SEASAC Volleyball: An end to high school volleyball

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!

Posted in CAS

First Ever Musical!

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.

Posted in CAS

Champions to Huskies Volleyball Tournament

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.

I hope that in the future and especially in SEASAC, we all play in this mindset that we will never give up, and anything can happen due to our determination.

Process of Culturama

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.



IFP Conference Making Process

Hello everyone! I am very glad that I got chosen to be part of the facilitators’ team to lead an IFP conference that will be based in Maesot. Currently, we are divided into several groups planning the actual activities on each day in the conference itself. And I, with another person from East, and with 4 other people from Dover, are planning activities on the theme of “Making a Change”.

First of all, let’s talk about the whole group atmosphere. I don’t want to be frank, but since this is my reflection post and about my opinions only, I think I shall be honest with myself in this writing as I am in my head. In the past, there is from time to time, at the back of my head, where I felt like this is not an authentic experience as it supposes to be. I feel like people do stuff because they are told to do because they want to impress but not because they want to do so.  Sometimes, it feels a bit fake. Not only me, I’ve talked to some people, and they have expressed similar concerns. However, this might be just some prejudices that I have against people in a school lead activity.

However then, I thought to myself, this is not about me, this is about the delegates who come to the conference. They want to get something out of it, they want to make connections, they are real people out there. So, for once, I shall not think about my own comfort, and just plan the conference. Once, I’ve accepted the fact, I think I start to see people from a better spotlight. Maybe, I was wrong, maybe it was me who’s not true to myself, maybe I was just not comfortable with a different group of people that I used to work with, maybe we all are in the same situation after all. I think my thoughts have evolved better for the group! 🙂

Then, back to my final group. I think we worked well together, we all each have an equal say in coming up with the conference. I can sense that everyone is comfortable enough in a group to comment on everyone else’s opinion nicely which is nice. Maybe, one more thing we need to work on is I think we are a bit behind schedule. I want us to finish the planning of the activities and prepare for every nook and cranny.

Overall, I am really, really excited to meet the delegates! I am ready to be inspired, I am ready to make connections!

IFP TEDx “Peace By Piece”

We had a joint Dover-East IFP session for TEDx with the theme of Peace by Piece. I have to say that it was a very beautiful and interesting experience. One of the speakers that I felt moved by the most is Joy. It’s the first time that I’ve heard that she used to be a refugee. I think it’s amazing and it kind of just trying to remind us again as to how you will never know what the person has been through just by the smile on her face. You might hate someone just by the fact of what you heard and saw, and that’s just so shallow of you. A girl you called a slut, she’s a virgin. A man you said he’s weak because he cries, her mother died. A student who slept in class and you called “lazy”, he got 9 siblings to take care of at night. Sometimes, what you see is just a small part of the truth, hence try to sit and talk to them first, about their lives, about who they are, getting to know them first, go deeper before forming a judgement IN your head. Because it can work the opposite, too, you never know that sometimes, the greatest sadness can also be found behind the greatest smile.

Another speaker that I really look forward to is Jean. The fact that I kind of know her personally, make things more interesting. And I really want to see how she’s going to make the connection between the cryptography to peace. And the fact that in the talk, she brings up the story of Alan Turing and the Enigma machine. Because it’s one of the saddest human real-life stories I’ve ever heard.

(Out of topic: I mean Alan Turing is a socially-awkward but a genius man. He spent years trying to break the Enigma machine and when he finally did it, he was told to keep everything a secret. One of the real-life heroes, Christopher has helped save millions of lives from the war. But during the life, while he lives, no one knew he’s the hero. No one knew he’s the one who has helped the country. All they ever did to Alan Turing, is treating him with awkwardness and disgust by the fact that he’s gay. The fact that he prefers to be with men is greater than the fact that he’s helped the nation. Which in the end, force him to commit suicide by biting to a cyanide poisoning apple. And only later on, then the fact that he’s the one to decode the unbreakable Enigma Machine surface in the society. And only after that, then the queen gives him a posthumous royal pardon for being convicted of having an affair with the same sex in 1952. What’s the use of that? The man lives his lives with the society frowning upon him. Humans… How do we know if there are in other cases like this that the government hasn’t let us know? And it’s just stupid that we lost one of the greatest minds in the world, the father of computer science, to the rights of one’s sexuality. )

Anyway, Jean reminds me that age doesn’t really matter. She’s really brave to go up there and talk about what’s she passionate about. And it just makes me reflect on myself whether I have been brave enough every day to just try and make changes in the smallest possible way in the world. I think most people have identified the difference they want to change, and we’ve discussed it every day. But sometimes I feel that it leads us to nowhere. People tend to complain a lot about things but do nothing about it. Jean makes me realise that “Don’t complain about things you’re not willing to change.”   

Posted in CAS

IFP Gr 5 Joint Session

During one of our mentor session, I and my partner, Sanah, went to a Grade 5 classroom and have a mini session introducing IFP with them. It was to bring in the idea of positive and negative peace, identifying the conflicts and different ways to solve the conflicts. First of all, I myself really did enjoy it. I like their enthusiasms, their willingness to participate in discussions and raise up their hands to voice in their opinions. It makes me feel that we actually have done a good job. So, this is not necessarily an informative and hopefully interesting session to them, but to us as well. Hence, it’s a 2-way beneficial session.

(Out of topic: No offence, but what I had in mind already for some times is that these small kids tend to be more passionate about different activities than teenagers. They are at the age to want and try new things. For example, if 2 same activities are done during lunchtime, I’ve observed that there will be more people during middle school lunchtime than the high school one. There might be several factors to this. I don’t know. I just want to put it out there.)

Anyway, I can see that they are very eager and they do know how to approach these conflicts. We are not there to tell them anything, they know how to approach it themselves. They also realize that in the real situation itself, it would be not as easy, but it’s worth to keep in mind. We are just there to remind them that they could this or that that they’ve discussed among themselves.

Talking about my skills in the session itself, I think my strength is that I can control the crowd really well. I spoke in a clear manner, sometimes crack a joke, but also serious when needed, I know my audience well, and how to make the most out of it. And one of my weakness in this session is that at one time when some group is speaking, the rest of the group in the far back corner might not really be listening. However, I can’t just cut in and move everyone to the front and make sure that they listen to each other because I also realize that we don’t have much time left. Hence, I just left it to go with the flow for the last 1 or 2 minutes. I think I should have calculated in my head, in the beginning, and bring everyone to discuss this together at the start.

Overall, I think it was a very triumphant experience which was a good start to my day and was definitely a good start to prepare for the conference.

First Tournament against Canossian Secondary School

As a captain of the team for the last Badminton tournament away, I was asked to write 200-word paragraphs to reflect on how it went. And this is what I wrote:

“Last Friday, we had our first away tournament against the Canossian school. I think it was a very good opportunity for each of us to identify each individual’s strengths and weaknesses during a real-pressured game situation in order to work on it during our future training. 

It’s beautiful to see everyone giving it their best, both from our side as well as the Canossian. Even though badminton is a game that you play individually, however, during this tournament, we can really see that collectively everyone fights not only for their own wins or loses but for the faces of the school and the team as a whole. 

What we also learned from the Canossian school is their great sense of sportsmanship. It’s almost inevitable to feel competitive during any games between 2 different schools. However, what really touches everyone is that the during the games, the Canossian School even provides energy drink not only for their players but also us as well. And they even give each of our players a badminton keychain as a farewell gift, too. This gesture is beautiful! Be fierce in the game, but as soon as the game ends, no hard feelings, we are all friends. Our UWCSEA is very spirited that sometimes there are cases that we went overboard, hence I think our school can really learn a lot from the Cannosian School.  

Overall, in our upcoming tournament, I think we can all look back to this experience and try our best to improve as a badminton player as well as a human being.”

Thank you!