9 September 2011

The Students' Adventure - Re-routing The Race

Today I had two guests come to Jakarta. One from Singapore and the other from Canada. So this morning I went over to the airport to pick them up and we headed straight off together with my mom. Where you may ask? We thought that we would show them two places close to heart. These two places really reflect what Indonesia is all about and are well preserved. But really, it's because these places happen to be the two tourist attractions in the area that are closest to my heart. It's Taman Mini Indonesia Indah and Kebun Raya Bogor.

Why are they so close to the heart? It's because I've been to Taman Mini like 9 times and I've been to Kebon Raya Bogor probably 16 times to date. Why so many times? Because these were the two places where lead my team of PSB students to organize The Students's Adventure (TSA) Season 1 at Kebun Raya Bogor and The Students' Adventure Season 2 at Taman Mini. So with all the survey trips to organize the event, I think I now know these places all too well.


TSA, later renamed as SCOPE (Student Corporation Organizing Productive Events) is, or was, an annual event that we held in PSB School. It's sort of like a Junior Amazing Race but with a totally different concept. Each year, or season as we like to call it, we choose one place which is the scope of the race. The students are put into groups and run a two leg race with a Check Point at the end of each leg. Each leg consists of a number of stations each with a task that the teams must complete to move on in the race.

The most amazing thing about TSA is that it is FULLY STUDENT INITIATED. The idea came from the students' own will with no adults asking us to do it at all and the teacher mentor which we recruited (not that recruited us) was only to resolve legal matters and to show his or her face when we needed someone aged above 18.


Let's just keep the description simple: today was just nostalgic. Like really nostalgic. We had 6 stations in Taman Mini. Today, I got to re-visit 3 of them. In Kebon Raya, I got to revisit all the stations including the Check Points. Somehow, though there were not much people there, somehow I was seeing people, students of PSB School, running around, reading clues, fighting, carrying each other's bag (or carrying each other), completing tasks, and the scene I've seen the most which is checking into the Check Point at Lady Raffles Memorial in Season 1 and at Istana Anak-anak in Season 2. It's amazing how we did something so amazing in such an amazing place. I don't think I can describe what we went through during the days of TSA and you really have to be one of us on the Organizing committee to understand all the pain and gain. Working 6 months to prepare for Season 1 which effectively was only a 4 hour race and a preparation time of 9 months for a 5 hour race is a lot of time spent on a short time "pay" of satisfaction. But really, we've all learned so much from the experience and I'm sure it has changed all of our lives.

This post is dedicated to all the organizers of the First and Second Season of The Students' Adventure Series and SCOPE! All the best to us all in the future!

To end this tribute post, I'll publish that TSA Theme Song song we wrote before the second TSA which was never officially published (and only 4 people have heard of) followed by some photos of our TSA times. (Due to my horrible Internet speed, more photos will be uploaded on a later date)

The Students' Adventure Theme Song

The time is coming, the time is near
And it's becoming all so clear
The chance of a lifetime starts today

Let's learn, run and have fun
In the sun, all for one
Everybody come and join us here

It's The Students' Adventure where we're gonna have some fun
It's The Students' Adventure where we'll work with everyone
It's The Students' Adventure where we're gonna run and scream
All we've got to do right now is learn, run, have fun!

We're gonna learn something new today
But we don't know what anyway
The chance of a lifetime starts today

Let's learn, run and have fun
In the sun, all for one
Everybody come and join us here

It's The Students' Adventure where we're gonna have some fun
It's The Students' Adventure where we'll work with everyone
It's The Students' Adventure where we're gonna run and scream
All we've got to do right now is learn, run, have fun!

It is a TSA tradition that we take a picture of our feet on the first location survey trip

8 September 2011

GW 1.0 (In English)

This is another blog post where I copied the idea from the blog of the coolest dude around Mario Averdi at http://www.shootingaces.blogspot.com/ . So here it goes, in English...

I was born in that hospital labour room in Jakarta Barat that one August morning. I was in my mom's tummy for that extra month. I was expected to be born on Indonesia's Independence day but that didn't happen. I was taken home to an amazing home with an amazing pair of parents. I grew up. I was too skinny to be true. I never had problems eating vegetables. I moved to Perth. I lived in Perth with my dad. I attended 4 different Kindergartens. I was put in foundation English class in my last kindergarten. I continued to live in Perth. I sat my first year of Primary School in Ursula Frayne in Perth. I was still in Foundation English class. I was a jerk in first grade. I listened to Westlife, ABBA and Pet Shop Boys in the car to and from school everyday. I grew up listening to Westlife. I came to love Westlife. I watched The Sound of Music every day. I watched it so much that the last time I watched The Sound of Music was the day the CD cracked. I moved on to second grade. I went home to Jakarta. I went to SIS. I got bullied in grade 2. I was the bully the next year. I've been both a bully and the bullied before so I know what it feels like on both sides. I moved to PSB. I moved to a school in a damn freaking ruko. I moved to PSB on the first day it opened. I went to a school with 40 students from 1st to 9th grade. I was in a class of like what, 6 people? I thought my parents were insane to send me to PSB. I was proven wrong in 4 months. I won the APSMO maths competition. I won the Westpac Olympiad. I am the first person in PSB School history to have an achievement in a competition outside school. I went through this journey with my good pal Pris. I was ruthless. I was hated. I was bullied, again. I then became the bully, again. I resolved it all before the end of 4th grade. I was the vice of the Valentines Day organizing committee. I was part of the first ever fully student organized event in PSB School history. I was so proud of myself. I felt Youth Empowerment for the first time even though I didn't know what Youth Empowerment was at that time. I was crazy. I organized our so called "The Adventure Race" in Kebon Raya Bogor for the school. I was so devastated that it got canceled due to natural disaster. I put all the documents in a box and hid it away. I found the box and made the race really happen two years later. I started TSA. I saw TSA crash and burn. I was loved by my PSB mates. I was loved by my PSB teachers. I was scared taking the iPSLE. I made it through the iPSLE. I got results outstanding that words cannot describe how good they are. I cried because of my results. I made my maths teacher cry because of my results. I cried and cried and cried. I was too happy to stop crying. I sat Secondary School. I left PSB on such short notice. I left PSB not because PSB is a bad school. I left to make PSB proud in the world out there. I left the shoebox school. I worked hard for my last Honours Day event. I worked hard to make my final service to PSB a memorable one. I cried on Honours Day on stage. I made everyone else cry. I left the most productive 4 years of my life...

I'm bored. I wanna blog. I'm going to Kebon Raya Bogor tomorrow. I'm going to be nostalgic.

I'm going to continue the chapters of my life which were in Bahasa Indonesia in GW 2.0!

I'm Aaron Colin and signing out!

1 September 2011

Judging A Book By Its Cover

(As you may see, this post is still very messy, as in it lacks proper structure. This is mainly because as I was writing it, I had a hard time connecting ideas together; and this is indeed a very complicated topic. I'm going to be editing this post soon so please do check back soon!)

As I have grown up, I've heard that phrase over and over again. At first I believed it; but by "at first" I mean when I first heard the phrase in Grade 2 or 3 I think. But lately, I've come to realize that this is not entirely true, and now, I'm going to tell you why...

Let's take this phrase literally. Suppose I'm at the bookstore. These days, at least in Indonesia, bookstores tend to leave one copy of each book unsealed so that you can take a look at the content before you buy one. But in life, some things just don't have that one unsealed copy. In other words, sometimes, you only have to cover to judge the inside which is where it all gets tricky.

I like to think of it this way. In the old days, it doesn't matter if you are not physically attractive for as long as your voice is good, you can be a famous singer. These days, I bet half the people who are a fan of Justin Bieber or whoever are fans mainly because they find him cute (is he?) or because he's dating Selena Gomez (I think?) or whatever other reason. Well, if Justin Bieber had a horrible voice, he would not be as successful and famous as he is today, but still, his "cover" is his main selling point, kind of like the way Lady Gaga lives by her image of being what? Bad?

When I meet a person for the first time, I automatically want to evaluate the person. Imagine when in a huge convention of people. Of course, you want to get to know some people but there is no way you will get to know everyone. So therefore, you are put in a situation where you have to choose who you want to socialize with and most likely, you would want to meet people who you will benefit from. I don't want to waste time on a person who will not gain me anything useful. So what do I have to make my choice? Anything on the outside. I can't interview everyone then make my choice. So have to depend on things like body language or the way someone presents themselves.

There are other popular phrases like "Looks can be deceiving" or whatever that tell us that what we see on the outside may not reflect whatever is hidden within. There is a lot of truth in that. However, I feel that cover is a huge factor of consideration. A person who is good would try their best to create an appearance that reflects their inside. No point having a good product if the packaging in itself scares people off.

If the cover isn't good, it means it's not worth checking out, even though the inside is good, especially in the world we live in today, where the demands for everything are much higher and we are always after perfection and a "full-package". And think about it, if plastic surgery is placed outside my scope of consideration, if a person is genetically blessed or not, you can't change too much. However, if a person is intelligent or has good character, with will and determination, that can be changed.

I think this is a talking point which can go in all sorts of directions. So please do leave your comments on how you feel about this topic.

Best Blog Quotes 1

For those of you who don't know, I have a long list of blogs which I ALWAYS check everyday whenever possible. I do this because I feel that sometimes these blogs can be a huge source of inspiration! I can tell you know that I have a list of 3 blogs which have changed my life and have inspired me. For those blogs who are on my list of the best of the best, if there are no new posts on that day, I usually would wonder off to some of the older posts. Therefore, in this post, I'm going to quote one of my favourite lines in one of these blogs that I check often and I'll discuss them, why they are inspirational or what meaning I feel lies behind them! Subsequently I'll have more of these types of posts! So here goes the first one...

Taken From "Waiting In Line, Waiting For a Verdict" by Karin Novelia

Many people ask me, "Why didn't you join the Student Council? You would be a great candidate."
Blah, blah, blah. Not to be disrespectful or anything to the people who support me and encourage me to be all "over-achieving" and who realize my leadership potential, 4 words: You. Don't. Know. Me.
Okay, I would love to be Ms. Busy-body and play teacher's pet, though evidently, that has gotten me into drama before, but I'm not a "Rachel Berry", if you will. I'm not the type of person who knows she has what it takes but destroys it by being overly-'me', all obsessive and overshadowing. I guess what I'm trying to say is, that I'm still figuring things out. I don't want to push myself to doing what seems like 'the typical me thing' to do. Not many people know what I have to deal with on a daily basis. School, parents, making sure my older brother gets through school and baby-sitting a younger sister. It's the little things I've been doing for like an eternity and I love doing them, it's like the dream job you don't wanna quit, but it takes a lot out of me.
Ok, this post was published over a year ago, but I still remember this post very well, mainly because it has my name written all over it. But the lines above which I just quoted to me have a very deep meaning. FYI, I've known Karin for almost 1.5 years now. We first met when she sat for her Writing Club Interview way back when and we have had many ventures together ever since, mostly AYC related.

In the first paragraph I quoted, when she says "Many people", I'm one of them. The main learning point to take away from this post, at least for me, is that everything is not what it seems. In fact, nothing is ever what it seems. There's that famous saying "Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover" which honestly, I don't really agree with and talk more about why in a future post.

But anyways, you never know what people have to deal with on a daily basis. Karin I must say has often been labeled as the "Over Achiever". We'll I've been there and done that and I know what it's like. The point that I want to get across here is that things like Grades or Achievements can never be a representation of a person's quality. Sometimes, people also choose not to bring out their full potential. There are also people who find that the ruthless way of life isn't worth it. Really, my main point is, what you label someone is not always what they are.

15 Things I Did In My 15th Year

The 15th year of my life has been a very interesting and life-changing one filled with a lot of very high ups and very low downs. I must say, it has been one of the best years of my life so far (but I dare not say best yet). However, I must say though, if AYC 2010 happened after my 14th birthday, or even on my birthday instead of just before it, I think I would have labeled this year the best one. So, I've chosen the 15 things which I feel were the best things I have done or achieved from the day I turned 14 to the day I turned 15. So, in chronological order, here it goes...

1. Gold Medal in Mathematics Division at the Indonesian Young Scientist Competition 2010 (InaYS 2010) in Bandung, Indonesia together with my dear Science Club partner Toby.

2. Organizing the ASEAN & Youth Empowerment Day event for the entire Junior High Unit of Santa Laurensia School. It was like bullying the entire school for a whole day!

3. Published the VieR School Magazine with the team under my leadership (=D)!

4. On top of number 3, my Cerpen (Short Story) in Bahasa Indonesia was chosen to be published in VieR!

5. I was awarded the scholarship in Singapore! (See previous posts)

6. I endured my first surgery which was to remove my appendix.

7. I hit the American continent for the first time in Houston, Texas, USA after taking the longest flight of my life (16.5 hours from Dubai to Houston)

8. Bronze Medal in the Energy Category for the International Sustainable World Energy, Engineering and Environment Project Olympiad (I-SWEEEP) 2011 in Houston, Texas, USA! Met with people from 70 different countries.

9. I climbed up the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE, and second tallest building, the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada.

10. I braved the Leap Of Faith water slide in Aquaventure at the Atlantis Resort on The Palm in Dubai, UAE. An almost vertical drop that catapults through a Shark Lagoon.

11. Passed my UAN (National Exams) with unbelievable results (both in good and bad ways)!

12. I had the opportunity to meet and work with many students from the 16th cohort of Santa Laurensia Junior High School and we inspired each other!

13. Junior High School Graduation. Graduated in a toga for the first time!

14. The Most Proactive Student Award at Graduation! Unexpected but at the same time very expected!

15. First time hang out with a Laurensian, and the hang out was in the form of a Productive Hang-out (LOL).

So there you go, 15 things I did in the past year that I will always remember for the rest of my life. I know some may find my life a bit boring, but hey, some of these are really big things for me!