Monday, December 3, 2012


Right after Andre returned from Ho Chi Minh, Lesley-Anne left for a two-week immersion programme in Shanghai. Kids are more jet-setting than their parents these days.  Since I'm summarising Lesley-Anne's trip in one post, I'll be very selective in the photos and places she visited.

Shanghai is an extremely cosmopolitan city. Here is a model of the entire city which is both amazing and scary - see how built up it is.

Here's a pretty interesting building - it has a built-in thermometer!  It was uncharacteristically chilly this November.  This was before it rained. After the downpour, the temperature dropped to 15 degrees celcius.

Here's a night scene of the famous Bund.

The kids went up the Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower in the Pudong District. Up to 2007, this was the tallest structure in China until it was surpassed by the Shanghai World Financial Center. 

At any of the three observation decks, you can enjoy a panoramic view of Shanghai.

What creeped me out though was the glass floor. You can't make me stand on it like the students did here - the illusion of falling is too terrifying.

A trip to the Shanghai Museum to view its rich collection of Ancient Chinese artworks and historical artifacts.  Here's a Mongolian chess set with intricately crafted pieces.

A jade carving
As it so happened, Lesley-Anne was fortunate enough to catch a visiting Russian exhibition called World of Faberge with exquisite pieces from the Kremlin Museum, including this opulent Faberge Easter Egg.

As a community service module of their programme, the students had to visit a childcare centre to teach the kids English.  Lesley-Anne said it was clearly a centre for rich kids as the facilities were fabulous. Look at the music room!

The kids were uber cute and precocious - here they are acting as shopkeepers.

One of the highlights of the trip for Lesley-Anne was the overnight trip to Hangzhou, a three-hour drive from Shanghai.  Known for its natural scenery, Hangzhou and its iconic West Lake (西湖) have been immortalised in Chinese poetry and art. Since June 2011, the West Lake has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Butterfly Lovers Bridge (many couples congregate around this romantic spot).

Another popular tourist destination in Hangzhou, the Running Tiger Spring (虎跑).

In the evening, the students were treated to a performance, Impression West Lake. Directed by Zhang Yimou, the story is loosely based on the Chinese classic, Madam White Snake. Words cannot express how spectacular it is. With typical Chinese ingenuity, the lake is transformed into a live stage and the actors seem to dance and float on the water to an ethereal soundtrack.

Lesley-Anne couldn't take good pictures cos it was too dark but do check out this promotional video  - it's quite, quite magical.

Finally, here's a look at the school where Lesley-Anne attended classes. She even sat in physics and maths classes conducted in Chinese (which she said were pretty scary)!

Lovely surroundings. Since this is in a suburban part of Shanghai, it's much more peaceful and less congested.

The dormitory is in a building next to the school. Basic but comfortable.  The tv only broadcasts one channel though, haha. 

Overall, it was an eye-opening experience for Lesley-Anne. Although two weeks is relatively short for an immersion programme, living and studying with PRC kids for two weeks is a fantastic way to understand a different culture and improve your Chinese!

The PRC students were extremely welcoming and hospitable, and went out of their way to make their Singapore counterparts feel at home. Because the education landscape in China is even more competitive than in Singapore, the poor PRC kids admitted to having no life as their days revolved around studies. When they didn't have school, they often did self-revision.

Soon after she returned, Lesley-Anne kept in touch with her Shanghai buddies via Chinese emails and QQ, the China version of Facebook. Friends across cities - truly, we live in a borderless world.

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