1st Entry

  During the holidays, a group year 1 and 2 students had volunteered ourselves to be the facils of Y1 Orientation 2015. I guess I was really lucky when I managed to pass the interview, because only about 50 students among the 100 or so were selected to be part of this event. I was happy and the days eventually led to our first meeting as a group of people that did not know each other, and were quite awkward in saying just a "hi".
  Eventually, the leadership training camp started, and we started interacting with each other. During the camp we were taught important values and what it took to be a facil, as well as playing exciting games to bond this group of facils together. After knowing each other and getting bonded as a one , we then went to our four facil training camps, where we played even more games, learnt more values and cheered much more then we ever did. 
 Through these trainings we had, we went crazy and high together, and eventually this group of blur sotongs into a family. We had this special bond that no other group of friends would had, as we laughed, cried, got tired together. As we went for sessions and sessions of training, we didn't even realise that it was a few days to the real orientation we "prepared" for. Everyone was not confident and worried, afraid that after all this dry runs and trainings we had, we may not be the best facil that the year ones anticipated. But we would soon realise this fear would soon make us stronger, more prepared and above all, better facils.
  During the camp, I must admit that sometimes even the facils can get messy, and we didn't really gave our best on admin day. However, we quickly leanr from this lessons and avoided mistakes together. Thus, we grew a lot more confident then we were before, and the year ones slowly started to be more open and started interacting actively within their class, the target of every facil sets for oneself. Through the process of cheering, singing and dancing and getting really high together, we realised the camp was reaching its end. Everyone cannot hide their feelings, and we all cried. It represented how much we didn't want to separate. But we knew, it wasn't the end of our bond. We
promised that even after orientation, we would meet up once per month.
  Through this camp, I had met a really awesome group of friends that I never ever had. Maybe because we really experience and learnt and just felt the same thing, Of course, we also learnt lots of important lessons, such as being more proactive, always having a sense of urgency etc. I find myself more confident then ever before, and changed in a lot of ways. Overall, being a facil is really meaningful, and I would definitely want to be a part of year one orientation next year.

2nd Entry

Source: http://singaporematters.blogspot.sg/2013/06/wait-our-prime-minister-does-have-point.html
Which was originally taken from "the real singapore"

As you can see in this picture, this lady does not have a proper shelter to live under, and has to sleep
 on public bences. I don't usually see this type of circumstances, but after reading the article online, I
feel that although Singapore is the worlds 6th most expensive place to live in, it does not mean that Singapore could not have the less fortunate among us. There are still over 100 000 families in Singapore that earn less
than $1500 per month, which is obviously not enough. This people, although getting help from the goernment, are still struggling everyday toearn money and make sure that they at least have something to eat. I feel that we should really reflect upon how much more fortunate we are, having the chance to go overseas at least once a year, and also enough money to go to other places such as
Universal Studios etc. These people living under such poor conditions can only dream about going anywhere even as far as just Singapore Science Centre. Thus, I think every other Singaporean, just like what the blogger stated, help these people in one way or another. Other than donating to charity, other options may include being volunteers for these centres and help the organization. This way the
less fortunate can feel that they are not neglected. However, this is only possible if everyone plays
their part.

3rd Entry

Problems faced with current population of Singapore:

- Ageing population, where there are more and more elderly people than the children we have,
 causing a decrease in workforce.

-Low birth rates, where the amount of babies produced every year is far less than the amount of elderly above 65.
These problems would eventually lead to future problems as serious as decrease in manpower to
build Singapore's economy, which would slow down our growth in economy

Thus, the government have a few solutions:

-Foreigners to increase our manpower for the building of our economy
-Baby bonuses to encourage Singaporeans to have more children so that Singapore will have more young people in the society in the future to work for us

But the government needs to be catious and wise to deal with the problems that are caused by these solutions, such as a need to build more estates when Singapore is just a small island.

For our future and a better Singapore we need to maintain a strong and cohesive society.

4th Entry
  China is the world's second largest economy by nominal GDP, with the world's fastest growing 
economy, with growth rates averaging more than 10% over the past 30 years. China also ranks 
number one in a lot of areas, such as the highest production and consumption of agriculture goods, largest trading nation in the world etc. At this rate of growth, China would be the world's leading economy in 2024. This boost in economy all started from 1978, when then leader of the Chinese Communist Party, Deng Xiaoping led a program called "Chinese Economic Reform", and caused China's economy to grow at a higher rate than it has ever seen

Some of these results:
- Drawing of millions of men and women from agriculture (farmers) into a higher value-added manufacturing. (More productive and efficient use of labour)
- Allow foreign investments in China (Foriegn investors can enjoy tax advantages at coastal urban areas in China)(This has built factories, more jobs, linked China to more international markets.)(Also boosted the amount of exports from China)
As a result of a more open China, China's economy has been growing rapidly and caused the quality
of the people living in China to rise. This also attracted more and more investors in China, also due to
 China's strong productivity growth.
Singapore would need to work hard with China so as to catch up with the economic growth

Is Taiwan independent? Or is it part of China?

Taiwan is independent.
It has always been an issue between the two nations whether Taiwan should be declared as independent, or should and join and be part of the People's Republic Of China.

Government of People's Republic Of China: View---"The PRC government considers perceived 
violations of its "One-China policy" or inconsistencies with it such as supplying the ROC with arms a violation of its rights to territorial integrity.[16] International news organizations often report that "China considers Taiwan a renegade province that must be united with the mainland by force if necessary", even though the PRC does not explicitly say that Taiwan is a "renegade province" in
any press releases. However, official PRC media outlets and officials often refer to Taiwan as "China's Taiwan Province" or simply "Taiwan, China", and pressure international organizations to use the term."

World's (United Nations) view (Taiwan's difficulty in fighting for the right for the goverment to declare Taiwan as a independent country)--- "In addition, the position of PRC is that the ROC does 
not meet the fourth criterion of the Montevideo Convention, as it is recognized by only 21 UN member states and has been denied access to international organizations such as the UN. The PRC points out the fact that the Montevideo Convention was only signed by 19 states at the Seventh
International Conference of American States. Thus the authority of the United Nations as well as UN Resolutions should supersede the Montevideo Convention."

Government of Republic Of China (Taiwan): View---"The position of most supporters of Taiwan 
independence is that the PRC is the government of China, that Taiwan is not part of China, and the 'Republic of China (Taiwan)' is an independent, sovereign state. The Democratic Progressive Party states that Taiwan has never been under the jurisdiction of the PRC, and that the PRC does not exercise any hold over the 23 million Taiwanese on the island. On the other hand, the position of most Chinese reunification supporters is that the Chinese Civil War is still not concluded as no peace
agreement has ever been signed. Therefore, the current political separation across the Taiwan strait is only temporary and a reunified China including both mainland China and Taiwan will be the result."

-Source: Wikipedia
Despite thus, the United States Of America, one of Taiwan's main allies, still chooses to recognise Taiwan as a independent state and even sold military equipment to Taiwan, which made China threaten the US with their close ecomomic partnership.

5th Entry

Comments On Group 2 Presentation
Overall their presentation is clear and the members were confident and clear of what to say. Their 
ideas are very creative and the prices they set was reasonable and the way they advertise the product was convincing.

I feel that during the presentation, some members seem to be very unclear of what to say because there is a lack of coodination between the group members. Some members like Yi Zhi contributed lesser to the presentation. I think they need to improve more on coordination between the group members and use some time during the time provided for then to practice so that they know what group member is going to say what content, so that during the presentation they seem clear and

6th Entry
Reflections on presentation

What I think is most important about the presentation on what represents Singapore is enthusiasm. As long as someone has is enthusiastic about the presentation, he or she would naturally not be nervous
and would have more hand gestures and bigger actions which makes his or her presentation exaggerating so as to emphasise on certain points. One would also be more aware about his or her surroundings, and have more engeagement with the audience and also aware about whether he or she is too soft or not relating his presentation to the picture.
I believe that presentation is not about memorising, although it is easy to get nervous because the presentation is graded. We must have a certain enthusiasm and talk just like how we talk to friends everyday, just more formal.

7th Entry
Reflections On Suzhou Industrial Park
“Through Sino-Singapore collaboration, the Suzhou Industrial Park has emerged as one of the industrial parks with the highest standards in China,” said Mr Jin. “It couldn’t have done so without the infusion of ideas and concepts from Singapore. The park’s success can be seen in the fact that the GDP of Suzhou is one-third that of Jiangsu province.”

Channel Newsasia

Singapore's senior minister, Lee Kuan Yew — who played a leading role in the effort to replicate the island-state's capitalist-style efficiency in the industrial heartland of China — conceded this week that the project had not turned out as planned and had made him more cautious about investments in China.

New York Times

From these evidence, we can see how Singapore and Mr Lee Kuan Yew was related to the Suzhou industrial park. 
- Firstly, Mr Lee has played and important role in trying to let China learn from Singapore's capitalist-style efficiency. He chose China because he believed that China's development and growth is unstoppable and will emerge as a one huge superpower in the future. Thus, he supported and invested in this project so that the Chinese can learn to be more business-friendly and learn how to "build and run those parks", which are useful tools to learn for their future development.

-Secondly, Singapore has learnt a couple of important lessons from this Suzhou Industrial Park, and even Mr Lee admits it himself. The main reason is due to the difference in the government systems. Singapore is a small state and it is unlike China, where local officials and authorities have the power, not the central government in Beijing. Thus, instead of learning and working closely with the Singapore officials, the officials chose to take advantage of it and run a park on their own, which in turn placed us in losses. This let us learnt, that in future projects like this with the other different countries, we have to be very cautious about what we are doing to prevent losses. 
That is also what I feel is a major difference between governing Singapore than to governing China. China is much bigger which requires thousand more times the resources to take care of, while Singapore is a smaller nation where the governments are easier to monitor their actions and signs of corruption. That is why Singapore's standard of living is higher than China's, although we are a small red dot with not much of resources.

8th Entry

Golden Ages
Comparing the Tang Dynasty with Singapore.
Singapore has indeed reached its "golden age" today, being a nation with the highest GDP in the world with people living in prosperity and peace.
Why did the Tang Dynasty prosper during that period and why did Singapore turn from a third world nation to a first world nation just in 50 years?

Tang Dynasty and Singapore - Similarities
Low Corruption - Meaning that the tax systems and all the different laws are set in favour to the people, not to the governor's favour. All the officials and officers are dedicated to their work and will not think about greedy and selfish thoughts of extorting what does not belong to them. In Singapore for example, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, our founding Prime Minister of Singapore, has set up the "Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau" to ensure that there is low or no corruption in the government. This ensures that the people are fairly treated and would not have to suffer because of selfish acts by officials and officers.
Best People For The Best Jobs - During the Tang Dynasty for example, the "Imperial Examination System" was introduced, where the best scholars are sent to become high ranking officials. It enhanced the centralization of imperial power and help make the best decisions for the people. The backgrounds of the people, whether poor or rich, did not affect their chances of becoming an official. Similar for Singapore, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, our late founding Prime Minister, has emphasised on the importance of the government appointing officers or any high-ranking officials based on their abilities, effort, achievements and leadership abilities, and never based on their differences or through any other method, so as to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity. These ensures that there was a strong leadership and the leaders can make the best decisions for the people so that the nation can prosper and everyone benefits from it.
Relationship With Other Nations
Military Defense - Both the Tang and Singapore have a strong military forces. Both of their military superiority were based on the prosperous social economy and advanced Science and Technology. For example, Singapore spends more than half of its budget every year to strengthen the defense of our nation, whether it is military or civil defense. With these factors, both their military defense was very strong and were able to ensure a safe and peaceful nation.
Friendships with Neighbours - Due to the great reputation both the Tang Dynasty and Singapore had among all other nations, other nations were able to have a great relationship with these two nations. A huge number of envoys, businessman, and even artists from 70 different nations, for example, actually came to Chang'an, capital of the Tang empire at that time, to study or do business. This allowed a good exchange in terms of culture and economy.

There were certainly many other factors that lead to prosperity, whether is it the Tang Dynasty and Singapore. However, there were also some other factors which made Singapore have its "golden age today. These include:
United people: People from four different races are able to accept each other and work together for our nations progress.
Self-sustainability: Singapore, although a small nation is able to establish its own water supply systems to ensure that we have the least reliance on other nations for water.
Education: It is compulsory in Singapore. Singapore emphasises on higher education and it ensures that the students have an equal opportunity to develop on their talents and achieve success.
Housing: The government ensures that all Singaporeans in Singapore have a place to stay. 80% of Singaporeans, for example, live in HDBs today, which are high-rising flats that can accommodate people from all races.
Health: Singapore has excellent healthcare services, and even ensures that the people can afford their health bills by applying subsidies, especially for the families with a lower income.
"Garden City": The government focuses on building Singapore into a clean and green city so that pollution can be minimised.

These are the factors why Singapore has reached its golden age.

9th Entry

Can we use the Merlion as our (best) national icon?

A national icon is something that uniquely special and does not appear in other nations, thus signifies a nation's identity. It gives the people a sense of belonging.
Thus, in my opinion, the Merlion is the best choice for national icon. There may be other possiblenational icons such as Sir Stamford Raffles' status, the Esplanade etc., but I feel that the Merlion represents the few important aspects of Singapore. "Mer" stands for "sea" and it goes with "lion" to
form "Merlion". The Merlion has a head of a lion and a body of a fish, which signifies "lion city" or "Singapura" while the body represents Singapore's origin as a fishing village called "Temasek". These clearly represents of Singapore's humble beginnings and the history of Singapore. The unique and magical myths about how Singapore was actually a fishing village and how Sang Nila Utama actually saw a lion here in Temasek and called this island "Singapura" is what makes our past special. To me, it represents and reminds one of the whole of Singapore's history, where it turned from a fishing village long long time ago, to a "lion city" it is today, and this is what makes the Merlion "uniquely Singaporean" When one hears the word "Merlion" or "lion city", their first thought would be "Singapore". That is something that would make us unique and proud to be as Singaporeans. Thus, the Merlion should be used for our national icon.

10th Entry

3 Questions I have with regards to cost of living during the trip.
1. How much the usual groceries there cost in Singapore Dollars? (Including daily necessities such as bread, milk, vegetables, soaps etc.) Compare it with Singapore market prices and why do they differ/are they similar? Is it because the difference in the economy?
2. What is the average income of a Taiwanese working adult? What are their main occupations? Do different locations in the country mean that different people have different sources of income? What are the taxes and bills all citizens usually have to pay? (Eg. Near coastline - fishermen)
3. What are the school fees there like? Do the parents need to pay a lot of money to raise a kid How the government in Taiwan make sure that the school fees are affordable?

11th Entry 
OELP Reflections

Day 2
Arrived at Taiwan. It is really pleasant to see the Taiwanese vice-principal and teachers at the airport. They specially came here to give a us a warm welcome to Taiwan. It is really pleasant to see that they are so hospitable. 

Day 3
One thing that impressed you at the monuments? Why?
One thing that is so impressive about these place is that they are actually a hundred years old, dating back to the era during the Qing Dynasty. There are even real guns at the Anping fort that are well preserved there at the fort for display. It is very unique to see century-old monuments, as they are rare and difficult to preserve. 
What is so significant about this place?
Anping fort is really very special as the fort itself is literally more than 100 years old. This fort is thus very important as it actually represents more than a 100 years of Taiwanese history, since it has lived through the different eras Taiwan has gone through. 

Day 4

My buddy is very hospitable. He cares about my every need and shows me round the school. Because their Chinese was better, it was hard to translate some English words into Chinese for them to understand. However, my buddy is very patient when answering our questions about their way of life. Being an open person, he also shares with me some funny school experiences he had in school, and we both had a great laugh. Although there is still a certain amount of awkwardness between us, it is a good start for our friendship. 

Day 5

Our group's discussion about what we expected and we we saw before and after the trip to the Cake Towel Cafè

Day 6
How was your day with your buddies?
My day with my buddy were very meaningfully spent. We went to many different places to learn about the Taiwanese culture through the buddy's explanation. Also, we had a chance to taste all the great food Taiwan has, which was what we were very excited about since the start of the trip. Throughout the journey, I had a good time talking to my buddy as we cracked jokes and listened to music on the way to the destination by car. They were very hospitable as they bought gifts for us to bring back to Singapore. Although tired, it was a memorable trip that I will remember.

I have learnt many many things during this trip.
During this trip, I have learnt and understood more about the Taiwanese history, their culture and their way of life. Indeed, there are huge differences between their culture and ours. Not only they have a longer history, the people there also have a stronger much stronger will to preserve their culture. Also, this trip make me learnt that the Taiwanese people here are really very friendly and hospitable. They will really do whatever it takes to make sure we would enjoy our visit there. 

How did this trip change your perspective of life?
After this trip, other than learning about the Taiwanese culture and history, I also realise how important it was to treasure things. In Taiwan, the people was very open and it is very easy to make friends there. I realise that I must really treasure those moments I spent with these new friends I made, as it was just a three day visit to the school. Time is so fast, we already reach the last night of the stay in Taiwan, which proves to be a very sad day for us as we have to leave our buddies. 

Individual reflections
Local's satisfaction with the cost of living in Taiwan
After talking to my buddy and his parents, I understand that they are actually quite okay with their current cost of living, even though one still need to work very hard to earn a good income in Taiwan 
Thoughts and observations on behaviour in class and style of teaching.
- (Boys) class can get a little bit too rowdy at times. (Maybe be due to long hours spent in class)
- Class participates actively in group discussions about, for example, a math question. Proves hat they like to work in groups to brainstorm the solution for a difficult question together.
- Most of the class revises before they come in for lessons: Keen to learn.
Write about the life of a student in Taiwan. (Homework, tuition, sleep, purpose etc.)
- Long school hours (From morning to evening)
- Optional tuition ( Night classes which are held in school or outside) Some students could have signed up with their own will, while others were because of their parents.
- Generally gets enough sleep everyday.
- Generally have some pleasure in certain lesson periods in school.


Dear parents,
  How are you? I'm fine here in Taiwan. I really want to share with you about the Ten Drums Cultural Village that my and my friends recently visited and stayed in. This place is actually a old sugar factory used by the Japanese during their ruling era, and it means that the place that we stayed in actually has 100 years of historical value. In the recent few years , this placed have been redeveloped into a cultural centre, where it showcases the Taiwanese drum culture. This place simply gives me the impression on how strongly the Taiwanese people would love to promote and to innovate their culture. It is really special as not only does it represents Taiwan's history, it also represents its culture. I have never been to a unique place like that and I find it really memorable here!
  So far, my trip is really enriching and fun together with my friends and teachers. The people here are also very hospitable and they make us feel just like home here. Don't worry much about me, I'll be back 4 days later safe and sound. Goodbye!




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