Air Weapons Club Taiwan Overseas Learning Journey 2017
On 28 May 2017, a group of 17 students and 3 teachers from the Dunman High Air Weapons Club embarked on their very first overseas trip as a CCA with much anticipation. The main objective of this 6-day learning journey to Taiwan was to allow the students to experience and immerse in Taiwanese culture, as well as learn how historical events have shaped the political climate and social fabric of Taiwan. In the process of learning about the history of Taiwan, both teachers and students grew to develop a greater appreciation for the history of Singapore, in particular, noting how our Singaporean forefathers had similarly fought hard for our tiny nation’s independence. But more importantly, this was a time where old friendships were deepened, and new friendships were forged.
The highlight of the trip was the visit to Blessed Imelda’s School (静修女中), where the teachers and students were hospitable, and new friendships were fostered. Each student was assigned one buddy and their interactions with their buddy allowed them to know more about the activities and subjects available in a local school in Taiwan. The school planned meaningful activities which allowed for the students from both schools to interact with one another. The rock climbing activity was particularly memorable as the students from Blessed Imelda’s School were very enthusiastic in cheering us on as we scaled the wall, and it was heartening to watch the friendships bloom between the students.
We also had the privilege to visit both the Chiang Kai Shek (蒋介石) and Sun Yat Sen (孙逸仙) Memorial Halls, and witnessed the Changing of Guards Ceremony. The solemness of the ceremony revealed the immense respect accorded to it, as well as the magnitude of the achievements of Mr Chiang and Mr Sun. The experience left a deep impression as the students learnt how both of them played major roles in building modern Taiwan, and consequently, reflected on how our founders similarly contributed to the development of Singapore. In addition, we also visited the National Police Museum where the students learnt about the history and development of the Taiwanese police force, and played the simulation games that were part of the exhibits.
As the saying goes, “One cannot claim to have been to Taiwan if one has not set foot into a bustling night market in Taiwan.” Both the Ningxia（寧夏夜市）and Xi Men Ding (西门町) night markets were vibrant and full of life, with a wide variety of food stalls, street performances and retails shops that lined the streets. We had a fulfilling time tasting many local delights, such as the “XXXXL-size fried chicken cutlet”, cooked snails and stinky tofu; relishing what a typical night in Taiwan would be like as a local. We also made a trip down to the Vigor Kobo pineapple factory to make our own pineapple cakes by hand. Pineapple cakes, symbolizing good fortune, are one of the most well-known snacks from Taiwan. In addition, as part of the objectives to experience Taiwanese culture, we visited Ping Xi （平溪老街）, where we designed our own sky lanterns in groups of four, setting them off along with our hopes and aspirations. It was an emotional moment, as we stood united in our dreams for the future, and watched the sky lanterns disappear into the clouds.
17Y3F Sarah Pang had this to say about her experience:
“I have learnt many valuable lessons during this trip, the first and the most vuable to me, being the importance of friendship. Throughout the entire trip, we were all required to lean on our friends and cca mates at times. This allowed us to learn how to compromise with one another and to embrace each other’s strenghs and weaknesses so as to stregthen the bond between us. No matter whether it was between roomates or between our seniors and juniors, it is crucial for us to form a bond with others and cherish our moments with them. This is because friendship had allowed us all to open our hearts to different perspectives and learn to care for others whom might not have been very close to us in the first place.”
Sarah’s teammate, 17Y4K Sheryl Low added on with the following thoughts:
“This was not my first time in Taiwan but nevertheless was still unforgettable and absolutely fun. This was our CCA’s first overseas trip and many of us were excited and eager to travel with out CCA mates. This trip has taught me to be efficient and quick to avoid any delay in our schedule, it has also exposed me to a more natural, daily life outlook to Taiwan.”
Last, but not least, 17Y1E Chloe Tan, talked about what really stood out for her during the trip:
“When I was in Taiwan, I realised how different the environment in Taiwan was compared to Singapore. For example, I realised that there were very few rubbish bins along the streets. in fact, it felt as if there were none at all. Later on, I learnt from the tour guide that the government feels that if there are fewer rubbish bins, the people will generate less rubbish. Furthermore, when we bought food or drinks from stalls and shops like seven eleven, we were either given a paper bag with our shopping inside or asked to pay a dollar if we required a bag to put our shopping in it. After observing this, I realised how much importance was placed on the environment.”
This trip was an enriching experience as learning outside the classroom truly allowed the team to broaden their horizons. Furthermore, the team was also able to deepen their bonds as a CCA. The memories shared and lessons learnt, were priceless ones, which will definitely last a lifetime.