I survived Hong Kong!


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I’m relieved. I’m saved. I’ve got a whole load off my shoulders. I’m free. I am back from Hong Kong!

It’s only been only 4 days but it feels like 4 weeks. I’ve had a total of 12 hours’ sleep over the past 3 nights. All the teachers walked around like zombies with bloodshot eyes. The total amount I spent on the 9 meals was 3 hours. The best meal I had during this period was the Burger King lunch at the Hong Kong International Airport.

I have 2 very nasty insect bites. I cannot wait to lay my head on proper pillows and my body on a comfortable bed. Our daily schedule was tighter than any top artiste on their publicity tour. We got screamed at, shoved by, tugged at, and yelled at again. We ran, we dashed, we checked, we rushed, we panted, we checked, and we moved like a herd.

Did I mention we had a great time?

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Students at Star Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui

I travelled with 300 students and 70 staff to Hong Kong on a 4-day exchange programme. Logistically it was a nightmare. On my first night I wanted to give up, because it was alot more taxing and demanding than I’d imagined. But I gritted my teeth and prayed alot, hoping I have the mental and physical stamina to do my job.

What was so difficult, I hear you ask. Let’s go through the nightmares together.

Nightmare #1 : Eyes bigger than the stomach

In my opinion, the organisers planned too much for the kids, which led to too little being achieved. Our day started at 0600 and usually did not end till 2300. We were rushing around everywhere and trying to cover so much. Meals were no more than 30 minutes. No time for toilet breaks. We had to rush to board the bus all the time. In the end the kids got so tired they had trouble staying focused and awake, compromising on the amount of data absorbed. 

Nightmare #2: Dealing with the sotongs

Any teacher’s biggest nightmare during such chaotic trips would be the sotongs. They were the clueless students who checked in their brains on arrival at the Chep Lak Kok airport, causing my brains to swell to twice its size. I had, on several ocassions, “saved” this very particular blur female student, who wandered off on her own in crowded shopping areas and got lost. It was a miracle I managed to find her every time. From then on, wherever we moved, my eyes would be looking out for her in case she decided to do anything stupid again.

Nightmare #3: Constant changes

“Teacher, don’t mind me saying, but this event is very poorly organised,” one boy said to me. If anything, I think we all learnt to be flexible as we dealt with the unbelievable amount of changes and uncertainties during this time. I was particularly annoyed that my students who spent a lot of time practising a mime act got told last minute that it would be axed. They were devastated. And I was fuming mad. “Aiyah guys, just accept that everything said and planned in Singapore is boh ba kay (not guaranteed), so play by ear here,” explained an older student to the rest of the group. How well said.

Nightmare #4: Horrible food, uncomfy bed, hot weather

I shall not write much about the food, because apart from “it sucked”, I don’t have anything else to say. The bed was rock hard and and pillow was made of hard foam. Not that we had much time to sleep anyway. But it did not help the situation. Summer in HK was no fun. It was warmer than in Singapore, with its high humidity and scorching sun. I was drenched in sweat within seconds of stepping out.

Nightmare #5: Cocky bull

Among the 300 students was this very cocky boy, Bull, who really thought very highly of himself. “Hey cher, remember what I said to you when we first met in March?” he asked me yesterday. He said, “You were looking for your group members, and I told you, ‘don’t bother looking for them and practising too hard, because MY group will win and WE will go to Hong Kong, you remember?'” If I wasn’t a teacher, I would have said, “I hope your parents get married soon.”

Despite all this, I’m amazed at a number of things.

Blessing #1: Display of discipline

I was blessed that most of my kids followed instructions well and were discplined enough to be punctual. They were hardly late, even if it meant to gather at the lobby at 0630. The clueless ones needed a lot more reminding, but they all made it.

Blessing #2: Friendship and leadership

The 30 kids bonded and got to know each other a lot better during this time. You may remember Wendy, the shy girl I mentioned in one of my posts. She became more chatty and energetic during the trip. I also saw the other side of many quiet students who really opened up and had fun with their friends. Some of them even willingly stepped up as leaders to help herd the group and check that everyone was well taken care of.

Blessing #3: Patience and cooperation

I am really thankful that everyone was cooperative during the time. Nobody sneaked out of the hostel, tried anything funny, and were always patient despite always getting shouted at by the teachers.

Thanks guys! From the bottom of my heart, I would still choose to work with all 30 of you if I had to do this again.

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With student leaders Isabella and Veera on the first day we arrived.

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Students getting to know their HK counterparts.

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On the flight back to Singapore.

Explore posts in the same categories: School, Travel

2 Comments on “I survived Hong Kong!”

  1. shirleen Says:

    yay! u survived!

  2. Helena Wang Says:

    Wow!!! what i can say, I am so proud of you, thats so not your type of trip,I am surprised you even survived?!You are a good teacher indeed.


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