Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Celebrating Diversity in Singapore through the Singapore Challenge!

I just participated in the annual Singapore Challenge! The Singapore Challenge is similar to the reality show The Amazing Race, except that it’s held in Singapore, for youths of different races and nationalities to learn more about Singapore and make new friends. The event is organised by the Singapore International Foundation (SIF) in partnership with all the five polytechnics. I was fortunate to be able to participate in this event, and I certainly gained many insights about Singapore during the experience.

Participants of Singapore Challenge 2013
This year, Singapore Challenge consisted of two parts. The first part of the race had three checkpoints in Marina Bay Sands, Clarke Quay and Maxwell Road. The second part also consisted of three checkpoints. They were in Bishan, Ang Mo Kio and Woodlands.

On the 20th of July, we registered ourselves at the Nanyang Polytechnic atrium at 8am. Each team comprised students of three different nationalities. In total, there were 900 international and local participants this year.

My team’s name was The N Incredibles.

Upon registering, each team received a bag consisting of bread, cans of Milo, Milo snacks, packets of Oreo biscuits, water bottles and a booklet with instructions for the race.
The food served as breakfast and as snacks during the race. A map was also given to us in the form of a QR code. We were also given different coloured hats.

After a short while, the emcee announced the start of Singapore Challenge and we listened to the opening address by Ms Jean Tan, executive director, SIF.

The emcee also taught us how to do a “good hat throw” and an “excellent hat throw”, which made us laugh and livened the atmosphere.

The race then began and all of us headed to the main entrance of NYP which leads towards Yio Chu Kang MRT station.

Our first checkpoint was the Singapore City Gallery in Maxwell Road. We saw another group getting there first. We went up to level two and met the marshal of this checkpoint. I noticed that the theme of this checkpoint was ‘Diversity’.

There were three tasks given. In the first task, we were given some pictures of displays that could be found within the building. We had to spot the differences between the pictures and the real displays. The second task was to find a jumbled word that was pasted on a hawker stall opposite the building. It didn’t take us long to figure out what the word was -Diversity. Lastly, we were given some riddles on what some unknown local dishes taste like, and we had to figure out what these dishes were.

We had to complete these tasks in 15 minutes. Five marks were deducted for every five minutes we were late. From these tasks, participants learnt more about the diversity of culture, religions and cuisines of Singapore.
One team spotted discussing the tasks given
The next checkpoint was Marina Bay Sands (MBS). Here, we had to search around an area in order to find the checkpoint. We finally found the checkpoint near MBS’ Mist Walk.

The second checkpoint’s theme was Renaissance City. At this checkpoint, the QR code of a map was given to us. We had to follow the route on the map, starting from Marina Promenade to the Esplanade.

Along the way, we were required to stop by Marina Bay City Gallery to take note of the exhibits. We also had to take note of the art pieces along the route. As we walked along, we were treated to a stunning view of Marina Bay. I could see the urban city landscape but also enough greenery amidst the high rise buildings to make the landscape look ecological.

At the end of the path, we needed to complete two tasks. The first task was to match pictures of art pieces we saw earlier with their correct names and sequences.

The second task was to solve a word puzzle by answering the questions given. The questions were based on what we saw in the Marina Bay City Gallery.

Both tasks needed to be completed in three minutes to avoid the penalties.

The next checkpoint was at the Coleman Bridge underpass near Clarke Quay Central. This task was unique as we got the chance to paint actual exhibits! At this checkpoint, SIF teamed up with Social Creatives, a non-profit art enterprise, to paint Singapore’s history on the wall of the underpass. We helped to paint the easy parts with the guidance of the artist and it was quite cool to be part of the project!

Painting on the wall of the underpass
After this, we received another QR code of a map. Our map stated our next checkpoint was in Bishan, Block 509. We moved on once we knew where we needed to go. The fourth checkpoint’s theme was ‘A Liveable City’.

The task of this checkpoint was to identify the slogans of several shops in 15 minutes. Here, I learnt what it takes to make a city liveable.
Marshal giving instructions to complete the task
The fifth checkpoint was in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1, at Bishan Park. The theme of this checkpoint was ‘City in a Garden’, ‘Biodiversity’ and ‘Singapore’s Water Story’. For this checkpoint, two members of the team rode bicycles to a designated area of the park while the rest of the team members walked to another designated area. We also had to take note of the surroundings in the park.

After cycling and walking around the park, our next task was to blow seven balloons and form a human chain with a balloon sandwiched between every team member. The first person in the chain would need to lead the team and collect 10 coloured cards from the floor. The collected cards had to be the same colour as our balloons. After collecting all the cards, we had to sort out the cards. There were five cards with pictures of the park and another five cards with park location names. We had to match each picture with the correct location.

After completing five checkpoints, we headed towards the sixth and final checkpoint in Woodlands. We gathered at a residential block in Marsiling, Woodlands. SIF had teamed up with Food from the Heart, a non-profit organization that provides food for  needy people, and our last task was to pack food and give it out to the residents. Each team was given a different address to go to. My heart went out to the residents in the estate as they are old and have to depend on themselves.

We finally headed to our final destination, Republic Polytechnic, for refreshments. The refreshments consisted of different well known Singapore cuisines such as laksa, nasi lemak, otah and many others. We were so tired after a whole day of running around and were glad to finally rest.

At 6.30pm, the prize giving ceremony begun. I was glad that one of our NYP teams won the Highest Accumulation Points category. Even though my team didn’t win anything, we were highly satisfied with the knowledge we acquired about Singapore and it was definitely a rewarding experience.

Written by Neoh Chia Huay, Year 2, Diploma in Digital and Precision Engineering

Neoh Chia Huay is a Year 2 DPE student who likes to discover new things. She is keen on reading and acquiring new knowledge every day. She is quite active in Taekwondo and loves martial arts.

1 comment:

  1. Great creativity in Singapore...!!

    Sounds like amazing...!!!!

    Liked Singapore Emcee also...!!

    Excited for next event...!!!