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Learning Journey to Chiang Mai, Thailand. 27-31 May 2019
A group of 35 students and 4 teachers from Hougang Secondary School embarked on a journey to Chiang Mai, Thailand from 27 May to 31 May 2019. Through this trip, we gained a greater understanding of Singapore’s relationship with our neighbouring country through appreciation of the cultural and historical features in Thailand. The visit to the local schools also allowed us to appreciate different cultures of learning of other countries.
On day 1, we visited the Old Chiang Mai Cultural Centre Khantoke for a Khantoke dinner. We were served with a range of northern Thai food and were entertained by a cultural show to learn about the rich history and culture of the country through all the traditional Thai dances.
On Day 2, we went to Elephant PooPooPaper Park to learn about the process of making paper from elephant poop! At the same time, we are able to do some hands-on activities by making bookmarks out of elephant poop as a souvenir. Next, we moved on to Mae Taeng Elephant Conservation Centre where we had a once in a lifetime opportunity to shower and feed the elephants. Next, we also had a hands-on activity to prepare food for the elephants and learnt more about the different types of roots and herbs used to cure different illnesses specific to the elephants.
After having a great time interacting with the elephants, we then visited the famous long neck village to better understand the life and culture of the Kayan long neck tribe. We ended the day with a visit to the agricultural paddy field for a hands-on experience on planting rice grains as a rice farmer. During the experience, we also learnt about the hardships that the farmers go through to obtain the rice that we have in our daily meals. Even though some of us faced some difficulty walking in the mud and some even got ourselves dirty in the mud, we still enjoyed the activity as we were able to bond with our trip mates.
On day 3, we visited Ban Don Kaew Primary School for a half-day VIA programme. We were greeted with cheerful smiles from the children and had a great time interacting with the children there through games and activities. Despite some language barrier, we enjoyed interacting with the friendly children and they also participated enthusiastically in the organised activities such as finger painting and balloon sculpting. After that, we visited the famous Doi Suthep Temple, a sacred temple for Thai locals and enjoyed a great view of Chiang Mai City. Next, we also visited a Thai cooking school and learnt how to prepare Thai dishes such as Pad Thai and Tom Yum Goong for dinner. Through this cooking experience, we learnt to be more independent and we hope to recreate the dishes for our family back at home.
On Day 4, we visited Mae Taman School for a half-day immersion programme. We received an extremely warm welcome by the students of the school through several traditional dance performances. We also bonded with the Thai students through the Loi Krathong song where we learnt about the Loi Krathong festival. After several interaction activities, it was time to bid farewell to the Thai students and we exchanged gifts from Singapore with them as a souvenir. It was a meaningful exchange as we forged many new friendships with the local students there. Next, we travelled back to the city for a hands-on pencil box painting activity and learnt that the box were crafted by the aboriginal tribe. We showcased our ingenuity to decorate the pencil box and took back the pencil box that we have decorated as a souvenir. Lastly, we also visited the Chedi Luang temple, which is one of Chiang Mai most important historic Buddhist Temple in the city that was built in 1391 and then expanded again in 1475. Thereafter, we stopped by 3 kings monument, an iconic structure representing Chiang Mai.
The overseas learning journey allowed us to bring back valuable learning that cannot be taught and learnt in the classroom. For example, Chng Min from 3E5 had this to say “I have learnt to showed more gratitude for the things I have in Singapore because I have witnessed that there are many people out there who are less fortunate than us. It also made me realised that I need to be more grateful for the smaller and simpler things that we have back in Singapore.’
Indeed was it a fruitful and experience-filled five days for all!
By: Joycelyn Ng Xin Yan, Ma Xiangyi Anna – Sec 3E1