Post by: Silas
I was first introduced to this event by my mother, and she asked if I wanted to volunteer. At first I was reluctant because I didn't want some unknown event to spoil my relaxing 3-week holiday. But then I thought "Why not give it a try? I could at least have the chance to experience work...". So in the end I acquiesced.
I didn't like it at first, because all the work was repetitive and boring (at least there were free snacks and drinks). But I sucked it up and try to do it as fast as I can. I did feel satisfied as this was my first time working "behind the scenes". By the time we finished I couldn't believe I actually help to pack 4000+ of goody bags, with the help of other volunteers of course.
When it comes to events like this, I would always sign up as a participant. But this was something new, something outside my comfort zone which I would never forget. Before we left a few of us were briefed on how to register the participants for them to get their bib numbers for the race. Thinking back on it, I am so grateful I paid full attention to it, for the next day I had to put it to full use...
I didn't actually prepared myself physically and mentally for the next day. I just went with the flow, never stopping to entertain the restless and tired and annoyed spirit in me. I was composed the whole time behind the counter, registering names after names after names. Whatever feelings of pity I had for the participants were kept aside. Many times my mind wanted to just drift away and hide in some comfy place where I am free from all this pain.
There were participants young and old... And very demanding. I mean, I can't blame them for complaining about the long queues and hours they have to wait just to get their numbers, and then have to queue and wait again for their goody bags. These guys came early but have to wait for hours. I couldn't say our registration procedures were perfect or fast,
What I witnessed that day was the ugly side of humans. At first a middle age man came up to my slot, and was rather polite and gentle. But when complications arose, I've never been scolded like that from any strangers before. They were lucky I didn't get up and start flipping tables. I keep hearing complaints and rude remarks from all over the line. It was actually a miracle I stayed so focused on the screen (or maybe it was the headache that kept me in check).
I especially did not like it when they take me for granted. There was a man registering for 15 of his friends. I decided to help him although I knew it would take up quite some time, and people behind will complain. The next man had a group registration of 24 people! I mean, that was too much. My limit was only 10, but I gave chance. But this man was persistent. If it weren't for my limitations in speaking Cantonese, I'd be having a bad day, if I hadn't had one already.
I mean, there were few who were kind enough to be patient. That day literally stretched my limits of language- English, Malay, Mandarin, Cantonese... That was some tough work I bore. I couldn't have gotten through that day without His help, and I'm truly thankful that He was with me by my side. I messed up every now and then, and I was sorry, but I couldn't let my feelings overwhelm me.
On the event day itself, it was a lot more calmer. I was more relaxed. Lesser people came and we were more organized then. When registration time was over, I was free. I relaxed, enjoyed the food and snacks with my friends (I loved this part), and went exploring the place. When I looked at the participants cycle, I thought about how different our perspective would be when we are in different shoes but in same situations. There is a difference, being behind the counter, and being the participant. But in either shoes, I always try to find joy in all that I do.
"The experience is priceless"