Second photography day at Tzu Chi

[Sunday, 27 August, 2006]

I could not get to sleep somehow and I flipped over and over for almost two hours after midnight. There were many things on my mind which I could not quite remember.

In the morning, I woke up to give Vivi a morning call. She was kind of like half awake as she tried to joke with me or maybe she was still dreaming. I quickly rushed to wash up and was glad that for the first time after so many years, I packed my bag before sleeping.

It was meet-the-parent session, unofficially. Even though her dad had seen me before, this would be the first time he was going to see me as her daughter’s boyfriend. I knew I could not be late when I had to wait for them at Redhill MRT station.

I gave a call to her and realised Qizhi was late and I waited there alone for quite some time. Suddenly, she called me and I went to search for the car. To my horror, her mum was inside as well but this time I did not have cold sweat. She sat in the middle and thus I was able to sit close to her while her parents took the front two seats; whereas her younger sister was all alone behind, but having her self entertainment somehow.

There was nothing much for me to say when the family was trying to tease each other. From what she told me later on, her mum seldom had so much to say and she did it on purpose just in my presence. At least, it was better than they divert their attention on me instead.

We reached Tzu Chi soon and I was approached to help carrying tables right away by one of the “Shi Gu” (more senior person). Of course, I could not push it away since everyone was probably thinking I was quite fit looking even though I had injuries. It caused some problems to my back of course.

I was led into the kitchen to help out and was made to wear a coat, which was quite irritating. First task was to dry the near two hundreds bowls and covers with some of them. They were working very efficiently and unselfishly, and I felt so odd out actually. Filling the kettle with boiled water from the flash was one issue but I managed to stack up some chairs to place the kettle on instead of holding it at the handle and getting burnt by the uprising hot air. Then, I was told to pour four packets of instant three-in-one Milo into each of the four tea flasks. My back was aching then.

Love cookies

Suddenly, Vivi came in and passed me some cookies she had baked for me. I was so busy that I could not take a close look at them. I was hungry but it would not seem nice if the people there were to see me eat instead of working, which might cause a bad impression on me.

Suddenly, Mingxi came in with a girl, looking for food, and the cookies were just besides me, too obvious for everyone to see that I had to offer some to them. I was more than happy to share the love cookies but it was bad for me to not take the first try. Perhaps, it was not a good timing to hold the cookies. I quickly took one piece after they left but I was not an expert on tasting cookie; it was very sweet in my heart.

Halfway through, I was called to go up to take photos. Then, I realised I was helping them to clean the place with my socks. I waited up there until Meijuan Shi Gu arrived and I told them I had to keep my camera for the afternoon’s outing. Thus, I caused a halt in the beginning of their work to take photos of the first performance.

I started working with their camera. I loved the start-up speed of it such that I could switch it on and off without much delay. The focus was quite impressive also. It was quite a good experience to take photos around at such event since I had only been taking photos during my own outings.

However, the lesson ended late and I started to panic yet could not do anything. My feet were aching as well after walking about without wearing shoes. The lunch was much better than the previous one, which was great as well; vegetarian noodle could taste so well.

After lunch, I went down with the two seniors to share my photos. I gained so much from them about photography skill as they pointed out my mistakes. One thing I felt helplessly unfair was when they pinpointed my stability when holding the camera at the last hour of shots as I could not tell them it was because I was so hungry and deprived of sleep. It was a great break-through of my photography “career” but hopefully I would be able to apply the theories. I was also criticised for lending Qizhi the camera earlier on. It was also a situation which I was struck as I needed to leave immediately yet it was impolite to leave when two seniors were trying to give me pointers.

As we rushed off, one of the Shi Gu offered us a ride to Seng Kang MRT. We got changed inside the toilets and I waited longer than expected outside for her and she came out to tell me she was taking her own sweet time. I was quite disappointed as I looked at the time, being like three hours late already for the beach outing. Then, she lost her phone and actually placed it inside the toilet as she went in and did some tidy up of her hair again.

I was dead beat by then. As I tried to find comfortable positions to sleep on the train, she disturbed me and suddenly an old lady knocked me on my left shoulder. I knew it was unintentionally and we started to chat with Vivi looking so puzzled on my right side, kept asking me if I knew that old lady. I tried to be polite by chatting with her since she was alone despite my head going to fall any moment. The old lady alighted at Chinatown and later on, Vivi finally allowed me to lie on her shoulder but we were just one stop to Harbourfront.

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