HCMC 2014

HCMC 2014

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Day 5- Cu Chi Tunnels(Thuta Soe)

Whats interesting about today?
I found it interesting that the Viet Congs are actually very smart, when their information cannot go out but they are keeping track of the Americans.They were also able to use simple weapons to attack the Americans yet stay well hidden.Its also interesting how they dig all the tunnels with just humans that occupy space larger than Singapore.
What I learnt today?
I learnt that although some of the organisation might be small, but they can play a important role in the country. For example, the Wildlife Animal Rescue Centre doesn’t seems to play a important role, but it is saving many animals from the cruel animal trade, which includes these animals being chopped up and added into wine.
What surprised me?Why?
It was surprising that the Viet Congs are very hardworking and able to dig a tunnel that is 250km long, which ensures the survival of the Viet Congs.
What am i confused about?
What have i learnt about Wildlife Conservation?
I learnt that they do play a important role and they can affect the Vietnam’s reputations and so on.I also learnt that it is important to conserve the wildlife in Vietnam as it has a lot of wildlife, at the brink of extinction.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Our Feelings towards 2014 GCP HCMC

Day 5 Cu Chi Tunnels. Cu Chi Wildlife Rescue Centre

At Cu Chi Tunnels.
Click here for more photos.

Day 5 - Cu Chi tunnel and Cu Chi Wildlife Rescue Centre (Justin Goh)

At the Cu Chi tunnel, What interests me the most was about the Vietnamese used the tunnels to their advantage by traveling throughout the tunnels connected together. I learned that the tunnels played and extremely crucial role during the Vietnams War by allowing the Vietnams to travel throughout a certain area without getting injured or attacked by the america solders and they were able to escaped an attack by avoiding it in the tunnels. What really surprised me was that the Vietnamese were able to recycle many of the material dropped by the America solders to their advantage (e.g. Converting tank’s rubber tyres into slippers and Converting the bomb metal into Spears or guns). What was confusing to me was that I don’t get how are the people are able to lived in the dirt and dark tunnels for a long period of time.

After seeing Cu Chi Wildlife Rescue Centre, What interests me the most interest me was that why were there animals so many animal kept in the centre. It show me that their were many animals in danger due to human action. I learned that many animals at the centre we human should be more considerate and more responsible of our actions as many animals were suffering due to our own selfish reasons (e.g, the bear were killed for there bile just only because that their bile has medial properties). What surprised me was that there were so many animals suffering and out there in the wild, there were many other animals, more than what we have just seen being killed by our cruel action. What confuses me was that how is the species going to survived if they were also being killed.

I have learned that I should be more responsible of myself and my actions, not to be so overconfidence, have more patience, attentiveness, creative thinking too. Thinking before you do something has also been reenforced in me after the trip to the different places. I realised that I was also very fortunate be able to enjoy many privilege.

After visiting Vietnam, I realised that Vietnam has much more compilations than when I first reached Vietnam (e.g. the Vietnam War) and Vietnam is a has also has a high level of technology.

Day 5 Reflection (Arvin)

.Arvin Kumar

1. What did I find most interesting and challenging?

Visiting the wildlife reserve was very interesting as I could see the different types of animals! As an animal lover, it was amazing to see those animals. I loved the bears and the monkeys. There was nothing challenging today although people said that the Cu Chi Tunnels was dark, damp, stuffy, warm and it was challenging to move.

2. What have I learned from this visit?

I have learned more about the wildlife and Cu Chi Tunnels as I learned more about living in the tunnels, how they defended themselves and how the animals in the wildlife reserve came there. This was my favourite visit as I learned a lot about them. My knowledge of the places have definitely expanded. I have also learned to look at both sides of the situation such as looking at the Vietnamese's point of view and the Americans to evaluate who has a more credible story.

3. What surprised me? Why?

I was surprised to know that the Cu Chi tunnels had a different types of booby traps as I only thought there was one kind. Some of them really haunted me like the door spikes and ther armpit trap. I could not imagine the pain. I do not want to be in that situation.

4. What am I still confused about?

I was confused as to why I did not see more animals as the guide has said that there were 50 species and I only saw less than 20 species. I wanted to see more as I was very excited.

5. What have I learned about myself/wildlife conservation/Vietnam war?

I have learned how the Viet Cong Soldiers lived in the tunnels and how did they defend themselves against the enemy and I have also learned as to how the animals got there and what kind of an environment they were living in.

6. How has your first impression of Ho Chi Minh city changed?

Initially, I had thought that Vietnam was a disorderly and dirty country. But now, after I have seen all the sights, I fell that this is a beatiful country. Sights like the Cu Chi Tunnels and Can Gio were absolutely interesting and fun to go to! I would love to come here again if I had the chance but this time, I will but this time, I will hold on tight to my glasses.


The students in the Lawrence S Ting school are kind and friendly,as they reached out their hands to shake hands with me.In some other schools, the students is reluctant to shake my hand.
What did I find interesting or challenging?
The most interesting part is when we were playing the traditional game that they have, like the one that you play using the bamboo.
What have I learnt during this visit?
I learnt about their traditional dance and I learnt that they go to other classes to have their lesson which is good for students as we all get to excercise everyday.

Day 5# CU chi tunnel and wildlife conservation(sasank)

1)  What did I find most interesting or challenging? 
I found that that the Vietnamese smartness of building “rooms” for purposes such s hospitalisation,communication etc during an invasion by the Americans.
2) What have you learnt?
I have learnt about animals which are being attacked by hunters etc illegally for their skin and meat etc.I also learnt that we should protect animals in a way possible.I also learnt that over 50 species of animals are endangered by illegal hunting.
3) What surprised me?
I was surprised by the way the Vietnamese used the Americans ammo,bombs and guns to use for their purposes by uses them against the Americans by modifying the ammo.
4)What confused me?
5)What have I learnt about Vietnam War?
I learnt that the Vietnamese suffered a lot during the war against America and a lot of lives were lost.A lot of families had their family members lost.This caused a great massacre in the Cu Chi district.
6)How has your first impression of HCMC changed?

HCMC  has a great number of tourist attractions such as Ben Thanh Market etc.It also has a wide array of delicious food in the city.The ferry ride to Monkey island made the trip more interesting and enjoyable.

Day 5-title(Lim Yi)

1) What did you find most interesting or challenging?
Cu Chi tunnel did not get destroy after the americans bombs the area and it rain.

2) What have I learnt from this visit?

I have learnt about how the to inflict fear to enemy which will cause to think twice before attack the country.

What surprised me? Why?
The Vietnamese were very resourceful going to the extent of collecting bomb shells for which is made of metal that can be use for weapon and trap to protect 

4) What am I still confused about?
I am not confused.

What have I learnt about Vietnam war?
In Vietnam war at cu chi area,Communist guerrilla troops known as Viet Cong (VC) dug tens of thousands of miles of tunnels.Soldiers used these underground routes to house troops, transport communications and supplies, lay booby traps and mount surprise attacks, after which they could disappear underground to safety.So I have learn that always be prepare during war time.

6)How has my first impression of HCMC change?
Now I my impression of HCMC has change into that Vietnam is not as low tech as I have thought.

Day 5 - Cu Chi Tunnel and Cu Chi Wildlife Reserve (RaphaelMG)

1. What did I find interesting or challenging?

I found the Cu Chi Tunnel walk interesting and challenging as there was a tight space
and very dim lights and a very low ceiling.

2. What have I learnt during this visit?

I have learnt that there are many species of animals in the Cu Chi Wildlife Reserve and most them have been confiscated from illegal poachers.
I have also learnt that the Vietnamese used their wits to create awesome traps.

3. What surprised me? Why?

How the Vietnamese did not get lost in the Cu Chi Tunnels.

4. What am I still confused about?


5. What have I learnt about myself?

I have learnt that I dare to take on challenges.

6. How has my first impression on Vietnam Changed?

I initially thought that it was a little like Malaysia but now I think that it is a optimistic country that is still recovering from its historical war.

7. One word expression for my experience.


Day 5 Jasper

Chu Chi Tunnels

        1. What did I find most interesting or challenging?
That how the Vietcong can built this Immense network of underground tunnels in the Chu Chi district all out via manual labour.  There were booby traps to delay and wound troops to instil fear. They were facilities like hospital, kitchen and so forth for permanent residential ship. When the ground was heavy bombed, they stayed in tunnels for long.

       2. What have I learnt during this visit?
There were entrances that lead to trenches and sniping platforms. They made weapons from the bombshells and destroyed tanks. They knew how to counter to US toxic gases by building multiple air holes from bamboo poles at different levels. They had to eat all sorts of food like snakes and scorpions and fish trapped at craters made by bombshells .Sickness easily to catch and the most common was malaria. I finally knew how some 
traps work

        3.What surprised me?
The height of the tunnels and how narrow they are. Considering my size. ;)

       4.What am I still confused about?
Cu Chi Wildlife Rescue Centre

        1. What did I find most interesting or challenging?
The bears were captured for their bile and some are kept as pets 

       2. What have I learnt during this visit?
That illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam is rampant.  

        3.What surprised me?
That illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam is rampant.  

       4.What am I still confused about?

What have i learnt 

That the Chu Chi tunnels had so many facilities and uses and the

How my impression changed of HCMC

HCM is more technologically advanced than i previously thought,

One work description of this


Day 4
What did I find interesting or challenging?
I find how they have their factory in control of an artifical intellegience(AI) interesting as there might be a malfunction and all the products would be contaminated with germs or dirt.
What have I learnt during this visit?
I learnt that companies do not need to have a lot of manpower to keep a company running as all you need is just an AI and some workers to help you to keep up the producing of the product so that the company might not have any workers that are sick and still come to work but accidentally contaminated the products.
What surprised me? Why?
I am surprised that the company started out small and is about to earn a lot of money(all in USD) in 2017.Because they have grown bigger than the other company just by using AI and is now the no.1 milk brand in Vietnam.
What have I learnt about conflict?
They started out small when other company is already bigger than them.Then they have to have a conflict or a struggle to grow their company faster than the rest and in an efficient way.

Ben Thanh Market
What did I find interesting or challenging?
The most challenging part was to get past the shop owners as they will hold on to you while you walk past their shop and you have to bargain with them.But, the better part was the shops on the outer ring of the market as the shop owners do not hold on to you as they allow you to walk around and have a look and not "force" you to buy it.
What have I learnt during this visit?
Always have to bargain with the shop owners if you think that the price is too expensive.
What surprised me? Why?
I am surprised by how the beverage shop owners tried to force my friends to buy their drink.They will open the can and ask my friend to buy it and my friends have to buy it because it would already be a waste as they already opened the can.
What have I learnt about conflict?
It is a "fight" within the shop owners and you as they want the price to be higher to earn money with you want to spend lesser money.

Day 5#cu chi tunnel and wildlife rescue(Yugan)

1)  What did I find most interesting or challenging? 
I found climbing the chu ci tunnels challenging as it was very narrow and very close. The wild life rescue is very interesting as they have over 50 species of animals and I took many photos of the animals. The sound of that the monkeys make are very noisy and I think its their distress call.
2) What have you learnt?
I have learnt that the wildlife reserve is sponsored by HSBC(the local bank) and it houses over 50 species of animals and the animals are only taken care of few people only. I learnt a lot of history about Vietnam about how Vietnam soldiers took the tunnels to their advantage and laid traps around the dense forests and the vietnamese soldiers are quite smart as they do not kill the soldiers instead they injure the soldiers so the journey will be delayed
3) What surprised me?
I was surprised that the vietnamese used bombshells from the bombs of US and ammo of US.They are quite smart as they set the traps only to injure the soldiers 
4)What confused me?
5)What have i learnt about the wildlife conservation?
I have learnt the wildlife conservation that they are very important to the eco system as they house the injured animals and release the injured animals into the wildlife.
6)How has your first impression of HCMC changed?
It has changed at the places I have visited such as the water puppet show and how they show their tradition by puppets. I also thought that Vietnam is still developing but some districts of Vietnam are developed as Singapore. They have high rise buildings and many shops.

Day #5 Reflection (Irfan)

I found the lifestyles of the Vietnamese, the way they improvised interesting about the Cu Chi tunnels. For the Wildlife Rescue Centre it was the state of the animals in the habitats that interested me. As for what was challenging, passing through the tunnels was quite scary as I had to crawl on my hands and knees. The Wildlife Rescue Centre did not oppose any challenges for me.

I have learnt of the troubles faced by the Vietnamese in these tunnels and it actually started to scare me soon enough as I could no see the people in front of me anymore but the people behind me told me to keep going and I eventually exited the tunnels. The Wildlife Rescue Centre did not tech me anything new.

The cruelty towards the animals found in the Wildlife Reserve surprising as I like animals a lot and I cannot ignore the fact that people are cruel. The tunnels were very much smaller than I had expected, which surprised me.

If the tunnels were being used for so long then why did no one enlarge it to allow better travel. The Wildlife Reserve Centre did not confuse me.

I have learnt that the dark and small spaces together can scare me a lot.

I originally thought that Vietnam was not high-tech and the technology was similar to that in India, but now I know that Vietnam is as highly advanced as Singapore overall.

Day 5 (Zhu Zhan Yan)

Cu Chi Tunnels and Rescue center

Today we went to the Cu Chi tunnel a complex set of Tunnels where the Viet Cong reside. Isaac many Innovation and critical thinking in the design of the tunnels.First the feature unique entrances where you could never know where were the entrances to tunnels.When they were covered with leaves they showed no signs of existence.Stop the Us form trying to find and enter the entrances they put land minds in the entrances.They also thought deeply on how to ventilate the tunnels without having to US detecting them with a German Shepards and came up with covering the air holes with used US solder clothes so they where undetectable.They set up traps to disrupt US solders moral.The tunnels themselves classified in three levels.Level 1 was tunnels form 3m- 5-m deep.Level 2 tunnels are form 6-8m deep and level 3are tunnels form 8m-10m meter deep and has a exit at the Saigon river. When we had a chance to crawl in the tunnels the tunnels where the were small and low and pitch dark.We had to lean forward just to make forward and sometimes scratched ourselves against the roof of the  building.The tunnel had places to live cook eat and receive medical help and smoke form the cooking is directed to ventilate hundreds of meters away.I felt that the tunnel designers thought though all the possible situation and what i think is the best designed tunnels of all time.

Then we went to the wildlife rescue centre where they rescue hurt or abused sources.First we saw two moon bears with each a missing limbs.They were over use form the bile which is claimed to have health benefits.Next we visited some baboons which were swing around the place and we saw more animals such as sun bear, monkeys and otters.We were amazed by the biodiversity of Vietnam and the many pieces of Vietnam. We also sad for the animals the were torture against their wishes.

Reflections for day 5 (Bo Si)

The cu chi tunnel is a complex underground system.
The Viet Cong were very smart. They were able to overcome the dangers of the US tanks by placing down traps and land mines at places that the US walks. They have many different types of traps. My favourite one was the armpit piercing trap.
At the cu chi wildlife rescue centre, there are many different species of animals. Some of them were endangered species. All of these animals were captured by poachers and saved by the workers.
I learnt that even with rules that poaching is illegal, there are still poachers and we must try our best to stop these people and save this world full that is full of wildlife.
At first, I thought that HCMC was a rundown place with no exciting places to visit. Now, I realised that HCMC has many places with their history and amazing feats.

Day 5 Reflection (Chong Wei)

What did I find interesting or challenging?
I find navigating through the Cu Chi Tunnels challenging, I am also interested about how the Vietnamese soldiers can move through them as it was difficult for me to go through it. It is also interesting on how animal poachers would go to such lengths to earn money.

What have I learnt during this visit?
I learnt that some animal hunting traps can be illegal and exceptionally brutal. Similarly, the Vietnamese traps for the Americans looked extremely lethal, but it was never meant to kill, but rather injure the Americans.

What surprised me? Why?
What surprised me was the architecture of the tunnels as such complex network seemed impossibly hard to construct at that time.

What am I still confused about?
I am still confused about how the Vietnamese soldiers can memorise the tunnel patterns.

Day 5 Tiny Tunnel (Joshua Chua)

 Today we went to Cu Chi Tunnel and Wildlife Reserve. Cu Chi tunnel was a place where Vietnam defended from the USA. It was a peaceful village until the US came, then the normally calm and hardworking farmers had to go to war.They had used bomb shells to come up with simple and ingenious traps, where many soldiers were delayed through the traps.They had dug many Kilometres of tunnels by hand in about 20 years, a spectacular feat and how they also planned for the size of the US soldiers with was amazing. The Wildlife reserve was a place where illegally captured animals were housed. They were confiscated from personal collectors and restaurants .They were captured from the Vietnam forests using dangerous traps that often injure and hurt the animals. man of these animals are now endangered because they are hunted for their meat, fur, skin and their bones, which was believed to have vast health benefits,  which have not been scientifically proven. these animals often have diseases and can never have freedom ever again.  This has taught me that in a war, it is never as simple as just spamming the bullets and have to often plan and suffer in hiding to.

Day 5 - reflections(varsha)

Today was an interesting day for me. We went to the Cu Chi Tunnels and I learnt a lot about the history of the vietnam war. It was a scary experience for me when entering the tunnels as i don’t like dark places and small places. I learnt that the tunnels were built for easy navigation when the American soldiers are attacking the vietnam people. There were also many booby traps such as sharp sticks. The vietnam soldiers wanted the american soldiers to suffer first rather than die at first. I saw that the vietnam people had to suffer and live in hunger and poverty during the time of the war. Then we went to the Cu Chi wildlife reserve centre. We saw a lot of animals that were endangered. Some of the animals were kept in cages. Illegally hunting and killing the animals had made the animals to be kept enclosed in cages instead of letting them free. I felt really sad for the animals

How has your first impression of HCMC City changed?
HCMC has a lot of history preserved into the various tourist places. At first i thought is a third world country but then it has a lot of beautiful places to visit. It has also a lot of traffic especially motorcycles. It is also quite clean

Day 5 - Cu Chi Tunnel, Cu Chi Wildlife Rescue Reflection (Gabriel)

1) What did you find most interesting or challenging?

The Cu Chi tunnel did not collapse after the americans dropped bombs on it.

2) What have I learnt from this visit?

I have leanrt about how the Vietnamese managed to win the Americans in the war

What surprised me? Why?
The Vietnamese were very resourceful going to the extent of collecting bomb shells for metal

4) What am I still confused about?

How the Vietnamese managed to get through all the tunnels without getting lost

What have I learnt about conflict?

Conflict kills

6) How has your first impression of Vietnam changed?

Now I have a deeper understanding on Vietnam's culture and why it is still developing. 

Day 5 - Cu Chi (Keene)

What I found interesting during the visit was how the Vietnamese lived during the war. Besides that, what I found challenging was crawling through the tunnels, as it was extremely tight and destroyed a shirt. What I learnt was how the Vietnamese defended themselves against the American troops during the war, using the tunnel systems and the wreckage from the American tanks and bombs to construct booby traps. What had surprised me was the innovativeness of the Vietnamese during the war and the number of animals they had at the wildlife rescue centre. I am still confused about how they get and transport the animals to and fro from the wildlife rescuer centre and how they release them back to the wild. I have learnt that the Vietnamese during the war were innovative and had survival skills during guerrilla warfare. I think my impression of HCMC has changed. It's more advanced, and shows the Vietnamese innovativeness.

Day 5 - Cu Chi Tunnel and Cu Chi Wildlife Rescue (Lakshaya)

I found the Cu Chi Tunnel the most interesting as we got to experience how the Vietnamese people survive during the war. The tunnel was dark at some places and the ceiling was low which made us squat and walk. It made our clothes a bit dirty as well.  I learnt the reason for the war and how the people survived during the war. Facts about the animals in the Cu Chi Wildlife Rescue surprised me. I am still confused about the temperature range in the tunnel. I have learnt the cause of the Vietnam War. The street were more crowded with vehicle, mostly motorbike. However, on the first day in HCMC, the street was less crowded and with few number of vehicles on the road.

Day 5 - reflection(Sid)

                    Today was a very interesting,tiring but fun day for me.We went to the tunnels and the animal reserve.The tunnels were situated in a jungle which seemed very dense during war time.There were caves,holes,tunnels  and traps set by the army.The caves,holes and tunnels were made by the army to let them hide in that for cover during crossfire or bombing.The tunnels led to a different place that they can find resources and escape if injured.The most interesting thing that I found were the tunnels as they were build so smartly in such a difficult time.There were traps set by enemies like the window trap etc to kill the enemies.The war caused massive destruction and left heavy scars on the places and the people.I learnt what people eat during war as there is a scarcity  of food,how the tunnels were built only for the Vietnamese army so that only they can enter and the American army can't.I learnt that despite the war,the people never gave up and stay united throughout even though their loved ones died.
                    This teaches me to stay strong,determined and resilient in any situation.
                    Then we had a good lunch and then headed to the animal reserve.Since young,I was interested in saving animals as I was an animal lover myself but I never knew what actually happened to the animals.The bear's limbs were cut off and many other animals had suffered.I learnt that humans are not the only ones who have feelings even animals do.We should respect all living things regardless if they are animals or humans.I learnt one very valuable lesson from them.
                     It requires a lot of courage to help the animals.If not for them the criminals would have been running out without getting caught.
                     Overall in the day I learnt that resilience,courage and determination can get us pass almost most of the hurdles of life.

Day 5- Reflection (Chiu Jianing)

1. What did I find most interesting or challenging?
    I found the Cu Chi tunnels the most interesting as I learnt about how the Vietnamese soldiers survived during the war. I found crawling through the tunnels the most challenging thing as  I kept bumping my head against the ceiling.

2. What have I learnt during this visit?
    I have learnt how the Vietnamese people survived during the war and how the soldiers fought. I learnt that there are bunkers made from hardened mud to hide the soldiers.

3. What surprised me? Why?
    I am surprised about the traps that the Vietnamese people set as I expected traps but the traps they set were kind of cruel and I mostly cringed when I saw how the trap was done.

4. What am I still confused about?
    I am still confused about how the Vietnamese got their resources as they were mostly hidden in the bunkers during the war.

5. What have I learnt about myself/people/conflict/good governance/culture etc?
    I have learnt that I am quite interested in the Cu Chi tunnels and how the Vietnamese soldiers lived. I am also interested in wildlife rescue and I love the animals there.

6. How has my impression of HCMC changed?
   I used to think that Vietnam was a beautiful country as it was simple and everyone in a district knew each other. Now, I still think that it is a beautiful place and it is simple and wonderful.

Day 5 Cu Chi Tunnel and Cu Chi Animal reserve- Samson Loy

Cu Chi Tunnel and Cu Chi Animal Reserve

Cu Chi Tunnel

The Cu chi tunnels were used as hiding spots to evade American troops and has many routes for supply transportation, as well as communicative reasons. In these tunnels, some routes are fitted with booby traps to disorganise or kill off American soldiers who were able to enter the tunnels. However, the tunnels were small and difficult to move through despite being expanded recently. This shows that the Vietnamese soldiers had a difficult time to navigate the tunnels, but for the sake of survival, they did. This also shows how much the Vietnamese soldiers valued their lives during the war.

-Cu Chi Animal Reserve

Through the short tour, I was able to learn that the whole zoo like area was an animal reserve and an area for animals that were rescued from illegal deals and trafficking. This shows that the Vietnamese government are concerned for animal rights, which is important for animal survival in Vietnam.

  1. What did I find most interesting or challenging? 
What I found most interesting was that the Vietnamese were intelligent against the American forces. The Vietnamese soldiers were able to construct many traps using scrap metal retrieved from bomb shells and utilise environmental changes, such as a crater in the ground created by a B-52 Bomber, which was used to collect water. 

2.What have I learned from this visit?
I have learned from this visit to the Cu Chi tunnels that the Vietnamese soldiers, during the Vietnam war, had a difficult time surviving, but were able to utilise and adapt to changes in their surrounding environment.

3.What surprised me? Why?   
What surprised me was how the Vietnamese were so easy and able to adapt to the changes in their surroundings, as if I was in their shoes, I would probably not be able to.

4.What am I still confused about?
What I am still confused about was why the Vietnamese were controlled by communists instead of Government.

5.What did I learn about wildlife?
I learnt that everyday animals are being trafficked throughout the world illegally and organisations like W.A.R are helping the animals and prevent them from being trafficked or involved in any illegal act.

Change of first impressions of Ho Chin Minh:
(From First impressions)

At first, I thought Ho Chin Minh city as a poor city. It was undeveloped and criminals ran freely. However, upon spending 5 days in Ho Chin Minh, I learned not to judge a book by its cover. Vietnam is quite a peaceful place, with beautiful scenery all around and most especially, it was not a undeveloped country. It was simply a country still in development and the Government is trying its best to handle the slow growing city. If you ask me, Vietnam would probably be a better city in a few years and would be filled with tourists and local residents alike.

Day 4 VSIP VinaMilk visit. War Remnants Museum. Ben Thanh Market. Water Puppet show.

VinaMilk Visit
More photos click here.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Day 4 - reflections (Varsha)

Today we went to the vinamilk factory and the War Crime Museum and the market and the water puppet show. In the vinamilk factory, I learnt that it has the most advanced technology in the world. In the museum, I found the fragments of the planes most interesting as I was surprised to find the ancient pieces of the real things there. I have learnt about the Agent Orange, the chemical which has made a lot of people and babies which were just born suffered a lot. After that we went to the market place. I learnt to be careful with my money and not to be attracted by the shopkeeper’s calls. Then we went to the water puppet show. I found out show the puppet were moved about underwater. I learnt that the stories that they performed using the puppet dated back to over 1000 years ago. It was also performed in Sentosa in 1999. I learnt that the Vietnam people are very devoted to their culture by seeing the water puppet show

Day 4 - Reflection (Chong Wei)

What did I find interesting or challenging?
I found that how almost an entire factory being controlled by artificial intelligence interesting as I thought that artificial intelligence, being rather new, most people would not want to rely on it, especially when a malfunction would cause a major hiccup.

What have I learnt during this visit?
I have learnt the lethal, grotesque effects of Agent Orange, I also learnt about the vast array of weapons used by the U.S and the Vietnamese. The Vietnamese at the Thanh Market are also quite rough with their customers, even trying to force people in, I think it is rather pesky at times when that happens.

What surprised me? Why?
What surprised me is the lengths the U.S would go to conquer Vietnam, using cruel, malicious bombs, like Napalm Bombs. Chemical weapons such as Agent Orange and Phosphorus that can badly disfigure and mentally scarring soldiers.

What have I learnt about conflict?
I learnt that conflict can lead to wars and both sides can be forced into making conscienceless decisions. I think that empathy plays a huge role in war, as before using such gruesome, terrifying weapons, they should consider its effects. Although being empathetic for the opposing side would not even start a war, while it is a factor when a war is happening, they can really see the dark side of wars and what their actually doing. As the government, they should uphold the morals they want to instil in us, but if they themselves do not uphold what they preach, what do civilians learn from role models?

Day 3 and 4-VSIP,Vinamilk,Ben Thanh,Water Puppet Show and LSTS (Jonas and YenZhe)

Jonas’ reflection on LSTS

What did I find most interesting or challenging?
I think stopping myself from feeling nervous was very challenging when we went on the stage to do the dance performance. I think I could have decreased the amount of nervous I had if I had practised harder for the dance performance. I think that the most interesting item was the capture the flag.I had a lot of fun.
What have I learnt from this visit?
I think that I have learnt how to engage with other people in a conversation and decrease the awkward when i am talking to other strangers I have not met before. I think that I also learnt about the vietnamese war and about the 4 presidents the school had. I think I also learnt a lot from the tour guide, such as the garden as the feng shui and the king sitting on the chair with the dragon head.
What surprised me, why?
I think the way the students go through their lessons really surprised me. I expected the school to be like all serious, learning and not playing, but my student guide, Tom, told me that I was actually wrong and that they actually balanced learning and playing, eg. playing and forgetting about learning and learning and forgetting about playing.
What am I still confused about?
I think that I am most confused about the sides during the war. I still do not understand what the viatcom and the south vietnams did.
Yenzhe’s reflection on LSTS

1.What did I find most interesting or challenging?
I found that the way that the students at LSTS studies is quite interesting.For example,they have 2 15 minutes breaks instead of 1 30 minutes break and this could mean that they will get to be fuller during lessons.I also found that the fact that the teachers have warm-up activities to get the students interested is interesting,as this is normally not practiced in SST.I found that the dance item quite challenging as I am not completely familiar with the dance item,thus causing me to look to check whether I am doing it correctly,This could have been prevented if I had tried adapting and practised more.
2.What have I learnt from this visit?
Adapting to changes and practising more in anything I do.I also learnt more about the Independent Palace and more about the Vietnam War.For example,I learnt about the different tanks and fighter pilots used in the War.I also learn what led to the North Vietnam winning in the Vietnam War.
3.What surprised me? Why?
The fact that they can build the Independent Palace and protect important personnel during the Vietnam War.For example,they built protective structures for the President for him to do important decisions such as surrendering.Also,the fact that although Ho Chi Minh/Saigon was very big with many districts,yet I can still travel from one district to the other in a short amount of time surprised me.
4.What am I still confused about?
I am still confused about the details of Vietnamese culture and also about the school.For example, I am interested to know how different subjects in LSTS teach and how students at that school learn.I am also confused about how they use the facilities in LSTS and whether the facilities are incorporated into their curriculum and whether they get to use them during break times/after school.

Jonas’s reflection on Vinamilk and City Tour
What did I find most interesting or challenging?
I think the most interesting thing was the war crime museum as the weapons really interest me. I think that looking at the photos and reading the history of the war was also very interesting. I think the most challenging was to walk through the market without getting touched

What have I learnt from this trip?
I have learnt more about the American and the Vietnamese war and the weapons used. I also learnt more about the agent orange and the after-effects on the humans after being contaminated from it. (eg. offspring become deformed) and I also learnt that people can still live on happily although after being affected by Agent Orange after seeing the photos on the first floor.

What surprised me?Why?
How the people in the market behaved was very surprising to me. I thought that a famous market would have stall owners who were respectful and helpful. Instead, I was wrong. They tried to force some of us to buy their shirts and fans by cornering us and lowering the prices although we constantly told them that we were only looking around.

What am I still confused about?
I am still confused about the cause of the American and Vietnamese war.
What have I learn about myself/people/conflict/good governance/culture etc
I have learnt about people. I don’t think I will trust people that easily after what happened at the market. I think that after I went into the market I got scammed quite a few times. There was a stall selling chips at 35.000 dongs and we found another store not too long after selling them at 31,000 dongs. `

Yenzhe’s reflection on Vinamilk and City Tour

1.What did I find most interesting or challenging?

I think the most interesting thing was the Vinamilk.It was interesting that they fully automated the process of making good quality milk and by doing this,they get to reduce the number of workers required for each product made.It was also interesting to see how the Vietnam War happened and how the US used the agent orange in the war.I think the most challenging thing was the Ben Thanh Market as the stallholders tried to force us to buy their products,even when we tried to refuse.
2.What have I learnt from this trip?
I learnt that I should think carefully before buying anything as we have to consider whether we really need the product,I also learnt that we should bargain carefully if we want to reduce the money we should do it carefully as some of the stallholders would not want to reduce the price too much.I have also learnt that automating processes may be more cost-effective than hiring workers to make products.
3.What surprised me?Why?
The fact that the Ben Thanh Market stallholders will tout surprised me as I thought they will be more concerned about the welfare of the customers than what they earn but when I went there,they were actually more concerned about selling products and earning money than to respect the customer’s decision to not buy their products.
4.What am I still confused about?
I am Still confused about the Water Puppet show as the show was in Vietnamese and i did not really understand the show.The narration was also in Vietnamese,thus causing me to be confused about the story and the roles of the characters themselves.
5.What have I learn about myself/people/conflict/good governance/culture etc
I learnt that good governance is one that is fair and treats its people well to its people,democratic in its processes,will not use chemical warfare,will try to abstain from warfare from other countries and maintain good diplomatic relations with other countries.

Day #5 Vinamilk, War Crime Museum and Puppet Show (Irfan)

The tour of the Vinamilk factory and the experience in the market interesting. The factory was a new experience as it was more high-tech than anything that I had ever seen and it intrigued me how they used a automated system. The market was new for me as the markets in Singapore was nothing like this market that we went to with the government manned ,fixed price, stalls and the freelance shops where we could bargain. 

The courage shown by those affected by Agent Orange has taught me to be resilient as if they could live such great lives so can we, and the skill of the puppeteers inspired me.

The damage done by Agent orange and the way that the puppeteers could control the puppets so well surprised and inspired me as well as the resilience of the market stall owner also surprised me.
So far there is nothing that I am confused by for today.

The people surviving through and thriving Agent Orange inspired me and taught me that with confidence, resilience and with people around you who care you can accomplish the impossible.

Day 4 (Zhu Zhan Yan)

Today was a wonderful day where we went to VinaMilk where we leant a lot about making  a company something great.They start form nothing and become something that attracts recognised investors.They were very smart to start to start to invest the IN the milk sector something that is much more developed now.They were also smart to value the milk sector which were some of the reasons the are the industry leader in the the Vietnam milk industry.

We also visited the market which was a very crowded place where they sold things.There was a A OUTER RING OF GOVERNMENT OWNED SHOPS WHERE THE GOVERNMENT SET THE PRICE AND they sell hem without change of price. Further in you have the private shops where the price may vary and you had to be careful not to be cheated the shop owners try there level best to attract us to their store.

Next we visited the the war remnants museum where we were showed the vietnamese side of the war.The vietnamese were very angry over the fact that US released agent orange and kill their trees and deformed and mutated some of the people.The US was depicted and the “bad guys” and  have a merciless attitude towards the citizens and was heavily criticised for the war.

Next we had the puppet show where we had watched a water puppet show that so looked perfect that i thought the were acted by robots int the end the puppeteers showed themselves.I was shocked when i saw them and i was shocked of their skill in pupating.

Day 4 - Vinamilk,Ben Thanh Market,Water Puppet show ( Justin Chew )

 What I found most interesting is the Water Puppet Show.The people who control the puppets must be very coordinated and have had a lot of practice to make the puppets move actions to make a story of Vietnamese Culture. I found out that everything in Vinamilk is automated and they use the best technology like using lasers to guide the machines.

I have learnt how to get what you want at the Ben Thanh Market at a better price and the number of people affected by Agent Orange. I have also learnt how to stay resilient and not give up.

The only thing challenging was the bargaining of the goods from the various shops at the market.The stall owners at market always try  different ways to attract customers like grabbing your arm and suddenly coming out of nowhere to talk to you about buying their goods.

What surprised me is that everything is automated in Vinamilk and the stall owners at the market would grab me in a rough manner to make you buy their stuff and how the people affected by Agent Orange managed to stay resilient.

I am still confused how the puppeteers control the puppets and what some of the stories mean. 

Day 4-VSIP Vinamilk( Thuta Soe)

1)  What did I find most interesting or challenging? 
Today, when we went to Vinamilk, we had a very good experience there as it has one of the most advanced technology in the diary industry.There are laser-guided machines to bring raw materials from  one place to another, and to store them in the smart warehouse.
2) What have u learnt?
I learnt about what happened during the Vietnam war, and the effects of Agent Orange on the Vietnamese and the following generation, which includes birth deformation.
3) What surprised me?
The water puppet show was interesting, the people controlling the puppets can't see what was outside, but they can still do it very accurately which involve a lot of practice and training so that they have very nice details.
5) What have I learnt about culture?
Vietnamese people were able to carry on their cultures, like the water puppet show which was first recorded in the 11th century and have been brought on until the 21th century which is 10 centuries in total.
From today's experience, I learnt that the puppeteers have trained very hard and have put in a lot of effort in the show as they have trained for a very long time to perfect the show.Hence, I know the true meaning of practice makes perfect.

Day 5-Vinamalik,war crime museum and puppet show(Sid)

                 Today we went to war crime museum,puppet show and Vinamilk. For me the most interesting place was the war crime museum as I learnt a lot of stuff that I wanted to know like how agent orange works,the types of guns,cause of war,destruction and devastation caused. The after-math of chemical weapons is very bad.People lost their limbs but still they were making the best of the worst.They remained happy and they were even playing according to one of the photos.Some photos spoke a lot like one of them had a girl holding her father’s hand and one of them had a photo of a soldier holding up a torn body of its own civilian.I learnt that war is not about who wins but who lives.
                    The puppet show was engaging.Though I didn’t understand what they spoke,the actions like the fox story told the story itself.They were very skilled in their profession.I hope to see more of it.The puppet show had a lot of interesting stories.In total we watched only 17 out of the 245 stories they had.They had shown a lot of their culture like the dragon and the lion dance.They had expanded their business from Hanoi to Ho Chi Min and even went overseas to France for the performance.It required a lot of practice to pull off such a pleasant show.
                    For me I found the making of Vinamilk very interesting.They were very smart.The quality of the milk left me asking for more.One thing that I found interesting was the way they made the milk and the high quality of the milk.The way they spread their business was also very interesting.I have learnt that I have to muster up courage when I am in a situation no matter how bad it is as the people who got hurt in the war were smiling and having fun showing their courage and resilience.I learnt a lot of valuable lessons.

Day 4 (Ng Meng Tao)

Day 4 (Ng Meng Tao)

Today we went to Vinamilk. I feel that it was a very meaningful journey. Although I left my bag in the conference room for a while, I learnt a lot about milk and its benefits and that the milk make sector in Vietnam is growing.

When we visited the war remnants museum, I learnt that the Vietnamese people suffered a lot during the Vietnam war. Also, chemical weapons are horrifying and shouldn't be used by anyone.

When we went to the Market, I felt pretty horrified at how the shop keepers pull customers in and force them to buy their products. However i feel that they really needed the money to have to do that.

Also,i found that we knew more about the Vietnam culture through the Puppet Show. The show reflects a lot about Vietnamese traditional lifestyle.

Day 4 Jasper


    1. What did I find most interesting or challenging?
The fact that the entire compound is almost non-manual work. This results in only 50 staff per factory which also includes the farm. They include the engineer, maintainers, and do stuff to do things that can't be done fully based on robots. The challenge was understanding the mechanism, as I love how these work especially the programming of the laser guided vehicles  to track and not go off course. 
    2. What have I learnt during this visit?
That Vietnam is very technologically advanced and the government is helping the civilians to be healthier, taller and so on using dairy products. Thus Vinamilk took advantage of this and exploit this to their advantage.
     3.What surprised me?
That Vietnam has such access to such technology as I thought that Vietnam's economy was low and could not afford this. Also that they have such good planning and wise investment of the space provided. 
     4.What am I still confused about?

Water puppet
    1. What did I find most interesting or challenging?
The way that the puppeteers control the puppet with such skill in near darkness
    2. What have I learnt during this visit?
That water puppeteering is difficult and needs to be in synchronisation with the music
     3.What surprised me?
     4.What am I still confused about?

Ben Than Market
        1. What did I find most interesting or challenging?
The fact that we got molested >5 and some were forced to buy the items. Some were grabbed and stopped by the owners, some got stalked and were surprised, some were pulled into the shop. I also learnt how to bargin to lower prices
        2. What have I learnt during this visit?
That we have to be more careful of our surrounding and have more situation awareness. This is because I saw that lot of people do not wait for their friends who are at the back, being molested and buying stuff. Therefore, we have to learn how to watch out for our friends.
      3.What surprised me?
     4.What am I still confused about?

War Remnant Museum
        1. What did I find most interesting or challenging?
The weapons used during and war and how agent orange affect numerous generations of the Vietnamese 

        2. What have I learnt during this visit?
That war does not have winners, only survivors. Both sides did atrocities and the US coalitions were also mean to the civilian such as disembowelling them. I finally could look at other point of view which was from the Vietcong 
      3.What surprised me?
     4.What am I still confused about?

What have I learnt about the conflict

        1. What did I find most interesting or challenging?

The weapons used during and war and how agent orange affect numerous generations of the Vietnamese 
        2. What have I learnt during this visit?
That war does not have winners, only survivors. Both sides did atrocities and the US coalitions were also mean to the civilian such as disembowelling them. I finally could look at other point of view which was from the Vietcong 
      3.What surprised me?
     4.What am I still confused about?

Day 4 - Vietnam milk factory, War museum, Market and Water puppet performance ( Justin Goh)

What interest me the most was about the information (e.g Agent orange and the weapons) and facts that I have learnt about the Vietnam war and the agent orange with inflicted devastating damage (e.g Children deformed) to Vietnam from the War museum. 
What really surprised me was the after the agent orange situation, though the soldier were effected by the dangerous chemical, they still did not give up and show their unbreakable resilience. If i were them, i would have given up.

From the milk factory, what interest me the most the technology the the milk factory used and how are they so efficiency in their work. I have learnt the different skill to improve our business in the future (e.g. Quality, advertisement to promote their product and ensuring the customers that their products are hygiene and of a certain level of expectation). What surprised me was that the technology of the milk factory was so high that it did not need workers for package their product (It was not very common in the factories).

What interest me in the market was the all the all seller were very active in doing selling their products. However, I believe that some were over actively doing their work (making me feel a little uncomfortable as they were constantly asking for us to buy their products). After seeing even after the shopkeepers were constantly promoting their products, they still could not sell their product. From this experience, I have learnt that business is not really and easy job to be done. I was surprise that some of the sellers were going over the limits by snatching or forcing my school mate to buy their product. 

I find that the performance given by the people were very interesting in terms of the culture shown in the performance and the skill put to control the puppet. What I learnt was that the Vietnam had been doing this water puppet culture since 1000 years ago and hence, they must have really loved it. What surprised me was that the puppeteers were able to control the puppets despite not being able to see the puppets clearly and they were still able to the job well. I am still confused about how puppeteers were able to control the puppets. 

Day 4 (Gabriel Chenyi Massimini)

Today we went to the Vinamilk in the morning and after that we went to the war crime museum followed by the last but not least water puppet show which was amazing. 
Today I learnt that its quality over quantity as while in the Vinamilk factory they told as that if there is quality the customers will slowly come and trust and buy what your selling. 
After that, we went to the War Crime Museum to look at some of the effects and outcomes of the war. I also realised that even after getting hurt or even handicapped they still loved life as it is and accept what happens. I think that if it was for me I would just partially give up on life but from what I learnt today I think I would cherish what I have and that we should never take advantage of what we have.
Next, we went to shopping and it was a tough time as the shop owners were pushing and pulling while we were trying to walk to find a place which has what I was looking for.
As for the Water Puppet show, I feel that the water puppet show is a very interesting culture as we saw that the puppeteers needed to have a lot  of skill and I think that other countries also have similar cultures like puppet show but without the water and for the Chinese its like the lion dance.  
All in all, I feel that today, I learnt many valuable lessons.