Kang Zhe

2017 GCP Taiwan Reflections
4Rs & 10Cs


Pre-Trip Reflections:



  1. How do you feel about the upcoming trip?
    1. I am looking forward to learning more about astronomy and geology and also see the skies in a different latitude for myself.
  2. 3 Things that I am looking forward to
    1. Looking at a new sky
    2. Going to Taiwan because they have nice food there too
    3. Learn about science!!
  3. 3 things I hope to learn from Taiwan
    1. Their cultures and customs
    2. Their structure and how things operate
    3. The knowledge they have gathered over their research
  4. 3 things I hope to learn from my friends
    1. Learning how to be more active
    2. Learning how to be collaborative and participative
    3. Learning how to be more social
  5. 3 things I hope to learn about myself
    1. My skills in presentation - have they improved or not
    2. My time management - am I on time
    3. My fluency in Chinese - can I communicate fluently and nicely
  6. 3 challenges I give myself
    1. Speak in Chinese and the native language of Taiwan as far as possible
    2. Write in traditional Chinese for the entire duration
    3. Find objects in the northern hemisphere myself
  7. What are my expectations of Taiwan?
    1. Hot climate but nice food and people

DAY 1


  1. 3 words to describe today’s experiences
    1. Educational
    2. Tiring
    3. Informative
  2. 3 highlights of the day
    1. Visiting the sulfur mine and smelling SO2 firsthand
    2. Learning astronomy in a unique way at the museum
    3. Yehliu Geopark visit and seeing rock formations
  3. 3 things you’ve learnt about Taiwan
    1. Night markets are a commodity and a culture
    2. Shilin Night Market has 2000 over stalls
    3. Taiwan sausages are a delicacy here
  4. 3 things you’ve learnt about yourself
    1. I can comprehend traditional Chinese
    2. I did not talk as much today
    3. I try to communicate with the locals in Chinese or Taiwanese Hokkien as far as possible
  5. 3 things you didn’t do so well
    1. Writing traditional chinese
    2. Feeling tired the whole day
    3. May have been a bit too rowdy
  6. 3 things you look forward to tomorrow
    1. Visit to the universities and learning about student life
    2. Understanding the new discipline of space science
    3. Visiting the observatory at NCU


DAY 2


  1. 3 words to describe today’s experiences
    1. Eye-opening
    2. Exciting
    3. Enriching
  2. 3 things you’ve learnt about Taiwan
    1. The west coast is the one that is more populated
    2. There are 400+ weather stations in Taiwan
    3. Taiwan has launched over 5 satellites into space
  3. 3 things you’ve learnt about yourself
    1. I can write notes in traditional Chinese
    2. I could ask questions in Chinese
    3. I pick up jargon in Chinese quickly
  4. 3 things you didn’t do so well
    1. Did not wake up as early
    2. Not very fast at washing up
    3. Slow and tired throughout
  5. 3 things you look forward to tomorrow
    1. Presenting to students at Lishan High School
    2. NTU Visit
    3. Shopping at a Taiwan shopping mall


DAY 3


  1. 3 words to describe today’s experiences
    1. Insightful
    2. Networking
    3. Thrilling
  2. 3 highlights of the day
    1. Made friends with students at Lishan Senior High School
    2. Talked to a few professors and graduates about physics
    3. Learnt about new vocabulary in chinese
  3. 3 things you’ve learnt about Taiwan
    1. Students have 10 minute breaks in between lessons
    2. School for senior high starts at 7:30am and ends at 5:00pm
    3. Taiwan Schools usually do not have a canteen, they have packed food either from home or from the school caterers.
  4. 3 things you’ve learnt about yourself
    1. I could present in chinese but not very well
    2. I was able to step out of my comfort zone and try to speak chinese with the students as far as possible
    3. I am fast at showering
  5. 3 things you didn’t do so well
    1. Woke up 15 minutes late
    2. Bad at deciding on what to eat
    3. Distracted at times
  6. 3 things you look forward to tomorrow
    1. Earthquake simulator at the museum - will be a new perspective!
    2. New hostel!
    3. A different region of Taiwan


DAY 4


  1. 3 words to describe today’s experiences
    1. New
    2. Authentic
    3. Educational
  2. 3 highlights of the day
    1. Earthquake simulator
    2. Plum Rain 梅雨
    3. Natural Science Museum
  3. 3 things you’ve learnt about Taiwan
    1. Taiwan’s Plum Rain is caused due to pressure fronts
    2. This rain is not heavy but comes in large amounts which floods
    3. 921 Earthquake was formed into a museum to educate the public
  4. 3 things you’ve learnt about yourself
    1. I did not buy an umbrella
    2. I get annoyed easily
    3. I forgot to buy dinner
  5. 3 things you didn’t do so well
    1. Woke up 15 minutes late
    2. Bad at deciding on what to eat
    3. Picky eater
  6. 3 things you look forward to tomorrow
    1. Tainan Astro Area!
    2. Hoping that new hostel will be nice too
    3. More food later


DAY 5


  1. 3 words to describe today’s experiences
    1. Rainy - Pouring a lot today
    2. Enlightening - Had an insightful discussion with the guides
    3. Thrilling - Experienced space in a 3D ride
  2. 3 highlights of the day
    1. 3D ride at the Astronomy Learning Area
    2. 76cm Telescope at the observatory
    3. The shopping centre: Really large and had many things (18 stories high)
  3. 3 things you’ve learnt about Taiwan
    1. Bus drivers have mandatory rest periods of 20 minutes after every hour of driving
    2. Wind and solar power may be damaging to environment
    3. It is a culture that Taiwan does not provide shopping bags.
  4. 3 things you’ve learnt about yourself
    1. I have been using chopsticks wrongly due to cross-culturalism
    2. I know how to now because of communication with other peers
    3. I learnt that I could speak Chinese fluently now from courage
  5. 3 things you didn’t do so well
    1. Using chopsticks wrongly
    2. Did not tell my groupmates that I was going to toilet
    3. Picky eater and not careful taking things so I burnt myself
  6. 3 things you look forward to tomorrow
    1. Nuclear Power Plant - Witness a new power source
    2. Kenting Observatory - learn more about research or astronomy in Taiwan
    3. Stargazing!!


DAY 6


  1. 3 words to describe today’s experiences
    1. Enchanting - The natural fire at the gas vent 出火 was unique
    2. Surprising - Being able to see a nuclear reactor model let me truly understand the scale of such a large device
    3. Spontaneous - The weather was quite unpredictable, the winds suddenly came when we were at the observatory
  2. 3 highlights of the day
    1. KenTing Observatory visit: seeing a different kind of observatory, a smaller sized one instead of the usual large ones let me understand that these objects do not have to be really large.
    2. Chuhuo gas vent fire: I pondered over what happens if the place experiences rain - won’t the fire get put out? I immediately did some research, and I realised that the fire is caused by an adiabatic reaction, which Mr Tan also mentioned earlier on the bus.
    3. Nuclear Power Plant Visitor’s Centre: I got to see a model of a light water reactor with my very own eyes, and also uranium and plutonium pellet replicas. It was something new for me and I learnt a lot.
  3. 3 things you’ve learnt about Taiwan
    1. Taiwan has 5 sources of energy - wind, solar, hydroelectric, fossil fuel, nuclear
    2. Kenting Observatory is one of the observatories that are open for students with a passion for science and astronomy to do research and exploration
    3. Weather can be very unpredictable but the CWB gives very timely updates for the citizens.
  4. 3 things you’ve learnt about yourself
    1. I switch my tone from singlish to taiwanese chinese to hokkien at times due to my global citizenship, though my friends say that I should just be myself
    2. I am very reluctant to spend money for myself, but spending it or sharing costs with others gives me a purpose to sometimes buy things willingly as there is a collaboration of efforts or mutual understanding for things that each other wants
    3. I stepped up my courage today and spoke only Hokkien/Taiwanese in the night market when ordering.
  5. 3 things you didn’t do so well
    1. Pronunciation of some hokkien words are still inaccurate but I will learn
    2. Speaking too much singlish sometimes which sometimes my friends don’t find it pleasant, as I do not speak like that as much
    3. Slow and unaware of puddles on the ground, leading to wet jeans, shoes and socks and everything is dirty.
  6. 3 things you look forward to tomorrow
    1. Marine museum - We saw animals today, but we do not know the science behind these animals nor their habitats
    2. A second last day (not really looking forward, having reluctant feelings)
    3. Stargazing as usual, but hopefully with clear skies!


DAY 7


  1. 3 words to describe today’s experiences
    1. Exhausting - I didn’t wear shots for the trekking, so I ended up walking in jeans feeling tired and sweaty and horrible
    2. Insane - I was on the verge of losing my sanity because I was having too much sun in uncomfortable wear
    3. Pleasant - Of course, after resting on the bus, the night market was nice and cooling. The food is nice too.
  2. 3 highlights of the day
    1. Trekking - Did not expect walking in such a nature reserve, so I felt uncomfortable when wearing jeans and walking, but overall it was a nice experience
    2. Southernmost point in Taiwan - There was a obelisk there and it was covering me from the shade
    3. Marine Science Museum - Very enriching and educational, I learnt a lot about marine life before and now on earth, which is vital to my knowledge for astrobiology
  3. 3 things you’ve learnt about Taiwan
    1. Weather can fluctuate really erratically, today was ridiculously hot.
    2. Night markets at the south are very different from the north, most shops at the Night market were souvenir shops, they didn’t have any bookstores or anything.
    3. It’s slightly funny how there was fried fish outside the marine museum.
  4. 3 things you’ve learnt about yourself
    1. I need to go out more, I feel horrible being unable to take such weather in a nature reserve walk, but probably was because of what I wear.
    2. I have way too many black shirts, it was a mistake as the weather is hot and black is a poor radiator of heat.
    3. I need to control myself sometimes, I can get too loud and noisy when I’m not in my right state of mind.
  5. 3 things you didn’t do so well
    1. Failing to control myself, being loud after the walk and angry and can’t think straight.
    2. Poor physical tolerance for outdoor activities and failing to check with the teachers to ensure proper attire for the activity.
    3. Noisy and continuously whining and talking about how hot the weather is, although everyone else is suffering the same thing
  6. 3 things you look forward to tomorrow
    1. Buying a lot of things from Taiwan as souvenirs
    2. Science and Technology Museum, finally another museum after 3 to 4 days without any that we can roam around in
    3. Going home!!

DAY 8


  1. 3 words to describe today’s experiences
    1. Thought-provoking: the museum of science and technology made me understand the history and advancements in Taiwan.
    2. Empathetic: the memorial for the Morakot typhoon let me feel for the ones who have lost their loved ones, as no one expected the disaster.
    3. Sad: It's the last day of the trip
  2. 3 highlights of the day
    1. Science and Technology Museum
    2. Screening of the video about the typhoon
    3. Learning about the advancements of Taiwan in technology
  3. 3 things you’ve learnt about Taiwan
    1. The Morakot Typhoon nearly wiped out Taiwan's 50 years of history and completely eradicated a small village.
    2. Taiwan is one of the world's leaders in manufacturing of silicon wafers with the highest efficiency
    3. Taiwan has very high annual rainfall, up to 2500 mm a year, while the international average is 250 mm a year.
  4. 3 things you’ve learnt about yourself
    1. I can eat a lot: others gave me their sandwiches from breakfast that they didn't want to eat
    2. I live almost very frugally even on trips: I did not spend a lot on this trip
    3. I have poor mental capacity: Sometimes I reach a point where I cannot absorb information anymore and need a break before continuing.
  5. 3 things you didn’t do so well
    1. Bringing a compass on my hand carry when I'm not supposed to; I ended up disposing of it.
    2. I could have been more situationally aware: I did not realise that my passport was with me before check-in
    3. I should manage my time better: I did not pack properly last night, leading me to repack everything as things were wrong.


End-of-Trip Reflections:


  1. How is the Taiwanese culture shaped? What are the historical events that shaped its culture?
    1. The Taiwanese culture is shaped through a mixture of Han Chinese and its aboriginal people. This results in a perception of both modern and traditional understandings. Taiwanese culture was suppressed by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). 本土化 (Bentuhua) was a moment where the Taiwanese successfully established a separate identity from China. 本土化 aims to improve the economy, society and environment of the country through means of the people having heartstrings tied deeply together.
  2. How do science and technology impact the Taiwanese lifestyle?
    1. Science and technology are vital to any country’s economic, social and environmental development.
      Advancements in technology can provide better lives for people. Through scientific research, these technologies can be enhanced and improved on. As a result, it creates a positive feedback loop, where the technology for the country gets better, and the scientific repository of knowledge for the country gets better.
      For example, when a country does research on space weather, they know how the Sun’s activity will affect the communications on Earth. As such, agencies and countries do research on defending against such problems and minimise disruptions to people’s lives.
  3. What is the importance of science education in relation to the technological/economical progress of a country? Explain.
    a. For the economic and technological progress, scientific education is a mandatory requirement to educate the people on the important decisions people have to make for the selection and dilemmas when trying out new technologies. In the past, scientific ignorance was dense and as a result, most people have been misled by mainstream media, without knowing the real reasons or rationales for pushing new technologies. For example, nuclear power has been a dilemma in most countries as most people look back at incidents such as Chernobyl where a nuclear power plant has leaked high amounts of radiation. Ever since, the word “nuclear” has always been associated with “radiation”, which is never always the case. Countries in Europe which have done experiments in nuclear fusion instead of fission have been criticised by people due to scientific ignorance.

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