This is my first year that I was able to participate in SEASAC Volleyball which took place in Yangon, Myanmar. Volleyball asides first, I was simply very excited to see Myanmar as I’ve never visited there before. It was culturally breathtaking. I see ordinary citizens walking on the streets in their National Clothes! Women and men both have Thanaka on their cheeks, it brought back many good memories I had with my Burmese and other ethnic delegates from Myanmar during IFP. We went to visit Shwedagon Pagoda. It was huge and so beautiful. The same smell of incenses reminds me of Cambodia’s pagoda. I miss praying to Buddha, so taking advantage of such a holy place, just like the citizens there, I pour some holy water on my face and asks for good fortune to me and people around me. I spent too much money on the traditional clothes of Myanmar, I couldn’t help it, it was too beautiful!
The team was very supportive of each other, we each cheer and wish for the very best. The scene during the whole game was very uplifting! Once, we even took a one set off the team-to-be-runner-up! I have to say it’s all due to the cheerings! Dover and East were also very loving to each other which was surprising at first as we were always so competitive in Singapore. I guess it’s just a sibling thing, isn’t it? The whole experience was a beautiful journey. We know that our seed was clearly at the bottom. However, each game, we went in and play to our very best, we took the mindset that anything could happen! One problem though, it takes us so much time to be fully mentally ready and up on our feet during the game. So, by the time, we are playing well like we always do, it’s a bit too late already.
Coach Walker and Susu were also very supportive and encourage us all the time that we could have played way better than we did. But, as already mentioned, by the time we started to play better, it was kind of too late. However, I just want to say that they are AMAZING coaches!
On a personal level, I think it was one of the most professional plays that I’ve ever played. I saw, stopped, and slowly bumped the ball. I went through a major change, I actually changed my style of bumping the ball in the middle of the tournaments. At the end of the day, huge bruises were on my arm due to the changes.
After all, it was a very good experience for me. I genuinely want to be a good libero. I will practice more in the future. And I will improve. I have to say as a team, we did a good job, we managed to keep up with our goal as our team is still staying in DIVISION I.
I do want to continue to play volleyball at the university. I want to become a better hitter, receiver and just a better volleyball player!
If I were to redo my research question, I’d definitely strive for more trials. Since the experiment deals with very small numbers to several significant figures, clearly more precise types of equipment would be better. If possible, I’d love to try and use a stalagmometer device. However, I could see that there’s a possibility that it won’t be purchased. However, I still wanted to improve the precision and accuracy of the model of this experiment itself. The water in the syringe kept dropping in temperature, producing surface tension values for a different temperature. Hence, next time, I want to ambitiously create another model, just like a water bath, the temperature is guaranteed kept constant the whole time. It would have a tip opener coming out at the bottom so that water droplets could drop and experiments could be conducted. Then, the accuracy of the data collection could be raised tremendously.
From the very beginning, I told myself that since this is my last year here, I am going to throw away all my fears and try out everything I wanted to do even the things I don’t usually do. In that bucket list is to be in a drama production. The last time I touched drama was when I was in grade 8. To be honest, I always thought that I was actually quite good at it. I was not shy, my voice was loud, and I’m quite creative, so … Actually, when I was a child, my another bucket list is to be filmed in a movie. Very funny.
The point is I think that I was not bad at it, if I audition for the parts in the past, I think my chance of getting in was not that low. However, in the past 4 years, I never really had the chance. I never have anything related to drama, in fact, it was rare for you to find me hanging around the drama area at all during the year. Hence, when there are drama productions coming out, I have little to no idea of how it works. How to audition, and what to expect. It scares me off a bit.
However, this time, I searched up about the production itself, read the story, read the audition scripts, ask people to help to audition with me. I have to make sure that I at least went to the audition, and I got it. Whatever I got, I’m happy. So, I am a Nubian servant!
The rehearsals were something new to me. All the vocals training, things that I only heard of for the first time. My role was quite small, most of the time, we were sitting, and watching others rehearse. However, I was really awe every single time by all the main leads. They were really good! Basically, all the experiences are all so interesting. I learnt so many new things out of it.
During in the past games and even in the first few games in this Tournament, I was still doubting myself. I was not fully into the game. At one point, Coach Susu called me over and told me that it’s not the skills but she thinks that it’s fear. And that’s when it hits me, I’m scared of games. That’s horrifying because I am supposed to be the libero. I’m supposed to be fearless and run to every ball. It needs a rethinking.
I realise what I am good at is putting the coach’s words into action. From that one comment, I told myself, all the past mistakes were from my fear, it’s not from my skills. Coach thinks I got it, so I better give them what I got. Have fun, be competitive just like the way I am in the past. Bring it back! And, I think then I was fully engaging in the games for the last 2 sets against the Canadian school and the whole game with the SAS.
Now, every single time I’m on the court, I told myself these tips: “Don’t look at the servers, focus closely at the ball. Go to the ball, be brave. If it comes to my teammate, step back, and wait in case the ball bounces off them, you gotta take the bounce-away ball. Look at the hitter, and shift accordingly. Watch the ball and anticipate. Calm down during play.”
One thing I realise that I am good at during this game is that I have a really strong mentality. I don’t have that “giving up” spirit. I don’t feel “down” before the game even ends. For example, during the last 5th set against the CIS, the score was only till 15. We were in somewhere in middle. We had a really long rally, and finally CIS got the point. They cheered loudly. In my mind, I was not disappointed, I knew that I just needed to get the next point. However, as soon as I looked at my teammate’s face, man, I realise that I gotta speak up. So, I screamed at the top of my lungs saying that, “Guys, come on, we got this, one point at a time, no time to feel down, we WANT this.”.
And I realised then that everyone was so on the same page. We felt like a team, both on and off the court. We from different countries, different grades, never once played together before, have the same goal, is to win the game. And, come on, volleyball is such a psychological game. With similar skills, it comes down to who wants it more. And we wanted it more and hence we won the champion on that day.
I think this tournament was a gateway to self-realisation to a lot of people. It’s a lesson to many, well definitely me. It’s also a gateway to teamwork. Realising that one person wanting it alone wouldn’t work, it requires 12 people in the team to want it exactly as much as each other in order to win the game.
At the beginning of the year when I played just for fun with my friends, I know that my Volleyball skills improve and yet I don’t know to what level yet. Therefore, after the try-outs, I sadly told my friend that I’d be in C team or none at all as I wanted to be at least in B team. However, interestingly, that evening, I got the email saying that I was in the A team. I was bewildered. I mean I was shocked, till the point I sent an email to the coaches asking whether they’ve mistaken. However, they replied that they didn’t. I mean at some points, I was expecting it, too but as I was in C team last year, the hope was thin.
During the first few trainings, I was very awkward, I was conscious of what people think of me, and I didn’t do as well as I wanted it to be. Hence, I went back and took some time alone and reflected about this. I told myself, the coach chose me for a reason, and the least I could do is to feel confident in training, for god’s sake. So, I told myself that I am going to earnestly train with a rookie’s mindset. I may not be the best yet, but I’m definitely not like the rest. I’ll slowly crawl towards perfection.
After that, I think I’ve open myself more to my teammates, my coaches and especially to my own mistakes. Therefore, the training has become a time I was waiting to attend during the day. And I hope with this progress, I could keep improving.
I am the type of person who doesn’t usually follow the crowd. I’ve experienced Culturama Cambodia couple of times and I saw a trend of it, and I heard the feedback from people. I think when people heard of Cambodia, they expected slow motions, same old Apsara dances. Don’t get me wrong, I love the dance, but that is not all to it. Cambodia’s art has such interesting and exciting flavours to it. And I want to embrace it.
In the past, all the Khmer dances consisted of fully one very classical dances. It was amazing, however this year, I want something new and more and good. That’s why we decided to come up with the concepts of dancing to different eras of Cambodia. It begins with a very, beautiful, graceful classical dance of Khmer, existed thousands of years ago. Now, it’s usually only performed on very special occasions on stages by professional dancers. Then, it moves on to a song and dance from the 60s where Rock n Roll took a toll in Cambodia just before Khmer Rouge destroyed it all. Thirdly, it captures the dances more frequently danced by anybody during Khmer festivals such as Khmer New Year, Pchum Ben or Oum Touk… Finally, we never forgot to inserts in classics moves like Rom Vong, Saravan and Jok Kompis where we all dance together to the last song, which describes how we are all so proud to be a Cambodian and that we will do whatever it takes to make Cambodia forever on top.
I think it was very well thought and designed dance. The only problem was that it means we have to create everything from scratch, there are no particular videos that we can learn from and none of us is a particularly good dancer. We just have to fake it till we make it. I mean, we are Cambodians after all.
We choreographed everything. The next problem arises when we got our group members and started to teach them the dance. I remembered the one rehearsal we had on Wednesday, in the auditorium, it was a clear mess. I was very disappointed, with everyone, and with myself. Being a dance leader has so much pressure on their shoulder, that the moment that it goes wrong, you realise immediately that something is needed to be done instantly.
I was so stressed, I was so mad because I want to make it good, and it doesn’t go as smoothly as I expected. I think I had so much on my shoulder at that time, that I actually skip TOK and went to the counsellor for it. A good time for me to reflect and think of what’s wrong and what can be done.
The next rehearsal was on the next day, Thursday. I recalled that I called everyone together, and I gave them a talk about how I felt. Thanks to IFP experience, the mood was set right, they realise that I am very serious of what I’m saying. And on that day, we finished learning the whole dance. The rest of the rehearsals were getting better, where we just have to correct everyone’s little details and energy.
I do think the moment where I face a problem, take a timeout, and come back knowing exactly what needed to be done and act accordingly so, was very needed to have a good performance. I’m glad I did it.
In the beginning of the experiment, I found it hard to do the experiments in a controlled environment, as it requires me to pick up the test tubes from the water bath, and immediately pour it into the syringe. Sometimes the water pour out and on to the beaker beforehand, which can eventually cause the inaccuracy of the results. It became a nuisance at one point as I have to keep repeating the experiment for that particular point again and again and I just keep finding more mistakes.
Then, I realised the best possible way is to sit down, take a break, and write down the precise method of what I think would work in a google doc. Then, I just did the experiments calmly just like how I described it in the doc, and I can notice that the data that I collected was more credible and the process of the experiment is less stressful.