2011 c4e singapore trip report
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DESCRIPTIONCentre for Excellence Singapore Trip 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.
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.
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