2011 c4e singapore trip report

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Centre for Excellence Singapore Trip 2011


  • 2011

    Darwin High School Centre For Excellence


  • Preface Boasting internationally acclaimed mathematical and scientific

    achievements, Singapore, a country of 712 square kilometres and over

    five million in population, is a place in which mathematical and scientific

    interests may be nurtured and stimulated.

    Furthermore, Singapore was also the destination of the educational trip

    of the Centre For Excellence class of Darwin High School in December of

    2011.It was here in Singapore in which the class of fifteen young aspiring

    students spent a little over a week exploring the multitude of experiences

    that Singapore has to offer, as well as several days in the neighboring

    Malaysian city of Malacca (Sri Lankans not included).

    Educational attractions include but were not

    limited to the Marina Barrage, a monumental

    feat in environmental engineering, a dam that

    serves not only as flood control, but also

    provides water and a leisure attraction for the

    city of Singapore, as well as the Singapore

    Science Centre, filled with a multitude of

    captivating scientific and physics related tidbits

    including numerous optical and sensory

    illusions along with naturally occurring

    phenomena. Besides these, attractions also

    included the general must-see destinations of

    Singapore. Examples of such were the

    renowned skyscraper with a boat on the top otherwise known as

    the Sands SkyPark, as well as Universal Studies on Sentosa Island.

    The entire class was also very lucky to have the chance to

    experience the Australian production of Wicked at the Grand

    Theatre in Marina Bay Sands

    However the best way for the experiences that occurred during the

    trip to be conveyed would be through the words of the

    participating students themselves. The following are just some of

    the day to day accounts written by the students of Centre For

    Excellence, Darwin High School.

  • Day 1 The majority of us arrived at 4pm at Darwin airport

    for our flight to depart to Singapore. During this

    time, we played cards on the carpet, eagerly

    anticipating the boarding call. After our 4 hour flight,

    which Mr Northcote slept through, we disembarked

    the aeroplane and boarded a bus towards Aqueen Hotel on Lavender Street. After checking in and finding

    the lavish rooms, we feasted in a nearby food court and for the first time, we experienced the colours and

    tastes of Singaporean cuisine. We then ventured back to our rooms with a stop by a 7 eleven store. Upon the

    arrival of our hotel, Rhiannon and Taima established their rooms as the common room and hosted many

    of the students until late at night, playing games of Truth or Dare. We began to feel the impact from lack of

    sleep and decided to hit the hay for the night.

    -Rhiannon Holdsworth

    Day 2 Day two was our first full day in Singapore. Our day began with a lovely

    continental breakfast consisting of an assortment of deep fried foods and

    strawberry jam on toast. We then made our way down to the MRT, which

    was a short walk from our hotel, to the first stop of the day Orchard Road.

    There we explored a number of shopping centres, most a bit too expensive

    for us, but all the same, very exciting to see the amazing buildings and colours.

    Upon crossing the street, Rhiannon, Jim and I spotted a group of Abercrombie

    and Fitch male models who were extremely attractive and also happened to

    have their faces plastered on a nearby billboard. Jim wasnt impressed. Later

    on, we experienced some Singaporean culture and cooking at a busy

    underground food court.

    The Marina Barrage was our next stop, travelling again via the reliable public

    transport, unlike in Darwin. Though we had planned to also venture to the

    top of the Sands SkyPark, we were unable to do so due to heavy rainfall and multiple broken umbrellas

    purchased at corner shops along Orchard Road. Nevertheless, we set off for our tour through the barrage

    where our host described the many benefits of the barrage on Singapores population. Upon the facts and

    history we learnt there, a few things included the vast significance the barrage has had on the availability of

    potable water in Singapore and also how the enormous infrastructure has become a worldwide tourist

    attraction. Inside the establishment, we were able to view a scale model of the functioning water facility

    and get an understanding of the mechanics of it, whilst also viewing future plans for Singapores second

    Botanical Gardens and other future plans. The tour guide also gave us a brief overview of the history of

    Singapores water and how initially the country relied on imported water to sustain its growing population.

    Singapore was in a vulnerable position during droughts and floods and this engineering accomplishment has

    meant that water can now be stored and exploited, making Singapore one of the few countries in the world

    harnessing urban catchments. The centre features Singapores past and present ideas on how to fully

    become a sustainable country. During the tour, we also witnessed a couple having their wedding

    photographs taken and many school kids using the vast grassy area as a picnic spot. -Taima Rahman

  • Day 3 Waking up as early as ever, the morning buffet was an interesting

    experience for everyone as they slowly woke up. However the day

    was expected to be a busy one and the entire class was soon off to

    our first destination, the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology. This

    involved learning not only about how the research was conducted

    but also the practicalities and limitations of the research. The most

    surprising thing was that the institute used fish for their experiments,

    a species called the zebra. This was due to their genes being 95% alike

    to human genetics, their significantly faster life cycles as well as their

    ease of mass breeding. This became apparent as we were led into a massive room filled with aisles upon

    aisles of small tanks filled with the fish. It was also extremely interesting to observe how the zebra fish

    developed from an egg to a fish, a process that occurred within 24 hours. It starts with one cell that slowly

    divides and divides in a process called mitosis until it finally forms a fish.

    After a quick lunch and a timeout to catch our breaths, we were soon

    on to our next destination, Singapore Zoo. This was a very exciting

    attraction for all of us and the most interesting and shocking thing to

    us was that many of the enclosures, especially for the monkeys were

    entirely open and they were free to roam. To list but a few of the

    animals that were there, there were all manner of monkeys, tigers,

    elephants, seals, penguins, turtles, birds, even pygmy hippos and

    many, many more. A particular highlight of the attraction was the seal

    show which also included most of the class being splashed.

    Dinner was at a nearby location outside our next event, the Night Safari.

    Several of the other classmates also ordered classy mock tails such as

    fancy pina coladas. Mr Northcote also may have encouraged gambling

    though without actual money. During dinner we were also entertained

    by a fire breathing show, the main performer also bearing a striking

    resemblance to one of our other classmates that were not on the trip.

    This of course sparked an enthusiastic applause from our general

    direction throughout the performance. Upon being admitted into the

    Night Safari, I also realized that I had no idea what the Night Safari

    actually involved. However I soon discovered and was very surprised. It

    was a night-time tram ride that passed through numerous

    sections each containing different animals. The whole

    purpose was to show animals in a very natural state, at

    night, unawares of our presence. Thus there were no

    fences or cages and glass panels. It was very unlike

    anything that I had seen before. That night, upon being

    warned of the early start the next day, everyone

    begrudgingly returned to their rooms to get some sleep.

    -Chris Zhao

  • Day 4 & Day 5 Malacca Expedition Having stayed up quite late Thursday night the seemingly long drive to Malacca was a generally quiet one

    with many sleeping a solid part of the trip. Getting up at 6am to begin the drive took quite a lot of effort,

    however the allure of a change in country (and the possibility of being taxed by Mrs Tan for turning up late)

    meant everyone was up and ready to go.

    Apart from a few hiccups through customs (we wont go there) and a certain Mr Cao who thought hed left

    his luggage outside the hotel there were no major issues.

    Breakfast was a choice of sandwiches on the bus or deep fried

    delicacies from a roadside shop and lunch entertained many with

    spinning tables and a mass of traditional Malaysian lunch meals.

    To finish the meal we each tried chendol a Malay dessert which

    most of us enjoyed.

    Before long we arrived at our luxurious 5-star hotel. Whilst

    walking up the grand staircase the phrase a hotel can be judged

    by its staircases was used and sure enough the rooms did not

    disappoint. With a pool and gym on the 4th floor and other

    extravagances scattered throughout the hotel the