Oh man the day is finally here! Either for me waiting an entire year to come back to RICE, or just those few months in preparing in advance for it, or even all those years of waiting to become a leader at this event. The day was finally here! Just as some background information, I got conscripted into the Tech team; I didn’t really want to be in it as much as I wanted to be in Admin but it was still heaps of fun. However, Admin does have its down side, which is that we have to arrive early to set up all the equipment, and leave late packing up the equipment.
So for Saturday, 15th August, I had to wake up at about 5:30am, which isn’t too bad. Although Andy’s party from the previous night was still washing around inside my stomach. Hence I had a light breakfast. Someone else in my team gave me a lift, along with Sarah, who was in Games. She didn’t have to come early, just that she needed a lift. We got to the Downes Pavilion at 7am; had a bit of trouble finding close parking spots, The place was completely bare; a pure green field and a completely empty warehouse.
I was really excited already because I knew that within 5 hours, all of that emptiness was going to be turned into a mesmerising place where the gospel of Jesus Christ would be preached to hundreds of high school youth. I was also in awe of how a large event of RICE was set up; you’d think it be hard, but today’s set up seemed relatively light, well, on our end anyway.
Few people were on site when we arrived, mostly Logistic people. First thing to set up were the tents we were going to place in the pavilion. They would act as the more peaceful stalls away from the games and stuff. It was mostly just DIY assembling work. We opened boxes of unassembled tents, marquees or whatever, and just pieced it together like jig-saw.
Eventually Admin arrived as well as the rest of our Tech team, and we disappeared to go set up the stage equipment. Of course RICE doesn’t own any sort of high-tech equipment, it’s too expensive. So we hired out our favourite company who brought their truck in at about 7:30-ish. We had to move some stuff out of the way in order to get the truck closer to where the stage was. The truck was rather heavy when loaded with the stuff, so we had to lay down boards for the truck to drive across the grass:
Yeah ignore me and my weird laughing. Eventually we set up the stage, had the microphones and cables running into the huge sound system – I still don’t really know how to use one haha. There were so many cables everywhere, so many microphone stands and all. I never actually realised that we would need like two microphones for each instrument, and maybe like six alone for the drums haha!
The morning dragged on for a really long time, And when you think about it, we were setting up from 7am to 12pm; that’s five hours already! And then RICEfever actually ran for four hours until 4pm haha. By 8am other teams had arrived and began setting up more things on the grass and inside the pavilion.
As the day drove on more of the field was taken up by rides and games; RICEfever was looking so awesome before it even started. I wonder why us leaders even had an extra hour to spare to have our pre-event motivation through singing and a small talk haha; at least it got us pumped up for 12pm. Unfortunately my energy levels were dropping a bit by 10am so I went and got a coffee from a stand inside the pavilion. I didn’t like the new regulations of Sydney Showgrounds, where we had to get all our food and drinks from them. Lunch for everyone was $6.00 for a sausage sizzle, are you serious?!
Here’s another video before we started. I think this is Ushering who were rehearsing their dance which they were going to perform at random locations and at random times:
By the time it hit 11am, youth started coming. Sort of glad that they didn’t show up earlier because we didn’t ready to go just yet. Some games were still being set up and for us tech, we were being manned up with cameras. Me and Ben got handy cams while Andy had a larger camera to do interviews with. We were also given a number of tapes to record with. Eventually 12pm came round and we were all set. All the leaders gathered just behind the entrance and a huge number of kids had arrived. Luckily whoever was in charge at the front had set up huge balls for the kids to play around, some pre-event entertainment. Smart!
We had a loud countdown, as loud as the years when we used to go to RICE and the kids charged through in a stampede; it was a bit scary but also enthralling, seeing all those kids pumped up for RICE. And everything was on. Lines immediately stacked for the rides and other games; and us tech people began running around the place, filming anything and everything. Playgerise and New Empire were here too; I don’t remember who was who, but they had started performing; the day went off to an epic start.
Some highlights of the day included a huge water tank where youth had the chance to dunk their leaders by throwing projectiles at at target on a board. It was funny seeing the leaders get full soaked in water. However, most kids were rather inaccurate in their throwing, which kind of annoyed me because I kept filming all these fail shots; so some leaders standing by just slammed their hands on the targets just to get the victim leader wet haha! Leaders to look out for included Ronnie and Jono Tam. At the end of RICE we got to see Steve Chong get dunked. Our core tech leader was a bit annoyed at me for missing out when Sam Mak got dunked but I made up for it and got a rather epic view of the entire ordeal, beginning to end.
Next memorable, we had live Pacman! It was such a funny game. The guys set up a nice labyrinth, some large coloured sheets as ghosts, and a pacman head to wear around the front and back of the body. The objective was for pacman to gather tennis balls that were scattered on the ground in the maze, and the ghosts to tag him/her. It was pretty epic, and heaps fun doing PoV shots of the game. I tried my best to not get in anyone’s way and luckily no-one ran into me. I was fearful that somehow I’d drop the camera if someone collided into me haha.
There was binocular soccer, a very interesting idea; I didn’t get many shots of it for some reason, I don’t know why but it surely went well. Other groups set up human tetris, finally! They did it quite sparingly as well. They had thin foam sheets and tried their best not to break them, to preserve them throughout the entire day. That went pretty well; most of the holes were easy so the smaller kids had nearly not trouble with it haha!
Well if you weren’t there to enjoy the event, pity. It was a really fun day. I myself was felt a bit dismayed that I didn’t get the chance to enjoy the event, but on the contrary, I had a job to do, which was to film as much as I could of the event. This was where our 2-hour photography/filmography came into play; putting to practice all the things we had learnt. I didn’t really much attention to what we learnt, only that if what I caught looked good, then it should be fine.
So I went around the entire day with a handy cam. It was very tiring I can tell you. Maybe I’m just weak haha. But it was quite fun being able to just wave the camera around, see who responds with a wave, see who responds by looking away in shyness. I also learnt that having a camera means I have a VIP backstage ticket, which lets me get as close to excitement as much as I want, even if it means actually getting in the way of other people. Of course I tried not to do it but then the trade-off was that I didn’t get a good enough view of whatever was going on. I’m still in experienced as a camera man, maybe I’ll be more “aggressive” next time.
One of the most challenging moments during the day, as said before, was filming the pacman game. Again I just didn’t want to get in the way or people and luckily I didn’t. I was also meant to take a few shots from the rides, but then that would’ve meant cutting in, and I am so not waiting in the line like a kid when I could be filming other things elsewhere T.T” Well I didn’t feel I had the privilege of pushing in haha.
At the end of the event I rushed to the entrance and took some shots of the youth leaving; them seemed pretty tired, which is a good thing. Then I rushed back and helped with pack up. Well for Fever I didn’t help much because I had to rush off for badminton, and early because of lame trackwork T.T” Thank you CityRail. One good thing was that on my way back I ran into a bunch of Caucasian guys and girls who were all wearing the RICEfever armband. Sat down next to them on the bus and had a really good and encouraging conversation with a guy called Colby from St John’s Asquith. It was good chatting to him about school and how the Christian environment is like there. I guess I found it encouraging to hear that they were having some troubles there,, not in that way; but like it good to see that they were holding up against oppression and perhaps how fortunate other high schools are. Anyway we eventually parted but I certainly enjoyed that conversation. I later found out they belonged to Andrew’s church, and he joked with me about how he brought all those Caucasian youth to a supposed “Asian” event haha.
So much to do for Rally. Here we go!