Irfan

Pre-Trip Reflections:

  1. How do you feel about the upcoming trip?
I have been looking forward to this trio since its inception in 2016, therefore am overjoyed that I can be a part of this trip.
  1. 3 Things that I am looking forward to
Spending time in a amongst people I do not have experience with and learning about them.
Spending time to be in a last Astronomy trip overseas.
Visiting Astronomy museums.
  1. 3 things I hope to learn from Taiwan
The island’s geographical history.
Taiwan’s history as an independent nation.
The history of astronomy in Taiwan.
  1. 3 things I hope to learn from my friends
How to navigate the social and economic structures of Taiwan.
To be more open-minded and accepting.
Research skills.
  1. 3 things I hope to learn about myself
How flexible I am (metaphorically).
How well I can keep my composure during a trip of such a long period.
How well can I appreciate the lifestyle here?
  1. 3 challenges I give myself
To survive the whole trip, fasting from dawn to dusk.
Regulate my spending.
Learn as much as I can.
  1. What are my expectations of Taiwan?
Cool climate.
Mountains.
Beaches.

Daily Reflections:

Day 1: 

  1. 3 words to describe today’s experiences
Fun, Informative, Tiring.
  1. 3 highlights of the day
Rock formations, The amazing view of the sulfur geysers, 
  1. 3 things you’ve learnt about Taiwan
Its was made by the convergence of two oceanic tectonic plates, creating a mountain range extending throughout the length of the island.
Taiwan is surprisingly large.
Taiwan has a richer culture than I had anticipated.
  1. 3 things you’ve learnt about yourself
I no regulate money good.
I need alarms in the morning.
I can survive without wifi as well as I had anticipated.
  1. 3 things you didn’t do so well
Money, nearly a third gone.
Dragging feet because did not sleep properly.
I am dependant on my friends due to my not being able to speak the language.
  1. 3 things you look forward to tomorrow
Being rested.
Starting the day with a shower.
The University visits.

Day 2:
  1. 3 words to describe today’s experiences
Fun, Interesting, New
  1. 3 highlights of the day
The interesting food found at dinner.
Starting and ending the day with showering.
Just being able to sit down comfortably and do this reflection.
  1. 3 things you’ve learnt about Taiwan
Taiwan is much more advanced than I realised.
Taiwan has an active weather agency.
Taiwan space agency is well funded.
  1. 3 things you’ve learnt about yourself
I do not like some kinds of tea.
I am not always observant.
If I find a souvenir I like I tend go all out.
  1. 3 things you didn’t do so well
I did not manage to wake up at the right time for my fasting, had breakfast and tried anyway, it worked.
Did not have enough sleep and was still tired all day.
Still unable to speak the language.
  1. 3 things you look forward to tomorrow
The trip to NTU.
A full night’s rest.
Proper day of fasting.

Day 3:
  1. 3 words to describe today’s experiences
Informative, Amazing, Hot
  1. 3 highlights of the day
Watching the Guards changing shifts at the martyrs’ shrine.
Dinner in the mall.
Learning more about the Universe.
  1. 3 things you’ve learnt about Taiwan
The education system focuses on the academic importance rather than the political agendas.
Taiwan does not like communism.
Taiwan has much gold.
  1. 3 things you’ve learnt about yourself
I cannot stand in the sun in a jacket for long periods of time.
I need more sleep.
I do not know anything about Chinese History.
  1. 3 things you didn’t do so well
Still keep falling asleep, but restricted to morning.
Close to not enough money, but rebate.
Quite distracted at times.
  1. 3 things you look forward to tomorrow
Travelling to a new city.
Visiting the 912 Earthquake Museum.
Visiting the Tai Chung Natural Science Museum.

Day 4:
  1. 3 words to describe today’s experiences
Amazing, Informative, Tragic
  1. 3 highlights of the day
The 921 Earthquake museum.
Dinner
National Science Museum of Taiwan.
  1. 3 things you’ve learnt about Taiwan
There are many earthquakes in Taiwan.
Many people rely on the night markets as a source of income.
When rain hits it hits hard.
  1. 3 things you’ve learnt about yourself
My feet do not respond well to being soaked and having to walk for extended periods of time.
I do not like to have moist feet.
I do not mind rain much when my feet are mostly dry.
  1. 3 things you didn’t do so well
The rain soaking many of our feet.
Flooding in Taipei that will most likely follow us south.
I prefer our previous sleeping arrangements.
  1. 3 things you look forward to tomorrow
Going to a new city.
Attempting to outrun the rain.
Visiting the Tainan Astronomy Museum.'

Day 5:
  1. 3 words to describe today’s experiences
Astounding, Fun, Rainy
  1. 3 highlights of the day
Visit to Tainan Astronomy Museum.
The spaceship experience.
FE21 Mega Mall
  1. 3 things you’ve learnt about Taiwan
I have learnt more about Taiwan’s interest in astronomy.
I learnt about the dynamics of Taiwan’s rivers.
There are a remarkable number of farms in Taiwan.
  1. 3 things you’ve learnt about yourself
I find it impossible to understand the local dialect.
My understanding of local culture has improved.
I need even more sleep than a few short hours a night.
  1. 3 things you didn’t do so well
Umbrella kind of broke, seems to be functional for now.
I cannot understand Chinese.
My poor timing resulted in my nearly being late on a number of occasions.
  1. 3 things you look forward to tomorrow
Going to Kenting.
Visitor’s centre of nuclear power plant.
More comfortable sleeping arrangements
 

Day 6:
  1. 3 words to describe today’s experiences
Amazing, Sad, Fantastic. It was simply amazing to see the turtles swimming around in those tanks in the Museum, while I was saddened to see them trapped in such small spaces. The current hostel is the best hostel we have been in since we departed form the Capsule Hostel for the first 3 nights, giving it a fantastic thumbs-up from me.
  1. 3 highlights of the day
Seeing the turtles in their tanks. Watching the sharks’ fins break the surface of the water over and over again. Walking into the hostel room and seeing it in all its glory.
  1. 3 things you’ve learnt about Taiwan
Taiwan has sharks in its waters. There are a large number of corals in Taiwan that were pushed up from the seabed onto a mountain due to plate tectonics pushing the plates together to form mountain.
  1. 3 things you’ve learnt about yourself
Having spent time playing a game of balloon shooting, I have learnt that I would much rather a rifle than a handgun, while this game would be seen as barbaric, one must know that these were bb guns, shooting plastic pellets and that it is a way of life for these people to have a game such as this. I have learnt how much I truly miss Singapore, having spent the last 6 days eating questionable food and sleeping in strange places.
I have learnt that having money is one thing but spending it on the people close to me males me and those close to me happier.
  1. 3 things you didn’t do so well
Everyone was tired or even falling asleep in the conference in the Marine Museum.
When we went the natural gas vent/fire place, there was an incident with the popcorn that Mr Tan was trying to cook where, the plastic cover burnt off and the corn was burnt.
Waking up at the Pathway Hostel where we spent one night was a nightmare in that the whole room was cramped and nobody had room enough to move comfortably.
  1. 3 things you look forward to tomorrow
Visiting the Marine Science Museum.
Visiting the Observatory.
Visiting the Sheding National Park.

Day 7:
  1. 3 words to describe today’s experiences
Sweaty, Exhausting, Fun. The day consisted of a lot of walking in the sun causing my entire shirt to be soaked, and the walking made me exhausted as I was fasting until about 1 pm without eating, and walking through the gorges, while sweaty ,exhausting and claustrophobic, was an enjoyable experience that allowed me to explore my physical prowess which I enjoyed.
  1. 3 highlights of the day
The tour of the Marine Science Museum was amazing as we got to see many sea animals.
Climbing through the gorges, while painstaking was fun and enlightening.
The southern most tip of Taiwan gifted us an amazing sight and great photographic opportunities.
  1. 3 things you’ve learnt about Taiwan
There are many green domes around southern Taiwan used for what I believe to be weather monitoring.
I have learnt more about the diverse ecosystem that is Taiwan's waters.
I have learnt abut the stress applied to environmental protection in Taiwan, where plastic bags are rare and most dustbins are accompanied by a recycling bin.
  1. 3 things you’ve learnt about yourself
I need to lose weight to manoeuvre myself better.
I sweat a lot and should have a spare shirt with me.
My alarms do not always wake me up and I should have more to ensure my waking up.
  1. 3 things you didn’t do so well
My shirt was wet and stinky form all the sweat.
I was not able to wake up to begin my fast properly.
The lower portion of my jeans and my shoes were caked in mud, forcing me to do my best to scrub them clean.
  1. 3 things you look forward to tomorrow
Going to the airport to wait for our flight home.
Waking up on time.
Visit to the Science and Technology Museum. 

Day 8:
  1. 3 words to describe today’s experiences
Enlightening, Interesting, Restful.
This last day has had us go to the Museum of Science and Technology, where we were taught many things about Taiwan’s past.
Furthermore, we got an in-depth look at Taiwan’s emergency response.
The end of this day sees us waiting for our flight while typing this last reflection, this is our last day here in Taiwan and soon we will be at our homes.
  1. 3 highlights of the day
The last group photo we will take in Taiwan was taken in front of a large metallic structure said to be used to navigate the stars.
We were able to see the aftermath of a few types of disasters in Taiwan and see how the Island has improved since then.
The end of our day sees us waiting for our ride home. This is by far the most anxious we have been as a group and I believe that I speak for all of us when I say I have not waited for anything more on this trip than landing back in Singapore.
  1. 3 things you’ve learnt about Taiwan
After watching my friends eat lunch for 7 days I have learnt that rice, pork and seafood are some of the most important food items to the Taiwanese people.
Taiwan takes each and every disaster very seriously and do their best overcome any shortcomings to prevent any further loss of life.
Having walked around in the streets for the last 8 days, I have learnt that Taiwanese people generally manage their waste well and rarely need a trash can to throw their trash, much to the dismay of tourists.
  1. 3 things you’ve learnt about yourself
I need to regulate my spending better.
I find it hard to venture far from that which I find comfortable.
I have learnt that I am able to properly appreciate other cultures only if I immerse myself in them.
  1. 3 things you didn’t do so well
My money was not properly managed leading to large amounts left over.
I fell asleep once in the museum and missed much of the presentation on the typhoon Morakot.
I should have tried to sleep longer in the morning.

End-of-Trip Reflections:
  1. How is the Taiwanese culture shaped? What are the historical events that shaped its culture?
The Taiwanese culture, to others, may seem to be an extension of the Chinese culture, however, it would seem that the island of Taiwan has built upon itself. The Taiwanese people are largely affected by fishing, farming and weather as Taiwan itself is an island surrounded by water where its centre is dominated by imposing mountain ranges. Because of this, most of the land in Taiwan is still covered in trees and forest. The weather in Taiwan can easily stop the people in their tracks. The winds and rain can flood the streets and stop people from going on with their lives and causing damage. Because of this Taiwan focuses greatly on weather predictions. Saving people or at least warning them before disasters, such as typhoons hit the island. All in all, Taiwanese culture is great influenced by the environment and focusses on helping the people on Taiwan.
  1. How does science and technology impact the Taiwanese lifestyle?
The development of Science and technology in Taiwan lead to the people of Taiwan being exposed to other sources if power other than fossil fuels, those being solar, hydroelectric, wind, and nuclear. As such, Taiwan’s carbon footprint has been greatly reduced. Furthermore, the students are being exposed to new and innovative ideas to better prepare them for the future. This also helps when the island that is bettered by heavy and brutal weather phenomenon wants to rebuild. The advancement of science and technology allow buildings to be rebuilt safer and bridges to be built stronger. These ultimately end up in the improvement of the Taiwanese lifestyle.
  1. What is the importance of science education in relation to the technological/economical progress of a country? Explain.
As the world moves forward from today to tomorrow, science and technology is furthered. As such, to keep up with the world, one would have to stay up to date with the developments of today. This would lead to better living qualities, the improvement of medicine and the development of society. As such the people of a country have to know about the developments that push their countries forward, or they may reject it for not being able to understand it. The people of Taiwan have even helped internationally such as by creating  semiconductors as large as 18 inches or the development of bicycles. This helps not only the locals bu the entire world, but is only possible due to the education received by the people who work in these fields and many others. The science education also helps to further green energy sources and teaches the people about how to work with these things. As such, science education is important to the technological/economical progress of a country. 

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