Day 1 - 4th Nov (Sun)
Even though I researched on Hong Kong prior to this trip, my experience is quite different from what I read up on. For instance, the air is not as polluted and foggy. The streets are clean and the air is rather fresh. I felt that Hong Kong is a place where one can be immersed with the lights and colours on the streets. Arriving in Hong Kong and getting to experience what this city is like has made me all excited.
-Cheryl Wong Fernandez, Sec 2/4
I have never visited Hong Kong. Today, I learnt more about its culture and environment. I really appreciated the hills and natural landscapes of Hong Kong. The blend of old and new buildings also fascinated me. Given Hong Kong’s small land area, I also valued the importance of maximising land space
-Nachammai Muthumanickam, Sec 2/2
I have always thought that Hong Kong’s housing condition was somewhat like Singapore’s. However, there are many high-rise apartments in Hong Kong and I have not spotted any landed properties yet. I learnt to better appreciate Singapore’s living conditions as our older buildings are rather well-maintained.
-Nicole Lyn Chan, Sec 2/3
Day 2 - 5th Nov (Mon)
I learnt how to appreciate Singapore’s strategic location as it is not subject to atmospheric hazards such as typhoons. This protects Singapore from devastation caused by such storms. Heading to St Paul’s Co-educational College (SPCC) has offered me glimpses to the similarities and differences between Singapore and Hong Kong’s educational systems. I am impressed by the spirit of learning and drive that students in SPCC displayed. This motivated me to research further on Hong Kong’s heritage and culture after I visited Hong Kong History Museum.
-Geri Neo, Sec 2/3
I observed that students in SPCC are discerning in how they should compose themselves at different occasions and venues. I picked out many similarities in Singapore and Hong Kong’s education systems. Even though Hong Kong has been battered by many episodes of typhoons, I admired the grit and tenancity that the people exude. I was also impressed when I learnt how they coped and adapted themselves to typhoons.
-Ashlley Jane Loh, Sec 2/4
Day 3 - 6th Nov (Tue)
The view at Victoria Peak was breathtaking and it was a great place to admire Hong Kong’s picturesque skyline. I also visited Repulse Bay today and observed that the beaches in Hong Kong are cleaner than those in Singapore. As I was walking along the beach, I did not spot plastic bottles or cigarette butts, which are common sights at our local beaches. The students in SPCC are very confident and outspoken, even when they are on stage and delivering their presentations to the entire school. I am inspired by the preparations that they made and it was also an eye-opener for me as I learnt that debates are frequently organised in SPCC.
-Adrienne Chue, Secondary 2/3
School life in Hong Kong is fast-paced. The students work and move around quickly and efficiently. The students in SPCC are kind and inclusive as they actively engaged and conversed with us. I have also learnt to be more patient as traffic congestion in Hong Kong can lengthen the commuting time by quite a fair bit.
-Jasmine Tan, Secondary 2/3
Day 4 - 7th Nov (Wed)
My visit to the Hong Kong Housing Authority Exhibition Centre made me more appreciative of what I have in Singapore. I saw how expensive land prices are and the significantly smaller sizes of the public housing units in Hong Kong. Similar to Singapore’s context, public housing was kickstarted to address the issue of sheer number of people who were made homeless by fire outbreaks in squatter settlements.
-Clara Khoo, Secondary 2/4
I used to complain that Singapore’s houses are very small and after the visit to Hong Kong Housing Authority Exhibition Centre, I realised that I am in fact very fortunate and learnt how to treasure the space that I enjoy in Singapore.
My stint at SPCC also helped me to question knowledge that I acquired and seek explanations to my queries. This greatly helped me to make sense of my learning in the Hong Kong classrooms and enabled me to have a better overview of its syllabus. I am also thankful for my buddy, Alice, who is there to address my queries about Hong Kong. In addition, it is also a pleasant discovery that she shares some common interests with me.
-Jasmine Tan, Secondary 2/3
My visit to the Ladies Market taught me several important lifeskills and helped me in my growth as an individual. The repetitive stores selling identical or similar products taught me the art of patience as I visited several stores to compare the prices before making my purchases. Apart from the excitement of shopping, I also learnt to be vigilant and mindful of my belongings as it is a crowded location frequented by many people. I also valued the inportance of considering the needs of the community, especially when I was bargaining. Even though I would love to get a product at the lowest possible price, I saw that it is also important to understand that these people who set up stores at the Ladies Market are making a living. Given the high cost of living in Hong Kong, I even learnt that some of these store owners have to take up two jobs to supplement their household incomes. With these understandings, I was mindful and only bargained at reasonable prices.
-Nachammai Muthumanickam, Secondary 2/2
Day 5 - 8th Nov (Thurs)
Similar to SPCC, the students in Diocesan Girls’ School (DGS) can use their tablets for note-taking purposes in the classroom. I felt that Singapore can consider the use of electronic devices in class to speed up the taking down of notes and reduce paper usage. I am impressed by the availability of different study corners around DGS, which makes it conducive for students to revise or complete their homework.
Over the past few days, I observed that the fast-paced lifestyle of Hong Kongers make them work fast and efficiently. This also makes them more productive. Furthermore, I also learnt how applicants have to wait for up to 10 years to obtain a housing unit, causing them to prefer renting houses instead.
-Jasmine Tan, Secondary 2/3
I observed that each student of DGS has a school ID to record their daily attendance. It is an interesting system to keep track of the students’movements, but some of the students may forget to tap their cards at times.
Wetland Park was more interactive than what I expected. I was engaged with the exhibition booths that enriched my understanding on birds, wetlands and environmental protection.
The nostalgic, slightly run-down buildings that are dotted almost everywhere can be perceived as the symbolic streetscapes of fast-paced, lively Hong Kong. These streetscapes are commonly associated and recognized by tourists as an iconic feature of Hong Kong, which is akin to how Singaporeans associate the dragon playground as part of the Singaporean identity.
-Adrienne Chue, Secondary 2/3
Day 6 - 9th Nov (Fri)
My visit to Disneyland was an eye-opening experience for me. Instead of using plastic straws, the food stalls in Disneyland had the straws made of thick recycled paper. As paper is a biodegradable material, changing the material of the straws educated me in terms of the importance of being a critical thinker and shed light on how environmentally friendly the people in Hong Kong are. This made me feel that Singapore could also adopt such a practice (changing the material of straws) instead of going straw-free, which can bring much inconvenience to groups of people who are very accustomed to using straws.
From my learning experiences in SPCC and DGS, I felt that the education system in Hong Kong allots equal emphasis on both the English and Chinese languages. In addition, the Chinese language lessons are infused with elements of Chinese culture and historical events, which is a different approach from Singapore’s. I felt engaged during these lessons and value the importance of drawing parallels to how the Chinese culture and historical events have exerted influences on the development of the Chinese language. -Clara Khoo, Secondary 2/4
In DGS, there is quite some emphasis on inculcating the students with important life skills such as sewing, cooking and IT. I felt that this is a good approach as it really prepares the students for the future. As DGS does not have a canteen within the school compound, my buddy and I have to venture to the cafes and restaurants that are in close proximity to DGS. As we are donning our school uniforms, we get to enjoy student discounts for our lunch set meals. This is not a norm in Singapore as the local students usually get to purchase a variety of food from the different stalls in the canteen. Having to purchase food outside of the school’s compound was a unique and unforgettable experience!
I am very thankful for the learning opportunities in SPCC and DGS as I have always wondered how the learning will be like in other countries. I am indeed privileged to be part of this twinning programme that exposed me to Hong Kong’s education system, and helped me to see how Hong Kong and Singapore can work together to enhance the education systems. I treasured the heart-warming moments as I united with my DGS buddy (Karen) again after a wonderful Singaporean homestay experience in July. I also appreciated how I can ride on the advent of technology to maintain international friendships and continue to connect with the friends that I made in SPCC and DGS.
Hong Kong Disneyland is pretty similar to Singapore’s Universal Studio, but the former stands at a size of 27.5 hectares as compared to Singapore’s 20 hectares. This makes Hong Kong Disneyland slightly larger than Singapore’s. At Disneyland, I learnt how to be a risk-taker as I stepped out of my comfort zones and tried the roller coaster rides there. It taught me important life lessons such as how risk-taking can be helpful in overcoming my personal phobias and explore new undertakings. -Jasmine Tan, Secondary 2/3
Day 7 - 10th Nov (Sat)
The planned itinerary and programmes successfully enabled me to forge stronger bonds with my friends. The stay at SPCC and DGS was short, which meant that there was little time to bond with my buddies from Hong Kong. This was especially so in DGS, where I only spent two days in the school. I wished that the twinning programme could be lengthened to about two weeks. As I used to live in Hong Kong when I was very young, this trip was still very special and meaningful for me as it felt as though I have returned back to my second home. This twinning programme was like a dream come true for me as I got to step into the Hong Kong classrooms to experience the teaching and learning processes, and also to develop friendships with my buddies in Hong Kong. It is indeed an impressionable trip that I made many fond memories. -Adrienne Chue, from Secondary 2/3
Hong Kong has land area of about 1,100 km2, which is almost twice Singapore’s land size of 697 km2. The same set of challenges that these two cities face – land constraints and how to maximise the use of space. However, it fascinated me when I saw how the sizes of public houses in Hong Kong are significantly smaller than those in Singapore. Nonetheless, I felt that Singapore can still learn from Hong Kong in terms of exploring the construction of land-saving residential blocks such as the H-blocks, Trident blocks or even taller blocks to house more residential units. This can help Singapore to be more efficient in using our precious lands, which then allows us to enjoy more green spaces and have more lands that can be used to house economic activities that can help in driving Singapore’s economy. -Nachammai, Secondary 2/2