Writer: Jonathan Chan
Photos by: Kelvin Anggara
One of the first few things all of us, as newly-minted KE freshmen, learnt is that sleep is a second priority in hall. CCAs comes first, school work occasionally comes first, and fun comes first! And so it is that the freshmen were initiated into this practice this year through Night Cycling 2009!
Night cycling is one of the post-orientation activities involving the freshmen as well as seniors, both past and present, allowing generations of KEVIIans to bond with each other through the ardous process of cycling through the night as well as to experience the novelty of skimming along deserted paths and roads in the cool of the night. It was probably for one or the other of these reasons that over 150 people signed up for this activity – from the freshmen who wanted more OG and block bonding after orientation, to graduated seniors looking to stay involved with the hall.
Night cycling has a few different very distinct phases. 7.15 marked the start of the Early Phase, with KEVIIans sitting in the Comm Hall talking, getting to know one another. KEWOC members and group leaders scrambled around making sure everyone had their equipment, dinner, and were appropriately attired. Before long, the last checks were made and we were whizzed off to East Coast Parkway by bus.
A cool sea breeze greeted us as we jaywalked (whoops) across East Coast Service Road to reach the bicycle rental shop. Some of us dived into the shop to buy last minute stocks of water, while others gazed at the rows and rows of bikes. Some, in an act of supreme randomness, like a few F-blockers who got bored, decided to try climbing a nearby tree with low, handy branches.
But paperwork having been sorted out, we progressed to the Enthusiastic Phase – KEVIIans made their last stops in the toilet, conducted their own warm-ups, and were soon underway, whizzing along East Coast Park in an endless row of flashing red and white lights.
The group that I followed laughed and sang as we went past Bedok Jetty, whirled along the coastal road, then wove through Changi Beach. I listened to Wenhao sing to the night life, and, together with Geri Foo, watched with sadistic glee as JianSheng dropped his bag squarely in an anomalous puddle of water on the otherwise-dry path.
Another thing which freshmen learn is the value of food in the wee hours of the night. And, motivated by stomachs which were rumbling as enthusiastically as the cyclists were singing, with these familiar (for seniors at least) late night pangs by the time we had traversed the coast roads, we swept into Changi Village for the Eating Phase. Those with finer palates went off to search for the famous Nasi Lemak, while those who could not abide the long queues went for more mundane, but nevertheless welcome, Char Kway Teow and Fried Rice. Bowls of ice kachang and cans of Red Bull also replenished the hungry KEVIIans.
The Post-Eating Stoning Phase followed as we went to the beach and lay down gazing at the not-so-starry sky, as well as familiar landmarks like Pulau Ubin (and Tekong for the Singaporean guys). Adrian and Louis both saw meteors from the Northern sky, went into transports of delight and forgot to make their wishes. Others talked and laughed. For myself, I promptly fell asleep.
Games Phase followed, as we backtracked to the coast road. On that long and empty stretch of road there was enough space for the hundred-odd members to indulge in games such as charades, dog-and-bone, and a list of riddles cold enough to compete with the aircon in the Incubation Room. Laughter melded with the roar of the airplanes spooling up for takeoff just across the road and the KEVIIans flung themselves wholeheartedly into the games, even as the proverbial clock ticked towards 5 am.
The ride back to ECP was much more muted compared to the earlier journey, as we fought against sleep and muscle fatigue on the long road back to where we started. But survive we did and 7 am, 12 hours after we gathered in the communal hall, found us in ECP Macdonalds having breakfast and waiting for the buses to arrive. Within the hour, we were once more safely ensconced in KE Hall, showering liberally then collapsing gratefully back into our beds.
Night Cycling 2009 was certainly an experience to remember. Many thanks to KEWOC and the different volunteers for organizing, and may all the participants remember the fun and friends which they made.