Labrador Park Outing on 28.04.2012

It was supposed to be a cool day. It poured in the morning. It was not the passing rain which would barely last for less than half an hour – it rained the whole morning! Anticipating a fine weather for a trail into Mother Nature, the 1st RO outing of this work year turned out to be a test of endurance under the blazing heat sun.

This was one week after Earth Day 2012. We decided to bring our members on a relaxing trail in Labrador Park to embrace Mother Nature and appreciate what the environment has for us. We were set on an ambitious conquest. We intended to take a 1-km walk through the Belayar Creek mangrove trail to feed our eyes with greenery and make our way to the resting point by the ocean near Dragon’s Teeth Park. At the resting point we would have our tea break, and of course, take our timely rest. After which, we would walk 330m on Bukit Chermin Boardwalk to Reflections at Keppel Bay. In fact, our ultimate destination was to be Keppel Island where we could enjoy a splendid view of the Park and the skyscraping property. We also dreamt of sipping coffee at cafes at “Marina at Keppel Bay”.

Our last experience at Labrador Park was dated back to 2008, when we held our RO Annual Camp at the park then. That was a 2D1N camp, with the 1st day as a half-day exploration of the Park via 8 stations of games. Members were set on a laborious but fulfilling mission to conquer 8 stations and did acts like: building sandcastles by the ocean; Treasure hunts at the war relics; adopting animated postures for photo-taking and dancing at the studio. It was a day of indulgence in history and nature – without actually knowing them. And yeah, it was packaged as an Amazing Race, and we had half-day to complete as many stations as possible.

Our Labrador Conquest 2012 turned out to be even more challenging. We had only 2 hours to complete what we had planned. The scorching sun was challenging. It sapped our energy by the second as we marched our way through the Belayar Creek. However, our members were still deriving personal entertainment from the trail. Liting was having intimate conversations with Shuhui under an umbrella while Choon Wee would keep commenting on the little plants or insects he saw. The members appear oblivious of the heat most of the time, despite drinking water when they realized that they were thirsty. The 1-km walk on Belayar Creek did not yield surprises, but it sure did yield some bonding where volunteers and members engage in casual conversations.

If there was any demonstration of fatigue, it was only explicit when we reached the resting point. Suddenly, every member was either heading for the toilet to wash their faces, or rushing to grab a seat in the shelter and look around. Well, we were indeed glad to be sheltered after spearing through the heat earlier. Surprisingly, there were still energetic members like Andrew who might not have many opportunities to use his camera. He went on a shooting ecstasy and shot every plant that intrigued him.
It was at this moment when our Chairperson and Vice-chairperson made their grand entrances with the TEA BREAK!! Pizza from Sarpinos and packet drinks~~ Both members and volunteers re-vitalize by feasting on the pizzas and drinks, and feasting on the ocean and island in front of them.

At the end of tea break, we did realize a bit of urgency. We have barely 1 hour plus a bit to stroll to Keppel Island. Our excursion leader Jianming alerted us and we sprung off. The great thing about the second part of this conquest was that the sun was more compassionate at the second half. Our stroll on the Bukit Chermin Boardwalk was greeted with blue skies and ocean, in contrast to the overwhelming greenery earlier. This was a refreshing start for some of us, and apparently members like Yong Xiang seemed to be energized and shared his experiences of his new enrolment into Temasek Polytechnic. As he skipped and hopped on the boardwalk, he recounted his interests in the new course.
Upon reaching the mid-point of the trail, we were greeted by the amazing view of Keppel Island, the yacht harbour and the surrounding buildings. While we were indulging in the scenery around us, we also came to realize that time was not in our favour. Some of our members who are more mobility-challenged have remained at an end point of the boardwalk. At the call of our decisive volunteers, we decided to abort the rest of the conquest. Well, the emphasis of Labrador Conquest 2012 was never to complete the trail but to provide a platform for RO volunteers and members to enjoy a nice Saturday afternoon. And we did!

Labrador Conquest 2012 concluded at the end point with a group photo. It was heartening to note that members went through the experience with little discontent and that even the less mobile members like Felice and Foong Leong made the endeavor to walk as much as possible. In fact, Foong Leong insisted in walking all the way and wanted to stay with the group and take the MRT despite being offered the more comfortable option of ferry service on Lilian’s car. Well, guess that’s what the RO spirit is all about!

Written by: Q Jinyao