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Learning Journey to Penang, Malaysia 21-24 Oct 2018

A group of 24 students and 4 teachers from HS Symphonic Band and Angklung and Gamelan CCA embarked on a trip to Penang, Malaysia, from 21 to 24 October 2018. Intended as a musical and cultural immersion programme, our Hougeans gained greater understanding of culture and heritage of Penang as well as exposure to music programmes of two local schools.

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Diving right into the trip with a service learning experience at St Joseph’s Home, a local orphanage, our Hougeans conducted a music outreach programme. They put together a music workshop, imparting basic music theory and knowledge as well as facilitating hands-on activities centred around various band and angklung instruments. Ariana Yap, a student participant of the trip, shared, “We were glad to see that they were enthusiastic when it got to their turn to have a go at the instruments. They were eager to try out every instrument and we could clearly see that some of them were passionate about music. That most definitely made us eager to share even more of our knowledge of music.” It was certainly an enriching experience and one that pushed our students out of their comfort zones. 

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The next day began with a visit to two local schools. Heng Ee High School hosted the HS Symphonic Band while St George's Girls’ School hosted the Angklung & Gamelan CCA. The groups received extremely warm hospitality from the host schools and were engaged in meaningful exchanges with both the students and staff of there. Neo Pei Yi from Band commented that the music exchange programme was enriching and gave her the chance to experience how it was like to play in a much larger and stronger band. Learning the value of each player and how one’s efforts and contributions can affect the overall sound quality of the band inspired her to carry that same attitude of excellence and discipline back in HS. 

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The final part of the trip, through Days 2 to 4, focused on immersing our Hougeans into the culture of Penang. This included a tour around Georgetown where individuals reached a deeper appreciation of the famous wall murals along the streets, a ride on the funicular tram up Bukit Bandera (also known as Penang Hill) to appreciate the construction feat that made the breath-taking view of the city accessible to all, a visit to a batik factory to learn more about the process of batik making as well as try their hands at dying their own fabric as well as a stroll along the tropical spice garden to discover the more about the natural herbs in our environment.

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The trip to Penang left every individual with a multitude of lessons and takeaways. Aliyah shared that it was a definite eye-opener and incredible experience for her. When she was touring the streets, it dawned on her that history fills every crack and line, and it was interesting to hear of the amazing things that happened back in the days at the very spot that she was standing now on.

Indeed was it a fruitful and experience-filled four days for all!