Saturday, November 10, 2012

Reflections by Matthew & Ilya

Bishop Museum

At the Bishop Museum, we have learnt about the importance of sustaining the environment--as we take care of the environment, it will take care of us. For instance, in the museum, an exhibit showed that the Taro plant and how Poi (the Hawaiian staple food) was made out of it. The leaves and stems are also used in weaving of baskets and creating of rope used in creation of shelter. It shows how the plant "takes care" of us humans by providing a source of food and shelter. We in turn have to take care of this plant by caring and growing it. This principle of environmental sustainability is cultivated through this process where we take care of mother earth and she provides for us. This same principle is applicable to Singapore where we make use of the many trees to provide shelters for our people in Singapore from the scorching sun. Thus, we should sustain the green environment in Singapore so that generations to come are able to live in an environment with such greeneries and the sheltering provided by the trees is an evidence of love shown by the nature around us. 

The museum also mentioned about how there were Hawaii attracted many Japanese to come and work through their sugar plantations. Initially, the first wave of immigrants were the Chinese laborers. However, after the U.S. Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 had shut off the access to Chinese workers, the industries turned to Japan. Farmers and peasants from southern Japan, having suffered a series of crop failures at home, eagerly filled the Hawai'i jobs promising comparatively high wages. Most came from the areas of Hiroshima, Yamaguchi and Kumamoto. This resulted in overpopulation of Japanese in Hawaii which soon came to be a problem to the Hawaiian government. They had begun to impose laws to curb the population of Japanese. However this resulted in many conflicts and riots as the Japanese felt they were being ill-treated. Today Hawaii is comprised of 60% Japanese. This shows how we have to be careful when accepting foreign talents. Singapore accepts many foreign talents and it has begun to show stress between the singapore government and its citizens as many citizens are not getting into good universities and schools due to their foreign counterparts being superior academically. Eventually this ends up allowing foreign talent to take away the jobs that were meant for Singaporeans. If this is not handled well, it may lead to riots and strikes. 

Pearl Harbor - USS Arizona Memorial

We learned about the value of technology!
Part of the many reasons as to why Pearl Harbor fell as quick as it did was due to the radar system the Americans had at the time which took a longer time to deliver the messages to and from the highest authority. They were unable to tell if the planes they had saw on radar were Friend or Foes. The Americans were expecting their own planes to fly in from the North (california) as well and thus deemed the dots picked up on radar to be friendly rather than hostile forces. 

The crew of Pearl Harbor was given another chance to realize the impending attack when a midget submarine was shot down however the message was transferred too slowly due to the lousy communication technology back then. 

In Singapore one of our main investments are in the R&D sector (quaternary sector, good for economy as well). While this may not be specifically for military purposes, the main principle of being at the forefront of technology remains. Even me, being in the school of science of technology and the existence of this school, shows Singapore's ever-present push for technological superiority. R&D will always be a sustainable and income creating sector as technology is always improving. As the world moves forward, Singapore will be near the front to lead the pack. 

Polynesian Culture Centre

We walked around the Polynesian Cultural Centre to learn more about the different islands. Although some of the tribes were thousands of miles away from each other, they share some similarities even though they had no contact with each other. For example, the languages of almost all the tribes are very similar. However, when they did contact each other, they shared resources and knowledge among each other which helped them develop and progress. We also learnt how new animals, plants and technology were brought to the islands by the colonials. The main purpose of the Polynesian Cultural Centre was to promote understanding and to preserve the culture and heritage of the tribes of Polynesia. This promotes sustainability of heritage and culture through education of the locals, Polynesians and tourists like us. With the implementation of cultural centres like these, we are able to preserve and sustain culture.


  1. 1) I like the reflections on how technology can help avert a war disaster.
    2) It should be Nuuan'u Pali Lookout, not 'poly point'.
    3) A good reflection on how sharing resources and knowledge can aid development and progress.

    What to improve:
    1) Photos/videos to accompany the text?
    2) Use topical headlines e.g. "Sustainability of environment" and then write a paragraph on it.
    3) How can we relate sustainability in environment, culture and memories to the Singapore context based on what was observed in Hawaii?

  2. Capital letters on proper nouns like "Japanese" and "Polynesian Cultural Centre" - please check across the blog

  3. How can you relate the migration of the Japanese to Hawaii to what you have learnt about "push" and "pull" factors?