2011 C4E Singapore Trip Report

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Centre for Excellence Singapore Trip 2011


<ul><li><p>2011 </p><p>Darwin High School Centre For Excellence </p><p>[SINGAPORE EXCURSION] </p></li><li><p>Preface Boasting internationally acclaimed mathematical and scientific </p><p>achievements, Singapore, a country of 712 square kilometres and over </p><p>five million in population, is a place in which mathematical and scientific </p><p>interests may be nurtured and stimulated. </p><p>Furthermore, Singapore was also the destination of the educational trip </p><p>of the Centre For Excellence class of Darwin High School in December of </p><p>2011.It was here in Singapore in which the class of fifteen young aspiring </p><p>students spent a little over a week exploring the multitude of experiences </p><p>that Singapore has to offer, as well as several days in the neighboring </p><p>Malaysian city of Malacca (Sri Lankans not included). </p><p>Educational attractions include but were not </p><p>limited to the Marina Barrage, a monumental </p><p>feat in environmental engineering, a dam that </p><p>serves not only as flood control, but also </p><p>provides water and a leisure attraction for the </p><p>city of Singapore, as well as the Singapore </p><p>Science Centre, filled with a multitude of </p><p>captivating scientific and physics related tidbits </p><p>including numerous optical and sensory </p><p>illusions along with naturally occurring </p><p>phenomena. Besides these, attractions also </p><p>included the general must-see destinations of </p><p>Singapore. Examples of such were the </p><p>renowned skyscraper with a boat on the top otherwise known as </p><p>the Sands SkyPark, as well as Universal Studies on Sentosa Island. </p><p>The entire class was also very lucky to have the chance to </p><p>experience the Australian production of Wicked at the Grand </p><p>Theatre in Marina Bay Sands </p><p>However the best way for the experiences that occurred during the </p><p>trip to be conveyed would be through the words of the </p><p>participating students themselves. The following are just some of </p><p>the day to day accounts written by the students of Centre For </p><p>Excellence, Darwin High School. </p></li><li><p>Day 1 The majority of us arrived at 4pm at Darwin airport </p><p>for our flight to depart to Singapore. During this </p><p>time, we played cards on the carpet, eagerly </p><p>anticipating the boarding call. After our 4 hour flight, </p><p>which Mr Northcote slept through, we disembarked </p><p>the aeroplane and boarded a bus towards Aqueen Hotel on Lavender Street. After checking in and finding </p><p>the lavish rooms, we feasted in a nearby food court and for the first time, we experienced the colours and </p><p>tastes of Singaporean cuisine. We then ventured back to our rooms with a stop by a 7 eleven store. Upon the </p><p>arrival of our hotel, Rhiannon and Taima established their rooms as the common room and hosted many </p><p>of the students until late at night, playing games of Truth or Dare. We began to feel the impact from lack of </p><p>sleep and decided to hit the hay for the night. </p><p>-Rhiannon Holdsworth </p><p> Day 2 Day two was our first full day in Singapore. Our day began with a lovely </p><p>continental breakfast consisting of an assortment of deep fried foods and </p><p>strawberry jam on toast. We then made our way down to the MRT, which </p><p>was a short walk from our hotel, to the first stop of the day Orchard Road. </p><p>There we explored a number of shopping centres, most a bit too expensive </p><p>for us, but all the same, very exciting to see the amazing buildings and colours. </p><p>Upon crossing the street, Rhiannon, Jim and I spotted a group of Abercrombie </p><p>and Fitch male models who were extremely attractive and also happened to </p><p>have their faces plastered on a nearby billboard. Jim wasnt impressed. Later </p><p>on, we experienced some Singaporean culture and cooking at a busy </p><p>underground food court. </p><p>The Marina Barrage was our next stop, travelling again via the reliable public </p><p>transport, unlike in Darwin. Though we had planned to also venture to the </p><p>top of the Sands SkyPark, we were unable to do so due to heavy rainfall and multiple broken umbrellas </p><p>purchased at corner shops along Orchard Road. Nevertheless, we set off for our tour through the barrage </p><p>where our host described the many benefits of the barrage on Singapores population. Upon the facts and </p><p>history we learnt there, a few things included the vast significance the barrage has had on the availability of </p><p>potable water in Singapore and also how the enormous infrastructure has become a worldwide tourist </p><p>attraction. Inside the establishment, we were able to view a scale model of the functioning water facility </p><p>and get an understanding of the mechanics of it, whilst also viewing future plans for Singapores second </p><p>Botanical Gardens and other future plans. The tour guide also gave us a brief overview of the history of </p><p>Singapores water and how initially the country relied on imported water to sustain its growing population. </p><p>Singapore was in a vulnerable position during droughts and floods and this engineering accomplishment has </p><p>meant that water can now be stored and exploited, making Singapore one of the few countries in the world </p><p>harnessing urban catchments. The centre features Singapores past and present ideas on how to fully </p><p>become a sustainable country. During the tour, we also witnessed a couple having their wedding </p><p>photographs taken and many school kids using the vast grassy area as a picnic spot. -Taima Rahman </p></li><li><p>Day 3 Waking up as early as ever, the morning buffet was an interesting </p><p>experience for everyone as they slowly woke up. However the day </p><p>was expected to be a busy one and the entire class was soon off to </p><p>our first destination, the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology. This </p><p>involved learning not only about how the research was conducted </p><p>but also the practicalities and limitations of the research. The most </p><p>surprising thing was that the institute used fish for their experiments, </p><p>a species called the zebra. This was due to their genes being 95% alike </p><p>to human genetics, their significantly faster life cycles as well as their </p><p>ease of mass breeding. This became apparent as we were led into a massive room filled with aisles upon </p><p>aisles of small tanks filled with the fish. It was also extremely interesting to observe how the zebra fish </p><p>developed from an egg to a fish, a process that occurred within 24 hours. It starts with one cell that slowly </p><p>divides and divides in a process called mitosis until it finally forms a fish. </p><p>After a quick lunch and a timeout to catch our breaths, we were soon </p><p>on to our next destination, Singapore Zoo. This was a very exciting </p><p>attraction for all of us and the most interesting and shocking thing to </p><p>us was that many of the enclosures, especially for the monkeys were </p><p>entirely open and they were free to roam. To list but a few of the </p><p>animals that were there, there were all manner of monkeys, tigers, </p><p>elephants, seals, penguins, turtles, birds, even pygmy hippos and </p><p>many, many more. A particular highlight of the attraction was the seal </p><p>show which also included most of the class being splashed. </p><p>Dinner was at a nearby location outside our next event, the Night Safari. </p><p>Several of the other classmates also ordered classy mock tails such as </p><p>fancy pina coladas. Mr Northcote also may have encouraged gambling </p><p>though without actual money. During dinner we were also entertained </p><p>by a fire breathing show, the main performer also bearing a striking </p><p>resemblance to one of our other classmates that were not on the trip. </p><p>This of course sparked an enthusiastic applause from our general </p><p>direction throughout the performance. Upon being admitted into the </p><p>Night Safari, I also realized that I had no idea what the Night Safari </p><p>actually involved. However I soon discovered and was very surprised. It </p><p>was a night-time tram ride that passed through numerous </p><p>sections each containing different animals. The whole </p><p>purpose was to show animals in a very natural state, at </p><p>night, unawares of our presence. Thus there were no </p><p>fences or cages and glass panels. It was very unlike </p><p>anything that I had seen before. That night, upon being </p><p>warned of the early start the next day, everyone </p><p>begrudgingly returned to their rooms to get some sleep. </p><p>-Chris Zhao </p></li><li><p>Day 4 &amp; Day 5 Malacca Expedition Having stayed up quite late Thursday night the seemingly long drive to Malacca was a generally quiet one </p><p>with many sleeping a solid part of the trip. Getting up at 6am to begin the drive took quite a lot of effort, </p><p>however the allure of a change in country (and the possibility of being taxed by Mrs Tan for turning up late) </p><p>meant everyone was up and ready to go. </p><p>Apart from a few hiccups through customs (we wont go there) and a certain Mr Cao who thought hed left </p><p>his luggage outside the hotel there were no major issues. </p><p>Breakfast was a choice of sandwiches on the bus or deep fried </p><p>delicacies from a roadside shop and lunch entertained many with </p><p>spinning tables and a mass of traditional Malaysian lunch meals. </p><p>To finish the meal we each tried chendol a Malay dessert which </p><p>most of us enjoyed. </p><p>Before long we arrived at our luxurious 5-star hotel. Whilst </p><p>walking up the grand staircase the phrase a hotel can be judged </p><p>by its staircases was used and sure enough the rooms did not </p><p>disappoint. With a pool and gym on the 4th floor and other </p><p>extravagances scattered throughout the hotel the 21 floored </p><p>building also possessed an amazing view over the town and ocean. </p><p>In the evening we walked through a massive shopping mall next to </p><p>our hotel and had dinner, where the Blue Ocean spider drink was </p><p>popular, as well as other intricately presented minuman (drinks). </p><p>Then we commenced the walk to the Malacca night markets, visiting </p><p>historical sites such as Portuguese forts and convents involved in the </p><p>past oceanic spice trade. It was said that whoever controlled the spice </p><p>routes controlled the whole economy, so these towns were valuable </p><p>assets for countries in the past. The view of the buildings and oceans </p><p>from the fort was truly spectacular, making you momentarily forget </p><p>you were in a city which was on par with the old Singapore. </p></li><li><p>The markets were very popular, with roadside performers and stalls galore, ranging from deep fried snacks </p><p>to delicate jade jewellery. Watching our pockets and trying not to fall down unseen steps sounded stressful, </p><p>but adventuring through these markets was fun. After the markets we wondered back to the Hotel </p><p>Equatorial or to the mall to do some late night shopping, trying to spend the large of amounts of Malaysian </p><p>money we had unnecessarily changed. </p><p>Waking up on Saturday was much easier, some </p><p>getting up at 7am to enjoy the chilly 4th floor pool, </p><p>while some slept in until 8.30 and all enjoying a </p><p>buffet breakfast at the Equatorial. </p><p>Ready to go at about 10.30 all 14 of us jumped on </p><p>the bus once again heading in the direction of the </p><p>historical Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum. The </p><p>museum, made up of three long-standing houses </p><p>owned by the family, displayed the diverse cultural </p><p>influences in Malaccan history. </p><p>After this intriguing the bus journey back to </p><p>Singapore began. The long hours between our stops at an organic farm, roadside eatery and our destination </p><p>were passed by card games, lively conversation and much sleeping. This was broken up by the delicious </p><p>experience of tasting the queen of the fruits, durians. After an entire day of travelling on a bus everyone was </p><p>relieved to eventually return to Singapore yet were grateful to have experienced yet another colourful </p><p>culture. </p><p>-Miranda Cowley and Darcy Moffatt </p></li><li><p>Day 6 The Botanical Gardens were beautiful, with a light </p><p>drizzle giving our experience a decidedly rainforest-</p><p>esque aspect. There were many types of flowers and </p><p>strange plants, as well as some well-placed souvenir </p><p>shops to milk the beauty of the gardens. The gardens </p><p>covered a surprisingly large area, with plenty of </p><p>walking on offer. The ArtScience museum had a very </p><p>interesting Titanic display, but that was really all it </p><p>offered. The highlight of the museum among the </p><p>students was the sketch of a phallus which was </p><p>created with love by a few thoughtful boys. </p><p>These are some memorable quotes from the trip that while may not make any sense now were hilarious at </p><p>the time: </p><p> Dude, how do you spell Singapore? (Jim, Day 1) </p><p> Lets take a shortcut (Je, Day 6) </p><p> Samuel eat chicken rice for breakfast, lunch and tea (Samuels grandmothers sister, Day 6) </p><p> This is so boring (Prabhatha, whilst on a ride at universal studios, Day 7) </p><p> Hey, this drink has Viagra in it (Prabhatha, Day 7) </p><p> This is like Dora the Explorer (Jethro, Day 7 at songs of the sea) </p><p> Beauty is pain (Samuel, Day 8) </p><p>-Jethro Dickens </p></li><li><p>Day 7 </p><p>Plenty of sleep was necessary for this thrilling day of Singapore. It was one of the days many of us were all excited for. Finally, it was the day we finally got to visit one of the tremendous theme parks in Singapore, Universal Studios. It was obvious that we shouldnt eat too much breakfast, as this adventurous day consisted of many vigorous rides and roller coasters which would cause us to feel ill. After the delicious continental buffet, we set off to Sentosa Island by MRT where we spent the majority of our day. </p><p>After catching MRTs, Monorails and plenty of walking, we finally arrived at the enormous Universal Studios which made all of us ecstatic. The park features the world's tallest pair of duelling roller coasters that are based on the hit television series, Battlestar Galactica; a castle from the world of Shrek, Monster Rock, a live musical show featuring the infamous Universal Monsters and finally the world premiere of Transformers: The Ride which was fortunately opened recently. The only downside was that some of the attractions required a long waiting time due to its popularity. </p></li><li><p> The park was also accompanied by several eateries which allowed us to eat lunch; one of which was a creative sci-fi themed cafe. This unique sci-fi themed cafe was designed with streaks of blue lighting and consisted of many varieties of food and beverages. The exhausting day caused the students to be worn out, however there was still yet more to come. Within the island of Sentosa, we watched the spectacular show named Songs of the Sea which features dramatic special effects, engaging music and exhibiting Singapores finest pyrotechnics, also accompanied by a live cast. The stunning array of lights, lasers, and fire and water jets combined with striking computer image projections was definitely a visual feast to the audience. After a long, thrilling day at Sentosa Island, it was time that we finally headed back to the hotel where </p><p>students finally got some valuable rest and prepared themselves for the next breathtaking day. </p><p>-Showmik Chowdhury </p></li><li><p>Day 8 Today we went to the Singapore science centre alone with the omni-Theatre and Snow City. We began the </p><p>day at the science centre which is full of interactive exhibits. There was an optical illusion exhibit, sound, </p><p>electricity, technology, maths and a biology exhibit which included a UV room, allowing you to see the </p><p>bacteria on your clothing. We all enjoyed being able to interact with the exhibits. After a qui...</p></li></ul>