By Hong Wan Jing (22S06F) and Shermaine Lim (22S03N)
Photographs by Raffles Photographic Society
Act 1: Sun Dance
The day began with the breaking of dawn, as golden rays of the sun dipped into the horizon, casting a warm glow across our very own RI campus. Nervous energy filled the air with an almost electrifying quality, courtesy of the unanimous anticipation felt by the newest addition to our school: the Year 5s.
In the beginning, the almost palpable tension seemed to saturate the rooms with shy glances and polite name exchanges taking place. That is, until the OGLings noticed their friendly OGLs panic in unison and dash out of the classroom, gathering along the A- and B-Block corridors. For those who happened to be in the vicinity on that particular Wednesday, loud music blasting through the speakers may have been heard alongside the raucous cheers of OGling and OGLs alike. Tension dissolved into excitement as the Sun Dance—the iconic OGL dance—began, symbolising the start of Orientation ’22: Wonderland.
Act 2: Good Time
Starting with icebreaker games, OGlings got the ball rolling through games such as Hot Potato and Bang. They learned various trivia and the names of their OGmates.
The activities then initiated the Y5s into the RI culture and House system. A popular online game Skribbl.io was played with a unique twist! Exclusively RI words such as “Teddy”, “Watermelon Steps” and “Chill” were used to familiarise Y5s with not only the school’s hardware but its “heartware” too. Team Raffles Hour and the tour of Raffles Archive Museum deepened Y5s’ understanding of RI’s storied 199-year culture. Strengthening their house spirit was the House Hour activities, which took place online and offline. A notable house initiative was organised by BBHD, as the Buckle-Buckley house members had to build their house mascot, the dragon Derby, out of cardboard.
Lastly, games that drove the Wonderland narrative home were planned in an oddly whimsical and original way. “Navigating the Rabbit Hole” was a game in which items allocated different points were scattered around the classroom. An OGling would be blindfolded and directed around the classroom by their group mates using codewords. The goal? To pick up items while avoiding “bombs” and “traps”. Particularly devious OGLs would learn their OGlings’ codewords and sabotage them, in wonderfully chaotic gameplay.
“Escape the Red Queen’s Castle” comprised 4 stations: Word Jumble, Caesar Cipher, Crack The Code, and Alphabet Sequence. The game started with an announcement by the OGLs: “The Red Queen wants to have a tea party. She has locked you in her castle until you find the teapot to unlock the door.” An image of a teapot was cut into 4, scattered across the classroom. OGlings had to piece them together to escape the classroom.
The new addition of these narrative games, in tandem with the daily narrative videos, infused the Wonderland theme into every day of Orientation. It created an impressive balance of theme and activity.
Act 3: Chasing The Sun
Dance has always been an integral aspect of Orientation activities, with a large segment of time being dedicated to the learning of batch dances every day.
As the dances increased in difficulty, OGLings inevitably found themselves daunted by this seemingly uphill battle. Besides overcoming the steep learning curve in a short amount of time, the OGlings also had to establish chemistry with their dance partner. However, trepidation soon faded into a sense of unity, as the OGLings found themselves focused on learning the choreography through screened tutorial videos.
All this culminated into the inter house dance off, where each OG sent one dance pair to compete with their fellow house members. In the spirit of house unity, the various dance pairs showed more camaraderie than competitiveness. OGs got to watch their friends dance through a MSTeams meet, where they supported their dancers by unmuting and raucously cheering them on.
As a resounding finale to the dance segment, selected pairs from the intrahouse dance off gathered at the PAC to compete in a final round of Interbatch Dance-Off. With the tantalising promise of victory within their reach, the Interbatch Dance-Off saw OGLings innovating their dances through either the addition of the steps and poses in the intro, or the choice of donning tinted sunglasses to perform. From additional choreographed partner interaction to interesting props/costumes, the creativity expressed brought this competition to new heights. As dance pairs clamoured to secure the ultimate victory, the ultimate gain was the newfound house pride that blossomed within their hearts.
Act 4: Wonderland
Just as Orientation 2022 drew to a close, the newly initiated Y5s found the proverbial end to the rabbit hole of their action-packed albeit short introduction to the school. For the last time as a full cohort, OGlings proudly donned their white Wonderland shirts. As a way to commemorate their initiation into RI, they collected autographs and passed appreciation boards to their OGLs.
At first, RI might have seemed like a deep, dark forest with its 2,400-strong school population and vast campus. As they made the transition to their new classes and CCAs post-orientation, it was hopeful that Y5s had pushed through the foliage to unearth Wonderland. Through the Wonderland narrative games, they learned valuable lessons. These included embarking on more unfamiliar routes and looking out for their peers. With these lessons and a newfound sense of confidence, Y5s were equipped with the equipment and skills to forage on through their Wonderland for the next two years.