DND 12′: Fear, A Contestant’s Experience

Written by Zachary Low

Edited by Celine Yeap

The room is cold: the air-conditioning is at full blast. Yasmin, Ashley and Jen are curled up in decidedly unglamorous foetal positions on the floor, seeking whatever warmth they can find in layers of fabric. Alex and Wesley, with makeup already on, are reading their lecture notes. Jack is wearing a singlet, sleeping in a chair, oblivious to the cold. Isaac entertains the rest of the world. While Mel and Celine are having their makeup done, I mentally slap myself for not bringing anything to do.

Pageant girls (spot Yasmin and Ashley behind the chairs) and me, foaming hard.

Two hours later and I am regretting my decision to let everyone else get their makeup done first – I suffer the ignominy of having nine other people laughing at my pained expression as my face becomes the slightly unwilling canvas of the makeup artist. But a miracle happens and in ten minutes I am the gleeful owner of rust-orange eyebrows and blue eyeshadow. We move backstage and await the beginning of the pageant themed catwalk segment of the evening’s entertainment.

The powers of make up

This is it: DND at last! No more late night dance practices, later night photoshoots, strange games, costume fitting, catwalk training, et cetera. On the 25th of March, as KEVIIans gathered for the annual dinner and dance, I stood backstage, relieved that the entire pageant process would be ending soon.

Life is tough when you’re backstage. You can’t eat the food, for one. When finally released into the main hall, I descended upon the food, inhaling whatever was on my plate. I must admit that the excellent fare was a welcome change from the daily diet that we all enjoy.

No magic show to watch – from backstage you can hear the oohs and aahs of the crowd.

One must wonder what Mitchell is smiling about.

Also, you can’t see Shaam and Ryan strut their stuff as the emcees for the day. Life is tough.

I did, however, enjoy myself immensely in being allowed to prance around like the Mad Hatter.

But DND isn’t just about the show. It’s also about the people in hall. An occasion to dress up and where everyone is licenced to break normal social etiquette: where else can you see Andy Sim wearing pseudo-diapers? At this point one must stop to ponder what walking back to hall in that outfit must have felt like. Other than the slightly disturbing (in addition to the abovementioned example, please also refer yourself to pictures of the winner of the ‘most sexily dressed female’), there was a huge variety of other costumes on display, from chained-up ghosts, MIB agents wielding Nerf guns and Super Soakers, and even a gang of Al-Ameen delivery bikers. I suspect that the rampant photo-taking that was going on had something to do with all this dressing up.

Al-Ameen delivery bikers – did they bring the naan?

Please explain the physics behind your… weapons?

This night of debauchery fun was punctuated by the MAB awards ceremony, which saw Lok Liangxun and Jen Yeh taking home the Freshman and Freshgirl/Freshlady/Freshwoman/Fresh-I-don’t-know-if-there’s-a-specific-term of the Year awards respectively, and Eddie Tan receiving the Outstanding KEVIIan Award, among others. The night’s activities ended with the crowning of our very own Hall King and Queen: Isaac Chay and Ashley Tong of CD Block.

Liangxun - our freshman of the year!

Jen - our freshman (female) of the year!

Ashley and Isaac - Hall Queen and King

As DND concludes and people move out of the ballroom to begin a new round of photo-taking, it becomes a hugely communal activity, a celebration of the friendships forged over the year. Group photos for the different blocks spark off new cries for various CCAs to gather to take more group photos. The lobby of the Kent Ridge Guild House becomes a space in which KEVIIans affirm and immortalize their friendships through the vehicle of a digital camera. A very noisy space, no doubt, but  a space in which a warm, fuzzy feeling manifests itself. Perhaps this is why people indicate their ‘home’ on their Facebook profiles as 1A Kent Ridge Road.

Even amidst the rush and preparation for the proverbial crunch that is the Finals (with a capital F, mind you), I find myself looking forward to going to DND – just another reminder on why hall life is such an enriching experience.

Speaking of enriching, the acquisition of the ‘Mr Sexy’ title also came with a voucher from New Urban Male. One must wonder how these two equate. The prim and proper Zachary Low, confronted with the prospect of entering a NUM store, is at a loss of what to do. Maybe you can help.


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