Why are the streets of Hong Kong full of young kids in match­ing T-shirts?

HK Magazine - - HOME - – Disori­ented Danny

The T-shirts are called “Camp Tees,” and all th­ese kids are stu­dents on “Ocamp”—that’s “Ori­en­ta­tion Camp.” Most coun­tries op­er­ate some kind of vari­a­tion of Fresher’s Week at the start of univer­sity, but there’s noth­ing quite as uniquely bonkers as Ocamp.

Ocamps tend to run from about three days to a week be­fore a univer­sity term starts. Bright-eyed stu­dents ar­rive ready to em­bark on their all-new col­lege ca­reers, and they’re squeezed into t-shirts and given a se­quence of ridicu­lous things to do.

Ev­ery Ocamp has a “city hunt”—a scav­enger hunt in which fresh­ers are given silly tasks to do all over the city.

You might be sent to Fortress to ask for a so­lar-pow­ered flash­light—an old joke from a Stephen Chow movie—or be told to wave at peo­ple on tread­mills at the gym un­til they wave back. One source tells Mr. Know-It-All that she had to reen­act an en­tire wed­ding out­side Sha Tin Town

Hall, com­plete with priest, rel­a­tives and peo­ple singing the wed­ding march. Re­peat­edly.

Then there’s the “Camp­fire.” Some­times there’s a cir­cle of flash­lights, some­times there’s not, but the whole group joins in and is taught songs and dances. Most bizarrely, to Can­topop star Ge­orge Lam’s Can­tonese cover of 1979 Euro­vi­sion Song Con­test En­try “Dschinghis Khan.”

It’s ex­actly as weird as it sounds.

Peo­ple stay up talk­ing, get­ting to know each other.

Each of them has to Bo Sta­tus: “report sta­tus,” or re­veal your re­la­tion­ship his­tory. There are let­ters and num­bers, which work like this:

A – Avail­able, O – Oc­cu­pied, C – it’s Com­pli­cated, NABA – Not Avail­able But Avail­able. Mean­while, the num­ber is the num­ber of peo­ple you’ve dated. So if you’re A0 you’re a vir­gin. Mean­while A380, like the plane, is slang for “slut.”

There’s so, so much more and this only scratches the sur­face. It’s frankly crazy, but it works. Ocamp is about bring­ing dis­parate stu­dents to­gether and giv­ing them a way to bond, start­ing them out on friend­ships that will get them through col­lege and be­yond. Once you’ve learned the dance steps to the Can­tonese cover of “Dschinghis Khan” with some­one, noth­ing’s ever go­ing to be the same again.

Ocamp: If you’re not damp, you’re do­ing it wrong

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