Universal Studios Singapore!

Yay! USS! USS! USS!

Ever since planning my trip to Singapore, visiting Universal Studios Singapore has been a priority. It’s been awhile since I’ve been to a theme park or an amusement park, so clearly I had to go to one while I was there…

We made sure that we planned everything before arriving at USS to prepare us for the day, that included when to leave, what to wear, what to bring for food and water, etc!

Since we wanted to make full use of our ticket which costed us a whopping SGD$148 (MYR$400 at our time of purchase) and beat the crowd, we arrived Sentosa before the doors of USS officially opened.
luixia-universalstudiossingapore-01 You can get to Universal Studios via bus (Board bus RWS8 from bus stop 14141 at VivoCity or bus stop 14121 at Merrill Lynch, HarbourFront) or by MRT (Stop at HarbourFront Station and proceed to Level 3, VivoCity to board the Sentosa Express and stop at the first station, Waterfront).

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We had the Kungfu Panda, Po himself greeting us for our early arrival!

Upon the opening, we reached out for the day’s itinerary which had the list of shows and timing. Wei Ni recommended we plan out the programs we wanted to witness before running off to ride the movies. That saved us a lot of time from running around rushing and allowed us to catch all the shows and parades!

luixia-universalstudiossingapore-03While we were there, we managed to catch the “Fast & Furious 7 Display” which included the cars used in the production of “Fast & Furious 7”, accompanied by a Madame Tussauds figure of Vin Diesel!

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If we see Vin Diesel, how not to take a selfie with him even if it was a wax figurine?

We initially thought that it was going to be less busy with school holiday over but we were wrong, there was still a ton of people! I guess it was wise and totally worth it to buy the Express Pass even though it’s an extra SGD$30!

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With the Anubis! One of them scared me by snarling/gnarling at me…
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Wei driving with her knees! Tsk, tsk, tsk.

It’s recommended to visit the theme park during weekdays, excluding school & public holidays so there won’t be as large of a crowd. Regardless of that, it really depends on your luck as well so if you’re that worried of encountering a large crowd, get the Express Pass!

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Battlestar Galactica: HUMAN vs. CYLON™. I personally prefer the Cylon ride over the Human one as it was more thrilling.

The first show we got to witness was the Rockafellas Streetboys Breakdance!


luixia-universalstudiossingapore-10They were full of energy and decked out some really awesome stunts such as the windmill, headspin, multiple front & back flips and single handstands!

luixia-universalstudiossingapore-11Out of sheer randomness, I joined in the fun by dancing with them…

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They made us dance along to Gangnam Style as well as do the Mexican wave and a solo “according to your country of origin” dance.
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With Evac, an autobot created specifically for Transformers: The Ride!
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Made it to Jurassic Park!
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Waterworld™

When you’re hungry, you’ve got to eat! After hearing my sister’s friend raving about the delicious USS Turkey Leg, we sorta went “why not? since we’re so hungry” and had the Turkey Leg as a snack.

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Turkey Leg

From what I can recall, the meat was tough and dry but when you take that bite into it, you’re like “OH YESSSSSSS! FOOOOOOOOOD!”. Would I eat it again? Maybe if there was nothing else to eat.

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The Dance For The Magic Beans: Puss In Boots and Kitty Softpaws!
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Infront of Shrek’s house 😉
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Shrek’s House

Bumped into a fellow MUN-er from Singapore MUN the second time! Funny story, we bumped into each other at the Abercrombie & Fitch Store on Orchard Road the day before.

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Fellow MUN-er I bumped into!
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Far Far Away Castle

We unfortunately caught a glimpse of the The Cruisers performing as we were rushing to see Optimus Prime roaming around. They’re definitely worth watching from what I saw, they were singing and dancing to so many fun 1950s style songs!

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The Cruisers
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Awkwardly standing infront of Optimus Prime. 😛

From what I’ve noticed, you should really get to the shows, parades and meet & greets 5 minutes earlier as they’ll have a VERY, VERY SHORT photo session with you. I tried lining up for Shrek & Fiona, Puss In Boots & Kitty Softpaws but was stopped as they were only there for a limited time and so the staff will ask you to come again at the later timing.

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Saw these really set of cute pictures in one of the cafes at Far Far Away!

One of my favourite Meet & Greet was with the velociraptor. Okay, technically this wasn’t a Meet & Greet since I couldn’t really communicate with it as it was totally trying to eat me… Despite that, it was super cool seeing it!

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With the Velociraptor!

It was so realistic! I was ridiculously scared that my sister kept saying “Haiyah, don’t to be scared one la!” You need to see the video to believe it!!!!

Upon trying out almost all of the rides, we pretty much chilled around the area. We took some hilarious shots and went souvenir hunting.

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Wei Ni is wearing the GemmaStone Crop Top in Purple
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Attempting “high-fashion” poses. Here, I’m wearing Evi Muscle Tee with my favourite Paperbag Writer Shorts!

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The last performance we got to see was by the Mel’s Dinettes! All of three of them were really pretty! I absolutely love their outfits!

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My sister made me do this pose | Here I am with the Mel’s Dinettes!

They sang Candyman by Christina Aguilera and songs that reminiscences the 1950s-1960s era!

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After that long and tiring day, we decided we wouldn’t go far to look for dinner. We had dinner at this awesome Soup, Salad & Sandwich Bar, Toss & Turn by Cedele, VivoCity Mall. We were really hungry and tired at this point hence no photos were taken.

Instead of having salads, Wei and I opted a sandwich and gourmet thins respectively. The Basil Pesto Chicken with Brie Cheese I had was tastyyyyyyyyy! Their FRESH orange juice there was also so goooooooooood, it was definitely the best drink to have after an exhausting day.

In case you’re wondering what my favourite rides were at USS, they are (in no particular order):

Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure™, Battlestar Galactica: HUMAN vs. CYLON™ (the Cylon one), TRANSFORMERS The Ride: The Ultimate 3D Battle and Puss In Boots’ Giant Journey.

As for my favourite shows/parade/meet & greet:

Mel’s Dinettes, The Rockafellas, WaterWorld and The Raptor Encounter.

My visit to Universal Studios Singapore concludes my Singapore trip as I departed for home the next day.

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Oh, Singapore… I will be back for more!

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Universal Studios Singapore!

Singapore Model United Nations 2015 Conference

Four words: Best. MUN. Conference. Ever!!

Ever since I was an admin of Selangor MUN 2014, I’ve been constantly amazed by people I met in MUN and doing my best to actively participate as a delegate.

Fast forward to the second week of May 2015, I decided to participate in an international MUN conference – Singapore MUN 2015.

A lot of planning and preparation had to be done prior to the conference. This was mainly due to the fact that stakes were a lot higher (come on, stakes are much higher in an international conference and in Singapore) and because there was another event, BRATs Camp JB 2015 I would be attending before this conference. Meaning, everything had to be prepared and packed by the last week of May. I had to book accommodations, transportation to and fro KL-BRATs-Singapore-KL and create an itinerary for my trip.

On to the main story, I basically travelled to Singapore on my own from Johor Bahru’s CIQ Checkpoint. I hopped on the bus from CIQ and landed in Singapore safely! I was amazed by the efficiency of Singapore the minute I found out that there was a bus frequently commuting to and fro JB and Singapore.

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CIQ
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Entering Singapore after clearing CIQ

Funny thing, I missed my stop to Kranji Station. I didn’t know it was going to be the first stop! Regardless, the Singaporeans I met were so kind to direct me how to get to my destination from another bus stop.

I stayed a night at my aunt’s place and was delighted to be part of their weekly family dinner. I haven’t been to Singapore in a decade and have not met up with my Singaporean relatives in a few years, so it was really great to be in Singapore to see them again.

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Cheese tofu, broccoli, Soy chicken?, cucumber, soup.

We had Chicken Rice for dinner! The Chicken rice tasted different from what I’m used to but it was all good. I thought the soup was the best. :3

There was no air-conditioning in the room but to my surprise, it didn’t feel hot.

I slept well that night in my cousin’s old room and woke up happily late because no fixed schedules. It was drizzling for a really long time and I was like “WHAT IS THIS BRITISH WEATHER?”.

After lunch, my relatives dropped me off at Tembusu College in National University of Singapore, the place I’d be staying for the next six days!

I was promptly checked in by SMUN secretariat and headed to my room immediately.

The room was decently sized and everything was clean. One thing I didn’t like was the smell in my room. It had this weird smell, something not sour or salty but just weird.

luixia-singaporemun-01 luixia-singaporemun-02 luixia-singaporemun-03There was also a fridge and couches in the living area outside of the individual rooms.

My room didn’t have a spectacular view as it was facing directly opposite another residential building.

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View from 7th floor corridor.

I took my time to settle down and went exploring around campus as it was too early to meet up with the Malaysian National MUN team for dinner.

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View of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum from the College Link Road
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luixia-singaporemun-09 An art piece from some artist, in front of the University Cultural Centre (UCC)

Alright!

8th June, Day One: Conference begins!

We all gathered at University Cultural Centre (UCC) for the opening ceremony and I was reunited with my friend, Jessyln (a BRATS senior I’d just met at the BRATS camp) and Andrea bb!

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Left: Jesslyn and me. Right: Me and Andrea ❤
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Opening ceremony

Like all conferences, there was an Opening Ceremony. This opening ceremony hall was huge and they had staffs with walkie-talkies! It was that big of a deal!

I was so honoured to be participating in this conference because first I’ve never been to an international MUN conference and because Singapore Model United Nations is the flagship Model United Nations Conference of Singapore with 2015 being its 12th year!

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For the key-note speaker, they got Singaporean minister, K.Shanmugam.

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My friend, Neel asking a question to the minister!

After the opening ceremony, we were delighted with array of food for Tea. I didn’t have lunch so I was famished and filled my tummy immediately!

Tea was brief and we were escorted to our respective councils room promptly. There we had a short introduction by our chairs/directors and we were also briefed on article expectations. I was part of the Press Corp so that meant gruelling schedules: go to committee session, observe, come back, write and finish up by 4.30pm.

The day ended quickly but realising my Press Statement did not fulfil required expectations, I worked on it with one of my press directors, Ivan after dinner.

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That red bit in the sky is from Jurong Island, the artificial island created for Petrochemical Industrialisation.

Much of my days during these five days were spent writing articles, understanding my news agency’s point of view, emulating it, and learning a discipline I’ve never done before. I honestly didn’t expect to be “representing” a Russian news agency, I was thinking of maybe getting something more serious or outrageous like BBC or KCNA. It was challenging but I’m glad that I learnt a lot about Russian culture (thanks Ivan!) and where their views come from, all that stuff.

Day Two: I’m a Pageant Girl!

The second day started off weirdly with a member of the Publicity, Outreach and Socials Team explaining the pageant that will be held on Social Night. I was like “Whaaaaaaaaaaaat?”. We had to pick a pair of representatives, one female and one male and somehow, I was chosen with no objections from anyone except me. -_- Nobody nominated any dude so I had “eenie-meenie miney-mo” my partner. That didn’t work out as well and so I just picked some dude who was taller than me—Ryan from FOX News.

After that, I got reassigned to cover the crisis committee—Shanghai Cooperative Operation (SCO). It was nerve-wrecking on that day because first of all, I didn’t get to do research  for that council and so I was very blur on the situation and second of all, the crises were going so fast! Anyways, I did my best to submit my article in time and sent it to my editor for feedback.

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Look at us painstakingly trying to finish up our articles by the deadline.
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Ephraim Tan, our Press Director! ❤
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From left to right: Me, Prasha, Esther. ❤

That night, there was a complimentary walk-around tour organised by the SMUN secretariat that would cover the sites around Downtown Core.

We got to walk around Clarke Quay, the area surrounding the Parliament buildings, Esplanade, and Marina Bay Sands.

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Starbucks’ Summer Drink: Orange Honeycomb Crunch Frappucino
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Kenny and I at Clarke Quay!
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Look at those tall buildings!
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City Hall and the F1 Street Racing Road.
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The Fullerton Hotel. One of the most expensive hotels in Singapore.
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Merlion!
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Left: Me trying to do that perspective shot that Neel inspired me to do. Right: Neel & I awkward selfie

I got more comfortable in my role on the third day and managed to do more than just report. I had the chance to write a soft news article. I wrote on fashion because… I’m a sad person who likes to tell people that their clothes look nice!

During committee session, The Russian delegate in the SCO was really helpful and cooperative so I managed to get some points that I missed from the debate.

We had our in-house committee dinner that night back at the residence. It took us a while to decide what to eat but the only issues I had with deciding what to eat was the price and whether I could order something that does not contain seafood. Buahahhahahahaha!

We decided on Domino’s! I was quite excited to try their Domino’s because well, I’ve never tried Singaporean Domino’s before. And can I just say that I prefer Singapore’s Domino’s so much more than the Malaysian one!

My favourite pizza that night were Basilico Chicken and Valenciana Mushroom! Both soooo good! I don’t know whether anyone realised but I think I was one of the few that took more than three slices of pizza. I wanted to try them all, okay! And not like I’d be going back to Singaporean Domino’s again any time soon!

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Left: Rows and rows of pizzas. Middle & Right: Bubble tea that Regina(head of Publications) belanja-ed me! ❤

Fourth day: Social Night.

I decided on this bright and colourful dress that I got recently. I was super excited to wear this dress because I absolutely love the messy rainbow-coloured feature. I waited almost two years to get this dress. It was initially RM120 but I got it for RM40. 😛

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Behind(from left to right): Ivan, Ephraim, Cassandra, Regina, Ming LI In front(from left to right): Ching Yee, Me, Edgar, Yangdup, Esther, Ryan

Okay, whatever.
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After committee session, pageant participants were escorted to the Kent Ridge Guild House first for pageant preparation.

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With Dorothy and Lucas. Somehow three of us from Malaysia got chosen to represent our committees…

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The organisers gave us a run-down on the event like the catwalk, Q&A session and winning criteria.

This pageant is an annual activity for SMUN’s Social Night… It’s meant to be light-hearted and fun but on the night itself, it wasn’t light-hearted. There was an aura of competitiveness lurking around. Omg, why so kiasu?

They even brought in a make-up artist to help with both female and male’s make up.

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Left: Make-up by me; Right: Make-up by the make-up artist

I was bored and decided on a dark make-up for the day and planned to change it later for the event.

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In the pageant room filling up time. I’m so sorry but I forgot the other girl’s name.

luixia-singaporemun-37 The pageant started off with a couple catwalk, followed by a Q&A session.

Ryan and I.
Ryan and I.
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Editors, Ivan and Jing Yi taking a selfie with Ryan and me as the background.

We returned to the stage once again only this time, we’d change into our casual outfit for games. We were separated accordingly to male and female. For males, they had to dance along to the song with the emcee while us girls had to dance/catwalk/ireallydon’tknow to whatever song the DJ gave us.

Somehow, Dorothy got an “old school club music”… Other people got some songs according to their race(-death glares at DJ-) while I got Anaconda by Nicki Minaj???!??!?!??!

Since I got that “pervert song”, according to Dorothy, I danced lor. I was lucky that they gave me something upbeat or else I don’t know what I would have done.

Long story short, I still didn’t win.

Fifth day: last day. 😦

I was really tired that morning because I slept at like… 3AM. I had to constantly find methods to keep myself awake!

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Make up of the day!
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Everyone from Press Corp in this photo! Except one of the editors, Hao Jing.
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Polaroids I took on the last day! ❤
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Omg! They got the Ambassador of France to Singapore! So walaoz.
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Creepy Lucas being creepy.
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Selfie as we were walking to UCC!
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Panel Discussion with Ambassador Benjamin Dubertret, Mr Xaxier Nuttin and Mr Stephen Quick
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Left: Selfie because I was quite happy with my make-up but it was too dark. Right: Ivan asking a question and Cassandra photobombing!

 Out of all the MUN conferences that I’ve been to so far, this conference to me has been the most enlightening and enjoyable. Maybe it was the committee I joined which had a small number of us, maybe it was the people I went to the conference with, maybe it was the people I met, either way, Singapore MUN 2015 is my favourite conference ever. Sure, I had to stay up later than usual(up to 2AM) to finish up my articles but that was my decision to sacrifice sleep and I knew that if I don’t do my best now, I’d regret it. I also won’t know whether I’d be able to make it to Singapore MUN again.

Photos by me and Lionel Lin, SMUN 2015 Official Photographer

Singapore Model United Nations 2015 Conference

TheStar Newspaper’s BRATs Young Journalist Camp June 2015 at Johor Bahru!

Hello everyone! It’s been a long time since I actually wrote a post and I’ve been putting it off for quite awhile although I wasn’t supposed to. Ever since I came back from Singapore, I’ve been going out with my friends and my family.

Regardless, I am now back to update you all on what has been the most tiresome yet amazing month of June!

Starting it off was the BRATs Camp that was held from 3 June till 6 June 2015. I initially applied to join the camp in late February for their March 2015 camp that was going to be based in a 6-star chalet, Casabrina Resort in Raub. Needless to say, I wanted to join because I wanted to experience what it was like staying in a 6-star hotel. Kidding, I have actually always wanted to participate in this young journalist camp since secondary school but due to time constraints, I never did have a chance to join until this year! I’m so happy I participated in this camp because I thought I learnt a lot especially since I’m going to be studying Journalism in university.

There were a lot of challenges faced. For one, we had strict deadlines and our video editing software crashing causing our video to disappear an hour before the deadline. Throughout it all, it was still a beneficial and memorable four days.

I left for JB the night before the camp and relied on the country’s main railway operator, KTMB/Malaysian Railways. It was relatively cheap and convenient as the train departed from KL Sentral and would stop at JB Sentral. I took the sleeping coach as advised by sister, Wei. She mentioned to me earlier that the sleeping coach would be better as it wouldn’t be too cold compared to the seating coach.

luixia-bratsjb2015a-01Left: The Superior Night Class Corridor Right: My bed and my bags.

luixia-bratsjb2015a-02 Left: Taking a selfie for my family to inform them that I’m safely boarded in the train Right: The view from my window of the empty underground hallway.

I got some sleep but woke up a little too early as the arrival time got delayed. When I got out, I met up with the other camp participants for breakfast. I’m really thankful that I took the sleeping coach because I was informed by the other participants who took the seating coach that it was freezing there! After breakfast, the participants and I departed for Mutiara Hotel, the hotel we would be staying for the next four days. It was a little too early for check-in as we reached there at 9am but after an hour of waiting, the hotel managers checked us in. That was a smart move, Mutiara Hotel and so I thank you guys for letting us check-in earlier! Upon checking in to my room, I took some photos of the room, freshen up and took an hour nap before I had to register for the camp.

luixia-bratsjb2015a-03 Left: The bathtub Right: Bathroom selfie? 

luixia-bratsjb2015a-04Left:View from the entrance of the room Right: Glimpse of the room

luixia-bratsjb2015-10The beds and more of my bags. The beds were alright but the pillows were comfortable that I fell
asleep quite fast.

Haha! Right after that quick nap, I headed down for registration, you know usually they give your name tag but instead of that, they gave me another person’s name tag for our first “assignment” which was to interview him/her and then introducing him/her during ice-breaking sessions. It was definitely a good ice-breaking technique because then you’re “forced” to talk to people. Hahah! When we were done introducing ourselves, Ian(Editor of R.AGE & BRATs organiser) began the journalism workshop! 😀

The workshop gave us basic tips and tricks on journalism and I took down lots of notes.

When the workshop ended, we were then separated into our teams. So there were three teams: Team Ian, Team Vivienne and Team May Lee. I was in Team May Lee(#teammaylee) and somehow, I was elected team leader…

I was reluctant to become team leader and tried to put it on someone else instead. But I failed so for the next four days, I had to delegate tasks, come up with angles for our articles, write, rush people and ensuring work gets done.

So yeah… Our very first assignment sent us to the heritage street of JB, Jalan Tan Hiok Nee!

We got to interview the main baker of Hiap Joo Bakery, James Lim. He was a very nice pleasant man to interview although a bit soft-spoken. His most famous baked goods are the coconut buns and banana cake, both equally delicious and mouth-watering. We also made a video on the process of baking with a wood fired oven, a traditional baking oven.

After all that tedious work, we had lunch at one of JB’s most famous restaurant/kopitiam, Hua Mui!

luixia-bratsjb2015-16Hua Mui’s Mee Mamak

Either my taste buds were dead from my runny nose or it was that the Mee Mamak that was supposed to be super spicy wasn’t spicy at all.

Once we were done with lunch, us BRATs headed to EH HE Gallery & Cafe.

EH HE is a little boutique gallery and cafe that showcases history and art. When we were there, they were having a Teo Chew Opera exhibition. There were original pieces from the era when Teo Chew Opera was at its prime.

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During our time at the gallery, a few of us got to catch one of the members of EH HE Gallery, Low Shi Jian, 19. Although he was busy working on his art, he happily explained how this gallery and cafe came about. Team Ian included the discussion in their article.

luixia-bratsjb2015-22A mural done by one of the owners of the gallery & cafe.luixia-bratsjb2015-24 luixia-bratsjb2015-25luixia-bratsjb2015-26

On our third day, we got to visit the most-hyped-about theme park in JB, LEGOLAND!!!!!!!

luixia-bratsjb2015-28 Legoland Entrance

Throughout our time there, we interviewed the lifeguards of Legoland’s newly opened Water Park, restaurant managers, regular employees and LegoFriends.

One of the most awesome interviews was the intimate Q&A session with LegoFriends!

They were all very happy and chirpy. They showed so much energy and spirit during the interview even after performing twice that day!

luixia-bratsjb2015-31Lego Friends strutting their stuff on stage.

After the interview, we had a bit of free time to wonder and explore Legoland. I returned to out temporary base in Lego Hotel to do work but was called out later to play at the Water Park for photos.

Amidst my exploration of Legoland, I found out that there were having a Star Wars exhibition! I really wanted to go in and explore but I prioritised work first. However, I did take some photos of their Lego structures.

luixia-bratsjb2015-32Albert Einstein

luixia-bratsjb2015-34Mummy wolf and pup in the Lego Kingdom. The pup is so cute!

luixia-bratsjb2015-35Entrance to the Star Wars exhibition

After everything from interviews, trying out the rides and enjoying the theme park, we went back to our hotel tired but determined to complete our assignments!

Some of us stayed up late to complete assignments, especially Jasmin(our lovely videographer and video editor whose Final Cut Pro decided to destroy our video) to redo the videos and made sure they were YouTube-worthy.

The final day was a bitter-sweet one. Some of us left for home right after the camp ended, some of us stayed another night in JB for the Pinewoods Studios Tour and I… Left for Singapore. I honestly wanted to check out Pinewoods Studio but it would be too rushed for me. Nevertheless, my journey to Singapore via the SBS Bus proved to be smooth which was reassuring as I have never travelled to Singapore via bus, what’s more alone.

To recap, I learnt that there’s more to JB than tall buildings and constructions, being a journalist has a million of responsibilities, being a team leader requires you to connect with your peers, and lastly, be confident of your own abilities.

Thank you everyone who helped make this camp a success and a memorable one. 🙂

TheStar Newspaper’s BRATs Young Journalist Camp June 2015 at Johor Bahru!