Rag & Flag is an annual university-wide event that involves students from almost all hostels and faculties, and this year, it is finally back to its physical form! Students from all over campus flocked to UTown to enjoy the elaborate performances put up by the various student groups, and the Flag teams had the opportunity to hold physical donation drives. What an exciting affair!
What is the experience of Rag & Flag really like? To find out, we dive deep into a collaboration between Pioneer House (PH) and KEVII (KE7) Hall. Through personal anecdotes from the committee members and participants themselves, we will relive the experience with them – read on!
Introducing the Project Directors (PDs)
I’m Lin Sheng Yuan, a Y2 Medicine student in NUS and I was the Project Director from KEVII. My role mainly revolved around coordinating and communicating with different parties – National University of Singapore Students’ Union (NUSSU), the planning committee, Hall Office, and the participating students. I ensured that the planning and execution of Rag sessions went smoothly, and were enjoyable for everyone.
I’m Chia Ci Xian, a Y3 Chemical Engineering student, and I was the Project Director from PH. Similar to Sheng Yuan, I communicated extensively with the relevant stakeholders to ensure that Rag went smoothly – however, on my end, I attended more to the participating students from PH!
What is Rag?
Sheng Yuan explains: “Rag stands for Receive and Giving day, where NUS students put up vibrant and spectacular performances. The purpose of this event is to appreciate and show gratitude to the public for supporting NUS in Flag Day, which is a complementary campus-wide fundraising event by the NUS community. The Rag performance was hosted at Town Green this year, and it was open to the public.”
Rag is typically made up of two committees, known as Dance and Floats. The Dance committee is in charge of putting up the main performance for Rag’s showcase day, across genres such as hip-hop, open and contemporary. One may think that experience is necessary to be a dancer for Rag, but that is not the case! For those who do not fancy themselves as a performer, the Floats committee offers participants the chance to explore their creative capabilities to create props and build sets for the performance to come to life.
Why and how did KE7 and PH collaborate?
Ci Xian reveals: “We had a common goal of improving upon our previous Rag experiences. By working together, we could make up for each other’s downsides, and enhance each other’s strengths. For instance, we combined our organising committees to maximise efficacy, and merged the little resources that we had separately.”
Sheng Yuan agreed: “It has always been a tradition for hostels to collaborate with each other, in order to maximise manpower, budget, venue usage and talents for the planning and execution of Rag. Considering the scale of Rag, it is important to have a large and diverse group of participants, which a cross-hostel collaboration can also achieve. Furthermore, PH and KEVII are located right across from each other, so it is quite convenient and logical for us to collaborate as neighbours!”
The Rag Experience
Megan Tay (Y1, Accounting, PH), reflects on her Rag experience: “As an incoming freshman, Rag allowed me to meet many people from various faculties. I can proudly say that they will be my friends for life! It truly was a unique experience that you can never find anywhere else.”
Megan during float-making
Gan Xin Yee (Y1, Data Science and Economics, PH), enthused: “It was indeed all about the people I met, and was a very memorable experience. I recommend the next incoming batch of freshmen to participate!”
Xin Yee (middle, in yellow) at a post-Rag beach outing
Tianyi in the midst of constructing props that will be um, broken eventually
Reflecting on the experience, Didong Tianyi (Y1, Biomedical Engineering, KEVII) mused: “One memorable float that I helped make was the breakable brick wall. While assembling the float, I had to utilise my creativity and problem-solving skills to obtain the desired outcome. As you could imagine, seeing the breakable brick wall break spectacularly during the performance made all the effort worthwhile.”
Formation of the breakable brick wall
Benny Ong, (Y2, Computer Science, KEVII), had similar sentiments, especially having been the Floats Head. “I joined Rag as it was a good opportunity for me to step out of my comfort zone, and try something new and exciting. Through Rag, I have met many new people, and learnt many new skills, such as working with others to construct large-scale props. One memorable experience was the first time we arranged our completed floats in the planned formation. It looked very nice and I felt that our hard work had paid off,” Benny beamed.
Benny constructing a foldable background
Koh Hui Bin, (Y1, Business, KEVII), joined Rag as a Dance member. She revealed: “It was a difficult decision to join Dance, but I chose to because I wanted my university life to be one where I could step out of her comfort zone. Through Rag, I met amazing friends who I still meet every day, even though Rag is already over. While it was intimidating at first, I would go through Rag again in a heartbeat, with all these beautiful people.”
Hui Bin (bottom) at dance practice
Hui Bin (third from the left) rehearsing for the performance
Lam Li Yan, (Y2, Medicine, KEVII), reflects extensively on her experience as a dance choreographer for Rag.
“Being a part of KE7 Dance, I grew extremely close to every member, and they inspired me a lot through my journey in dance. Initially, I was scared as it was my first time choreographing, but I felt less so after seeing fellow dancers and friends joining as choreographers, as I knew that we would be able to work well together. Being around other choreographers definitely helped make the journey less stressful – we gave each other helpful input, and we bonded extremely well throughout the three months. Whenever I felt stuck, I knew that they would be there to cheer me on,” Li Yan explained.
Li Yan (right) with other Rag dancers
“On the night of our dry run, an incident occurred which caused great distress. We had spent much time waiting for our turn to rehearse on stage. Yet, we were unable to do so, because of a delay in the overall rehearsal schedule. This brought great stress upon our already-tired dance team. However, everyone there was really supportive, cheering us up and maintaining overall morale. It was very heart-warming to see everyone band together to counter the problem,” Li Yan recalls. She confessed, “This was the moment where I felt closest to the KExPH Rag community – we felt like a big family as everyone cared about one another. I cannot imagine doing Rag without them.
Overall, the Rag experience was clearly a vibrant, enjoyable and meaningful one for its participating students. It is intriguing to watch how the Rag performances evolve every year, as students endeavour towards constructing creative stages to put up a good show, and raise funds for good causes. We hope that this article has provided more insight with regards to the behind-the-scenes of a unique Rag experience, as well as propel any future students to join Rag (or Flag)! If you have any other thoughts or pictures to share, do post them on Instagram and tag us at @nusresidentiallife, we would love to see it.