ODAC Cycling Expedition 2015, Desaru
During the March holidays, the Dunman High ODAC Team set off on their 2 day 1 night expedition to Desaru in Johore, Malaysia on 18 & 19 March. This well-planned expedition was the ultimate test and consolidation of the training sessions we had in the span of the first school term to strengthen bonding between us ODAC members, teamwork and coordination as well as to develop resilience, confidence and hone our leadership skills.
As we set off from our start point Tanjong Pengelih Jetty, towards our final destination Lotus Desaru Resort, all of us sang happy songs to keep the spirits high. We did everything with enthusiasm from the start and there were little episodes of humour that made characters shine through. For example, when we were all gearing up to begin riding, Bing Yang folded his pink towel around his head in a Korean fashion, making him look like a lamb, which was pretty cute. We rode along kampong roads and the coastal line, which left deep impressions on us, as we did not have the chance to witness all these beauties back in Singapore. We saw the way of life of the locals and reflected, appreciating all the privileges we have in Singapore. This trip was special as it was one of the last occasions that we got to see the traditional kampongs and temples. At one of our stopovers, a local told us that the government was about to take over the kampong area for industrial purposes and this made us more appreciative of the scenery and rare opportunity we were given.
We were all having fun, talking and enjoying ourselves until we met our toughest challenge of the trip — the numerous and seemingly never-ending stretch of slopes. As we battled with gravity to paddle up the steep slopes, we gave each other words of encouragement and affirmation, which gave most, if not all, the motivation and drive to continue. The seniors took good care of us as they worked together to overcome challenges. One of the instances where seniors stepped up to help the juniors was when Jun Ming’s back tire went completely flat and Anthony volunteered to switch bikes with him so that Jun Ming could rest and recuperate while trying to seek help. The act of sacrifice by Anthony really touched our hearts and it really showed the team spirit within our team. The journey was not only a test of our physical fitness, but also a test of our mental and emotional strength. Though it was an uphill battle, we still conquered it with smiles on our faces.
Finally, when we reached our destination, we settled down for a hearty dinner before playing bonding games under the stars. We piggybacked each other and worked in our teams to win fringe games. The games taught us to leave no man behind and that everyone was important in a team. The reflections session reinforced the “One For All, All For One” spirit which defines us as ODACians as we shared our personal goals for the team. We cherished the moments we had together with our seniors as it was their first and last trip with us and in that short two hours spent under the stars, I truly understood what “living in the moment” meant. There will never be two exact same moments in our lives where we sit in Desaru together, leaving our families and hectic work schedules behind, enjoying ourselves by the beach.
On the second day, we returned the way we came, back to our start point, where we felt the joy of success and enjoyed the fruits of our hard work. The juniors were grateful to the seniors and teachers for planning this trip for us and we learnt a lot from the seniors through this experience. We learnt the importance of determination, grit and teamwork through this trip and these are life lessons that we will never forget.
Celina Tham Kai Li