HCMC 2014

HCMC 2014

Friday, 31 October 2014

Our Feelings towards 2014 GCP HCMC

Day 5 Cu Chi Tunnels. Cu Chi Wildlife Rescue Centre

At Cu Chi Tunnels.
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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.