Two of the Amazing Race, and Beta was extremely elated at the end of today with good reasons! We managed to meet our expectations and completed 4 stations and 4 tasks in one day, with adept time management.

Though we started off late as we did not wake up on time, we made up for it soon with a renewed sense of urgency. We did not want to repeat our mistakes that we made on Day One!

Rain, rain, go away, come again another day! It rained almost the entire day, which made walking extremely uncomfortable with rain-soaked ponchos and shoes. However this was a priceless experience where Beta bonded together and persevered and endured the heavy rains.

We also changed our route plan in the morning at NUS as we felt that the coaches were hinting heavily to us. As they said, ‘Aim for the low-lying fruits’. Thus we learnt to be realistic as well as being flexible in choosing the better solution. The change caused some stir among Beta, but as having learnt to have a common goal and vision from Day One, thus we decided on a common concensus very fast.

Along the way from NUS to Bukit Chandu, our coaches felt that we were not fully utilizing our time. When we were walking, we stopped to discuss and not make use of our time. Thus we learnt how to talk-on-the-walk. Apart from that, our spirits were high. Optimism keeps the energy level high and we walked very briskly compared to yesterday, seldom stopping for breaks. Laughter was order for the day, and it was what helped us achieve so much for the day. In fact, the best thing about today was our strong team spirit and never say die attitude. Together with our lessons learnt from Day One, Day Two was better than we ever imagined! Because we saved so much money from Day One, we were able to eat a scrumptious Macdonalds dinner with enough money left for another Macs lunch on Day Three. One more thing we learnt was to have confidence to just do it. Saying phrases like “I think’, imply a lack of confidence, which is detrimental to maintaining our mentality of leadership. We did learn to fully utilize our resources today by asking strangers for directions whenever we were unsure. However, though the coaches noted that our seeking of affirmation was commendable, asking strangers too many times would result in us wasting too much time, which was what happened to us.

The process of walking to Kent Ridge Park to Bukit Chandu was arduous and tested our physical limits to the maximum! The route had ‘ninety-curves’ with many steep winding slopes that would test even a seasoned hitchhiker. But Beta, like always, did our best and never gave up along the grueling route.

In all, Day Two was awesome and Beta is gonna win the Amazing Race and show everyone awesome girl power from the Ten Chiobu-s!

XOXO, Beta!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day One:

First we received the nomad’s challenge manual and started planning. We were one of the last groups to set off. We figured out the places on Appendix A and planned our route by sketching a map of Singapore, and roughly estimated where the places were. Although we had planned, but at this point of time we did not know all the landmarks yet.
We decided to take a train down to City Hall, and bought tissues papers along the way, which would be used for task 4, ‘Mind Your Own Business’.

For this task, we were not sure of how many packets of tissue papers we wanted to purchase and were very undecisive about it, thus from this we learnt the importance of making swifter and firmer decisions, and not to waste too much time. Along the way we also asked passer-bys for landmarks which we were unsure of. During our ride to City Hall, we also started on task 2, ‘Everyday Greatness’. When we reached City Hall, we sought help from the control station masters to assist in our planning, as we were still not sure of the route. Once we stepped out into Raffles Place, it started pouring. Adding on to the sudden rain, we were also unsure of where to head to – Fort Canning Park or the Asian Civilisation Museum, as both had the elephant statues. After discussion, we decided not to head to Fort Canning Park as it was out of the way for us. So began our walk to Asian Civilisation Museum. We saw the Elephant Statue after asking for some directions, and also found out that it was actually located at the Arts House @ Parliament House, not the museum.

Our next station was the sculpture of the boys, located along Singapore River. Along the way, we encountered two tourists and decided to complete task 6, Uniquely Singapore. We put up a performance for them, singing ‘Deep in My Heart’, the national song for NDP 2005. We also gave an explanation of some unique traits found in Singapore, such as our multi-cultural society, our foods, kiasu-ness, and Singlish. They enjoyed our performance and engaged in our explanation, telling us about their experience in Singapore too.

After completing the task, we walked further down and found the sculpture, ‘The First Generation’.

Along our way back, we completed task 5, ‘Coffee Talks, Hawker Walks’. We conducted an interview with the man on the street, asking him for his opinions on an issue which he, as a Singaporean, was most concerned about. He brought up the problem of our ageing population, and gave us his heartfelt comments on it.

Heading off from Singapore River, we met many obstacles on our way to our next stop, Marina Barrage. None of us knew the exact route to Marina Bay MRT or the shuttle bus station. So we decided to head towards Esplanade in the hope of getting a map of Singapore to guide us along for the rest of our grueling journey. In Esplanade, we also managed to book our camping permit from the AXS machine, which relieved us from the trouble of searching for the machine later on in our journey.
Upon attaining the map, we immediately planned out the route towards Marina Bay MRT. But due to the large amounts of construction works in town, we found many roads on our planned route were blocked or had no proper pavements for pedestrians. We decided to approach a man nearby for help and he advised us to take a longer but safer route to get to the MRT station. Following his advice, we took a long detour and ended up at Marina Station Road. Following signs found on the bus stop there, we finally ended up at the shuttle bus station to Marina Barrage.

We took a shuttle bus back to Marina Bay MRT, and we decided to try a new route to get to the URA building, our next destination, to complete our task 8, ‘Facebook Madness’. After making a turn into a construction site, we continued walking and ended up at the spot where we had decided not to turn into initially. We realized that we had actually walked double the distance as we had made detours to and fro from Marina Bay. Retracing our detour that we had taken, we continued our journey and reached the URA building. But to our horror and disappointment, IT WAS CLOSED! ): We tried to sneak in, but was found out and chased out by the security guard. He refused to make an exception for us, as it had already closed three hours ago. But along the exterior of the building, we managed to grab a few shots of the Master Plan Singapore 2008.

We had dinner at Maxwell Food Center, and managed to find a good deal, and had a superb dinner of fishball noodles from a stall which was featured on the newspaper for $2 per bowl! While a few of us were ordering and handling the food, the rest of Beta went around the food center selling our tissue packets bought earlier. They managed to complete the task before dinner was served, with a profit of $8. After that, we found out directions to get to Telok Blangah, which was SBS bus 145. Although we encountered a fierce bus driver, he still did tell us where to alight. Thus, we managed to reach Henderson Waves successfully. By that time, it was already dark.

Following Henderson Waves, our actual plan was to go to Bukit Chandu, NUS, and lastly camp at West Coast Park. However, it was getting late and we decided to head to the park straight and complete the two stations tomorrow. However, we were confused about how to head to the Park. After consulting joggers, we were told that West Coast Park was a far distance and would take at least 2 hours. The time then was 9.40pm. Seeing us confused, Ah Hao offered to sell us his professional help for $20. We took it. However, it was not very helpful to our current situation. He presented us with two options we could take on – either walking or taking the bus. After discussion, we decided to walk to West Coast Park to save our bus trip for the next day. However, after walking for a few steps, we realized that it would actually take us longer than 2 hours to reach our destination after doing some calculations. Furthermore, given that everyone was feeling tired after walking the whole afternoon, we ended up taking bus 176 to West Coast Park.

We alighted at the stop directly in front of Macdonalds and washed up. We changed to a fresh piece of clothing, but did not bathe due to time constraint. To our surprise, the Sportsbra group was also there and were happily eating their burgers! After that, Ah Hao and Shu Mei conducted a debrief in a shelter nearby. They recapped the whole journey and all of us voiced our thoughts with regards to the whole journey. Ah Hao and Judy also shared with us their thoughts on our group’s performance as a whole, and their opinions of how we could improve and the things that we needed to work on. They mentioned that we were not observant enough, despite having ten people, and did not utilize our resources enough. Resources can be found anywhere on the go, and it is up to us if we decide to utilize them appropriately. But due to our fixed mindset focused on just completing the stations, we did not approach problems from multiple perspectives and did not offer ourselves any alternatives during our journey. Upon learning this point, we decided to pitch our tents beside the Sportsbra group, so that we could all work together for sentry duty and everyone could have more rest. Delta joined us later, and the end result was everyone only having to do half an hour of sentry duty. Just before lights out, we also planned and reflected, preparing for a better tomorrow!

Embarking on our journey - Day One

Today is the first day of Adam Khoo camp and Beta was extremely enthusiastic about it as we had just gone to two days of an extremely fun Congress which boosted our energy levels. We had high expectations of this camp! We had high hopes that it would allow us to grow in our own scheme as a leader and contribute more to Beta during our service.

For the Amazing Race Day One, we felt that we spent too much time planning which resulted in the other houses setting off earlier. We also had too many ideas on how to go about reaching our destination and could not decide on a consensus. While planning we failed to be specific as to how exactly we would get to our destination. We also relied too much on asking for directions from strangers. Though this requires a certain amount of trust, we learnt that we need to rely on our instincts, observations as well. We need to have faith in our own decisions, and believe in ourselves as leaders.

Inflexibility was quite an issue too. We were always fixed on one route to the destination once we decided on it despite the fact that unforeseen circumstances like time contraints and outdated maps cropped up. We learnt that we should have a common vision and go as what decisions we have made. We are all leaders in our own way, thus resulting in each of us having our own ideas on hoe to go about doing something. Without a common goal, the journey was delayed. Thus, we must learn to listen to others more, instead of focusing on voicing out opinions too much. But we would still have to retain our personal sense of leadership.

Time is of the essence, and we learnt that time management is extremely essential, like setting a time to reach a destination as well as including buffer times. We learnt to be more alert and hone our powers of observations, such as looking out for road names and landmarks to avoid prolonging our journey.

Most importantly, we must utilize our resources fully. We must not focus on what we do not have because this means that we will not have anything to utilize. Instead we must focus on what we do have, and this will ensure that we have ample resources that we can make use of.

With all these advices from the coaches and lessons learnt, we believe that Beta will start off the second day with a bang, and have a brighter tomorrow with better experience!