CLiC Day 2:
Having gone through a torturous first night, you could imagine how much we were dreading the next day. We were hoping against hope that the 2nd day could at least be even slightly less traumatising. Once it was revealed that true enough, there will no longer be any late night torment, we cheered like we had just scored 90 rank points for our A Levels! That however, did not mean that we could just sit around and twiddle our thumbs, because our upcoming task was a social experiment to raise awareness on various social issues in Singapore.
The day started off on a high, energetic note, with the ten groups bidding on various everyday objects which each represent a social issue later revealed to us. While some groups had the luxury of flaunting their points by attaining the most sought after Star Wars character soft toy, others were not so blessed and could only settle with what little points they had. After the bidding, the groups were dispatched to meet up with professionals in their various fields of investigation. This was meant for the groups to gain deeper insight on the social issues and from there, work out a social experiment to raise awareness on it. All ten groups were also strategically planted all over Singapore to conduct their social experiment in an effort to extend our reach to as many Singaporeans as possible. Once word has spread that we would be conducting a social experiment, we were all elated as can be. It was an activity many of us watch on the internet but could never really feel it’s impact since we were not directly involved. Now that we were the ones in the experiment, we got the golden opportunity to observe whatever happens then and there, first hand. How incredibly exciting isn’t it! However, the difficulty of the planning behind the social experiment was one we never saw coming…
I guess many of us often forgot throughout the planning that we were experimenting on real people on the streets. We would never know what to expect, whether a fight would break out or if someone would call the cops. Hence after many rejected proposals, we learnt that for a social experiment to be safe, it had to be as tame and low key as possible. For example, a proposal to fabricate a daylight robbery was about to be carried out until it was cancelled last minute due to concerns about it causing a scene in public. It was not surprising that by 4pm- just 2 hours before the end of the project, groups were still huddled together, frantically frying their brains, trying to squeeze out just one feasible idea.
Fortunately, being the leaders that we were, it was in situations like these that we got to exercise our skills, and to test ourselves if we were able to remain calm and work efficiently in stressful environments. Safe to say, all groups still managed to complete the project by six and judging by satisfied looks on everyone’s faces, I can also conclude that all went smoothly and it was indeed one hell of a memorable experience we’d definitely go through again!
Speaking from someone who was tasked to film the social experiment, I’d have to say that watching everything unfold before my eyes was spectacular. There are sometimes when just as you thought our society was cold, unkind and beyond salvage, one person’s actions could so easily undo your thoughts, and make you start to see Singapore in a more positive light. But who’s to say it cannot also be viewed the other way around for other incidents. All in all, social experiments serve as an effective eye opener to many. Actors in the experiment got to experience clearly, first hand, the many stereotypical mindset existing in our society while the few targeted strangers who were later interviewed after the experiment got the chance to understand that they may or may not have subconsciously been a part of a group of people who possess that negative mindset all along…
CLiC Day 3:
After two full days of intense physically and mentally demanding activities, it was needless to say that the student leaders were utterly exhausted by the third day of the camp. Nevertheless, camp participants were punctual and enthusiastic in reporting at the checkout venue with their heavy backpacks, eagerly awaiting the return bus trip back to school.
Upon returning to school, the student leaders were required to set up for the round-robin gallery walk meant to showcase the social problems faced by youths that each group was tasked to research and present their findings and solutions on. The 5 main social problems were: myths surrounding mental illness in teenagers; parental neglect of youth; youths struggling with poverty; withholding judgement on society’s late bloomers and youths under threat.
It was through this showcase that many of the camp participants gained knowledge and understanding of the real challenges the youths dwelling in our society dealt with, and allowed each student leader to empathise with their plight. Camp participants were required to vote, after the round-robin gallery walk had been completed, for the presentation they felt was most enriching and insightful. The winning presentation went to the presentation of the social problem regarding youths under threat. Two social experiments were conducted in order to gain a greater awareness of the social problem, which targeted youths deemed by society as ‘problematic’ in terms of social behaviour.
In order to first ascertain the stereotypes and biases that Singaporeans held against ‘problematic’ teenagers, the first social experiment was carried out. The group used two models to champion the first experiment, which required one model to be the “good boy” and the other to be the “bad boy”. These two models would go up to random people, asking to borrow their phones to make an important call. By the end of the experiment, results showed that 40% of a fixed number of people lent their phones to the “good boy”, while significantly fewer people lent their phones to the “bad boy”. It was through this experiment that the group experienced the effect of their judgment on others, and the feeling of being judged by others.
The next social experiment they conducted in order to change the misconceptions the public held of these ‘problematic’ teenagers was the Nice Kicks Paradigm, where some members of the group walked up to random people and complimented them by telling them they had “Nice Kicks”. Following the compliment, other members would come up to these people with two t-shirts with vastly different facts written on them. The first had descriptive facts “normal” or “common” to teenagers, such as “I love sports” and “I like cats”. The other, however, had facts revealing the hidden but very real struggles of ‘problematic’ teenagers, such as “I failed PSLE and was retained twice in primary school”. The difference in t-shirts raised awareness about these struggles some teenagers had to deal with, and encouraged them to be more aware of their attitudes towards these seemingly ‘problematic’ teenagers, as their judgment would have had impact on these teenagers.
Finally, after the gallery walk, camp participants and student facilitators came together to share insights and reflections both about the camp and about their CCA experiences. The final activity of the camp was extremely memorable – camp participants were made to write little notes of encouragement to their group-mates and friends, which were done very enthusiastically.
The camp was truly an important tool in instrumenting the growth of camp participants, and provided these students with insurmountable and invaluable lessons in being leaders of their individual CCAs.
Megan Chor, 16S31
Claire Chan, 16A12