Today is a bittersweet day for all of us. It is our last day with our twinning school, Chun Lei Middle School. Alike the last two days, we went to the class with our buddies. We sat through Chinese and English language lessons. The Chinese language lesson was too complicated for us as the content and the way the teachers teach are very different from what and how we learn in Singapore. During the English lesson, it was conducted using both English and Chinese language. What we liked about the classes were the teachers are friendly whilst the students are easygoing. The teachers are willing to print out worksheets for us to understand and the students shared with us their textbooks so that we do not feel left out. Although sitting through their lessons was challenging at times (due to their language and dialect-accent), the experience was enriching for us.
After sitting through their lessons, the QTSS students had lunch in their function room. After which, we then proceeded to learn the 3 different aspects of Chinese culture: Written Art (calligraphy), Music and Food Culture.
For some of us, it was our first time trying out Calligraphy. Calligraphy is a form of writing using Chinese Symbols (alphabet system) and requires alot of precision. Calligraphy requires us to paint symbols, written with a brush dipped into black ink. We were taught by Mr Yuen, a teacher in Chun Lei Middle School to hold the brush in a 90 degree angle from the paper and start drawing the word with the right amount of strength. At first, we had difficulties doing the calligraphy because the angle of the brush need to be perpendicular to the paper. It was different from the normal way of holding a pencil so i had to adjust accordingly. At the first stroke, it was very ugly because we had no experience but we went according to the steps provided by the teacher and successfully written the word (永) (yong) properly. This word was written as it allows students to practice all the strokes in Chinese characters. Although the session was only 1 hour, we managed to write lots of characters.
Next, we were exposed to a unique musical instrument called Tao Di. It is an egg-like instrument that uses air to make sound. By covering the different holes on the Tao Di, different sounds will be produced. We learnt that it is a new traditional instrument. In the past, it was make of shells or wood. But now, people uses porcelain to make it as they can then draw beautiful designs on it.
The music teacher taught us how to produce music with the instrument. We have to blow air into the instrument and we had a chance to learn 2 songs: Happy Birthday and Au Lange Syne.
At 5pm, our partner school had specially invited a local chef to their school to teach us how to make dumplings. As some of us were muslims, the chef taught us how to make vegetable dumplings. Our buddies from Chun Lei Middle school also joined us in making the dumplings. For all of us, including our buddies from Chun Lei Middle school, was as our first time making dumpling. The process of making the dough was a little difficult as it involved a lot of kneading and knowing how much flour and water to add to form the dough. However, the chef had prepared doughs for the 4 tables and we had fun making the dumplings. We used a lot of flour so that the dough doesn’t stick to the table or our hands. We then inserted the vegetable fillings and tried to wrap the dumplings neatly. Some of us who had made curry puffs before, were able to use our skills in wrapping the dumpling. The rest of us just used our imagination.
Due to the time constraint, the Chef has prepared boiled dumplings for us before hand. We had fun eating with our buddies and liked the dumplings. Even friends who did not like to eat vegetables began to like eating those dumplings.
At the end of the dinner, the bittersweet moment came for all of us. We had to say goodbye to our buddies and teachers from Chun Lei Middle School. We gave them our gifts from Singapore and took as many pictures as we could with them. On our bus ride to our hotel, we started to miss this school experience. We hope we have the chance to visit Chun Lei Middle School again.