By Ng Ziqin (20S03H)
The Albert Hong Hall isn’t a place which many RI (Y5–6) students set foot in on a regular basis. It’s quite different from the Multipurpose Hall (MPH) on our side of the school. For one, the main entrance is elevated above the main chamber of the Hall by a flight of steps, the stage partially obscured by a low ceiling.
With steps like these, any entrance feels like a grand entrance.
The theme of this year’s Batch Night was evident from the get-go, with councillors stationed at the door to hand out finger lights and glow sticks. ‘Lumos’, as most Potterheads would know from the simple spell which performs roughly the same function as an iPhone flashlight, comes from the Latin word lux. Here tonight, gold balloons and strings of fairy lights lined the railings, and the step lights had been turned on. The cozy yellow lights bathed the room in a warm, hazy glow, simulating all the idyllic charm of tealight candles without the fire hazard.
With Promos, PW, and H3 applications behind us, ‘Lumos’ seems like a fitting way to describe the current mood—light. And undeniably, the upcoming school holidays feel like the light at the end of the tunnel to most after what has been a long year, a time to relax and unwind. In short, ‘light’ feels like such a natural way to end of the school year that it came as a huge surprise when I learned that ‘Lumos’ wasn’t the first theme that the organising theme explored for Batch Night.
“Our first idea for the theme was rejected, but I think we bounced back pretty quickly afterwards and came up with this second theme,” said Liyana Afiqah (20S03I), a member of the Batch Night 2019 Organising Committee. “It was quite fun to plan this event, because we were given the budget to do anything we wanted for the batch!”
So, what did ‘anything’ look like?
‘Anything’ was booths where popcorn and cotton candy were distributed, a live hotdog station, and free ice cream. ‘Anything’ was a face painting station at one corner of the Hall, where Council’s resident make-up artist Celest Teng (20S06I) and her team of dedicated ‘beauticians’ turned their fellow batchmates’ faces into living canvases with glow-in-the-dark face paints.
“Celest is the best because she’s an actual make-up artist,” explained Shayne Phee (20S03R), one of the non-Celest Council members on duty at the face painting booth. “The rest of us are just noobs.”
‘Anything’ was friendly football and basketball matches, a screening of childhood favourite WALL-E (2008), a photo booth outside the hall, and standing around in the middle of the hall, having conversations with long-lost Y1–2 classmates. There was plenty to do and plenty to see; something for everybody.
Even some non-Y5s came by to get in on the action. Former Council Vice-President, Tan Huiying (19S06O), dropped by the Albert Hong Hall to support her juniors and take a much-needed break from studying for her ‘A’ level examinations.
“Like honestly, it’s because I take PCME and this morning my Physics paper ended, and I don’t want to study, so here I am. And I guess I’m also here for the memories because I was in charge of certain parts of Batch Night last year, ” she said cheerfully. She strongly encouraged me to “have fun, and eat more hot dogs”.
The evening started off with a round of heartfelt performances by Daryl Teoh (20A13A), Beth Lim, Warren Wong, and Nicole Lim (20S03I), Alex Han (20S06H) and Tristan Tan (20S03K).
Forming ‘three-fifths’ of a PW group, Beth, Warren, and Nicole are a band with interesting vocals and an even more interesting backstory.
“We’re a PW group and we always sing together, so we thought that this would be a good place to perform after PW,” said Beth.
The vocal performances were followed by a dynamic number by Raffles Street Dance which saw creative interpretations on catchy numbers. Replete with flashy moves and many costume changes, highlights of this segment included a powerful handstand, a dramatic choreography set to ‘Nails, Hair, Heels, Hips’ which incorporated dry ice, and of course, who could forget the ending number ‘Now Or Never’, where seven male dancers showed us that Raffles Basketball isn’t the only CCA around here who can do some fancy footwork with an orange and black ball.
On the heels of that stunning performance came the moment everyone had been waiting all year for: final house placings!
But instead of simply reading out the results, the House Captains were determined to milk the moment for all the drama it was worth. After a hair-raising rendition of ‘Thank You, Next’, a video reveal was shown. But first came a title card spelling out ‘House Recap’ in flashing letters, which segued into a walk down memory lane of all the important house events—Orientation, Dramafeste, and the Team Raffles Games—filling us with that warm, fuzzy feeling.
And then, we were reminded of just why we were being shown these nostalgic moments.
‘It all comes down to this moment.’
The words flashed across the screen ominously, heightening the atmosphere of suspense. House placings were gradually revealed via a series of blinking colours, which appeared in bands across the screen.
Finally, we were down to the last two bands. HHians and BBians held their breaths, as the screen flashed between green and purple indecisively in a moment reminiscent of a Bruce Banner/Hulk transformation.
“HH hu? HUTALU!” shouted Dillon Teo (20S03G), clearly unable to contain his excitement when HH was ultimately proclaimed the Overall Champion House of 2019 via blinking ribbon, much to the disappointment of the BBians present. They have the ‘best house colours’, and now, House Champion too?
Students were free to do what they wanted between 7.30 and 8.40 pm. Most remained in the hall, if the snaking queue for hot dogs and ice cream were any indication, while the more athletically-inclined headed outdoors for a round of friendly ball games at the basketball court and Astroturf in the crisp night air. An announcement was made regarding a lost wallet which was eventually reunited with its owner, Roland Win (20A01C), within minutes, a happy ending for all involved.
Council members kept busy throughout the night, distributing food, painting faces, refereeing games, and handing out party favours. At one point, Council Vice-President Jesper Loo (20S03N) was found assembling hot-dogs to feed the hungry masses. At several points, Ma Fanghe (20S06L) strode across the length of the hall, proffering a nearly empty box of finger lights to people he met on his way. And Alexander Ang (20S03Q), one of the planning committee members, was repeatedly unavailable for comment despite several attempts made by this reporter to track him down; he constantly seemed to be running in circles around the Albert Hong Hall, perpetually on one errand or another.
“Can give me five minutes?”
– Alex Ang
This was a fact which did not go unnoticed by his colleagues at the face-painting station, who shouted, “Don’t stress!” as he sprinted past them en route to the exit.
The night ended with an electric set by Raffles Rock. Students crowded towards the front of the stage, waving their finger lights and glow sticks in the air. The performers had remarkable stage presence and energy, transforming the tranquil night into a rave with crowd favourites and classic anthems to the tune of ‘Believer’, ‘Mr Brightside’, and ‘We Are Young’. A sea of Rafflesians bobbed in time to the beat, the golden balloons released from the gallery by Council members floating up and down like lanterns against a night sky.
Thank you for making Batch Night 2019 a night to remember!
Final House Rankings