Memoirs of the Pioneer Generation (CAS Reflection 3)

LO4: Show commitment to and perseverance in your CAS experience.

Our second season of service has ended, and has brought with it large changes. Despite our best efforts in adapting our activities to better suit the clients of the elderly center, we have found our efforts less-than-fruitful in furthering our end-goal; that of interviewing both clients and those who care for them and cataloguing said interviews (hence, “Memoirs” of the pioneer generation). However, a significant setback in the path of our service has been how hesitant our clients have been to actually speak; we have been unable to create a close enough social bond to gather any information from them. Similarly, those who work at the center have been unwilling to provide us with any sort of interview. Hence, in view of this setback, our service has adopted a different strategy; that of splitting up and joining with other local services in school, and working with them to gain a different perspective on service as a whole, a perspective we will be able to bring back to the group and hopefully translate into a valuable insight into service. I, personally, have joined with YMCA Student Care Center, with which I hope that I will be able to gain a different perspective, and, hopefully, overcome this setback to our service.

Memoirs of the Pioneer Generation (CAS Reflection 2)

LO3: Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience.

LO5: Demonstrate the skills and recognise the benefits of working collaboratively.

With our first season of Service concluded, I find that Memoirs of the Pioneer generation has been a strong fit for me, despite some challenges and apprehension. Firstly, despite much planning and initiative for activities, with our service group entering the senior center with clear ideas on how we wanted to conduct our sessions, we rapidly found that our plans did not develop as we wanted them to. With many senior clients of the center having relatively short attention spans, many of our planned activities (board games, ball games, etc.) that did not provide immediate gratification and somewhat fast-paced fun soon fell apart. Though our first activities, as a simple get-to-know-you, were ball games where we learnt the names of the clients of the center, we somewhat rudimentary, as we were forced to improvise and abandon our initial plan, we soon overcame the challenge of planning and adapting our expectations of the activity to fit the clients. As we tailored our plans to better fit them, by prioritising activities more accessible to them and less likely to lose their interest, we found a greater degree of engagement with our clients (though, despite our best efforts, some of them remained quite distant and reluctant to socialise). Nonetheless, despite our difficulties with planning and the challenges that organising sessions presented, I feel that the first season of service has been a productive and personally enjoyable one.

Reading The Reader

“The Reader” has been, thus far, an interesting read for Literature. It follows the story of a certain Michael Berg, and his romance with the 36-year-old Hanna Schmit. The book touches on themes such as the corruptive nature of relationships, the impact of sexuality on youth, and, ultimately, acts as a coming-of-age story. Despite being taken aback by its initial forwardness and how unabashed it is in its own sexual descriptions, I find that, ultimately, there as some hidden meaning within the text. Unfortunately, I haven’t finished reading it, so that meaning is out of my grasp.

Jakarta Street Kids Season 1-Leadership Positions

LO5: Demonstrate the skills and recognise the benefits of working collaboratively.

With Season 1 concluded, the leadership positions within my Jakarta Street Kids GC have been shuffled, and a new round of student leaders have replaced this year’s G12s in terms of leading the Global Concern. I decided to submit an application for the position of Chair due to my interest in getting more involved and “hands-on” with the Concern. I have always participated in fundraisers and in organising activities for GCs (Gili Eco Trust in IGCSE, especially), so I would like to pursue perhaps a different route in service; though I expect to (and wish to continue!) have a role in participating in facilitating, organising and managing fundraisers and other Service-led activities, I also want  to understand the inner workings of the GC, and view from the inside what a leader position truly entails. Despite not expecting so, I was positioned as vice-chair, and am happy to say that I now have a more active role in the GC. So far, as vice-chair, I haven’t done much (mostly due to the fact that we have recently concluded a major fundraising activity [Swim For Life]) yet, apart from taking “Minutes” (a logging document) in our meetings, I look forwards to collaborating with my peers within the Service and setting new goals and fundraisers that we will hope to achieve. I sincerely hope this year in Jakarta Street Kids will be a productive and fruitful one, not only in terms of the service work we hope to achieve, but also in helping me develop my own organisational and communication skills, and being able to assume a hands-on role in a somewhat large group (with JSK numbering easily in ~30 people).

Swimdonesia 2019: My Impressions (GC Cas Reflection 2)

LO2: Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process.

Swimdonesia 2019 was a great start to my service year. Working not only with Jakarta Street Kids but also with a multitude of others, such as Gili Eco Trust and Bali Sharks, it was a great experience not only in raising funds, but also in getting a better understanding of the service process. I had previously worked on Swimdonesia during my time in Gili Eco Trust (mostly managing the merchandise stall for both Gili and Bali Sharks), but also enjoyed managing the food stalls, selling first a drink and later cotton candy. The turnout of people was overall very good, and it was a generally positive service experience, despite some marked issues that were discussed in the following Jakarta Street Kids service session (issues include the popcorn machine being broken, forcing us to use a microwave to prepare the snack [requires more thorough checks to equipment before a fundraiser], there being a significantly higher turnout for snacks such as pizza [as well as us buying too much pizza, eventually “wasting money”], and the fact that people began slipping away from the fundraiser towards ~5:30 [we may need to work on something to keep people consistently engaged throughout the duration of the event, allowing for the maximum amount of fundraising]). I am glad to see that me moving to Jakarta Street Kids has not significantly impacted my enjoyment of GCs compared to Gili Eco Trust in the slightest.

Yearbook Committee: My Expectations for the Year (CAS Reflection 1)

LO 1: How has my involvement with this activity made me aware of my strengths and areas for growth?

This year, my sign-up to the Yearbook Committee was something of an accident; despite not signing up for it during the actual activity sign-up, I tagged along with a friend to one of the lunchtime sessions on Friday, seeing as I have a free block on the last block on Friday, and I was signed up as part of the marketing team. Thus far, it has been quite an enjoyable experience. Having read the yearbook and bought it every year, it is very interesting to be an active member in the long, complex process of actually making it. As member of the marketing team, it is my, along with the two other teammates I have, responsibility to draft emails, E-brief, and Google form. It has been interesting to draft these out, and collaborating with other teams has also been very enjoyable.

I am also intrigued to have been included into the marketing team, not only by circumstance (coming along with a friend who was part of the team), but also by my skills; certainly, I would say I am capable to managing, sending, and keeping track of emails. However, I have little to no experience with graphic design, so producing advertisements in future for the yearbook may be a challenge. Overall, though I am somewhat out-of-my-depth in terms of what I am supposed to do, and somewhat unsure as to what, precisely, my role within the Yearbook committee is, I am looking forwards to the next year within the group.

Philosophy Club: My Expectations for the Year (CAS Reflection 1)

LO 1: What previous experience have I had with an activity like this?

As a member of Philosophy Club for the previous two years, it was an obvious choice for me this year. Despite not registering for any of the three aspects of CAS (Creativity, Activity, and Service), it is an activity that greatly interests me. Despite calling itself “Philosophy Club”, I am glad that it is not as elitist or stuffy as some aspects of philosophy; instead of focussing excessively on various schools of thought, it is much more akin to a constant discussion. A theme is established for the session, and we end up discussing it. There is no discrimination against new ideas, and even someone who has never studied philosophy, or participated in the conversation before, is welcome, and encouraged to, contribute an idea, no matter how big or small. I find it to be a great opportunity to relax at the start of the week, and just discuss and debate some interesting questions, that I usually would not have given much thought beyond of the class.

Overall, I would say that I am already significantly well-informed on Philosophy club, given my attendance in previous years, so I am not entering an unfamiliar or foreign environment; despite this, I still see Philosophy club as a welcome challenge in my everyday (weekly) life, as it gives me the adequate time to sit down and actually reflect and dive into questions that I would normally not have the time, or (at times) the motivation to contemplate. This, I feel, allows me to become a more holistically minded and open person, and I look forwards to the year to come for Philosophy Club.

Memoirs of the Pioneer Generation: My Expectations for the Year (CAS Reflection 1)

Thus far, I am very happy with my selection of Memoirs of the Pioneer Generation, held on Thursdays from 3:00 to 4:30, as my Grade 11 service. I initially chose it because the idea interested me; while throughout grade 9 and grade 10 I had done Sun-Dac as my Service, and, there, had participated in a wide variety of activities with various differently abled clients, I was intrigued by the idea of collaborating with, interviewing, and eventually recording (and perhaps even publishing) the various experiences of this older generation, with them being the metaphorical “foundation” of modern Singapore (hence the name, “The Pioneer Generation”). I find it highly important to keep in touch with the past and to not forget the older generation, and am also very much impressed with our first visit to the actual facility; the staff are friendly and the clients there equally so. The process leading up to interviews is open-ended and also interests me. Overall, I look forwards to a year of new connections and a greater understanding not only of the older generation, but of the history of Singapore, and am happy to be an active member in the process of gathering information (via interviews) to later be published, either digitally or in a physical book.