Oh crap. I'm down with my usual coughing, sneezing, sore throat, and fever. I'm very sick. I know that being sick means I have all the time in the world and it's best I update my blog as I relax and rest at home, listening to the soulful voice of Michael Buble. No. Not when I'm coughing hyterically, scraping the insides of my throat and gagging at the end of every cough! It's excruciating that while I'm typing, my throat feels like I've just swallowed charcoal and my eyes couldn't stop tear-ing. It's usually best that I sleep it off with some chinese medication. Oh it definitely kills time and all the weird dreams I have when my head feels like it could cook an egg, definitely saves me from the painful blowing of nose. I couldn't even drag myself to sit firmly in front the computer. I blame the camp.
Not that it was entirely bad. It was actually quiet good, if you ask an amature photography enthusiast like me. SONY actually came up with a pretty good program for the kids to encourage the love of nature through photography and further enhancing photography skills. I thought it was a fairly good way to reach out to the youths. Sadly, there was quite a big majority of students who were just there for the sake of being there. Judging by the enthusiasm they show and their lack of spirit during the camp, it was clear that most of them were there because they were called to. There were some who had no clue on what the whole thing was about, seeing that alot of them gazed emptily at nearby trees or chatted away happily with their mates.
Though there was also quite a hopeful bunch of students who were really keen on photography and gave their best at the slideshow presentation. We were supposed to come up with and present a slideshow presentation with the laptops provided and the photographs that were taken during our hike into the forest, guided by our own seniors and a forest ranger. There was a total of 10 groups and I was in group 7, with the name Exonat (Exotic Nature). Cut to the chase, my group scored the highest marks for the presentation and won the whole competition. The slideshow we came up with was boasted with class and style. Black background against white framed pictures and classy grey fonts. Nothing classier. Compared to the other groups, they stand nowhere in between. (Yeap, this is me talking with a sense of pride!) I mean, pictures used as backgrounds and messed up fonts and effects... I don't want to think about it.
Life at camp was generally ok, I'd say. Nothing fancy. It was held at Belum Temenggor Forest - an island, all by itself in the middle of a dam - where civilisation is a 20minutes boat ride away, mobile phones have no coverage, and electricity is generated from the waters. We were lucky enough to have a roof over our heads at night. It was definitely more relaxing than a scout camp or any other outdoor camps for that matter. We needn't prepare our own food, as there was a fully functional kitchen there and there was a group of people cooking all the time. We needn't build our own tents or sleep in tents. We needn't bathe in the dirty waters of the lake also as we had proper bathrooms and toilets. Ample time was given during the camp to complete given assignments. Hurrying wasn't used alot in their vocab. The whole environment was peaceful and serene. A place where the sounds of crickets, the chirping of birds, the slapping of water against the shores, and the occasional distant vrooms of a speed boat rule the place.
Come to think of it, it was kind of disappointing that we didn't meet any tigers, elephants, snakes or even leeches. Nothing extraordinary. The jungle hike was as safe as hiking up the Penang Hill and we didn't even make it all the way up to the top. We just stopped somewhere in the middle for some photographs and we went back to camp to prepare for the slides. Nothing unexpected or surprising. We saw alot of jungle ants though, crawling under our feet, over the branches and all over the place! Big fat juicy ants. Gives me goosebumps whenever I stare at it.
I managed to meet quite a number of people there, participants and camp coordinators alike. Got a handful of contacts which are useful in the near future. Honestly, I thought my group seniors were the craziezt bunch of them all. Calvin, Christal and Nicole lead my group well, nourishing us with ideas and keeping us on the right track most of the time. They were young, energetic and so full of life. Reminds me of the time I had with my BRAT seniors. Calvin had a lot of useful tips on using the camera itself up his sleeves while Christal and Nicole were good at the Adobe Photoshop skills. Seriously, where do these guys get their tricks and skills? Amazing! Other camp coordinators were slightly older and were a little more serious. Let's call them, highly-skilled, highly-experienced, professional photographers. They had this tone of seriousness in their voices about their work when they communicate with their respective group members while Calvin and my group were basically made up of laughters and jokes.
The one thing that I couldn't help but gape in awe is the fact that the photographers were so willing to share their knowledge with us. I know how it feels to be giving away all your hard earned knowledge and tips to a group of 16 year old strangers. But they did share happily! Their skills were way beyond compare and each of them had their own style and signature shots. They have a great deal of experience in projects such as this camp and they knew how to handle the crowd well. Mr. Ho's (the representative from CLICK! magazine) talk on the first night was nonetheless informative and useful into giving us an idea of what kind of shots they were looking for.
Overall, I think it was a good program and I'm looking forward to the next one. Though, I hope that SONY may have a more multi-racial crowd. I mean, there were only 2 Chinese guys, 2 Indian guys, 4 Chinese girls and 1 Indian girl among other Malays throughout the whole camp. Maybe SONY could diversify the race they choose. Not that I have anything against Malay. In fact, I made quite a number of Malay friends, despite the fact that I speak attrocious BM. It'll definitely help into cultivating a multi-racial community and can also help in meeting new people from other races. Nevertheless, the whole camp was fun. I had a good time taking photographs, preparing the slides and presenting it thereafter. Meeting new friends and getting to know professional photographers was another great benefit.
Now, I'm back. Back to civilisation. Back to a place where the soft humming of a computer replaces the sound of crickets and the zooming of vehicles disrupts the night sleep. Back to a place where broadband connection is ever available and mobile phone coverage is nothing impossible. Glad to be back! Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to have to rest my head to stop my nose from flowing.