Yi Jie

Reflections for Tainan trip 

Day 1
When we checked into the hotel, we were stunned by the theme of the rooms! The table was a drum, and the room key was hung with a drum key chain. It was a totally different experience from a normal vacation stay.
Day 2
Firstly, we visited some of the cultural landmarks such as the Mei Nong Hakka Culture Museum, Mei Nong Folk Village, Kaohsiung Hakka Cultural Museum, Kaohsiung Museum of History. Although I have already forgotten whatever the tour guides have said or explained, but the impression of the tour guides stays fresh in my mind. What do I mean by that? The tour guides were spirited and engaging, simply professional. They were able to keep everybody's attention throughout the walk-through in the museum, which is not an easy task considering that my classmates are easily distracted. They know more than what are written on the walls of the museums, and sang folk songs for us. Who knew a tour at the museum could be so much fun? The class has been to several museums in Singapore before the OELP trip, and the mood was always dull in the museum, as if we had been deprived of sleep. However, in the museums at Tainan, the only feeling that filled the atmosphere was joy. We had fun singing folk songs along with the tour guides, and the museums were nicely decorated, which made us excited and desperate for photo taking time. I feel that Singaporeans can learn to have more pride in our country's culture and history, and joyfully share it with others. Just like the Tainan tour guides, we can captivate the audiences with our own unique Singapore experience, instead of just reading off from the walls of the museum. 
Next, we visited the local supermarket. Our group decided to finish the task once and for all before going for grocery shopping. Miraculously, we completed the mission within a whooping 10 minutes! However, as we had so much time for grocery shopping, the group ended up overbuying. While other groups only carried one basket of Taiwan Instant noodles, we were pushing two trolleys filled with all sorts of stuff. Generally, the items sold at the Tainan supermarket were slightly cheaper than those in Singapore. A packet of milk tea was only sold for 7NT which is around 0.30SGD, WHAT!? This explained the overbuying of things at the supermarket, which we then had troubles packing them into the luggage.
Lastly, we went to the Liu He Night Market. The night market there was not as great as how I expected it to be. It was about the same size as Bugis Street, which meant that if we had nothing to buy, walking to the end of the street and back would take only 15 minutes maximum. We were warned to take care of our belongings especially well there, because there were many pickpockets. Fortunately, none of us lost anything. Instead, we came back gleefully, hands grabbing packets of chicken cutlet, takoyaki, cow's intestines and stinky beancurd. I am not sure about the stinky beancurd, but the other snacks were delicious.

Day 3

This was the last day we would be spending our time at the Ten Drums Culture Village. We learnt how to play drums and even watched a drum performance from the professionals there. We also learnt more about the place we were staying in. To be honest, for the previous days, we were totally unaware about the place we were spending our night in. After the briefing from a local tour guide, we then learnt that the Ten Drums Culture Village was actually a warehouse. 
Marble drink
Next we went to An Ping Fort, where we were allowed to roam free by ourselves. Therefore, the entire time there was used to take pictures. We skipped An Ping Old Street due to the bad weather conditions. Next, we went to the Eternal Golden Castle. The entire place was filled with greenery. We saw with our own eyes, the old canons on display, and the experience was absolutely different from just seeing the images on Google. 
During lunch, we also tried a unique Taiwan marble drink. It tasted like soda, but what made it cool was the marble below!
At Chihkan Tower, our group mates made a discovery. At the top of the tower, we could have a 360 degrees view of the scenery. However, 180 degrees was agriculture land, and the other half was the city. This made us wonder if the Chihkan Tower was a landmark to distinctively separate the two places. 

Postcard to parents 
我今天到了安平古堡和老街。 这两个地方有很多五颜六色的花朵,让我被地方吸引住了。所以我觉得那里的人民的生活十分精彩,充满彩色。最近我过得很好, 不用关心我, 爱你们 
Poem (An Ping Old Street)
到处无人, 很奇怪

Day 4
For the first half of the day, we got to meet our Tainan buddies personally. They were very friendly and hospitable. We ate snacks together and communicated while waiting for further instructions from the teachers. My buddy's chinese was excellent, unlike mine. I could not understand almost everything she said, and she also cannot understand what I said. Surprisingly, she did not know what was Instagram, while her other friends were quite familiar with the application. Our communication was awkward because we were afraid that we could not understand each other. On the bright side, I had a few friends with me who were able to understand and translate for me. After eating with the buddies, we set off for a soy sauce factory. We were supposed to go to the factory alone, but the Sacred Hearts High School's Vice Principal and the seniors followed along as they were worried that we would meet with difficulties along the way. I feel that they were very caring, even helping us to take our umbrellas and cover us so we would not get drenched by the rain. That night, we ate at a restaurant with our buddies. The meal was fully sponsored by a parent from Sacred Hearts High School. We were served abalones, pumpkin rice cakes, sashimi, sharks' fins soup, and all things expensive. We ate like gluttons that night and returned to the hotel with a full stomach.

Day 5
In the morning, we attended lessons conducted by the teachers in school. We were surprised that the students were allowed to eat in their classrooms whenever they like, as their teachers trust them enough to clean up after themselves. The Mathematics teacher treated the whole class to shaved ice before beginning a test. 
However, this might not work for us in our school, when students do not make it a habit to clean up after we eat.
We then went to the Yunlin Cake Tower Cafe to fold towels. The workshop took about 1 hour, and we had around 20 minutes to shop at the Cafe. As the Cafe is specialised in selling TOWELS, I highly recommend not to consume any real cakes sold at the cafe as one of our classmates vomited profusely after eating the cake sold there. 
Next, we went to the Yunlin puppet theatre museum. We enjoyed the puppet performance put up by the team at the museum. The plot of the story depends on the audience! When the class reacted negatively to one of the characters in the story, the character kept on teasing us with mildly-abusive words, and when a group mate shouted "NO!" in response to the character, it immediately turned towards the group member and asked "why not?". The puppet show was truly amazing and engaging. 
In the evening, we were invited by Sacred Hearts High School to view their school's performances at a grand theatre. We were even given VIP seats! Although we were not able to fully appreciate the Arts presented to us, we could feel that we were welcomed by the school. This made the class determined to be as welcoming and hospitable when they arrive in Singapore the following month.

Day 7
This was the last day we spent in Taiwan. The feeling was bitter-sweet as we were just starting to love Taiwan as much as our own country. We visited the 921 Earthquake Educational Park, which was nothing much, since we were unable to enter the Earthquake experience theatre. We really wanted to barge out of the plane as soon as we stepped onto it, but we were held back by the senses left in us. This experience was a good learning experience for all of us. I hope our school can learn from them in terms of hospitality towards overseas students, even though we may not be as wealthy and financially stable as them.

Blog Post 10- Folks of Tainan

Folks (Yi Jie) :
The lives of Tainan citizens are closely related to many Chinese gods and temples. Parents bring their children to Qiniangma (七娘媽), the children's goddess, to wish for good will.
Traditionally Chinese people step into adulthood when they are 16. In Tainan, there is a large ritual celebration for all 16-year-olds on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, Qinianma's birthday.
This extended celebration is unique to Tainan.
A wedding ceremony in Tainan is a series of complex processes that are very exact and detailed. Both groom and bride need to prepare 12 specific gifts representing different meaning during their engagement ceremony with more to come in the wedding. People believe this complexity is a sign of being civilised.

Blog Post 9- Is Merlion the best icon to represent Singapore?
Yes, the Merlion might be the best icon to represent Singapore. It represents Singapore's history of being a fish village, and Sang Nila Utama's encounter with a "lion" here.

What makes the Merlion the BEST icon? The Merlion is unique and one of a kind. Which other country would actually use a lion with a fish body as a national icon? When foreigners are asked about the Merlion, they would most probably link it to Singapore. Many people argue that Singapore has many other icons to be represented by, such as Sentosa, the Singapore Flyer, and its greenery, etc. Are those really that distinctive to represent the country? No, because other countries also have integrated resorts, ferris wheels, and it would not be cool to have plants and trees as the representative icon of a country right?

The picture below shows some magnets sold at Singapore souvenir shops. Most of them features the Merlion, and the Merlion has been featured on our souvenirs for a very long period of time already. I think Singaporeans also accept the Merlion as an icon to represent Singapore, such that even merchandises highlights the Merlion.

Blog Post 8- Tang Dynasty, LKY, and SG's Golden Age

The Tang Dynasty was one of the most brilliant eras in China's history. Under Tang's rule and leadership, China became the wealthiest, most populous, and most sophisticated civilization on earth.

Lee Kuan Yew and his connection with Singapore's Golden Age

Singapore was once a fishing village, with little resources and many uneducated people. After Mr Lee Kuan Yew was appointed as Singapore's first Prime Minister, Singapore's economy started to grow rapidly, as people were highly encouraged to go to schools, and our relations with other countries allowed us to obtain resources which are unavailable in Singapore. Look at us now. We have unlimited access to clean water, most of us are educated, able to enjoy the latest technology available, women are usually safe to walk alone at night, and Singapore has become a first-world metropolis. This is absolutely opposite to what we were 50 years ago, when people only knew how to fish, and had limited water supply.

This is extremely similar to the Tang Dynasty. The Tang restored order in the country, and brought China to greater heights. Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his team put in immense effort to bring Singapore to where she is today. After the fall of Tang, China descended into the chaotic Five Dynasties and Ten kingdoms period, causing China to lose its "golden age".

Mr Lee Kuan Yew's recent passing was indeed a saddening and painful news to us, as well as a loss to Singapore. He had brought Singapore to what it is today, and whether or not Singapore's prosperity is able to stay, depends on us entirely. It depends on us now, if we want to keep the country going, or if we want her to fall into ruins, just like how China went chaotic after the Tang Dynasty. I feel that we as Singaporeans all have a part to play, which is to continue making Singapore go forward, and letting her stay at the Golden age forever. We all wish that Mr Lee would rest in peace, but will he be able to do so, if Singapore was to be in chaos? I doubt so. So we should all work hard together, so Singapore can strive further. Stop making empty promises and start taking action! ^^

3rd April 2015

Blog Post 7- Reflection on Suzhou Industrial Park

What is Suzhou Industrial Park?
The SIP was built in Suzhou due to its proximity to Shanghai financial hub, and its educated, skilled talent pool. The project aimed to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, and to attract high-end industries. However, a rival park was built next to the Suzhou Industrial Park, and caused the Suzhou Industrial Park to suffer huge losses. Singapore felt betrayed and was enraged by the fact that China used them to attract investors to Suzhou. 

It was believed that miscommunication among the Chinese led to this incident. Hence, Singapore learnt that we should think twice before dealing with China officials, because they like to stab people at the back. Even if we do, we should make sure that residents of the particular town also agrees on the project, or else something similar may happen.

29th March 2015

Blog Post 6- Reflection for speech

How I prepared for my speech:
Firstly, I wrote the points I wanted to make to the audience. This made it easier for me to craft my speech, and at the same time ensure that the points are not messily arranged. When I rehearsed my speech, I made sure it did not exceed the time limit of 2 minutes. I realized if I was stuck at a sentence for more than 10 seconds, my speech would exceed 2 minutes. Hence, I prepared cue cards just in case I forget my lines during the actual presentation.

Evaluation of my speech:
I spoke faster during the presentation, and did not even exceed 1.5 mins! I think that this was due to the presence of the cue cards, because I did not pause during the speech.  However, I felt that I relied too much on the cue cards than I used to when I was practicing. At times when I did not need to look at the cue cards, I still peeked at them just for the sake of peeking.

Evaluation of classmate's presentation:
Most of my classmates brought up the cue cards/ipad too, and did quite well for the presentation. Some exceeded the time limit, but were still determined to finish their speech.  From the classmates' speeches, I learnt how cue cards can benefit and harm us. It helps us remember our lines, yet limit our eye contact with the audience.

Blog Post 5- Comment on group 6's presentation

Everyone was involved in the presentation in one way or another, and the audience could clearly hear what they were saying. However, they showed no confidence during their presentation as the members had not done a lot of preparation for it. They gave each other looks to signal every action, so it was quite awkward for the audience. 

Blog Post 4 - China's rapid economic growth

Implications on Singapore (when China opens up to international trade):
By opening up its market to international trade, Singapore will benefit immensely. This is mainly because China is one of the major trading partners of Singapore, and Singapore is hugely dependant on trade for economic growth. Not only will singapore improve its GDP, it will also get to purchase and experience chinese goods. However, that being said,  an increase in wealth of the country will inevidently spell an increase in income inequality. With the increase in new businesses, there would also be more job opportunities for people.

14th February 2015

Blog Post 3 - Prediction of Scenario

Due to the current low birth rate, Singapore's citizen population will age rapidly, and will decline if new immigrants are not taken in. Older Singaporeans retiring outnumber younger ones starting work. Due to that, less people would pay less tax to the government, which limits the services the government is able to do for the country and its people. Therefore, the government are taking measures to attract females to give birth, so that the birth rate will increase. However, due to the low birth rate, the society in future would be less competitive than how it is currently. People would not have to fight for jobs so intensively, and it would be easier to enter a better school. Additionally, citizens of Singapore fear that in the future, there would be more immigrants than Singaporeans living here. This is, however, possible as immigrants would be required to keep Singapore going when the Singaporean population is running out. In the 1960s, the fertility rate was 5.45 births per woman, which then decreased significantly throughout the years, with 1.29 births per woman recorded in 2012. At the current rate, the fertility rate in 2032 would approximately be less than 1 birth per woman, which is definitely terrifying


Blog Post 2 - Poverty In Singapore

credits: therealsingapore.com

This picture shows an old man lying on the streets, which is quite a common sight in Singapore. Unemployed people, usually the elderly, can be easily spotted on the streets of Singapore. I think that this is because they are not able to get enough money to buy or rent a house. I wonder if they are truly poor, or are just staging an act to gain the sympathy of people, so as to earn free money.

Blog Post 1 - My December Holidays

During the holidays, I spent my time well. I went out with my friends and ex-classmates, and started to play my favourite computer game again after stopping temporarily due to the EOY exams. 
I was very excited to meet my ex-classmates as I had not seen them since our graduation day in Primary 6. I was horrified when I saw that most of the boys in my class(who were once much shorter than me) were TALLER THAN ME!!! I thought they were dinosaurs. 
Then finally, I could hang out with my best-cousin-forever! We went to USS, and we're like a pair of childish grown-ups who rode the sesame street spaghetti space chase ride for 8 times! It was not thrilling at all, but we still had fun on it anyway especially because there was no queue at all for that ride. 

Finally, I have a llama now! It is called Flowermallow because it has flowers on its head, and super fluffy like marshmallows. It make a really good pillow too!  >>>>>>>>

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