By: Jason Lun Leung
Photos: Louis Lim
First of all, why KEWOC?
I was in KEWOC the year before, as a publicity member, and I had thoroughly enjoyed it. I love getting in touch with the freshmen and serving them. I especially think of the foreigners who come to Singapore for their studies and are still disorientated. KEWOC gives me the opportunity to make their crucial first few days here more enjoyable, and less of a hassle.
This actually does not need to consist of any grand actions, and one of the best memories I have is of the freshmen coming to say how much they appreciated KEWOC members being there to help with moving their luggage. This quite simple gesture is a perfect illustration of how KEWOC allows me to help the freshmen in a way that is truly fulfilling.
KEWOC is a very fun committee to join. The activities and games were all a real pleasure, and, for this, my entire crew must take credit. They really did a great job. =D
Another thing I find interesting is how those crucial first days in hall can shape the freshmen’s whole hall stay, and, as KEWOC, I get to influence those to a great extent. With school and the heavy workload, students can get in a routine very easily, so, orientation is one of those rare periods when they are truly open-minded and free enough to make friends.
How did you get to this year’s theme? What was your inspiration?
Voyage. Ken Juin, my programmes head, and I came up with this idea. It does sound a bit cliché, but it truly is a fact of life. It suits the orientation time so well, in so many different ways. This is a way of acknowledging how, at this point in time, KE has the occasion to be an impactful moment for great change in the freshmen’s life. As freshmen, we all have had very different paths, and we will most probably go very different ways in the future also. Yet, at this precise moment, our roads crossed in this KEVII hall, and the KEWOC team was there to make sure that this convergence was fun as much as it is meaningful.
A plus point was that voyage was in line with this year’s float theme. Flag also joined in and this is how this year, the major committees got to have ship-related logos. Nice bonus.
How do you feel about the whole KEWOC experience, now that it is over?
I would have to concede it is a mixed feeling. One part of me heaves a long sigh of relief. KEWOC is really draining some times, and I do feel happy that it all finished without any major problems. The other part of me still longs for the times that I had with our people: laughing at each other, doing silly things, getting high at not sleeping! J Ultimately, my heartfelt thanks must go to my committee people, whom without them, this year’s orientation will not come into existence.
Could you share some of the difficulties encountered with us?
Without doubt, the red tape is the major hassle. Getting all our plans approved by OSA, OSHE and SCRC was very difficult. They have lots of guidelines and rules that people would not really imagine, and complying with all of them is quite a feat. But thankfully, after revisions and reviews, we managed to pull it off, ensuring that there are no ragging elements in the orientation.
The scheduling was quite problematic also, with this year’s orientation clashing with the matriculation fairs. On top of that, because our programme is not compulsory, which leaves us dependent on the freshmen being willing to join in of their own free will. This is quite stressful, but then, when they do come in numbers, it really is a great joy and victory for us KEWOC people.
Describe one moment that stands out during the pre- orientation week period.
The dry runs for all the games! Not only are the games themselves very fun but this is also when we get to bond as a team and learn more about each other. Thinking back about it, it’s amazing how far we have come, from those first days when it was still a little awkward to the end when we were all having fun.
Describe one such moment during the orientation week itself.
I was extremely pleased when I saw the freshmen cheer so enthusiastically among their tribes. Up to that point, KEWOC is mostly about planning and advance work. Orientation week is when we get to know how productive our efforts have been. As such, the cheers are tangible proof that our work has achieved its goal.
Ultimately, KEWOC aims to make the freshmen acculturated into KE, develop a strong hall sense and make friends with all those new people they meet. When I saw the freshmen being so enthusiastic, I really felt proud and happy. It truly makes you forget the difficulties you have been through to get to this point.
Tell us about one memorable moment from post orientation week.
Obviously, post orientation week, I was just relieved that all was over. By that time, I was very tired and had to settle my sleep debts. But one thing I remember fondly is seeing how people miss KEWOC. Here, I am talking about how the committee members will still go to the KEWOC room. It’s something we do not usually realise, but KEWOC does grow on us, and when it’s all over, we miss it. After spending so much time together planning and discussing in that room over those many weeks, we do bond together as a team, which is why we have this ‘something-is-missing’ feeling in the first days after it ends.
But aside from that, we also have to move on. And for KEWOC, that means helping float and flag people, who by then, are steadying themselves for their critical phase. I am extremely glad that this year’s ROCKE committee have done such a good job!
One thing you would do differently, if you were given the chance.
I think I would recruit more girls. Having too many guys is not good for the group dynamics. Haha.
Do you have any advice to give to the next committee?
More girls. Haha.
But seriously, KEWOC is a very fulfilling job. Like most of those, it is very taxing at times, but the rewards are seriously worth it. While the completion of task is important, the welfare of people is of higher priority. Care for people and show them you sincerely value them. Learn to love your people. They will love you back. This is something that I have learnt. =D