AEC : Heritage Trail

For this AEC Heritage Trail, Me and a few of my friends went on island hunting. We went to Saint John’s Island, then to Lazarus Island and lastly Kusu Island. Though Saint John’s Island and Lazarus Island wasn’t as appealing and interesting as Kusu Island, I sure did enjoy spending my time exploring all the islands.

So I would like to talk about Kusu Island. There is something unique about this island that all the other islands does not have. This island have a temple meant for worshipping the Chinese gods Da Bo Gong (Also known as Tua Pek Kong, Grand uncle) and Guan Yin (Goddess or mercy). Tua Pek Kong is believed to bring prosperity, cure diseases and avert crisis while Guan Yin is believed to be the giver of sons.

Kusu island has its name from “Tortoise” in Chinese. People believed that a giant tortoise had turned itself into an island just to save two, a chinese and a malay, shipwrecked sailors. Hence there was a temple built for the chinese and the keramat for the malay.

Since I have been on this island, I can’t help but see tortoise everywhere, in the temple and there was even a tortoise shelter. The people on board the ferry with us heading to Kusu Island were also fascinated by the peaceful ambience the island gives off. After we alighted, people were reading the signs as to how the island got its name and people were going to temple to pray for good luck. There was this particular set of steps that holds the Keramat for the malay people on top, people go there to pray for good health and harmony.

I have learnt of the whole story behind the founding of the name Kusu Island and how people go there to pray for their safety. What I took back was definately an interesting experience and not forgetting to mention that the scenery there was absolutely stunning because of the quiet environment away from the city life.

AEC : Activity 5 , Global Voices

In the following article I’m about to share, it is about people from North and West Africa risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean Sea on makeshift boats to seek sanctuary in Europe, to get away from all the civil war, conflicts and insecurity plaguing in Syria. It is normal for people to run away from places that is risky to live in because of danger. In 2015, more than 1 million people were estimated to have entered European Union countries by sea. Currently there are 240,000 people that have entered the European Union countries. The whole trip was not easy for them, about 3500 people went missing or have died while trying to get into these countries, as the number continues to rise to 3771 in 2015.

Hence, SOS Mediterranée is an organization aiming to provide assistance to any person in distress at sea, whether they are men, women or children, migrants or refugees, who find themselves in mortal danger while crossing the Mediterranean. It is a rescue organization that seeks out to rescue those people who have difficulty while crossing.

Also, there was a quote somewhere along the lines that says Libya is a country that has lost all sense of morality, returned to an animalistic state. There are kids who are trained to shoot at black people in the streets, rob them and torture them. How cruel can they be? People want to escape because they are unfairly treated. The boats that helped the people escape was not an easy ride either, they had to squeeze and bear with the smugglers. It is claimed that the smugglers scream at people, steal from them and even hit them. Two of the Africans on board died due to suffocation because of the exhaust from the engine. The boat was such a dangerous place to be because when somebody stands up, the entire boat will shake a lot and might even capsize.

This story really calls out to people’s hearts because what they are experiencing is something that no humans is supposed to go through. The sufferings of the Africans. Why must they be treated like that? They are humans too, just like us. We should all be equally right, whether it is the skin colour, the size differences, the race differences or the religious differences. I picked this story because we should all be aware of what is happening to other countries so that we can empathize with them and help whatever we can. They do not deserve this.

https://globalvoices.org/2016/07/18/people-are-getting-on-those-boats-because-they-want-to-live/

AEC : Activity 4 , What/Where to eat?

If one craves for seafood, the best place to go to would be Mezza9 at the Hyatt, it is located in 10 Scotts Road, Singapore, 228211. It is a buffet that caters to brunch (a mix of breakfast and lunch). Their seafood is freshly served and sustainable. Why this restaurant? This is a restaurant that operates with a sustainable source of seafood, this means that the kind of fish that they serve will still be available in the future. Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has started working with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Singapore and several great restaurants are partnering with WWF and MSC to showcase the fact that a restaurant can source for sustainable and quality fish that is affordable. This raises the awareness of problems that will arise when fishing in our own region.

For those that wants organic food, Café Salivation is a great place to have coffee. It was the first western vegetarian café in Little India opened in 2008. How it is eco-friendly is that it uses only sunflower oil and olive oil for cooking. The desserts served contains no egg and they serve Colombian coffee. The café encourages and educate people on eating vegetarian food because it is healthy. Living a healthy life is very good because the more healthy a person is, the lesser the prone to diseases they will be. This café does not use Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) at all, which is great because people who intake too much MSG will tend to have numbness at the back of the neck and arms, weakness and heart palpitations.

Breakthrough Cafe is a great social enterprise cafe to eat in. What is so great about this cafe is that the owner of the cafe, Freddy Wee, used to be a drug addict and had spent alot of time in and out of rehab and prison in the 1970s. By going to this cafe and supporting them, it is helping all the workers, mostly ex-drug addicts, to reintegrate back into society where they are given a second chance in life. It is located in People’s Park Centre, 101A Upper Cross Street. Perhaps some former convicts may never feel the same because people will judge them once they know about their history with all the offences but these former drug addicts are given a place here in the cafe where they can work.
.http://www.singaporefoodie.com/sustainable-seafood-restaurants/
http://www.cafesalivation.com/
http://www.hungrygowhere.com/singapore/breakthrough_cafe/

AEC : Activity 3 , Can I Change?

There are 6 stages to changing. Namely the precontemplation, contemplation, determination, action, maintenance, termination. After reading the article, I realised it would help me a lot in erasing my old and bad habits. It would be tough to try and change myself but I would take on the challenge regardless. Lets talk about one of my bad habit which is being lazy.

Precontemplation
Mainly the 4Rs : Reluctant, Rebellious, Resigned, Rationalizing.
First off, the reluctance to even consider trying to change. Who doesn’t love to slack and relax? Having given all your work to other people and getting the load off your chest is so much better than doing all the work by yourself.
I would consider myself a rebellious precontemplator too. Unless really forced to the point that I have to do work if not it would become a serious matter, I doubt I would do anything. Sometimes I just don’t see the need to make myself walk an extra mile for something that I could easily lift a finger to complete.
Sometimes things just seemed impossible, all the resigned contemplators gave up. It is as if you are fighting a losing battle, you could never win so all you can do is give up instead of trying.
Rationalizing precontemplators are those that find fault in others and not in theirselves because they do not really see the bigger picture infront of them. I won’t deny that I’m not one of them. Indeed I may sometimes blame others for not doing work and whenever they blame me for not doing work, I just deflected it. I don’t know how and I don’t know why, but whenever I reason it out, or rather, find an excuse for myself not to do work, the situation always let me win. Maybe because I can always outwit others thus I became more lazy as long as I can escape from all the blaming.

Contemplation
Frequently, my guilty conscience takes over me and I start to reflect on all the things I do. All those work that I had left for others to do and selfishly slacked off, maybe I should do something to help them instead of being so useless. I can list out a number of negative things that comes from being lazy but I can never seem to change myself instantly. I would think of all the consequences that may befall whichever actions I take and weigh which consequence will do me better than the other.

Determination
After all the contemplating, its time to change myself. Maybe its time to draft out a plan, a plan for my future. Determination is key to quitting. I always think to myself, if I had a goal and I work towards it, I would definately quit the bad habit that I always do and never realise how bad it was. I have to fix my mindset onto a certain goal.

Action
At this stage, I have to make sure whatever that I had plan and is determined to do comes true. I will have to stick to my goal and not just dream of it, but actually do it. I will have to follow all that I have planned. This makes me more mentally and physically prepared to quit being lazy and I will have to do what I said.

Maintenance
Changing requires a period of time, one can’t simply just change overnight. So after all the planning and actions I take, I will have to keep to my word. So when I plan to quit being lazy, I should always not be lazy and do the work I’m assigned. The temptation to being lazy again is always there.

Termination
Once I have kept my word and promises, it would mean that I have completely quit my old habits but it doesn’t mean that I have quit it completely because it is there forever. Despite all the fear of going back, I will have to be confident that I am a changed person.

http://psychcentral.com/lib/stages-of-change/

AEC : Activity 2 , Worker Writes

In this activity 2, I would like to share a poem written by Mohor Khan who is 34 years old and born in Munshiganj, Bangladesh. He came to Singapore to work in the construction sector in 2007. I have chosen this particular poem because it really touches me and it really made me empathize with his feelings. I can feel his sadness and sorrow deep within, what he yearns for but can never seem to have it.

In his first few lines of the first stanza,
“Streets with no madding crowds, its traffic melodious
spotless as the hearts of the civilized people of this city
diverse with crafted monuments”
He is trying to say that because of the construction workers, Singapore is what it is today. I could totally agree to that because they are the ones who built many of our housing blocks, schools, hospitals and many other buildings.

The last few lines of the first stanza,
“Everyday, with the perfect touch
of the bottomless love of my heart
this city, mother Singapore, has turned into
the chariot of the world
riding on the extravagance of youth”
is trying to imply that they are the ones that without fail, dedicate to their work and do the best they can and not half heartedly so that Singapore would be a better place.

The second stanza,
“Day after day I labour 
Layers of this city are infused
with the salty smell of my sweat
Today I am a mad city lover”
shows that he works very hard and despite how tiring it is, he never gave up on it. All the hard work building the buildings we live in today is because they were there.

In his third stanza,
“Have I forgotten
My mother, my motherland?
My wife waiting for me all this time?
The child who will carry the flag of my family
Have I forgotten him too?”
He realises that he had forgotten how it felt like to be back home, he is homesick and misses his family. It is very sad that he is very far apart from his family, even I would feel lonely too. His wife, his child, he hasn’t been there for them because he has to come to Singapore to work and support them.

His fourth stanza,
Every night, sleepless in the same dream
The underground train of dreams moves relentlessly
And the greed of money blurs my destination”
This distance has put a hole in their relationship and he wants to go back to see them but he has to sacrifise them in order to provide for them. His love for them in this case is not direct because he can’t be there for them, but he works and sends money back home, helping them. What a great man worthy of respect.

http://www.singaporeworkerpoetry.com/#!poets/jg0k8

AEC : Activity 1 , Unusual Occupations

S0 for unusual occupations, I decided to research on it and found several jobs that seemed really unusual. What hit me was the job with the mermaid as seen from http://mustsharenews.com/unusual-jobs-in-singapore/ . So this girl, Cara Nicole Neo, is currently 21 years old and she is a student of National University of Singapore. Her profession as a mermaid can fetch her up to 500 dollars per hour as people hire her for their birthday parties and corporate events. She is also the founder of singapore mermaid school, which in this school, teaches people the way of a mermaid’s life where they learn how to swim like a mermaid, think like a mermaid and do things that mermaids do.

In the beginning, I had no idea this was even a job, to be honest, I have never even heard of this job. How does she even swim with her legs bound and wouldn’t she drown? I thought to myself and then I went to watch her guide to being a mermaid. It really stuns me as it is a very unique thing to do and because it pays very well just for her to be hired to events and parties and all she does is gets into the water and swim swim swim. I mean this is a very well paid job isn’t it? All you have to do is swim and look elegant at it and you get paid almost 500 dollars an hour.

Mermaids are a fantasy from children novels, to think that she had made it realistic is really quite a feat. Probably only the wealthy could afford to hire her to their children’s party because it is very costly to pay 500 dollars an hour.

In this article, the unusual part to me actually meant unique. This is the one job that is totally different and has its own sets of specialty as compared to other jobs in Singapore. Normal people would be working in an office doing paperwork or in a store selling products and many other very common things but this occupation is like bringing a fantasy to life, it is very creative.

I’m afraid the downside to this is that since it is very expensive to hire a mermaid, what would be the case if there is nobody willing to pay so much just for a girl to don on her mermaid tail and swim like a mermaid? Sure it may be fascinating and intriguing, but if people only hire her for birthday parties or corporate events, there will be some day economy falls. Hence, I doubt I will take up such jobs.

AEC Reflection Week 5

What do I like and dislike most about Singapore? Do I possess any of these positive/negative characteristics?

What I like about Singapore is the diversity of ethnicity. With so many races coming together, Singapore is the only country that harmoniously gather so many different type of races as one and still live like normal people. With various type of races, it is bound to bring in several different cultures, heritage, values and what Singaporean likes most, FOOD. Everybody loves food, especially when it is so scrumptious as you drop your jaw with an empty belly. With Chinese, Malay and Indians making up the majority of the population, the food will more likely spread across these three races’ tradition. 

What I dislike about Singapore is that it is such a competitive country. We are always so busy to get things done and everything is in a rush. This cultivates a sense of “kiasuism”, meaning everything that we do must be the best and the fastest. This made things so competitive it is so pressurizing. So due to this fast and busy paced life, people have been finding ways to make things simpler and creating shortcuts. By doing so, the people will become lazier and lazier.

I, personally, am one the lazy type. I also always try to make a competition out of nothing just because I want to win in everything I do. It is not a bad thing but neither is too much competition healthy. By having so many competition, it drives a person to excel due to the stress.