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 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

    the time:

    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)

    -Jethro Dickens

  • Day 7

    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.

    -Showmik Chowdhury

  • 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

    rewarding experience.

    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.

    -Je Jun

  • 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.

    -Michael Cao

  • 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.

    Jim Browne

    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

    there again.

    -Louise Jettner

    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.

    -Michael Cao

    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.

    Miranda Cowley

    I love Singapore and will never

    forget any of the amazing stuff

    we did.

    Rhiannon Holdsworth

    A trip of a lifetime, made even

    better with friends and teachers

    good company, overall a very

    excellent trip

    -Saad Abbas


  • 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

    worth it

    Chloe Wallent

    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!

    -Chris Zhao

    "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!"

    -Showmik Chowdhury

    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

    awesome trip.

    Darcy Moffatt

    Not a regular school trip, but

    a trip of life

    Je Shortcut Jun

    "I laughed. I cried. I sang. A

    great experience. Wicked was


    Jethro Dickens

  • Being immersed in culture,

    education and FUN!!! Good!

    Sam Yick

    Definitely memories I will always

    cherish. I couldnt have asked for a

    better group of people, teachers, or

    place to visit!!

    Taima Rahman

    It was a brilliant trip - above my

    expectations. Fantastic bonding

    with students and teachers

    alike. LOVE IT !!!!!!!!

    Esther Tan

    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.

    -Kevin Northcote