Thursday, August 11, 2011

NUS Rag 2011/12: Experience NUS

I sort of realized that for a lot of activities that I joined or for responsibilities that I took up, most of the times I would always say something like, "At first I didn't wanted to..." whenever I talk or blog about them because well, lets face it, I have LAZY written in my genes. I just can't seem to multitask well. And it was no different when I decided to be a part of Eusoff Hall's rag dance team this year.
Which is kinda ironic because when I first took the job as the orientation's co-head this year, I had already half a  mind not to join rag dance like what I did last year and to focus on orientation alone.


Me in rag dance last year as a cactus and I happen to be part of the programmes team too at the same time. Not a really good combination and part of the reason why I hesitated to join again this year


But still, despite several million neurons in my brain telling me that joining rag dance as the orientation programmes head is going to make my life really busy and I am really gonna screw up orientation because of it, I still joined anyhow. And to be honest, now that everything has ended, I was happy that I did not listen to that few million neurons. They're wrong most of the time anyway and besides, I love dancing. Dancing gives me wings.

It's not only that though. Another reason why I joined the Rag Dance was because of the choreographers too, Wilfred Lim and Lim Xian You (they're not brothers btw). I had always wanted to participate in Wilfred's choreo since seeing the awesome choreo of his in Eusoff Dance Production last year and as for Xian You, I couldn't possibly miss the chance of being part of my best buddy's first choreo experience. Besides, all of my friends are joining anyway and I'm the type of person who loves to follow where my friends go.


The two amazing rag choreographers for this year, Wilfred Lim and Xian You


So yeah, that's the story of how I ended up in rag dance this year.

And although this is not the first time that I'm dancing, it's not my first time in rag dance either, I must say that the experience of rag dance this year was totally a unique one for me. In fact I think I can safely say that the whole NUS rag experience for us hall residents this year is totally different from previous years, thanks to either NUSSU or the guy who thought that rag has lost its meaning.

In short, there was no competition this year at all for the hall rags. Yeap, no best float award, best performance award and no most environmentally friendly award or whatsoever. And to make things even more exciting, two halls each will form a team to collaborate on the rag effort, meaning that out of the six halls, there would be three rag teams with two halls each in it. The rationale was that the rag competition is encouraging unhealthy competition among the halls and that competition was never meant to be the primary purpose of rag. And so, history was made this year. And that was how Eusoff Hall came into collaboration with Temasek Hall for this year's rag day.

When I first heard about the news, of course I was shocked. I mean, after all Eusoff and Temasek was probably one of the best known rivals ever when it comes to IHG. Each hall shares the same disdain and contempt for the other. We ran naked before to their hall and they wore yellow slippers to sort of like "step" on us. The entire hate relationship wasn't exactly a new thing.

It was not only me though. Many wondered how on earth are we supposed to work together to build one float and to come up with one performance for rag. There were of course doubts and uncertainty at first. I still remember the first day when I attended practice at Temasek, there was this air of awkwardness in the dance studio. And I'm sure the question on how everything will turn out was on everyone's mind that day.

But in the end, turn out great the performance and float did. As the days and weeks rolled by, stereotypes and judgments were slowly replaced by friendship and unity. Though we may had differences at first, eventually we warmed up to each other and discovered that both halls are not as bad as how we imagined them to be at all. In fact, I myself think that deep down inside, most of us are really glad that we're able to work together and put the rivalry aside. After all, not everyone enjoys fighting and discriminating anyway.

And in retrospect, having Eusoff and Temasek join forces is a blessing in disguise actually. In terms of our performance, the expertise of cheerleading that Temasek had added to the flavor and excitement of the entire dance too. And for some of us, we had the chance to experience the fun of cheerleading, perhaps discovering a hidden talent and love for it, that we would have not experienced if Eusoff has gone in as a single team. Like how my Psychology textbook used to say, stereotypes and prejudices are always founded on unrealistic beliefs. Once you start work with the people you stereotype towards a common goal, you'll find that they're not that different after all from you. And that was how Eusoff and Temasek became Temasoff/Eumasek.


All of us on the bus during the journey to the place the day before performance


When August 9th arrived, aside from being excited and happy, I was also partly sad too because the fun that we had so much is finally coming to an end. Just when we started to get closer together, it's suddenly the last time we're gonna perform already. Which is quite sad if you ask me.

I guess everyone was feeling the same way too. Excited that we're finally gonna go on stage but at the same time, sad because it will be the last time we'll perform as a team. Which was why prior to the performance, all of us spend time taking photos as memories, so we have something to hold on to when everything has ended. Likewise, this blogger here tried to snap as many pictures as he can so he can one day in the future bragged to his children that he once participated in NDP Rag dance performance before.


A group picture before the performance

Of all the pictures I took, I wanted to look cute in one of it



This picture would have been cool if it's not for the mask

Getting my face painted


It was a fun time that we had when we waited for our turn at the waiting area. Aside from all the crazy pictures we took, we also talked, played games and had a lot of fun. During that moment, there was no question that we belong to the same family, sharing the same aspirations and dreams. We all wanted to give the audience a bang with our performance.

Finally, our name was called by the organizing committee.

As I approached the next waiting area closer to the stage. I can't help but to feel a little nervous myself. What if I forget the steps? What if the crowd doesn't like the performance? What is something screws up? Those were among the millions of questions running through my mind. Seems like I have this tendency to expect the worst out of everything. But still, the words of our choreo, "Have fun.." reassured me. We're gonna give the crowd awesome alright.

"Let us welcome Eusoff Hall and Temasek Hall!" the emcee cried and we marched in amidst the cheers from our both halls and took our positions. As the music started to play, I put on the best smile that I could afford, wiped off all my remaining fears and started dancing. Looking at the crowd, hearing them cheer throughout the dance, I knew that everything, all the hard work, all the time spent practicing, all the sweat and tears is worth it. Despite everything that once stood in our way, we did it. We rocked the stage. We wowed the crowd. We AWESOMEd.

When I first heard of the theme this year, Experience NUS, part of me went, "What a lame and cliche theme it is this year". But in a strange way, the theme fits just right in with what I have experienced in this short two months in rag dance. The boundaries that we broke, the friendships that we formed, the the unique journey that we experienced, the growth that we see in ourselves, the fun that we had, I think these are what symbolizes NUS, not just any maths formula or academic rankings.

University is not just about studying, culture or sports. It's about getting to know ourselves better, finding our passion in life and getting to know awesome people along the way. We experienced all those during the short two months and we portrayed it through the dance and float. I guess the audience must have felt it too because by the end of our performance I could see that they enjoyed the whole performance and the cheers were deafening.

Temasoff rocked the stage on NUS Rag 2011/12 alright, and best of all we'll be rocking again not in NUS but at the grandest stage of Asia, Chingay 2012. And most importantly, we proved to everyone that doubted us that we can do anything as long as we put our heart to it. Chingay 2012, prepared to be rocked by Temasoff.


You'll be seeing us again, definitely

And I'll definitely be missing this moment

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