Lim Xin Yi

OELP Reflection

Cost of living

1) By understanding more about a country's cost of living, we get to learn more about their quality of life and how advanced their society is. We can also then compare what mae their cost of living higher/lower than ours in Singapore.

2) The factors that affect the standard of living include their average salary, their society's advancement, the availabity of jobs, the average GPD per person, their cost of living and the percentage of economically active people and economically dependents.

3) Personally, I think that aalthough our quality of life may be higher in SIngaporre as compared to TaiNan's, our cost of living is lower than theirs. 
I think that this may be a different point from what many others will think. Although after comparing the prices of items such as acks of rice, bottled waters and a meal, and fining that things in tainan are much cheaper than in singapore, the salary of taiwanese is very low too. In tainan, the average salary of people is only approximately SGD1250. However, the average waf=ge of a Singaporen is SGD6200. This shows that a person in Singapore earns 5 times the amount eraned by a taiwanese. However, the prices of items in singapore are about 3 to 4 times the cost in taiwan. Therefore, it shows that in singapore, people can buy spend more in a month than people in taiwan.

4) The government has to make sure as the rich live luxiourious lifes, the poor must still be able to afford basic needs such as having a home to live in and food. The government has to balance the prices of basic foods and public transport so that it is affordable for all. The government also has to cnsider th aspect of how much each working adult pay to the goverment as a contribution to the society, based on each person's background and many other aspects.

5) I think that people in the TaiNan society are happier as they are not subjected to as much stress as compared to people in Singapore. Thos is partly beacuse poeple in SIngapore have higher self-expecctations and expectations for othes to meet an the people feel ery pressurised but the people in TaiNan lead more relaxing lives although they are also subjected from surrounding pressure,  but is not so stressful.
From my buddy and her friend, I know that their amount of homework is very little, and that they spend only about 1 hour daily on the homework and sometimes, they do not even have any homework! This is something almost impossible for us in Singapore, as our homework load is much heavier. Even on days when we have less homework, we have lots of projects to be completed. Such projects take up much of our time as not only do we have to meet with our groupmates, it often include much fieldwork. These project work also give us much pressure as they are heavily weighed and often require much preparation. But, in Tainan, my buddy told me that apart from theur tests, they seldom have any projects and even if they have any, they are not graded. Therefore, the students in Tainan are neither stressed nor pressured by the homework.
With lesser homework, they have more time to spend with family and friends. Hence, with a lighter homework load and less pressure from school,  school to to our Taiwanese friends  is a place where they can enjoy learning together with their friends, instead of a place where they are forced to attend hours of tiring lessons. On the contrary, in Singapore,  many students feel too pressured from all the work and do not really enjoy school.
Next, from my observation, I see that the students take part actively during lessons. When I went to the senior biology lesson, the teacher wanted the entire class to come up in front to share, but before the teacher had to call the students, they volunteered. I think that this enthusiasm in class discussions is something most of us lack as we are often either too shy to share our ideas, or are indifferent to the discussion. The teacher-student relationship is also very close, especially for the secondary 2 pupils, as they were able to communicate very amiably with their teachers.Their happy conversations make the lessons more lively and I realised thtat thoughout the lessons, I did not even feel tired. Hence, the students would most probably be able to absorb more information with the lively atmosphere during lesson times.
 Therefore, I conclude that the students in Tainan enjoy school a lot more than we do and they look forward to school, due to the much less stress they have from school, compared to us.
As for the competiveness, I think that it is of similar degree to singapore. My buddy told me tht most of the students in her class had students out of school an for herself, we has 2 or 3 tuition classes per week. She also told me that many parents are worried that their hildren will fall behind the classmates and thus send them to enrichment classes. I think that this competetivity in Tainan is identical to Singapore where most of us are sent to tuitions. I think that this sense of competition among students is good to both countries in a sense that it makes us work harder, not wanting to be lousier than others. However, such education style can also cause the students to feel pressured if there are too much extra classes, and the child may lose interest in studying.

Icons and Monuments

Below is the letter i wrote back to my parents when i was in tainan
Daddy and Mummy,
   This is already my third day in TaiNan and we have visited many places and tried many foods. Today we went to a few of the most famous places of attractions in Tainan. The one that caught my interest the most was the 赤坎楼。I found it quite an interesting place as it not only was a place of historcal value, it is also something like a temple where poeple can go there and 求签。As for the nistorical significance, I learnt that 赤坎楼 was surrended to 郑成功 who was named as the  民族英雄 by the Taiwanese. I am very much impressed by the meaning behind this builing. It was built in the shape of a 瓶 , to symbolise 平安. Anyway , I am well here and i am lernign lots of things while having fun!!! Do not worry about me! Takee care of yourselves too!
Xin Yi

Below is the poem i wrote for


Day 2

Today, we woke up refereshed , had our breakfast and went to the Mei Nong Hakka ulture Museum, the Mei Nong Folk Village and the Kaoshiung Hakka Cultural Museum. After visiting these 3 places, I learnt that although Hokkiens are the largest dialect group in Taiwan, the 2n largest are the Hakkas. We were also introduced to a traditional festival,which I find very meaningful. As the Hakkas place much importance on education, this festival, which is held annually on 农历一月九日 and called 聖择会 in Tainan, it has been passed on for many years. During this festival, the Hakkas burn the papers and books they have finished reading or studying, and then worship the gods. I think that this has greatly encouraged me to be appreciative and thankful for being able to receive such good education in Singapore, with many opportunities for us to fully exploit our potential, whereas the Hakkas in the pasthad fewer education opportunities. Another thing thtat I observed was, despite so many years and generations that has passed, this festival is still held very year and I think that this is 1 point that we, as the younger generation, can lean from the Hakkas. As I feel that, as the older generation is slowly decreasing, many traditional festivals or principles are lost. Next, we went to te Kaoshiung Museum of History. The museum was once the government's administration HeadQuarters. Despite ts grand front view and inner structure, the top of it is panted in green, so that it would not be so easily spotted by enemies during the 2nd World War.
Then, we went to the local supermarket there. Trough my experiecnce there, I saw that the employees are extremley approachable and friendly. When I went to as one of them where the bottled drinks were placed, he immediately signalled for me to follow him. And when I thanked him for his help, he smiled and replied that it's okay and that he was just doing his job. When my group mates and I went to the counter to pay for our items, we found out that they charge money for plastic bags and almost every customer queuing in front of us brought eco-friendly bags along with them to contain the things they bought. I feel that we should learn their attitude of caring about the environment, as I personally feel that despite all the campaigns, Singaporeans are not as environmental-friendly as the Taiwanese.
Lastly, we went to the Liu He Night Market ( most popular night market in TaiNan ). The night market is actually a larger scale of the 'pasar malam' in Singapore. However, in night markets, the vendors are allowed to sell raw foodwheres only cooked food is allowed to be sold in 'pasar malams' de to hygiene concerns. The food in the night market is extremely tasty yet cheap. I bought a cup of 杏包菇(fried mushrooms) for only approximately SGD1.50. And when I shared it with a few other classmates, all of them like it too. Due to the larger servings but low prices, I think that Taiwan's cost of living is most probably lower than that of Singapore's.

Day 3

Today is our last day at the Ten Drums Cultural Village We had a drum lesson ad toured aroung the Tens Drum Cuture Village and also enjoyrd a drum performnce. Before the drum lesson, I thught that playing these traditional drums were simple tasks. But after experiening it, I realised that playing the drums were not as esier as i thought . We had to control our strength and foollow the rhtytm. I t waas really EASIEER SAID THAN DONE!
After that, we went to An Ping Old Street, An Ping Fort, Eternal Golden Castle and the Chikan Tower. These are several of the attractions in TaiNan and I learnt much about TaiNan's heritage there.However, it was very much of a pity as it was raining and it was not very convenient for us to tour around, especially at the Eternal Golden Castle where there is little shelter
During lunch today, we went to a restaurant which sold the famous snacks in Taiwan. It was a very delicious meal and the foods served were mostly the ones sold in the night markets and I thought that it was a very good chance for me to try out the snacks that I id not get to it last night .



Day 4
On day 4, we went to Sacred Hearts High School early in the morning. We first performed for them the dances that we had prepared with much efforts, and I personally think that it was quite well done as we met our expectations and co-operated with one another very well. Then, our Taiwanese friends also performed a concert for us and I found their performance very unique and different from Singapore's. Next, we met with our buddies and were given half an hour to know more about our respective buddies while we had some desserts. The first impression my buddy and her friend gave me was that they were extremely friendly to others, being very courteous and polite, as they thanked us people are every amiable, which I something is fin very true, throughout the entire time there. Next, we for helping them serve the snacks. This, my biddy and her friend gave me a very strong impression that Taiwanese were assigned to go to different year 4 classes, according to our CID groups. My groupmates and I went to the Year 4 Biology class. This is something very good as it gives every student in the classroom a chance to share their views while practising their presentation skills. During the lessons, my Taiwanese seniors and I discussed the theme on whether zoos are beneficial or not, and I found that they were very respectful towards one another, waiting for the person speaking to finish what he / she wanted to say before sharing his own opinion. I think that this is something we can learn from as we often rudely interrupt our teammates during group discussion, which is actually a very impolite act. After the lesson, the Taiwan seniors what are the Chinese characters that are sewn on their uniform. They told me that it indicated their house's districts, their name and their respective classes. This is extremely different from RV as our uniforms only indicate our school logo, without anything else. I think that in Tainan, one reason as to why they need to show their class, is because, apart from being separated into different years, in every year, they are main stream classes and also music or art classes. Hence, the indication makes it much clearer to the teachers, which classes the students are from.  Overall, the lesson was very engaging as we were also shown a video and instead of the teacher lecturing all the time, we were given time to think and discuss, then share our views. The teacher will then consider what we have shared with the class and write down the relevant points, explain the ideas to the class. This is very efficient ass the students would most probably learn, with them using their minds to think, instead of being spoon-fed by the teacher all the time.

After half of the day at school, we went to a soy sauce retail store. At first, we were supposed to go to a pineapple tart making workshop, but due to some reasons, the plan was adjusted. Initially, I was a little disappointed as we were missing something significant, since Taiwan is very famous for its pineapple tarts. However, at the soy sauce store, I also learnt many things such as how soy sauce is made and processed. We were also taught how to differentiate the different grades of soy sauce. Soy sauce of higher quality, when shook the bubbles will not burst very easily while the soy sauce of lower quality will burst very quickly. We were also introduced to the history of the place which we were called 西螺. Next, we went to a watermelon stall. Many of us were surprised at the size any number of watermelons there. We had a feast of watermelons and I definitely stuffed myself to the fullest, with the juicy yet sweet tropical fruit, which is grown in TaiNan itself.We then went to the 西螺大桥. As it was drizzling a bit, it was very cooling over time as we looked far in front, it was a very pleasing sight for me, as the wind gently caressed my face.


Day 5
Today, we went to the Yunlin Cake Towel Cafe. Before we went there, I was extremely excited. I was curious what we were going to do there, since cake and towel are 2 totally unrelated items. I anticipated something like us, learning how to do real cakes for consumption and towels. However, when we reached thee, I realised that what we were learning is how to fold simple hankerchief into our desired shapes. It is called a “cake towel cafe” since many of it towels were folded into ‘cakes’.  This made me disappointed as I thought that folding towels is an everyday chore. However, it was easier said than done as my cat-shaped towel was sort of ‘disfigured’. Therefore, I learnt ever to judge things from its cover, but from its content.

After that, we went to the YunLin Puppet Museum. When I reached that, I was surprised. At first, I thought that we were going to watch a wooden puppet show. However, we were instead presented a cloth puppet show. The show was very interesting for me as not only was it funny and modern, being able to attract young audiences, it is able to maintain its main moral of the story that littering will bring about environmental degradation , and other initial elements, making it still a traditional puppet show. After having a good laugh and watching the show, the instructor taught us how the puppet show worked. He said that throughout the performance just now, there was only 1 person, which was him, acting out all the character. All of us were stunned by this since the performance had many characters and it was kind of unbelievable to us that he was able to control all the cloth puppets. Most importantly, different characters of the puppet show had different voices, and they were all voiced out by the same one instructor!! Next, the instructor taught us some basic moves such as, making the puppet ‘walk’. After he taught as the steps on how we are supposed to use not only fingers but also our wrists to control the puppet, I went up to have a go at it. Although it may seem very easy, it was a little challenging and I only managed to make the puppet ‘walk; naturally after practising a few rounds.

Next, we went to the Yunlin Story Museum. We were read a story about an old man who old sweets. During the storytelling session, I was introduced to something very new to me. The lady storyteller told us the story, while showing us illustrations, which were in a box-like item. This is a very traditional way of storytelling as I have heard about it from my mother before, but had never been able to visualise how it worked toll I saw it in the museum. However, now, with the presence of books and even electronical books, such storytelling methods are seldom seen and in fact, no longer available in Singapore. Hence, I think that it is very worthy of having such a museum in tainan now.

In the night, after our dinner, we went to a theatre nearby out=r hotel to watch a musical by the pupils of Sacred Hearts High School.  The musical concert was very unique and outstanding from the ones I have watched as it not only included performances of plainly playing musical instruments, there were also performances when the students used sticks to hit the ladder, or simply using their bare palms to hit the table surface to create sounds, which combined to form beautiful music.  I believe that I was not the only one who enjoyed the whole musical, not the only one mesmerised by the harmonious rhythm of music, as of my classmates, an even our tour guide, Uncle Terry, clapped along with the music.

Day 6

Today, we attended lessons in our buddies’ classes till noon before our buddies and their parents bring us on a trip to different places.

In the school, I first went to my buddy’s class for their English lesson. As Sacred Hearts High School is a Chinese-based school, all of its subjects were taught in Chinese. Even their English involved some Chinese as the teachers will sometimes explain in Chinese, although it is an English lesson, so that the students can understand better. I think that this way of teaching is something our teachers can implement, especially at times when we, the students, are unable to understand the teacher’s explanation in the same language.  During my time there, I realised that the English lesson was extremely interesting. Part of the lesson, the students learnt English through the “cup song “, learning the grammar and vocabulary words in the song. I think that not only is this able to engage the students, it also involves much hand-eye coordination. Thus, I think that this is a very innovative way of teaching.  Next, I went to their Social Studies lesson. At first, I thought that it was a Chinese lesson as not only was it conducted in Chinese, there were comprehension-like questions for the students to complete. It was only at the end of the lesson that I asked a Taiwanese friend, did I discover that it was actually a social studies lesson! During the lesson, the teacher asked questions and the students were extremely responsive. I think that the enthusiasm the students in Tainan  have is something we can learn from, as I believe that when we are more involved in lessons, we learn a lot more. Net, it was break time and I saw many students who began eating from their packed lunch, and from my buddy, learnt that the students were allowed to eat in their classrooms and that in fact, their school has no canteen apart from a small stall selling some snacks. I thing that I observed was that, although the student s eat in class, their classrooms re still very clean. During the break, after finishing the lunch, my buddy brought me to their school garden. Their school garden is quite different from ours as it was more natural. I thing that left a deep impression on me was that there were 2 rabbits in the garden. Most importantly, the rabbits were not enclosed in cages but allowed to roam around. My buddy and I even went forward to pat the rabbit. For the last lesson of the day, I went to a Food and Nutrition Class (烹饪课). Their cooking lesson is very different from ours in Singapore. In RV, we were taught and demonstrated every step but in the Taiwan class, the teacher only told them the instructions once and only demonstrated some of the more complicated steps. In RV, we were also taught the nutritional values of the ingredient but in Tainan, all they did was cooking the prepared ingredients.

After the entire morning in school, we were brought out to other places of interest in the area by our buddy and their parents. My buddy’s parents took me to the sun and moon lake (日月潭). As the journey there would take quite long, the parents chatted with me on the car and I found them extremely easy-going. They were also very thoughtful as to buy me a cup of bubble tea, from a popular stall, which I thanked them for. The bubble tea in Tainan is a lot cheaper yet tastier than Singapore’s. 1 large cup of bubble tea was only 45NTD ( approximately 2SGD ), and it tasted more fragrant, with more ‘ pearls ‘ in it. Halfway to the destination, we stopped at a visitor centre. My buddy introduced the place to me and the scenery was simply AWESOME. When we looked down, we could see part of the日月潭. It was very cooling there since it was at a high altitude and the sunny yet cooling feel really impressed. How I wish there are such places in Singapore…  After about a total of 2 hours of driving, we finally reached the日月潭, where we met with Ashley and her Taiwanese buddy’s family. We then proceeded to take a boat from ShuiShe pier (水社码头) to ZhaoWu pier (朝雾码头). On the boat, I was extremely excited as the last time I took a boat was already about 1 year back. On the boat, as we stood on the sides, it was extremely windy and I put my hand down, as the water splashed over my entire hand. At the ZhaoWu pier (朝雾码头, we bought a 茶叶蛋 each, which was extremely delicious as the taste was very strong, then strolled along the ZhuShi garden(竹石园) before going back to the ZhaoWu pier pier (朝雾码头). At the ZhuShi garden (竹石园), there were many elderlies there, holding cards, and seemed to be asking people to join in their protest. The cards were something like newspapers, but as I glanced at them, most of about the implementing of new policies. This is not seen in Singapore, and I think that it is not right for those people to promote themselves at such attractions. This is because, thee people will occasionally stop someone and told them about the event there are holding, and this might ruin the tourist’s mood. Back at the ZhaoWu pier, we took a boat, across the sun moon lake to Ita Thao pier (伊达邵码头). At the Ita Thao pier, my buddy’s parents told me that that is where the 伊达邵 ethnic people still live. At there, as we walked along the streets, we were treated to a traditional snack. It was barbequed drumstick, with rice wrapped in it. Wanting to try the original kind, which is the spicy one, I ended up having a very spicy snack. However, although it was very spicy, it was the spiciness which made the snack even tastier, as I tried my buddy’s non-spicy one and it was not as delicious. At about 5pm, we took the boat back to ShuiShe pier. Then my buddy’s parents drove me back to 斗六市where the hotel was.
Then, they brought me to their friend‘s food stall. At there, each of us ate a bowl of (碗粿). It is something like the (水粿 )in Singapore, just that it was not so soft and instead of pickled white radish, they used minced meat. We also had a bowl of wanton soup and 酿豆腐soup each. The yong tau foo soup was quite different from Singapore’s as all the ingredients were not sold in Singapore. Therefore, I tried something new there and it complemented well with the碗粿.  It was also very economical and affordable yet sumptuous, since the entire meal for 4 persons was only about 20SGD. After a hearty meal, they still brought me to a popular dessert stall. At there, they ordered 4 bowl of mango flavour 绵绵冰. It was something like the ice kachang in Singapore, but the ice was a lot softer and that made it more refreshing and cooling as the ice will melt very quickly in the mouth. I also realised that even though the price is about the same as Singapore’s, the food was about twice the amount. Next, we also went to a minimart. The items sold there was very cheap. I noticed that a kpop CD there was sold for around 20SGD, but in Singapore, it would be about $30


Day 7

Today is our last day of this OELP trip. In the morning, we went to the 921 Earthuake Educational Park at Tai Chung and learnt much about the causes and consequences of earthquake. We also get to see the destruction of the 19991 earthquake. After understanding much from the museum   guide, I am now extremely thankful that Singapore is free from all these natural disasters, making it a lot safer than other countries. Thus, we are indeed very fortunate to be born in Singapore and we should really be grateful for this.

After this, we had lunch and went to the TaoYuan International Airport. At the airport, “reluctance was in the air” and  I could see that everyone could not bear to leave Taiwan, as the 7 days had just past in a flash. At the airport, I bought some local specialties such as pineapple tarts back.

Overall, the entire OELP trip in TaiWan had been an extremely enjoyable one for me and I hope tht I cango and see more of TaiWan in the near future.


3 Pre-trip Questions

1. Do they attend out-of-curriculum tuition ?  If yes,  it is how much is it ?

2. Are  houses in the city area es expensive as Singapore's ?

3. Do Taiwan have public transport that are as convenient(almost everywhere, there is at least a bus-  stop)  and affordable as Singapore's ?




Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is celebrated from the first to the fifth day of the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar. Literally, Chinese people refer to this festival as "passing the year," which means shooing out the old and welcoming the new; it is considered the most important Chinese holiday of the year. There are a number of related customs and traditions that go along with the festival. 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 on his annual journey to Heaven; this signals the start of the Chinese New Year holidays.
On the Chinese New Year's Eve, families complete their spring cleaning, signifying the sweeping away of the misfortunes of the previous year. After the spring cleaning, a New Year's cake is made (the cake is a symbol of "reaching new heights"). The second to last day of the last month of the Chinese lunar calendar is when families stick up spring couplets and New Year’s prints on their doors and windows to bring good luck. On the last day of the last month of the Chinese lunar calendar, families gather together for a New Year’s Eve dinner, called the "Gathering around the stove." Adults then give the younger members of the family, particularly children, red envelopes with cash inside. This 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. This starts after the family has finished eating the New Year’s Eve dinner. Once the clock strikes midnight, people set off firecrackers to welcome the arrival of the New Year.
Chinese New Year activities also include the practice of going around to friends and relatives to offer New Year’s greetings on the 1st day of the Chinese New Year, visiting the wife's family on the 2nd day, welcoming the God of Wealth on the 4th day, and reopening business on the 5th day.

Lantern Festival

The Lantern festival is also known as the "little New Year." Aside from the usual worship of the gods, the occasion involves 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 Lantern Festival. Colorful lanterns of all sizes and shapes have always been main attractions of the Lantern Festival, which is celebrated with a grand national festival and other major festivals in Taipei and Kaohsiung.
The Taipei Lantern Festival is held for several days at the Taipei Expo Park, reaching its peak on the day of the Lantern Festival itself. There are many traditional lanterns, electromechanical lantern displays, and large themed lanterns sponsored and designed by different companies.
The Kaohsiung Lantern Festival is held along the Love River. During the festival period, both sides of the river, as well as Wufu Rd., Heping Rd., Guangzhou St., and other thoroughfares, have lantern exhibitions. There are also musical performances, helping to throw the whole city into a festive mood.

Dragon Boat Festival

Together with the Chinese New Year and the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival is one of Taiwan's three major annual traditional holidays. Because of its origins 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 have 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 called zongzi. Legend has it that when the poet Qu Yuan jumped to his death in the Miluo River, the local people rowed their boats to and fro in search of him. Later, this practice slowly evolved into the dragon boat races. 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.
The practice of making zongzi came from the people who tried to save Qu Yuan from being eaten by fish by stuffing rice into bamboo sections and throwing them into the river to feed the fish. Today, the dumplings are wrapped in bamboo leaves and eaten by people.

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 of the month, which reach a peak on the 15th day, people hold rituals to solicit salvation from disaster 
Zhongyuan Universal Salvation Ceremonies
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 ceremonies take place in temples and on streets. On the afternoon of Pudu, local residents prepare offerings and carry them to the main altar at a temple to join in the ceremonies there. For the street festivities, local residents prepare chicken, duck, and fish as offerings in front of their homes in a ceremony known as “doorway worship.”
Launching of the water lanterns
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 the water, the better the fortune that the clan it represents will enjoy in the coming .

Mid-autumn Festival
The Mid-Autumn Festival, also called the Moon Festival, is the holiday with the most romantic atmosphere. Because this holiday occurs during the autumn, when the harvest season is over, people in earlier days chose this day to make offerings and thank the gods for the bountiful harvest. The celebration has become a time for families to get together. The most familiar myth concerning this festival is that Chang-e flying to the moon after secretly drinking her husband's elixir of life. Aside from this, there are also tales of the Jade Rabbit and of "Wu Gangchopping down the cassia tree."
Because most of the activities held on this holiday are related to the moon, it has come to be known as "Moon Day." Important activities at this time include eating moon cakes, which symbolize unity and togetherness; strolling under the full moon; and eating pomelos, since the Chinese term for pomelo sounds like "care and protection." The barbecuing that is so popular in Taiwan on this holiday is a recent custom is in which families and friends get together and enjoy a meal.

YanShui Fireworks Festival

In YanShui, a little town in the north of Tainan County, this festival gets the attention of thousands of festival goers and tourists. It is also getting some international attention. In some on-line articles, it’s been voted the 3rd most dangerous tradition and the 5th most dangerous festival in the world.  The history behind this festival began in the late 19th century.
A cholera epidemic broke out about 1875 and the town of Yanshui was hit hard by it. After several years, the population had dwindled and the people decided to call on Guān Dì (關帝), the god of war, to help give them strength in their fight against the disease. They used fireworks to attract the attention of the the god, and have been doing so ever since.
The event takes place on the 14th and 15th day of the lunar new year, handily wrapping up all Chinese New Year festivities. It coincides with the Lantern Festival. Things begin in Yanshui on the the 14th day with a parade of the Guan Di idol and fire crackers a plenty. During the two days, fireworks are set off throughout the town in different locations. The main event begins on the 15th and is held in a large sports field. This main event goes from about 9pm to 11pm, but much of the celebration starts early and goes on until sunrise.
A lot of the fireworks are of the standard variety, and better fireworks may be seen in other towns and cities during Lantern Festival (though the shear amount may not be equaled). The special thing about the Yanshui Festival – and what makes it so dangerous – is the beehive fireworks. This is a cage filled with bottle rockets that are set off into the crowd. The cage becomes a nasty ‘hive of bees’ ready to lash out and sting those nearby. As a dare and a thrilling experience, people crowd around the cages and let themselves get pelted with bottle rockets. Traditionally, it is thought to be good luck for the new year to be hit by fireworks and there are those religious few who have sought to endure the pain in only a loin cloth to show off their spiritual mettle, but mostly people just do it for fun. Common people get dressed up in ‘armor’ and get as close as they dare. Or they just get as close as they can, given the crowds of people. The rockets shoot out quite far, however, and bounce around all over the place, so even at 30 meters you could still get stung. 30 meters is a safer distance though, and many people who didn’t bring a lot of protection hang out and observe from this distance or greater.

The Tang Dynasty was known as the imperial dynasty of China. That time, China was the most populous city in the world. Professional and conscripted armies of hundreds of thousands of troops allowed China to conquer many areas in Asia as her strong mikitary power was able to fend off nomadic tribes. Lucrative trade was carried out along the silkroad as bandits were defended by the Chinese army. Various kingdoms and states paid tribute to the Tang court, while the Tang also infouenced several of its neighbouring states culturally. These states unclude Korea and Japan. During the Tang Dynasty , many things were invented . To mention a few is the world's first clockwork escapement mechanism and the waterwheel which was used to power a rotating armillary sphere in represebtation of astronomical observation. Furthermore, woodblock  printing was invented and it made the written word available to vastly greater audiences. In fact , a rotary fan for air conditioning was invented. Therefore, it can be concluded that the Tang Dynasty was a time period where China was the most powerful, advanced and influential country in the world.

The late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew had been Singapore's 1st prime minister, Singapore's senior mentor and was also a member of parliarment who represented Tanjong Pagar area till his death. He was involved in the governance and politics of Singapore for exactly 60 years. He had given his life to the prosperity of Singapore. He was the one who transformed Singapore from a 3rd world to the 1st world country it is now. In fact,  Singapore is one of the top countries in the world in many aspects. As Singapore's 1st prime minister, Lee Kuan Yee led the PAP and was the main role who helped Singapore gain independence.  Lee Kuan Yew's contributions to Singapore are countless, the most notable ones include his main involvement in the Housing Development Board ( HDB ) and huilding up Singapore as a metropolis yet a clean garden city. Mr. Lee Kuan Yee had great foresight and he foresaw the housing shortage if the population of were to increase. In the past, families live in slums. Knowing that Singapore is a small country that does not have as much land compared to other countries, Lee Kuan Yew proposed to build HDB flats , which provide Singaporeans with affordable housing and since these flats go upwards, it is "land-savy" . In terms of developing Singapore into an urban city , before urbanising, Singapore was just a fishing village with many racial riots. Late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew was able convince many investors to come to Singapore to invest whilst abiding to the promise of developing Singapore into a modern city we see today . All these works helped Singapore to gain trust from many companies and gain its status as the one of the world's top cities. Furthermore, Lee Kuan Yew saw the flaws of a city that is not green. Therefore, he learnt from other countries' experiences and decided to evolve Singapore into a eco-friendly city by growing plants everywhere, along the roads, in parks and many other public places. Lastly, in terms of racial harmony, although Lee Kuan Yew saw how much the Chinese suffered when Singaoore merged with Malaysia, when Singapore gained independence, Lee Kuan Yee promoted equality between all people. He uphekd justice and maintained harmony , peace and equality of rights between different race, language and religion.
Therefore,  Mr. Lee Kuan Yew's passing is really a grief and loss to Singapore and its people. While mourning over his death, we should thank and appreciate is contributions to Singapore, allowing us to lead a peaceful life now.

I think that the golden age of Singapore is when Singapore reaches its peak in terms of its technological and medical advances, cultures , education , lives of people and politics. It is when Singapore is a peaceful and harmonious and is at the top of the world, when Singapore is admired by other countries and seen as a role model for other countries. During Singapore's golden age , its people will all be well-educated and lead a satisfying lifestyle with its GDP  standing as the top few few on the world. Singapore will be a very stabilised country that is very prosperous and has progressed alot . It will be like how China was during the Tang Dynasty except that Singapore may not be as big as China was because Singapore started out as a small island. However, i still believe thay with the unity of its people,  Singapore will be able to conquer all difficults and solve all problems as one nation, progressing as one nation.



Singapore on Map

A national icon is a symbol or representation of a particular country. There is no 2 similar national icon in the world. As a national icon, it is supposed to promote the country within and outside of the country it is representing while meaning much to the country's people.
Singapore's national icon is the Merlion. A creature with the head of a lion but the body of a fish. The story behind this icon was that an Indian prince saw an animal that looks like a lion and also decided to name Singapore as Singapura, Singapore was also a fishing village then. However, some historians question the myth and believe that " Singapore " comes from "sigha" which means stopover and "pura" which means city.

Firstly, as a national icon, the Merlion is supposed to represent Singapore to the world. It is supposed to be linked with Singapore upon seeing it.
Personally, I think that the Merlion is not the most suitable thing to be used as our national icon. This is because, there are many myths and legends behind the origin of the Merlion but none had been confirmed. Hence, it is not really suitable for something which may have no feelings and meaning to Singapore to be its national icon. To me, a national icon must have a proven meaning , history and culture behind it , so that it is something that really mean something to our fellow Singaporeans, instead of being just a representation of Singapore so as to promote our country.  I think that a better option to represent Singapore as a national icon is a small little red dot. I think that it bests represents Singapore as Singapore is indeed a small island thay does not have sufficient area. Furthermore, upon seeing the modern city now and the small little red dot on the map, many will realise that Singapore had overcome its disadvantage of lacking land and natural resources. The colour red can also be interpreted as something that is eye-catching. A small red dot will then represent Singapore as a small but surely bot to be missed out country.
In conclusion, although many people may agree that the Merlion is the best icon to represent Singapore, i think that a little red dot on the map is a better option as it bet represents Singapore as a small yet significant country.

Reflections on China-Sinagpore Suzhou Industrial Park 
The China-Singapore Suzhou Indistrial Park was founded in 1994. It was a cooperation between Singapore and China which was proposed by our late former Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew , and Singapore holds 65% of the shares. The way it worked and its infrastructure was adapted from Singapore's as China's leaders saw the how Singapore managed to climb up to become one of the top countires in the world when it was merely 29  years old then. However, not long after the Suzhou Industrial Park was completed, a new competetor surfaced. It was the Suzhou New District which was alike Suzhou Industrial Park. As Suzhou New District provided cheaper taxes and rental fees, the Suzhou Industrial Park became less popular in comparision and suffered losses. Singapore then reduced its shares to 35% and shortly after that, the Suzhou Industrial Park began to earn revenue. Last year, itss gross domestic product (GDP) reached 200 billion yuan (32.5 billion U.S.dollars) in 2014 while its import and export volume was 80.3 billion U.S.  dollars. This were all achieved despite an econmic slowdown of China.

I think that it was not morally right 
of China to 'copy' from the Suzhou Industrial Park was so that they will be the only one earning great money. However, I believe that the Suzhou New District  would not be as successful as Singapore as it did not have all the requirements.  Despite having a similar blueprint to the Suzhou Industrial Park , the managements may not have the neccessary skills to operate it. For Singapore  to be how successful it is today, bot only does it require the infrastructure, its requires the effort put in by its people. It requires the minds of the political leaders , the trust foreign investors have to be willing to invest in Singapore and the peace, harmony and unity among its citizens. Therefore, i believe that Suzhou Industrial Park will still continue to prosper and develop . I am happy for the fact that Singapore is now able to gain profit from it. Furthermore, i see this project as a sign of frienship and good relationship between both nations. I hope that as the this Suzhou Indistrial park progresses , more companies will go and invest there. I think that for Suzhou Industrial Park to thrive in the future, it has to kick away old habits of delaying matters and corruption of officials . I believe building Singapore's methods of governance on China's thousands of years of experience, the Suzhou Indistrial Park will be better compared to many other parks. 

COMMENTS ON GRP 4 presentation
I think that their group's is very detailed. They did explain in detail the unique points of their product. Their presentation was also very comical and i enjoyed it very much.However, i think that they as the presentors should not laugh on stage since it shows  that they are not serious or prepared enough.

       I think that the class presentation was quite well done. I was able to see what Singapore meant to my friends. I realised that quite a few of my classmates relate Singapore to its diversity of food and race. Quite a number of them think that Singapore is a place where cuisines of many different countries are available. Some of them, especially non-Singaporeans,  see Singapore as a country where there is racial harmony. I guess that this is a significant point of Singapore to them as not many countries in the world has racial harmony.
        As for my own presentation, i think that i did do my best preparing for the speech even though the result was not really satisfying to me. Probably due to the anxiety i had when standing in front of the class, i kept turning my head to look at the picture projected on the screen although i clearly remembered what i wanted to share. Therefore, i feel that if there are such opportunities in future, i would try me best to overcome the anxiety and nervousness and try to do better.

Future of Singapore
There will be lesser and lesser people in the younger generation and the greying population will keep increasing.
Moreover, people tend to live longer lives nowadays due to the advance in medical technology.
Since there is lesser ppl in the younger generation,  1 person will have to support more elders. This will be a big problem in Singapore since inflation is constantly occurring here . Hence, only people who earn a higher than average salary will bee able to support both themselves and their family and their parents.
Furthermore, in a competitive society , the lives of people is getting more and more hectic and even if people can afford to support their prents, they might not have the time to take care of them personally

The government of Singapore had long ago foreseen this situation and had implemented policies to encourage the younger generation to give birth to more children.  One of these policies is the baby bonus which gives gifts and cash money to families who have just had a new baby. However, I do not think that solely this policy is making its effect since the birth rate in Singapore is still very low and is decreasing.
I think that government can guarantee married couples a stable job after they have a child or 2 , since many Singaporeans current concern is the loss of job, after taking an approximately 3-month long maternity leave.
I think that an alternative is that the government can also build more flats with units that can fit 3 generation. This way, the 2nd generation will be able to take care of both their children and their grandparents.the government can give additional subsidy to family who are buying the flat to live in together with their parents and family. This will encourage children to take care of their ailing parents  instead of sending them to the folkhomes where the nurses will take care of their parents in their stead.

Poverty in Sinagpore
    Personally, I define "poverty in Singapore " as low-income, jobless and struggling to pay bills and fees. Although I think that poverty in Sinagpore cannot be completely eliminated,  it can be greatly reduced since the government has been providing financial help and support to the poor, especially on recent years.
     These support include policies which limit the number of foreigner workers each company can employ, forcing to the companies to employ Singaporeans. This will then reduce the unemployment rate in Singapore.  Subsidiaries ,such as free schooling ,are also given to children from the  low-income families. Daily necessities are also send to the poor on a monthly basis to help them with their daily needs. Some of the poor in Singapore cannot even afford the basic necessities due to inflation which is constantly occurring in Singapore.
      According to what I know,  most of the poor in Singapore come from single- parent families, families with children with disabilities,or  elderly with no children to support then. About 10% of Singapore's resident household, with an average 3.5 family members, earn a mere average of  S$1644 a month . This often lead to the poor being unable to pay the utilities bills or even the house rental,  which may cause them to be chased out of their houses by their landlords, leaving them with no shelter.
     Thus, as a Singaporean I think that although poverty in Singapore is not really serious or common , we should help create awareness of poverty in Singapore, this will be fit the poor in Singapore as the public will know the plight that they are in and will help them.

2014 December Holidays

Video taken when ship was sailing past

Picton of the Dragon's Teeth ( 龙牙门 )

Scenery of the waters

     During the 2014  December Holidays,  I went to many different places of Singapore. However, one of the places that really caught my interest is Labrador Park, located of Pasir Panjang Road. When we reached there at around 4p.m. , I was amazed at the sight that greeted my me. The scenery was beautiful. The sky was clear blue with fluffy clouds, the waves were splashing gently against the rocks, giving out a peaceful and soothing sound. However, when horns were heard and cruise ships were sailing out of Harbourfront Ferry Terminal which was not faraway, waves get violent and pounded on the rocky shoreline vigorously.

     Apart from the beautiful scenery that caught my attention, there was a craggy granite outcrop of the Long Ya Men or Dragon's Teeth Gate ( 龙牙门 ) there, in Labrador Park. Although it was not the genuine one that stood at the gateway to Keppel Harbour, formerly known as New Harbour, it looked exactly similar to the drawing that J T Thomson had drawn before it was destroyed in mid-1848. After reading the information boards , I gained insights on the history behind the Long Ya Men.

     After strolling at the park for approximately 2 hours, my family and I enjoyed a delicious meal at a restaurant located just beside the park , while enjoying the beautiful sunset. It was an enjoyable day for me and I believe that my parents had felt so too.

1 comment:

  1. Poverty in Sinagpore

        Personally, I define "poverty in Singapore " as low-income, jobless and struggling to pay bills and fees. Although I think that poverty in Sinagpore cannot be completely eliminated,  it can be greatly reduced since the government has been providing financial help and support to the poor, especially on recent years.
         These support include policies which limit the number of foreigner workers each company can employ, forcing to the companies to employ Singaporeans. This will then reduce the unemployment rate in Singapore.  Subsidiaries ,such as free schooling ,are also given to children from the  low-income families. Daily necessities are also send to the poor on a monthly basis to help them with their daily needs.
          According to what I know,  most of the poor in Singapore come from sine - parent families, families with children with disabilities,or  elderly with no children to support then. About 10% of Singapore's resident household, with an average 3.5 family members, earn a mere average of  S$1644 a month . This often lead to the poor being unable to pay the utilities bills or even the house rental,  which may cause them to be chased out of their houses by their landlords, leaving them with no shelter.
    Thus, as a Singaporean I think that we should help create awareness of poverty in Singapore, this will be fit the poor in Singapore as the public will know the plight that thy are in and will help them.