I enjoyed this season. Even though we didn’t do very well, our overall record was 3-5 (win-loss), I enjoyed being part of a group where we laughed together almost every training and game. Through this experience I learnt to be a mentor. It was different than football where I was the worst on the team and knew that I made contributions elsewhere, but with basketball, I wasn’t the worst but I was one of the older kids, and so I realised the importance of giving the younger kids opportunities, comforting them when they made mistakes, and setting a good example as an older student. That was something that I had to constantly remind myself of. Me being older, regardless of what was said on the court, or who got on my nerves, I had to remember that the implications of what I said or how I behaved would go way past the 1 1/2 hours spent playing basketball. Sports is a great test of character, because it shows your true nature in its rawest form.
I’m really passionate about Basketball. Although I played football in Season 1, basketball was the sport that I was most looking forward to playing. I had wanted to do Pre-season basketball, however, with football being 3 times a week, similar to my reason for turning down Aida, I decided against it; apart from it taking up my time, I would also end up drained, physically and mentally. I did go for one session, however.
When it came to tryouts time, I was excited but also nervous because I had heard a lot about UWC’s A team, and figured it wasn’t something I would’ve been good enough for. However, when we started playing, I realised that I wasn’t totally bad, despite not playing for like a year, and that I fitted in with the rest of the guys. When it comes to basketball, I’m decent at most things, however, I often struggle with shooting the ball; I try to make up for it with effort and playing defense. I ended up making the B team, which is not bad, although I felt that me and the rest of the B team didn’t really get a chance to actually “tryout” for the A team. During tryouts, we were immediately split up, without playing a second of basketball, into those that had been in pre-season and men’s league. I suppose there was justified reasoning for that, but it just seemed unfair that we didn’t even get a chance. I decided, though, to commit myself to the team, and focus on being the best teammate I could be; instead of sulking about not making the A team, use it as motivation to bolster our team, potentially to the point where we would be better, as a team, than the A team.
Coming to the school this year, everyone was telling me that if I like to dance, I had to do CultuRama. Naturally, I inquired about what exactly it was and then I found out that it was a kind of dance festival that incorporate dances from around the world. Honestly speaking, at this moment I was a bit hesitant to audition because I like to dance but my dancing ability is mainly centred around hip hop. Thus, I decided to sign up to audition for the USA group.
Whilst rehearsing the dance choreography for the dance auditions, I showed my mother the choreography and she immediately said that she didn’t approve of my doing the dance. It wasn’t that she didn’t want me to dance, it was just that the angle of the video recording sort of depicted the dance in a sensual manner. My family and I are christians and so my mum felt the dance was immoral and ungodly. However, I was able to convince her that the recording didn’t do justice to the actual dance and, with help from one of the USA dance leaders, my mum gave her permission to let me audition.
I got into the USA group, however, there were only five boys that auditioned for the hip-hop part and so it was kind of a guaranteed acceptance for everyone. At first, I felt a bit scared and nervous, because at this time I was still new to the school, however, I soon realised that I was there for a reason; I was chosen to dance in this group. I just tried to be myself and soon I befriended everyone and became very comfortable in the group. I was put at the front for one of the dances as well as having a five second solo during the dance transitions. This I am extremely grateful for because it allowed me to just be myself and gave me an opportunity to shine in front of my new friends, peers and fellow students.
Looking back, I feel that doing CultuRama actually helped me settle into school better because people now look at me and remember me from my CultuRama performance. It also gave me more confidence to go and do events like Unplugged and was one of the reasons why I was chosen for Aida.
Growing up in the United Kingdom for nine years, football was a big part of my life. As with many kids, I aspired to be a professional football player when I grew older, hopefully playing for my favourite football team, Manchester United. However, when I entered middle school, here in Singapore, I sort of felt left out during our lunchtime games. I’m not one to make a big deal out of things, no matter how important the situation is to me, and so I looked for alternatives. In my previous school, Chatsworth International School, the only sport available at lunchtime was Basketball, thus, that day, I became a basketball player. I was instantly hooked and suddenly football didn’t seem such a big part of my life. Regardless, I still followed the sport, played
Fifa, checked out how my team was doing in the league or who they were buying in the transfer market. However, the love I had for basketball was different; I was doing research on the history of the game, reading Wikipedia bios on all of the greatest players in history, learning about the different roles of each player, and of course, playing NBA2k.
CAS is not just about doing creative/artistic performances, staying active and completing service. It’s about pushing yourself past your boundaries and trying new things. Despite loving football so much, I had never been on an actual team before. In the UK, I was either too young, or my school didn’t have a team. When I moved to Singapore, I loved basketball so much that I focused my athletics solely on that as well as the fact that football training was in the mornings and I lived too far away from the school to be seriously committed. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve played football during lunchtimes, after school, in-school tournaments, you name it. But I’ve never been on a football team before.
As a result, I tried out for the football team.
Tryouts were both easy and hard at the same time. It was easy because I was new and so I didn’t really feel pressure to make the A team; I was just trying out. However, it was hard because being new, and making friends so quickly, I felt pressure from them to be good. I decided to play as a defensive midfielder/centre back as this gave me the opportunity to showcase skill without actually showing skill. Basically, since I still know the game – it’s embedded in me – I can read passes and the play of the game. This helps me look really good even when I’m subpar. The strategy worked, and somehow, I made the A team.
It was here that I felt the pressure. I’d made the A team, now I had to defend my spot, and prove that I had earned it. Showing up to the first training, it crossed my mind how out of shape I was. I also didn’t realise how not playing seriously for so long had affected my ability. I found myself struggling to control the ball, make accurate passes; it was just terrible.
They say that nothing good comes easy and that was my motto. I just wanted to keep getting better and if not impress the coaches, impress myself.
We went undefeated in the ACSIS Division 1 league (4 wins, 2 draws), however, we finished second on points. We also won two tournaments, again undefeated, as well as the Friday Night Lights match against an academy team (7-1). Personally, I had my ups and downs. I had some games where I couldn’t be stopped. I had some games where all the goals were my fault. I even had some games where I didn’t even play a single minute, keep in mind we have rolling subs so you can go off and come on as much as you like.
I didn’t make SEASAC, the most coveted honour, yet I feel that this season was a success. Throughout, I kept a positive attitude and encouraged my teammates, who were miles better than me but never voiced it. Their humility is what boosted my positivity. I reinvented myself and discovered the true meaning of hard work. They were so many times during the strenuous training sessions that I wanted to quit, yet I reminded myself of my motto: Nothing good comes easy. I’m really grateful for my best friend, Aansh, who having made SEASAC last year in Grade 10, was so encouraging and supportive, even when I made mistakes.
I didn’t make SEASAC this year, but, mark my words, I will be SEASAC captain next year. Believe that.
After 3 weeks of Piano Masterclass, I have come to understand my limits as a human being. Before starting the activity, I knew I wasn’t the best piano player, but I considered myself decent. However, after the first session, this consideration seemed very deluded. The issue was that I’m ‘gospelly trained’ in the sense that I learnt by playing in church. What this means, essentially, is that I’ve learnt to play what I play by listening to it. Most of the people in Piano Masterclass are classically trained, which means they have learnt (and most of them have been graded) how to play by reading sheet music and learning a lot of music theory. I immediately felt disadvantaged because my sheet reading ability is very bad and I know basic music theory. Everyone came in playing pieces from composers I’d never heard of, holding a giant book filled with sheet music and I felt quite novice, to be honest. For the first two sessions, I’d leave the activity feeling like I was a failure.
Despite all of this, I am committed to learning how to play classical music and to develop my music theory and sheet reading ability. I realise that everyone has to grow and that just because my growth might be a later stage than everyone else’s doesn’t mean that it still shouldn’t happen. I think that it also teaches me humility and actually, this has allowed me to develop relationships with the other students.
I didn’t get to stay in Piano Masterclass for Season 2, since I had to join Aida but one of my highlights was being able to perform at Esplanade. What made it such an accomplishment wasn’t that it was at Esplanade but that I did it despite me being fatigued from Unplugged, which was the day before. I played a personal arrangement of Kevin Gates’ Know Better. This was a significant performance for me because I was used to just playing chords, as I mentioned in my previous reflection, however, in this performance, I combined my chords with quick and simple melodies. Even though I know my performance was the best that night – that goes to Shoon – I still feel proud of my work, simply because I understand how much I grew from doing that performance.