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Ying Wa Girls School

Hong Kong Twinning Programme 2016

Ying Wa Girls School

Day 1: 29 October 2016

Arrival in Hong Kong, check-in to hotel after dinner

Day 2: 30 October 2016

Places visited:

Lantau Island: Ngong Ping 360, Giant Bronze Buddha, Tai-O, Victoria Peak

Students’ observations:

“At the Tai-O Market, the fresh fishes were sold by the fishermen directly from their boats. While the dried seafood such as salted fish, dried scallop and dried squid were sold at most of the shops in the fishing village.”
- Kylia Liu

“The culture and style of life are still traditional in Hong Kong. Cooking of food using charcoals, houses, old style weighing scales, street and boat hawkers, are glimpses into their traditional way of living.
- Cheung Ci Ning

“Drivers in Hong Kong will only be able to drive their car into China if they have taken the driving test in China. Their cars will then have two licence plates. Yellow – Hong Kong, Black– China. Hong Kong car owners are also allowed to bid for a personalised car plate for their beloved cars. We saw car plates like “Ooops”, “Mr Ng” and “Randhawa”, just to name a few.
- Tee Wei Ping

“Hong Kong has many mountains and are really steep. They occupied 70% of the island. Unlike Singapore, shops in Hong Kong are cramped together, especially those at the Tai-O village. The walkways are also narrow, when it is crowded with tourist, it becomes messy and impassable. However, the Hong Kong residents are warm and friendly. Hong Kong has beautiful panoramic night view, especially when viewed from Victoria Peak. The buildings are lighted and are visible even from afar. 
- Renee Chong

Day 3: 31 October 2016

Places visited:

- School experience at Ying Wa Girls’ School
- Hong Kong Housing Authority Exhibition Centre
- Garden of Star along Harbourfront Promenade
- Watch the ‘Symphony of Lights’ show 

A Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) competency that I had applied today is “persevere in the face of difficulty”. As the main language used in Hong Kong is Cantonese, most lessons are held in Cantonese. Students are also more proficient in Cantonese than in Mandarin and English. This causes a bit of a language barrier between us and the students. The subjects taught in class are also different from what we learnt. However, I still pay attention and tries to follow the lessons.     
- Chloe Tham, Cyion Chua

School life in Hong Kong is interesting and holistic. Students are able to experience and learn many different subjects and life skill subjects. Despite the stress and pressure in school with lessons ends after 4pm, attending tutorial classes, completing homework and doing revisions, the students are still diligent and positive. Their tenacity is very admirable and it is something that we should learn from. They put their best foot forward, especially with them studying really hard for their tests. As our educational system is similar to theirs, we should learnt from their positive attitude and strive for the best despite the stress and pressure.
- Constance Chua 

I learnt that the public housing in Hong Kong is very similar to Singapore where the government built houses for people who cannot afford private houses. There is rental scheme for people who cannot own their own houses and pays a highly subsidised rental of HKD1500. They also have ownership scheme for people who will like to own these public houses.    
- Nadia Lim 

Students in Hong Kong attends lessons that are not taught in IJ, such Chinese History and Cantonese. Attending their lessons gave me the opportunity to learn a new language. It has been an interesting experience but learning it can be challenging. Thus, I’ve learnt to persevere when faced with such challenging situations and possess a spirit of learning and drive to seek out new knowledge. 
- Kylia Liu Sec 2/5, Edlyn Ho 

Day 4 – 1 November 2016

Places Visited:

- School experience at Ying Wa Girls’ School
- Kowloon Walled City Park

A new friend that I’ve made in Hong Kong

A friend that I’ve made in Hong Kong is my buddy, Alina. She makes me feel welcomed and is very accommodating. During lessons, when I looked lost, she would explain to me what went on during lessons and explained what the teacher had said. Alina is very hardworking and also good in sports. She is also helpful and always serves others before herself which makes her considerate. For example, when we went for recess, she bought some food for us and lets us choose the food we want before she chose hers. From her I learnt that we must put others before ourselves by being respectful and considerate. 
                                                                                                                                                                                        - Edlyn Ho

A friend that I’ve made in Hong Kong is Mandy. Mandy is disciplined and caring. She would never fail to welcome me into the class and she would initiate conversations when I am bored. During breaks, she would ask me if I wanted to go down to the tuckshop to purchase food and during PE, she would patiently translate the rules of the game instructed by the teachers in Cantonese to English. During lunch, she would bring me out of the school to buy food and introduce to me their local dishes. Mandy possesses a healthy self-confidence and attitude which makes her likeable. Thus, I feel encouraged to attain the positive attitude that she has shown.
                                                                                                                                                                                - Tee Wei Ping  

I’ve made a friend called Sophie. She is always very respectful and helpful to others. She has never disrespected anyone based on my observations and conversations with her classmates. She always offers help to those who needed a helping hand. She takes her time to translate on things which I do not understand. Sophie is a disciplined student who works hard during lessons and plays hard during Physical Education. I am glad to have met someone as kind and amazing as Sophie. 
                                                                                                            - Alica Judishar Ali 

A positive encounter with someone in Hong Kong

It was an old uncle who is a volunteer at the Kowloon Walled City Park. He is passionate about the history and architecture of the building in Hong Kong. He also tore in Chinese characters ‘Singapore’ from a paper which fascinates me. He is also talented in playing the flute. Overall, he values lifelong learning and craves for knowledge which makes him multi-talented in diverse areas. I learnt the true meaning of life-long learning and sacrificing my time to give back to the community, for example volunteering my time to help others and give back to the society. 
                                                                                                                                                                            - Cheung Ci Ning  

Day 5 – 2 November 2016

Places Visited:

- School experience at Ying Wa Girls’ School
- Hong Kong Wetland Park

Characteristics of Hong Kong life

I’ve observed that students in Hong Kong are trained to be multi-talented and their education system prepares their students to be holistic. They are taught to be conversant in three languages; English, Mandarin and another variant of Chinese language, Cantonese.  Besides the subjects that students in Singapore learn such as History, Mathematics, Sciences and Art, they also have Music lessons. Students in Hong Kong would generally have 2 months of holiday in a year. In Singapore, secondary school students would generally have about 3 months of holiday. During recess, the students in Ying Wa are allowed to go out of school to get their meals. It was during this break that I get the privilege to buy food outside the school; I’ve realized that the cost of living is high. Each meal will cost at least SGD$5, whereas in Singapore, I could get a meal with SGD$3. With such high cost of living, including the high cost of housing, that is basically the reason why they are busy working to maintain a living in Hong Kong. Thus, the students try their best to excel in everything that they do. 
- Nadia Lim Hui Ling

In Hong Kong, what characterizes the city is how vibrant and busy their life can be. My classmates in Hong Kong told me that their school life is extremely stressful and busy because even after school they have to attend tutorial classes, also known as tuition in Singapore. Similarly for adults, they mentioned that their parents spend most of the day working and if they are the only child in the family, they can feel lonely. However, the students and adults make the best of it. From the way they speak, they always have a positive outlook on life, energetic and enthusiastic. Even if it’s a small project or competition, they always put in their 101% effort into it. It is truly touching and admirable, considering the stress they face, they are still positive about it. Their positivity and tenacity makes Hong Kong special in my eyes. 
- Chua Yi Ren Constance 

In Hong Kong, there are many high-rise buildings such as offices and public housing. The high-rise buildings are densely built together. The sky scrapers that are built around Hong Kong city are the unique characteristics of this country. People in Hong Kong led a busy life. They rush to work in the mornings and return home late at night. There are usually traffic jams in the morning as people are rushing from place to place. This can be seen when they walk very quickly on the sidewalks. Despite their busy schedule, they are mostly very active. Their basketball courts, swimming complexes and parks are always full of people strolling and exercising. 
- Chloe Faith Tham Kit Yeang 

Day 6: 3 November 2016

Places visited:

- School Experience at Ying Wa Girls’ School
- Hong Kong Heritage Museum
- Ladies Street

Something that I enjoyed for the past 5 days:

I enjoyed Physical Education (PE) because I got to bond with the class. It made me realised that most of them are not as scary and intimidating as I thought. They are always friendly and talked to me during the lessons.Even though I got hit by the ball numerous times, I still felt very included. I also enjoyed the English lessons as the teacher is very expressive and animated. She walks around the class while talking, changes the tone of her voice and uses hand gestures to express herself. She also jokes a lot, for example by telling the class that they would all be getting a ‘D’ because they did not know who Elvis Presley was. She would act shocked, upset and hurt. I am not the only one who enjoyed her lessons. Everyone in the class were excited and looking forward to having English lessons. 
                                                                                                                                                                - Alicia Judishar Ali

I had enjoyed spending time with my Hong Kong classmates as they were friendly and warm. I also enjoyed trying the different types of food like milk tea and toast from the Tea House, Hong Kong street food like egg waffles and Chee Cheong Fun. I had also enjoyed visiting the different tourist attractions such as Tai-O fishing village, the Victoria Peak and the Wetland Reserves. The visits expanded my knowledge of Hong Kong, I also learnt to appreciate the scenery which is not seen in Singapore. I enjoyed the cooling weather in Hong Kong during this season as compared to the humidity we have in Singapore. Watching the Symphony of Light along Harbourfront Promenade was an enjoyable and invaluable experience even though there are limited seats available.
                                                                                                                                                                                - Renee Chong

For the past 5 days, I had experienced many different food, places of interest and characteristics of Hong Hong. It has really been a fruitful experience knowing about this country. From the tourist attractions to school life to night market, it has really enriched my life and gave me an insight to many things. From all these visitation, I learnt many things about the life and development of Hong Kong. I had enjoyed the many authentic taste delicacies in Hong Kong, ranging from Dim Sum to local street food like egg balls. Learning more about the famous people in Hong Kong and their contributions has also encouraged me to be a better person. I had also enjoyed the beautiful scenery here in Hong Kong, especially the night view from the Victoria Peak and watching the Symphony of Lights from the Harbourfront Promenade. The tram ride up to the Victoria Peak is interesting and thrilling too.
                                                                                                                                                                                - Cyion Chua

Day 7: 4 November 2016

Places visited:

- School experience at Ying Wa Girls’ School
- Disneyland

What can Singapore learn from Hong Kong or what can Hong Kong learn from Singapore?

In Hong Kong most shops charge a sum of money for a plastic bag. This reduces the usage of plastic bags and helps in saving the environment. Even though some shops in Singapore may do this, it would be better if more shops adopt this practice. Thus, Singapore retailers might want to start charging for plastic bags to consumers. 
- Alica Judishar Ali 

Singapore can learn to be more environmentally friendly. For example, in Hong Kong supermarkets, the cashier charges extra money for a plastic bag. However in Singapore supermarkets, plastic bags are given for free and consumers take it for granted. They would just chuck it aside once they have reached home. However, if consumers were to pay for the plastic bags, they might make an effort to recycle it as they would not want to waste their hard earned money. Perhaps, consumers can bring their own shopping bags when they go shopping. Thus, they would play a part in saving the earth as the use of plastic could cause harm to the environment. Lesser plastic disposed would mean longer lifespan of the landfill in Singapore.  
- Tee Wei Ping 

What Hong Kong can learn from Singapore is the cleanliness of the public transport with the ban of chewing gum. I observed that the public buses in Hong Kong had gum stuck onto it, making the back of the seats looked dirty and unsightly. This was also the main reason why the Singapore government banned the sales of chewing gum since 2004. Singapore might want to consider installing the sensor traffic light button instead of the pressed button. This would thus take less effort for the handicapped and in fact more hygienic for the public. 
- Ho Ying Xin Edlyn 

Singaporeans should learn to handle the fast paced life like Hong Kong, for example the school system in Singapore and Hong Kong are about the same, but majority of the Hong Kong students have a more positive view towards school as compared to Singapore students. At Ying Wa, the student leaders initiated some simple dance steps or exercise movements to help the students keep themselves awake whenever they feel sleepy or tired in between lessons. The students can be said to be self-motivated and self-initiated. These are some of the positive traits that Singaporean students should learn to have.

- Nadia Lim Hui Ling  & Chua Yi Ren Constance 

Day 8: 5 November 2016

Places Visited:

- Hong Kong Museum of History
- Citygate
- Flight back to Singapore

My overall reflection on the Twinning Programme 

The museum experience in Hong Kong has open up my horizon and awareness on the similarities and differences between Singapore and Hong Kong.  I’ve learnt that their countries’ history is vital in shaping the city’s future plan. Just like the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, Bruce Lee has brought the art of Kungfu to the world through 4 of the movies that he starred before his passing. In Singapore, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew has indeed made an impact to Singaporeans and the world. Overcoming housing shortage and the city’s planning are also similar challenges that both cities had to face. This programme has made me more interested in the affairs of my country and the world. 
- Nadia Lim Hui Ling

Hong Kong plays an active role in reducing the impact of global warming. Singapore must do the same too, especially as a developed country.  All shopping malls and shops in Hong Kong charges HK$0.50 for a carrier. This practice has consciously taught shoppers to play a part in saving the environment. Thus, it would be good if Singapore too can start playing a part in saving the earth too. 
- Cheung Ci Ning

I’m impressed by the positivity of Hong Kong students. The students at Ying Wa work hard by giving their 101% attention and participation during lessons. Whenever the teacher calls out a student’s name, they would not be reluctant to answer. They were not afraid of making mistakes. I’m one of the guilty one, who is always afraid of giving the wrong response when asked about my opinion or answers to questions discussed in class. During one of the music lessons, students were not afraid to sing aloud even if their voices are not melodious. In Singapore, most of us would usually keep our mouths shut during morning assemblies and refuse to sing the national anthem or hymn. But at Ying Wa, every student tries to sing and give their best. This has taught me to instil the spirit of positivity and be more courageous to try new things and not be afraid of being judged especially when it comes to studies. 
- Tee Wei Ping 

The students at Ying Wa well-disciplined and have great manners. They would let us, their guests to eat first before them during meals. They would also hand in their homework on time. Besides their manners, the students wear their uniform with pride as it is not wrinkled and is always neat. They are also warm and friendly as they often reach out to us whenever we needed help, especially when we needed the translation from Cantonese. The students there are also lively. They can be loud and noisy, but when lesson begins, they gave their teachers respect by remaining attentive and silent in class except when being asked to share their opinion or during group discussion. Even then, they do it in a disciplined manner. 
- Renee Chong Zi-Ann

I observed that there's a lot of emphasis on the Chinese culture. In schools, students are required to not only learn Cantonese but also Mandarin. Additionally, the school uniform of Ying Wa Girls School is a Chinese traditional costume- cheongsam. This shows that despite their effort to develop the city, they still preserve their Chinese culture. Besides that, I also observed that the education system and curriculum in Hong Kong is very comprehensive. The students take around 14 different subjects in a week which include physical education, art, cookery, needle work and music. History in Cantonese, Mandarin and Cantonese are just a few of the more interesting subjects that students in Hong Kong take as they are exposed to more of their Chinese and Cantonese roots so as to widen their horizon.

It is thus important to value our own culture and heritage roots. Just like the Hong Kong students, we should appreciate our own culture and learn to understand and love our past roots. Hence, we should take our mother tongue lessons more seriously and actually make good use of it. Additionally, we should be more willing to learn more, appreciate and find out more about our culture. I have also learnt the importance of understanding and accepting different cultures and traditions. In Hong Kong, there are many different traditions and cultures but the people in Hong Kong are willing to learn and be understanding of them. As Singaporeans, we should do the same too, especially when we have many races living in one Singapore. A person needs to find meaning at each stage of life. One can do so by learning to cultivate an appreciation for different cultures and traditions. Thus, only with such an acceptance, we are then able to build up a more gracious and harmonious society.

The students in Ying Wa Girls’ School are extremely helpful, kind, lovable and impressively generous. From small actions like helping me translate languages to bigger ones such as planning a farewell party for us, the students are remarkably capable, talented and not to mention, really caring. The girls in 3A that I was put in for the immersion programme had left a lastly impression on me. All of their warm hospitality and gestures had really made me feel very welcomed to be in their school. Even though it was just a short 5 days experience in their school, I had truly bonded with my new found Hong Kong friends through common topics of interest. I now have a better understanding of Hong Kong through the great guidance of my Hong Kong friends. I can never and will never forget how they painstakingly attended to my needs in class, was more than willing to approach me and befriend me and their great care they had showered on me. It was very interesting to experience the different school life. I really appreciate and admire all of the students' eagerness and diligence to learn, understand more about our Singapore culture through their many questions. To me, the students were like bees and beavers, always active and about, doing something productive and ever so positive and love to learn! The students and the new friends I had made in Hong Kong had made my overall experience in Ying Wa Girls School really memorable.
- Chua Yi Ren Constance

The twinning programme at Ying Wa was very educational as we experienced the different syllabus, school life and culture of Hong Kong schools. It was an eye opening experience since we could immerse ourselves in a culture outside Singapore and we could explore the world outside Singapore. The buddies and classmates of the class I was assigned to were very friendly and brought us out of school to try the various street foods available in Hong Kong. At the same time they would introduce Hong Kong to us patiently and teach us some Cantonese. The students are well behaved- they obey school rules such as not using their hand phones in school during school hours. During lessons, the students listen attentively to the teacher and try to follow the lesson, although the lesson may be boring. The students also do not complain much about being tired, although they have to stay up to study and wake up early to travel to school. The students are very diligent and do worksheets and tests to the best of their abilities. I feel privileged to have been selected to take part in this programme. 
- Chloe Faith Tham Kit Yeang