Day 2 of turning 27 was spent on having an unfruitful meeting. Supposedly I thought it’s gonna be a productive one, discussing about formations and all, but it felt like a waste of my precious birthday week. And the feeling was mutual, amongst those seated around me.
It was already a major turn-off when the very first question shot to us was – What else can you guys do? (What other duties?) It felt like this question came about because we mentioned during the retreat about the duties that we shouldn’t be doing, in order to have a smoother training. Like for example, time spent taking the second attendance can actually be very productive time for us to focus more on the formations, especially when we know that we were racing against time last year.
I refused to even answer that question because it’s one that I hate the most. By asking such thing, it already shows how much you “appreciate” what we have done. You are already thinking that we asked to remove some duties from our workload so that we can shake leg everyday. You already think that we aren’t doing enough. If not, why ask what ELSE can we do???
No one actually answered the question in the end, simply because WE ARE ALREADY DOING WHAT WE CAN DO! Let me do a rough timeline of our weekly 4-hour training from last year:
2.30pm – 4pm (not included in the 4 hours): Trainers, group leaders & assistant group leaders arrive for discussion.
4pm – 5.30pm: Learn new dance steps, which we need to learn as well since we are also participants. (No proper time for briefing until we asked for it.)
5.30pm – 6.30pm: Dinner break (but most of the time we will still be busy with discussions amongst ourselves)
6.30pm – 7.50pm: Formation training aka in a frantic mode trying to finish arranging all 80 members in our individual groups to their various positions. If you have all 80 of them listening to you and obeying what you have said, good for you! But most of the time, you will probably have people who just cannot understand what you say (while others can, somehow), or people who think that their little presence or misalignment wouldn’t affect much, so they choose not to understand what you say. On top of that, don’t forget you need to remember and practise your own positions as well, because again, we are also participants, I emphasise.
7.50pm – 8pm: Debrief as a mass group about next week + squeeze in second attendance marking after that and you can pretty much imagine a whole bunch of aunties & uncles at a temple on CNY eve, waiting to 插头炷香。They will be surrounding you in all directions, shouting their names for their attendance to be marked, so that they can be the first to go off.
So the question in my mind was – What else do you want us to do? And which other time are we supposed to squeeze that duty in??? You wanna cut short training, but you want us to do more within this even shorter time, doesn’t make sense, does it?
And on top of those above, we also had meetings after work almost every week just to discuss and do all the homework for the coming weekend. Were you even there to witness that? I really cannot stand it when people say that we haven’t done enough when we had put in so much effort! I have attended every single meeting on time, scheduled all my trips to after 9 August and attended every single practice last year. I have done everything I could to help my group from teaching dance steps to burning midnight oil to finish up their individual positions, and yet I have not done enough. I could have been sleeping that 1.5 hour off instead of reaching early every practice for discussion. I could be going out with friends instead of attending the weekly meetings. So all those were not effort? It is very sick of people to constantly be seeing what others have NOT DONE rather than what they have DONE.
Bonding is not gonna help control the punctuality of our group members. We can only emphasise and emphasise, and anything more than that, we will be getting complaints that my group leaders aren’t understanding enough blah blah blah. Or even, a shout into your face, “People need to work one leh!” Again, were you there to witness that? I know there will be people saying I used to be able to do this and that, why can’t you guys? Is there any difference from saying that we are incompetent? I don’t see that as any form of recognising and appreciating our effort either. Well, all I can say is, well done then. But don’t forget that it’s only our second year doing these, so one simply cannot compare decades of experience with this.
I have said before last year that I didn’t accept this role because it’s an honour; it clearly isn’t. Neither did I ASK to be in this. I only ACCEPTED it because I really hope we can reach the standard of my 2004’s performance, because it has never really been a 100% satisfactory show for me so far in these 5 years. It’s not the choreographer’s fault or that the trainers did not train well, but it’s mainly the difference in age group (we have older participants hence we cannot expect as much) and the “strictness level“.
Back in school, our training attendance affects our CIP hours, but over here, missing one practice doesn’t really have a significant impact, except to your group leaders who had done their homework swee swee, hoping that everything would go smoothly. But your empty position didn’t allow that.
Back in school, any mistake will get us scolded and even punished. We will be asked to redo and redo again. As much as I always believe that practice makes perfect, but can we do that here? No. Why? Because the teachers and trainers have higher authority than the students. Teacher say, “Sit“, we sit, “Stand“, we stand. But over here, we say, “Sit“, you get replies about knee problems, cannot sit. We say, “Assemble“, you see people still hiding under the shade, people still equipping themselves with 273902792312 sun-block gears, people telling you they need to go toilet. So what can we do??? Any form of scolding will become a complaint, let alone to implement any form of punishment. By asking them to redo too many times, you will risk having complaints like, “Later we heatstroke how? How can like that? Sun very hot leh.”
Again, why? Because they are not students. They are mostly adults who have eaten more salt than you have eaten rice. They are protected by human rights and whatever rights and you won’t want complaints from them. Because any form of complaints from them will somehow be seen as being disrespectful, ill-treating, poor welfare and etc from a government body. So how do you expect the same kind of standard if you know that you do not have the authority in most things? Let alone we are just a small fry, by the way.
So I have learnt to just keep quiet and do whatever I can. I don’t owe it to anyone; my aim is only to make this performance better. It may not be the best that I want, but at least I have tried. I don’t need to answer to anyone about what more can I do, neither do I need to make them see how much we have done. People who appreciate you will do so without you having to waste a single breath. People who do not appreciate will probably never, period.
Thank you for reading my lengthy rant. I guess the more you age, the more long-winded you get. Well anyhow, back to the post-birthday stuff! Finally had some time to snap a picture of the pressies I received! 有心了 ((:
I think as we grow older, presents become more like a 心意, rather than a prrrrrresenttttt~ So gifts have been converted into angbaos or a simple meal, which are also a form of 心意。 I remember I used to love receiving presents so much that during my 21st surprise party, my Sis even told everyone that present is a must! LOL! So embarrassing~ Not that I don’t like presents anymore, but I do understand the difficulty in finding something that one likes/needs. So I would rather angbao than receiving something that I don’t like/need. As we age, we just get harder to please as well. Hahaha!
Another birthday treat even though my birthday is over! Yay! Thank you Miss President for my first MOF meal! xD
We still had other dishes which I forgot to take picture. But it was a very full Saturday~ Off to MINDS but it was a short project because we had our annual general meeting after that, where we give out certs to the volunteers and also have a handover session to the new chairperson (:
Headed over to Plonk for a mini celebration after dinner! Got a treat from the old chair and new chair…hehe!
Chit-chatted and then learned a new card game – Pig Pile, but I wasn’t picking it up fast enough. Then off for supper/dessert, which is the must-have every time we are in Serangoon Gardens – DURIAN MOUSSE!!! ❤
Had a very 惊险 practice on Sunday because it’s gonna determine my fate for the next 5 months. Had to resort to drawing lots in the end because Eric’s group is too popular, or maybe the others are not as. And…
Wefies during briefing cause we had already seen the slides during the meeting~ Steven 老师’s frown seems like he’s judging me for my super random wefies! Hahahaha! Anyway of all people, I still think Steven 老师 is the best encourager!!!
Japanese food for dinner again! But the difference is this is the super nice vegetarian one which I usually 不舍得 eat because it’s too expensive~