BarCamp Singapore 6 was held on 9 and 10 October at Singapore City Hall. Or National Art Gallery. Or Supreme Court. Apparently, they’re the same place. Sort of. The dates also coincided with an event held by National Art Gallery. As a result, when I arrived at the venue, I thought to myself, “Those don’t look like BarCampers”.
Throngs of families with screaming kids and tourists who don’t speak English took shelter at a hollow underneath the stairs to the main doors. Confused and disoriented, I wandered in the hot morning sun silently pleading with Google Maps on my iPhone to load faster so I could get my bearings. My friend Christopher caught sight of me, and there started the adventure of finding the exact location of where BarCamp was held.
Volunteers were confused (they were to help direct visitors for National Art Gallery, not BarCamp), the security guard was confused, we were confused. In the end, my friend and I managed to get to the event.
We registered as speakers (more on the topics later), and milled around frantically trying to get votes. Ok, we’re just using our mental psychic powers to will anything with a pulse to put a coloured sticker on our topics. If you don’t know, BarCamp presentations run on democracy. You write your topic on a piece of paper and stick it on the wall. People vote on your topic for interesting-ness by putting small coloured circle stickers around your topic. When you get sufficient votes, you get to speak. Generally speaking, the more popular your topic, the earlier you get to speak.
I was particularly calm, given that my presentation at the last BarCamp didn’t turn out so well. Almost Zen-like, with a couldn’t-care-less attitude. It’s a self-preservation mechanism. Otherwise, I would have to deal with possible shame/anger/depression and control erratic butterflies flitting in my stomach.
There was an introduction given by Preetam, one of the organisers.
Then Christopher and I were joined by Aaron (aka Singularity photographer) and his friend. That friend also managed to swipe a couple of BarCamp T-shirts while jumping the queue.
And then I got picked. My topic was off the main board! I got the 2:30pm slot at room D, and Christopher got the 3pm slot at room A.
(brightened and contrasted so you can see what topics were on)
Then we went to explore. Because it’s part of the Supreme Court, the rooms assigned for presentation were… interesting.
There were some visitors (not BarCampers) who stood in the podium and raised their right hand for their families to take photos. “I solemnly swear to tell the story, the whole story, and nothing but the story.”
We stayed in the courtroom until the first speaker of that room started. It’s on “7 things I learned from having a beer (and my 90 beer caps collection)” by Fabian Lua. Employing SEO and blogging titling tips, he’s got the 1) number in title, and 2) beer. One thing I learned, don’t drink any beer with an animal on its beer bottle cap. It’s supposed to be subpar or something. Not that I’d choose to drink beer.
I went for lunch, my friends wandered around the flea market of the National Art Gallery event.
Then we attended a presentation on writing a best seller in Singapore (write about horror or self-help. They sell like hotcakes in Singapore). It was 2pm and I just went to room D to attend the 2pm presentation, and wait for my turn. Then it was time. You can read about my presentation details here. Let me just say, not all rooms are created equal. Rooms C and D were discussion rooms, those that look like a classroom. Rooms A and B were court rooms. I don’t know, I feel like I could command a stronger audience attention if I was in room A or B. Anyway, Christopher left at the start of my presentation to prepare for his at room A. You can read about his presentation on “Quarter Life Crisis“.
Then we attended a presentation on Electric Tea. You have to see a video to understand what’s it about:
It’s about putting sound where it doesn’t belong.
And that’s a wrap. Oh wait, there’s a prize for the most popular presentation. Popularity was decided by Twitter votes. The format is “Awesome talk about #ezine by @orcasquall #barcampsg6 #breeze +1”. “Breeze” is a Standard Chartered (a bank!) online banking (and iPhone) service. The prize, an iPad, was sponsored by them. Oh well, it was a miracle I didn’t keel over and vomit right after my presentation. I didn’t have high hopes for the iPad. I did significantly better at presenting than last time though. So, public speaking isn’t that bad after all.