|"AYUH!! How are we gong to finish drawing this game board in time for the rehearsal?" lamented one volunteer artist before Hari Raya Aidilfitri. "We haven't even got the proper undercoat on yet".
Cheng, the board designer, then decided to work through the long Raya weekend. She called in other friends to help complete the 20 pieces of hand-drawn lacquered interlocking boards titled Giant ME Red Ribbon Ladder Game, an event commemorating World AIDS Day 2002 by the Penang Family Planning Association. It was held on 15th December 2002, at the Summit Bukit Mertajam Plaza.
The fortnight before the event saw high activity levels at the FPA's Family Development Centre, with 2-4 volunteers anytime at work from 8.00 am to 11.30 pm daily, following a paper mock-up. The four volunteers commitment was so high - one person took annual leave, another left a foreign guest home alone and two others sacrificed sleep.
Meanwhile, office staff became experts at buying packed food from different hawkers as the artists did not leave the room for meals.
Some comments that occasionally relieved the intense concentration.
A week into the artwork, amidst dozens of blobs of colour combinations on junior palettes, the project chairman Ms. Yeap Meng Chee found out that the board had turned into a work of art. "Who is the slave-driver here?" she asked but she was told to find out for herself.
"That's me, that's me!!" said Ong, pointing to a figure in swimming trunks.
"That lady in red was modeled after me...." said Cheng. "No lah the figure on the board has a better figure lah" said Daniel.
Although it was fun, it was also stressful. Said Oo, "We just finished in time, with one day for the board to dry before rehearsal on 11th December 2002” and Yap, "At first, the figures were not good enough, so Cheng kept wiping out with white paint. After that, no time to be perfectionist!"
The teamwork on the game showed that when people care, there is no stopping them. HIV/AIDS was the name of the game. On 15th December, there were 6 sets of winners for the game sessions but the real winners of the day are the community if more people share this common purpose to eradicate ignorance and fear of HIV. Kudos to all the committed team members especially to artists Ms. Seow Hooi Cheng, Mr. Ong Lay Seong, Ms. Oo Leng Choo and Mr. Yap Peng Huat, four different personalities in different professions sharing the same vision!