2020年4月19日 星期日

Exchange in SUTD Week 12: From Circuit Breaker Period to the End of Term

Since there are more and more cases of COVID-19 infection, the Singapore government decided to apply the circuit breaker measures from April 7 to May 4. Meanwhile, SUTD also started to implement full e-learning for all students.

Considering the e-learning experience, I personally feel that learning in classroom is more efficient. Since professors cannot see us in person, it is hard to tell whether we are keeping up so far. Also, it is hard to pay attention when learning online because we might get distracted and start doing something else easily. The good news is that since we cannot go anywhere during this period, we have plenty of time to deal with our assignments and prepare for our final exam.

During the circuit breaker period, I stay in my room most of the time. As for meals, I either order Grab food or I go to restaurants in Changi City Point. Except for getting food or necessities, we usually won't leave our hostel. Though it might seem somewhat boring, the first priority is to stay healthy and hope that the pandemic will end soon.

In sum, this is pretty much my exchange life for the last month in Singapore. Though the COVID-19 did affect quite a lot, I'm still glad that I came to Singapore for exchange. I appreciate all the exchange and local students I met here. By the way, there are still some places where I didn't have a chance to visit so I will definitely come back again.

2020年4月12日 星期日

Exchange in SUTD Week 11: S.E.A. Aquarium

S.E.A. Aquarium is one of the world-class attractions located on Singapore's resort island of Sentosa. Though the most popular attraction in Sentosa should be Universal Studios, we decided to visit S.E.A. Aquarium due to insufficient time. To travel to Sentosa from campus, we took the SMRT to Harbourfront station first, and then we transferred to Sentosa Express at Vivocity station.

I can't recall when was the last time I went to an aquarium, but S.E.A. Aquarium is definitely the finest I've been to. On the official website, it said that there are more than 100,000 marine animals of over 1,000 species in the aquarium. There are many charming species like sea dragon, shark, and jellyfish, just to name a few. In the end of the Aquarium, there is a huge tank which contains many kinds of fish. Moreover, we were really lucky to encounter the feeding show by the staffs there. When we observed the intimate relationships between the staffs and fish, we knew that the fish have been treated nicely.

In short, S.E.A. Aquarium is definitely a must-visit place in Singapore. However, due to the deteriorating situation of the virus, all attractions in Sentosa will be temporarily closed from April 6. After all, ensuring everyone's safety is the top priority during this tough time.   

2020年4月9日 星期四

Exchange in SUTD Week 10: Volunteer in Willing Hearts

Thanks to the TF LEaRN Programme, I had the opportunity to be a volunteer in Singapore. Originally, the Rotaract Club would provide feasible project for us. However, due to the deteriorating virus situation, we have to find volunteer work on our own.

After doing some research online, I finally found this organization called Willing Hearts. Willing Hearts is a secular, non-affiliated charity, and is operated by a handful of staff and volunteers. It is a soup kitchen that cooks around 6,500 meals for underprivileged people in Singapore 365 days a year.

As a volunteer, there are several tasks to do. I will enumerate them as below:
  1.  Pack lunch boxes 
  2.  Wash Pots and Pans 
  3.  Prepare ingredients (defrosting, taking out, chopping...)
  4.  General help
For me, being a volunteer in Willing Hearts is not that difficult. However I still faced a few challenges. One of them is that sometimes I would find myself lost in the midst of hustle and bustle in the kitchen. Fortunately, this did not last for too long. After working for a few hours, I found out that whenever I don't know what to do, I can just ask any staff there, and they will be willing to tell me where I can help. The biggest challenge I faced has to be handling fish. Our job is to gut all the fish. I had never saw so many dead fish in front of me before, and the fishy smell made me want to vomit. Even I wore gloves, the smell has left on my hands for the whole day. Overall, this is definitely a unique experience when I recall my exchange life in Singapore in the future.

Exchange in SUTD Week 9: COVID-19

Concerning the situation of COVID-19, it has been deteriorating since the beginning of the term. We were so lucky that we came back from Cebu on March 14th since Philippines government announced Manila would go on lockdown for one month from March 15th. The situation only gets worse. Before we went to Philippines, there were only 3 cases. However, after we came back, there were more than three hundred cases.

Here, I want to talk about the policies and measures carried out by the Singapore government. Starting from mid-March, the Singapore government have announced that everyone has to practice "social distancing" in malls and supermarkets. Meaning that people should keep at least 1 meter away from others. After the government announced the policy, I was so shocked that all places implement it right away. As time goes by, the social distancing policy has become more and more strict. On March 27th, the Singapore government announced that people who do not observe the physical distancing in non-transient interactions can be fined up to SGD10,000 (NTD223,000) or jailed up to six months. The penalties are insane.

As for the measures implemented by SUTD, after the government announced that all classes being conducted online, all local students were forced to move out the hostel by April 8th. Moreover, apart from the canteen, the school was completely shut down.

When I'm writing this post, the latest policies in Singapore are as below:

  • Most workplaces are closed, and learning for schools is moved to full home-based
  • Safe distancing measures are also implemented on public transport networks
  • F&B outlets will remain open but only takeaway
  • non-essential services, resorts will be temporarily closed  

The measures implemented by the Singapore government are somewhat depriving citizens' right. However, it is really a hard time for everyone, and the government is trying its best to protect us. I hope we can overcome the harsh situation as soon as possible.

Elevator in SUTD

Malls are closed

2020年4月7日 星期二

Exchange in SUTD Week 8: Trip to Philippines II

3/9-3/11 Bohol

Day 3

After we arrived in Bohol, we realized that here is totally different from Manila. The island is definitely a holiday resort. Since we already planned a whole day trip on day 4, we decided to relax today. After we settled down in our place, we took tuktuks (tricycle) to Dumaluan Beach where our host recommended us. Dumaluan Beach is undoubtedly the finest beach I had been so far. The water is clean, the sand is white, and there are only a few tourists. 


Dumaluan Beach

Day 4

Our host hired a van for us, and the driver took us on a whole day trip. Since we did too much within this day, I would simply share some places we went with pictures.

First time riding ATV

Chocolate Hills

Having buffet on a boat

Stunning view at Alona Beach

Our place is really cozy

3/11-14 Oslob

Day 5

We woke up at 4 am because we had to take the ferry from Panglao to Oslob. The ferry only operates once every day, and it departs at 6:30 am. It was quite an interesting experience because after we arrived at Momo Beach, we must wade to the boat.  

We finally arrived at our hotel in Oslob at around 9. Since we woke up quite early, we just stayed around our place for the rest of the day. 

The view outside our room is unreal

Shakes are the best in Philippines

Day 6
So far, I think all of our hotels and hosts are really nice. During our stay in Oslob, our host even cooked breakfast for us. I would never imagine having breakfast right beside the sea.

After breakfast, we were ready to explore around Oslob. Our first plan was to go snorkeling and swim with sea turtles and sardines. It's a pity that none of us brought our phones with us so we didn't picture anything. After snorkeling, we headed toward the Kawasan Falls. Here, not only did we swim in the waterfalls but also try jumping off the cliffs. The waterfalls are breathtaking but jumping is a little bit too much for me. Originally, I was going to try jumping from a 15 meters high waterfall. However, I felt so freaked out after jumping off from 7 meters high so I gave up. After visiting the Kawasan Falls, we returned to our place and called it a day.

Filipino food for dinner

Day 7

It was our last whole day in Oslob. We decided to take a bus to Tingko Beach and just relax. Tingko Beach is rarely known by tourists so it is very quiet. Also, it is very clean, meaning it's a suitable place to swim.  

Day 8

Once again, we woke up very early on the last day because our plan was to watch whale sharks. As everyone knows, swimming with whale sharks is the most well known activity in Oslob. However, we decided not to swim since we were all too tired in the end. Instead, we just watch whale sharks on a canoe. The experience was not bad, but I personally think the best place to visit in Oslob is the Kawasan Falls.

2020年4月6日 星期一

Exchange in SUTD Week 7: Recess Week--Trip to Philippines I

3/7-3/9 Manila

Day 1

During the recess week, we traveled to Philippines for 8 days. For the first 3 days, we stayed in Manila. 

After we arrived in Manila, we headed straight for a highly evaluated cafe to enjoy our breakfast. Then, we decided to proceed to our hotel on foot. Though it showed on the Google map that it was a 30-minute walk, it was the most tiring journey that I had ever experienced. In Manila, the traffic is always heavy, and most drivers honk the horn continuously. What's worse, sidewalks are rough and narrow, and often there's no traffic lights and crossroads. We all felt very tired after we arrived at our hotel. However, I think it's worth walking since we got the chance to go deep into the society.

Random view of a street

After we rest for a while in our room, our last plan was to go to Little Venice. The place is really stunning, and there are also many decent shops there. I would highly recommend one to visit there. 

Little Venice

So far, my experience in Philippines is well enough. However, there are some points that one should be careful for. First, the public transportation is really inconvenient. Thus, most of the time we hire Grab. Second, there is a lot of crime in the city so one should avoid going alone or going out in the night.  

View from our place

Day 2

After lunch, we went to the Rizal Park, which is one of the largest urban parks in Asia. In Rizal Park, there is a green space where we can enjoy the view of Chinese Garden and Japanese Garden. Due to the hot weather, we didn't spend too much time in the park. Instead, we went to the National Museum of the Philippines. the museum is pretty big and most of the displays are art. 

Chinese Garden

Casa Manila

As dusk fell, we decided to visit the oldest Chinatown in the world. Most of the buildings there are quite ancient. Unlike other Chinatowns, the Chinatown here doesn't have much shops or restaurants. It is more like a historical spot rather than a tourist spot. After visiting Chinatown, we went to a Korean restaurant to eat sashimi. It was definitely the best meal we had in Philippines. 

Watching sunset on William A. Jones Memorial Bridge

Binondo Church in Chinatown


Day 3

It's the day we left for Bohol. After we woke up, we went straight to the airport.

2020年3月24日 星期二

Exchange in SUTD Week 6: Coney Island

This week our exchange buddy from SUTD took us on a one day trip to Coney Island. Coney Island (Serangoon Island) is located on the north eastern part of Singapore. Our exchange buddy said it is not one of the most popular tourist spots because it is quite far from everywhere.

Coney Island is so undeveloped that we will be surrounded by tall skinny trees along the trail. What's more, we can even encounter wild animals on the island. After searching online, I found most people suggest to explore this island by renting a bike. However, we didn't do that. We chose to walk on foot and it turns out really exhausting.

Do try out this "White Bee Hoon" (白米粉) 

Salted egg sotong!

We're so lucky to encounter a wad of monkey