Getting Outdoors: 7 of 9

Of course, on Friday evening we had our second student dialogue session. Once again this was filled with excellent deliberation and debate from delegates expressing their own views from their experience in their own country. Although this discussion somewhat lacked the cracking pace set in the first, it was overall a very fascinating exercise. We discussed issues relating to equality, stratification, youth employment and immigration (plenty of immigration issues back in Australia). By the end, undoubtedly each delegate left with a goldmine of new information which ultimately must have reshaped their views.

Yesterday (Saturday) was spent mostly outdoors participating in fun activities. Our group started out with paintball, which was unfortunately delayed by several hours due to incumbent weather. Quite ironically the whole week spent indoors in organisations was met with excellent weather, whereas the one day we decided to feel the breeze again the sun chose to hide its face. Instead we were met with a tour of the Singapore Discovery Centre (which on the basis of the "So Singapore" video alone may have been worthwhile). We did get a few minutes of paintball eventually though which was very unique and enjoyable. After lunch we drove quite a while to the reservoir where we experienced dragon-boating and kayaking. Kayaks I have experienced in the past and proved to be just as much fun as I had remembered. Dragon-boating is something we obviously don’t have in Australia however and, although strikingly similar to canoeing (same technique), was very distinctive indeed. The only downside to our time on the water however was that, holistically, we did not actually spend much time paddling. Rather the guides were seemingly more focused on exacerbating the internal quarrels of our group by turning friend to foe and taking us "to war"; that is, the key focus of the session was in fact splashing each other with the paddles. By then the water had warmed to cozy temperature and having a swim would not at all have been met with adversity, but various regulations and excuses meant we couldn’t jump it. In any case the splashing did a sufficient job of drenching us from head to toe.

This morning we travelled with Mr Law Hock Ling (a marine biologist) to Labrador Nature Research to study the marine organisms. Mr Law was a very charismatic, outgoing person whose company, humour and insight all the delegates admired. The trip was one of the greatest moments hitherto in the entire summit. We saw enchanting creatures that we would never have noticed on our own. We also learnt about the importance of appreciating and conserving the natural ecosystems. Unlike a conventional mundane and boring textbook-to-paper ecology lesson, Mr Law’s was interactive and incredibly enjoyable. On another note, it was also great to see the familiar sight of greenery, beach and water that is so common in Australia. Seeing the rocky coast and mangrove forests combined with the sunshine felt very homelike. The water was also remarkably clear, visibility extending right down to the seabed.

It’s a shame time has passed so quickly as I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here up to now. The camaraderie we’ve developed with the other delegates isn’t something I look forward to breaking.

Andy Wang
Brisbane Grammar School

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