It was a hot and humid afternoon. There was no wind. The air was still and stuffy, and almost sizzling. The only annoying sound was the constant buzzing of flies, wing surfing on summer vacations. The atmosphere was highly combustible, waiting, just waiting for a spark, however small it may be, to initiate the requisite chain reaction setting off an explosion of cataclysmic proportion.
Most were struggling to concentrate on our study below the fan set at full blast while some blissful ones snoring restlessly at whatever cool shady corners somewhere. The only air-conditioned room, the small music lounge, was conveniently fully occupied for choir practice.
As the popular song goes, “It only takes a spark to get the fire going, and soon all those around can warm up in its glowing…”, and the spark came in the form of a small splash of water on a blur bystander, a piercing scream dispersing the knot of saboteurs or “sabo-kings” as was commonly known, and almost immediate retaliations by whosoever around. Before you know it, the PA system squawked resoundingly the clarion call to arms, to arms. The whole Hall was awakened, exploding into life from her slumber and oppressive gloom.
Pails, plastic bags, balloons and water containers of any sort were quickly brought to bear into the water fight that was already in full fight, not flight, for no true blooded RHafflesian would turn tail from such fight anywhere anytime. We fought with such ferocity that everyone in sight was fair game, all foes and all friends. Chivalry was dead. It was an all out no holds barred and free for all combat till the last man standing.
Even the fire hose was not spared, brought to bear as the special heavy artillery of choice from aloft, the only one from A2 corridor through one of the windows, and of course, handled by A2 guys. Raincoats or umbrellas afforded no protection against such formidable weapon. “Drink water, you maggots below!”
Some mischievous ones would add flour to their water bombs. Ingenious ones prefer ice cubes to cool the temperature down to shock victims with their bombardment. What do you expect? We were not only intelligent but also imaginative undergraduates in the finest University in the country. Hmmm, I wondered what we could do then if we had some ferrous powder and sulphuric acid.
No excruciating shrieks of pain or wails of agony, only exhilarating laughter and cold shrill shrieks in a water fight. It was all cool, clean and wet fun and definitely a relief from the stuffy oppressive weather, and a damn good excuse from our books.
As if divinely summoned, we rallied and mustered as all able-bodied Rhafflesians, and quick marched to assault our neighbouring Eusoffe College. Eusoffean lookouts were sent scurrying back behind the safety of their walls, and to raise an alarm of the impending attack.
With main door hastily shut, Eusoffeans quickly barricaded themselves inside and prepared for battle. The bell tolled for war. All hands on deck to man the walls, more like to cower behind their rampart walls, and waited with bated breath. Giggling? Waiting for the inevitable for the wild horde now surging through the tree line before them was mighty indeed.
We charged forward valiantly, committing all our ammunition in one full frontal audacious assault, hoping to shock the defenders into a quick surrender. Victory or death! We rained water bombs upon them in salvoes. We drenched them. We inundated them, but they gritted their teeth and absorbed the punishment. Giggling again?
Their ramparts held, they held, firmly and defiantly despite our overwhelming barrage. No parlay, no white flag. More giggling.
We were courageous and fearless, no doubt, but against the well entrenched and barricaded Eusoffeans, our tactic was flawed and foolish, and bravado futile. Our limited ammunition was quickly exhausted. We were exposed and in trouble.
They saw it in our eyes and sniffed it off our fear. Our assault teetered on the brink of collapse, momentum fizzled out. Our blitzkrieg had failed, and failed abysmally.
They swiftly took the initiative, counterattacked us with impunity. “Remember the Panties Raids”, was their rallying battle cry. Those humiliating raids, heinous raids, must be avenged. Payback time, suckers!
We locked arms, reformed lines and stood our ground defiantly, come what may, one last time. We never begged for mercy. We were prepared to accept whatever fate destiny had installed for us.
They pounded us with water bombs incessantly. They poured cauldrons of icy water on us mercilessly, even pelted with ice cubes rabidly. Our residual defiance petered out. They were deadly serious, and we were nakedly defenceless. They defended their College with Amazonian pride and ferociousness that day.
Soon we had to retreat. Did I say retreat? What I meant was that we bowed out gracefully from a fight that we never intended to win. There was no honour to brag about in victory over Eusoffeans. We would only be remembered for bullying girls. Some were our D&D partners, you know, a few our future soul mates.
We parlayed and declared a truce. We thanked them for the good fun and saluted for the fight well fought before serenading to them as we merrily melted away and marched back to our stronghold along Nassim Road, with our chins held high and smiles on our faces.
Marching back, battle wearied and out of ammunition, expecting a hero’s welcome, lo and behold, we were ambushed and attacked by our own girls, either out of jealousy or they still wanted more fun. Regardless and rejuvenated, we stormed into the fray. Who could resist such savage fun, right? And so, Round 2 began.
We fought till everyone was out of ammunition, satisfactorily drenched and some with battle bruises or white all over. Remember the ice cubes and flour. “We can’t help falling for our girls. We can’t help falling for our girls. Our girls are the best, the very, very best. We can’t help falling for our girls.”
Then as sudden as the fight started, Round 2 abruptly ended. We would live to fight another day. That day came the following year at the new Raffles Hall @ Kent Ridge. Water fights were forever banned thereafter. O such cheery memories, now a fond history but sadly never to be repeated.