In addition to enjoying 21 public holidays this year, many Macau students will have eight extra days off. During the East Asian Games to be held from October 29 to November 6, student volunteers are allowed to take leave from school. But volunteering is more than an excuse to skip school, said Kuok Chong-ho, a university student. Because most football matches are in the evening, they do not clash with Kuok's classes. 'I like football, so I chose to help out at the football games,' he said. 'Maybe I'll learn a thing or two by observing great teams like Japan and South Korea. I feel very honoured to be announcing the scores at the matches.' Initially, Kuok thought he had an easy job. 'All you say is 'First half is over. Second half starts in 15 minutes',' he recalled. But his voice sounded very sleepy. Now he has learned to smile as he speaks, so his voice sounds more energetic. 'Such details are interesting,' he said. Felisberto Lei Chi-chong, another announcer, said volunteers had a good chance of getting autographs from top athletes and performing artists at the Games. Already, many volunteers have had their T-shirts and caps signed by Soler, a two-member band from Macau. They performed at the inauguration of the Macau Stadium, where Spanish football giants Barcelona beat Chinese champions, Shenzhen. 'That night, everybody rushed to get autographs on their T-shirts, so I joined them,' Lei said. 'The autographs can be a nice memento to keep.' Through the East Asian Games volunteer programme, Macau's citizens who do not usually participate in professional sports got a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes effort that goes into preparing for a sporting showpiece. Not every task of the volunteers is as exciting as announcing the scores. Some of them are simply responsible for handing out bottles of water to athletes. Some greet VIPs with a big smile. Others are prepared to give directions to 'lost' spectators. 'Whether things are meaningful or not depends on how you look at it,' said Wong Teng-fong, another football announcer. 'At some point after you make new friends, you begin to have fun doing your part. It doesn't matter if we play only insignificant roles within a mega event.'