Monday, June 15, 2009

Sec 1 Learning Journey: Singapore Discovery Centre

– 27 May 2008 (Wednesday)

Written by Khoo Lick Chye

It was one of those weekdays, a usual daily schedule for some people but certainly not to the group of Secondary 1 students from TKSS. It is especially more so for me; my first time to help out as a Parent Support Volunteer. It started enthusiastically when I signed up for the program but it slowly became a dilemma. What happen if I am being assigned to my daughter’s class; would I embarrass her in front of her friends? Luckily, it turned out to be an unnecessary over-concern because I am actually facing a new generation of young men and ladies who are more outspoken. They get well along with their form teacher, from the way I see how they interact with one another. It is on this moment that I know my beloved and timid daughter will be in the good hands of TKSS.

The theme is about Learning Journey and the first thing that they should learn in life is that it is wonderfully unpredictable – the whole itinerary program that was given to us early in the morning was entirely not relevant; we followed a totally different program. Fortunately, the organiser replaced with another equally interesting program - the importance of strong friendships. The young friends that I have made along the journey may not have fully understood the implication of the exhibits; but for an old-man like me, it means:
Peace has to start with sincere Friendships; and
Friendships will prolong more Peace to mankind.

The guys and gals were treated to a start of knowing ASEAN, a community of ten countries or rather eleven (including East Timor). Questions were thrown to the floor but they were well answered; they are just too easy for these TKSS students. Next, the group proceeded to the EU (European Union) sector; teachers and students were encouraged to put their friendships ribbons onto a wall full of other ribbons. By the way, how many of us really understood the design of the EU icon? It symbolise “Looking-In, Looking Out” for each other, pretty meaningful and definitely a piece of art, if you don’t believe me look closer the next time. Next, the group proceeded to the UN (United Nation) exhibit which is a small room where 80 over people (two classes) were squeezed inside, well what better way to described being “United” to each other. If you asked me how many countries are there in UN, honestly I don’t really know and especially we keep hearing new countries that we never heard before, just like the recent 2008 Olympic held in Beijing. Anyway, who really care when we are talking about globalization, we are ONE big happy family, right?
The next event was probably the most important for all, including teachers and parents – the TEA BREAK time. Students are best customers; they queued diligently and faithfully give their parent’s “hard-earned” money to the stall owners in exchange for food and drinks. For once, I was utterly wrong that F&B stalls are struggling under this economic crisis.
After my well deserved COFFEE break which I must have every morning; we were ushered to a big lecture hall where the organizer flashed some very quick facts on some lesser known ASEAN countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia. She then very swiftly called for class representatives to come to the stage to participate in a quiz competition. Here again, you would see very classic class unity; some names seem to be the favourite among the students. As the quiz began, you would again witness the heart-warming class unity; the students stared hard to their classmates for answers and they were generously given. The height of the quiz is the 2nd part where more students were called upon to help their fellow classmates on the stage. There were pushes and rush to get the right pictures but the organizer handled the situation pretty well and professionally; she must have done these thousands times. Gees, those questions were tough even for people like me who used to travel to these countries quite frequently. For the students who got the answers right, kudos to them, I am sure their mum and dad are proud of their knowledge.
The last part of the learning journey is to do – Indonesia Wayang (malay word for shadow show) Making! Students were organized quickly into small groups; okay not so quickly because some of them were die-hard buddies that cannot be separated to join a different group. Students were taught how to make the Wayang. The activities must be quite interesting because the teachers were busy making (or supervising the making) of the Wayang. Students who have completed their Wayang earlier are becoming restless; one of them even pasted a tape over her mouth, I guessed she was trying to discipline herself not to disturb other people at works. Anyway, we can’t blame these youngsters, I was once like them who have endless energy to burn – sign, those are the days. The activities ended with some students being “arrowed” to perform the typical Indonesia favourite Wayang act – sort of similar to Shrek, the movie – loves, hero and bad guys. Lots of laughing and playful acts not only from the students who are performing but also from those who are not performing (audience), they certainly have a good time.
The learning journey ended at 12pm and the group headed back to TKSS. As for me, it was an interesting outing which I think it is also a learning journey for me. Back to work, sign off.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Beach Cleaning ... written by Michelle Hong

It was a beautiful morning. After a 30 minutes walk, the Sec1 students finally reached the beach.
However, the beach was not as clean as it looked.
Bright yellow trash bags and gloves were distributed to the students. Each class was assigned to clean up certain section of the beaches. The teachers briefed the students on what are they supposed to do and were also reminded not to go too near to the water.
The students began picking up litter on the beach and throwing them into the yellow trash bags. All the students helped to clean up the beach even under the sun! The PSG also joined in the fun.

After one hour, the sandy beach looked cleaner and the yellow trash bags were full. The students had loads of fun and laughed when they found strange looking rubbish.
The Sec 1 students were doing a great job. Time to walk back to the school and guessed what, Sec 1G class who are at the other side of the beach managed to see our President Mr Nathan exercising at the beach. The students were so excited and some of them managed to take photos with the President.
Of course, the PSG enjoyed themselves as well. We have a great exercise and at the same time helping up the environment.

Acknowledgement: Article contributed by Ms. Michelle Hong who has a son in sec3. She is one of the most regular volunteer parents.