Friday, 26 June 2015

Tainan OELP Personal Daily Reflection

Day 1 
We arrived at Kaohsiung Airport at around 12am. I was so tired and was planning to sleep on the bus while I walked out of the arrival gate when there was a man with a child beisde him taking photos of us. I was shocked but didn't really think much about it and continued walking. We were instructed to put our luggage in an area and assemble. I was confused, why were we told to assemble when we are about to go to our hotel? It was close to midnight and we were yawning. I finally realized what was happening when a group of adults was standing there, smiling at us. I remembered that our CID teacher, Mr Wong, and a accompanying teacher, Mr Ho, told us that our sister school, Sacred Hearts High School(正心高中)was very hospitable, they had visited the previous batch of Year 2s that went on this trip. I was shocked because I didn't expect them to be this hospitable, it was unlike anything that I had seen in Singapore.  Our vice-principal, Mr Gay, walked up to a male, whom we knew later as 刘秘书 the vice-principal of Sacred Hearts High School , and shook his hand. Our chairperson then told us to greet them. We were told that unlike what we greeted: "刘秘书晚上好,老师们晚上好", the Taiwanese would say : "刘秘书好,老师们好", showing a cultural difference. 刘秘书 and the teachers had came all the way from DouLiu, a city near Tainan, to Kaohsiung, a city at the south of Taiwan, showing their hospitality. They had also brought us 麦茶 and 凤梨酥 so that we can eat on the bus ride to Ten Drums Culture Village(十鼓文化村)I was touched by their warm hospitality and could not wait for our visit to Sacred Hearts High School

An MRT station at Kaohsiung Airport 
Me and Yizhi's room~

Day 2

Places we visited in sequence: Mei Nong Hakka Culture Museum, Mei Nong Folk Village, Kaohsiung Hakka Cultural Museum, Kaohsiung Museum of History, Carrefour (local supermarket), Liu He Night Market

We visited museums showcasing the Hakka Culture. From these museums, I have learnt things about the Hakka Culture that I didn't know about, for example, they were immigrants from China since in their time, there was a lot of internal conflicts and riots. I was impressed by the effort the Taiwanese made by conserving the buildings. I was told that Taiwan has an array of cultures but they are willing to put in their utmost effort to conserve each and every culture so that the next generations could have the chance to learn about them. This was different form Singapore since our government is just preserving the old buildings without doing any major activity to promote the culture. For example, our government has created museums such as the Pernanekan Museum but there isn't much appeal to the younger generation to visit it since the location is far and they have to pay. I remember that my first time going to the Peranekan Museum was because I won 2 pairs of tickets to the Peranekan Museum but that was when I was Primary 4. I do not see any activities like that anymore . Hence, I think the Singapore government should learn from the Taiwanese government in terms of preserving the culture and appealing to the younger generation so that our culture can be passed down for generations to come.

Later, we visited the Liuhe Night market. There was a wide variety of things sold there and the prices were cheaper than in Singapore. But nonetheless, it was dirty and there was a stench when I was walking there. I was told that it was because of the increase in number of tourists from China. But there was a rubbish bin at distances of around 10 meters, showing the strong 环保意识 of the Taiwanese people. If you compare it to Singapore, Singapore is definitely much more cleaner but we are not the ones who clean Singapore, Singapore is cleaned by foreign workers. We can learn from the Taiwanese to clean our own city, not depending on others to clean it for us.

A garden in Ten Drums Cultural Village

Mei Nong Hakka Culture Museum

Mei Nong Hakka Culture Museum

Kaohsiung Hakka Cultural Museum

Liuhe Night Market

Liuhe Night Market

7-11 in Liuhe Night Market

Day 3

Places visited in order: Ten Drum Culture Village, An Ping Old Street, An Ping Fort, Eternal Golden Castle, Chihkan Tower

We visited a lot of places that were remains from the war. The place that had the most impression in me was the An Ping Fort, because there was a wall that was the remains of a building of a war, and it is at least two hundred years old. In Singapore, I hadn't seen something that was so old and so well preserved. There was also a small fort that was accessible by stairs and was very tall. The stairs was really tall and the surfaces was uneven. It was also a rainy day so I was hesitant on climbing the stairs up, but after I climbed up, I could see a different type of scenery and there were exhibits showcasing the things from the war like weapons. I couldn't believe that the weapons and silverware was so well preserved, there was little to no rust on them and it was from the 18th century. I really respect the Taiwanese for making the effort to preserve such artifacts. I believe that they respect the people that passed away in the war and the sacrifices they made to mould the society into what it is now, showing their culture of 饮水思源. Even though we do preserve our history, but I believe that the Taiwanese people have done it better while teaching the younger generation to appreciate them.
Wall painting in Ten Drums Culture Village

Altar in Ten Drums Culture Village


An Ping Fort

The remains of the An Ping Fort

Statue of Zheng Cheng Gong in An Ping Fort

An Ping Fort

Map of 亿载金城

Tunnel of 亿载金城

Tunnel of 亿载金城
Day 4

Finally, we went to Sacred Hearts for our immersion program. We had a warm welcome from 丁校长 and the students. They had prepared a performance for us and we had prepared one for them. Sacred Heart's performance was great, they had the Wushu, Choir and Orchestra perform for us. After the performance, we had a short tea break with our buddies. I had spotted a girl that seemed like my buddy in the Orchestra and when I saw her standing in line, waiting for the teacher to pair us up together, we pointed at each other and recognized each other even though we didn't share our photos with each other. It was a miracle~ After the tea break, we were split into groups and I went to a Year 4 class for History. We were given notes which were in traditional Chinese and while I was reading, the seniors kept asking me if I could read it. Luckily, I was introduced to traditional Chinese when I was young so I could read both Simplified and Traditional Chinese. The seniors there were very caring and kept asking me questions about Singapore, sharing our different experiences. I was told at the end of the day that the lessons that we were having was came up the night before our arrival since Sacred Hearts was worried that we wouldn't understand the lessons.

After the History class, there was a performance made by the graduating seniors before lunch at the library, our holding area, with our buddies. When we returned to the holding area, I was shocked to see a bag on all of our tables. They were goodies from the school to us! I was touched by their hospitality again. I found out that my buddy was from a Music specialized class. Her school fees are NTD50,000 a month including her hostel fees. She plays the cello and she's good at it! I told her that I was from Concert Band and I play the trombone, she was ecstatic and couldn't stop sharing about her experiences at the Orchestra. I was surprised to know that there was such specialized classes in Taiwan since the classes remove lessons such as Home Economics to let their students master their interest. In Singapore, we have CCAs but our emphasis is still on academics, not like Taiwan.

After lunch, we went to places in Siluo. A place that had the deepest impression in me was the Siluo bridge. It was very old but it was still preserved well and there were cars driving on the bridge. There was noticeable greenery on the other side of the bridge so it was refreshing to see.

Poster made during 高一 history lesson in Sacred Hearts High


Day 5

We had an immersion with Sacred Hearts again. We had a NXT lesson. The class were practically boys so they were extremely nervous when talking to us since....all of us were girls. I had some robotics background when I was Primary 2 so I didn't have much problems assembling the robot. The hard part was the programming since they were using a newer version of the program me. But somehow, we completed the task. After this, we had a balloon-sculpting lesson with girls from the Art class. Balloons kept popping and we were laughing all the way. During these lessons, I got to bond with a graduating senior and she was extremely fun to be with, like an older sister.

After lunch, we went to the Yunlin Cake Towel Cafe. I thought that it would be place where it sells towels and cakes but it actually sells cakes and animals made from towels, towels and real cake. I was surprised by it since it was really creative to have a shop where you can DIY a towel into an animal, it was also a good platform to promote local culture since they sell coffee and cakes made from ingredients in Yunlin. The staff there was really kind, they explained everything from the towel-making process to the correct way to take care of your towel. During the DIY session, I've created a cat. I really like the DIY session since there wasn't much opportunities to do things like this in Singapore. I really think that this is a good way to interact and share ideas with locals and tourists especially the younger generation like us since the towels are cute and the whole place is really colorful. I hope that Singapore could do something like this in the future

"Cat" made in Yunlin Cake Towel Cafe

iicake 雲林蛋糕毛巾咖啡館 [ YUNLIN CAKE TOWEL CAFE ]

Figurines of a puppet based television show


Day 6

Today is the second-last day of our trip in Taiwan and the last day in Sacred Hearts. When we reached there, our buddies were given fifteen minutes to bring us around the school. My buddy brought us to their Eco Garden where I spotted ducks and rabbits roaming freely. My buddy also brought me to her classroom where I saw a lone Euphonium on the shelf, I wanted to play an instrument.... TT^TT We were brought back to the holding area before going to a Music lesson, a History lesson and a Home Economics lesson. During the Home Economics lesson, I burnt my finger by oil. It hurt and the senior I talked about brought me to the infirmary. While walking to the infirmary, she told me that she hoped my teachers wouldn't see us since they will definitely ask about it. But, we really met the teachers. 刘秘书 asked about it and both of us were scared for a second. The infirmary was bigger than the one in our school since they have a classroom specially for it unlike ours which is the general office.

After our lunch, I went out with my buddy and her mother! They brought me to 台中 which was about an hour's drive from Douliu. We were talking non-stop on the way there and they were interested by Singlish, a mixture of dialects and English. They asked me to say a few sentences and I was really embarrassed since I had never said Singlish for 'show'. They brought me to a department store called 新光三越 where I blew a lot of my money for books at the bookstore and other things at Muji. My buddy's mother treated me to Starbucks and bought me a set of chops. After being at the department store, we went to 一中夜市 where I ate lots of stuff. My buddy's mother even bought 老婆饼 for me to bring home.
Eco Garden in Sacred Hearts

Eco Garden in Sacred Hearts

Swimming Pool in Sacred Hearts *^*

Specially made drawing by the Year 2 Arts Class




Starbucks in 新光三越

无印良品 in 新光三越

LINE Stickers Exhibition in 新光三越
LINE Stickers Exhibition in 新光三越

诚品书店 in 新光三越



Gifts received from my buddy and Sacred Hearts O.o

Day 7

This was the last day of being in Taiwan. I didn't want to leave Taiwan since it was really fun there and the people from Sacred Hearts were very hospitable. We were assembled at the ground floor of the hotel when we saw 丁校长,刘秘书, some teachers and the seniors that brought us around Taiwan for the three days. The senior that I was really comfortable with even gave our groups gifts and exchanged contacts with me. I was even requested by Miss Christiyani to read out a letter of gratitude to 丁校长 and 刘秘书 personally! I was so nervous with teachers taking photographs and seniors watching! Moreover, only me and our class chairperson were called down from the bus! I hope I didn't embarrass our school....

We then went for a long bus ride to the 九二一地震教育园区 where we were taught the formation of earthquakes. I was told that the earthquake happened during the midnight so no school children was killed in this earthquake, which was a blessing. But, the school was destroyed. The photograph below shows the ruins of the school. When I saw it, I was impacted greatly. I had never seen something like this before. During the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, I remembered I watched a documentary and cried buckets, so I had a strong impact when I saw the real ruins of an earthquake. I was thankful that I was born in Singapore, one of the few places on Earth where there aren't any natural disasters. I was also impressed by the lengths the Taiwanese went to preserve this ruins. They had covered the whole ruins with tarp and strong pillars so that those who did not experience the earthquake could at least see and understand how it happened, while knowing the ways to protect yourself and loved ones if one really happens.

After this monument, we bade goodbye to our guide, Uncle Terry, and Taiwan. I will go to Taiwan again if I have the chance to!! 

I have learnt a lot of things in Taiwan and I hope that the next batch of Year Twos going to Tainan would appreciate this opportunity and learn new things! :3 



I had learnt a lot of things from Taiwan. The one that was the most memorable was the immense effort out iron by the Taiwanese to preserve their culture and history. They had tried their best efforts to preserve monuments such as the An Ping Fort and Eternal Golden Castle so that it looks as similar to its original look hundreds of years ago. The Taiwanese had also bothered to preserved each and every culture in Taiwan. Since Taiwan was a popular immigration spot for mainland Chinese, there was a lot of mainland Chinese that had different cultures and traditions that escaped to Taiwan such as the Hakkas. But they still preserved places such as the original house of a Hakka and a Hakka street so that the later generations could gain knowledge about the Hakkas even though there might be lesser Hakkas. Singapore could learnt from Taiwan since Singapore just preserves a building and make a museum in that building and calls that preserving. I feel that the Singapore government could do things like giving out tickets to museums as a part of the celebrating of SG50 which would encourage the public to visit the museum and learn more about the olden days of Singapore.

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