Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Buzzy Bee, Friends and Sleepless nights

It's time for a post for RAG as promised. (Since I'm home and I have nothing better to do, might as well)

It’s another tiring but rewarding journey I've walk through with Kent Ridge Hall. I'm not sure if I'm satisfied with the product (being an ACSian) but I'm proud of it nevertheless. KRohanga! is a float representing New Zealand. The concept behind it is to bring out the environmental friendliness of New Zealand by incorporating prominent symbols from New Zealand. The float is a manukah honey factory taking the shape of a popular New Zealand toy - the buzzy bee. The platform takes the shape of honeycombs with hints of factory-inspired mechanics. A gate with a Sun-Moon Clock mounted on top and a Rugby-Kiwi honey packaging machine add new flavors to the float. Last but not least, a curvy bling-bling crane (which was supposed to take the shape of a wellington gumboot) adds action to the performance.

Here is the KRohanga! story from my point of view. As designers, we started working early in the semester (supposedly January). I kind of cheated since I was originally a float engineer until the last few weeks of school; the chair kind of shifted me to the design department (as stated in the previous blog post). For me, I was asked to draw a 2 design per week for the floats and some possible statics concept. Yes, it is all about concepts at that stage. It was scary when they ask you to present your float designs. Some of my designs were flaked down due to the lack of creativity and the lack of wow factor. (Ah yes, the wow factor. Despite being the most emphasized part in the early designer meeting, the final wow factor only came out half way through rag. Scary right?) It is very discouraging, but I guess I deserve it since most of them are last minute drafts anyway. There were some awesome and/or hilarious drawings of the floats. There was this laughing man float, of which the wow mechanism was the opening of the mouth and one of the static is a tickling machine. The next rag designers should dig out the drawings from the archive and have a good laugh at it when they are bored. On that one fateful night, when we’re (Ruth, JaNe, Teguh and I) brainstorming in the comfortable JCRC room, Ruth stumbled upon this image of the bee toy – the buzzy bee, and hence our float designing finally reach its fetal stage. I’m proud to say that I drew the first draft of the float, but unfortunately, it looks nothing like the final product. With this breakthrough and a few subsequent meeting to finalize the storyline and wow mechanism, we get a short break from rag to study for our finals.

We resume work on the 10th of May, which is the week 0. That was perhaps the most depressing period of the whole rag, when the whole hall is empty where there’s only a few of us designers, the management team, and Tien, Jacky and Willyam who are the Technical Officer, the Chief Engineer and the Assistant Chief Engineer respectively. While the engineers are still having their vacation, we’re already in a pressure cooker, trying our very best to churn out the structural design for the statics. At the end of the week, we manage to finalize the design for the gate, crane and platform. We were still missing a “static 4” which will eventually become the rugby-kiwi. With this, we go into the week 1 with most designers shifting their focus to claddings while Eunice go into costume designing. Due to my inefficiency, I was still stuck with designing the infamous static 4. The finalized design came out a few days after if I’m not mistaken and I too shifted my focus to claddings as well.

Week 1 and 2 is really interesting for me as this is when the engineers checked into the RAG hellhole. I had to compliment them with their efficiency and spirit. They manage to finish skinning most of the statics by mid-week 2. The rest of the weeks are well, repetitive, but not monotonous. Weekends are highlighted by wonderful outings with the designers. 1 month into rag, you will realize that we are so passionate (or rather occupational disorder) about rag that at certain moments, most of us started to point at a certain direction and squealed “claddings!” without prior agreement.

Ok, let’s skip to the last chapter of the story. During the final weeks, the float started to come together. But I still vividly remember YuLing ranting to me about the inadequacy of our float. I know as well, that at this stage, it is still not yet a winning float. Again, I’m lagging behind in the 2nd layer designing. I’m really sorry to those around me if you’ve seen or suffer from my angst. I guess I was really frustrated with myself at that point of time that I lost control of my temper. Luckily, thanks to Beth and Hai Ching who both came to the rescue. They managed to plug in all the fine details in the second layer which I didn’t manage to visualize in my mental image. I wouldn’t be able to do it without them.

The rag day was probably nerve wrecking for me, especially after seeing other hall’s float. For some reason, I felt that our float, despite being quite awesome, is inadequate. But there is nothing I or we can do at that point of time. Things weren’t going so well for us since that morning. Mobilization of our float got delayed, and our float nearly got destroyed by the idiotic driver uncle. I doubt anybody noticed it, but I was down the whole day. I was unable to cheer out loud even if I wanted to. However, I must say that the performance was really awesome. The dances complement the statics well. The lighting sequence made the whole performance grand and magnificent. Despite not expecting to win much, the results were shocking. I didn’t expect to win, but I never expected to lose either. That is probably the reason why I cried (with a 15 minute time lag) after the results were announced. I’ve never cried so long in my life. But I’m glad I cried. It made me realize how important KRohanga! meant to me. Not just the float, but the people as well. It also made me realize that rag may have already ended, but not KRohanga! It is just the beginning of epic camaraderie among the 10/11 KR raggers.

That’s the synopsis of the KRohanga! story from my point of view.

To the Delightfully-dorky Designers, you guys had been the closest people to me for the past 3 months. Thanks for guiding me around the nooks and crannies of designing as well as exposing me to the existence of 30 degree premium blades. I am honored to have worked with u guys. Since I'm working with a bunch of architecture students, I must say I had inferiority complex. I've always have this mental signboard that says I'm not as good as them. Practically, my first real task was to get over the mental barrier. To be honest I never really did, which might perhaps a blessing in disguise. Since I know that I'm can never be better than them, I push myself harder to come up with better designs. Did it really work? It’s for other to judge. But I did my best to help out whenever I can, like dismantling junks and bringing in materials into the reading room (and creating a personal junkyard in the process). But I must really thank designing team, Teguh, JaNe, Hai Ching, Beth and Eunice, to be so patient with my low efficiency.Special thanks to Teguh who did the rugby static and the face claddings (supposed to be my job).

To the Marvelously-magnanimous Management team, Song Han, Wanting, Ruth and Sheau Shiuh, you guys did an awesome job making sure that the whole construction and execution was done flawlessly and of course taking care of our welfare. Thanks to Wanting and Sheau Shiuh for all the awesome supper. I swear I gain a tummy over the 3 months. Apologies to Song Han for all the tantrums he had to endure from me.

To the lovely Endorphin-enhanced Engineering team, Tien, Jacky, Willyam, Ziyi, YuLing, Albert, Gilbert, Kaichern, Joanne, Min Hau, Bok, Ziling, Melvin and Qixiang, I have never seen such a fun bunch of people be4 in my life. You guys are my motivation and inspiration to strive for the best during rag. Seeing the comical way u guys interact with each other and all the antics you guys pulled off never ceased to make me laugh. Special thanks to Gilbert for doing my (horrendous) claddings and listening to all my rubbish and rantings. Thanks to YuLing jie for not charging me for calling her name and gave me great advice and motivational speeches.

To the Crazily-chaotic costume department, Vivi, Ranbo and Steph, thanks for making such great costumes. I really loved the green rafflesia collar thing and the Maori mother fur-coat thing.

To the Dynamic-duo Dance choreographers, Deo and Carol, really awesome job by you guys. Thanks for helping us to complete the storyline, coordinating the mechanisms and adding toppings to the cake that is KRohanga!. The dance performance part, I must say, is the most New Zealand-ish part of the whole performance. The cheerleading part and the poi-Haka part is the coolest among all other halls.

I joined rag, expecting to fill up the empty 3-month-long vacation. What I got in return, are valuable experiences on how to handle stress, managing relationships with people around you, and most importantly bunch of great friends that I can gladly and proudly call my brothers and sisters.

9 comments:

KeNsHiN_kAm said...

Wonderful reflection JJ! Congratulations to you n your team for the great success of krohanga! Remember to pass down the wonderful experience!

Cheers,
Wilson Kam

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