Wednesday, September 22, 2010 ;
The 1st Youth Olympic Games was held in our tiny Singapore from 14-26 July.
It was quite exciting for us even though we didn't manage attend any matches (tried buying tix online but were sold out for those we were interested in).
Mainly cos of the torch relay that passed through our place and our niece was one of the torch bearers, and cos we had a special invitation to the military institute to watch the light up ceremony.
Also our place was where all the YOG buses and coaches parked. So we could see all the "action" throughout the day. Eg, during most nights, the whole area will be full of buses. Security is very very tight, they have 24/7 police and guard patrols and the surrounding area is all boarded up, with only an entrance and exit, which is guarded strictly, 24/7 too. Why I know is cos whenever baby wakes up in the night and I have to get up and rock her, I will sway with her near the window and keep observing what those policemen are doing. haha.
During the day, there'll be buses moving in and out, on their schedule to ferry athletes, officials and volunteers.
This is how it looks at night.
The only times it was totally empty were when the opening ceremony and closing ceremony was held. All the buses left in the early afternoon and returned very late at night.
On the 12th of July was the day the torch relay moved to Jurong. And the torch light up in the morning was held at the SAFTI military institute where the Officer Cadet School is.
ds2's school held a month long series of activities based around the YOG theme in June. They had mock Olympic games, craft... They took turns to be athletes from different countries. ds2 got to be in the China and Japan contingents on different days and he told me he got to hold the flags of these countries. He can recognise different flags now, and even the national anthems. That was because when they had races and various sporting events, the kids who won 1st, 2nd and 3rd get to stand on the podium and have their "national anthems" played.
Hence, when I found out the route of the torch relay from the YOG website, I was pleasantly surprised that it runs from SAFTI past ds2's school, past our flat and then to ds1's school and then our niece's school.
I then emailed ds2's school principal and teacher and suggested that they bring all the children from the school out to line the roads and cheer the torch bearers on. I explained that it will be a good tie up/ follow up after their month-long YOG activities.
What happened totally surprised me... The principal heartily agreed but she wasn't sure if the young kids (they have kids aged 2-6yrs old in the school) can stand for a long time by the side of the road, waiting for the torch bearers, and she was concerned about safety too. Young toddlers may just be too active and want to dash onto the road.
So she called up ds2's classmate, whose dad works at SAFTI, and asked for more ideas as to how the kids can join in the YOG proceedings and learn more about the Games. To all our delight, that dad arranged for SAFTI to formally invite the school kids and teachers to the SAFTI grounds for the torch lighting ceremony and performances.
The added bonus was that, as special guests, we were given the best seats, right in the middle, like the grandstand. And we even had ice cold bottles of coke, goodie bags and VIP treatment. The minister even mentioned our name and said they were delighted to have our presence there.
Of course, all the army guys gave the kids lots of attention and the kids lapped it all up.
Lyo and Merly the mascots, and doing the YOG "dance" and songs.
After all the performances, the light up ceremony and speeches, the torch relay begun. The army kindly allocated designated helpers and officials to guide our group and also a bus to take us around the 1st leg of the route to catch the torch bearers in action. This pic shows the area supervisor and the principal, plus some army guys as volunteers helping the kids up the bus.
The lady right at the door of the coach is one of our group's designated official. Not sure what position she holds in the army or the YOG personnel section but she is very pretty and friendly and looks very much like Wong Li-lin. :)
The school area sup had the kids take a group pic in front of the SAFTI tower and this sign cos she said she never got to come into SAFTI MI before. She was so excited.
btw, I got to go because they said I suggested this, so I am given special privilege. They put my name down as a teacher. No parents were allowed. They said the numbers were limited cos security is tight within the Military Institute.
Sigh, precisely cos of this, I braved exhaustion (due to several sleepless nights as dd was cranky), and a sore throat to go. I thought, it was something I do not get to do normally.
And Dh took leave too, to help me care for dd (dd not allowed in) and to support his niece later in the morning as well.
The whole thing lasted 3hrs. We met at school at 7am and it ended at 10am. I rushed and drove home in record time, parked in the loading/ unloading bay with hazard lights on and dashed upstairs to our apt (cos dd seldom is away from me even for 1 hr and she'll cry her eyes out even with my mom or Dh).
Reached home to see the house in disarray and this:
Dh said he tried many things - a long walk in the park, push in the stroller, carrying, rocking, playing violin, playing CD, singing songs, reading stories, but she still wailed. She was obviously wanting to sleep but couldn't and he finally was able to succeed in getting her to sleep, with my nursing nightie on his shoulder and putting her face on it, rocking and patting her!
After he laid her down on the bed, he had to place my nightie at her nose too, and pillows around her, just so she thought I was nearby.
It was so funny!
I was grateful for Dh's help so I could spend a delightful morning with ds2.
However, I realised I stressed myself out even more, caused dd to be insecure and thus even more clingy and cranky throughout that day, and so I fell very ill! argh!
I missed an important ex-HC colleague gathering that Friday cos I had high fever and flu with the works. He flew back from Canada and we hadn't seen him in years. But I couldn't go meet up!!
And I only recovered the following Monday! It took so many days for me to recover...
Next time I better not overwork myself, Dh and dd...
rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow