By Benjamin Lim (19S03I), Mabel Yet (19S03Q), Shervon Lee (19S06A), Rachel Lee (19A01D), and Caryn Chiah (19A01A)
Photos courtesy of Raffles Photographic Society
This is Part 1 of our Y5 Orientation 2019 coverage, covering Batch Dance, Station Games, War Games and O’Nite!
6:55am: From our view inside the MPH, we could already see groups of Y5s milling outside the hall, buzzing with excited chatter that stood in contrast to the “it’s too early” lethargy of their OGLs. But hyped these OGLs must be! And so a few moments before the doors opened, pop music filled the hall and the OGLs scrambled to their feet, all ready to welcome the new batch of OGlings with warmth.
This year, Y5 Orientation kicked off on 7 Feb and lasted 4 days, with a weekend in between for Orientation Groups (OGs) to go out if they so desired. Despite the lively atmosphere in the MPH, the jitters in the air were palpable as the OGlings took their first hesitant steps into the hall and sat within groups of unfamiliar faces. Unsurprisingly, awkwardness and shyness were common as the OGlings attempted to make timid conversation with their new-found OG mates, people whom they would find themselves growing quite attached to in the days to come.
Here’s a quick question-
When did the OGLs finish choreographing Batch Dance?
- 4 weeks before Orientation
- 6 weeks before Orientation
- 8 weeks before Orientation
Well, it’s none of the above. It was actually around 3 months before Orientation even started! Shortly after the Project Work Oral Presentations, 25 young people met to decide how cringe the Batch Dance would be (Two Is Better Than One definitely topped the charts).
After much recommendations and voting: 2002 by Anne-Marie, Rewrite The Stars by Zendaya and Zac Efron, When Can I See You Again? by Owl City and Lucky Strike by Maroon 5 were selected as the final songs for Batch Dance. (YAY!)
Though the OGLs in Dance Comm are generally experienced in dance, it must be said that dancing to pre-choreographed songs (such as some of the songs performed during O’Nite) is really, quite different from choreographing a song from scratch.
Each song took around 1 hour and 30 minutes to choreograph, and it was a long and tiring process to ensure that the Batch Dance would be reasonably easy to learn and master, while still retaining its visual appeal.
Once the choreography was finalised, the Dance Comm OGLs had to teach the Sun Dance to the rest of the OGLs, which would be performed on every morning of Orientation. Many OGLs were excited to learn the Sun Dance; as Crystal Cheong (19S03K) put it, “Learning the Sun Dance was great fun, because it made me excited knowing that I could finally learn the moves, as well as make all the OGLings feel excited for each day of Orientation.”
With the teaching of Sun Dance completed, the Dance Comm OGLs were faced with the next challenge of teaching the Batch Dance. Teaching roughly 1300 new Rafflesians proved to be no mean feat, but the OGLs in Dance Comm are definitely proud of everyone who tried their best and had fun!
Val Yeo (20S03O) mentioned how “Batch Dance was not easy to learn but it was great fun” and that “[she and her] dance partner really enjoyed dancing it for O’Nite with [her] OG.”
Michelle Chia (20S06A) also had a great time, for, as she put it, “(The OGLings) bonded over the shared awkwardness”, while Jolene Yeo (20S06S) added, “it was an enjoyable learning experience to dance” and that “[she] got to know [her] OG mates so much better through Batch Dance.”
The many positive comments from the OGLings and OGLs definitely made all the efforts by Dance Comm worthwhile!
Keep dancing everybody!
On the afternoons of days 1 and 2, the 80-odd station games OGLs sneaked away from their OGs and scattered themselves all over the school,
wreaking havoc scrambling to arrange tables and chairs before the OGlings came swarming in. This year saw the introduction of four never-before-seen games: Trivia, Dynamic Room, Silent Imposters and Handball, allowing OGlings to not only use their legs but their brain power too!
Moments after the OGLs got their stations functioning, OGs soon began to flood the different locations around the campus, filling the school with shrieks of laughter. From strategizing how best to kill off another OG’s battleships with balls, to acting out nonsensical scenarios (and coming up with the most questionable guesses), to trying to get out of a tangle of interlaced strings while holding hands, Station Games was arguably one of the main highlights of the Orientation experience.
Despite it being one of the first few activities of Orientation, the OGlings were already bantering back and forth with each other as if they’d known each other for years. And while some OGlings seemed more reserved and subdued at the start, it was heartwarming to see them leave in hopeless fits of laughter, high fiving their fellow OG mates as they trooped out together.
The games were also designed in a way to foster teamwork between the OGlings. “During the Hula Hoop game, people who weren’t playing helped by cheering and directing the [blindfolded] players where to aim the hoop,” Charisse Lee (20S03B) recalled.
Christine Sim (20S07A) added, “[The players] were […] so blindly motivated by our shouts of “in front! No! Not there!” [which] made it really fun.”
Of course, the OGLs were, at the same time, having as much or even more fun than the Y5s. “On the 2nd day, it was drizzling slightly, so the dodgeball OGLs decided to perform the Sun Dance in front of the OGlings,” OGL Dylan Kaw (19S03Q) shared. “Amazingly, the rain came to a stop!”
Of course, not all was smooth-sailing behind the fun and laughter of these two days. Since there were a whopping 36 stations all around school, one can only begin to imagine the sheer amount of effort put into ensuring all these stations ran like clockwork during Orientation. “Managing logistics was really hard,” Amy Lin (19A01B), Station Games IC, related, “It was tough keeping track of all the equipment, especially since a lot of them had to be loaned from other parties like the PE Department. As War Games and Station Games combined logistics, we also had to pass equipment like balls and tags back and forth very frequently.”
As Station Games was the biggest subcomm with over 80 OGLs, getting the whole pack down for a full dry run during the holidays was close to impossible as well. Admittedly, some of the stations weren’t 100% flawless and did require spontaneous maintenance and quick-wittedness from their ICs! Nonetheless, the enthusiasm displayed by the OGlings from all 36 stations around school proved that the hard work was more than worth it.
The weekend served as a buffer for OGLings to rest up and recuperate before coming back for an intense two days of War Games. Decked out in their house shirts on Monday, OGLings were introduced to the games at individual House Hours, before being thrown straight into the game areas for the next few hours.
Clash of the Centipedes had OGLings putting tags into their shorts and heading out to the field. As there are no limits to the number of centipedes, OGLings were all involved in the game, and in fact, OGLs observed some rather bizarre happenings: OGLings were observed hugging and even lifting a fellow OGLing to steal their tag!
In the ISH, right beside the sweaty and tiring game on the field was an aggressive game of Infinity War. Each house had pairs of ‘Black Orders’ who held balloons in the playing field, trying to steal other balloons or musical shards (while popping many balloons in the process). Thanos’ appearance invited even more balloon popping, putting the ISH in mayhem. OGLings were constantly avoiding other pairs of ‘Black Orders’, blowing up balloons at their base, and jumping around while screaming. Safe to say, from the noise alone, it was clear that everyone was enjoying themselves.
The last day of Orientation got off to a banging start as OGLings were given cloth bands to tie around their arms/heads to differentiate the houses. The ISH was converted into a big battlefield for Balls of Fury. If the name itself wasn’t aggressive enough, one of the OGLings even brutally hit a war games OGL referee in her face with a volleyball! (Fortunately, she recovered soon afterwards.) Safety, however, still came first – if even one OGLing from a house was wearing a watch, the house was sent off instantly. In this house, we support safety.
For those who were waiting for the magical touch, Quidditch is here to stay. Much like in Harry Potter, snitches provided many points when it was caught, and OGLings were seen sprinting after every snitch. The OGLs acting as snitches surely have never been chased by that many people before! Some of them were even tackled to the ground by the OGLings’ sheer determination to catch them. (Don’t worry though, no one was gravely injured in the process.)
As games that involved large groups of people, War Games took a long time to coordinate and finalise. In fact, War Games ICs – Zihan (19A01A), Yanlin (19S03L), Yuqi (19S06O) and Jiaqi (19S03I) started preparation in October last year! After a few dry runs in December and January, the final four war games were chosen. Balls of Fury and Infinity War, being new games, were trialed by your OGLs, who came down in the December holidays or on Saturdays, to ensure that the rules were reasonable and easy to follow. (We had quite a bit of fun, too!)
“During dry runs, it was physically taxing to ensure that everyone knew what the rules were, and what roles they had to play,” Yanlin commented. Besides trying out the games, introductory videos were also filmed at these dry runs. The ICs speak for the OGLs when they say that it was most enjoyable watching OGLings enjoy themselves, going hard into the games and fighting to get as many points for their house as possible.
IC Zihan sums it up quite nicely, “In many ways, your entire JC journey will be like an extended war game, incredibly fun, but also possibly frenzied and chaotic. We genuinely hope that you enjoyed the games as much as you will enjoy the two exciting years ahead!”
O’Nite! Somewhat counterintuitively, O’Nite, the largest event of Orientation, took place on the final evening of Capriccio ‘19. The culmination of months of preparation and practice (particularly by dedicated Dance Comm members) saw OGLings and OGLs dazzle their batchmates with meticulously choreographed dance pieces (or skillfully-crafted cardboard costumes).
As OGs squeezed into the hall for a final time, their circles a little messier with the addition of creative and bulky costumes, the excitement which OGLings had carried with them from the first day of Orientation was tempered with the awareness that this was the last official event of Capriccio’19. Nevertheless, it was with enthusiasm that OGLings cheered on the first act of the night – the dance-off.
Over the past few days, OGLings had learnt four batch dances (with many OGLings struggling through the complicated steps). Now however, twenty talented young students impressed everyone with their mastery of the dances. Notably, the roars and whoops from the crowd reached a fever-pitch when a new piece of music was unexpectedly played and contestants jumped straight into an improvised piece.
The next act was the costume competition. Based on their OG emblems, their costumes, if not quite an OG identity (themes were after all, chosen by OGLs), saw the unique personalities of each OG really shine through. From the masterful to the truly wacky, the audience was left amazed and amused by the short skits and costumes put up by the OGs. This year, transport-themed costumes were all the rage, with OGs dressing up as a train, an MRT, ships and a plane. Other noteworthy pieces included cockatoo costumes fashioned from paper plates, complete with a tropical jungle setting, and a mildly violent chilli-sauce assembly line. It was clear that OGLings had had immense fun crafting these costumes, with one particular OG adding that they had had an OG outing over the weekend to obtain materials for their costumes.
After that was the cheer-off. One by one, the five houses leapt to their feet to demonstrate their house spirit to the rest of the school, stamping their feet or clapping their hands in time to the cheers. Most of the cheers also involved unusual hand-gestures of some sort. (We can all recall MT’s exuberant bandana waving.) The cheers ranged from short and sweet, to long and dramatic (MT again). Whatever the case, these four days had imbued OGLings with a strong sense of pride in their house.
It goes without saying that the next act slated to perform hyped the crowd up for the emotional climax of the day. Rock, known for their highly energetic performances, did not disappoint at any point of time during their set, which included the quintessential rave track Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon, a staple of any school rock rave.
Finally, to some of the largest cheers of the night, Dance Comm took to the stage. For the next twenty minutes, OGLings sat in rapt silence, broken only by wild roars at particularly skillful dance moves. Coming onto stage in groups, or pairs, or individually, Dance Commers showed off their polished (sometimes seemingly impossible) moves, and their equally adept wardrobe changes. Such a stunning performance had not come without sacrifice—Dance Commers spent many days of the December holiday planning and practicing for the event. Late night practices also meant that many of them had had to skip OG dinners, missing out on OG bonding time. Yet for the final product, most would agree that it was worth it.
As the Dance Comm performance drew to a close, the hall erupted into thunderous applause. OGLings drifted out of the hall in tight groups, heading for OG dinners, organizing OG outings and promising to come to school early for the quintessential OG table experience. Orientation 2019 might be over, but for these OGLings, their time with their OGs was far from it, and most were glad to embark on their two year journey here with their new group of friends.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Y5 Orientation 2019 coverage!