Friday, 30 September 2016

39th INCOVAR Dhamma Camp.

Summer has been a blast thus far. It's hot, but I always say, I'd take sunshine over rain anytime. I thrive on sunshine, even if it means sweating buckets. It's also the time of the year where I get to spend quality time with my loved ones. Nothing quite beats it.

Last I had reported, my knee wasn't looking good. However, at the end of the post, I vowed to pick myself up so with that, let's move on on a lighter mood.

The trouble with me wanting to blog about a past event is the camera roll that I have to scroll through in order to dig out some decent pictures to share with you about.

The plus side to blogging about a particular past event with specific photographers in charge of it, is, of course access to pictures (with the appropriate credit given), thus making my life a thousand times easier. 

Somewhere in July, I signed myself up for a Dhamma Camp organised by the Buddhist Gem Fellowship. I would have you know that my initial response to this camp was a fierce reluctance to attend, because of how out of touch I've been with Dhamma and how self-conscious I am of my body image (no A-line skirts to hide my thunder thighs). I winced at the thought of having to forgo those few days where I could otherwise spend hanging out with my brother (who comes home once in a blue moon). But Sean was adamant. "JUST. GO."

And so I went.

My parents and Ken were there on the first day of the camp to drop me off and helped me carry my stuff up to my dorm. They've always been encouraging of the things I do and I love them!

That was me anxious, tensed and probably regretting my decision to take part in the camp. 

Weird fact: Sipping the bottle has always been a way to calm myself down.

Oh how bad I had wished I could exchange places with my brother at that time!


Post ice-breaking session, however, I found myself relaxing significantly and my worries slowly eased off.

By random assignment of groups, I got to know some of the sweetest people in the world.

Abbie, this 25-year-old who doesn't look one bit her age. I know some of you might be interested so I pestered her to reveal her secret to looking 16 and she humbly answered it's because she changed her hairstyle. That cutie! I don't think she'd disagree if I had added practising yoga to the list! She's a certified yoga instructor and such a joy to be around. I adore her and thinks of her as my big sister!

And Han Ying, the girl on my left, is thoughtful, funny and caring. We were supposed to rehearse for dance (High School Musical's All in this together- hah!) to perform on the last day of camp but we bailed on it because sleep was calling our names! Gah, partner-in-crimes when it comes to mischief! :P

Together we often had the directions mixed up so we nicknamed ourselves 'da tou xia' (which basically means being confused and out-of-the-zone).

What a delightful surprise it was as well to have been reunited with a prefect junior from high school! 

Hi, Jeffrey! Best wishes to you in fulfilling your dreams in Singapore! 

Dinner time with these bunch can turn out to be quite wacky! Never a dull time with these crazies. #bestteamleader #bestfacilitator #bestteammates #bestcampmates (!)

See those folded black cloths on the table? They were used to blindfold our eyes or to tie our hands up when dining. Mindful eating, they say.


Tied wrists don't stop me from feeding myself. 

Incase you are curious as to how I look blindfolded. So attractive. (Please tell me you detected my sarcasm)


Got to chuckle at this picture! Not parting with my bottle anywhere I go, apparently. 

Once, the facilitators tied our wrists together, and we were seated in a circle on the canteen floor, instructed to use one hand to feed the person next to us and vice versa, yet lunch ended up dragging way past the allocated time, they made us take the cloths off and quickly finish our food. Whoops.

One of the team-bonding activities included designing a boat to float on the water using limited items such as newspaper, straws, and cellophane tape and test out how stable it is by putting rocks on it.

Our Titanic lasted less than 50 seconds before sinking. 

Engineers we are not. At least we had fun!

Pretty much everyone's favourite activity, hah. But not immediately after lunch! Ever heard of acid reflux, dear committees? They took note of our advice and rectified the schedule the next day. Phew.

Hahahahaha. I'm such a mess.

Can you tell what name is our team based on the below poses we struck?

It's team Pikachu. We are clearly pros at posing. ;)

Here we were, pointing to the right at a piece of blank wall, pretending to be cool.




We are one big family.


Excuse me while I rave about this creation for a while. 
How pretty is this decoration?!! 

(Fun fact #1: We were blindfolded when having the main course that night and one of the participants, Milly, actually grabbed the decorative stone on the table by accident and attempted to eat it because without sight, she had mistaken it as part of our meal! How adorable can one be? Oh gosh we laughed till we cried upon hearing her story)

You can tell by the details... the amount of effort and time the facilitators and committees had put into setting this up. *tears 

Thank you so much! We love you! I made sure to write them plentiful of appreciative messages on heart-shaped origami to express my gratitude. They later got around to asking who was the person writing to them everyday of the camp! 


It was supposed to be a silent dinner but we couldn't help whispering and giggling our way through!

Under the lights, we indulged in some of the best chocolate-fudge-tasting cake and ice cream with the loveliest company!

A committee's parents actually baked the cake for the participants! How thoughtful and kind of them. 


Life's short, eat dessert first! :) 

(Fun fact #2: Braces gave me the confidence to smile with my mouth open but at that time of the picture I was savouring the chocolate cake and didn't want to flash people with my chocolate tainted teeth. :P )


While it's a shame I didn't get to mingle a lot with the rest of the participants in the camp, they were nothing short of a group of amiable, pleasant and inspiring people! My 4 days 3 nights at the camp has been refreshing and invigorating.

I have made friends worth keeping, and gained valuable experience. I look forward to coming back next year!

Picture credits to photographer/ Chairman of Camp- Chen Yee Leong, and every committee of the camp who dedicated so much of their time, energy and soul into making this a memorable and fruitful camp for us. Apologies if I may have missed out on anyone. Please inform me and I'll be glad to attach the necessary credits to your photos. Thank you! Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu. 

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