Day 1: Arrival
We arrived in Beijing on that day and were informed about the Great ‘Firewall’ of China which is to keep out foreign invasions via the Internet to provide mental security to the citizens of China. However, just like the Great Wall of China, which was used for physical security from attacks, it had loopholes. Different servers could be used and it was not foolproof like the Great Wall.
Day 2: Day 1 in Beijing
We met with our Chinese counterpart, Yue Yang. We had to collaborate with one another to improve our slides and apply creative and critical thinking. There was some difficulty in communication as I did not know Mandarin. Thus, communication was facilitated by Zi Jie. This emphasises on the need of bilingual expertise in individuals and understanding of languages belonging to the world’s superpowers and rising powers. Other examples are Mr Raja who is trilingual as he can comprehend Mandarin and speak fluent English and Hindi. Mrs Ooi Ching Ya whose expertise in both English and Chinese gave her almost complete control over the whole event. Its importance can be clearly seen as countries such as UK and Holland brought at least one member from a Chinese background for communication.
We visited Zhong Guan Cun which is similar to Sim Lim Square. However, it’s environment is just like India with salesmen running after you to convince you to buy their goods. It’s also a dying industry due to online sale portals like alibaba.com. These kind of huge malls are dying due to the expenses generated by storage in a warehouse and excessive middlemen transport cost. From online sale portals, items can be transported only when in demand immediately without the need of any middlemen. It saves a lot of manpower and natural resources.
Day 3: Conference Day 1
We presented on that day and it was a good chance to communicate our idea to people from an international background and receive some recognition. It was also an excellent platform to test our confidence in the presence of many high ranked principals and teaching personnel. We were given many congratulations on the success of our presentation privately by many people who also asked us about the experience during the project and about our key learning points.
Day 4: Conference Day 2
We were given a day off on the second day to try out the cultural aspects of China in RDFZ Xishan’s basement. We also attended school tours which featured musical, acts and dance performances from many impressive students. It went a long way to show how much China wanted to preserve its traditions by incorporating so many traditional dances and musical performances during the length of the conference. I was able to try out numb chucks during one of the Wushu sessions and it deepened my cross cultural understanding as I got to learn first hand on how these weapons were used and their history. School is also considered the only way to preserve culture as no one would want to jeopardise their work life for cultural education.
Day 5: Conference Day 3
We attended two excellent talks. The first by Mr Graham Brown-Martin. He changed my insight on the struggles of our educators and how inefficient the current way of learning is not only in Asia but around the world. And he inspired a lot of people to make a change and not follow the conventions and avoid making ‘sausages’ from students. The next presentation was by Mr Zhao shocked the entire crowd through the graph of problem-solving to creativity index. Singapore had the lowest creativity index and it showed we had the least interest in Science. It lowered our value proposition and will severely deal a blow in acquiring high ranked positions. The conference hoped to bring a group of educators and learners who were futuristic in their thinking and change the learning system. There is a control of knowledge and certification especially in Asia and the confidence level of Western countries is very high.
There was a Summer Palace Tour which deepened cross cultural understanding and appreciation of China’s culture. Also I had new found respect for translators as I learnt it was almost impossible to do a direct translation. And I learnt that the number 4 sounded like death that’s why the 4th floor was missing in the hotel and the room numbers with number 4 was missing too.
Day 6 and Day 7: Sightseeing
Very wonderful sights and more cross cultural understanding about China’s rich history and the significant events that had occurred recently to long time ago. Also the problem of haze was discovered to have been worsened due to the constant smoking and similarities between them were that both were addictive as man could choose to stop but he decided to carry on. The artefacts were corroding away due to this because of the formation of Carbonic Acid and SO2. It leads to the inability to preserve these important artefacts.