Camp Allambee

My head pounded at the spinning lights of the night party. The lively music seemed to pierce through the surrounding air, where my head seemed to throb with every bass hit. Rambunctious cheering inundated the small corrugated iron shed that housed the party. Alongside this, in every direction yielded incessant drinking. I had enough. My social battery was at an all-time low – fatigue of the previous week had yielded a deficit in my social battery, and it felt it was now negative from the lively activities of the day. As everyone sat down in anticipation before starting a drinking game, a sudden impulse seemed to ripple through my wearied consciousness.


As they explained the instructions for the drinking game, I tried to discreetly slip out of the party. If I give the illusion that I was going to the bathroom – hopefully no one would ask any questions. I took a step into the darkness of the night.

Immediately, the crispness of the frigid wind ticked my cheeks. With each crunch of feet against the dim gravel path lit by the pale moonlight, the live sounds of the party seemed to slowly dissipate away. I breathed a sigh of relief.

Peace and Quiet.

4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
it is not for kings to drink wine,
or for rulers to take strong drink,
5 lest they drink and forget what has been decreed
and pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
6 Give strong drink to the one who is perishing,
and wine to those in bitter distress;
7 let them drink and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.

Proverbs 31:4-7 ESV

Closing the door of my cabin door, I sat down and started to reflect on the events of the day.

Why did I go to this Dentistry camp?

The last camp I went to was a phenomenal experience. There should not be any reason that this camp wouldn’t be too. The main objective was to make friends, especially more non-Christians. I didn’t want to isolate myself in a Christian Bubble, because that is a dangerous place to be in terms of advancing the Gospel. As the Apostle Paul said, we should “become all things to all people”.

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 ESV

I discovered a secondary reason for going. I thought it would be a good idea to observe what the party and drinking life consisted of, because I have never had bothered to go to these sorts of events. I wanted to understand why first hand. I recalled the concept of peer pressure from one of those alcohol workshops that we used to have in the early years of high school. It was only till now I finally understood the reality of peer pressure. I observed from the early morning hours, that some had already started drinking. During the activities of the day, drinks were repeatedly shoved in my hand and I was asked multiple times if I was drunk yet throughout the day. I kept replying with a resounding “not yet”. I felt I didn’t want to lose my ability to think clearly, as who knew what would happen if I did. I wanted to remember the events of the day and not forget them in the name of fun. From my observations, I had come to the same conclusion as Qoholet from Ecclesiastes regarding pleasure. Fun, but meaningless fun nonetheless.

I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But behold, this also was vanity. I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?” I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life. I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines, the delight of the sons of man.

So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 ESV

As I surveyed the ubiquitous seeking of hedonism, I was reminded about the importance of being set apart. As God provided instructions to the Israelites that “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” (Leviticus 19:2b ESV). Jesus, in His sermon on the mount, used a different wording of this phrase, in which “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48 ESV). It reminded me how precious holiness and sanctification is. And that it is certainly something worth fighting for.

I felt my senses coming back. I peered through the window into the night, still hearing muffled shouts and roaring of the bass.

It’s going to be a really long night. Do I regret leaving?

Not one bit.