Short story: Chingay Main Parade, Day 1.
I wrote about my experience doing transport management for Chingay on Valentine's Day (read). That was the preview show for primary and secondary schoolkids to watch. Yesterday was the first day of the main show.
And it's turning out to be one of my more interesting volunteering experience.
Yesterday was 10x more taxing on the mind compared to Vday. Work started one hour later because the parade started one hour later than the preview show. The same 4 hrs of nua-ing. The same edible food. Most importantly, more performers sharing the same bus queue. And I did not get to stand with the bus bay folks as with the preview show (which was a much lighter job); my position was smacked right in the middle of the impatient crowd of "900 beautiful ladies". (our running joke on the performers, as this was what written on the Chingay programme brochure)
Yet however tiring it might be, there were always people trying their best to give me a good day. Just want to single out the schoolkids and the international contingents for being extremely organized even when they probably had to wait the longest. These were the people worth going the extra mile for. Worth my effort running back and forth to the gates, trying to get them enough space to rest while waiting for their bus.
And one interesting story for you all.
Was standing at the extreme left of the area when I saw this international contingent walking down the middle lane. Nothing special, until I realized there's an air of familiarity in their performance costume.
IT'S MY HOME COUNTRY'S CHINGAY CONTINGENT.
Hard to contain my excitement so I told Ken to allow me to manage them (of course the contingent they did not know that, since all our comms are in English).
So keeping myself as composed as possible, I exclaimed: "Anh chị ơi, đoàn mình xếp hàng gọn vào để bọn em tiện theo dõi được không ạ?" (roughly, "please queue up in twos so it's easier for us to manage?")
I guessed my fellow countrymen were pretty surprised to hear Vietnamese as well.
And I kept them entertained (and in line) for the next 5 minutes before their bus arrived.
People asked me how it felt and I had to quote my friend - it's probably the same feeling if you would go out there to a foreign land and suddenly hear some Singlish.
In the end, I arrived back at Pioneer MRT at about 1.15am thanks to the shuttle bus provided for volunteers. Had a good supper with my colleagues. Reached home at 2. Overslept my supposed SEA Games product knowledge training this morning (sigh).
Still got 2 more days.