day 7, friday
         alas, it was our final day in taiwan. i couldnt bear to leave. we went to the 921 earthquake memorial and saw the remnants of what the quake left behind. it was painful to think about the people who had to go through it and the number of deaths, there was a school there. kids our age died at that time, it was saddening. we learnt how strong earthquakes could be and what causes them. after that we had to take a 3hr bus ride to the place we were going to eat. since we all had to catch up on our sleep, everyone's "pig mode" was on. after lunch, we had to leave for the airport. the tourguide that followed us along the 7 days sent us off. i cried and i remembered what he said to me, "不可以掉眼泪哦", then he hugged me. i didnt know how to react so i cried even more, i didnt have the heart to leave all this memories behind. it suddenly struck me that taiwan felt like home with these people around me. most of us werent as strong as the others and cried really badly, all of us didnt want to leave. but we knew there had to be an end to this trip. we went into the waiting terminal and waved goodbye to the tourguide, it was also a goodbye to our happy times in taiwan. we left on the plane at around 5.30pm, we had to go to back to our real home, singapore. goodbye taiwan, it was fun while it lasted.

day 6, thursday
          it was our final day at sacred hearts day, and it was the day we got to go out with our buddies. my buddy brought me to a goblin village, although i didnt quite understand what was the purpose of th village, i was very grateful to my buddy and her parents for taking their time off for us. after that, we went to a chocolate making factory but it was a pity that we arrived late and missed the diy chocolate making time which was 3pm. after that we went to a night market and my buddy's parents were very nice and payed for our food and even let us play games that singapore does not have such as pinball. taiwan's chicken cutlet was definitely different from singapore's shilin chicken. i felt very honoured and grateful as they treated us very well. i sure have alot to learn about hospitality from them.
       i have learnt how to be an extremely great host and how to pick up learning points from others. i also learnt how to stay focused and on point at correct times.
       my persoective of life has changed quite abit once i came to taiwan. i have seen tough lives and rather different environments as compared to singapore's. i treasure what i do have now alot more than the past. life isnt as easy as what i though, or as tough either. sometimes, its just on which position we choose to view these things from. maybe we do have different thinkings and opinions, but thats okay, because we all have different perspectives. however, we shouldnt be stubborn and be hotheaded because sometimes all we need to do is learn. and thats whats most important in the phase of growing up in life.

day 5, wednesday
            our second day at sacred hearts high, we met with 6 seniors who were graduating this year. we headed for lunch that a student's father generously offered to pay. that meal, was one of the best meals we had in taiwan. then, we went to the yunlin cake tower cafe, i really thought that we were going to a cake eating place, turns out it was a towel making factory. i wasnt disappointed at all though. the towels they made there were all hand made into little figurines and we even made one ourselves! i spent half of my money there buying those pre-made towels, they were all adorable. we then moved on tp the yunlin puppet theatre museum, at first i was quite scared as im afraid of puppets. however, the owner of the museum knew that we werent interested in such old skits, so he put up a modified story of wusong and the tiger and it was hilarious, i enjoyed it fully. we also went to a story telling place and learnt about how people used to tell stories in the past.

day 4, tuesday
            today was the first day we we went to sacred hearts high. i was totally taken aback. they welcomed us so warmly and prepared really nice performances for us. when finally it was our turn to perform, i was honestly quite shaky. when the music started and we started with our performance, i was really happy, at a point of the performance when my group was looking at each other, we all smiled really widely. this was what we prepared for. we didnt just create a dance, we created a stronger bond between each other. when it came to the class performance act, we sang "in a heart beat", which is one of singapore's national day song. the part i remembered the most clearly at that time, was that whenever it came to the lyrics "this is our family", we sang the loudest. it was family to me, 2h. i guess with all the stress piling on us in singapore, we didnt get to see the warmth we had within the class. but now that we have, the more ill dread leaving the class at the end of the year, i cant bear to when we finally came so close. after that, we were introduced to our buddies, truthfully it was quite awkward in the beginning but after eating lunch together, they made us feel at home. after lunch, we had to leave for the soy sauce factory. our plan to go to the coffee mountain to make our own pineapple tarts was cancelled as the weather was quite bad, we were all disappointed. however, we did meet another guide who told very interesting stories about the history of a particular street around the soy sauce factory and it was fascinating. afterwards, we left to eat pretty big watermelons which were really sweet. we then left for the hotel that we checked in yesterday to get ready to have dinner with our buddies and their parents. unfortunately, my buddy lives in the hostel and her parenst lived quite far away so we didnt get to meet them.

day 3, monday in taiwan
            (postcard to parents)
            hi mummy and daddy, today i went to the ten drums culture village. wished you guys were there with me, how are you? im good. at the tendrums culture village, i saw a special bomb shelter. there were only 45 of such in taiwan and to me, that felt like an icon. i find that this is important to the locals because it reminds them of the second world war and how the lived through it. the bomb shelter impresses me because it is a tunnel that leads to the sugar factory and it is camouflaged thus it was not bombed by the japanese. my oelp trip has been a great time so far, i have been learning slot about the taiwan culture and the history of taiwan. i will be home soon, love you!!
          (chinese poem about liu he nightmarket)

day 2, sunday in taiwan
           we stayed at ten drums culture village for the night before but even though we were all very tired, 2h didnt get much sleep. as we expected, we were all very excited and most of us just stayed up during the night and imagined what we were going to do the very next day which was today. we had a buffet breakfast at ten drums culture village then proceeded to several museums and villages. however, even though people might think trips to museums were a bore, we didnt think so. these museums showed us that the taiwanese treausured their culture alot and many people still do follow those traditions and beliefs. the hakkas had many different accents in which dialects they use. i found this very interesting as the guide could use every accent fluently even though they only speak 国语 nowadays in taiwan, this shows that the locals never did forget their root in taiwan. i was very touched by their strong willpower to preserve the taiwan culture. later on, we were all very excited to go to the liu he night market. however, we did not get much time to walk around there as time was very tight. however, i did enjoy myself alot there and ate quite alot of foods that ive never tried before, for example, their 大肠包小肠, the 大肠 was made from glutinous rice while the 小肠 was a hotdog. i wondered why singapore didnt have such local dishes. aside from all the fun we had, 2h did get in a little trouble. our behaviour was quite reckless today, as we were all excited for being overseas with our friends, we completely forgot that we were representing river valley as a school.
1. what i feel i did incorrectly?
- when the guide was speaking, sometimes i woukd wander off in my thoughts and get distracted in little pockets of converstaions with my friends.
2. why is it incorrect?
- it is not polite and very disrespectful to the speaker, whom i should have paid my fullest attention to, at the same time, i would be missing out on very important informations and details.
3. what will i do tomorrow?
- i will remember to stay focused when one is talking and guve my fullest attention so that i will be in full knowledge of what is going on at that time. this also shows respect and the speaker would feel good.

can we use the merlion as singapore's national icon
            i find that the merlion can be used as singapore's national icon as the merlion originated from singapore and thus it makes it original and creative. people would find it fascinating that the structure has a head of a lion and a body of a fish. this makes it more appealing to a person and thus attracting foreigners to come to singapore to view it. these foreigners would then know that the merlion represents singapore's harsh past and realise that singapore is a strong country for having to turn into a first world country in such a short period of time.

singapore's golden age
            tang dynasty was the era of the silk road. the silk road was the main business of the tang dynasty as they depended much on trades for their income. just like mr lee kuan yew, he found many ways to make singapore prosper into our own golden age today.
            singapore can be seen as its own version of golden age as we grew into a first world country from a third world country in just about 40 years. we did what nobody thought we could do.

reflection about suzhou industrial park
            i find it saddening to have found out that china had cheated on singapore and built a totally identical blueprint right next to suzhou industrial park which prices were lower of that of suzhou industrial park and thus, attracted many customers. since singapore owned 65% of the shares in suzhou industrial park, while china earned 100% of the shares in the next door company, they did not care about suzhou industrial park and focused on the other one instead. singapore suffered a terrible loss and i find that china should not have did that to us. however, it was smart of singapore to give part of our shares back to china so that they would focus on suzhou industrial park, this made it prosper and now it is the top 2 park in china.

oral presentation
            i find that i have presented out of point because i went on about how singaporeans should act instead of how singaporeans are as a whole nation. since the topic is the picture that best describes singapore, i should have linked back more to the picture instead of elaborating on my stand. during my preparation for this speech, i was pretty stressed out because i had to prepare another english speech which was on the next day. i did this speech at night when i was extremely tired, i should have prepared it at a different timing and manage my time more efficiently. i feel that as a class, we did not prepare our speeches well as most of us brought our scripts up and stumbled when presenting. this is a sign that most of us did not do a good presentation.

group 5's presentation
            i find group 5 the most interesting group presentation because they thought out of the box and thought of a regular broomstick to be a pole dancing stick. they were confident and expressed how to dance with the pole clearly. however the entertainment, it is clear to all of us that it is impossible for any beings to lose 1kg when dancing for 1 minute. thus i find that they should be more realistic even though their product was interesting.

china's rapid economic growth

            with the growing economy of china, other countries would be able to buy goods from china at a reasonable price. this would then allow china to grow even more rapidly and make china the biggest country. however, with its rising economy, it would lead to other countries needing to buy stocks from china, this would cause many countries to be completely reliant on china and not be independant. this will be a tragedy and may cause major downfalls on those countries. thus i find that even though one country grows, it is important that it grows with its fellow countries to create a happier earth and not grow rapidly by itself as that would cause failures in other countries. hence it is important to have a good connection with friends rather than to grow by yourself as it will not make you happy to see your friends fall.

future scenario (20 years later) of simgapore
            I find that the future would be less swarming which is both an advantage and a disadvantage. There would be less people who crowd around a certain area which is clearly an up-side, however there would also be less people to carry on what Singapore has in store for the world, which is a down-side. There are less singaporeans compared to foreigners and i find that if this continues, there would be a foreigner governing Singapore.

poverty in singapore.

             From this picture above, we can tell that most citizens who are poor in singapore do not sit around and just beg for money. Instead they work to earn money for themselves. These labours include collecting cardboard to sell, or collecting empty cans to sell, or to sell tissue papers at a profit. I find that we can learn from these acts because we tend to lay around waiting for people to serve us when we already have everything, but these poor people go through ways and means to do everything themselves to try and make a living. However, others do beg for money on the streets and i find that it is kind of not necessary as the singapore government do give money to these people. 
             As for their living conditions, these people tend to lay cardboard or newspapers on the ground to sleep there. I find that this is a very smart idea but at the same time it makes me feel very sad and guilty. Even though i have a nice bed and food to eat, i still complain about my life but after looking at these people, i realised that i have it much better than them and i should cherish what i have when i have it.

xinyue's 2014 holiday.
             During my december holidays, i did not go overseas, thus not much fun was had. Although i had to spend my holidays stuck at home, i did make the best out of it. I started to design my own room and planned out how it should be. I bought new furnitures  and thought of ideas on decorating my room, althought the decorating part is still processing, i foresee that my room would be a success. During this period of time, i learnt that others would not like my idea of design but as long as it makes me happy, i do not see why others should put me down. Other than designing my room, i spent days watching movies in my room. People should not think that watching movies is a waste of time as those movies actually teach us alot of valuable lessons, be it children movies or adult movies. Both serve as a purpose of our education. Therefore, although i spent my holidays being at home, i believe that it was not spent wasted. 

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