Holiday (4 & 5): Berastagi, New Year, and Dharma Camp 2015

11 January 2015It has been a while since my last post. It’s because last week I missed the blog writing time and then it has been too late since I joined NTUBS Dharma Camp 2015.The fourth week of my holiday started on 29 December 2014:On this day, I slacked off for in the morning and Golfin came for a visit in the afternoon and chit-chatted for a long time. After that, at night, I joined TOKI Learning Center Open Contest December 2014. This is the first time I joined open contest since April. There were 5 problems in which I solved 2 of them in the first hour and got the abstract idea on solving for another 2 problems but stuck at translating the idea to codes. I ended the day by playing Simcity (2013).The next day, I spent my day editing Wikipedia (after a long time) especially the JavaScript which a number of parts has been deprecated or broken for some times. In the afternoon, I wrote 2014 in review and closed the day with playing Simcity (2013).On the final day of 2014, I joined my family to go to Berastagi, staying at my uncle’s villa. Arriving there, the telephone connection was broken and hence there were no Internet. The only access was through mobile operator. I spend the time by installing and then play The Sims 4, which I think has a nice and great UI change although for some features, I still prefer The Sims 3 (like rotating object by holding and dragging, as opposed to right-click). And then at night, I watched HIMYM until the mid of Season 8.
2015 was here. I spend the day by watching HIMYM and playing The Sims 4 and Simcity. Nothing much, and then after I was super bored at night, I started a side-project to create a “Big fullpage accurate timer, no jQuery allowed, support IE.” The progress has went well.I spent 2nd day of 2015 traveling to Tongging with my family, visiting my uncle’s villa-in-construction. We brought lunch and ate it there. The view of Toba lake and the wind were great but one thing wasn’t: the mosquitoes. I got at least 17 bites across my hands, legs, neck, and ears, and it was so itchy, which causes me to feel unwell after we got back to Berastagi. I was feeling very unwell that I just fell asleep at 9pm and had very long dreams (this is my common symptoms of feeling unwell: when I sleep, the dreams were very long).The third day of 2015 was not that well: I feel cold and itchy. I spent the day watching HIMYM until the end, played The Sims 4 (until my Sim was married and had kid) and Simcity. Basically, I spent the day in front of computer, doing all unproductive things.4 January 2015: We went back to Medan this day, had lunch, and then shopping at Sun Plaza. Feeling better, I spent most of my time resting while did some playing Simcity. An interesting thing happened this day: I shaved for the first time in my life! :)On 5 January, it was the day I went back to Singapore. I started the day by my father taking me to Vihara Borobudur, to pay respect to my grandfather, and to Vihara Setiabudi. After some rest, I went to the airport and I almost late for check-in as there were unexpected very bad traffic jams along the way. At the airport, I met HH, Peter, Dion, Riko, and Hermanto. After arriving at Singapore, we went for a dinner at Changi Airport’s staff canteen and went back to NTU via MRT. It was around 10pm that I reached my room which badly needed cleaning. After cleaning the room and taking a shower, I unpacked some of my stuffs and then packed them again for Dharma Camp 2015.On 6 January, I woke up at 7 and arrived at NYH at 0830, booking a room for meditation class, and then went to Fo Guang Shan via bus from NYH for Dharma Camp Day 0. It was quite a long journey and when I arrive, the temple building was smaller than what I expected. Then after some settling down and introduction, it started with ice breaking game, lunch, and then song singing session, dharma discussion (like the one conducted in BF Youth), and then temple tour with some questions posted along the way. After a dharma course (conducted by programmers), we had dinner, shower, and then the camp briefing. Although I was a committee, I was just like another participant, since there were no work specified for the camp itself (as I was publicity subcommittee). After the camp briefing, there were no more activities and we were allowed to sleep.Dharma Camp 2015 started. On Day 1, I woke up at 7, had shower, breakfast and then went for helping others in welcoming the participants. After the last participant has registered, I joined my group upstairs, for opening speeches, camp introductions, etc. and then we went for ice breaking session at level 4. When we proceed to mass ice-breaking session, some of the committees have known that the winner will be forfeited and hence purposely losing themselves. After lunch, we had a dharma course by programmer in which a number of participants fell asleep :P Next was temple tour plus some easy questions along the route which was tiring since in traveling, we were not allowed to use the lift. Next, we had song singing session of NTUBS song “A Place Called Home”, and “Brahma of My Heart”. After dinner and evening puja, we had a Dharma talk by Ven Chuan Guan, talking about Dependent Origination in-depth. In this talk, he introduced this concept to us: the background, and explained from the last link as he argued that this was the Buddha’s approach when discovering this. After the talk, the camp maincomms had a skit performance before we had supper and went to sleep.Day 2 started as early as 0530 for the sake of having shower in the morning. After that, we had milo drinking, morning puja, and then yoga session. I was not that comfortable in the yoga session maybe because I was still half-awake. Next, we had breakfast and then team bonding games which were enjoyable although we were certain that we did not perform well overall but we had fun. Then after lunch, we had a walking meditation and tea zen session which was nice. I like tea zen session a lot since I like to drink tea :) Compared to last year’s Dharma Camp, I think that this year’s session has been cut shorter as we were not given choice in the quantity of tea leaves used, and the tea were brewed for only 3 times as compared to 4 or 5 times in the previous years (1st brew was for washing the tea leaves, 2nd until final brew was for drinking and sharing to neighbors). Last year I got Jasmine Tea while this year I got Green Tea. After this tea zen session, we had a Dharma Talk by Ven Chuan Guan which lasted for 3 hours. The first 1.5 hour, he continued explaining the Dependent Origination until almost all. Next, it was informal question and answer session which originally intended to be a break session. Afterwards, we had dinner & shower and then evening puja continued by a FGS Buddhist Etiquette and Formal Meal briefing. In FGS, I observed that the volunteers were very discipline in following the rules which sometimes I think were made that way for some meaning. After that, there were camp maincom skit again before we proceed to supper and then sleep.Day 3 started a little bit later at 6 am and I rushed for shower. It was be a long day: starting with milo drinking, aerobic session led by the CGL, Filbert, which I find somehow refreshing, breakfast, and then song singing session which we sang “My Beautiful Friend”. After that, we had a meditation session led by Ven Phra Chun Kiang. He started the session by explaining about the dependent origination briefly and completely. After that, the meditation lasted for around half an hour in which I find very nice. After lunch, there was the last segment of Ven Chuan Guan’s talk in which he completed the Dependent Origination explanation. After that, the mass game started which involves code breakings and mystery solving in various stations. Overall, it was really fun but stressful for some game. After the game series were finished, we had dinner & shower and then a little crisis happened as some of us were needed in helping the temple in setting up the formal meal room. Our activities continues with skit performance for 2 groups, and then light offering led by FGS. Finally, we had another 2 group skit performance.In our group skit (Upadana), I acted as the monkey mother. Our story was: a monkey cling on to become a human. It started by him telling their father and mother that idea. One day he dreamed to be turned into human by a witch. Then he met nerds in the library that cling on to the idea of having perfect score, businessmen that cling on to money, and shoppers that cling on to fashions. He then realized that humans were complicated and he did not want to be human anymore. He then find back the witch but the witch forgot the spell to turn him back; she referred him to a shy wizard that performed “Let It Go” and then he turned back to monkey. After waking up, he told his parents the dreams and then they lived happily ever after.The day then continued with a mass song-singing of NTUBS song which makes us very hype. After that, we had supper then our group had HTHT session until 3 am.Day 4 started with me being woken up by another committee in which I rushed to shower and then we went for milo drinking, puja, breakfast, and then walked to Punggol Waterway to have a Dharma discussion. After we had taken photos, we walked back to had our formal meal which turned out to be more confusing than expectation. Firstly, we chanted before starting the meal but I only started following since the middle part as I was lost and then did not realize that the Chinese character were written left-to-right which I initially think that it was top-to-bottom. Next, the rice were refilled with very small amount that I need to refill like 3 times. After the formal meal, we had a closing speeches and watched the camp video which was nicely done. Finally, we packed up and then left FGS at 3pm.Arriving at NYH (luckily they choose NYH to disembark), quickly, I & the logistic team moved the stuffs to the cabinet, which I emphasize on categorizing the stuffs tidily before putting the stuffs in. If it was not done during the camp ending, then it will be Resource team responsibility to tidy them up. Going back to my room, I was so tired and after just a short shower, I left my room for a dinner at Canteen 2 and then rushed to meet Liniki, Peter, and Zillion at Boon Lay to watch Tzu Chi Year End Blessing Ceremony 2014 at The Star Performing Arts Centre. Overall, the event was nicely done although the performances were not long and the video showing was quite lengthy. We went back afterwards and I finally had a nice sleep.Waking up at 8 am, after having shower and breakfast, I did laundry (which was a lot of stuffs: shirts accumulated over the week, plus jacket, blanket, and bed sheets). After lunch & shopping at Giant (which had their item layout changed), I had a short nap before going to Dhika’s place to return his stuffs and taking back NTUBS stuff to Nanyang House. After that I tidy up a part of the cabinet and went back to catch up with Magic Kaito 1412. Next, after dinner, I realized that Facebook Hacker Cup 2015 Qualification Round was ongoing and I quickly coded the first problem but then I found a bug which required me to recode from scratch. I prepared for the new semester for a while before continuing coding for FBHC.Overall, these past few weeks has been very tiring and very eventful. Tomorrow is the starting of another new semester, hope everything went well and may I meet my expectations.

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