2011 C4E Singapore Trip Report
Post on 10-Mar-2016
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 21 floored
building also possessed an amazing view over the town and ocean.
In the evening we walked through a massive shopping mall next to
our hotel and had dinner, where the Blue Ocean spider drink was
popular, as well as other intricately presented minuman (drinks).
Then we commenced the walk to the Malacca night markets, visiting
historical sites such as Portuguese forts and convents involved in the
past oceanic spice trade. It was said that whoever controlled the spice
routes controlled the whole economy, so these towns were valuable
assets for countries in the past. The view of the buildings and oceans
from the fort was truly spectacular, making you momentarily forget
you were in a city which was on par with the old Singapore.
The markets were very popular, with roadside performers and stalls galore, ranging from deep fried snacks
to delicate jade jewellery. Watching our pockets and trying not to fall down unseen steps sounded stressful,
but adventuring through these markets was fun. After the markets we wondered back to the Hotel
Equatorial or to the mall to do some late night shopping, trying to spend the large of amounts of Malaysian
money we had unnecessarily changed.
Waking up on Saturday was much easier, some
getting up at 7am to enjoy the chilly 4th floor pool,
while some slept in until 8.30 and all enjoying a
buffet breakfast at the Equatorial.
Ready to go at about 10.30 all 14 of us jumped on
the bus once again heading in the direction of the
historical Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum. The
museum, made up of three long-standing houses
owned by the family, displayed the diverse cultural
influences in Malaccan history.
After this intriguing the bus journey back to
Singapore began. The long hours between our stops at an organic farm, roadside eatery and our destination
were passed by card games, lively conversation and much sleeping. This was broken up by the delicious
experience of tasting the queen of the fruits, durians. After an entire day of travelling on a bus everyone was
relieved to eventually return to Singapore yet were grateful to have experienced yet another colourful
-Miranda Cowley and Darcy Moffatt
Day 6 The Botanical Gardens were beautiful, with a light
drizzle giving our experience a decidedly rainforest-
esque aspect. There were many types of flowers and
strange plants, as well as some well-placed souvenir
shops to milk the beauty of the gardens. The gardens
covered a surprisingly large area, with plenty of
walking on offer. The ArtScience museum had a very
interesting Titanic display, but that was really all it
offered. The highlight of the museum among the
students was the sketch of a phallus which was
created with love by a few thoughtful boys.
These are some memorable quotes from the trip that while may not make any sense now were hilarious at
Dude, how do you spell Singapore? (Jim, Day 1)
Lets take a shortcut (Je, Day 6)
Samuel eat chicken rice for breakfast, lunch and tea (Samuels grandmothers sister, Day 6)
This is so boring (Prabhatha, whilst on a ride at universal studios, Day 7)
Hey, this drink has Viagra in it (Prabhatha, Day 7)
This is like Dora the Explorer (Jethro, Day 7 at songs of the sea)
Beauty is pain (Samuel, Day 8)
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.
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.
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
students finally got some valuable rest and prepared themselves for the next breathtaking day.
Day 8 Today we went to the Singapore science centre alone with the omni-Theatre and Snow City. We began the
day at the science centre which is full of interactive exhibits. There was an optical illusion exhibit, sound,
electricity, technology, maths and a biology exhibit which included a UV room, allowing you to see the
bacteria on your clothing. We all enjoyed being able to interact with the exhibits. After a quick lunch at the
museum, we headed over to one of the most the technologically advanced movie theatres in the world - the
omniplanitarium. We watched flying monsters, a documentary by Sir David Attenborough. An intriguing
show which included lifelike terrasoars gliding across the 6 story high spherical screen. Unfortunately, the
screen was a little straining on the eyes, with huge amounts of panning and objects that were too large to
We then rushed back to the science centre to watch the fire tornado demonstration. An exhilarating
experience with a column of fire climbing to 6 meters inside a specially designed glass chamber.
We then headed over to snow city. After we got kitted up in clothes that would look ridiculous in any Darwin
wardrobe, we stepped into the huge freezer with temperatures that ranged between -5 and -9 degrees
Celsius. Snow city had a large tobogganing hill, which after climbing, you could slide down in groups of up to
five on inflatable rings, though, just once, they let all 15 of us slide down together. We went to have a
picture in the snow which turned into a massive snow
fight, resulting in some very cold and wet clothes.
After snow city, we got back on the MRT and headed off
in our own directions with a curfew of 10pm. Some
went to little India, China town or Dhoby Ghaut. Half of
us came back before 8, buying lots of fruit, bakery
goods and chocolate on the way home. We had a UNO
party with fruit chocolate fondue and decorated the
room with strings of flowers we bought in little India
(we later learnt not to eat fruit on the bed). The other
half of us were a little late in getting back. Overall it was
a very interesting day and we all really enjoyed
-Chloe Wallent and Louise Jettner
Day 9 We kicked off the day with an early start around 8am, we enjoyed a breakfast quite different to what we are
used to back home. We are not used to eating fried food
and sausages in the morning for breakfast. After
breakfast we headed out towards the NEWater Plant via
MRT and bus. We experienced how Singapore had
revolutionised its dependence on natural resources. We
were also given a few samples of pure H2O, however we
learned that we should not excessively consume this
water as it does not contain any nutrients hence it could
induce reverse osmosis within the body. It was a very
After we headed out the Singapore Discovery Centre,
upon arrival we were led into a theatre where we
watched a short movie which lasted about 40 minutes.
To be completely honest the majority of the class
thought it was quite humourous rather than touching.
Later in the day we headed out on a shuttle bus which
showed us around the camp of the Singapore militia, it
was indeed very interesting as to how soldiers complete
their training and we were surprised to learn that the
majority of training is completed in Queensland due to
Singapores small land. It was a very interesting display
with amusing effects, we enjoyed it a lot.
The tour guide then led us to arena and we were treated to a game of laser tag, this involved a team of 5
persons per group. It was indeed an interesting display.
Later that evening we headed out towards
Sarangoon to go the PARTYWORLD which is
a karaoke and leisure club. We were
provided with a spectacular room complete
with plush sofas, massage chairs, multiple
plasmas, a pool table and a very exotic
massage chair which indulged everyone
with a relaxing massage. We sang the night
away and got very competitive whilst
playing pool, enjoying complimentary
drinks and finger food. Overall we had a
great and enjoyable night; many of us
havent participated in karaoke in our lives.
Regardless we all had a great time.
-Saad Abbas and Jim Browne
Day 10 Waking up to the sound of the alarm clock, the
sunshine of Singapore greeted us to another yet
new day. After enjoying a long warm shower, our
bodies were dragged down stairs to fill our
nutrients that would be needed for our
adventurous day that was installed for us. Riding
the MRT to Tempanine we got off to a rough start
as the planned 5 minute walk turned out to
being more then 15. As our group finally found
our way to Wild Wild Wet we enjoyed the water
park going on different water slides and wave
pools until 1 Oclock. Lunch was a choice of a
variety of cuisines that was located next to the
park. After eating our lunches the group was split
up into people who wanted to go shopping and
people who wanted to go back to the hotel and
After being hyped up about the Wicked musical, everyone was getting ready dressed in their best outfits.
An hour of dressing and spraying went pass as everyone was finally ready to head to the MRT station
boarding the train that would lead us to Marina Bay. On the arrival of Marina Bay camera flashes exploded
everywhere as the mob made its entrance to the theatre.
As the curtains of the theatre rose up a sense of excitement and emotions could be felt. By the end of the
musical a mixture of action packed and thoughtful feelings wrapped us. Through the musical it had made us
realise the real meaning of friendship and how it was also with us never leaving our sides.
Day 11 Today was the last day of the Singapore school trip for most of us. How did we feel? Exhausted, due to
having 5 hours of sleep and then going to Marina Bay Sands SkyPark and looking at the spectacular view.
However there were a few problems with this. For starters, its 56 stories high and provides us with a full
panoramic view of its surroundings. While this did make the journey 56 stories up worth it for most of us, I
was terrified. The wooden floor was also a cause for worry, as it would gently sway and send chills down my
spine because I kept visualising us falling to our doom. While up at the SkyPark, we had a 20 minute guided
tour, which took us into the hotel guests area on top, where there was a pool that looked like it led right off
the edge of the hotel- that was pretty much it for the tour.
After the tour and making it safely back down to the floor, we had free time to do shopping so we parted
ways here and went to do our own shopping. From memory Louise, Chloe, Miranda, Darcy and Chris went
to Orchard Road, while Sam Yick and I went to Sunshine Plaza and Plaza Singapura, traversing seven storey
shopping centres and braving the circle line on our lonesome. Once everyones shopping was done, we
planned to rendezvous back at the hotel for some last minute packing and preparations and to everyones
surprise, I returned back to the hotel with Sam in one piece. After getting our passports and new shopping
packed, we head to the airport.
We arrived at approximately 6:30pm Singaporean time and went to check in and once that was all over, we
headed to Saboten for dinner, a Japanese restaurant. There are few words which could describe our
experience at the restaurant, but some of them are fatty, greasy and cold. The food we ordered was so
greasy and unhealthy it was a pleasure to eat; chances are there were tonnes of MSG in the food since it
tasted so good. After the pleasant meal and enjoying everyones company, we went to the departure lounge,
saying our final farewells to Chris and Mrs. Tan, who were staying behind to go on further holidays.
In the departure lounge we had some time to kill and we did this by means of shopping and taking terrible
pictures of each other. Showmik, Prabatha, Jim and Je, went and brought matching I
up on junk food for the plane and chilling on the ground, we made our way onto our flight and departed for
home. There are few words which could describe the flight, but some are: terrible, painful and sleep
deprived. I am unsure whether others got to sleep well, but I sure didnt due to the arm rest not staying up
and the lights being full blown for the flight.
Arriving in Darwin was a bitter-sweet feeling, we were reunited with our family and hometown but we had
to leave behind the cheap food, amazing shopping and cleanliness of Singapore. However regardless of what
we each felt, one thing was certain: we were home.
I really enjoyed the trip and wished
it was longer. There was nothing on
the trip that I did not like and I had
a great time.
The trip was fantastic. Mrs Tan and
Mr Northcote did a really good job of
organizing everything. Singapore is a
lovely place; I wouldnt hesitate to go
The entire trip was fantastic, Wicked
was an amazing musical, all you can
eat buffet with hash browns, fried rice
was amazing, good company with
friends including new bonds with
Louise and Chloe especially.
The best bit was most
definitely the Wicked play!!!
It was fun to dress up and
see something of such a
calibre as it was.
I love Singapore and will never
forget any of the amazing stuff
A trip of a lifetime, made even
better with friends and teachers
good company, overall a very
Singapore trip was tonnes of fun, if
only it had been longer! I really
enjoyed the different cultures and all
the activities that Mrs Tan and Mr
Northcote planned for us, it was well
Singapore was the best time Ive
ever had and its not just because its
a great city to be in but time spent
with friends, new and old, is
something that cant be beat. Oh and
Wicked was amazing!
"The Singapore trip was one of the
best trips I have been on; it allowed
me to become closer to my friends
and build a better relationship with
peers & teachers. It was a
tremendous experience and was
definitely worth the money!"
Singapore overall was the most amazing
trip- one I will never forget. However the
highlight was definitely seeing the musical
Wicked. The singing, dancing, costumes
and acting were all perfect and left me
amazed. It was the perfect end to such an
Not a regular school trip, but
a trip of life
Je Shortcut Jun
"I laughed. I cried. I sang. A
great experience. Wicked was
Being immersed in culture,
education and FUN!!! Good!
Definitely memories I will always
cherish. I couldnt have asked for a
better group of people, teachers, or
place to visit!!
It was a brilliant trip - above my
expectations. Fantastic bonding
with students and teachers
alike. LOVE IT !!!!!!!!
Enjoyed it very much, an
exhilarating experience, it
was great time with my
-Prabatha De Silva
It was a fantastic trip, all the students were
fantastic, especially since the atmosphere was
exceedingly relaxed and independent, the behavior
was also outstanding, everyone was friendly,
everyone was involved, there to have a go and
participated fully, a fun packed program.