Don't overlook good memories, school culture forged at orientation camps

Having participated in university orientation camps before, I am greatly concerned not only because of the sexualised activities and discomforts reported ("NUS: Risque games completely inappropriate"; July 27), but also - perhaps even more so - of how this situation has been blown out of proportion.

Orientation camps are very important to the building of strong friendships and a school culture.

While I cannot say that students will definitely feel comfortable with all the activities that they take part in, a good number of them look forward to helping out with orientation camps as seniors because of the strong spirit of friendship and emotional ties forged through these camps.

Indeed, many people (of both genders) truly enjoy them for the good memories and strong student culture that were fostered from their participation.

Orientation leaders and councillors often check on the welfare of the freshmen during the camps. From my own experience, the seniors know that not all freshmen will be comfortable with everything that they are asked to do in orientation camps and, hence, will often ask the freshmen if they are all right.

It is not true that they are pressured into taking part in activities that they are uncomfortable with; rather, the orientation leaders are concerned about their well-being and state of mind, and do their best to accommodate them.

This is also assessed at the end of each day of camp, when the organising committee meets orientation leaders to discuss freshmen issues at hand.

That said, I am sure there will be many students who will still be afraid to voice their concerns during the camp. And when their issues are then made known in the media, the orientation camp ends up being painted in an unfair and undesirable manner.

Some camps may have had "lewd" and uncomfortable activities, and these must be kept in check.

But we should not let these concerns blind us to the good memories and school culture that are forged during orientation camps.

Chan Weng Kin