The worst (and the best) Valentine's Day ever.

This is the story of a strange Valentine's Day.

Needed to rush from NTU to get to Chingay. 179 out, first stop outside NTU. Normally it's extremely easy to wave for a cab (it's right after a PIE exit), but for strange reasons, 15 mins out and not a single available one. So I moved to a nice spot to call one instead, waited another 10 mins , got into my cab...

Only to find out the uncle did not know where the F1 Pit Building is.

First time I raged a person in English.

Of course it did not solve the problem. Most stressing issue was finding a way to guide him there. He did not know how to use the GPS unit that's standard to every cab. My trusty Google Maps could not help him. Digital's useless, so he went analog. Pulled out his buddy the street directory and asked me to help him find the place. R to Republic Blvd, map 133, grid 2A. Still slightly clueless... until I pointed out the Flyer nearby. Finally a place he knew how to get to.

10-15 mins of cluelessly driving around. Luckily he could not drive me any further west (thank God, NTU) so no time wasted turning around and stuff. Problem solved, but not the best part yet.

1500+ Conversation with Uncle
"F1 building ah. Today you ride f-what?"
"F10 uncle. F10. Very fast one." (got nothing better to say)
"No lah today F14 lah you..."
"Later ah got couples you allow in, one husband one wife also come in. Single one ah, please move to the back thank you. Next one couple holding hands ah in again."

Of course I took out most of the part because it's all pretty standard convo. And also I was slightly busy whatsapping my colleagues (I was doing this as part of canvassing for hall FOC) about this strange situation. He f-ed up big time, and his attempt to pick me up, not much better. But it did make one hell of a ride, so one clap for our dear uncle.

1530+ I reached the Pit Building, and 1550 I finally made it the volunteer reporting tent (hard place to find). 50 mins south of expected reporting time.

Now to the actual work.

1900 Volunteers for performers transport management on standby
2000 First group arrived. Official start of work. And the enduring of people's bullshit.
2230 Signing out
2345 Back at my side of the island, entirely exhausted.

In the end, what did I get in exchange for $20 worth of canvassing?
1. A free t-shirt?
Nah, not today. Figured it would come sooner or later so letting that passed.
2. A chance to watch the parade?
Hell no. Simply too far away from the parade ground.
3. Transport back to NTU?
Only provided in case of event running late (after 0000hrs). Not for yesterday.
4. Dinner?
5. A fancy volunteer tag.
6. A $23.70 cab ride.
Okay lah not that bad thanks to my dear uncle. But already seeing the (economic) loss.
7. (note the gap in my earlier timeline) 4 hours of simply nua-ing, no work done.
When I arrived at the reporting tent I simply signed in and waited. Only at around 1630+ they started gathering us for briefing, 1700 for on-site recee. Only by then I knew that work would actually start when the first group of performers had finished their stuff, or roughly 2000.
So in the end, why did I have to come 5 hours earlier?
8. The people's bullshit.
Nothing could be done about this - it's part of this line of work. Plus my specific position (bus bay ushers) did not have much (sensitive) interaction with people. My colleague Hendi had his fair share thanks to his position at the very frontline.
It's just hard to understand why some people could not understand simple instructions or follow simple protocols.

The list of minuses clearly won. Yet I still sacrificed a good part of my Vday for this.

There's a reason I brought this issue up. For my other, more important FOC, there's this fund-raiser called Working Day that's similar in nature - basically working, then donate your hard-earned cash to the fund. Important issue is how would people feel if they were put through this, especially when they would not keep (most of) the money.

And on Vday, I experienced that first-hand. Definitely not easy for people to give their effort, especially when the costs far outweighs the benefits. If the costs were lowered, yes it would certainly compell people to give. Like reducing the amount of nua time by allowing us to report later, or offering us a higher return. Of course we should not go too far in that aspect - people need to appreciate hard work; the point is they need to be appreciated in their hard work as well. Hard work + fair and just rewards = win-win situation for everyone.

More importantly, they need to be reminded that the money's going to a "good" cause; even though personal rewards are close to nought, the collective result (as represented by the amount of funds raised) should be of certain significance.

Personally I didn't mind giving my time & money that day. A ton of fun exploring things I'd never done before + talking to folks I'd never had the chance to interact with even though we had bonding and stuff. Just wished they could allow us to report later so that I could finished my undone work with the other FOC. The Valentine's Day deliveries...

Which brings me to the happy part.

For the past two weeks or so, I've been running a Vday project as part of my important FOC (the one with Working Day. Juggling two FOCs, certainly not easy). Last week was the baking week - 4 full days of baking, culminating to D(elivery)-Day on Vday. LNY celebration fell on the same week, the day before Vday.

Did not have a lot of free time, so all was either spent sleeping, or spent at our HQ over at hall 1.

Of course I wasn't the only one. Nor was I the most hard-working.

I had the privilege of working with an extremely talented baker - he was the first person I thought of recruiting into my team when I was confirmed as the head of business management. And he certainly won over all our hearts with his delicious recipes. Even the scraps were awesome (I could take in a lot of sugary stuff, so most of the time when there were scraps I would be the first one to take). I only felt rather guilty that he had to bake days and nights to fulfill orders... especially for the 4 days of intense baking for Vday.

To the point where I was rather happy that on Vday, he actually slept more than me.

0400 Zzzzz.
LNY celebration was the previous day, and that was a ton of fun. And usually after such events, we would take the second round of fun at 24hrs. Slightly more special occasion, so I got in a bit more than my (occasional) intake of alcohol. In the end I could not get myself to sleep immediately. Ended up lying on my bed half-asleep until 0400.

0730 Up and running
3.5 hrs. Yay.

0800 Arrived at HQ
0830-0900 First bouquet delivery
1030-1100 Second bouquet delivery
1215-1245 Special mousse delivery
1330-1400 The very last delivery before Chingay. Haiz.

All walking time taken into account. The rest of the time was spent micro-managing the delivery schedule. And even after I'd done most of the division the previous day, I still couldn't finish the scheduling before I left for Chingay, leaving out a few halls... Was pretty worried, so even at Chingay I still kept an eye out for any delivery problems (4 hours of nua-ing spent rather effectively. But really wished they could give me an extra hour to perfect the schedule). Thank God my good man back at HQ sorted it out nicely, thank God for my own dedicated team - all the bizmag folks and thank God for my dedicated team of helpers. People sacrificing their own Vday to bring happiness to others on Vday.

Better still, when I arrived home entirely exhausted from Chingay, my Vday gifts were there for me.

Well there were non-surprises (of course I knew the senders since I accessed the order form like once every 2-3 hrs) and there were surprises, but that's not very important. I appreciated them all. And I think most people felt the same when they got their presents that day.

I really am the luckiest head of bizmag.

In the end, even though I only celebrated Vday one day after the actual day (and after those late Vday deliveries), I was really happy.

Because it was extremely fulfilling, in both the good and the bad ways.


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