Author Archive

The Greatest Trip To The Zoo

Dense Nature

Dense Nature

 

 

 The transition from the cold blue and foggy grey pick-up area to the vibrant and somewhat gaudy interiors of the bus hurt my eyes. After all the pupils of 6ChM and 6JSa had boarded the bus, it was now waiting for my English teacher, who was one of the coordinators of our zoo trip. I glanced at the designs on the inner roof of the bus. There were multicoloured cellos and shining trumpets, looking as if they were waiting ready to leap up and play a melody.

 

After I was bored at staring at the metal transport office with the peach coloured roof and the brown bench outside, I started a brief chat with my pals. In the heat of the conversation (which turned out to be not so brief), my teacher finally entered the vehicle. It was quite unusual as my English teacher was never late. It was as queer as a green flamingo writing the middle name of its sixth cousin (thrice removed) with the leg that it was balancing on.

 

This zoo trip was a trip to give us inspiration for writing poems, which was what our English topic was. We had been informed about a trip around a week before it took place. In class we had to vote for either going to the botanical gardens or the zoo. My class is full of animal lovers and majority of us voted to go to the zoo. We were to take notes about our surroundings in the zoo. These were to help us later when we were writing poems about the field trip.

 

The bus started immediately after my tutor belted up. The zoo was quite close by because the school was also in Jurong. However, the trip could only be two hours long because we left in the beginning of lunch, stayed there for the two periods of English and returned by the end of the afternoon break. We spent 40 minutes in the bus, so that left us only an hour and 20 minutes, in which time we also had to get to and fro from the places in the zoo. In the middle of the bus ride, a storm broke out, which we all knew would lead to the animals not coming out into the open if they didn’t like rain.

 

Just as we were about to enter the zoo, the rain stopped. In fact, the rain hadn’t reached here yet because the roads and flora were dry, although we could see the grey clouds in the distance. We strode over to the ticket counter, formed a straight line a few metres away from it and each gave the teachers five dollars for the ticket. My friend and I got tram tickets as he had a muscle problem because of which he couldn’t walk long distances. Because he wasn’t allowed to go alone (a school rule), I was requested to go with him. We hopped onto a tram with zebra stripes painted all over it and headed off for the fragile forest.

 

The fragile forest was a butterfly enclosure. The butterflies would just be fluttering in the air- living in an enclosed area wouldn’t make much of a difference to their life as the place was huge and the zoo keepers refilled their ‘feeding bowls’ (Five multicoloured hexagons with holes in them arranged in a circle on a white disc that is nailed to a tree.) and there were countless flowers. We made a partition in the chains that were hanging and opened the door that led to the butterfly park.

 

There was only one colour around me- green. Everything from the butterfly net to the moss growing on the emerald trees was jade green. Name a shade and it was there- pear, olive, lime, Persian green, army green, shamrock green, pine green, bottle green, sea green, racing green, midnight green, teal green, camouflage green, kelly green, pigment green, tea green, electric green, moss green, office green, hunter green, fern green, myrtle, spring green, spring bud, viridian and even asparagus!

 

The first thing that greeted my ears was a bunch of loud peacocks and peahens hopping like they needed to use the toilet but the thing that was using the lavatory was taking its time. Hanging upside down from the tree next to me was a bat. Its sinewy wings looked like the fabric batman’s wings were made of. A fresh breeze hung in the air. I walked a few steps ahead and I was soon on a wood bridge, as brown as the three primary colours mixed together.

 

There were calm waterfalls and tranquil water flowed elegantly under us. Unruffled lotuses bloomed in the cool pool like a magicians hands hypnotizing someone. The peaceful moments were broken by two screams. One of them came from a girl near a cluster of bats. She had screamed in surprise because the bats had just urinated. The other one came from one of my classmates because she had dropped her homework diary in the pond. We all walked towards the place where she dropped it to see if it could be retrieved. We could see it, floating on top of the water but it was out of reach and it was drenched in water. There was anyway not much point recovering it as the water would have made the ink spread out all over the page (chromatography- the process of separating different liquids in a solution). I then walked towards the bats and took a couple of snapshots so that I could write a poem about it later.

 

We lined up again and marched over to the orang-utan point. My friend and a supervisor had already left because he could then rest on the way and they will still reach there before us. It had started drizzling and soon it was heavily raining. I praised myself for remembering to pack and umbrella. After all, this was Singapore- you could never predict when it would rain. The problem was that the monkeys had all gone indoors as they disliked the rain. We only had half and hour left so instead of waiting for the monkeys and getting as fed up and bored as a spoilt five year old being forced to look at mouldy custard dripping down a wall, we headed back to the bus, stopping for a couple of minutes in the otter’s pond. Anyways, we could see their living conditions later by peeping in our locker room.

 

I could hear the otters before I could see them. Otters are minute mammals that eat fish. They are as furry as stereotypical teddy bears. I didn’t find them too interesting as most of them just sat in the corner under a tree and we could barely make out their outline even after craning our necks as much as owls. I could only see the head of one of them that was sleeping inside a hollow log.

 

We reached school a few minutes late for our next lesson, but otherwise, we followed the schedule. The trip was enjoyable and amusing because all my friends were with me and we had a great time. Even though I had been to the zoo numerous times, I never had this much entertainment. Also, I noticed many more things in this trip because I was looking for small details to write some poetry about. This was a fantastic trip and I think that it was a great idea to choose the zoo for inspiration.

Aditya K

July 20, 2009 at 3:05 pm 3 comments

Pulau Tioman, The great journey

Pulau Tioman, The great journey!

 

Day 1: The Journey begins….

 

I waved goodbye to my parents as the bus sped away.

 

It was still 6:30 in the morning in Singapore and two Grade 6 classes were going to Pulau Tioman. I felt excited and happy and I was looking forward to the trip. I was soon in conversation with my friends, and before I realised, we were at the border between Malaysia and Singapore. I got off the bus; collected my passport, got it stamped, and made my way back to the bus.

 

In Malaysia, I mostly looked out the window and saw the beautiful trees, aligned line in line. We got off the bus, took a bio break and entered a ferry. The seats were inside the boat, but most of the students preferred to stand on the open balcony outside to enjoy the cool, refreshing, soft sea breeze.

 

As I got out, I just expected to have a little bit of wind blowing, but as soon as I was out, a gust of howling wind struck me. I felt delighted and enjoyed the ride all through. Tioman Island was in sight in around 3 hours. As I glanced at the island, the first thing that caught my attention was the size of Tioman. It was massive!

 

We handed out our luggage to another boatman who was with us and got ready for the mountain climb that lay in front of us. The climb was 8 kilometres through a jungle that was on a steep mountain. My friends company did not let me realise the severe hitting that my feet were taking during the long climb.

 

We reached the resort in around 3 to 4 hours. We were told our rooms and roommates and were sent to settle in. The room was extremely messy but I realised that I should come out of my comfort zone. We were instructed to take out all our snacks and put them in a large, deep orange coloured box that was placed near the place where we had our meals. This was so that the snacks didn’t attract any more bugs to our cabin.

 

Day 2: It’s time to play the games!

 

I woke up to the enchanting colours in magnificent sky. It was still the beginning of dawn and the spectacular sunrise hadn’t even started! I changed into my swimming shorts and UV top (we had to wear our swimming gear from the time we woke up till the time we were given to have showers, which was right before dinner.), I then headed out for breakfast.

 

Before mealtime, we were meant to take a pleasant walk to the nearby jetty and back just to energise us up a little. After having a scrumptious meal, we played a game called ‘bird on the perch’. The rules were that we first got a partner. One of us had to be a bird, and the other was the perch. Then both of us had to walk around a lengthy line in opposite directions. Whenever the person conducting the game shouted out “Bird on the perch!” the bird had to get on top the perch in such a way that no part of their body was touching the ground. The last team to do this was disqualified. My partner and me made it to the top 3.

 

After this electrifying game, we were split into two different groups and sent to our first activity, which was sailing for me. The other group would do something else and after lunch, we would switch activities. We were sent off to our activities, but for sailing we needed to know different safety rules. The method of sailing was explained and we were also taught how to get back into the boat if we capsized. We soon set off into the deep, dark, blue sea. I found this activity exceedingly enjoyable although I did tip over a few times J.

 

After a heavy lunch, we were given 2 hours of free time after which we swapped over with the other group, and did ‘beach arts’. We had to choose a person that we admire. Then you have to make an art piece, using only natural items that we found near the river. We weren’t allowed to uproot any plants or pluck any leaves.

 

I made a design around a growing plant using bougainvilleas, palm tree bark and mud brown leaves that had dried up in the heat. Everyone liked it and complimented me a great deal.

 

Then, after dinner, we played a game or two more and at 10:00, it was lights out.

 

Day 3: A new learning!

The routine began as the first two days, but today our first activity was going to the turtle hatchery for which we took a speedboat to the hatchery. Once we were there, we saw a few baby turtles and Jo, the blind turtle. The hatchery was a protected area with turtle eggs buried in the sand (like they usually are).

 

When the turtles are born, they are released into the ocean. If the turtle does not go into the water that means it has some disability.

 

Jo did not go into the water and that is how they found out that she was blind. We helped clean their living areas, and then we learnt about how we can help them (not using too many plastic bags, etc.) and how we could raise awareness in the community. We walked back to our resort, which was quite a long distance away. On the way across the stretched seashore, we had to pick up as much litter as we could so that the beach looked neat and so that items made out of plastic couldn’t affect the turtles. After lunch, we went to do our one star kayak training in the river. We were told different methods of kayaking and then we had to carry our kayaks into the river and we kayaked around one kilometre.

 

It was extraordinarily thrilling and I think that was my favourite activity in the whole trip. We also played a game. The rules were:

  • We got into teams
  • We had to be touching different ends of the river (the width, not the length which is countless miles)
  • The referee throws a buoyant yellow ball and both teams have to try and get it
  • If the ball hits you, your kayak or your paddle by someone in the opposite team, you are disqualified
  • If it misses you and falls into the water, you can fetch it and throw it at your opponents

 

It was a great load of fun although my muscles were pounding in pain because of the kayaking. We were given some time to swim in the sea before changing and going for dinner. After dinner we started to note down some things so that we could remember what we did in the trip later onwards. Then it was time to sleep.

 

Day 4: Thoughts in solace!

I opened my eyes as the teacher woke us up by knocking on the door. We were directed to wear clothes appropriate for trekking and headed out into the striking morning. After our walk, and during breakfast, we were told that we were going to trek towards a waterfall that was on a mountain nearby.

 

The snacks from the ‘Orange Box’ were divided and an equal amount was given to each student to carry. Later at the waterfall, we were going to have a feast where we were going to distribute the snacks.

 

The hike started, leading us into the jungle. We were soon deep in the forest with rocks in our way and trees all around. Suddenly, we came to a halt. Rob (from the outdoor education department at my school) explained that we were going to do an activity called SOLO. As the name suggests, we were going to spend some time (we are not sure how long as we were meant to be unconscious about time- they even asked us to give them our watches) alone in our own space. The closest person will be more than fifty meters away.

 

After explaining what to do in the case of emergency, we were spread across the area of 1.35 kilometres (27 people x 50 meters) and we thought our own thoughts. We were also not allowed to talk.

 

The jungle itself was deadly quiet, as if a tough, enchanted charm had been spread across the rough woodland. But it was also alive with noise because it was so quiet, I could hear twigs snapping, monkeys chattering, leaves flying in the strong wind that was howling in my ears. I saw trees, as I couldn’t see much; my path was totally blocked by grand, tremendous, towering trees. The most interesting thing I saw must have been the tree that was shaped like a dog. It had a hole in the branches for eyes, leaves for ears, and through another hole, I could see the emerald green leaves from the other trees behind it and the hole looked just like the mouth. I felt tired and energetic, both at the same time. Suddenly, my group appeared and I realised that my SOLO time was over.

 

We resumed the stride and marched over to the waterfall. We sat on some rocks and took out the snacks. After having an admirable feast, we went swimming in the flowing water. The water was freezing but it was still fun. The fall was only around 6 meters high from the ground. There was a place in the waterfall where we could climb up to and glide down, as there was a structure like a water slide. After about 30 minutes of fun in the water, we started strolling back to the other hotel where the other grade 6 class was staying (both of the classes stayed at 2 different hotels. Their hotel was near the turtle sanctuary) and had our lunch there. We returned back to our hotel, dropped our bags, changed into our swimmers and we went jetty jumping. We could jump off right from the top or from a lower area. I wanted to jump from the top one but my legs didn’t act upon my thoughts and so I got 2 jumps at the lower spot. It was still great fun. We then had dinner and then came the moment we were all waiting for…

 

THE BONFIRE!

 

The bonfire was only 20 minutes but everyone still enjoyed it, telling jokes and horror stories. We also learned a campfire song that a tribe of Africa sung every night during their campfire. They lived in the desert and they sung it so that if there were someone lost in the desert, they would know that help was near. Every one slept without any effort, as we were extremely tired.

 

Day 5: Taking the route back home!

That morning, we woke up earlier than usual to go snorkelling. It was exciting and adventurous. We saw schools of minuscule fish, firm coral reefs, vibrant multicoloured fish, and countless other things, which I can’t, record here because there are too many to list. We had a quick breakfast, made ourselves sandwiches for our lunch and packed them in a waxed plastic bag. We headed off to the jetty to take the ferry back to Malaysia’s mainland. The ferry and the following bus ride back to Singapore took over 9 hours. I was incredibly happy to be back home because after all it’s always, Home Sweet Home.

 

Thank you for reading and do let me know your comments and views on the same.

 

Aditya K

October 18, 2008 at 8:11 pm 3 comments

Ropes Course

 

I wriggled into my harness as the instructor told me how to squeeze into the chest harness piece of equipment to make sure that you don’t fall of the ropes. The letter informing us about the course had come about a week ago.

 

The ropes were a chain of obstacle courses that were around 30 meters off the ground. It was Monday 14th January 2008. I felt bored as I watched my friends who were now high up struggle to stay in control. I smiled to myself, being too sure that I would be much better than them. But as I saw my pals struggle with the course even more, I wondered if I could really do it easily.

 

My question was answered when it was my turn to go up. I climbed up a rod sort of thing that looked like a telegraph pole. I picked up a pattern on the way my arms and legs should climb once I was halfway up. Left arm! Right arm! Left leg! Right leg! I tried to concentrate and realized that it was extremely complicated after all. After I reached the top, I was praised by Jackie who was part of the staff. I was later tied to a sling and let out in the towering and complex ropes course.

 

The first obstacle that I had to battle first was tricky. I had to walk on a skinny wire and hold on to two other bony chains for support. After completing the first challenge, I congratulated myself on being successful to complete it. Only after congratulating myself, I looked at the obstacle in front of me. According to everyone who had already finished the course, that was the easiest of all.

 

The next obstacle was a large, circular beam that was above around 30 meters above the ground. I made my first mistake when I looked down. The height sent a shudder through my spine. Clutching on to my harness and taking a deep breath, I began to try and balance. I forced my eyes not to look down again. I had to be very tolerant with my buddies because they were yelling and screaming encouragements but what they didn’t know was that their cries from down below were just distracting me. While I was thinking all this, I didn’t realize that I had already nearly finished the beam. The bar made me feel like I was walking the plank.

 

The next obstacle was my favourite. There were two sleek wires: one for my foot and one for my hand. After completing it, I came to the hardest one. I had to walk on a wire that was about as thin as the thickness of a $1 coin. There was nothing I could hold on to all the time, as there were ropes every now and again. I did fall of a few times but got saved by my faithful harness. Finishing that took me around two minutes but it felt like two hours.

 

I had finished it! I had conquered the ropes course! Coming down was fun as I could jump down from the whole 30 meters but we had a rope attached onto us that a staff person was controlling so it was okay. After completing the whole obstacle course, we got to have our break.

 

The next was the low ropes in which we got to play a game called “ruthless”. The rules of the games are that you have to wander around when the referee calls a number. You have to get into groups of that number in order to stay in the next round. Whoever does not manage to make it into a group has to go out. After playing a few suspenseful rounds of the game, we hopped onto the ropes. Our objective was to swing like Tarzan from on side to the other. After practising, we played a game called “around the clock”. The rules were that we had to use the rope and swing onto the next mat as there were four mats set out that represented: twelve ‘o’ clock, three ‘o’ clock, six ‘o’ clock and last, but not least, nine ’o’ clock. If you were in the mat representing twelve ‘o’ clock, you would have to jump onto the mat representing three ’o’ clock and so on. We had ten lives to start off with and we lost a life if any of us touched the grass, the rocks or the ground.

 

The games were very interesting and I enjoyed every minute of it.

 

I just loved the ropes course. Roped in……….

Thanks

 

Aditya K

October 5, 2008 at 8:48 am 3 comments

Green Turn – The PYP Exhibition

In the starting of term 3, Mrs. Ziemer announced that the exhibition was coming up. The PYP exhibition is the time fifth graders get to show their skills and abilities to others. In other schools, most children my age would have been worrying about exams but we needed to pose the skills they needed for their exam except we also got to have fun. We all got to choose a topic. After that, we looked for other people who had a topic similar to mine. My group was made up of 4 people. Marmik, Doris, Cole and I formed the MAD-C (M for Marmik A for Aditya D for Doris and C for Cole).

 

My topic was excessive transport. My three questions were: 1: how too many cars could affect the environment 2: how too many cars could affect people 3: what we can do to reduce all the bad affects.  I chose this topic because I was always told that air pollution is bad for my health but I didn’t know how. Similarly, I didn’t know how cars affect the environment. After I knew all these answers, my next step was to find what I can do to help myself and the environment.

In the beginning of the topic, I was trying to make as many things as possible to cover up my board but when I was actually putting things on the board, I found it really difficult to find space. One thing I would keep the same would be that I would keep the brochures, quiz and the game to attract more people. If I did the exhibition again I would print more brochures and put the game in the end of the quiz instead of the middle because people just played the quiz till the game came up and left right after playing the game.  I found out that talking about the same thing over and over again to everybody made me bored. I also got annoyed because people didn’t want to listen to my information. They only wanted to play the game. I got angry because little children came to our stall and didn’t listen to our information. Instead they started asking all the stalls if they have candy or not. Some people were also very rude to us and acted really mean and it was hard not being rude back to them. The fun thing was that all the adult’s questions were very interesting and it was quite enjoyable to talk to them about my topic.

I learnt that some of the actions I was taking were bad and I learnt how they were bad. Now I know how I can reduce my carbon footprint. I learnt what to do to save the environment and also not make a change in my life. A small change can make a big difference.

I never knew that if we turned off the television with the remote, it didn’t really turn off. Now I always remember to turn it off using the main plug. Another thing I learnt was that whenever I turn an electronic item on, it uses up more volts than it would take to leave it on. Earlier I used to turn off the lights when I leave the room but now when I am leaving a room I always think whether I will come back right away. Now that I know that even though a bus is bigger than a car, it releases 170 grams less carbon dioxide than a car. Now I walk more than using transport and my parents walk too. Now that I know that www.blackle.com and www.iDarkle.com (these search engines save over 632,013.367 watts per hour) are better for the environment because the pixels turn off, I changed my phone wallpaper and the computer wallpaper black so the pixels can stay off and use less energy. Now that I know what is good and what is bad, my job is to persuade other people to change the way they do things.

Please help not only the environment but also yourself and your future generations. So go ahead and do your part now.

 

Thanks

Aditya K

 

October 5, 2008 at 8:45 am 4 comments

Tamen Negara Trip

 

MY TRIP TO TAMEN NEGARA

 

 

IMPRESSIONS OF A TRAIN JOURNEY

 

Toot! Toot! The train was about to leave as we scrambled to our bunks. There were 2 bunks on top of each other on both sides of the train with a pillow and a curtain. There was also a small light. At first we had to stay on our own bunks before we went into Malaysia but later we could go on to each other’s bunks for a game of cards. My friend Cole forgot to bring food so we all had to contribute to his dinner. After eating dinner, we went on to each other’s beds for some time to play. At 8:00pm, the teachers asked us to go to sleep. It is not easy to go to sleep on a bumpy train that keeps rocking all the time. I managed to sleep for about 3 to 3 and half hours. After we woke up at 3:00am, we took a short 10-minute walk to an inn. We had 6 people in our bunk with one single bed and one queen sized bed. That evening was tough!

 

ON THE RIVER SEEN FROM THE BOAT

 

On you go, Rama’s group!” said Mrs.Ziemer, as we climbed onto the boat and got partners. My partner was Ahan. As we sat on the boat we put on our “Neil Pryde” life jackets, which Rama said was our responsibility till we reach Singapore. The boat ride was exactly 2 hours and 34 minutes (I timed it with my own watch!). On our way to Tamen Negara, we saw monkeys on islands, water buffalos and cows eating and bathing in the water and many more exiting things. After a long time of staring out, we finally reached Tamen Negara, the world’s oldest rainforest. The boat ride was really exiting and I think you should go too.

 

THE TREK TO TERESEK HILL

 

Puff! Pant! “ Not much longer!” shouted our local guide, Max. We tried to start the trek with out bottles full of water, but unfortunately, the water didn’t last us to the top of Teresek hill. We had to hike 1.7 km up the mountain and 1.7 km down the mountain. Long way! On our way up, our guide thought us how to get medicine out of a plant to cure leach bites, what wood to use to start a campfire, a juice called risen that comes out of a special tree that gives a wonderful scent when burnt, which vines to use to drink water (vines contain water; you need to cut it open to get it), many interesting facts about animals and many more fascinating and useful things. We stopped halfway up the hill, at the first view and the second view (the views were exquisite mountains), which was the top of the mountain. The trek was difficult but we made it!

 

 

 

SHOOTING THE RAPIDS

 

In the activity shooting the rapids, we got on to our boat to go to an island to play some games there. Soon after the boat started the driver at the back who was controlling the motor suddenly went really fast. But I realized that we weren’t the only ones. The other boats were speeding too! Suddenly, when our boat was next to another boat, the guide put an oar into the water and the whole boat next to us got drenched. Soon all the boats started doing this and we were all soaking wet. It was more fun when we reached the current because the water splashed a lot further. After we reached the Island, we played two fun games. The way back was not as interesting because nobody splashed anyone. That was super fun!!

 

 

THE CANOPY WALK

 

For the canopy walk, we hiked for about 30 min, until we reached the canopy walkway. The canopy walk was on a narrow bridge in which we had to stay 5 or 10 meters away from the person in the front. This was because the bridge could hold only a certain amount of people. The bridges started swinging and it was great fun as we tackled 5 bridges. The total distance was around 500 to 800 meters. The bridge was 45 to 50 meters away from the ground. Phew! That’s high! The activity was very interesting and I enjoyed it a lot.

 

In conclusion I would say that this trip was a super duper hit and the best I have ever been to so far! I just loved it and I think you should go there too.

 

 

Aditya Krishnan

 

Age: 10 years

 

__________

Do post in your views and comments below….                                           

 

 

June 20, 2008 at 9:41 am 3 comments


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