Having been confined in the Main Media Centre for … god knows how long… I was pretty happy to have couple of hours to escape to the Youth Olympic Village, where I have another team that teaches athletes about useful and (hopefully!) fun social media applications!

social media too

Team Japan at the workshop... again!

It turns out that the Japanese contingent is pretty keen on tech (who knew? 🙂 ) and it was quite encouraging to see Japanese athletes attending the workshop for the fourth consecutive day! Most of them didn’t speak very much English, but that’s ok, because we made sure to have a selection of applications that would come with user interfaces in different langages. Also, we had interpreters to help out. But sometimes, it was just the smiling faces and basic sign language did the job.

brian speaks japanese??

Hmm... so does Brian (right) speak Japanese?

And it wasn’t only athletes who benefited from the experience.

There were a fair number of coaches who came by to take care of the athletes, and ended up picking up tips along the way. One particular story that I learnt about was of a gentleman from Gambia (a coach I believe) who had unsuccessfully attempted to attend the workshop thrice! But by sheer determination, he made it eventually, and the team was happy to guide him on his maiden experience with computers. I think it’s great that the super-savvy trainers and volunteers from Singapore got the chance to interact with people who have very limited or no experience with computers. It’s a wake-up call that not everyone lives on the internet, and that life goes on perfectly fine without being hooked up to your cellphone 24/7.

learning

Ken introduces our eager learner to the Singapore 2010 website (great website btw)

The team also had the privilege of meeting some big names who came by…

charmaine

Charmaine Crooks, one of the Athlete Role Models for the YOG

This surprised young lady won the first gold medal of the first ever Youth Olympic Games.

First gold medalist for the Youth Olympic Games

Remember her? 🙂

Things were going fine in the workshop, so I decided to venture out into the Village for a look. Turns out it really is quite the place to pick up bits of cultural trivia and useful skills if you’re an athlete.

There was this cute press-conference set up to give athletes the feel of a camera staring you down.

presscon

Practising for that big moment where a hundred cameras are focused on you

But in the Village, sometimes the media descends on these young athletes for real…

huang chao

Huang Chao gets to talk to a reporter (and a recorder)

Once in awhile, the young athletes will also get to see how these skills are used by the seasoned professionals…

jingjing

Guo Jing Jing: Diving diva and seasoned celebrity

And of course, I’m a sucker for celebrities…

wilson

Wilson Kipketer, a phenomenal former athlete and man to look up to

Too bad I couldn’t catch Guo Jing Jing in time for a photo. 😦 Maybe at the next YOG.

village people

Everyone in the Village walks around with a wide smile on their face

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With the Youth Olympic Village set to be in NIE/NTU in 2010, Jurong will become the next hotspot for Singaporeans.

Imagine seeing an influx of people from 205 different countries in the Jurong area… wow. Although I stay at the other end of Singapore, I wouldn’t mnd taking the train down to rub shoulders with athletes from other countries who might go to Jurong Point to shop or eat.

Actually, the Boon Lay interchange is already quite congested on normal weekdays. I have friend from NTU who said that the queue for bus 179 (which goes to NTU) can be quite long. Thankfully, solutions to such problems have already been thought of. Read below for updates from a news article:

“The management at Jurong Point is thinking of providing a free bus service between the Village and the shopping centre as well as a welcome pack that includes tenant discount vouchers, an orientation kit on the Jurong vicinity and a loyalty card to enable YOG participants to enjoy special privileges.”

“When asked if SBS Transit would add or adjust bus routes in Jurong during the YOG, corporation communications vice—president Tammy Tan said: “We’re working with the event organiser with regards to their transport needs.” ”

Click here to continue reading the article.

So Jurong may be the next area you might want to start hanging out at when the games draw near. You’ll be able to soak in the Youth Olympic Games atmosphere even without needing to enter the Youth Olympic Village.

As we were touring around NIE campus, we stumbled upon a transparent glass container with a metal ladder inside. Wow… what a unique creation. Could it be an art installation? Never mind about what defines an art installation. Adrian was already interacting with it before anyone could stop him (from looking like a weirdo). “This is an interactive piece leh!” Adrian started to ‘sit and climb’ onto the ladder (by standing behind the glass container).

By the way, this is Keng from the Arts and Culture Program, I shall leave the introduction to himself… all I have to say is…his little baby girl is very CUTE!

By the way, this is really not an art installation. Thumbs up for Adrian’s courage to ‘interact’ with the supposedly dangerous art piece.

We all trooped down today for a recce at NIE…it was spacious and definitely new.

Check out the facilities…

So huge!

So huge!

We also had lots of fun posing…note how each photo has an exact opposite, er except for one.

Poseurs

Poseurs