August 7, 2012

NUS Flag Day 2012

“Would you like to donate?" is the sentence of the day.

NUS has an annual event named "Rag & Flag".  Let us first take a look at its definition.

"NUSSU Rag and Flag is an annual charity project featured prominently in the National University of Singapore Students' Union (NUSSU) Freshmen Orientation Programme. The project comprises two separate but related events: students taking to the streets asking the public for donations on Flag Day and, subsequently, a procession of thematic floats that will perform within the university grounds on Rag Day."

I will be talking about the Rag Day and our amazing float in a later entry, so this article is all about Flagging!

The donation of this event will be distributed to 20 charity organizations, so you are help 20 groups of people all together!

On the eve of Flag Day, we were briefed by our seniors and collected our 3 tins! The tins are exclusively designed for donation collection. Each tin features a coin slot (Note are also accepted.) on top, which is the only opening. 

Three tins make up a face!

We were grouped into several 4-person groups. My group mates were Vernon, Sze Wei and Joan. Our group was assigned to flag in Yishun, which I have never been to before! The truth about Yishun is that it is basically a residential area. I think it is a quite reasonable choice, since large crowds are expected during rush hours! (For the first time I feel happy about rush hours.)

The photo below does not do justice to Yishun in terms of crowds.

Yishun at 14:00
At first I was standing near the MRT station, confused. Sure MRT stations have the biggest crowds (potential donors). However, I noticed that when people were rushing into the station, few of them would stop and listen to me. And with the competition of students from other faculties, I felt that the MRT station might not be the best choice.

Thus I set out to find my perfect spot!

Attempt 1 - Coffee shop

I was lucky enough to find a coffee shop near the station, which was not spotted by other students! Take a look below!
Yishun local coffee shop 
The coffee shop is indeed a good place to start collecting. I won my first few coins here. The customers had change which had been given minutes ago and they were not in hurry to catch an early train.

However, after a while I was kindly reminded by a man that it is not allowed to collect donations in a food court. Through I had never heard of the rules, I did feel that interrupting other's meals was not a good thing to do.

Attempt 2 - Bus stop

I believe that the best place to collect fond should be places that people sit down and have nothing to do. They will be bored enough to donate (Just kidding)!

However, the problem with the bus stop was that it didn't have the passenger flow that I wanted. People would wait for buses which came every 10 minutes. So during the 10 minute I would be facing the same people. This made the collection exercise very inefficient.
A typical bus stop in Yishun
Attempt 3 - Traffic light

I arrived at this traffic light a few minutes later, and I totally LOVED it!  It was my perfect spot because:
  • People would be waiting for the green light and this is (probably) the most boring time in a human's life.
  • The red lights lasts about 60 seconds and the green light 20 seconds, which means that I would have a new batch of donors every 80 seconds!
  • It is far from the MRT station, which made me the first collector people would encounter!
Imagine those people stop, wait and donate!
So I have settled, starting to politely ask people for donation. I did this in such manner:
  1. Bow and greet (Good morning/afternoon).
  2. If yes, I bow and say "Thank you/ Thank you so much/ Thank you very much".
  3. If no, I bow and express my gratitude with less sincerity.
  4. Bow and say goodbye.
The routine was carried out very frequently and it worked! I had my tin half-filled by 10 AM!  

My work continued after the lunch break. 

To my great disappointment, few people were spotted in the afternoon and people seemed to lose the passion to donate any more.

The perfect spot in the afternoon was not perfect any more.
I would like to skip the details of the process, but I want to share with you these interesting people I have met.

  • A mother of a disable child - She told me that she totally understood our efforts since she had a disable child herself.
  • Several caring uncles and aunties - I was standing at the same spot throughout the event. These warm-hearted people would come to me and advise me to stand in the shades (which I didn't listen and that caused me sunburned).
  • A van driver - The driver did something incredible. He stopped his car in the middle of the road and presented me his donation, ignoring the cars lining up behind him. Yes, that was during the green light!
  • An uncle that didn't trust me - A middled aged man replied my request by saying " NUS is rich enough. " I explained to him that the donation was not for NUS, but he still insisted that those charities didn't need any money.
  • An uncle that didn't trust the society - An uncle distrusted the donation event, telling me that there were corruptions behind this, and the news about donation corruptions was all over the media. 

The event was on the whole very enjoyable, and my work paid off. The tin was almost fully filled and my peer found it hard to lift it up (a bit exaggerated)!

So join in and experience university life! There will always be something that you will enjoy. I have never thought I would flag with great pleasure!

And if you missed the Flag Day, you can still be attending the Rag Day on 10th Aug!

P.S. If you like what you have read, stay tuned for more updates and entries about my life on Earth!

My human form waiting during the green light


  1. 1. we only have two tins for each person.
    2.I feel so nice when we eat in McDonald's and we put our tins on the table, the person seating beside me just put money into the tin~
    3. I really want to do the charity when I saw many uncles and aunties were donating their money, maybe just 10 cents, 20 cents. I feel I want to donate too.
    4, I used the method of 先声夺人. I began to greet people when we have some space, this will give them enough time to prepare their money...
    5. I think I am good at this.
    6. I am interested in the way u ask others to donate in details...
    7. Thanks for sharing your experience with us ~

    1. You only did half day....You should experience the other half during which you really wanted to go home but you still had a few stickers in hand...

    2. i have so many stickers in hand....

    3. Good analysis about the location which can get donation. It's worth to stand in the sun for the whole day. However, remember to take care of your human form.

    4. Thank you so much for the advise...If this body is destroyed, I can always find another one, like yours.