This is a rather delayed post because this SUPER event landed me in bed for 4 days with a bad fever, chesty cough, sore throat and other whatnots. The doctors suspected I had dengue so I was sent for a blood test that almost made me kiss the floor. I've got a low white blood count so I was subjected to another test which wasn't very assuring but I'm well!
But on to happy topics!
Drill "courses" with WO Ph'ng! (With chapters. Haha. We graduated.)
(Photo courtesy of BBM Facebook)
We left Ipoh by train to Parit Buntar where we spent the night at PB Baptist Church. On the way, we watched Vertical Limit, a 9-year-old movie that my childhood friends and I invented a game based on it while in Cameron Highlands. I finally watched the movie. We practised marching on the empty street near the market. I was too excited to sleep.
The bulk of the event was held at St. Xavier's Institution while I stayed at the architectural beauty called Convent Light Street. All the Primers were made squad leaders so we were all naturally nervous, but, responsibilities were minimal and discipline-wise, Pesta was relatively relaxed and punishments weren't meted out, but a high standard of discipline was maintained by all. We watched the drill competition which was good, then in the evening, we made our way to the Penang City Stadium for the Opening Ceremony. We represented Perak in the state contingent march and were required to stand at attention for (very) prolonged period of time. Dato' Seri Ong Tee Keat was there to officiate it. After the march, the Perak State Commissioner said the Primers did well! :D The National Band Competition was an eye-opener. Brass bands of 100 doing formations and dances; even the Thriller!
Part of my squad after the closing ceremony. (Photo courtesy of Tiew Siong)
The next morning, we had a sort of 'dancercise' led by some professional dancers. We were so far behind so we couldn't see. Some crazy Sabahans did their own moves. (One of them shot to 'stardom' on dance night. Haha) We were separated into platoons, and to my utter dismay, the main language of conversation is Mandarin! My squad officer from Bintulu can only speak Chinese. I could've cried. Haha. But I tried as much Chinese as I could and by the end of Pesta, Lt. Wong Siew Chuong said I have improved! My other officer was WO Pornpimon Stapleng who was really so cuddly with me and gave me a huge box of lobak!
Squad leaders and officers with the CHC team. (Photo courtesy of 19th National PESTA)
The Interplatoon Telematch was cancelled due to rain which a few of us were caught in. Thankfully this guy held an umbrella over me! :) But some of us got to play the games when the rain stopped which was great. Another eye-opener was the National Singing and Dancing Competition. BB just gets better. I mean, this people sing and dance simultaneously! And the dancing competition was professional.
Youth Concert turned out to be like a Sunday service in Dewan Sri Pinang, with added excitement. The pastor from City Harvest Church was great, and the translator guy was so cute and funny!
Squad C2! I had an Vanessa, an Indonesian sergeant as assistant. (Photo courtesy of BBM Facebook)
The most tiring thing was the Treasure Hunt which covered the whole of the Georgetown Heritage Trail. I finally explored much of Penang on foot. It was tiring but our group held together in the blazing heat.
The MANY MANY MANY coupons! (Photo courtesy of Weng Hong)
At night was the Fun Fair and B Idol - well-organised without a glitch. And guess what? Team BUBU (that's Bubu, CK, Weng Hong, Ben, Wei Han and myself) won a futsal match against an all-young boy team 2-0! I scored. Woohoo!
For Explore Penang, I headed South West to Balik Pulau with Sarah to the nutmeg factory and the famous durians. They were good, I tell you. But I got carsick on the way. Too bad "Sabah!" was in the other South West group; if not, it would've been crazy. We had Air Itam market laksa and some desert, and tapau-ed muachee for supper.
Then, the highlight of Pesta: the Route March! Penang Road is one of the busiest roads in Penang, both day and night. But the road was closed for US to march all the way from SXI to KOMTAR Dome with policemen on duty! Tourists and locals all gathered along the road. Some snapped pictures and others cheered and clapped. Two brass bands accompanied the 1700 marchers which attracted more attention. Even people from Trader's Hotel couldn't help but peer through the curtains! It was a proud moment for all of us.
Half-heartedly, we went through the motions of the Closing Ceremony. True to the theme of "Go Green", lighting was minimum, no plastic bags or styrofoam boxes were used throughout Pesta. Pesta started off with perfection and ended similarly. Bubu and my platoon was 1st runner up! :D
Syok sendiri-ing with Primers from Penang. They wanted us to take a pic for them, but we ended up taking it with them! (Photo courtesy of Adam Lai of Penang BB)
Day 5: Fellowship and goodbyes. And, then, food at my family's favourite place - Joo Hooi! Mmm. We caught a Rapid from KOMTAR to Queensbay and watched 'A Team' there. Got us in stitches. Then, more goodbyes to my 1st Ipoh mates as I met up with Momma, Papa and Sean. :(
Waiting for our rocket to come.
I love you guys and Pesta!
(Photo courtesy of Zhen Yick of Penang BB)
Pesta has really changed my perception of BB and it has showed me how one body of Christ can lead on to the transformation of the lives of its members. BB is a good ground to work at, something you know that harvest can be reaped from hard work. And though, the harvest may benefit only others, the satisfaction of it is a reward itself. I'm considering to serve God through BB. Why not? :)
BB and JOHOR PESTA 2012, I'M COMING!