First, because of a couple of reasons:
Reason no 1 - New constituency with new constituents.
Our first community event for our newly won constituency. We didn't dare to be too ambitious with ticket sales, not knowing whether the residents are keen with such activities. But we also understand that we need to give it a try.
As we were not able to put up posters on notice boards yet, we did it the conventional way; flyers distribution. 3 Sundays before the trip, teams which consisted of myself and a handful of volunteers who signed up through our website to help, were activated :)
Likewise for the rest of the division, we all did it the conventional way. Not forgetting netizens who helped spread the word :)
Thank you to Tai Ann, Zhijian, Marcus Lee, Zuraini, Mustafa, Linda, Winston Roy and Winston Loy who responded to my call :)
Next came the ticket sales which was overwhelming! We went through 3 weeks of sales. The bulk of the sales came from week 2, probably after a week or so, word starts to spread :)
During the 3 weeks, it was a common sight to see residents queuing up at Blk 616 Bedok Reservoir to purchase tickets. Most of them walked away elated to have bought their tickets while a handful were disappointed that they didn't.
Thank you to David Chua, Marcus Kong, Binson Tan and Gordon Lim for helping out with ticket sales :)
When all that was done, preparation for the day starts!
Reason no 2 - Working with new volunteers.
After determining the no. of buses, we will need to allocate 2 bus leaders to every bus. They are the ones, residents will get to interact with throughout the journey.
This was when the challenge starts :)
I did my best to allocate an experience one to every new volunteer. As much as I would like to do that, I have 2 buses that were made up of 2 new volunteers with no prior experience as BL with residents.
Nonetheless, I'm giving it a try!
Bernard (the rep from Bedok Reservoir-Punggol) and myself (rep from Eunos) conducted a BL briefing a week before the trip. With the logistics prepared by Swee Bee, we took turns to do our best to communicate effectively to our new BL on what needs to be done and what to look out for. We hope that with the experience we got from volunteering previously in HOUGANG as BL, we were able to impart all that in that hour of briefing :)
On the morning of 10th July, I gave a wake up call via sms to all BL. Everyone of them reported 6am, at meeting place. I was relieved that I didn't have to activate my back up BL.
James, thanks for agreeing to be my back up BL :)
It was a frenzy start as the residents boarded their respective buses rapidly. They were all eager to start the day!
With everything checked, the buses moved off in an orderly manner.
We met each other occasionally during the trip and from what I can see, our BL were fitting into their roles very well :) They were walking around looking for residents, mingling with them, assisting them and of course helping them to take pictures with their MPs!
The only time I got to see all BL was during dinner where all 16 buses gathered together in Restaurant Cathay 88, for a 9 course dinner :)
The next thing I know, I was at Blk 615, waiting for the last bus to pulled in at about 12am. My heart warmed at every feedback that the residents gave when we shook hands at the end of the day.
Thank you to all BL (you know who you are), both new and experience ones, for making the day a great one!
With this experience, I'm confidently sure that all new BL are now experience to lead the next one! Woohoo!
Not forgetting, Davis, our photographer :)
Reason no 3 - New role.
Since I joined the WP in 2006, I volunteered my time for most if not all of the day trips as BL. I remembered my first partner was Auntie Yizhi, resident from HOUGANG. Subsequently, I'm always paired up with a new BL so as to show them the ropes.
This year, I've got a new role. No longer a BL whose role is to take care of a bus, but the co ordinator for Eunos Division, to take care of all the buses.
From printing of tickets to the day of the trip, I was fortunate to be assisted by great volunteers and members.
I remembered meeting Bernard (also first time co ordinator) at the Singapore checkpoint. The first thing he said to me was, relax lar!
A few mins later, Bernard saw one of his BL and he asked her where her bus was. She shrugged her shoulders while searching for her bus.
'Huh? Where is your bus?', exclaimed Bernard.
My turn to go, relax lar!!! Hahaha!
It was a case of, 'easier said than done' :) We were anxious probably because it was our first time as co ordinator working with new volunteers in a new constituency, serving new constituents :)
Soon, we were doing bus hopping, moving from one bus to another to ensure smooth operation :)
Just when I thought I could relax myself for dinner, Bernard and myself were called up to address the crowd as well as to conduct lucky draw. Well, this to me isn't new. This happens to me all the time hahaha!
Next week, 17th July, I will be volunteering my time for Serangoon division. This time, I will be reverted back to my old role, BL :)
Regardless of whatever role we play, the objectives are the same. That is, to serve the community to the best of our capabilities.