This post was begun on June 22, 2011 at 10:11PM and I only decided to post it today, after a dawning revelation.
"........the NightWalk is cancelled!"
–ICT FOC 05/06, May 17, 2005 at 2.50AM, after Battle Royale finished.
And so begins a question of What If... "What if NightWalk was not cancelled? What if it piqued my interest early on? What if I had time to document and know everything about the school before I took part in FOC 06/07? What if—?"
After more than 10 NightWalks, looking back on this, it is a shame—an extreme shame, that I didn't go through it in a virgin FOC setting, when I was completely unfamiliar with the geography of Singapore Polytechnic. Once you become familiar with the twists and turns, the idiosyncrasies of the location, the fear of the unknown lessens. Therefore the best time to experience a NightWalk is when you don't know the place well, which means: when you are a freshie!
But it just goes to show how the ICT Club FOC Organising Committee placed great importance on the campers' welfare. They'd rather us sleep properly than be tired. Then again, NightWalk shouldn't have been placed after Battle Royal. We freshies were dead tired ("A NightWalk? At 2.50am?!") and daylight was fast approaching. I wonder what the NightWalk committee felt then, when the momentous decision was made to cancel NightWalk. Everyone must have been disappointed. Nevertheless, what's passed is past. We have since learned from our mistakes, and now DMIT Club never puts two major night activities in the same night for FOC.
Today, SP is a different place. The school management is more privy to the great interest in NightWalk. But they are taking it in a negative way. Sometimes the rules are relaxed, and NightWalk goes on as usual. But the main sentiment is one of disapproval. I don't know whether it is because of students' carelessness, or conservative thinking amongst the management.
In terms of carelessness, noise is an issue. Screams at night draw calls from residents to the police hotline, which in turn alarm the school management. Conservativeness dictates that all activities must end by 11pm, and resume at 7am the next day. Even a NightWalk. Which is rather ridiculous to me. The most recent ruling recommends that all camps be held outside school, including Orientation Camps. Honestly I don't know how an Orientation Camp is to be held without the Campus in attendance.
There is also renewal and relentless renovation. Previously forested areas with a foreboding presence are cleared to make way for some newfangled study corner. Old buildings are bulldozed without mercy. With sparse commemoration. I still haven't got over the loss of our dear MLT2 and Childcare Centre, and probably never will. (Abit sad.) But to the builders' credit, a sinister path has been cut through the hill where the old Childcare Centre once stood.
Due to the presence of 3 (!) construction sites in SP now, the FOC of 13/14 shall have its sleeping quarters at Terror Sea campsite in Sembawang. I had once asked before, why not try a NightWalk in the campsite? We could do with a refreshing challenge. But once you do it outside school, they will never know a NightWalk is possible in SP. Therefore I stand resolute in the idea of continuing to do FOC NightWalks, specifically, in school. Campsite NightWalks can wait till ICE camps etc, where campers are mostly students already savvy with the school terrain (where a NightWalk would be on familiar, comforting territory) and wish to have a different experience in an unfamiliar location.
"Hold steadfast to our tradition of NightWalk in SP, whether outdoors with ample effort to ensure darkness and isolation, or in conjoined classrooms with tons of partitions."
Rest assured that the tradition will continue.