By Johnathan Lim (23S03M)
On the first week of February, the Welfare Department of the Student’s Council pushed out FAM 一 a week-long initiative that forever cements our friendships in blurry polaroids and warm and fuzzy sentiments.
Four distinct booths over three whole days? You may be wondering, why even do this in the first place? Well, amidst the hustle and bustle of school life, we often don’t get the opportunity to show our appreciation to our friends. FAM essentially serves as a nice excuse for you to ride Zoomoovs, make matching keychains and write notes of appreciation to your friends.
“As a department, we think it is important to have different booths to serve different purposes and different target groups.“Welfare’s External Department Head, Zhao Jiankai (23A01B)
Even for the more affectionate of friends, forging such memories seems to be an expensive luxury. Nevertheless, FAM comes to the rescue by making such an experience accessible (and affordable) for all forms of friendships within the school.
What’s all the fuss about?
To call the booths attractive would be an understatement. Every booth amassed massive crowds, sometimes even before the booths were officially opened.
While on site, I decided to get to the bottom of why so many people attended such events. I asked my classmates why they thought there was so much pull to these events:
“Free stuff.“Lee Chong Ray (23S03M), when asked why he thought so many people came to this event.
But there were also a multitude of other reasons why FAM drew such enormous crowds.
For one, Tan Jing Jie (23S03K) thought it was important “to celebrate our friends.” Similar sentiments were echoed, and understandably so, given the recent end of Orientation and the increasing intensity of school life, with many streaming in with their OG mates, friends from class, CCAs and even VIAs.
In a similar vein, many participants also were interested in collecting feathers, particularly for the Zoomoov on Thursday, which cost 10 feathers per entry.
Nonetheless, let’s go through some of the highlights of the booths during FAM week.
Photo Booth @ Hodge Lodge (Monday and Tuesday)
The Hodge Lodge was abuzz with nerves and exclamations of “how are we going to pose?”. And understandably so, considering the limited number of polaroids in contrast with the high demand for them, to the point where the doors of Hodge Lodge were locked almost an hour before the Photo Booth’s official closing hour on the first day.
Nevertheless, groups of friends were quickly ushered to and from the photo booth by councillors on crowd control duty, with only a few shots of their creative poses to be eventually developed into foggy time capsules.
FAM Package Making @ Canteen Atrium (Monday and Tuesday)
Sometimes, your appreciation for your friends brims to the point where only minute-long monologues can do it justice. However, instead of bombarding your friends with random awkward speeches about how much you appreciate them, why not write a note at FAM?
Only have flimsy A4 paper? Note looks too bland? FAM had you covered, with quality letter papers, an array of decorative tape and quirky stickers readily available for you to pepper your notes with.
You just had to write the name and class of your friend, pick a photo of your choice, and violà, your work here was done. Your note, swiftly packaged with a selection of snacks in brown paper bags, would later brighten up their Thursday morning.
On a similar note, in the spirit of building a more inclusive and welcoming Rafflesian family, participants were also encouraged to write heartwarming letters to anonymous Rafflesians, sharing the warmth with the larger Rafflesian family beyond those who received notes from their friends at the package-making booth.
Shrink Film Keychains @ Hodge Lodge
Stepping into the Hodge Lodge, you might (again) have felt disoriented by the horde of participants inhabiting the various desks and corners.
Here’s how you could have made your own customised keychain.
Step 1: Gather resources.
Obtain a shrink film, key chain hook, template designs (or your creativity) and coloured markers before finding one of the tables to get to work!
Step 2: Trace out your design
Layer your shrink film over template designs or cute clipart of objects and cartoons on your phone screen, so you can get tracing.
Step 3: Bake in oven
Cut out your design and punch a hole near the edge. Approach one of the councillors to get your design baked into a fully-fledged keychain.
Add your keychain hook and… you’re done!
Zoomoov @ Amphitheatre
Arguably the most anticipated activity of FAM, the booth had Rafflesians accumulating feathers all week to be able to ride Zoomoov vehicles/animals with their friends. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at the Zoomoov booking website, and you would be greeted with rows of fully booked slots.
This unique activity stood out among the (relatively) more conventional keychain-making and note-writing booths, which begs the question: why Zoomoov? Well, the answer lies in how unprecedented Zoomoov was, attracting Rafflesians to FAM with its sheer novelty.
“…create fond memories that friends can reminisce over when they graduate and look back on their time in school, when they rode Zoomoovs in the middle of school.”Zhao Jiankai (23A01B)
Screams of delight echoed throughout the amphitheatre following every coin insert that activated a Zoomoov. Participants even began putting their own spin on the activity, spicing up their five-minute ride with Zoomoov races and games of catching.
Participants lining up to prepare for a race.
Ten feathers in exchange for five minutes of unbridled joy? Sounds like a deal to me.
“It’s about drive, it’s about power.”Chime (23S05A)
“But mostly about drive.”Anamika (23A01A)
After one week of joy and laughter, FAM unfortunately came to an end. However, the memories encapsulated in smudged polaroids, customised keychains and photographs of your friends riding Zoomoovs will stand the test of time.