Two-way discussion: Tourism – Old Museum – Old buildings – School – Games
1. Tourism and Tourists:
• What are the tourist attractions in your country?
Thank you. Well, Singapore is a land of beauty and numerous tourist attractions have made the country lucrative to all, especially the rich people. The cities are filled with both natural and artificial beauties to entertain the travellers and the number of amenities prepared for the tourists is countless. The country has a vibrant history of different periods and most of the tourist spots are friendly for the family. The most notable tourist attractions of Singapore are the Orchard Road, Marina Bay Sands, Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, Singapore Flyover, Night Safari, Singapore Botanic Gardens, China Town, Gardens by the Bay, Clarke Quay, Resorts World Sentosa etc. Orchard Road is considered as the most important tourist spot in the country as there are a large number of shopping malls are located for shopping and other purposes. But the country has many other things to offer to the tourists other than the shopping malls and restaurants. The public transportation system is a great wonder for the visitors too.
• Should they be free for everyone to visit?
Some of the tourist locations are free of cost while you may have to pay for entrance in some places. I think you are informed that the reserved places need to be maintained. The night safari in Singapore is such a reserved place. A large number of wild animals are found here and they need foods, shelters and other necessary amenities for maintenance. If the safari is made free for the visit, it would be too difficult and in some cases impossible to maintain the park. The overall activities are maintained from the entrance fee it collects from the visitors. So, I personally feel that some places should be made free and a minimal cost should be imposed on the private or reserved places so that everyone could enjoy. Sometimes the tourists do not expensive places fearing that they will be cheated against the amount they are paying – in a word the places are not worth the money.
• Do foreigners visit these attractions?
Yes, the foreigners frequently visit the places and sometimes it becomes difficult to collect the entrance tickets too for excessive crowds. The crowds become dense, especially on the weekends and occasions. Foreigners from across the world gather at the places and pass their leisure hours in various ways after their tastes. Since the places are costlier, usually the rich people bear the abilities to visit. Sometimes I think that the number of rich on the planet is not few as I myself had to stand in a queue for long hours to enter into an amusement park, recently in Singapore, which also proves that the tourist attractions are popular among the global visitors.
• What are the benefits of foreigners visiting tourist attractions in your country?
Yes, there is a wide range of benefits as the foreigners visit the tourist attractions of Singapore. The most important matter is that my country’s economy grows bigger when the foreigners come to my country. When they pay for their accommodation, food and shopping, they are contributing to my nation’s economy. Besides, many of the temporary sellers set their stall beside the tourist spots and make a good deal of business with the tourists, especially the foreigners. It helps to raise their living standard, in economic perspective. Besides, the culture and customs of my country gets spread around the world through the visitors and being attracted to the customs, they come again which finally improves the economy of Singapore. Further, a large tourist industry has been built in the country which has created employment for many unemployed youths – another positive impact of the tourists visiting the attractive places.
• What are the disadvantages of it?
Hmm, I agree with you. There are some disadvantages too of the tourists. Sometimes there are misunderstandings among the tourists and the sellers over the pricing issues of any specific product. When they cannot reach any agreement, they lock into minor altercations. Sometimes the tourists are unaware of the cleanliness of the tourist spots and throw away water bottles or snack packets here and there. As a result, the environment is spoilt to some extent.
• Do you know about any environmental issues associated with it?
Actually, there are no such major environmental issues associated with the tourists. There are few minor issues as I mentioned in the earlier answer that they spoil the surrounding environment with empty packets, water bottles or throwing papers but I think these are not a major threat for environmental degradation. It would be taken as a serious environmental threat if the tourists used to pollute water, air or the other ecological elements of the environment. Please be noted that my government is highly careful about the environmental issues and if such incidents happen in future, proper protective measures will be adopted to prevent the issues.
2. Old objects & Museum:
• Why do you think people keep old objects?
Smart question for me. Thank you. Generally, people are fond of memories. From the ancient time, they have been trying to preserve the memories in different ways. One of the most popular ways is to preserve some stuff or materials which would remind them the past or any specific past events. The stuff and materials help them recalling their past. This is one of the key reasons for keeping the old objects. Besides, they preserve the old objects sometimes as they want to exhibit their past vigour to others or want to expose their traditional beliefs or heritage which once was on the top. Further, there are some people who love to collect old things but those people are fewer in number. They collect the old and ancient stuff for their private use or sometimes make large collections to satisfy their souls. But I think the most important fact about collecting the old objects might be the love for those objects. When they come in close contact with the objects, they feel a sense of deep satisfaction and remember the memories that they have undergone at different times of their life. Those objects may remind them their past struggles for survival or any other interesting events that make them smile silently.
• Why do people go to museums?
Well, the museum is a place where the past is kept carefully; I mean the relics of the past are preserved for public exhibition. Museums are considered as the storehouse of olden days. Histories are preserved here so that the visitors could get knowledge about the past happenings that they have not seen before. Besides, the educative values are too high. When people go to museums, they can gather practical knowledge learn about a wide number of issues about their respective countries of any specific period. Besides, it is a very good way to pass leisure hours inside the well-decorated museums. When the tourists have nothing else to do in the foreign countries, they go to visit the museums as it will pass their times and they could also get some ideas about the cultures, customs and the overall histories of the country.
• What are the benefits of going to museums?
Ummm, there are a large number of benefits of visiting a museum. Firstly, you’ll be able to know about the histories of any place. Then you’ll have some concrete ideas about that place. Again, when you are in a museum, you will gather some practical knowledge about the things and stuff you have heard about but not seen before. For instance, I had no idea about military weapons but I got a very practical idea after visiting a military museum where a wide range of weaponry was exhibited for public viewing. Additionally, when you are visiting a museum, you are becoming a witness to different interesting events that took place even before your parents’ birth. So, isn’t it very interesting?
• Is it better to actually see things in a museum rather than just learn about them?
Ahh, I think experiencing things practically or physically is better than learning about them. In this case, you can count my own experience over visiting the military museum. I heard about hand grenade, rocket launchers, missiles, firearms like pistols, revolvers, machine guns and more. But I did not have the luck to see them very closely. I have seen some of those used by the law enforcers. But when I entered, you won’t believe how thrilled I was! It was like I have got heaven in my hand. A very wide number of weapons was exhibited before me, and it appeared that those were exhibited only for me. I didn’t touch them, though; it was an unforgettable experience for me. I tried to compare the knowledge I had on the weapons but found that I was wrong in most cases as I did not see them practically before. Thereby, it is important to see the things you want to see and it will help you to get the right and perfect idea about the things you want to know. But if you hear only, the knowledge will remain incomplete.
3. Old buildings:
• Is it important to conserve old buildings?
Thank you for the chance to answer the challenging question. Well, there are no straight answers to this question and the answer may vary from place to place. To me, it appears that some of the people are interested to demolish the old buildings and replace them with a modern one for good looks and considering the commercial purposes. But there are some other people who are on the view to conserve the ancient structures and buildings as those are the relics of past construction. Those buildings resemble the style and manner of past and in some places are considered as heritage as well based on their construction style and age. Besides, they also believe that preserving the old buildings points to preserving the history. So, they are against the view to replace the old buildings with the newer ones. However, in my sense, the old buildings should be preserved unless they are decayed to the extreme level. When the buildings are in the state of collapse, then those should be repaired and if the repairing is impossible, they should be rebuilt within the same style. The initial design should be kept as long as it could go. When a completely different structure is built at the same place after razing the old ones, histories and pasts are destroyed too.
• Do many people in your country live in old buildings?
Ummm, actually Singapore is mostly a tourist country, there are fewer old buildings. Most of the people live in concrete made buildings. Earlier, Singapore was a small territory and with the rapid expansion of the economy, the real estate sector of the country has bloomed to a larger extent. As a result, there are several types of houses are mushrooming across the country including skyscrapers, luxurious buildings and mansions etc. Besides, there are some other shop houses are also found (located mostly in the commercial area) where the sellers live with their respective families on the first floor and continue their business on the ground floor. The mansions and skyscrapers are made in different categories and they offer numerous features and facilities to the residents. Most of the people live in concrete made taller flats while the flats belong to several categories like two rooms flat, three rooms flat; studio flat or exclusive flats etc.
• What do you prefer, an old or a modern building to live in?
Ha ha ha!! Tough question for me! Umm, since I have been born and brought up in an exclusive flat, it is naturally difficult for me to live in older buildings. But it does never point that I am ignoring the old structures rather I’m on the view to conserve them. I, in fact, am not habituated to live in the old buildings as they are devoid of modern amenities to live in the current days. Have you ever been to Singapore? Ooh! Then you are unaware that there are less walking or exercise spaces across the country and particularly in the part where I live in. On the ground floor of my flat, I have a small gymnasium and a swimming pool which help me greatly to get my necessary daily exercises. But such facilities are not available in the older buildings. It should be acknowledged that the older buildings have spacious rooms with natural lighting, but they lack the modern sanitation system which is uncomfortable for me.
• How can a teacher make learning more interesting?
It’s a pleasure for me to answer the question. As a teacher, I think there are several ways to make the teaching or learning more interesting than any other thing. Firstly, the teacher should remember that education is a participatory process and both the teacher and the learner should communicate effectively to make the learning more interesting. When it is about to learn only, the students lose their interest in the topic. The teacher is responsible for making the class interesting and for that s/ he may also improvise the activities. For instance, when I deliver lectures at the graduate school, I try to engage the students with me. Sometimes I speak less and allow the other students to talk in the class. Besides, when I use a digital presentation using Microsoft Powerpoint, I add more images than texts to make the issues clearer and interesting to the students. Reading through the texts appears boring to me and the students also do not prefer so. Thereby, I try to bring variations in my teaching methods. At times I inspire my students to deliver lectures instead of me or to teach the other students what they have learnt in real. This is an effective technique and when the students play teachers’ role, they find interest in that. Thus, I think these are some of the interesting ways to make the class more interesting and the teacher is the key player in this case.
• What was the most popular subject in your school? Why was it popular?
There were several popular subjects in my school but unfortunately I cannot recall all the names. The most prominent names that appear in my mind are English literature, social science and geography. The school appointed several skilled and well-experienced teachers to teach the subjects. But among the three subjects, English was preferable to me because of the teaching method, and in fact, I was highly influenced by the teaching methods of Mr. Edward who used to teach English literature. It was not only me who was in love rather it was the entire class of mine. It happened because we did not have to study at home. Mr. Edward was so skilled that he completed all the lessons in the class. The classes were like we were listening to any story and sometimes we were responding spontaneously. As a result, we did not have to study the text again at home while the instant tests and examinations were superb. Besides, I also enjoyed the geography class as the teacher used a very large map to show different countries and also applied other necessary educative materials to make the lessons perfect.
• Are there any subjects that shouldn’t be taught in school? Why?
Uhh! The subjects of pure science like physics, chemistry, mathematics etc. are some of the toughest subjects and this is completely my private opinion. Most of the students cannot get the desired scores getting promoted to the next grade as they lack skills over the subjects. In fact, the brain is not matured enough to go through the complex rules and theories. As a result, a sense of irritation grows inside them and they lose interest in studying the subjects. So, I think the subjects should be kept for a higher level at least they should be initiated after the secondary level. Overall I do not think any subject has less importance and I can’t recall a single subject that was not proven important in my higher studies.
• How can the school help students overcome a problem with a certain subject? Do you think that visiting different websites has a benefit?
Well. This is an awfully concerning issue for the school when a bunch or a single student fails to comprehend any specific subject. Sometimes they cannot go through the subjects and mostly it happens when they are uninterested in studying with it. Then the schools take different preventive measures to solve the problem. Usually, the school authority arranges for extra classes or starts extra hours of schooling for the students who are lagging behind. This is highly beneficial for the students and it works great for them. Visiting various websites is also helpful for the students. They may not get the desired answers on their prescribed textbooks but the answer might be available on the websites. So, they may regularly visit the websites for their enrichment of knowledge.
5. Playing Computer Games:
• Do you think that playing computer games has an advantage for children? Why?
Thanks for your question. I think you are well informed that this is the age of technological advancement. Kids of these days are highly versed with the technological tools mostly they are familiar with computers. There are a wide number of computer games have been developed for them. I think the games are advantageous to them for several reasons. The first and important fact is that the games teach them to work independently. When they play the video games on computers, they are to decide numerous things before moving forward with their respective games. They are to set strategies and plan for attacks on the action games. When they are playing strategic games, they are to plan slowly to reach the goals. So, it appears that the computer games have some educative values as well which are not available in the textbooks. Besides, the computer games allow them to learn about various things and issues that were unknown to them before starting the game. To me, it appears that if the kids are disallowed to play computer games, they will miss great things in their life. They try to imitate the gaming characters in their real life and who knows that someday they won’t be the iconic figure like the character in the game? Thereby, children should be allowed to play computer games.
• Do you think it helps them to be less violent? Why?
Well, I heard a saying that the end justifies the means. There are both positive and detrimental impacts are found for everything and computer games are not an exception. The nature of games decides whether the kids would be violent or not. When a child plays action games more and more where he is exposed to various sorts of violence like shooting at people or at war field, killing people indiscriminately, damaging properties, driving vehicles roughly, I think they would turn violent in their real-life situations. They are frequently exposing the violence on the screen and subconsciously they are influenced by the actions. So, they try to imitate the activities in their day to day life which is unwanted. But if they are with strategic games where they have to invest their brain, I think they would be less violent. I think the issue of being less violent in their activities largely depends on their contact with the games. Since they are kids and immature in nature, they are easily influenced by the gaming issues. Their subconscious minds grab the things and thus they should be allowed to be in touch with the strategic and puzzle games so that they could exercise their intelligence. The game of other genres should be given at least when they will have the ability to decide about the right and the bad, and to me, it appears that the teenage is the most appropriate time to get the action games.
• Why are such games so popular? What is better in your view: virtual or physical communication? Why?
Great question. I think you will agree on the point that nowadays the kids lack the open spaces like playgrounds or open fields or spaces where they could have participated in outdoor sports and game. As a result, they turned sort of homesick due to computer games. As there are varieties of games with special and attractive features, the tender minds are easily trapped with the attractions. They actually lack the knowledge that they are getting introvert for their addiction to computer games. The games are attractive and could make them spellbound, though. Besides, they are getting in touch with their friends and family members in virtual networks which I think is a concern for us. They are frequently building virtual relations and communicating through the social networking sites which contain potential damages for them. They lack the knowledge that physical communication is much better than being intimate in the virtual world. To be more frank with you, when you are in danger or uncomfortable with the unwanted issues, you could seek help to people you know in your real life. You can share your thoughts and emotions with your friends and family members and they could provide you or guide you with the right solutions. But if you share the problems with your virtual friends, they wouldn’t be of so help to you. I have experienced a wide range of such issues and came to the decision that we do not need to rely on our virtual relations. If we rely on them, we are to be frustrated.