Sunday, April 11, 2010

How To Survive At JPAM Camp A Little Better Than I Did

by Samuel K Lis

I was in the first batch of JPAM camp, which was arduous but interesting. If you’re spoilt you may want to steel your nerves and ready yourself for quite a good deal of discomfort, pain and tiredness. But for those adventurous kids out there, you’re in the right place! Here are some of the things you should bring, which I wished I did, to make your two-day stay at Kem Alim a little bit more comfortable.

1. More than one pair of shoes and socks. If it rains, your shoes will get wet, and walking around in wet shoes and socks is very not comfortable nor hygienic. Socks get smelly really fast, so bring more.

2. Lots and lots of shirts, shorts, etc. Unless you’re like Pa’an who pretty much wore the same shirt the whole camp, but shirts get wet and smelly really quick. Again, if it rains you suffer. The weather can be harshly cold and hot quickly, so be ready!

3. They weren’t kidding when they said bring raincoat and torchlight. You will definitely need it sooner than you think.

4. Portable fan – battery operated one. When it’s not raining, and you want to sleep in the tent, and it’s hot and stuffy, you may be thankful you brought a fan along.

5. Insect repellent and ointment is a must.

6. More than one towel, and a bed sheet if you are afraid of dirt. But discomfort is unavoidable, so bear with the hard ground to sleep on.

7. Don’t bother bringing electronics or money because you won’t and can’t use it. Phones will be confiscated.

8. Lot of water. Unless you trust the water cooler – I don’t.

9. Dry food like biscuits. Because if you get hungry at night they don’t give you anything.

10. A positive attitude. It gets tough to stay positive by the next “morning” but once you feel like to die, don’t worry, the worst is probably over.

I survived JPAM camp! So can you!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Dexter Green

An Excerpt from the Diary of Dexter Green

14 December 1956, New York

Dear Diary

I once loved Judy Jones. I have just heard from a man I bitterly call a friend – Devlin, his name was. He gave me news that my dear Judy Jones has gone off and married some man named Lud Simms. I’ve heard of the marriage, no doubt, but his description of her, I could not believe. I thought maybe he was just another heart that was set to be broken all over again, but no – it appears as if she loves that Lud man.

Devlin told me that Judy Jones – the most beautiful creature I have ever set eyes upon whose slender lips, down-turning, dropping to mine engulfed me in such passionate moments back in those days, yes, the woman who caused me to break off my engagement with Irene Scheerer – has become a dull woman who sits at home while her husband drinks and parties all over town. How could that be? I had a wild impulse to take a train down to Detroit at once. Yet from Devlin’s description, I could not sense the burning fire and beauty of Judy Jones I once came to know and love. She’s faded, he said. She’s faded. Like many other women who fade just like that.

There was a sense of dullness that came upon me that moment. I had an urge to get myself very drunk to forget all the anguish and desperate emptiness roaring deep within. When Devlin left – thank goodness he performed that gratuitous yet kind act quickly – I looked out the window and saw the sun sink into the dull shades of pink and gold, like Judy setting into pale nothingness.

I thought that I had nothing else to lose, but now I’ve lost something more. It did not matter to me that I could not marry Judy. But what difference would it make, I wonder, if I had married her, and find that she would have just as much faded away before my very eyes? It was my dream, my winter dream that I had lost forever. My dream that I could have the best things in life, where Judy was one of those “things” I craved for, loved passionately, and found myself obsessed with. Judy Jones, whose passionate kisses and melancholic eyes set me afire and whose freshness was like dew in the morning. Yet I found, that they have gone away, like my winter dreams – vanished.

I cried bitterly. They were tears of despair that my winter dreams – dreams of illusion, of youth and of the grand richness of life were no more, all lost into a distant memory of Judy Jones whose beauty was never meant to last.

Samuel K Lis