Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Our reflection session on 22 Feb 09 (Sun)

The fond memories, the indelible experiences and best of all, the bonds we've fostered continue to linger even 2 months after we return from Cambodia. The journey of self-discovery and learning also continues on, unceasing, as we reflect and ask ourselves what we have gained, what we have learnt and how we are going to take tangible positive actions in our lives, here on out, not merely to exemplify our team vision of being “Leaders in Action” but fundamentally, for ourselves. For us to be better human beings, with personal growth and with contribution, compassion and service to the world.

So, on 22 Feb 09 (Sun), we gathered once more, not our first reflection session and certainly not the last. This time round, we look at moving forward, sharing about the power of dreams, the belief that 'we can!', and allow the emotions, thoughts and voices to surface, with imagination expanding the realm of possibilities. It was a heartfelt session with the youths, as we each in turn declared our goals for the year ahead, the path that we would carve. We believe in each other, and we believe in our future. We dare to believe enough to create.

Laughter, joy and nostalgia. The journey has spanned half a year, and we all look a little different from when we first begun, in heart, soul and being, for the experiences that have shaped, moulded and challenged us.

It has been an unforgettable ride getting to know each and every single one of you. I am greater enriched for having known you, and I am grateful for the brief moments our lives have intertwined to give us Team Expedition Agape 2008. I have fallen in love with each of your smiles, your open sharing and contribution, and the amazingly affirming way that we can each be in the presence of one another. Thank you for everything, my dearest teammates and all the youths.

Expedition Agape:
we'll be back soon. It's a promise.

Watching our expedition video... a chronicle of our journey, experiences and memories

Coming together in a circle of trust and sharing

In small groups sharing about our soul's deepest longings, and the actions we'll take

What do you want to achieve for this year?

Declaring our goals to one another, because I trust you to support me...

This is how it was and this is how it'll always be. It's why we are here on earth, to live life passionately, for our dreams.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

After the Expedition...

There are many things I've grown to love and be proud of. Family, friends, kindness, my LP and the kids who chose to go to do some good for foreign children who have been abandoned by their parents and struggle to hold a simple conversation in English.

Familiarity is the the committee I spent 16 days with. Acceptance is the 13 kids who come from different backgrounds. Love is the sight of all of us assembled, laughing, smiling and sharing. Pride is hearing our kids express interest in wanting to do more of they did, how much they learned and seeing parents tear for joy for how much their difficult child has grown.

Sounds sentimental, but this was really what happened.

Here is a news article about us, and especially the kids, given editorial support by Zao Bao post expedition. Translation can be found below.

"Painting Beautiful Mural Art for the Orphanage"

They may come from dysfunctional families and may be regarded by society as "problem youths", but they have grown and learnt through an overseas expedition.

13 youths from different voluntary welfare organisations in Singapore participated in CampVision Expedition to Cambodia in December last year which was for a period of about 2 weeks.

CampVision Expedition's chairperson Serene Koh (25 yrs old) said the group of 10 adults leading this expedition are all volunteers, with the common aim of seeing personal growth and development in these youths - to hone their leadership, resilience and creativity.

The entire expedition costs about $30,000 and they relied on donations as well as sponsors to raise the amount. As there are five 15 and 16 year olds in the expedition team, YEP's lowering of age limit has allowed them to benefit greatly and receive more than $10,000 in grants.

The expedition team worked with a local NGO in Cambodia and in their two weeks there, refurbished the living environment of a orphanage, including its church, as well as painted beautiful mural art on the walls. They also brought the children to the Water Park for an outing.

In addition, they also visited the children at the Garbage Dump. One of the youths, Sky Kam (16 yrs old) said the living conditions of the children there shocked him. He said, "They do not have hot food and have to eat cold food all the time, but they are very contented. In the past, I have been wanting to own mobile phones, PSPs, but now I want to lead a simple life, and save whenever I can. I want to study hard, and when I earn more money, to go back to help more people in Cambodia."

For a glimpse of our 16 days journey, visit:

- By Lilyana

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Carwash over the weekend! (8 & 9 Nov 08)

The carwash weekend's finally here!!! This is a fundraising initiative proposed by the youths *for* the youths to work, throw in all their effort, determination and energy to raise funds and earn their place in the expedition. This is also a tremendous opportunity for them to experience what it's like to engage the public, and share about our initiative, as well as to work as a team to achieve something with tangible effect.

In truth, I never imagined that carwashing could be such a fun activity. Lest you be mistaken, it is indeed back-breaking, tiring, sweaty work and after a while, you start to feel the strength go out of your arms, and your back about to collapse over from fatigue. That is why, other than really enjoying myself, I gained new appreciation and deep respect for those who do this as a profession, heh. But it was really fun, being part of the team, and dedicated to doing & completing the task in unison. It was strenuous, but the youths and the adults who were there, as well as all the kind souls who came to have their cars washed, made it super-fun.

There is also a nice sense of satisfaction from washing the cars! It feels good seeing the cars drive away sparkling, squeaky clean, and it's kinda therapeutic - the process of scrubbing cars clean! :) Never imagined, yea? That aside, the bestest, bestest part of all, was the feeling of gratitude that suffused me over the weekend. There are a lot of things that I'm grateful for:

- God-blessed, beautiful weather. We were right smack in the rainy season, and believe it or not, 8 and 9 Nov were caught in between days of rain, rain, rain. The morning of 8 Nov, I woke up to rain - but, the drizzle stopped and the sun came out with full warm beams by the time we were all at the petrol station. And on 9 Nov, it looked as if the clouds could not hold in all the raindrops anymore, threatening to pour with menacing gray clouds. BUT.. and this is truly a miracle, despite the dark clouds, it never did rain. I couldn't help but feel that a higher being out there is looking out for us and holding back the rain so we can have a great carwash

- Amazing angels in my life. It is a miracle to me to receive Shell Petrol Station's support and also the handwash company - Maxgroom's support. Both parties have been nothing but generous and helpful to us, providing us with so much advice, time and guidance. Without that, this carwash would not have happened at all. Also, I was grateful to be in the right time and place, in the right moment, with the youths and adult volunteers in my life, each touching & inspiring me with their limitless potential and capacity for growth, love & postitive action. That's not all, the strangers who came were great... they were so encouraging, so supportive, most giving us more than the $10 price which we attached to the carwash.

- Team. Carwash is about teamwork... everyone plays different roles, and each role is crucial. We were divided into 3 groups over the weekend, with all of us alternating roles after every few hours - car washing (in the tunnel), car drying (outside the tunnel) and leaflet distribution (or publicity, hehe). Furthermore, every individual's effort counts. When one person puts in less effort because he/she is tired, someone else has to make up for it, and that was a learning point that we brought across to the youths... all of our effort counts, and it is important for all of us to be putting in 100%. When any one of us can't put in 100% because we are too stretched, that's still okay too, because we still have the rest of the team to lean on for support. Teamwork through the carwash; that was an unplanned-for learning point that came out so strongly. I'm grateful for the team and the teamwork.

- The youths stepping up. Seeing their growth was sooooo heartwarming. Yes, they play, have fun and have their fair share of mischief, but they abided by the rules that Shell petrol station set for us, and they were all great, with initiative and energy. I especially loved it when Lewis took over the 'PR' role and was the person explaining to the car owners what CampVision Expedition was all about. That was huge

- Funds raised. We raised a really, really nice amount over the weekend. A total of $1,923.00 and 115 cars washed!
It's a weekend of inspiration, miracles, gratitude, teamwork and big hearts for me, and I truly cherish the experience. Thank you all who came to be there for us.

Our carwash leaflet - drawn by Lewis & Zuraidah

Washing cars in the tunnel

Ensuring every spot is dryyyyyy...

All with their own role to play, drying different parts of the car...

Carwash extravanganza

Hard work, effort and determination

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Soccer Madness @ East Coast (25 Oct 08)

With the youths' love for outdoors fun and energetic games, the team bonding this week at East Coast was perfect to expend their restlessness and forge strong bonds through teamwork and teamplay. RED team's (my team ;p) in charge this week, and the girls designed the 'Photo Hunt' game, while the boys were in charge of 'Soccer Madness'. All in all, a fruitful Saturday afternoon well-spent dashing about East Coast.

And my first taste of soccer was not bad at all, to say the least.

Beautiful shot taken by the youths during 'Photo Hunt'

One of the 'Photo Hunt' challenges - write CampVision in the sand..

Buddying up with one of the fishing hobbyists

Getting down to playing soccer!

Our two Thomases having a friendly game

Closing reflections

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

CampVision Charity Carwash

We are moving another milestone forward to organise a mega Carwash next weekend! For the first time, the youths will be involved in fundraising, experiencing what it is like to contribute effort and hard work, and working as a team to make the expedition dream possible. Amidst the sweat, tears and laughter, we hope the youths will learn and grow through engaging the public, sharing the dream with strangers, and enrolling them to believe in what we do. We hope they will come to own the expedition as theirs, pouring in dedication and perseverance to wash cars for a cause.

And we need your support to make this happen. Come join us this weekend! And bring your friends too! Not only will your cars be spick and span, you'll drive away feeling good that your support for the youths made all the difference.

Date: 8 & 9 November 2008 (Sat & Sun)
Time: 9.30am to 6.00pm
Price: $10 only
Venue: Shell Petrol Station (Exit of Upper Bukit Timah PIE)

Funds raised will go toward CampVision Expedition 2008, sponsoring 20 youths at risk to become Leaders in Action to contribute to improving the lives of the underprivileged in Cambodia.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Charity Movie Night (17 Oct 08)

In life, we never walk alone. I was touched by the number of friends who came to support our charity movie - all of them who took time out to be with us, to give their blessings and best wishes for the expedition.

It was my third time watching "To Speak", yet the message of the story never fails to move me. I cried buckets the first time I watched it because it embodied so much of the struggle, pain, and lack of support that you would experience when you first take action on a dream. It reminded me of my struggle to realise some of my dreams, and how hard it is sometimes to remove the obstacles along the way. Sometimes, the obstacles block and overwhelm, and hope fails. That's when it gets really dark, when you look at your dream and question yourself for your utter foolishness. I have been there, in that space where you cannot find the strength to hold on to the dreams that means so much to you.

But, and this truly illustrates the beauty of "To Speak", I was also reminded of the power of dreams, how when you have a compelling vision driving you, when you have absolute determination and perseverance backing you, when you are honest-to-goodness sure that you will achieve your dream, come what may, the gods align with you. The journey may be a rocky road full of bumps, trips, bleeds, but hey, you will get there. Maybe not quite in the same way that you had originally envisioned, but you will get there, with angels supporting and lending you a helping hand just when you need it the most.

It echoes this expedition journey, the excitement, toil, love and passion that goes into this journey, to bring us thus far. Without all of you around us, we will not be here.

My gratitude to all of you who came and were a part of making our dream possible. I wish you the best, that you too will go forth and live your dreams. Live a life with passion and love, life's too short for anything else.
Our next screening is on 26th Oct 08 (Sunday), 3.45pm! Don't miss it!

Mingling around outside Sinema Old School

Craig sharing how he embarked on his journey of making "To Speak" & the amazing experiences he has gained from it

Presenting Craig with our handmade gift of appreciation

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Come Listen.

To Speak is to utter words or articulate sounds with the ordinary voice. But it will be with a voice that is drowned in an age fascinated by zooming car engines and an imploding financial market. In such a time, to speak requires one to be extraordinary - to stand with strength, courage and tenacity. To be loud enough before one’s voice dries up in the throat and one’s existence quietly fades out.

In a film by Australian writer/director Craig Ower, called “To Speak”, tells the story of a girl named Ratana who lives in poverty and suffocating pessimism of her fellow villagers. Like everyone who dreams of a better life, Ratana dreams of building a new and permanent home for her family. When a radical opportunity presents itself to Ratana, her life is taken on a collision course that will question her convictions and challenge her stand with her family, the village and even Mother Nature herself.

Inspired by a true story, To Speak is accompanied with beautiful musical compositions by our late national dragon boater, Reuben Kee.

Lending voice to this production is a chorus of 30 individuals from Campvision’s Expedition Agape who invite you to lend your eyes and your ears, to what Resilience has to say about a people and its culture long silenced by slave camps, killing fields and the Khmer Rouge.

Let us not turn ourselves away.

To Speak will be screened on:
17 October 2008 (Friday), 8.30PM and
26 October 2008 (Sunday), 3.45PM
Venue: Sinema Old School, 11B Mount Sophia Road #B1-12 Singapore 228466
Ticket Cost: $20.00 each (free seating)

*Proceeds from the screening of To Speak will go toward sponsoring youths-at-risk for an empowering overseas service-learning expedition with Family Care Cornerstone Project, a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia dedicated to improving the quality of lives of the underprivileged

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Splash! (27 Sept 08)

Dragonboating! A day with gorgeous weather!

Totally soaked, and a quick reflection in our buddy groups

Splashes of merry-making at the waters of the Kallang River is what I would affectionately reminisce about dragonboating.

I needn't explain the vigor and energy that typically goes about this uproarious activity. The pictures you see here are sound evidence of the paddling, racing and splashing. Wet to the skin, that is.

Action packed aside, perhaps what was more rousing for me, were the differences we all had.

To some, it was talk less and more action. To others, otherwise. For some, merriment was key. For others, champion mattered. Some buried our heads into chopping the waters with your paddles, some had their eyes set on how close we are to the next boat. One or two commanded the counts, others sliently followed.

The contrast was striking. Maybe that's what it is in a team. Maybe that's what we need in a team. How then do we complement, contribute and conquer?

At the end of 3 races cum roaming and paddling, the return journey was the toughest. Keeping my hands on the paddle demanded more willpower than I expected. As my physical strength gradually defied my wishes, what came as a strong mental boost was seeing the rest of us still rowing and paddling, and really looking at how far we have gone.

At the end of the day, maybe it isn't so much about the action, but the CALL behind the action. It's the call that unites, yet the action that differs. Have we all understood? Are we on track or on check?

Our friendly and energetic supporters

Celebrating a day well spent

By Hui Qi