Sunday, 6 November 2016

Day 6: Going Home

In the morning, we joined the Sunday crowd at the CKS Memorial Hall to learn about Taiwan's first president and to witness the change of guards at 10am. We also saw how Taiwan's history is intertwined with Singapore's history in our early years of independence.

After the visit to the memorial Hall, we had a quick tour of the Eslite bookstore for some shopping before lunch. 

We reached the airport after 2pm and bade goodbye to our driver and local guide, Mr Tomy. We had a fulfilling learning trip all thanks to their experience and patience. 

We are now waiting to board the plane! Home sweet home in the next few hours!

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Day 5 - Sending our wishes to the sky at Shifen Old Street

After a day of lessons on sustainable environment management yesterday, our dancers took a Geography day trip to the Yehliu Geopark this morning. Yehliu Geo Park is situated at the northern tip of Taiwan, right at the edge of the South China Sea. There was minimal shade at the rock formations along the cape, and we saw first-hand how nature has eroded many rocks in its way through wind and water. The stratum of Yehliu is mainly made up of sedimentary rocks which are exposed to wave attack, rock weathering, earth movement and crustal movement, giving rise to a stunning geological landscape by the sea. The bio-diversity of the area is vast, including many birds, insects and reptiles. The most popular rock was in the shape of a Queen's dramatically curled up hair, called the Queen's head. However, it is now smaller than it was in the past because of the weathering processes it was exposed to.

For lunch, we stopped by Jiufen Old Streets for a simple meal before a thorough tour of the place. While it caters largely to tourists nowadays, the rustic architecture along the old streets remain as they were. The paths were narrow and winding, with many slopes and staircases. Jiufen (Kau-hun, meaning "nine portions" in Hokkien) used to house nine families in the early years of the Qing Dynasty, thus the village would always request for "nine portions" every time shipments of goods arrived from town. These were also the streets that the famous "Spirited Away" animation took after in the film.

In the afternoon, we headed for Shifen to release Kong Ming Sky Lanterns, sending our wishes to the sky by penning them down on the four sides of the lanterns. Many of our wishes included health and outstanding academic performance.

We took an hour-long trip back to Taipei's city area to visit the Rao He Night Market before the evening crowd arrived. Many locals found their livelihood selling food at the Night Market, earning many loyal customers with their impressive culinary skills. As compared to Singapore, we realised that there are many Taiwanese youngsters who are willing to work at the night market as a full-time job, being proud of what they do as a profession.

For dinner, we had a good meal at the halal restaurant we visited previously. After a debrief at the hotel, we proceeded back to our rooms to prepare for our trip home tomorrow!

Here are some of our reflections:

What is the most interesting thing you did today? How is your experience different from what you expected? What would you want to learn more about what you did today?

"The Shifen Sky Lantern was very interesting. I did not expect a lot of people to be there and the lanterns to be released on the train railway tracks. I would love to know was the release of lanterns is so famous in Taiwan."
~ Rachel, 2C

"We went to the Yehliu Geo Park today and it was very interesting. I thought that it would be windy in the park but it was not at all. I would like to find out more about the formations of the different rocks in the park."
~ Queena, 1A

"Writing my wishes on the lantern and releasing it to the sky was very interesting today. I thought today might be boring. However, I was wrong. I actually enjoyed myself. Seeing my friends and seniors had a blast, made me very happy. I would love to know more on the history of the Shifen Sky Lantern in Taiwan.
~ Poh Reki, 1N2

Friday, 4 November 2016

Day 4: Our trip to BeiTou

We returned to the University of Taipei for our dance master class this morning. We stretched together as a team and warmed our muscles before the lesson started. The lesson was intensive and we had a great time on the dance floor. For the members among us who aspire to be dancers in the future, this experience is an inspiring one.

After lunch, we headed to the BeiTou Thermal Valley and saw the hot springs along the trail. We then went to the BeiTou Hot Springs Museum nearby and learned about the Hokutolite rocks which can only be found in the Taipei BeiTou and Tamagawa Hot Spring in Japan and in Russia.

In the afternoon, Ms Liu, the person-in-charge of the BeiTou Public Library, guided us around the eco-architecture building which won the diamond award for eco-buildings, saving more than 30% of energy and natural resource consumption.

We moved on to the New Taipei City Sustainable Development Education Center, another building which won the diamond award, to learn about the various design applications to ensure a sustainable living environment for the future generations. In all these tours and lessons, it became evident that as dancers, we can also help spread the message as individuals and also through our dance as a team. 


In the late afternoon, we went to the Old Streets of Danshui and enjoyed the heritage and culture in the shops along the river. Danshui is famous for its Tie Dan, preserved quail eggs, which originated from the poor agricultural population in the past who wanted to keep their food as readily available as possible. We took a ride to the nearby Danshui Fisherman's Wharf and took photos together at the Lovers Bridge as a memento.

We concluded the night after our dinner and a quick debrief, so that we can prepare for a long day out tomorrow to learn about the heritage and culture of the Taiwanese people.

Here are some of our reflections today:

~ Khee Ing, 3D

~ Jia Hui, 3C

~ Amelia Siah, 1N2

~ Renee Tan, 3B

~ Rachel, 2C

~ Raifana Humairah, 2D
Describe your experience when you visited the Sustainable Development Education Centre.

"I was fascinated by the energy saving building. The male's toilet is very unique as the urinal has a special method to remove the urine and the user does not need to flush."
   ~ Emily, 3D

"It was very interesting as I have learnt about how they had removed all their air-conditioning units and used natural ventilation to cool the rooms in the centre. They have also used panels to insulate heat and reflect light."
  ~ Nur'lin, 3N1

"I was amazed that every part of the centre has its usefulness. I have also learnt many new materials such as the walls were made of recyclable materials that are a form of insulator of heat."
~ Sumaira, 2D