• Katherine Pan

The Summer Vacation That Nearly Killed Me

Updated: Aug 24, 2021

Knowing that I have only two summer vacations left before becoming a corporate slave motivates me to make the most out of it. The highlights of my latest summer vacation were attending two lovely Candlelight concerts and almost drowning in a water park. In general, my summer was productive because I planned for it before vacation began. I managed to work on my personal goals and attended summer school. Unfortunately, not all plans could come to fruition as Singapore also went into lockdown during this period due to the rise in COVID cases. Despite this, I was not letting COVID dampen my summer fun because yo girl is out to live her best life. This virus is not going to stop me from living my roaring 20s in this depressive ‘20s.

This tweet did not age well. (Source)

Candlelight Concert

The ad for Fever’s Candlelight Concert has appeared consistently on my Instagram feed since the start of this year. The thought of watching a musical performance illuminated by candlelight at Singapore’s most iconic venues sounded irresistible to me. The alluring atmosphere sounded magical, and I pictured myself being captivated by the recital in the audience stand. After several months of contemplation, I decided to go for not one, but two candlelight concerts!


The first was Chopin’s Best Works at Victoria Theatre. Joined by my best friend, we decided to go for Chopin’s Best Works at her recommendation. As a current in-training classical pianist, Chopin was one of her favorite composers. Now, I am no professional musician, nor do I know much about classical music so I just went along with it. My only musical knowledge came from the time I played the flute in the symphonic band in secondary school. I would be lying if I said that I was a good musician because I struggled seriously with rhythm; I could play an entire passage out of time without knowing it.

With the concert held at Victoria Theatre, Churen Li was our pianist and her performance dazzled us. Throughout the recital, I had great joy dissecting the different layers of her playing. It was complex, rich, and intense. According to my friend, the reason was that she managed to successfully and authentically channel Chopin’s interpretation of the pieces. Additionally, she had impressive performance techniques and great showmanship. I even found myself thinking about the different aspects of musicianship during the concert as Churen Li’s performance truly left me awestruck.

The performance was absolutely magnificent. (Source)

Now, I had a 1500 words essay due on the same day as the concert and I was extremely stressed out by it. As I chose to do summer school, I had 4 submissions due in the same week with back-to-back deadlines. I did contemplate skipping the concert due to the immense pressure and tight deadlines I was under. Looking back, I am exceptionally relieved that I did not because the performance was phenomenal.


The second candlelight concert was Vivaldi’s Four Seasons at Chamber, The Arts House. Interestingly, The Arts House may be the oldest surviving building in Singapore and it used to house the Parliament of Singapore from 1965 to 1999. This time I was joined by my boyfriend, who suggested that we go for Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Again, I was unfamiliar with Vivaldi’s works but when I heard the beginning of Four Seasons on Youtube, I recognized the piece because it was so iconic. As both of us were not musically trained, we went to the concert to savor the romantic candlelit experience and the pieces played.

My view for the night.

Vocalise String Quartet were the performers for the night, and their recital was pure ecstasy to the ears. As this was my first violin concerti, I did not know what to listen out to. However, I was spellbound throughout the musical piece as my ears were pampered by the delightful playing. I felt that Vivaldi had included numerous elements of suspense into his work. I had great pleasure sitting through the tension and built up in the music for the grand reveal of each season. My boyfriend also noted that Vivaldi’s composition included a distinctive element that makes him stand out from other composers. The performance was so pleasurable that at the end of it, we found ourselves itching to book tickets for another Candlelight concert. It was also the perfect date night activity because the Arts House was located next to the Singapore River, which was perfect for a late-night stroll.

How I Almost Died At Adventure Cove

Adventure Cove had been closed for more than a year until it reopened recently in May 2021. News of its reopening reached me in no time thanks to my boyfriend, and we bought tickets for the first day. It was my second visit to the water park, and just as I remembered it was enjoyable and lots of fun. Well except that this time, I almost drowned on one of the rides.

The incident happened on the first ride we took at the park, which was the Riptide Rocket. The official website describes it as “Like an intense rollercoaster on water. It combines all the powerful climbs, plunging drops, terrifying twists and tight turns to set your adrenaline pumping.” Now, my friends know that I am way too timid to enjoy rollercoasters and would take every opportunity to sit out of one. Nevertheless, I took the ride not knowing that it was a big-dipper and was glad that I was still in one piece at the end. So, how did I almost drown? Well, the ride ends with the raft washing out to a small pool where we would get out. As fate would have it, my raft overturned and flipped me out of it. For context, I cannot swim because I never learned how to. Additionally, the pool was about 1.5 meters deep and standing at 1.6m, the pool was almost as tall as me.

This is how the pool looks like and how the raft should exit the pipe. (Source)

My first thoughts in the water were that I needed oxygen and I would die if I did nothing. I knew that I had to stand up by turning my body around and getting my feet on the ground. At that point in time, my mind was solely focused on obtaining air and I felt there was no sense of anxiousness. After adjusting my body in the water for a few seconds, I managed to break the water surface and felt cold air blowing across my face. Naturally, I opened my mouth to breathe but I had a rude shock when I took a giant gulp of chlorine water instead. Turns out, I was back in the water again because my feet still were not touching the ground. With my time for survival ticking away, fear started to creep into my head. I started to wonder why help was taking so long to come and the possibility of death had started to become very real. With water all around me, all I could hear was deafening silence and my pounding heartbeat. In hopes of survival, I began to thrash wildly in the water.

Moments later, a pair of hands reached out to pull me upright. A sense of relief washed over me when I finally managed to take my first breath out of the water. It turns out that my boyfriend came over to help as soon as he saw me struggle. Without his timely assistance, I would have continued to struggle futilely in the water. As the incident left me distraught, we decided to spend the rest of the day with a float in the lazy pool instead.


Summer is coming to an end with the next semester beginning tomorrow. I will be entering my third year and honestly, progressing into an upperclassman can be daunting. My modules are only going to be more difficult, and I have to begin sourcing for an internship for my second semester. Well, I tell myself that those are problems are future me. Present me is just glad that despite the restrictions and unexpected hurdles I encountered this summer, I was still able to make the best out of it.

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