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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Reflections by Celine

City tour of Honolulu

We visited the main areas of the city, such as the Govenor's house, and the building which hung a huge bronze plate of the Hawaii state symbol. We also saw a statue of King Kamehameha, who was the first king and who successfully managed to unite all the tribes to work together. His statue was placed as it is significant to Hawaii's history for if it were not for him, the tribes would still be in conflict and Hawaii would not be able to progress to what it is today.
The state building of Hawaii

Bishop Museum

It shows the historical artifacts of Hawaii, like the several weapons and items the ancient tribespeople used and also the art and sciences that they had practiced even back then. It also showed the gods that the people believed in and explained their religion. This again preserves the history of Hawaii and shows that the ancient people also had religions much like we do today and also found their own methods of adaptation and survival. This then sustained the culture of Hawaii as it educates people about the methods use in the past.
An exhibit on display at the museum, showing the 'evolution' of mankind

Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor maintains the history of WW2 and retains the memory of the many soldiers who gave their lives on that day, 7 December 1941. From this we can learn that war is a terrible thing and the deaths caused are enough to make anyone not go to war, no matter which country they're from. It keeps the memories of the soldiers and civilians who died and shares these memories and experiences with the rest of the world and the later generations so we know the impact of war and how it can affect and hurt all of us, even if we're not soldiers.

At the memorial:
The marking of where the USS Arizona lies untouched ever since it sank.

The whole list of names of the soldiers who died on the ship.

How it happened:
The US wanted to deter Japan from attack them, so they moved their entire fleet of ships to Pearl Harbor. They were also angry about Japan's invasion into China in 1937. As Japan was invading and taking over Asia, US also did not want to lose out. But the US already had many problems, so they decided to stay out of it for now. The fleet that was moved to the harbor had the ships USS Arizona, Oklahoma, Utah, Nevada, and many more. 1,500 men alone were on the USS Arizona. The American military believed that they were prepared for a surprise attack if any, as they had carried out their own drills. In said drills the USS Arizona proved itself to be a formidable force, covered in armour with 14-inch guns. Their planes were parked wingtip to wingtip with guns unloaded to save space.
In Japan, General Yamamoto believed that Pearl Harbor had to be destroyed as it was where most of the US's military was and if they took out part of the US they could go ahead and invade SEA without any interference. They picked to have the attack on 7 December as it was a Sunday where people were more relaxed. Coincidentally, there was a concert for the soldiers the night before, further lowering their guard.
At 6am, 220 miles north of Oahu where Pearl Harbor was (also the island with Honolulu), the Japanese launched their planes. Fighters went first, followed by attack planes with special armour-penetrating bombs or aerial torpedos and lastly dive bombers, a total of 183 planes. 30 minutes later, a second wave of 167 planes followed.

The Japanese code words to signal the attack, and showed how quickly it was finished.

A picture describing how the Japanese aerial torpedos worked in shallow water, and the rough arrangement of how the battleships were aligned.

They sent the message but it took awhile before they realised it was a real attack.

How the Ward took down the midget submarine. After this, they noticed a high number of planes incoming on their radar. This was also sent to the commander, who assumed that the large number of planes were their own B-17 planes that were due to arrive in Pearl Harbor from California, and told them, 'Don't worry about it.'

Showing that the soldiers were not daunted even if the attack was unexpected. The USS Arizona was destroyed completely when a bomb penetrated its armour and reached its ammunition reserves, which later exploded.

The torpedo that was recovered. This was only the tail end of it, as the actual torpedo was about 6m long.

From all this it simply shows, again, the tragedy which serves as a reminder how bad war can be and the effects it has on not just soldiers, but also normal people and that we should just try to all get along with each other. Learning about Pearl Harbor can be linked back to Singapore as we too have our own war memorials to remember these brave souls and also to remember the losses and the sacrifices they made so we can have a better future, to understand why they did so, why the outcome was what it is and everything in between from the past, and to honour all that they had done for us.
It was significant to the US as it represented a time when they were not only caught off guard but also showed that they were at their lowest point, being knocked down, but they managed to bounce back and rise back up and eventually win despite the losses. Since America is a superpower, it wanted to also show the rest of the world that they had the power that gave them their reputation.
WW2 showed that firstly first-mover advantage was part of the reason as to why countries go to war. Japan did not want interference from the other superpower USA when it was invading other countries in its quest to get more resources, therefore decided to attack Pearl Harbor in the hopes of preventing US from fighting back but instead did the opposite. USA was enraged about Japan's actions and immediately declared war on Japan so as to 'get revenge' for their sacrifices.
It also showed that war could cause many consequences, mainly being people losing their lives and having to go through hardship no matter which country they were from, be it if they were a soldier or a civilian or a POW, everyone suffers in times of war. Therefore it shows how bad war can be.

Pali Lookout

It, like King Kamehameha's statue, is an important part of Hawaii's history as it was the exact place where the fight took place and where the king won to be able to unite all the tribes together. It was also where the Japanese planes 'hid' before attacking Pearl Harbor so they would not be detected by radars. It was incredibly windy, as it is a mountain range and is the only outlet for the wind to pass through where it was coming in from the sea, and therefore may or may not be a good lookout (due to hair getting in the way of good photos, etc.) It holds much significance to Hawaii's history and also has a lot of nature, so it needs to be preserved as it not only sustains the history and then indirectly the culture of Hawaii, but also the nature/environment as well.
The view from Pali lookout.

Polynesian Cultural Centre

It is used to teach the people about the culture and tribes of the people who lived there before urbanisation took over. It makes sure that we do not lose who we actually are at heart, through representing 6 main tribes and their way of living. It sustains the culture of the native people and their ancestors. The six tribes: Hawai'i, Aotearoa, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Tahiti all have their own unique methods of survival and their own rituals.
Its main idea is that culture needs to be taught to the younger generations so that they do not forget their roots and believe that the age they were born into was the only thing that the human race started with when it dated further back than it did.
It highlights several main characteristics about each tribe, for example, Tahiti dances usually had the women who could shake their hips vigorously, and Samoa tribes had specialized tree climbers to get coconuts which were too high up normally. This allows for easy absorption so visitors can learn more and also understand more about the tribes and the ancient civilisations.
No photos because my camera died, whoops ><

Diamond Head

It's a natural crater and though it does not appear to have much greenery, it should still be preserved as it is like the main symbol of Hawaii. People recognize Hawaii by its beaches and by this crater, and therefore it should not be destroyed and measures taken to be able to preserve it from the high number of visitors who climb it everyday. It is like how the Eiffel Tower represents Paris/France. It sustains Hawaii's environment.
The view from the top of Diamond Head

Hanauma Bay+blowhole+beach+mountain

Hanauma Bay, or Dragon Bay, from its majestic appearance, can easily show how it needs to be sustained and also since it was completely natural, showed the natural side of Hawaii, which is something rare that can be found in Singapore. Along with the blowhole created by a lava tube, a beach filled with volcanic rock and the mountain with the red (albeit small) lighthouse, these landmarks clearly display the natural side of Hawaii and needs to be sustained as it provides a good environment and can educate people to treasure our earth and its beauty.

Waimea Valley

Although it is a national park, they still keep the beliefs of the ancient people, as before we entered we had to do a ritual where we had to ask if we had the permission to enter the supposedly believed to be sacred area. They sustained the old culture and behaviour of the olden days, as they also had exhibits of the houses the tribespeople lived in and the guide also explained their way of life in depth so we understood about the ancient Hawaiian culture as well. They also took a lot of care on the environment, as they grew native plants of Hawaii and also re-grew plants that were endangered even though their use by humans was not needed anymore as it was the only way to make sure the plants did not die out as said plants needed human intervention to reproduce.

Punahou School

It was a very enriching experience as I got to know more about how the American students study. In classes, the teachers were rather informal with them, treating the students as though they were friends but yet still held that form of status above them. The students were still respectful to their teachers. They were also allowed to eat in class and not wear uniforms, but reason for the former was that some students' schedules did not allow for any lunch break, so they would have no choice but to eat in class. I think that this can also be implemented in SST, for if we students were allowed to eat in class, then the lunch break time could be used for lessons and other curriculum time. In between, the students were given about 5 minutes to walk to their next venues for lessons, and some, like my buddy, had breaks in between, where they could either study, do homework, or socialize, or, in the case of my buddy, go to work. As they were all gathered in the same school, my buddy could help out with the teachers teaching the younger students during her break, and even get paid for doing so, benefitting both parties. Being able to attend the same school throughout all her school years also allowed her to forge close bonds with her previous teachers, and she was able to visit them whenever she got a break just to catch up with each other. I thought that that was pretty neat, as when most of us left primary school, we rarely returned to visit our past teachers, visiting them only once a year whereas the American students could go back any time they could. The design of the school was also very conducive, with open areas and loads of places where the students could study and do work, yet also socialize and chat with friends. The design was also beneficial to the environment, as they had large water tanks and 'rivers' to collect rainwater which could be used to water the plants, and one large tank that collected spring water from underneath for all their basic needs. They also had solar panels installed which could power an entire building by themselves, thus effectively cutting down on their use of electricity the 'normal' way. Most of the lessons were also very engaging and the teachers gave students many opportunities for them to express themselves and encouraged them to be more outspoken and not hold anything back. I feel that SST and maybe even the Singapore education system has a lot to learn from America in general, though of course they still have their flaws.


  1. 1. Capital letters for proper nouns like "General"
    2. Avoid using colloquial speech like "lax"
    3. Pearl Harbor is spelled the American way without the "u"

    (Please check across the entire blog for such occurrences, thanks)

  2. 1. More updates on PCC?

    2. Some questions to think further about Pearl Harbor (PH):
    1. Why is PH so significant as a memorial when there have been thousands of wars around the world leaving millions dead? (Clue: status of America)
    2. With the concept of "Conflict" in mind, explain 2 Key Understandings on what WWII demonstrated with regard to the concept.