Singapore Cultural Orientation Tour 1

14 January 2023

The Singapore Cultural Orientation Tour, organised by the International Student Committee (ISC) on 14 January, was attended by 64 new international students, 20 ISC members, 6 Peer Leaders and 2 teachers. The tour was designed to provide an introduction to Singapore’s culture and help the international students feel more comfortable and familiar with the cultural diversity of Singapore. The tour also aimed to help students make new friends.

The students were divided into groups of ten and assigned group leaders and peer leaders to supervise them. The orientation began with a buffet breakfast where the students enjoyed light snacks and beverages. We then conducted icebreaker games such as charades, ‘back-to-back drawing’, and ‘whose story is it?’ to encourage the participants to know and interact with people from different backgrounds, breaking down initial barriers and creating a fun and relaxed atmosphere. We believe that getting students to know each other is an essential part of ensuring that the orientation runs smoothly. Soon after, we set off on our journey.

The first destination was Chinatown, an area filled with everything related to Singaporean Chinese culture. We were struck by the vibrant colours and intricate architecture of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Thian Hock Keng Temple, where some of the group members prayed for well-being and a good year ahead. We also enjoyed delicious Chinese cuisine for lunch, which was a treat for our taste buds and was a great way to introduce the new students to the local cuisine. Some students were even brave enough to try the more traditional and spicy dishes, much to their delight.

The second destination was Little India, where the group learnt about the history, people, and culture of the Indian population in Singapore. Despite the rain, we all had a great time exploring the Indian Heritage Centre and looking at interesting artefacts, colourful saris, and the intricate henna designs on display. We also enjoyed learning about the Indian community’s contributions to Singapore’s society and economy.

The final destination was Kampong Glam, which represents the Malay-Arabic population of Singapore. Unfortunately, the Malay Heritage Centre was closed, but we were able to catch a glimpse of the shops in Arab Street and some significant landmarks such as Masjid Sultan. We were impressed by the beautiful Islamic architecture in Kampong Glam.

The event was successful and ran smoothly thanks to the hard work and dedication of the ISC Coordinators, Madam Chin Siew Lin and Madam Goh Wei Li, as well as the ISC members and peer leaders who helped. We received positive feedback from the participants, who developed a deeper understanding of Singapore’s rich cultural diversity and its importance in shaping Singapore’s identity. We were also pleased to see that the participants made new friends and had a lot of fun during the tour. We look forward to Singapore Cultural Orientation Tour 2 in Term 3!

Neilson Alexandro Tjhe (5 SVM)