Published: August 16th 2009August 16th 2009
This Duck won a race down the river in 2002 against a thousand other ducks, and now he is in a museum.
Last Sunday, August 9th of 2009, was Singapore's 44th National Day. Singapore was originally a British colony (along w/ the rest of those islands in southeast Asia) until 1963 when it, along with it's neighboring countries were able to acheive independance from Britain and merged together to form the federation of Malaysia. However this ended up being an unsuitable arrangement for Singapore; so in less than two years they seceded and became an independant Republic on August 9th 1965 (they were recognised in the UN before that year was over). So, being that it is still a very small nation, the celebration of their national day was no small matter.
I imagine that the 4th of July is celebrated in a big way down in D.C. every year, but I have never gone so I'm not sure...I can say however that every other Independance Day celebration I have ever been to does not come close to matching the intensity and patriotism that I saw displayed during their national day. They had everything I could think of. They made a HUGE temporary stadium seating area to host the majority of the activities. They did a military display
in the water with gunboats and apache helicopters (we were only able to catch a quick glimpse of the helicopters) performing a fake battle. They did a 21 gun salute to the President. They had fighter jets do a fly by (sooo loud). They apache helicopters CAME BACK this time carrying a HUGE Singaporean flag (couldn't have missed that if we wanted to). Then they had several battalions from their military march around a staged aread...and then, so that citizens without tickets could see them, they marched a few kilometers (sorry for the metric system but I'm not in the U.S.) and made it in front of City Hall where most everyone else (including myself and co.) was. The best part of the marching military was that, at various intervals, they started chanting/singing patriotic songs. It was quite something to behold.
I was not in the stadium because tickets sold out in April apparently...so I was in the field, where it wasn't quite as exciting, except for the huge stage where they talked about the history of Singapore and had various groups come up and lead the crowd in singing songs about Singapore. They ended the night with
fireworks as any good country should do. I have seen longer shows of fireworks, however the quality of these fireworks would be tough to match. They had fireworks of hearts, legitamate 5 point starts, and then the finaly was just HUGE white circles that illuminated the entire sky. They blocked 3 huge towers from site with their tremendous size. I had a great time and would love to see how they celebrate their 50th in 6 years.
Nothing really special to report on this. My fun class is going to be aircraft structures which talks about the physical aspects of the plane and how they all come together to make the thing fly. Fun stuff. Another class that is going to be fun is Dynamics and Control; in this class we have to design a way to get a wheelchair up stairs provided: 1) we don't use an elevator, 2)the chair does not climb the stairs by itself one step at a time. So that should be interesting. Everying else is boring and insignificant (very similar to RPI). One more thing to note is I will be sitting in (but not actually be registered in) a Chinese
language course. I am hoping to get some rudimentary info so I can do a crude half convo involving say...a question...and a quick response :). I am thinking it will be my most rewarding class here.
In the actual courses, all of my professors (I am in a foreign country mind you) speak better english than half of my professors at RPI. It's an ugly truth that I find hilarous, but it makes listening in class easy so that's good. The students here TALK SO MUCH. They just chatter away through the entire lecture, it's crazy. I try and find other white kids (exchange students) and we sit together and marvel at how much people are talking. A funny note about that white kid comment; when I first registered at ISC, they give us a bag that all the exchange kids have. Well one of my friends from Canada (who is clearly Indian by blood) said he didn't want it because he didn't want to be labeled. I thought that was a great idea, "I don't want to be labeled as an exchange kid either...I just want to blend in with the locals." Obviously I'm an idiot. So
besides being starred at every once in a while, classes are goin well so far.
This week I hope to plan out all my big trips which is exciting. I hope everyone over the states is doing well. Hopefully I'm available to write again next week.
There are more photos below