That has a ring to it, doesn't it? When I first told my dad about the event, his first question was "What? You are going to collect newspapers like Karung Guni?"
Yes dad, I did exactly that. Your daughter did spend a good part of her Saturday running around HDB blocks trying to gather newspaper. I survived and am going to share my experience, today. Well, why use the word 'survive', you might ask? That seems to harbour some unwillingness right? Well yes, but not really, here's me trying to explain!
Well, if you aren't already familiar with this noteworthy event, listen up now! Hosted by one of our very own Student Representative Council (SRC) committees- TRANSFORMERS, teams of participating UoL students are allocated HDB blocks to work on through the collection of old newspaper, clothes and even books. Using a general guideline and being attached to a capable "Transformer" student-in-charge, you basically get to navigate round allocated areas whilst scavenging for the aforementioned items.
What's the first thing that pops into your head when you think 'volunteer work'? Well in all honesty, I come up with works like messy, unexpected and ultimately something that comes with little or no returns- mind you, I'm not even stating these words grudgingly, just for what it is. While most of the adjectives are true, I'm going to also tell you how they aren't completely so.
I don't know about what others went into this event thinking but, I went in with a semi-open mind, wanting to experience how this whole event worked. I realised that it was strangely invigorating. By the halfway mark people were getting more excitable and more enthusiastic about actually collecting more heavy weighted stuff.
It is sort of strange if you think about it, we liked doing this, even if it was just that few hours, we liked getting dirty, collecting what others saw as 'junk' and sending them off to the collection points. It didn't really matter that we came out with ink-smudged hands and faces. I, for one, am starting to see that this is what being a 'volunteer' means. It isn't about gaining any form of tangible gratification or recognition from it. It was about doing something that you wouldn't normally think of doing, focusing on that and making sure to carry it through no matter how weird or out of character it might seem to be.
This isn't the same type of endorphin that surges through your body after a good workout at the gym - not that I would know much about that, but I digress, - this is more about knowing that you didn't sit on your behind all day wasting a good weekend being unproductive. This is the feeling of being able to know that your little actions of literally collecting people's odds-and-ends had a direct impact of making something good - HINT FOR A POSSIBLE FUTURE ARTICLE WOOP WOOP - happen.
As opposed to saying a flat out no to similar opportunities to pitch physical help in, in the future, why not have a go at it? Doing good begets good, and really though, you will have fun, trust me on that!
Cover pic: http://melisica.tk/post/75403227528
Event photos: MM Media Works