Sunday, 3 January 2010

HELP Orientation

It's Sunday and yesterday was my first day at HELP for the orientation. And we'll be having another one tomorrow, don't ask why. Class starts officially on Tuesday.

As I was saying, I got up at 6 (school time as usual), got dressed and everything and headed off to HELP since it started at 8. Reached at 7.30, sat in the car till 7.45 a.m. and promptly went off to register.

Which was good because after I finished registering, there were loads of people waiting to register as well. They had lines queued up alphabetically, and the first two lines (A-G and H-M or N) were bloody congested by the time the clock struck 8. So it was lucky I came early.

Was chatting on the phone with Erina dear who kept worrying that she was underdressed since she came in jeans and the girls she saw walking up to HELP wore mini-skirts. And then she got worried because she hasn't registered for HELP Jan Intake and she needed her dad's signature but he'd already left, claiming, and I quote Erina, that "You're a big girl now and you need to be independant."

Then Lou came by, and she lined up for her registration while Erina was busy panicking over her predicament. Somehow we met Chow Ern, Ivory and Ivan at the registration. Bit surprised really. I thought there were more Taman SEA people going to HELP. Misconception, it seems.

We were hanging about the registration when they ushered us into the conference hall. So I left Lou behind and went ahead with Rin and Ivory. After debating where to sit ("I don't want to sit in the front!" from Erina) we decided on one of the rows near the entrance. Erina's friend Kevin was due ot arrive so we booked places: one for Chow Ern (Ernie, she insisted, apparently), Ivory, me, Erina and Kevin in that order. But after Ivory and Rin ciao to walk around a bit, someone came and took Ernie's place. Then this guy came and sat in Kevin's place.

Which was bad since I didn't know how to shoo them off. I'm normally not that tongue-tied but hey, first day in a place I don't know lah. Cut me some slack. Tried calling Rin but no, she just had to leave her phone in her oversized, bottomless, blackhole-esque bag....

...which was right next to me. *sighs*

After a while only did they come back with Ernie and Kevin in tow, but after seeing the helpless look on my face and the girl that took Ernie's place, Ivory and Ernie went to find seats at the back while Erina not-so-politely (OK, joking) shooed the fella out of Kevin's seat. Then since Ivory's seat was empty, I gestured at it and yep, he took the hint and sat down beside me. Felt a bit bad so I apologised and we exchanged names and a bit of general info.

It seems that he was Daniel Lim from Penang, where people had never heard of HELP before. He came to HELP 'cause 3 of his cousins were here, and he was staying quite near the college so he walks here every day. He reminded me a bit of William Tang only with nicer features. But personality-wise, he reminded me a lot of Ben.

Then in between pauses by the lecturer, I was introduced to Kevin and I intro-ed Erina to Daniel. After a bit though, Kevin had to go out to finish registering (dunno what that was all about) and he came back later but after the lecturer went through the A-Levels bit, we checked the schedule and saw they were going to give some business/law lecture which Kevin had no interest in so he left early. By that time it was around eleven so we decided to take a break and the five of us (me, Daniel, Rin, Ernie and Ivory) decided to go makan at some mamak store.

Only thing was, mamak store was closed, so we backtracked and bought some stuff from Giant, and Daniel was properly introduced to Ernie and Ivory. He got a bit confused over Rin's name ("Erica, is it?" "No it's Erina.") but she didn't seem to notice. So after our foodstuff we were bored and decided to go back and hear the lecture because, what the heck, it was air conditioned. So we came back in time for the law lecture, where the lady was telling us something called Citizen's Right of Arrest (I think).

According to this law, we citizens have a right to arrest perpetrators if we see a crime being commited and bring them to the balai polis where the police will re-arrest them. The thing they emphasised on was you had to SEE the crime, and view it, witness it, not based on hearsay. And she related this true story that happened due to the misunderstanding of the law.

'It's Saturday, right,' she said, 'and let's say, tomorrow, Sunday, you go to Lake Gardens. And this fellow is walking along there when he hears a woman shouting, "Help! Help! Help!" And no, she's not there to advertise us,' which really got us cracking up because she said the Help bit in such a droll, monotonous way it really did seem a lot more advertising and less crying for assistance. 'What do you think is going on with the woman?'

Someone shouted out, 'Robbery.'

She nodded. 'Robbery. Good. In the next class I heard them say, "Rape."'

Which was privately what I had in mind.

'And so he sees this man running off in the opposite direction. He went up and whacked the guy, and got people to come and help, and everyone started throwing him on the ground and tying up his hands and brought him to the police station...where they found out he just happened to be jogging.'

She continued to explained how it would be like if the jogger decided to bring the bunch of people to court and sue them. Really interesting bit. Would be nice to pursue.

After that we had this stupid ice-breaking session, which I absolutely abhorred. ("The only way I'll ever enjoy an ice-breaking session is if they give us a block of ice and a large knife!") First they got us girls to stand because the A-Levels student council secretary was (apparently) looking for a girlfriend. Then when he didn't rise up to the bait, the emcee (also in the student council) cheekily commented, 'OK then. Guys, stand up. He obviously prefers men,' which got everyone hooting.

The president of the SC had this green T-shirt on which had the words, 'Blow Me.' Me, Rin and Ernie were laughing at that. Then the PR guy for the SC (they've even got a bloody PR guy!) who was using the laptop plugged into the projector was busy typing out their names and contact numbers. He even typed the words "I'm single!!!!" under the president's cell phone number.

That got people laughing.

After ice-breaking we went on the campus tour which was bloody confusing. Daniel sat beside me on the bus and when we were walking, Erina and Ernie were busy comparing heights and Daniel was telling me, 'Erina's very tall.' After a bit he glanced in the general direction and said again, 'That blue shirt girl is taller than Erina.' A beat. 'Oh, she's wearing heels.'

The tour was okay, but it was seriously hot as an oven that day. They kept bringing us to see the facilities which, due to it being a Saturday, were closed. Then we'd have enough and a girl was saying, 'Is there anything else to see?'

The tour guide nodded. 'Yes, the library but it's closed today.'

'Oh,' the girl replied flippantly. 'One closed door looks the same as the others. Let's go back to the shuttle bus.' She seems really witty. One of Jen Wei's pals.

We were halfway through the tour when it started pouring so we rushed back into the shuttle bus back to the main campus. Bloody cramped. At least I managed to get a seat.

Moral of the story, kids: Run for the bus and take the first seat available.


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