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Sec 2 Service Learning Trip to Shantou

“What does one do at a service learning trip to Shantou?” If someone asked me this question before the trip, I would say, “teach primary school students there, do some mural painting in the school, and go sightseeing.” However, after eight enjoyable days there, I’m confident that all forty of us would say that it was definitely more than just a regular community involvement programme. 

The first three days were spent at Pengzhou School. My schoolmates and I taught some of the primary 1 to 4 students there, and painted the school walls in vibrant colours to brighten up the atmosphere. When we first entered the school armed with lesson materials and art supplies, we believed that we would make a difference to the children’s lives. However, we were in for a surprise. The students not only showed us warmth and hospitality, they also taught us the importance of appreciation. They displayed their gratefulness by giving us little tokens of appreciation and they never failed to let us know that they enjoyed our company by waving and smiling at us whenever we bumped into one another. 

As part of the Education-Career Guidance Programme at CGS, we visited Shantou University during the trip. There, we were given a tour around the campus and an introduction to the university’s popular computing course. 

During our trip, we visited famous tourist spots in Chaozhou such as the Guangji Bridge, Memorial Archway Street, and Hanwengong shrine. In Shantou, we visited a local teahouse, Kai Bu Museum, Qiaopi museum, and a post office where we posted a letter of appreciation to our parents. On the last day, we visited Pedestrian Street, where we bought gifts for our friends and families. 

I will cherish the unforgettable memories we created through this service learning trip. I have to say that I have bonded more with my schoolmates and we are closer than before because of the trip. This was definitely an experience of a lifetime.    

 Reported by: Priscilla Boo (2S2)

Singapore Chinese Girls’ School Model United Nations

On the 14th to 16th of March 2017, 5 Crescentians, Tanya Lim, Mrithini Gritharan, Blessy Sharon, Harinyvetha Pandirajan, Kang Yeokyung and Kyla Kwan, took part in the Singapore Chinese Girls' School Model United Nations, or more commonly known as SCMUN. Over the 3 days of intense debate alongside delegates from other schools, we explored various global issues like global security and humanitarian concerns.   

We were tasked with various issues that we had to debate about. Harinyvetha debated about the issue of tax evasion and fair trade in the Economic and Social Council. Sharon represented the United Kingdom in the World Health Organization on the issue of affordable healthcare and substance abuse. Yeokyung debated about the protection of Civilians in Peacekeeping Operations and private military contractors in the Security Council. She was awarded with a verbal commendation for her thought provoking speeches. Kyla and Mrithini who represented the UK in the General Assembly debated on the issue of nuclear disarmament and Maritime Territorial Delimitation. Both of them clinched Honourable Mentions for their impactful speeches during debates. And I, Tanya represented the United Kingdom in the Historic Security Summit on the issue of the Abyssinian Crisis and the Spanish Civil War. 

I am proud to say that we won the 'Best Delegation' award, and also received a verbal commendation. This experience has opened our eyes to many world issues, and broadened our thinking to learn and accept different point of views. We were able to engage in research and we also had the opportunity to think beyond our textbooks and classroom. We are very grateful for this opportunity and constant guidance of the teachers in charge: Mr Marcus Poon, Ms Magdalena Furtado, Ms Pamelia Goh, Mrs Shirlene Koh, Ms Nisaa, and Mr Shawn Ng. We are thankful for this opportunity to represent the school and look forward to future MUN opportunities!     

Reported by: Tanya Lim (3S1) 
Head Delegate for SCMUN

RoboCup CoSpace Rescue Competition

From the 23rd to 25th March 2017, Computer Club participated in the Robocup CoSpace Rescue competition. There were several different areas to compete in, such as the CoSpace Rescue, CoSpace Rescue Line and RCJ Soccer. The RoboCup competition aimed to help us understand how coding could be applied in different ways, which in this case was robotics. It was an eye-opening and interesting experience, as we learnt how to use our programming and coding skills to not only move robots around in the physical space, but also manoeuvre robots in virtual reality. The training helped us to understand how the codes we used could manipulate the robot’s movement. From the fundamentals learned during training, we improved our scores progressively by changing the codes and trying them out. 

During the competition, we were able to put our skills to use by competing with other schools and improving our codes along the way. We also learnt how to use advanced actions to allow the robot to do specific actions beyond the basic programming that we were first exposed to. We also participated in a friendly match (where no points were recorded), so that we could gauge our readiness in comparison to other teams, before eventually taking part in the finals. 

Although we did not make it to the finals, the experience we had was priceless. After participating in the competition, not only did we gain more knowledge in the field of robotics, our interest in applying our coding skills was also greatly piqued. 

Reporters: Hanna Lee (3G1) and Nabilah Ulfah Bte Mohamed Affandi (3S3)

Overseas Service Learning Trip to Bintan

A Service Learning Trip – who would have thought it would impact our lives and change our perspectives so much? Who would have thought it would be such an enriching and memorable experience? The Bintan Service Learning Trip held from 6 to 10 March, turned out to be way more fulfilling than I expected. 

The aims of the trip was for us to expand our global awareness, be more compassionate towards others and appreciative of the things we have. With all these in mind, we departed from the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal at 9.10am on 6 March.  

We embarked on this journey with the impression that we were going to help the orphans, but when we left Bintan, we realised we learnt more from them than they did from us. On our last day, we told the orphans that we would be returning to Singapore the next day. Upon hearing that, they started crying and we realised how appreciative they were of our presence. It made us question our attitude towards our families and friends. 

Through the activities we carried out at the orphanage, I realised that I had undermined the time and effort taken to do seemingly menial tasks like mural painting, Kueh Lapis-making, or area cleaning. I did not realise the hard work until I had to do them myself. Bintan may be less developed than us, but they do manufacture many quality products from scratch. Not only did this experience help me realise that we are very fortunate in Singapore, it also made me appreciate those who did the work behind the scenes – the laborious processes before we buy products packaged in supermarkets. 

 The main takeaway from this trip would be to complain less and be more contented with the privileged life I have in Singapore. People who have lesser than us are much happier and more appreciative of what they have compared to us. I was very surprised when simple activities like playing soccer and social interaction could bring them so much joy. 

Thank you Crescent, teachers, and Bintan, for this memorable experience.

Reported by: Chong Sze Ann (2S1)

Sec 2 Service Learning Trip to Malacca

On 6 March 2017, 19 Secondary Two students from various classes, along with three teachers, embarked on a 5-day trip to Malacca. Most of us started off not knowing one another’s names, but we were glad that we got much closer after the trip.     

The trip aimed at developing our global awareness and serving the community in Malacca. However, it has definitely done more than that. We learned to be more independent and resilient, as well as have a greater sense of civic responsibility and cultural savviness.     

On the first day, we visited Kampung Sinaran Baru on the way to Malacca to have a feel of what it was like to stay in a kampung. We did various activities such as batik painting, top spinning, and even had a traditional lunch prepared by the locals. On the second day, we visited Hope Children Centre Bukit Baru orphanage. We carried out English lessons and several interactive games for the children there. We also did some cleaning by picking up litter in their yard, mopping the rooms, as well as sorting out recyclables. The third day was a time for cultural exchange at SMK Pekan Baru in Muar, while the fourth was a tour to the historical sites in Malacca.     

One of the key things we learnt was to be grateful. When we went to the orphanage, we were heartbroken upon seeing the living conditions that the children there had to put up with. This immediately struck us that we should be grateful for the things we had so often taken for granted - having parents to care for us, a good education, and a warm home environment to go back to everyday. Despite their hardships, they had smiles on their faces and enjoyed themselves when we interacted with them. 

This trip will definitely remain as one of the highlights of our life in Crescent; we have learned so much and created so many precious memories.       

Reported by: Marianne Nicole Cuaresma and Riqqah Hamjuri (2S1)

Sec 2 Service Learning Trip to Cambodia

From the 6th to the 10th of March, I went to Cambodia for our Secondary 2 service learning trip. I was curious to learn more about the history of Cambodia and the war that occurred in the past. It was my first time going so I was looking forward to it. 

On our first day in Cambodia, we visited the Killing Field and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, where we learnt about the unjustifiable war. On the second day, we went to Poun Phnom Primary School to conduct our lessons. Although there was a language barrier, we slowly became more comfortable with one another with time and patience. The third day was one spent at Samrong Orphanage, where we did farming and played some activities with the children. We also distributed many toys, books, and clothes to the children in the orphanage.  After lunch, we returned to the primary school to start painting our mural. We were devastated to bid farewell to the students in the school and the children in the orphanage after the short four days.  After painting the finishing touches to our mural, we gathered our emotions and said our good byes. This trip has made me more aware of what it means to be a Singaporean. 

The way of life in Cambodia is very different compared to that of Singapore. Necessities such as water and electricity are easily available here, while people in Cambodia have very little or no access to these necessities. However, even with the lack of necessities, they are still able to lead a happy life while most people in Singapore are still dissatisfied with what they have. I grew to be more appreciative of everything I have, and learned to not take them for granted.

I would like to express my gratitude to my teachers who guided me and ensured my safety throughout the trip, the new friends I made, and Crescent for providing me this unforgettable experience.

Reported by: Nurhaziqah Binte Muhammad Rashid (2G1) 

Secondary 2 Overseas Service Learning Trip to Sri Lanka

On the 5th of February 2017, 30 students from the Secondary 2 cohort embarked on a service learning trip to Sri Lanka. We were really excited about the trip, as many of us have never been to Sri Lanka before, and we could not wait to learn more about the country. 

On our first night in Sri Lanka, we went to Kandy. On our way to Kandy I managed to get a glimpse of Colombo, which was breathtakingly beautiful. There were seas of trees and plants, and along the roads, tons of stalls selling fruits, vegetables and food, as school children walked by in their white uniforms. I could not help but be drawn by the tranquillity exuded by this place. After our time at Kandy, we headed to the capital city of Colombo, where we formally embarked on our service learning programme. 

The school that we partnered with was Kahathuduwa W.N. Perera Kanitu Viduhala School, a primary school on the outskirts of the city. As our bus drove through the school gates, both the students and teachers welcomed us enthusiastically. Before we knew it, we were ushered out of our bus, to our seats, where three dance numbers prepared by the students was presented to us. Their elaborate costumes and adorable moves were quite a sight! The welcome and the performances provided by the school were a great testimony of the hospitality of our Sri Lankan hosts.

We were then assigned to our respective classes and as we proceeded to the classrooms, anxiety started taking root. Even though we had spent weeks preparing for this, we realised that in reality it was nothing like what we imagined it to be.  My group’s class was unresponsive from the start, which made teaching a little easier. Fortunately, the students slowly warmed up to us and eventually had a good time during the activities – their joy and innocence was so apparent when they received coloured pencils and drawing papers. 

On the last day at the school, there was a fair organised by the students, where they sold local and homemade products such as fruits, snacks, dresses and other craft materials. Many of us managed to try out many Sri Lankan treats for the first time! While the lessons were going on over the past two days, a number of our friends were doing up the murals for the school. They drew pictures related to Singapore on one wall and on another wall, they drew trees, stars, balloons, flowers to symbolise our hopes for the students in the school. 

The final leg of our service learning trip brought us to the Gangodawilla Girls’ Home. There, we taught our new friends to make Origami, sang nursery rhymes and played various games with them. The girls’ excitement over what seemed like a simple game moved us deeply. They truly embodied the saying ‘appreciate the little things in life’. Through this experience, my friends and I learnt to start appreciating the small things we have and we started during the trip. We tried not to complain about trivial matters such as not having Wi-Fi connection or malfunctioning air-conditioners. 

The day finally came for us to leave for Singapore and we knew that we will miss the children we met on our trip. As the wheels of the plane we were on left the ground, I bade goodbye to Sri Lanka in my heart, something I am sure many of my friends did also. Sri Lanka now holds a special place in our hearts.  

Reported by: Sara Bapat Manish (2S1)