Holidays Are Over

In a sense, my holidays are over, before they even began. But I suppose I speak too rashly since only one week of three is down. However, my holidays are definitely “booked out” now; it was booked out since before they started haha. Let’s re-cap over the last 7 days.

 

Friday

After trying to relax from all that immense studying for that one final statistics exam that kept me from my holidays, I spent the whole of the following day preparing for my youth group seminar on Apologetics. It was quite a stressful day; it’s on the same level as doing an assignment from scratch that’s due on Sunday. It was pretty bad timing, because I was mentally exhausted from uni at all; a lot of my thoughts weren’t flowing well so it was additionally harder for me to get that seminar done. To make things worse, I really only had one day to get it done since I was going to be out all day on Saturday.

 

Saturday

Had a RICE meeting today out in Croydon. Sam Mak gave his thoughts on how as serving Christians, we might lose the focus on our ministries and simply call them “ministry” rather than it actually being “service”. Christian ministry is about service after all but amidst people’s busy schedules (such as mine), we might start having a different attitude towards wherever we serve; be it church, youth group, ISCF groups, or one-to-one ministries. There’s always that tendency to become overloaded and suddenly start getting tired from it all, and letting it become routine, without putting the heart into it. It was a good reminder for me to rethink my motives in wanting to serve at church, at uni, and for RICE.

The rest of the day was spent in the actual planning of a number of things, as well as to run through team procedures with all the extra leaders that signed up over the last few weeks. We have a large team of leaders again this year, maybe not as many as last year. But it never ceases to amaze me how a bunch of uni students and workers can get together and put together such a huge event that causes change in so many high schoolers. I look forward to the actual days of the events.

Had to give up work today, and for two weeks later at the next meeting; but money wasn’t the issue. In terms of what I really needed at the time, I really needed this day to work on my seminar for tomorrow. Managed to get enough of it done once I got back home. Though I was exhausted from the day, I pressed on till 11pm and called it quits, hoping that what I had done was enough.

Sunday

This was my 10th talk or so, and of sorts, in front of a Christian audience but this one just seemed really unprepared. But like every other time, it seemed as if I knew what I was actually talking about and I was able to pick out the right wording more often than I had expected. Apologetics is my area of “expertise” so to say; I’ve spent a lot of time reading about it, and pretty much the other Christian articles on my blog are the fruits of my knowledge in Apologetics. Having said that, it’s clear I’ve had a mental block in that field for a while now, but that’s probably bound to happen at some point anyway.

I’m glad the seminar went well, but of course I can only guess at how the youth felt about it, whether it’ll actually help them or not. The main goal is to stimulate thought, that in itself should be more than enough of a push for them to think harder about what they believe in.

After church I had the option of going back to high school to attend a reunion of sorts. But pretty much none of my friends were going so I didn’t end up going back. Guess I’ll have to pay my teachers a visit another time. Instead went up to Hornsby to have ramen. Spent $135 on a 1 TB external hard drive and went home to tutor.

Monday

Started working on a church camp video, I’m slowly making progress when I can, or when I’m in the mood. The rest of today was spent either gaming or catching up on anime. In less than a week I finally managed to watch all of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Yeah, that meant going through more than 10 episodes a day, amongst doing other things but it was definitely worth it. The 64 episode series had much more depth than its original counterpart and was animated much better; much more gory as well. I’m slightly shocked at how they’re planning on showing this to American kids after translating it and all. Given the level of animated violence in the anime, it should easily be given an M rating, possible M15+. *Sigh* at the Americans who keep (poorly) translating anime.

Tuesday

Went out to go shopping with parents and pretty much did what I did on Monday again. Hmm…I could’ve sworn the week was much more busier than how it appears for Monday and Tuesday. Oh right, it makes sense because of all the business with having to oraganise upcoming events in the following days. It becomes more stressful when a lot of things don’t get sorted out properly until the last minute.

Wednesday

Met up with my pastor in the morning to have a chat and stuff before heading over to Jie’s place for Mahjong. Five of us were there: Jie, Jacky, Nathaniel and Sharon. I had actually wanted Nat to come, so she could bring her small dog to play with Jie’s 4 big monstrous canines. His dogs were huge, two black, two white, the black ones were very aggressive. If Jie had a third black dog, I swear you could put those three together and you’d get something that resembles Cerberus. Wonder what Nat’s dog + Cerberus equals?

Haven’t mahjonged in a while and haven’t mahjonged with those people for a while too, since maybe some time last year. It was good to repeat old times, with the table trash talk and all. Me and Sharon came up with the biggest hands in the game, at 10 fan. Jacky also sought out this opportunity to try out Jie’s new flat screen TV, clocking at 52 inches. He made me bring my Wii and we mucked around with a couple of games. Didn’t feel that special, but that’s maybe because both Kelvin and Yit have equally as large TVs, the experience is already common.

Later that night we went back to church for a young adults social type thing. As I parked my car, some of the youth were also there for some meeting for a holiday crafts program or something for primary school kids. Sadly, they were “lost” because nobody else was there for the meeting. So I dragged them over to our young adults thing where they could sort of find shelter from the cold night to call their parents to pick them up. So after all that, spent a half hour on the phone with Kelvin (and then gamed for another hour or so) before finally calling it a day…the longest day this week.

Thursday

Our group’s meet up today turned into Eric’s birthday dinner. I suspected this was the case when Eric first offered to have a social thing on today but it wasn’t until maybe the week before that I recalled it was Eric’s birthday just on Tuesday. Which also means that we didn’t have much time to get presents and sort other things out.

 

I went down to the city a bit early in hope of looking for a present but I didn’t have much luck. Instead I spent the rest of the time with Charlie looking for a suitable birthday cake. I couldn’t find the Michelle’s under Myer in that food court for some strange reason and so after a long search I managed to get a Vanilla-Strawberry sponge cake from a place called “Dough!” I think

 

Eric took us to a Korean restaurant named “大長今” funny name haha! We managed to take the top level of the restaurant and had dinner there. There was a fair variety of cheap and expensive food there, but there was no BBQ buffet which was a shame. Me, Kelvin and Erica had BBQ while some of the other people who weren’t willing to spend much chose from the cheaper end of the menu. The food wasn’t too bad, neither was the price. Eventually we got down to the cake. Me and Charlie had also decided to get candles at the time; we bought a “1” and a “9” candle, two dollars each, what a rip!

 

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After dinner we went karaoke for an hour at Big Echo. Some new songs as usual, need to learn them again.

 

Sunday

Friday and Saturday were spent recuperating from everything that happened throughout the week. But Sunday again proved to be a long day. After church Nat had decided to go watch Toy Story 3 with a bunch of people from our youth group. At the same time, I was trying to arrange to watch a movie the following day in the morning, since it’s $8 movie tickets on Monday, But no-one was free on the Monday so I opted to just tag along and watch a movie with them. This day would be the first occasion ever that Nat beats me to any location by driving. I had major bad luck finding a parking spot in one of the Castle Towers car parks that I have never parked at haha. Anyway to my disappointment (in some sense), the movie was very popular and normal screening sessions were booked out, leaving us the only option of watching it in 3D (at the $17 price). My resolve to watch a movie there and then was stronger than my urge to save money so I went through with it. Won’t comment on the movie, other than that Toy Story 3 was a pretty awesome movie.

 

Watching a movie was not part of my plan at all for the day, and was about to severely impact the rest of the afternoon/night. After the movie I immediately rushed home to get changed for Josef’s 21st. The major issue at hand was that I had to work out the route to get there. This was the first time I’ve ever driven as far as Seven Hills on my own since getting my P’s last year. I took about 10 minutes to memorise the route on Google Earth, got changed and immediately sped off to the party. I was so glad I got there successfully and on time a s well. I was really pushed for time, seeing as I didn’t know how long it would take to get there.

 

Josef invited like more than 150 people that night and managed to book out a whole seminar room in the RSL club. His parents were also willing to shout all the guests dinner, seeing as it is his 21st. There was a structured program to the party and so we weren’t able to eat the entire night. But I think I had more than my fair share for the night. There were a number of speeches and some trivia games, a slideshow and a speech from the birthday man himself. After the party everyone moved off to the bar to chill; designated drivers obviously weren’t allowed any alcohol.

 

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I went off by about 10:30pm to get back home. But on the way I decided to swing by Ken’s place where our church was having hotpot; I obviously opted a free buffet over hotpot haha. I watched them play “the hat game” and then we left.

 

So that was a full week of action, nearly. But clearly it was enough all-day action to keep me exhausted at the end of the week. Apologies for the lateness of the post. But the second week of the holidays was also just as tiring. And it all starts with Monday, the day right after all that happened on the above Sunday.

[RICE Revolution] How to Get to UNSW Science Theatre

First off you will need to get to Central station; either by train or by bus. Once there, head down to the bus bay on Eddy Ave stand C. Wait for either the 393 or 395 bus. Note that you will need purchase MyBus2 tickets which can be done at the newsagency right outside Central station Eddy Ave exit, it’s right next to the Easy Way there.

Once you’ve boarded the bus, get off at UNSW. Be on the lookout for a large UNSW sign. The entrance looks like this:

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From the entrance head up along the wide path lined with lamps, known as the main walkway. Your goal is the first large red building on the right (the Red Centre), it is actually further away than it looks:

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Once you get to the Red Centre as in the above photo, turn to your left:

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This is the Science Theatre. Welcome to RICE Revolution!

RICE Regenerate

In light of me missing out on NTE, went out to RICE Regenerate instead on Saturday night. It was really rushed for me, having to come out of work straight away and head down to the city. As with all RICE events, the “advertised” start time of 7pm actually means a 7:30pm start. It was held at the Wesley Mission Centre. I’ve really heard of churches that are dead centre in the city; but well, there’s a few.

 

After I got off the train at Town Hall, I came across people who were also going; but although they called out my name, I actually didn’t remember their names. All I knew was that I served with them at the actual RICE event earlier this year. We bought our tickets at about 6:30 and then went back to have dinner. We had about several hundred people come to RICE Regenerate; it’s weird seeing all these old people there: men and women who were at best first year uni, all the way up to people in their late 20s.

 

 

 

The night was chaired by Peter Ko, and our theme for the night was “Treasuring Jesus”. Essentially, the topic was exploring how we can keep our passion for Jesus burning as we age and potentially lose our desire to serve Jesus that we might’ve done when we were younger. We had a testimony from a guy who funnily enough was also called Malcolm Turnbull; spelling might’ve been a bit different. He’s been in a wheelchair for several decades. He was telling us his story of how Jesus had comforted him for those years of his life and stuff; it was pretty encouraging.

 

Later, we had someone show us their Facebook profile page; can’t remember the reason for it, and it might have been a set-up, some guy who had several fan pages and other weird embarrassing posts. Our speaker for the night was none other than Al Stewart; I only ever saw him in that DVD about apologetics. He’s a pretty funny guy when he starts telling us his anecdotes and such. His talk was based around the passage where Jesus goes up to a few people to ask them to follow him, but they give excuses and don’t do it straight away.

 

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He raised points about being committed and not just involved in ministry. His analogy for that was bacon and eggs. The two main “ingredients” for that is a pig and a chicken. The chicken is involved because it lays the egg, but the pig is committed because it IS the bacon. I suppose that one thing we can all think about when we next serve God; just how much it is we are giving ourselves for some part of ministry, whether it’s our whole, or just partial contribution.

 

After the talk, there was a half hour session where everyone was allowed to have time to respond to what we just heard. They had several room, including a net cafe place where people could post on Facebook and twitter how they’ve been changed by the Word of God; such typical 21st century attitude. There was also praise, a letter room where you write a letter to yourself, and a solitude room, a prayer room; and the Al Stewart room where he would answer any questions that we had. It was pretty popular and heaps packed.

 

Most of the questions were indeed relating to ministry, seeing as how it is probably the greatest way you can devote your life to God; how we should approach it, when we should do it, what about money, what about generosity, stuff like that. Al basically said that we should go into ministry when we feel willing to do so and especially not out of obligation. There wouldn’t be much of a point because your heart isn’t in it and so you won’t be serving as best as you can; much the same as working in a field where you have no interest in. His comment on generosity was that rather than follow the “tithe” method and giving a 10th of all we own. Rather it would probably be about when we start to “feel the burn” from giving.

 

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And the night pretty much ended after that; it was pretty late by the time we ended. What I got out of the night is perhaps more direction in what I should be doing in service for God; and at the current time it most definitely is not ministry. I’m more than happy to commit further into what I am doing: in church, in CBS, and my other devotions; and only consider ministry at a later time when the door is properly opened for me. Sorry this post came a bit late; it should be up after I come back from NTE mission.

ALIVE ‘09

I had only recently heard of this Christian event called ALIVE; and as much as I knew, it was an event run by students from private high schools but that was pretty much it. Their website wasn’t really helpful in telling us what it was about and for, just simply on showing that we should be living for Jesus because we were made alive in Him.

 

Unfortunately to sum up the event, I would have to use the words “RICE rip-off”. It was run over 3 nights: last Friday, tonight and tomorrow night. I wonder if this was exactly what happened last week, and what will happen tomorrow; I would assume the same program would be run over all three nights. It had it good points, but they don’t stand out all too much.

 

Funny how, similar to RICE, their published time of starting was way to early compared to when they actually started. Or is this simply common to all events, that everyone is always running late? Anyway a few of us showed up at 6pm but there was barely anyone there, then again I didn’t know how many people were expected to come. There wasn’t much going on, they had benches laid out in a quad area for people to sit down and chat, with some soft live acoustic music being played by some year 12s I presume. There was also two sets of inflatable jumping castles and one velcro wall, the latter was quite an interesting addition that I haven’t seen for a while. It got a bit crazy on the jumping castles, which were simply a course from one end to another, where people were racing through them at dangerous speeds; I reckon safety was overlooked here, since only one leader was operating this.

 

Apart from these two attractions there was not much else to stimulate an incentive to stay so we left to have dinner at a nearby McDonald’s. Once we returned there was finally more people, and the official start time of 7pm drew closer. People eventually started crowding around the main hall where the main event was going to take place. People then started a countdown and gradually everyone starting entering the hall through a single door. A huge eruption of music burst from within; the bass was so loud it was already shaking the ground before we entered. And when we did get in, the bass and electric guitar was too unbearable. It was worse than at karaoke because for some reason, the tech team did such bad sound check that the music was actually hurting my ears immensely. That’s not a good sign, I wonder why they didn’t realize this. Eventually they did, once half the crowd filed back out because it was too loud; that must’ve been somewhat disappointing for them.

 

They had a house band perform for the first half hour. I’ve never heard of them, they were probably a new band, or one that’s not especially popular. Their music wasn’t really appealing, it seems the lead singer had problems using the microphone because his voice was projecting too far, or the tech team didn’t cater to fix this. We stayed outside the entire time until finally the band stopped playing and we had the official countdown. Some MC led a short game, where 5 volunteers got up to compete in a race to find a balloon, where the reward was the drummer’s drumsticks; interesting concept of a reward. Their countdown started from 5 minutes and luckily the game ended with less than 2 minutes left on the clock.

 

After the start, their own band started their first song, and this was where things started looking bad. I was a bit amazed at first so my first video only cuts in halfway through the first song; but you’ll understand why:

 

ALIVE ’09 – Let God Arise + In Christ Alone

 

Yeah that’s right. Sound familiar? Hang on, I could’ve sworn this was the first song at RICErally ‘09, after Nicole C Mullen’s opening song. Hmm…coincidence?

 

After this video, they moved straight into the talk. I do wonder who the speaker was, whether he was just some year 12 student, or someone who was invited. Because if he was a student, it was a pretty good talk on his expected standards. He spoke relatively confidently, with some good material, a tad long of an anecdote but his points were good; we’ve all heard them before, about us being broken by sin, that was the gist of the talk. I half wonder if he was the one who even wrote it. I guess it’s not my position to judge his ability (if he was year 12). It was a good talk, he used a bit of scripture but that was probably more than enough for his half-hour talk.

 

It became apparent now that this was an evangelistic event; they never actually said it was funny enough. So after the talk obviously comes the response song. Which one will they choose? Let’s find out:

 

ALIVE ’09 – Mighty To Save

 

How I so prayed that it wasn’t this. I half expected it though. So anyway their reflection song is (surprise surprise) exactly the same as the one we used at RICErally this year. Well not exactly, it could’ve been the response song but it was probably the one focused on the most because we played it again after the proper response song haha. The MC asked new believers to come down to the front of the stage where he prayed for them and then told them to walk outside. Didn’t quite catch what he said at that point but my guess would’ve been so that those new believers could have some leader to talk to them, and probably in that nice quiet seating area I described earlier – the one that resembled…could it be? The RICEcafe? And what now would become… the “ALIVE lounge”? My guess shouldn’t be far off. I had seen enough for the night. One of the youth in my church was already tired of it all so by 9pm we left; didn’t stay to sing the rest of the song or see what else would happen before 10pm but I guess we had all been through more than enough.

 

I guess I’m slightly disappointed at how the event turned out this evening, it was practically a mirror of what we did at RICE. They claim they’ve been planning this for a whole year, but frankly they could’ve whipped this up within a month, one month after rally ‘09. Just thinking in terms of planning: they would’ve had to find a company to hire the inflatable jumping castles, find a security company to hire guards; neither of these take long. Sound and lighting equipment probably belongs to the school, venue belongs to the school, and then it’s just designing the website and flyers; none of which should take a year in total. On top of that they didn’t have many props, the only things that seemed legitimately made were simply cutting out the sides of a cardboard box and writing stuff on it.

 

ALIVE ‘09 was a really bland event. I wouldn’t blame them too much if it was their first one ever. But to plagiarise the program and material is simply shameful; even if you risk having the event run badly there shouldn’t be a need to stoop as low as copying someone else’s event. But then again isn’t that something we all did by the time we were year 12?

RICErally ‘09 – The Torn Identity

Oh wow, to describe the night RICE event in one word, it would have to be: EPIC! Indeed it was a hard run but I think the end result really does justify all the sweat involved. I especially was extremely exhausted at the end of it, since it was merely a week since the previous RICE event.

 

Anyway, us techies were sort of due in at 5:50am originally, to the Sydney Entertainment Centre, but luckily the admins managed to secure some set up time on Friday and so some of it was already done. This meant we were allowed to arrive by 8am. We were really relieved when we heard the news; those extra two hours really does help. Our health was boosted a lot more for the entire day and night as a result. We arrived at 8, and had to proceed inside through the back gates, through the loading dock. This was the first time I had been inside the SEC through the alternate route. They had security and we had our leader passes to get past.

 

Pre-Event

Set up was delayed a bit because our equipment had not arrived yet. Meanwhile we went to the backstage restricted area where we dumped our stuff. It was quite nice; there were rooms for different teams (we added our own directions on top of them), a vending machine, dressing room, etc. The stage seemed partially set; all the lights were set on their hanging beams, waiting to be hoisted up. As we began setting up, at about 9am, we saw these cool LCD panels which would create the ultimate backdrop for the stage. The professionals told us that each of the seven panels we used were $50k each, and they looked so fragile as well; so I just simply stayed away from them.

 

After a few more hours, we uncoiled more cables, and attached them to speakers, instruments and microphones. By the time we were all set up, music teams and everyone else arrived and finally main rehearsal was underway. It was mainly sound checking; lighting was still yet to be set. I think about 12pm we were finally done, and of course by then everyone had arrived. We were then finally let off to have lunch. But before that we met the professionals we were going to be working with. The cameramen and directors were from Hillsong, friends of one of our coordinators; we were meant to learn from them for this year so that we could do the same job next year T.T”

 

I was determined to have a good meal today, anticipating nothing but quick McDonald’s meals. So I immediately rushed off to have a nice bowl of ramen, best meal of the day! By the time I got back we were all either mucking around or wandering aimlessly with nothing to do. I went around admin and the other teams to see what they were doing. We were meant to be having a production rehearsal right after lunch but for some reason it got delayed by like an entire hour. Such that is the timetable at RICE, it is set at Asian Standard Time – add about 30 minutes to each displayed time.

 

When we actually did rehearse I got to see the control room right behind the stage. My job for the night was assistant director; it wouldn’t be the best view of the show but then it was the most interesting job. I was to help the director by looking ahead in the program and telling her what was coming up and what would be needed; whether it be a video, a shot of the audience or a close up of whoever is on stage. The bad thing was that I hadn’t read the program run-through beforehand. They only just gave me the program like at 1:30pm and I had like a few hours to learn it all, so not cool. Luckily I had been through the rehearsals on Wednesday night so I had a vague idea of how each of the acts flowed from one to another, and hence the overall structure of the night. That gave me a little bit of advantage for the night, since I had actually “seen” the show already. Videos of this will be on Facebook.

 

We had a short run-through of the night; we didn’t rehearse everything, there were a lot of acts that we didn’t get a chance to go through because of time. In fact Nicole C Mullen came only at about 4:30pm, and we only had a chance to practice the opening song with her like twice, that was it before we had dinner at 5pm. At that time it had already been a long day. Think about it, 8am to 5pm, having seen the stage put together over a period of three hours and then some, it really takes a lot of energy out of you to be alert for the rest of the night.

 

Anyway I rushed off for dinner, back to Central because I had to deliver tickets to some of the my youth. I met Matthew, Charlie, Katie and a few others from our uni group as I walked outside; yeah a lot of people were here by the time we decided to have dinner. I had a short chat with them, sold my spare ticket to them and then ran off the meet my youth group. I handed them the tickets, had dinner with them; Hungry Jacks inside a McDonald’s restaurant haha! I was pretty tired by them so I didn’t really manage much good conversation for them; the coffee in the morning hadn’t helped either. Coffee has never helped me which sucks; it’s like it has no effect on me whatsoever, am I drug resistant?

 

I got back just before 6pm, to find that our show was being delayed by 5 minutes already; I figured that was the case because as I returned the youth were still waiting outside the SEC even though they all should’ve been inside since like half an hour ago. We still had a short while to make sure everything was ready; I had a short read over the program again; I guess I was going to have to learn it as I went along haha! It was too hard to remember everything. The stage looked so awesome; it was dark and the smoke machine just made that eerie awesome atmosphere. Matt Chandler was also here by this time; we didn’t get time to chat with him although we could’ve, he was being briefed on how we were going to introduce him; Sam was messing around with him at this time.

 

I snuck out of the main arena to take a peek at our youth group stall. Poor Eva pulled off the stall on her own; she put in such grand effort and it looked spectacular; we had stuff to hand out, we had photos and videos, it was very easy to spot as well thanks to her banner! I didn’t have time to analyse any further because they were already letting the kids inside the arena; I ran past a lot of them as they sat down, and disappeared behind the stage curtains to get ready for the show.

 

During the Event

Alright the show was finally on. The rest of the day seemed a blur to me at this point; everything happened so quickly and yet so slowly at the same time. And now it was time for the show to go on. Immediately we had the Nicole C Mullen show. I’m not sure we had her perform for an hour, or part thereof; I guess she just really wanted to. She did a lot of up beat dancing songs which got a lot of the kids pumped up, everyone was sort of dancing I guess in the space that they had. I had my first look at the types of shots the director wanted to capture from our four cameras set up for the night.

 

We were late by the time she was finished. We even tried to cut one of her songs out to save time but she was persistent in finishing it. And finally after a few minutes of random-ness, the lights went pitch black and the crowd was suddenly roaring in that tone that you, as the production team, would want to hear; they sounded so excited about the event that it got me excited too. We had our countdown sequence and boom! Immediate jump into our opening dance. Nicole C Mullen was performing it with her dancers; our opening song. I think it was a bit rough that she had her own dancers because for rehearsal we had youth dancers who had their own choreography for the song; a whole 5 minutes of it and it was not used which seemed kind of bad now that I think about it.

 

But at least the opening song had everyone super pumped up. I won;t pay much more attention to the sequence of events for the night now; I’ll actually move onto what was happening backstage; the other side of RICErally.

 

As you might have expected from some other stimulus, backstage was just as exciting and nerve-racking as some could imagine. It really did come down to “Oh no we have a problem and it must be alleviated within the next few seconds, minutes, and at worst, milliseconds. First major bit of drama was at the very beginning of the show. We were going to go backstage to where Matt Chandler, Steve and Sam were, and our mobile camera guy was moving back there when all of a sudden the cable snapped! Or something like that – and our supervisor fully freaked out and we had to change to another camera, which gave a dud view of the auditorium. We got back visual like a few seconds later, shifted back, and again the cable cut out and our supervisor panicked once more.

 

I really thought my job for the night would be boring; fair enough, I didn’t know how to use he equipment and all. Assistant director had its unique roles too; ie. memorising the program and telling the director what was coming up, making sure the tapes that were recording were running fine. Major mess up of that. The tapes that were meant to record for 60 minutes lasted only 40, because of some short-play/long-play issue I don’t know. And so we lost a bit of footage for the night; I know we didn’t get one of the songs completely; I wonder if my core leader is going to rip my head off once he finds he can’t use some of our disjointed footage for next year’s promotional DVD.

 

There was a time when I did get a go at directing. The opening song had a lot of quick cuts from live feed to video; I couldn’t tell the director in time, nor could she change the view that fast anyway; so they gave me an LCD screen and a mouse which had complete control over the projecting screens so I just had to click between video and live feed – now that was awesome! My little LCD panel had priority over the director so basically I had more of the control bwahaha! Later on during the night the director messed something up and her panel wasn’t working for some reason. She couldn’t change between cameras, especially to pre-recorded video so I had to do all of it while they got a professional to come over and sort things out; had heaps of fun being in control haha!

 

One bad thing about the backstage section we were working in, was that we couldn’t hear the sounds on stage too well; so if everyone was speaking normally and not shouting I would not be able to hear it; this meant I missed out on the talk, sort of. I caught the first bit of it but the rest of it was too soft for me to hear from where I was. I also missed out on the game; I still have no idea how it’s meant to work and all.

 

The rest of the night started to go bad gradually; we were already starting late and as the night went on, we found ourselves running out of time – leading to some quick “trimming” of the program, snipping minutes off this section and that section. The original 3-minute timer for the Master Chef section was cut down to 1 minute, and that massive game was cut from 10 to 5. Even Matt Chandler shortened his talk a bit. I could hear a lot of the commotion going on over the headsets – all the “tell Sam that we need to wrap this section up now”.

 

I didn’t get any time to enjoy the show; it was always looking ahead to see what was next, and what was needed for video; by the time RICErally ended it was overtime and I was extremely tired, it was getting harder and harder to concentrate, but I managed to hang in there some how. I guess I can’t give much more detail about what actually happened, maybe I’ll do a reflection on what I thought of the program in a later post.

 

 

Post-Rally

Oh yeah, post-rally seemed more interesting than the show. I immediately popped out once half the crowd had left through the doors; I went out along with them, found my friends, my youth group and just hung around our stall for a good half hour, chilling out and all. I managed to meet up with a lot of people I haven’t seen for ages, from Baulko and from Livingstone. Had a short chat with them but it was definitely worth it.

 

But apart from that half hour of bliss, I went back to an empty auditorium where all the lights were on and things began falling apart. Lights were coming down, the speakers, all the microphones the stage looked completely different once we started tearing it down. Pack up went rather quickly because we had like 30-40 people working hard, pulling things down, coiling the cables and placing equipment back into crates. The auditorium automatically began a “hard-hat zone” so we all had to go over to a big box out back and grab hard hats – stupid OHS. But fair enough there was a lot stuff hanging above us; those $50K LDC panels I mentioned earlier, huge speakers hung from a single giant metal chain (I really wondered how that one chain could’ve supported such huge speakers – it was like 8 units joined together, hanging from that one chain).

 

Packup was really tiring as well – having to move stuff here and there, having to lift things back inside crates, taping all the cables back together, sorting them out into piles. There were these really huge cables too, not just microphone ones, huge power cables which were really thick and heavy; even after coiling them up they asked us to tape them together and I was thinking: “How can tape possible hold such huge heavy cables together?” The answer: just wrap tape around it a million times and it should be fine.

 

The untangling of cables was the hardest process because everything was just shoved under the stage so it wouldn’t get in the way during the night; we would find that a 15m cable was stuck on the other side of the stage and so we had to go there to find the source of the tangle, or give up and try the next cable.

 

The night went on and by 12am we were nearly done – most of the equipment was back in crates; the only thing left was to move them back out of the auditorium to the truck, and loading each crate one by one onto it, in a tetris fashion; I’m amazed at how a truck could hold all that heavy equipment, especially when it packed so tight that it really was like tetris. I’ll  try to put photos of these things up later. By then lots of people were tired, we had people pushing stuff further out to the door, others moving them onto the lift thingy that raises things into the truck, and other stacking them into a truck – it was all systematic and by 1am we had finished the pack up procedure. The professionals announced that we had finished an hour earlier than expected and all the leaders who stayed for this pack up all gave a cheer! It really was a great accomplishment.

 

Sam came out, gave thanks to the professionals and yeah there was a bit of loitering afterwards as we all rested for a moment. And then came the after party! For those who were hungry or still didn’t want to go home yet were invited to come to a Chinese Restaurant close by to have dinner; dinner at 1:30am? No way! But yes there were a few places that were still open that late at night, in fact there were a number of people there; we just added our 20-30 leaders to the crowd haha! So we all ordered food, all showed each other how tired we were, all ate and all laughed and joked around. Some of us had some good conversations going, relaying our experiences for the night, especially in the lounge where the evangelism was taking place; good stories there.

 

We ate till 2:30am, it went on for ages because someone on our table ordered way too much food and it was impossible to finish – eventually people started leaving, and we’d all sing happy birthday in loud voices to get everyone’s attention and to keep them from leaving, it was just a gag haha! I got home at 3am, slept at 3:30am. Long day, a reflection post might come out later.

RICEfever ‘09

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!

RICE Working Bee / RICE Revolution

On Saturday was more RICE stuff, kind of at the worst time since I was extremely tired since MYC and yet I still had to wake up early to get all the way down to Redfern early. So I caught the train with Sarah; Rebecca was meant to be with us too but apparently Sarah said she was still asleep and won’t be able to catch our train. When we got off at Redfern we saw a bunch of Asian youth and then as we stepped out of the station, there were already RICE leaders pointing the way to Moore College. And then I suddenly remembered that RICE Revolution was on at the same place; I sort of overlooked that fact prior to today. So anyway we chatted to the youth that were with us already and we escorted them to Moore College.

 

When we got there, other leaders were there standing outside, not knowing what to do. And we all didn’t know what to do because they never told us where to meet. Meanwhile the kids were lined up outside registering to go inside, and us leaders were just standing outside waiting for everyone else to go inside. Karen found me again and then taunted me for a bit, whatever T.T” Addie said she was going to be there but then I don’t remembering seeing her. I also saw Priscilla’s bro there but missed that Ruse girl that I see at badminton on Saturdays.

 

Anyway us leaders finally went inside once the youth had gotten in; Brandon and the rest of the admin team were there, trying to sell the tickets and the hoodies, other merchandise, yeah…I wanted my hoodie on that day…geez; there were only meant for green leaders though, because there weren’t enough of them. But there were placed on a table for display and fitting. We followed the youth into the hall upstairs where the band was already playing intro music. We tried to take our places among them but there weren’t enough chairs which was a good thing. It means that RICE Revolution was packed out. We joined the youth for the introduction and some singing before moving off. Funny thing was that it was hard to tell them apart from fellow leaders, sort of, like at the beginning. I guess this applies more for the first year uni leaders who are what? Like at worst a few months older than some of the year 12 students.

 

But anyway we eventually moved off to get to work; we started off with a talk in one of the rooms, they seem so much shabbier than university halls haha; but that’s obviously because more College is much smaller. I got called out very soon to help with preparing the food for the high school youth, our tech meeting was to officially start at 12pm anyway, a different schedule of events to everyone else because we’re special haha!

 

I guess the youth might have been all too pleased with being given boiled sausages as lunch, with fairy bread as afternoon tea. But strange enough here we were, leaders being put to actual labour for RICE haha! I remember while making the fairy bread Jono Tam had trouble spreading the butter onto the bread; it was some huge 500g block or something, really large; so he popped it in the microwave and after he brought it back out it was still relatively solid but now there was a pool of butter in the middle of it haha!

 

Eventually we got through all the food preparation and we moved off to have our tech-only meeting. We have some huge job ahead which I am really looking forward to. First of we were allocated to some more major roles, such as being part of lighting and stuff. I volunteered for directing the stuff on the big screens for Rally and later found out that this year I’ll be learning from an expert, next year have the expert supervise me as I do it, and finally two years from now I’ll be the director of screens at RICE Rally without anyone watching me T.T” Now that is scary, also means I’ve been locked into doing tech for the next two years =.=”

 

Afterwards we were taught how to pack up cables properly; like the right way to coil them back up. Of course the main reasons we need to know this is so that we don’t damage the equipment and also it becomes easier to unpack the next time it is used. Once Revolution was having its break, we snuck into the hall as they were packing up some stuff and we all practised properly coiling up the microphone leads. It was fairly fun; the way to check if it was done right is to toss the lead out like throwing a lifesaver into the sea, and if the cord has a knot in it once you straighten it out, you’ve done something wrong, otherwise it’s all good xDD So we all practised by coiling up the microphone leads and then tossing them halfway across the room to see if we did it right. Eventually it turned into a contest of seeing what we could “fish” for; some youth came back inside and saw us coiling and chucking the cords, it was hilarious seeing their expression. And finally we started having races to see who could coil up a microphone lead the fastest.

 

We had lunch afterwards, just the leftover sausages from the Revolution lunch. The afternoon session was basically teaching us about using the camera; not so much the technical side of things but rather the technique, like aiming it and how to get good shots and all. We learnt basic photography basically. The technique was that we had to divide the frame up into 9 squares, and focusing on the lines, there should be four intersecting points, and basically good photography and filming requires that we fill those four points with something.

 

We spent the afternoon practising photography skills by taking pictures with our phone cameras; and the other groups looked at us a bit weirdly, wondering why we were taking pictures of them. Same would apply to the youth, as we wandered around their game and snapped random pictures haha; it was obvious we weren’t the designated photographer because the real one had a professional camera.

 

Tech ended early so we waited around for everyone else; some groups had their leaders missing so they mucked around by playing hacky sack; yes we are just that confident in organising RICE this year that we don’t even have to get to work even when we’re supposed to haha. All media can be found on my Facebook. And yeah that was the day, fairly fun for us in particular and fairly encouraging to see so many youth attend something as important as ministry within high school. We had a chat with one of them on the train back; fortunately found one from Livingstone so it was easier to relate to them haha.

 

RICE approaches very soon.

Early Game Plan

Ah haven’t blogged for ages but yes I don’t feel like working so rather than procrastinate, I’ll vent my energy doing something slightly more productive. Please read the post title as “Early-Game Plan” rather than the other way around. Anyway I’ve tried fairly hard to make my transition into university as swift as possible. And the first and foremost issue that needed to be addressed was time management. It was about finding a time balance between uni and, the next most prominent activity, church. Being “employed” in church has really taken a toll on my spare time and even the time I should spend for uni-related stuff so I guess I really do have to make a plan for that.

 

As always, I’m trying to employ the same trick I used back for year 11-12;: stay ahead of work and the load will be easier to carry. That was quite true and I found myself feeling less stress than would be if I didn’t like jump ahead in class. The same is still true in this case, and I guess I seem to be much better off than those who are grumbling about being behind already in their studies; fair enough. Actually I do want to see the kind of mark I can achieve in tertiary education. I mean back in high school, aiming for 100% was a fairly easy goal to achieve (or at least get close to 100%). I guess I’m naively assume this is also true for uni. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. But surely if it was as hard as my Preliminary Theology Certificate exam then oh dear that’s not good. So if things go well this semester, I might actually sacrifice some of my time for uni, get like a distinction average (75%+) and then relieve myself in other areas.

 

But for now the plan is still to stay ahead in my work; it hasn’t been too hard but I think I still need to work on my study patterns. I sometimes find that I’ll only be productive at certain moments; and when I’m not “in the mood” I end procrastinating and struggling to do my homework, such as now; maybe I’m too tired at the moment to move ahead for accounting, but then that’s because I gave myself a late weekend (ie sleeping late each night). So therefore I shall have this post done before 10pm I swear.

 

Funny though, I think I had a pretty good start in terms of picking my timetable; being as efficient as I could. But even then I still have 5 days of uni a week, 18 hours a week, with about 5 idle hours for lunch/free time. And good thing because I managed to slip in some activities in those breaks so things worked out okay for my timetable in that respect. But I find now that having 9am starts really do take a toll on you; having to sleep early means I have a shorter night to study and stuff but I do have a fair amount of the afternoon. But then by the time it hits the afternoon, I feel like having fun until night and so unless I manage to discipline myself, I end up wasting that time too. But one thing is certain, no more 9am starts for me, ever!

 

Actuarial studies is fairly easy I reckon; it’s just maths day in and day out, no theory, just learn the new stuff and do the exercises, fairly mechanical and similar to high school. The only different is that there’s less time for it during class time and I find I really have to rip a lot of spare time into practising maths; that’s the only you actually learn maths, by practising it. Of course as other people have told me, Actuarial Studies is hard because they simply can’t stand the maths; which is true. Therefore, Actuaries is exclusive because not everyone is suited for it ^^ That’s why I reckon it’s heaps better than doing medicine, it’s so varied and stuff but then that’s so since I’m not suited for medicine.

 

Well church-wise I didn’t quite plan, from last year, that I’d end up being a youth group leader with a now much easier to manage team than compared to Soul Purpose (you know what I’m talking about). I’m glad that at least I can carry less of the weight because I can see my fellow leaders Nat, Jess and Eva (and also the spaz Jess) are all fairly reliable; otherwise I think church would be taking more of a toll on me than it is. But yeah I guess I’m more comfortable working together with them as a team and I guess it’s really helped us grow closer as brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

My duties now at church are much more different than with Soul Purpose, and somehow those tow years of experience I had don’t seem to aid me much here. Firstly, leading my Bible study group is different. Of course by Kenny’s wishes I was assigned the guys, yet all of them are like year 7-9 so basically I have a group of junior guys; which suffice to say is harder to work with than say the senior girls. But I think the largest difference is that leading them is a whole new game for me. Thinking back to Soul Purpose, the group I lead varied each time so I never knew them, and they never knew me. I would lead them for one time and then perhaps never get to chat with them again; kind of like a “DotA  match”. But now, I’ll see the same guys every week and soI really have to act on the basis that they’ll be growth over time…much like any “RPG game”. So by using these two metaphors, my leadership role has suddenly changed and well I guess it’s simply different and also takes time to get used to.

 

But that’s okay; I think I’ve won more respect from the kids I was once a fellow youth group attendee with. I guess my coordination roles at church have been reduced, and probably all for the better. I never really had any intentions of making an impact for church; just with the youth group so I’m glad my weight has been lifted there. And then finally RICE; very excited about being the church representative for that. Next Monday (not tomorrow) will be the first official leader’s meeting; I’ll have to like rush from uni and get there, grab diner on the way as well T.T” But they’re gonna give us free shirts! YES! And somehow I sense that I’ll chance a meeting with someone very familiar from Livingstone…just somehow.

 

Oh but on that matter, I’ve met up with some people that I haven’t seen for ages, like Ernest and Cindy, both from my Chinese school. Actually I couldn’t recognize Cindy when I saw her next to Nat; she was in perfect height ratio with Eric funnily enough. I always suspected that the two of them had something between them since they saw each other heaps during high school, like at Epping station. But now I realise that she’s too different from Eric…you can tell from just looking at all her makeup haha! It’s nice that she’s in my accounting tutorial. And then there was Ernest; I remember him so clearly as does Eric. If anyone paid attention, the last time I mentioned an Ernest was at the next gen camp; same guy. Well I’m glad that we’re both at the same uni now; he’s doing Computing and stuff but we still see each other at CBS. I never got the chance to find out how he became such a strong Christian …well he seems strong since he went to next gen (it’s not a camp for noobs and Hillsong hilly-billys I’ll tell you).

 

And now on to the rest of my life, things are better now in light of my conflict with my parents. I somehow suspect it will come to an end soon but for now I’ll see how long I can keep the good vibes flowing; surely it is the Devil who’s had some sort of ploy in everything of the past. But yeah apart from them, the empty feeling inside me is still there. I think I can finally step back and openly say I feel lonely, without making myself seem small on the outside because I simply won’t look like I’m lonely haha! But even in spite of that, it’s not weighing me down too badly. Yeah, it’ll feel bad at times but I can usually sleep it off and I’ll be re-invigorated once again.

 

Hmm…maybe it’s because I’ve grown to become paranoid; it’s expected considering the things I’ve faced; it just sucks that I find a way to hold back from someone even though all logical evidence tells me I can trust them; and so maybe feeling lonely simply comes from my paranoia towards the people around me. Of course there are people I can strongly say I trust with even my own life. It probably doesn’t mean much but to earn my trust the way I am I reckon is fairly hard because it can be broken so easily because I read bad things in a paranoid and pessimistic way. Sometimes I’m right, but mostly I’m wrong. So for those who have earned even just half of my trust, it’s quite far I reckon. But then it still doesn’t change the fact I “feel” lonely…shame for me to be caught up in a psychological trap as this…

まだ時間だ “Mada Jikan Da” (It’s Not Yet Time)

I suppose over the last two months a lot of stuff has happened; but then again none of this is actually part of my university lifestyle yet. This was all just an intermediate stage just to try and figure out what to expect. So despite what I said in my very first post for this blog, the real story has yet to start. So I guess the real beginning will commence once I get back from Hong Kong I guess, when suddenly the things I’ll be involved in this year will start to take shape. And only then can I evaluate how much progress I am making.

 

So as February dawns, my days in Australia turn to dusk and very soon I’ll be in Hong Kong for a few weeks. I always wanted time to getaway from everything around me; just so I can have time to reflect on everything in my life. I actually more wanted to getaway to a quiet and peaceful place (like a retreat), rather than be in noisy and busy Hong Kong. But that’s okay, I won’t have the Internet with me and being without that is practically getting away from a lot of things. Then it’ll give me time to go over the things that are to come once I return.

 

I think first and foremost is the people around me. Since high school things have changed, and are about to change again in university. In regards to my “Consistency” post, I want to use this time in Hong Kong to re-evaluate my relationship with everyone around me. These days I’ve been so confused as to how close I am to certain people and how far apart I am from others. I have been neglected by some and perhaps myself have been neglecting of others. So I need to work things out again, sit down and consider carefully the things that create strength in a friendship bond.

 

I think the foolish thing I’ve done is to assume that everything is still the same, by using the feelings I had back then. But those feelings I have are false now because circumstances have changed and my feelings no longer describe the relationship I have with some people. I have been lied to, deceived and betrayed and to those people my feelings have been shattered for them. They won’t know it, they probably won’t admit it either but I can testify that the “friendship” we once had is of no more. I can’t really trust those people anymore, I’ve lost my faith in them and the word “sorry” means nothing from them because there is no feeling behind it to convey their message. But I guess I can’t hate them, that should not be my response. The best I can do is try to forget everything, the good and the bad, to wipe the slate clean and start again. The hardest part of that is discarding those feelings that have become false; it’s hard to through away a feeling but hopefully I can pull it off. To me, they are no more than strangers that I may have been in contact with frequently in the past but they need to start off as nothing more. The only thing I won’t forget is the pain they caused, I can only keep it in the back of my heart. So from then on, I stand separate from them and have no intention of ever-trying to befriend them again – I fear that I may fail and once again be hurt. They may do as they wish; if they want to fix things I’m leaving things in their hands, I’ve given up my hope for them. But I will act fairly if they ask for a chance; I don’t want to be as inconsistent as they are.

 

But despite such harshness, most other people around me are not of this group I described above. There are many people I want to thank for staying consistent with me over these few months; if not becoming closer. I guess it’s these people that give me hope when I can come back because I feel with assurance that I can turn to them and that they’ll be the same as when I left. Thanks in particular to Shaz and Ness for commenting on my blog and sometimes chatting to me about life, puts a smile on me at night when I go to bed =)

 

Which group do you belong to? Think carefully over the last few months and remember what has happened between us. Forget meagre words because I discount them; words and feelings don’t build a relationship, they are merely a product. It is actions that determine how strong a bond is. That’s what I’m going to consider for everyone. And so if you do so too, you can work out which group you belong to. I would guess that those who can unswervingly say that we are friends, truly are friends. And for those who are unsure or hesitate, you might just be in that group my heart cowers from. I guess you’ll find out once I get back, huh?

 

Lifestyle-wise, I suppose somehow things are tied between university and church. At university I’ll be facing 18 hours of education a week, on every single weekday and starting at 9am nearly everyday. But then classes end early at like lunch time so I’m happy with that. I hope I’ll get used to waking up early, catching transport and everything. But yeah class scares me as to how much effort I should put into my education; whether I need to cram as in the HSC or laid back as in year 7.

 

But apart from education, there is so much more at university as well. I want to put first priority into the Christian group there, CBS. Not sure if I want to get involved in volunteer work as I already have “part-time” at church. Second priority goes to the other clubs I join. I want to pay particular attention to the Soccer club and then either Basketball or Tae Kwon Do. Leaning more towards Tae Kwon Do now because of time convenience. Just want to pick up more skills I guess. And then third priority goes to the Bridge and Anime clubs; a chance to flaunt my skills there. Although for Bridge I more want to develop professional playing skills and anime just because it’s my hobby.

 

And then we come to church. Now I’m an actual leader of my Bible Study group in my youth group and this would be my 3rd year of ministry although obviously it will be different because I know my pupils more closely than those at Soul Purpose. I’m going to have to leave that group out of my life for a while, better to let the year 12s run on their own. And apart from leading, there’s theology courses I need to do, other types of leader meetings, the university group to replace youth group, and then to my excitement: RICE leadership! At last our church will be part of it and I’ll stand as their representative; so a lot weighs on my shoulders for this year.

 

And then outside of university and church I’ll need to deal with staying in touch with friends,spending time to be consistent with the people around me. And also I’ll have to start discipling now, ever since “next generation”. I’ve found my “disciple” and at long last I can bring someone to church and it’s going to take a lot of my effort to raise him in Christ (yes a “him”), but I’m glad for the opportunity I guess.

 

Then we come to work; I own half a new tutoring college my aunt wants to open. She’s not sure how successful it will be but I’m already putting in a lot of effort to “write” the teaching material, which I’ll tell you is nearly beyond my ability. So if this doesn’t work out I’ll have to go back to private tutoring, write out ads and everything, but only after I work out when I have free time once everything settles down.

 

So a lot to come back to after Hong Kong. So for now I’ll leave this part of my life and we’ll end this “season” of my blog here for now. In the next three weeks my life will be taken into a “filler arc”,  which means it won’t follow the “main storyline”  but is still necessary for character development, which what I am about to undergo. I’ll probably have a few entries in if I can find the Internet there (I won’t be living in a place with access off course) so yeah.

 

The true “Counter-Break” will begin in March 2009.