#CA1

Heritage Trail

For those who do not know that there is such island called ‘Coney Island’ existed in Singapore I shall give you a short introduction about it. Coney Island has an alternative name which is called ‘Pulau Serangoon’. It is known to be rich in history and biodiversity.

CljsXKNVYAAVnOr.jpg

Coney Island is located off the northeastern coast of Singapore within the town of Punggol, between Pulau Ubin to its northeast and the mainland to its southwest. In Coney Island, you will be able to spot various species of bird (80), diverse wildlife and abundant flora. On my trip there I was lucky enough to catch sight of at least two different kinds’ species of bird. I was managed to take a photo of one of the bird. It consists of yellow and black color (although I don’t know what breed it is).  Dejectedly I was not able to capture the other one which flew away before my camera could capture it; it was another captivating bird which consists of blue and white color.

What I learned during this trip is that Coney Island is an ecologically sustainable park. It mainly focuses on conserving energy and water and also preserves of the natural elements in the park. Out of 5 beaches in Coney Island, I visited the one nearer to the west entrance which is Beach A. Each beach has been given a specific theme. Beach A theme would be ‘Back Mangroves Trees’. For your interest beach B, C, D and E are themed Beach front scrub, rare coastal trees, Coastal hill forest tree and Beach front trees.

CljsnL9VEAEX0IMScreenHunter_08 Jul. 18 21.55

Coney Island is dominated by Casuarina trees. Nearest to the west entrance there is a built play area called the Casuarina exploration. Interesting fact: the name ‘casuarina’ is derived from Malay. The characteristic of the trees are being tall, conical shaped with needle-like twigs and fruits that are grown on them that look similar to durian. For the bird lovers there is a bird shelter available in the park. Another interesting about Coney Island is that there is an abandon villa named ‘Haw Par Beach Villa’. This magnificent villa was built back then in the 1930s, the villa is 80 years old now it was built by the Burmese-born Aw brothers. They named Coney Island as Haw Par Island, they built a huge business empire with their trademark Tiger Balm ointment.  It was left abandon as during the Japanese occupation, the villa was destroyed.

CljsuGzUoAEvykxe18-NoCow

 

You will be able to explore in the Haw Par Beach villa in Coney Island through the mangrove swamp, however it is highly encouraged to not be curious and explore the area as it is quite dangerous. If you are lucky enough you might have the opportunity to witness the otters around the area.

ScreenHunter_12 Jul. 20 22.07.jpghttp://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/singapore-s-coney-island/2299330.html

The trip to Coney Island make me realize that having such natural environment available is really nice and rare, but in order to preserve these places we should not be littering around, keeping the place clean. As an active and effective citizen I should do my part to preserve the environment by making sure the place is not polluted by litters. Once in awhile it feels better to get away from the city life and come to these places to relax ourselves and appreciate the environment.

I hope you enjoyed my presentation, I hope my presentation spark of your interest to visit Coney Island especially those who loves nature and bird watching. I would strongly recommend you to cycle in or rent a bike if you do not own one, best is to be dressed in sports attire with a cap as it is humid in there. It is beside Punggol Promenade Nature Walk. Lastly the opening hours are from 7am – 7pm! Enjoy your trip there!

 

Advertisements

#CA1

Money, Money, Money

As cliché as it is, money remains necessary for our daily life. Money plays an important role in our life as most of the things we have around us have monetary values. After looking through the various courses on the website I have decided to take on “Understanding the cost of buying a home”. Which I felt that learning more about it will be more relevant in the future.

Firstly I learned about the golden five-step process.

  1. Understand your objectives in buying a home
  2. Understanding the cost of buying a home and choosing a loan
  3. Calculating the cost involved when buying a home
  4. Accessing your own resources and how much you can afford to purchase
  5. Deciding on the appropriate home

With the help of these five-steps, it makes buying a home a lot easier. Through this I get to know to prioritize my needs and wants during the consideration process of getting a home. It makes things clearer and I am more aware of the purpose of getting a home.  Next, understanding the cost of buying a home is important too as I need to be capable financially to pay for the down payment of the house which has to be paid in cash. For example in a situation that I am unable to afford buying the house, I can get loan (Home loan/mortgage loan) however I have to meet the eligibility. Another thing I have learnt is that there are two types of home loan, fixed rate or the variable rate.

I learnt that it is important to be fully aware of your own financial status, it is highly recommended to not take a loan if one is not capable of paying it. The amount of money being borrowed to you for home loan is also not given according to your wish; it will be based on certain criteria and would be calculated using the financial calculator. For bank loan the duration of maximum repayment period would be only 35 years and also will be calculated in another formula.  It might seem too early to know all this, but I think it is rather useful and I can apply it in the future.  Overall I felt that this e-learning program is very useful and it can greatly benefit students as well as young adults who have trouble managing their money which enables them to gain more knowledge on how to manage their finance in a way that is easily understood.

http://finlit.sg/

#CA1

What? We kinda’ caused the haze?

What?  We are actually contributing to haze? Sadly yes. Despite us being the ones complaining about haze, little did we realize that we are indirectly contributing to haze! Haze is a condition (pollution) that is largely caused by the burning of large tracts of forested land in Indonesia.

Question here, why was the method of burning large tracts of forested land used? Firstly, to clear land in a faster and efficient way, fire is a good method considered to other methods for example cutting the trees down one by one.

The reason for doing so is because of the high demand of palm oil products and paper production.  Companies that are involved in the deforestation in Indonesia are mainly palm oil, paper and logging companies. The demands by consumer play an important role in contributing the haze which led to consequences such as the health of people are at risk, causing certain species of animal to face extinction (The Orangutan).

In fact we can play a part in helping to improve the situation on haze. First of all, considering how consumer demands are important, we can demand our palm oil and paper products to be sustainable. If these products are sustainable, we are able to reduce the chances of deforestation which contributes to haze. Hence it will be haze-free it is a win-win situation as we as consumer gets what we want and is able to help the environment at the same time. Secondly, companies that have been involving in the burning of forested land should stop as it contributes to haze. Alternatively we can support sustainable companies on selling palm oil and paper as well as reduces our usage on papers.  Each and everyone should do a part as this is harming the environment. It is like a cycle, when the environment is harmed, we ourselves will be harmed too therefore there is really a need to reduce haze and not allowing the companies that has been using excuses of consumer needs to burn the forest. Next we have to reject Biofuel that is made from palm oil as the encouragement of the use of biofuel from palm oil will rapidly increase the percentage of deforestation from happening. People can also do their part by signing up as many petitions on stopping the haze as possible. We should be saving Earth and not harming Mother Nature, deforestation has caused many animals to face extinction. Burning the forest is the same as destroying their habitats and causing them to lose their homes. Instead of continuing doing this, we should be doing something to prevent this from happening more in the future.

These are some of the websites that I have found is either teaching us how to prevent haze or is supporting on the movement to stop haze. http://pmhaze.org/the-haze/causes/causes-of-haze/  , http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/stop-the-haze/  , http://www.earthhour.sg/

 

http://pmhaze.org/the-haze/causes/causes-of-haze/

#CA1

Global Voices

There are many things that are happening around the world, many problems unsolved. There were many topics to choose from, be it articles on politics, culture or even human rights. This is the article that drew my attention when I was casually scrolling down the webpage looking for an article that interests me in order to do this reflection.  I will give a short summary of what this article is about.

This is a new hash tag that is trending in Ukrainian segment of Facebook.  #IAmNotAfraidToSayIt. People use this hash tag to share their stories and experiences of sexual harassment, sexual violence or even domestic violence. This hash tag was started by activist and journalist, Nastya Melnychenko. The main reason behind creating this hash tag is because she felt that there is a need to talk about her personal experiences of sexual violence because it is important for woman who has faced such violence to speak about it.

This hash tag has been trending in that particular country, many has followed this hash tag by sharing their experiences under the comment section or even starting their own post with that hash tag.

I was taken aback by the fact that these people who are victims of this incident are willing to open up and talk about their experience to the public. Personally I feel that it is important for them to face their past and not let it haunt them, talking about it might be helpful to them. I am glad for the person who started this trend, it actually encourages the people who have faced similar experiences be brave enough to face it and actually talk about it to the public.

“Speaking about discrimination, injustice, violence is the first step toward change. When we speak about these things, others understand that they are not alone, that they must protect their rights, and that no person should face such discrimination. We support #IAmNotAfraidToSayIt” – credits: civic activist with Campaign against discrimination post on facebook.

I do agree that there is nothing to be ashamed about having past like this. This violence happened to them is not what they have a choice over, they did not had a say in it when it happened to them. Sharing about it will bring awareness to people around them or even globally like how this hash tag did. People around will know their stories and stand with them against discrimination. I hope that the person who started this is able to bring the message across the world not just in her own country as it will be a great help to other victims that are not living in the same country as her. I admire the braveness of her starting this, as an individual I support what she is doing, I hope that others will support her as well.

https://globalvoices.org/2016/07/05/iamnotafraidtosayit-ukrainian-social-media-users-break-the-silence-on-sexual-violence/

#CA1

Workers Write

After reading a few shortlisted poetries by our construction worker, I chose the one written by Mohor Khan. This is what he wrote:

Streets with no madding crowds, its traffic melodious

spotless as the hearts of the civilized people of this city

diverse with crafted monuments

Trees nurtured as carefully as children

Among their branches the kokila sings

with the magical voice of forever spring

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

 

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

 

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?

 

Every night, sleepless in the same dream

The underground train of dreams moves relentlessly

And the greed of money blurs my destination

At the delta of my dreams

I am as lonely as a sodium lamp post

Slowly in the dim light of my dreams

enters the miserable cry of my son

In my loneliness I can hear him say:

Father, when will I go to Prince Bazaar

holding your hand?

The dream of reaching the sky

riding on your shoulders is over

I have learnt to walk, run

Father, I have grown up

I have learnt to forget your dear existence

Father, I have grown up

 

Every night, unable to sleep

I turn into a nocturnal creature

I am not only a migrant worker

I am the lamp post of a family

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

A short introduction of Mr. Mohor Khan, he came to Singapore in 2007 and works in the construction sector. He writes sonnet but he also written short stories, novels and non-fiction. His sonnet typically reflects social realities in Bangladesh and Singapore.

What makes me fell in love with his poetry is the way he describe his life as a migrant worker. It reflects on the hard work done by the migrant workers to make Singapore a better place and the result of who Singapore is today. However it also shows the consequences of them devoting their life helping to build Singapore to earn money and neglect their own families.  They spent most of their time working, away from their family doing those dirty chores, doing the job that most would actually consider ‘tough’ and not want to take on the job. Despite those hard works given to them, they were resilience and hang on. Working hard under any circumstances, bad weather, bad living conditions given to them, low wages and more, this list can go on and on. They did this to earn a living, for themselves and their family members for this I really admire them.  Although for those who have children, as a migrant worker they are unable to witness the process of their child growing up as mentioned in the poet. They are not capable to do what most parents are able to do to their children e.g. spending time with their children, playing with them and building bonds or even memories together. Both the worker and his/her child will only have little memory of each other throughout the growing process which is kind of disheartening to know. Unlike the other children, the child is not able to see his father daily or even have a proper conversation. The most is to have video calls, phone calls or by texting each other due to the long distance apart.

In this poetry, it beautifully represented the life of a migrant worker making a difference in our country as well as the consequences of being apart from their family. The migrant workers hard work touches my heart and I am truly grateful for what they have done for us. There are many articles regarding people ill-treating the migrant workers because they were smelly or because they are sitting on the seats on the train. I really hope people are able to understand their situation just by reading this poetry, be grateful and appreciate what they have done instead of doing these things to them. It is disheartening to know as all the workers wanted to do was to earn a living for their family, they did not come here to be ill-treated. They are normal human just like us sadly the only difference is that no matter how badly they are treated they are still forgiving and nice to the people around them. I simply do not get why some people are so against them, they are nice and kind people. I witness countless time of them helping Singaporeans. E.g. Workers giving up seats to others who are in need while the other citizens simply ignore them. The migrant workers who work as cleaners around my resident area greets me every morning as I am on my way to school, these may seem as ‘simple’ action but they are willing to make an effort to do it. My parents taught me that we can simply show our gratitude through small actions, hence occasionally when we bump into these cleaners around my resident area we will give them drinks and snacks or during Chinese New Year we will give red packet to them. These small actions are the one that counts.

#CA1

Can I Change?

This topic made me think deeper on what I should change as a citizen. During the selection period of choosing five out of fifteen topics, I found that this topic is one of the five that grab my attention and I was interested in. I reflected on myself as a person individually, what are the bad habits I have and I have yet to get rid of? I recall what once my teacher actually said about the word ‘Habit’.

When you try to change your ‘habit’ it becomes ‘abit’, if you push on, the ‘habit’ it becomes ‘bit’. If you try harder it will become ‘it’. Which means eventually you can never really get rid of the habit.

I agree to what he said to a certain extent, however it might not be completely true. To some people they can actually get rid or change the habit but some might not be able to. I believe each and every one of us has at least a bad habit. E.g. of habits are nail-biting, complaining too much, procrastination and overspending. Considering the few bad habits I have, procrastination is one bad habit I would want to focus on and change for the better.

Why do I procrastinate? Well it is because I am ‘lazy’ to do what I am supposed to do; I will come up with all sorts of excuses to not get things done. Although I know I have to get it done on time, I will still procrastinate. There’s a Chinese proverb that I felt best describe on this bad habit “臨時抱佛脚” which means doing things at the last minute.

I read on the 6 stages of change in order to change my bad habit. The 6 stages include precomtemplation, contemplation, determination, action, maintenance and termination. At first, I felt that procrastinating is not a big deal, it is not as serious as what my parents says as they nagged at me. At some point of time I felt that my parents are over-exaggerating hence I did not really bothered on changing this bad habit and continued doing it as I seems ‘normal’ to me. Moving on to the contemplation stage, I start to realize how procrastination has affected me in every way of my life, I wanted to change but I thought to myself it is not as easy as it seems. Actions speak louder than words, I can easily say “I want to change” but no action has been done. I was hesitating, indecisive about whether I should change or not. Next, after the ‘consideration’ period, I went with the decision that is best for me which is changing this bad habit. I brace myself to this ‘challenge’, I told myself nothing will be easy in the beginning but with determination and resilience I believe I can make it, motivating myself to change for the better. Done with the ‘talks’ now is time for some action to take place, I decided to make a few adjustment. Firstly, instead of making up excuses such as “no time” I will make time, be more self discipline on time management. Next, I plan on the things that should be done and aim to complete them before the dateline so that I have the time to check it over again and have enough rest. As I continued with these adjustments, I was tempted to procrastinate along the way as I was again, ‘lazy’ nevertheless I tried to ignore it and not let it affect me. Ultimately, after all the endurance I changed, confident that I will not procrastinate on my work or anything I do in the future.

In a nut shell, I believe that if you set your mind into doing something, it is possible to get it done. I can proudly say that I have changed to become a better person.  It might be tough in the beginning but as you go along the way it gets better. At the end of the day it will be beneficial towards ourselves and from there we can become a better person.

#WeeklyReflectionAmosYee

Amos Yee, a young teenage boy famously known by people for the wrong reason. Despite Amos Yee being around the same age group as me, I do not entirely support what he does. There are many words to describe him. He is intelligent however he does not make use of it to his advantage that benefits him instead it brought disadvantage to him. 

Fair enough, everyone has the rights for freedom of speech. But it seems like he is abusing the rights that has been given to him. Although some of the things that he said are true, some are not. For example, going against religions(Islam, Christianity) or the photo-shopped photo of our late forefather, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.  For this, I felt that he went overboard. Everyone has different beliefs, might be due to culture, environment or religion, instead of being so narrow-minded and forcing people to believe in what he does, instead he should learn to respect people before thinking of gaining respect from others. 

Due to his insensitive remarks towards these issue, he has been gaining more attention from the public in a negative way. One of which would be him getting slap by a citizen while on the way to attend a pre-trial conference at the State Courts. I understand from the perspective of the accused of why he could not restrain himself from doing so due to the anger that has been bottled up inside. Nevertheless.. I feel that it is not the right way to do so, Amos Yee is still a growing up teenager and he will be punished eventually by the law accordingly.

Like a coin, there is always two sides to a problem. Some people supports what Amos Yee says and the other group of people who go against him and feel that Amos Yee is at fault. I advice people who support him to not give him unnecessary encouragement to continue thinking whatever he has done is right, and to those who do not support him you have no rights to physically or verbally abuse him. There is no need to give him unnecessary attention as it is like a form of encouragement to carry on. I hope he respect the rights that has been given to him making use of it that benefits him and people around him rather than abusing it and get into trouble for doing so.