Jing Jing

Blog Post 14 - Cost of Living

(b) Local's satisfaction with cost of living in Taiwan

I feel that local Taiwanese, at least in Tainan region, is rather satisfied with the cost of living there. However, I will like to make it a point that this is only based on people that I got to interact with during my short visit and it does not reflect the whole situation clearly since I do not get a chance to find out how people of different social statuses in the society feels about the cost of living there. Firstly, my buddy's parents mentioned that the price of a car is cheap there as compared to Singapore and quoting from them, they feel that nobody will die of starvation there as the cost of living is so low that even when people do not have a job, the agriculture background of Taiwan allows commoners to farm and have sufficient earnings to survive. They are rather alright with the prices of items in Taiwan and they feel that they are able to provide for the necessities that they require. Thus, I infer that local are e satisfied with the cost of living in Taiwan and most are able to afford for the basic necessities that one need.

Blog Post 13 - Education

(b) Thoughts and Observations on behavior in class and style of teaching

I think that students in Scared Hearts are very proactive as they really participate actively in class. Despite Proactiveness being one of the 4 P's RV hope students are equipped with, few really practice it. The students and teachers actually have a lot of interactions and teachers tend to be friendly to students too, shortening the gap between student and teacher relationship. Students are attentive in class and do not hesitate to clarify their doubts with teachers, something that Singaporean students can learn from as a large number of teachers find it troubling that students do not raise up their doubts and hence, teachers are unable to provide assistance in time. As for the style of teaching in Sacred Hearts, their lessons are actually heavily based on their textbooks and teaching is being done with only textbooks. In fact, textbooks are actually a necessity for them. conveying of concepts are done mostly  through teacher giving out the solution of problem sums to students unlike what we do in Singapore, which is to let students have some time to discuss before voicing out opinions.

(c) Life of student in Taiwan

According to my buddy, they start school at 7.15am and end school at around 4.30pm. This is inclusive of a 1h CCA aka 社团活动 that takes up 1h of their lesson time during 1 particular day of the week. In Taiwan, tuition is quite common too as more than half of the people in my buddy's class actually attend tuition classes till late at night like 10-11pm. In Taiwan, the education system is more exam-oriented like that in Singapore, so students are given tests or examinations on a constant basis to assess students' understanding of what they have learnt. I found out from that buddy that students there also have a rather stable and appropriate homework load; similar to that in Singapore. However, some students can choose to attend the Self-Study Programme at night offered by the school and during this period of time, students are not restrained to studying or preparation of any particular subjects and they can choose to focus on something they want to. 

Blog Post 12 - Monuments

(a) Postcard

Dear parents, today i visited a place, Anping Fort, 安平古堡. I think that the government did a good job to preserve the place as the Fort is still in good condition and still an essential place that attracts tourist. Something that impressed me is the old wall there glued by sweet as it is the only wall that remained from the first time the people from Holland and is ancient. Some other activiteis that left a deep impression on me is the drumming lesson at Ten Drums and the Liu He Night Market trip. The OELP trip has been good so far and i really look forward to meeting my buddy from Sacred Hearts High School. 

(b) Poem


Blog Post 11 - Reflections throughout OELP 

Day 2 :

Today's theme revolves around understanding of culture, in fact, we visited 3 museums, in which 2 revolves around Hakka culture. We went to a Hakka Museum at Meinong region, and learnt that Meinong district is the home of Hakka people in Kaohsiung area, and over 90% of the residents are Hakka. Some of their traditional items include 油纸伞 and the 蓝衫。 Something that left a deep impression on me is the Kaohsiung Museum of History. This building was originally the city office, before becoming the city government then finally the museum, thus, the museum's structure was constructed on 1938, with a glorious age of 77. Next, we went to a local supermarket, whereby our group had lots of fun shopping while completing the task. At the end of the trip, our trolley was filled with food, especially instant noodles. Lastly, we went to a famous night market at Kaohsiung, the 六合夜市。Many of us bought the 特色小吃 there, inclusive of the famous 郑老牌木瓜牛奶,超大鸡排,棺材板 等 美食。We also bought 特产 like pineapple tarts ( 凤梨酥 ) and 牛扎糖。 However, because of unsatisfactory performance throughout the whole day, we were required to do a reflection based on these three questions. 
Q1. What did i do incorrectly?
Q2. Why is it incorrect?
Q3. What will i do tomorrow?

This is my reflection for the three questions.
Q1) Not paying full attention to our tour guide, Uncle Terry, when he was speaking during our bus ride.
Q2) It is a rude act to not listen when someone is speaking to you and the tour guide's words are targeted to help us obtain a better understanding of the place we are visiting next. It is useful to hear what he was saying and get a better background information of these places. This action also reflects badly on us and can cause him to have a bad impression of us.
Q3) Listen attentively to the tour guide, be more aware of my behavior in public.

Day 3 : 

Today we will be leaving the Ten Drums Culture Village and moving to Metro Hotel later on, but before that, we had drumming lesson there and all of us certainly enjoyed this experience as for most of us, it is the first time we came across this kind of activities. Even the teachers joined in. After a tour by the ten drum guide, we were guided to view a drumming performance. The performance was astounding as everything was coordinated and the performers were well-trained and professional. Upon hearing shouts of on-call, they actually gave another  performance! Afterwards, we visited several monuments has been there from 15th century, a long way ago. The monuments include An Ping Fort, Eternal Golden City and Chihkan Tower. I remember at An Ping Fort, there was actually a wall that has been there since the start, whereas most of the others have  been rebuilt due to collapses, it is indeed fortunate of us to be able to witness such monuments that have played essential roles at particular areas, connecting back to our roots. During our reflection, we did our Task3 ( On Monuments ).

Day 4 

Today is the day we will be meeting our buddies. We were first greeted by 丁校长,刘秘书 and since it is the first day we are going for the immersion programme at Sacred Hearts, we performed for them and in return, they also had a variety of performances to welcome us here. After a short greeting with our buddies, we were split into our CID groups to attend lessons at 高一特休班。I feel very grateful to the school for their attempt at lowering the standards of the lesson since they foresee difficulties for us to understand the lesson. Our group went to Mathematics class and to our delight, the teacher specially ordered a kind of 冰沙 with ice cream just to treat us! The students there were having a mini group test and we were encouraged to join in. However, we could not understand a single thing but there was a kind 高三 senior who guided us through patiently. At Sacred Hearts, their 国中 students did not have any mixed-gender classes, instead, boys and girls attend lessons separately. There are also special classes like Arts and Music class for those who specialise in this particular area. One thing we also found out was that the classes of girls were named according to 治国齐家.  While attending the lesson with them, I found out that their lessons were conducted in a lively manner, whereby students even make jokes during lessons and will not be reprimanded. The teachers are also very friendly and helpful. After a visit to a Soy Sauce Factory, we went for dinner with buddy and her family. We sat with our buddy's family, two other classmates and her buddy's family. Our buddy's parents actually bought us milk tea and throughout the dinner, the parents were serving us food and made sure we got to eat first before they take food for themselves. Although our buddy and her parents were a little slower at opening up, after interacting, we realised that her father studied in Singapore for a couple of years and was very familiarized with Singapore.

Day 5 

Firstly, we went to Yunlin Cake Tower Cafe and had a hands-on activity, the DIY tower making activity. Everyone had fun  making their towels into cat shape and some unfortunate people including me folded it to a RAT! All of us were thrilled to see all sorts of towels there and bought home a lot of adorable towels. Next, we visited the Yunlin puppet theatre museum whereby we enjoyed a performance. The unique thing is that they twisted the story around and made it full of jokes and included real life problems that we are facing in the 21st century, the littering problem. We had fun there and went to a storytelling house whereby athe lady told us about the decrease in traditional activities like listening to 说书人 due to modern activities like watching the television and rapid increase in the speed of lifestyle of people. This made me reflect a lot about 传统行业的流逝。Afterwards, we had lunch at a very pretty place with a lotus field and the lunch was also very scrumptious. Then began our school immersion programme with Sacred Hearts High School whereby they arranged a series of programs for us. Fortunately for us, we bumped into their Music Festival used to commemorate the principal that began the music elective programme in their school and had a enjoyable time watching it!

Day 6 

Today is the day we anticipate the most! Firstly, we had cooking lesson whereby we prepared our own meal and it was fun working with our CID group members! it turns out that Jeremy is a good cook too, as he was in charge of everything, from the soup to the dumplings to the frying of carrot cake. Next, we went on a day out with our buddy. ( Zeyu and I have the same buddy ) .  Our first stop was to a shop named Tea Box to get ice tea. The tea sold there had unique flavors and are really tasty. Then, we went to the mountain to get some fresh air and also to visit my buddy's grandparents. It is definitely a good getaway from the hectic lifestyle and seeing the fruits and vegetable that the granparents grow themselves are indeed a eye-opener! Then, we went to a bee museum and it was a good experience seeing bees close up. Afterwards, we went to get pizza and fetched my buddy's brother from school. Later on, we visited a chocolate shop Sophisca, whereby one of its overseas branch is located in Singapore, and both Zeyu and I bought a lot of chocolates and sweets. Lastly, we had hotpot as dinner and even ate shaved ice as dessert. At night, during reflection time, we were given two questions. 
1) Over the past 5 days, what have you learnt?
2) How has your perspective of life changed?

And this is my personal reflection.

1. I have learnt that Taiwanese is really hospitable and they have a positive attitude that everybody can learn from. Firstly, I was deeply touched by the staff and students of Sacred Hearts, especially 丁校长,刘秘书 the 6 seniors and obviously my buddy and her family. 刘秘书 came to Kaohsiung to 接机,even though it was already 11pm at night. He was also with us 90% of the time during our visit to Tainan just to greet us and personally see through our needs and activities planned. 丁校长 despite busy, tried his best to take time off his busy schedule to accompany us and as a principal, he had no 架子 and even hold umbrella for us to make sure we do not get drenched in the heavy rain. For our buddy and her family, they planned a series of activities, " catered to our needs " and were very considerate to our feelings. Once, when crossing the road, her mum held my hand and was very concerned about my safety. 

2. 我觉得自己现在的生活节奏越来越快了,每天都在赶来赶去,I did not stop to observe my surroundings. In contrast, the life pace in Taiwan is slow, and to them, doing a few things can pass a day. This made me realised that in life, we should always keep an appropriate speed and slow down to appreciate 周身美好的事物,人,风景. Next, I realised the importance of teamwork. From the scolding  on the second day till now, our class has been progressing slowly, all of it thanks to each other's cooperation and help. No matter how tiny these steps are, these baby steps are what made us improve and teamwork is an essential factor. 

Day 7

Today is the last day in Taiwan. After breakfast, we checked out of Metro Hotel and travelled to Taipei to visit the 921 Earthquake Educational Park. Upon seeing the preserved site of the damages incurred by an earthquake, I feel grateful that Singapore has no natural disasters. 天然灾害的威力很大,921地震发生在凌晨1.47分,在每个人震惊之余造成无法挽回的伤害。However, precisely because it happened at 1.47am, there was nobody in school and it did not cause further damage. It is definitely saddening for to see the passing of so many loved ones. Unfortunately, the earthquake experience zone is close for renovation so we were unable to have a real life experience. At the airport later on, we were all sad to part with Uncle Terry and the beautiful land of Taiwan. I'm sure we will have post OELP syndrome. It has been a really good and enjoyable journey and I am glad to have 2H, Mr Gay, Ms Christiyani and Mr Ho, with me, along with all the wonderful people we have met at Taiwan.

Overall Reflection

Throughout this journey, I enjoyed my time with 2H and the teachers and it is an indeed eye-opener for me since I got to experience the difference of Taiwan's education system as compared to Singapore, and I got to understand more about Taiwan's cultural heritage preservation act. The attitude of how Taiwanese view life is also very different from us, probably due to the difference in lifestyle of people. Singapore is more of an urbanised country whereas Taiwan is mainly rural areas and do not have centralized development. Therefore, Taiwanese tend to do things at a slow pace. As Singaporeans have a hectic lifestyle, they tend to prioritize work before most stuff and I think that Singaporeans lost some of their ability to appreciate the beauty in life that we missed. This is a good opportunity for us to observe the culture, the education system, the people and their beliefs in Taiwan and after the trip, we now have a better understanding of Taiwan. 

Blog Post 10 - Festivals in Taiwan

1) Chinese New Year
Known as the Spring Festival, it is celebrated from the first to the fifth day of the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar. Normally, on the 23rd or 24th day of the last month of the Chinese lunar calendar, people sacrifice to the Hearth God and send him off his annual journey to Heaven, signaling start of CNY holidays. On the Chinese New Yea's Eve, families complete their spring cleaning, signifying the sweeping away of misfortunes of the previous year. After the spring cleaning, a New Year's cake is made, a symbol of " reaching new heights ", the second to last day of the last month of the Chinese lunar calendar is when families gather stick up spring couplets and New Year's prints on their doors and windows to bring good luck. On the last day of the month, they gather together for a New Year's Eve dinner, called the " Gathering around the stove ". Adults then give the younger members of the family red envelopes with cash inside. The monetary gift is thought to bring peace and good fortune to the recipients then there is the " Keeping of the Year " which is seeing the old year out and the New Year in by staying up on New Year's Eve. Once the clock strikes midnight, people set off firecrackers to welcome arrival of New Year. 

CNY activities include practice of going around to friends and relatives to offer New Year's greetings on the 1st day of CNY, visiting the wife's family on the second day, welcoming the God of Wealth on the fourth day, and reopening business on the fifth day. 

2) Lantern Festival ( Lunar Jan 15 ) 
Also known as the " Little New Year ", the occasion involved the usual worship of the gods, guessing lantern riddles, eating rice-flour dumplings, and releasing lanterns into the sky In New Taipei City's Pingxi Township. The Yanshui Beehive Rocket Festival in Tainan County is another major event
during the Festival, where an almost 200-year tradition of setting off fireworks has transformed into an annual free-for-all. 

3) Dragon Boat Festival ( Lunar May 5 )
Because of its origin and customs, it is closely related to the remembrance of Qu Yuan, a poet who lived during the Warring States Period. That is why, from ancient times, people are also referred to the Dragon Boat Festival as the " Poet's Festival ". At the time of the Dragon Boat Festival, the most common customs are holding dragon boat races and eating glutinous rice dumplings, 粽子。Today. dragon boat races are a popular activity in Taiwan and abroad, and many local areas in Taiwan hold their own races. Every year, there is also an international dragon boat race with competing teams from Taiwan and abroad. 

4) Zhongyuan Festival
The seventh month of the Chinese lunar calendar is Ghost Month. Traditionally, it starts from Dawn on the first day of the month, when the gates of the netherworld open, and ends on the 29th day of the month, when the gates close. During the festivities, which reach a peak on the 15th day, people hold rituals to solicit salvation from disaster and misfortune. Traditionally, on the day of Zhongyuan Festival every household has to prepare meat, fruit, fresh flowers, and other sacrificial items, which they offer to the "hungry ghosts" at temples or on temporary altar tables set up in front of their homes. They also ask monks to say prayers for their deceased loved ones as well as those lost souls who have no living descendants left on earth. This is known as Zhongyuan Pudu, or Universal Salvation. 

The launching of water lanterns is a longstanding custom. The purpose is to help light the way for the lost souls in the water, call the souls to come on land to enjoy the offerings prepared for them, and pray for the early reincarnation of these souls. It is also said that the further a lantern floats on water, the better the fortune that the clan it represents will enjoy in the coming year.

Grappling with the Ghosts is a pole-climbing competition held during the Ghost Month. In Taiwan, it is carried out only in Toucheng, Yilan County and Hengchun, Pingtung County. Of these two locales, Toucheng has the larger celebration, in the early days, people migrating to Yilan from Guangdong and Fujian provinces were beset by natural disasters, accidents, and diseases, and many of them died. They were afraid that nobody was going to be left alive to make offerings after they were gone, and that their souls would have nowhere to go. Therefore, this ceremony to commemorate those who had passed away during the year. Since Toucheng was the first city to be developed in the Yilan area, residents of  its eight major districts jointly organize the Universal Salvation ceremony. On the lady day of the month, the day when the gates of he netherworlds close, they hold a big grappling with the ghosts pole-climbing competition.

Blog Post 9 - Merlion reflection

" The Merlion is the best icon to represent SG. " .

Do you think this statement is true?

Yes, i think that this statement is true. 

Purpose :
Find out where the Merlion stands in our hearts.

Question at issue :
Why is it the best?

Information :

- The Merlion is a mythical creature with a head of a lion and the body of a fish. There are 5 authorised Merlion statues in Singapore, with the most well-known one being the 8-metre tall located at the Merlion Park. This particular Merlion Statue was part of an exhibit by Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi unveiled at the Singapore Biennale 2011 and proved to be the most popular exhibit showcased during the Biennale, drawing close to 700000 outdoor visitors.

- It was designed in 1964 for Singapore Tourist Promotion Board, now known as Singapore Tourism Board and functioned as its corporate logo from 1966 to 1997.

- Sang Nila Utama Story

- The Merlion features prominently in tourist souvenirs sold locally. Souvenirs with Miniature Merlion are listed among almost all websites that shows up at Google when you research about the souvenirs that must be bought when in Singapore. There are a myriad of products to be bought, including keychains, fridge magnets, snow globes, chocolate and sweet. These Merlion products can be found at almost, or in fact all the souvenir shops in Singapore.

- There were Merlion replicas found in places like Shenzhen and Japan. It also inspired works by local poets and these and other poems dedicated to the Merlion have been collated to an anthology titled Reflecting On The Merlion.

- On February 28 2009, the Merlion was struck by lighting, causing a hole in its head. Today, it has been restored to its original looks. However, when the incident happened, a commotion broke up as members of the public believed that it was a omen that Singapore will experience bad times trying to progress on.

- The iconic statue attracts over a million visitors per year. In fact, when I researched for the places not to be missed when visiting Singapore, The Merlion Park, or the 8m tall Merlion is one of the top options on 8 out of the first 11 websites.

- The Merlion is the best icon to represent Singapore because statistics showed that it is one of the most popular tourist attraction and these products are being featured prominently in every souvenir shops in Singapore. Not only that, but when the Merlion was being struck by lightning, many believed that it is a bad omen. The fact that people regarded it as a bad omen for Singapore shows the significance of the statue in Singaporeans' hearts, conscious or not. They regarded the status as a representation of Singapore so when it was being struck by lightning, they referred it to Singaapore's future. Lastly, the fact that the former STPB used it for its corporate logo when it is first set up shows the subconscious mindset they have on the Merlion; they recognised its importance and actually have high regard on it.

- Why can a particular item be able to be regarded as a representation of a country?
- What is the definition of a best representation?

To me, a logo can only be regarded as the best representation of a particular country if it plays a significant role in the history of the country, if others around the world recognises the logo and is reminded by the country upon seeing the logo. More importantly, it must play a special role in the citizens' hearts and they must regard it highly.

- The story of Sang Nila Utama seeing a lion is true.
- The identification of the merlion by people around the world indicates that it is able to represent Singapore.
- Tourists really visit the Merlion Park upon their visit to Singapore.

Implications & Consequences
- If the Merlion is the best icon to represent Singapore, what should the government do? Will they educate young about it? Or will they show overseas guests about it? Is there a need for rebranding? Will the design be used for gifts to other countries?

Point of Views
- Singapore Tourism Board used it as its logo and feel that it is of importance to Singapore.
- Most Tourist Websites introduced it as one of the must-visit places in Singapore.
- Members of the public referred to the Merlion as Singapore, as seen in the lightning incident.

Blog Post 8 - LKY Special

Singapore was once a small fishing village and Mr Lee Kuan Yew is the person who transformed this village to the first world country that it is today. If not for him, this little red dot will not be so well-known in the world. However, Mr Lee implemented several policies, like NS, corporal punishment ( caning ) and others. Though many raised doubts about his way of governance, it proved that his foresight was right. He stressed the importance of maintaining racial harmony and he ensured that Singapore was clean of any political corruption. As Singapore relied heavily on water from Malaysia in the past, he realises that Singapore needed to be more dependent, and decided to experiment with water recycling, eventually giving birth to NeWater. He was aware of the importance of improving relationships with other countries.

Just like the Tang Dynasty, Singapore is considered a golden age as it had a powerful leader who implemented and he successfully united people of different races and religions to come together as one country. Not only so, Singapore has strict laws just like how the Tang Dynasty has clear rules about what is allowed and what isn't, both SG and Tang Dynasty has a good governing system which made them strong.    

We are all saddened by news of Mr Lee's passing. Although we, as representatives of the younger generations, are typical examples of Singaporeans who did not go through the hardships that our ancestors, guided by Mr Lee, went through just to build this nation from scratch, there is no reason for us not to appreciate what he has done for us, without him, we will not be anything more than a third world country. However, Singapore's future lies in our hands. We need to strive to so our best in all that we can to continue her golden age.

Blog Post 7 - Sentiments and Reflections on Suzhou Industrial Park

Background Info : The Suzhou Industrial Park is born on 26 February 1994 to serve as a model for attracting foreign investment to the world's most populous nation. However, in 1999, they set up a rival park, Suzhou New District. It is basically a replica of Suzhou Industrial Park ( SIP ) , however, they charge cheaper prices and provided cheaper taxes and rental fees as compared to SIP. As a result, Singapore suffered losses and its share in the venture is being reduced to 35% from 65%, with China being the dominant partner now.

I think that it is wrong for them to make a complete replica of the Suzhou Industrial Park without discussing with Singapore as Singapore hold a major share in it and will suffer directly with their decision. It is immoral for them to not only steal the idea but to attract people to the Suzhou New District with lower prices as compared to the SIP just like what the late Mr Lee said that the city government was " using us to get investors in, and when investors came in, they said: ' You come to my park, it's cheaper. '"

However, through this, Singapore also learnt a valuable lesson. We realised that when we decide to work with another country, we first need to have a thorough understanding of the political and social dynamics of the country. Singapore believed blindly that the official Central Government support will translate directly to the compliance by the Suzhou side was a mistake as we failed to take into consideration that the local government were getting increasingly independent and sought to pursue their own agendas that were different from the Central Government side. We should have understood that in China, it is essential for people to establish good relationships with the respective places if they want to get things done as 关系 is something that they value a lot and people on good relations with the other party tend to get things done faster. 

Blog Post 6 - Reflection

Personally, I feel that during the preparation process, I was too preoccupied with other assignments and did not arrange my time properly, so I did not do my best. I started off the speech feeling rather nervous, so I spoke rather fast for a short period of time. As I was presenting, my people behind could not hear me clearly so they motioned for me to speak louder, however, the flustered me forgot my next point and struggled to recover for a moment. At such, the presentation was definitely not my best and I believe I can do better. For the class, I think that some people might be too nervous and it was pretty obvious that they felt anxious. Aside from the fact that some of us could not interpret our pictures clearly, I feel that many of us could have done better and we should reduce the amountof supporting materials, like cue cards and phones, that are being brought up as some of us who could have presented well, are over-reliant on those support and ended up referring to it too frequently. Overall, I feel that it is a good experience and the class have done rather well, giving that this is one of the rare times we have been asked to conduct a speech.

Blog Post 5 - Feedback

Group 6's product is the Turbo Mop. In my opinion, I think that every member put in effort to ensure  that they were involved in the presentation. However, I feel that there should be better communication to ensure smooth flow of the whole presentation, as I noticed that there was a particular time whereby there was an awkward silence and nobody knew how to continue. Personally, I believe that it is essential for every group to distribute the job equally, in this case, everyone should each have a point to make regarding the product. However, some members like Yi Ling did not speak much while Zi Jun and Wen Xuan took the lead.

Blog Post 4 - China's Economic Growth 

With the growth in economy and the opening up to international trade, China is likely to strike more deals with other countries, which firstly, increases amount of businesses received, since many would say China as a platform for them to either expand their businesses to ( with China having a huge population and large land mass ) or to import good from, since the currency exchange rates are high, and the good there are sold in very affordable prices.

With the establishments of more shops and the increase in the amount of businesses offers, an increase in manpower will be needed to manage the shops, build infrastructure and etc, which offers more job opportunities for people in China,  decreasing the rate of unemployment.

This also means that cities in China will be more developed, as shown in the case of the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city, which is the result of collaborative agreement between governments of China and Singapore to jointly develop a socially harmonious, environmentally friendly and resource-conserving city in China. It is designated to be fully developed in the early to mid 2020s and will be home to an estimated 350000 residents. It is sited on non-arable land, which prior to development, is one-third salt pan, one-third deserted beach and one-third water.

However, this does not necessary be equivalent to China's opening up being solely advantageous. With more businesses, the wealthy people gets richer, and that does not indicate that citizens on the other end, gets improvement on their standard of living. This can, and most probably, will result in an ever widening gap  between the poor and the rich, ( 贫富差距). To narrow the rich-poor gap then becomes more challenging, as statistic showed that the Gini coefficients of China is rising rapidly over the decade.

Next, the increase of businesses in the industries, more factories are being built, gives rise to air pollution. At 11am, 19 February 2015, Beijing's air quality index is measured to be 273, which is a very unhealthy range. Over the last 17 hours, it is also reported that the minimum AQI is 82 while the maximum can reach up to 438. The effects of the extreme levels of pollution on daily life can be seen in the physical changes to the architectures of the city. Buildings and spaces are now being reconfigured and daily routines modified to allow normal life to go on beyond the toxic shroud. Heavy-duty paper face masks with purifying canister filters are frequently seen on the streets now and The British School is the latest of Beijing's international colleges to go to drastic lengths of building an artificial bubble to stimulate an normal environment beneath the cloak of smog.

To Singapore, the opening up of China to international trades will cause more collaboration efforts and more trading to be carried out, and this is beneficial. However, to China, this causes more advantages and disadvantages, which neither can be avoided nor ignored.

( Picture credits to Google )

The above shows the trends in Gini coefficients in China and the United States, as stated in the picture.


Blog Post 3 - Prediction of Scenario

Scenario : What will happen to Singapore in 20 years' time as dwindling population continues?

The Total Fertility Rate of Singapore is 1.2, 0.9 lower than the average 2.1 number that is needed to replace everyone in the population. In fact, statistic showed that from June 2013 to 2014, Singapore's population grew by only 1.3%, the slowest growth rate in the past 10 years. 

As the contrast between the increasing number of elderly and the decreasing number of new born babies become more distinctive, it is estimated that the amount of Singapore Citizens aged 65 and above will triple to 900000 by 2030. This results in a small base of working-age citizens as our citizen population and workforce ages and declines.  

As such, concerns have risen regarding the measures the government plan to take to control the situation and the solution provided states that they aim to increase the population of Singapore to 6.9 million by 2030, approximately a million more people. For this to take place, the key priority in addressing our population challenges will be to raise birth rates. Raising birth rates is not a small issue as research have shown that as Singapore advances in modernization, there are increasing number of women refusing to give birth at young ages and would " only consider after they have build up their career ".  

Attracting females to give birth then becomes a difficult thing. The Government needs to have a convincing policy that will appeal to the females out there, be it subsidizing for the child's needs or the medical fees. 

Blog Post 2 - Poverty In Singapore

Source: http://www.mws.org.sg/Dispatcher?action=SocialIssueTopic&id=Sc12ce388725076

I will like to start off by quoting " Mr And and his wife, both in their 40s, live in a four-room HDB flat with just five children. Their ages range from eight to 23 years old. Mr Ang works as a driver, earning $800 a month, while Mrs Ang is a homemaker. Four of their children are visually-impaired. "

Although this picture gives little idea about the state of life the Ang Family lives in, it can be clearly observed that they actually sleep on only mattresses that are laid on the floor and the walls of their house have not been painted in a long time, as 90% of it is stained. It wasn't showed clearly on this picture but by the look of it, i presumed that they did not have proper curtains to block sunlight.

While poverty in Singapore is a vague word, it does exist, maybe not in the form of begging or not as grave as dying of poverty, but whereby the average income of one family is not enough to cover for the total expenses. In Singapore, little know that the difference between the gross income of a lower income family and the gross income of a wealthy person is enlarging ( 贫富差距 )

Having said that, I would like to mention a statistic I found regarding the growth of poverty In Singapore.

Source: http://thehearttruths.com/2013/10/28/poverty-in-singapore-grew-from-16-in-2002-to-28-in-2013/

From this article, it can be seen that the poverty in Singapore grew from 16% to 28% in a mere year. (From 2012-2013) and based on my research, Singapore, being one of the wealthiest and most developed country, actually boasts the second-biggest inequality gap among Asia's advanced economies. Although there are efforts made by the government and the society, I do feel that something more needs to be done. 

Blog Post 1 - My December Holidays

So I actually started my holiday off pretty good. Hanging out with friends, doing homework, watching kdrama, definitely having fun. I don't know if one consider it as productive but as what John Lennon has said, Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted. However, life had a major change after I went for facilitator trainings. I was more bold, more outgoing, gained more self-confidence, and etc. It was definitely one of the best times in my life and although it has not been an easy journey, I am really grateful to have had this opportunity and to have met so many wonderful people. Moving on, after all four of the official Facilitator trainings,  we had an outing. Since it was unofficial, a lot of people were unable to attend but nevertheless, we still had fun. Our task on that day was to find out who murdered Bob. And we, the facilitators, were to be investigators that will travel around the West Area finding suspects and getting clues from them. This is an interesting activity that really makes you probe about the murderer's identity. It seems that every option was possible and every clue led you to a different direction and this really made us think HARD.

At the end, all of us gathered back at JCube and each shared our theory on what happened which led to Bob's death. All of us thought deeply and presented our theories but we were astonished to know that NONE OF US were right! It turned out that the cause to Bob's death was very ridiculous and we all thought too far. After this, it was the typical picture time where we took TONS of pictures. So here's one that i took with the people that i got closer to throughout Facilitator trainings.

And here's an group photo of Facilitator Commitee after Orientation Camp has ended.

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