It was a sunny Sunday morning. A bunch of us stayed up pretty late the previous night (some even slept at 6am *shock*), but that didn’t stop the gals from getting up early to prepare breakfast. After breakfast we went for a morning walk at Changi Beach Broadwalk, collecting sands from the beach along the way.

Lunch was pasta prepared by the gals. It was really yummy and received rave reviews even from aunty Molly. It was a most satisfying meal, all thanks to the gals and Prego, and it prepared us for the long day ahead.

As the clock ticked to 1, angels began streaming in. The chalet was a bit ulu and some poor angels got lost amid the hot weather. The program kicked off with the ice-breaker game. Everyone has to reveal a favorite food and an unknown fact about him/herself. After which, all angels have to remember and repeat the facts of everyone. It was a chance to know more about one another, and boy do we know.

  • We have enough talents to start a Chinese Orchestra
  • We have angel who sleep half naked
  • We have angel who sleep without underpants
  • We have a curry loving gay

Nuff said.

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After the game, the program kicked off with an address from Sharon. She did a wonderful job in 2008, leading us towards the 10th Year Anniversary celebration. The Anniversary was a huge success and it couldn’t have happened without Sharon. We thank you for your dedication and may you continue to contribute for many years to come.

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We then moved on to look back year 2008. Our volunteer numbers have increased, in both active and ad-hoc. Thanks to our many donors who contributed for 2008 events, we have enough funds to keep us running through 2009. A compilation of videos of 2008 events and happening were screened.

The videos are produced by Stuart, who spent countless late nights doing editing. The video clips are really funny and entertaining and drew much laughter from the audience, especially when lazy VL and PY appeared on screen. Thank you Stuart for sacrificing your precious sleep to produce such entertaining videos and accurate reflections of lazy VL and PY.

After the video screening, we had a short break and a photo guessing game. The childhood photos of angels went on display, and the objective is to match the photos to the correct angels. Everyone was excited and eager to see the retro fashion on display, laughing at the 60s/70s hairstyle and tut tut faces, and reminiscing about the memories of the past.

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Most of us had a hard time guessing, as everyone has changed so much. However it didn’t appear to trouble AVL Rico who almost managed to score full marks! She even managed to identify fat boy and black boy! Kudos to her keen observation.

The next item on the program was to plan for 2009. We will be having 7 major events (including 2 outing) and 4 minor events in 2009. The events for 2010 CNY were also included in the planning. I’d like to thank all the angels who have volunteered to organize the events, especially the 1st timers.

Next was the Committee of 2009. We will have smaller committee groups compared to past years, which will result in a more focused effort. We have also streamlined certain groups, and introduce a new group ‘Befriending’. More info can be found in the Retreat slides.

The next item, in my opinion, was the most interesting one. It was a sharing session among the volunteers on the topic ‘Why do I Volunteer?’. The participants are split into groups of 6 to 7. Everyone in the group will share about:

  • how he or she got started in volunteering
  • the difficulties faced along the journey
  • the driving force that keep it going
  • the reflection of the journey so far

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The discussions were in-depth and intimate. It helped to reinforce one another beliefs and provide motivation for the new volunteers. After the group sharing session, 1 from each group made a presentation to everyone. It was interesting to know the stories of different volunteers. We may have started from different origins, but followed similar paths and share a common goal. Hui Quan summed it up best:

  • We started without direction
  • Grow through support and responsibilities
  • Ingrain as a habit
  • Blossom into passion

After lots of talking, it was time to do some writing, it was time for Angels Appreciation! Everyone was given a card to write their names. The cards were then passed around for everyone to leave some feedback and words of encouragement, a chance to give thanks to the people you care for. It was a touching moment: angels penning their thoughts with heart, wonderful memories flashing by. It was heartwarming reading those words of encouragement. You could feel the sincerity through the drying ink.

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Last but not least was the tele-match. You could hear the growling stomach as we walked out of the chalet passing the table where our dinner was already lying there waiting. All credit to the angels for resisting the temptation as we summon the last ounce of our  remaining strength to compete in the games. We were split into 4 teams, competing in 4 different games, all planned and created by Stuart.

The 1st game had all the angels jumping across the field, and the 2nd required angels to run around transporting water balloons to and fro. There was running, jumping, huffing, puffing, shouting, screaming, laughing, accusation of cheats, all done in good spirit. It was crazy I tell you! But everyone was clearly enjoying themselves.

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The next 2 games were physically less demanding, but no less challenging. Both games involved beans: red, green and yellow. One is to get as much beans into the empty bottle, and the other is to dig for bean from a tray of sand.

We were all shacked out by the time we finished all 4 games, but someone apparently still have the energy to play some water bombs. I think it was Sam who started throwing the water balloons and soon many more joined in, and then all hell broke loose. It was a moment of spontaneous fun and it brought back memories of what we used to do as kids.

By the time we were done it was already 7 and everyone was swarming in the buffet table. Luckily we ordered more than enough food as everyone was REALLY hungry. The dinner was really delicious, the curry fish clearly the crowd favorite. Thank you AVL Ping Sing for ordering the food. The caterer should be hired for all our future events.

We also had a cake for Feb Babies. Happy Birthday to Jasmine, Rico, Sam, Poh Yan, Mei Kuen, Fiona and Damien! Although some of you couldn’t join us but take heart that everyone present enjoyed the cake.

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Lastly we had the special award presentation arranged by Stuart. Poh Yan was the biggest winner of the night, garnering ‘Most Lazy Angel’ (narrowly beating VL) and ‘Most Act Cute Angel’ awards. ‘Best Emcee’ goes to Sam for his CNY hosting, and ‘Most Angry Angel’ goes to Ping Sing for her ranting at Poh Yan. Lastly the ‘Most In Need of Protection’ goes to Hui Quan without much competition, thanks to persistent harassment from Rico. Keep up the good work AVL!

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The awards were done in good fun and cannot be further from the truth (except Best Emcee). So take it with a huge dose of salt and humor. Thank you Stuart for bringing joy and laughter to everyone.

I truly enjoyed myself. I’m sure you do too. Let’s make 2009 a truly memorable year!

Jin Xiong

Credits:

  • AVL R & P: Thanks for the many meetings over dinner amid your busy schedules. How could I do it without both of you?
  • Stuart: Videos, Games and Awards. Always full of ideas.
  • Poh Yan & Xing Jian: Thanks for the wonderful photos. Your dedication is truly professional.
  • Sharon: Thanks for the tips and advices on being a VL
  • Song, SK, Stuart and all drivers: For being the ever reliable chauffeur
  • Crazy gals J & R: The catalyst of spontaneous combustion. Things will not be the same without you.
  • Odd couple HQ & J: Thanks for drawing the beautiful posters while entertaining us with your banter
  • All Angels: Thank you for your wonderful support and participation.