Johanna Lim Ziyun

Hey! I am Johanna Lim Ziyun, most people just call me 'Jo' for short. Anyway, I like pie (all three kinds of it although one is spelt as pi). It just seems nice. I am also a transformers fan, especially the decepticons and I also like Pokemon a lot, since I was young. I sort of grew up with it, I have the plush toys, Pokemon houses, cards, cracks, figurines, aeroplanes and even the 'vending machines'! Other than that, I aspire to be a lawyer or a politician as they both do exciting things and fight for justice. I have also been to the United States of America and have gotten many heartfelt memories from there. They have made me want to achieve more to life, to be the very best, like no one ever was. (especially good results)

As I go into Chiangmai for my GCP, let me give you a brief introduction about it. 

All about Chiangmai
Research (10/10/2013)
"Sawatdi Jao" is what you will hear when coming to Chiangmai, the old capital city of the Lanna Kingdom. Dating back more than 700 years, Chiangmai, the second largest metropolitan, next to Bangkok was originally name "Nopburi Srinakornping Chiangmai"  meaning the new city. Chiangmai is not one stop town. Once experience its charm, many will definitely want to have a second stay or perhaps even settle down here. Chiangmai is a city of distinct beauty that has its own cultural heritage.
Chiangmai is 700 Km north of Bangkok and is nestled in a valley 310 meters (1,027 feet) above sea level. The province has a total land area of 10.107 square meters. There are mountains all around the valley rising to the heights of more than 2,500 meters. Doi Inthanon, at 2,565 meters is the  highest mountain peak in Chiangmai.


There are three main season here in Chiangmai: Cool (late October to Mid February), average temperature is 21 C), Summer ( February to May, average temperature is 30 C); and rainy (June to October, average temperature is 25 degree celsius).

Yupparaj School

Yupparaj School was the first government school in Chiang Mai. The land for the school was donated by Her Royal Highness Princess Jao Dararasamee and Prince Intarawarorot Suriyawong, former rulers of Chiang Mai. Other than that, it is very prestigious. Their school vision is that the school would strive to produce academically able global citizens with a high level of spiritual, intellectual, social, ethical and physical development. The School Motto consists of courtesy, care, honesty and responsibility, and lastly, their extra curricula Activities Elective programs offered to the YEP students are designed to enhance both academic and personal development.
Every year during the refreshing climate of cool  'winter' season, historic Yupparaj Wittayalai High School holds its annual open day celebrations. Situated within the old city at the 3 Kings monument with its old colonial buildings and original detailed painted glass windows surrounded by some of the city's largest documented endemic trees dotted around the school grounds that once was the site of a corral that housed Royal Elephants.

 Doi Inthanon Royal Project

The Doi Inthanon Royal Project is located on the main Doi Inthanon mountain road in the Hmong village of Khun Klang. It was established in 1979 as part of His Majesty's Royal Project Foundation. It is one of many re-education projects conceived to familiarize the hilltribe people with new agricultural techniques. The research station carries out work on developing marketable crops, ranging from fruit trees to flowering plants, to help the surrounding hill tribe villages, composed chiefly of Hmong and Karen tribes. There are many greenhouses where flowering plants such as lilies, roses and many others are grown. There are also greenhouses for ferns and cacti.
The highest mountain of Thailand has been famous in the whole country since the years 1960s. In that time, poppy fields were widespread here and there in the mountains of Northern Thailand, and hill tribe villagers were working constrained by opium smugglers. 
It was the beginning of the ‘Royal Projects‘. These ‘triangular‘ projects were highly profitable to the whole region and to the little ethnic communities who were literally slaves of the drug barons and adicts to opium. The ‘Royal Projects‘ were actually articulated around 3 main axes, in accordance with one of the King‘s credos –‘auto-sufficiency‘: 1- Get Opium out from Thailand 2- Get villagers free from opium 3- Handle forest ecologically.

This is the end of my research, I hope you have enjoyed reading this! 

Day 1:

  Today was the day when we departed off for Chiangmai. We left the comfort of our homes and went to the airport and departed for the trip. It was with our friends and I felt both excited and scared at the same time. As it was a country which we have not visited before, we did have to take precautions and we needed to fend for ourselves as well as others. The trip took up three hours of our time and we busied ourselves with our electronic devices, listening to music etc. To top it all, I also made a friend whom I did not know. I chatted and had fun, it was a jovial time. 

  When we first touched-down in Chiangmai, I was elated and chattered happily with my friends. Other than that, I also had teamwork with my friends and forged excellence. We had to help our friends carry the luggage and we shared the food together. It was a great experience as my friends reassured me that the water was okay for us to drink. (that we will not get diarrhea or dehydration). 

  The last highlight of the day would be going to the shopping mall. We had to stock up on groceries and SIM cards. It was quite fun as we had to buy and carry our own things, not at home when our parents help us! Today was the day that we learn the significance of independence. I also bonded with my friends a little more and got to know the people around me, we were united. 

  Although my kin and kith may not be with me now, I will still enjoy the journey and for the first time, do things on my own. I will also bear more responsibility towards my room (and my passport etc). I am lethargic after a long day but I hope to continue on this journey for the next few days! 

Day 2:

  This day was the day of adventure! We had a lot of fun. Firstly, we were given a wake-up call at 0600 so that we would be on time for breakfast which would be ready at 0700. At first, I woke up feeling listless but I had to pull myself together in order to get ready for the events that day. In the end, we arrived at the destination at 0645, with a little help from our friends as it was dark in the morning and we were as timid as a mouse to go down by ourselves. 

  From that incident, I knew that time management was an important key in life and other than that, we had to be brave in order to face the obstacles ahead of us. After that, we had breakfast at the ‘Carnival Corner’ and finished at 0800. 

  We were assigned our buses the earlier night and went to our respective buses. I was in Bus 3, one of my favourite numbers and was elated. Although I was not with most of my classmates, I still felt like I was on cloud nine. I, with my partner Li Ying, was put into a bus with Henry, Marc, Marcus, Rhys, Yun Jing, Jowell and the teacher, Ms Hu. At first, I did not really know them as I did not communicate with them during school hours (due to studying etc). I then communicated with them and we became friends. We also had a ‘bonding’ game which was playing UNO. We actually helped our friends when they did not find a card that they could put down! It was such fun! We proceeded on, during a two-hour journey, towards the Doi Inthanon Project.  

 For the very first destination, we went for the hike and a visit to the farm. We went up a steep hill and walked a lot. Some of us even slipped and fell but others almost fell but was ‘saved’ by one of us. We cultivated a lot of teamwork into this. As the saying goes, ‘United we stand, divided we fall.’ This is what happened today, we stood united as a group and rendered help when they needed it. Other than that, we also learnt a lot about the history of Thailand thanks to our tour-guide, Jack and Lovie. We learnt that Doi Inthanon was set up by one of the princesses and once their father died, they buried his ashes in there. Did you know that Doi Inthanon is the highest peak in Thailand?

  Following the next destination, it was the greenhouse after the hike, where we saw numerous potted plants! Some were fully grown while others was still in the process of doing so. (young seedling) We also took a group picture, it was really interesting. We also took the time to take numerous pictures of the flowers and at the same time, discuss what happened during the hike and how we felt to our peers. We also went to one of the tribal villages and saw numerous things. We also saw how their lifestyles were and how different it was from us. We also had a chance to grind actual coffee in the machine! Not only that, we also saw coffee beans and tasted natural rice (peeling the skin off)

  After that, we went to the final destination which was the waterfall. When we reached there, at ground level, we could actually feel the water droplets dropping on us. I heard that it is just a fraction of the Victoria Waterfall. While we were there, we also forged co-operation with our friends. For example, when one of us wanted to take a picture, others, instead of just ignoring us, helped us instead. We had such fun and the bonding with the people around us made it better. 

  Our friendships became better and we were more bonded as a group. Once we had departed from there, we sat in the bus all the way back to the restaurant where dinner was served. It took unusually long which was 2 hours and 30 minutes but we still pulled through. The people in the bus were cordial and talked and played with each other. We had heaps of laughter too and we got to know each other a little better. From this incident, I learnt that when forging friendships, we need to understand the other person better so that we will be able to click and just be happy as the world is not just about yourself. 

  Today was an exciting and fun-packed day! It is only the second day in Chiangmai but it seemed that we were here longer. Overall, I felt that today was an eventful day and we gained a lot of experience and knowledge throughout the process. Yet again, it is tiring but we learnt something and at the same time have fun! We need to play and work hard at the same time. 

  In conclusion of today’s reflection, it was a great time with my friends and the activities that were carried out and I hope that for the next few days, it will be as exciting as this! 

Day 3:
  This is the third day of our trip and we proceeded to the prestigious school, Yupparaj Wittiyalai. We were given the usual wake-up call, but at 0530 instead. We then went to the buffet area where we had breakfast.

  When we had finished breakfast, we waited for the bus to arrive. The wait was longer than usual and at the same time, the bus was coincidentally late and we were given the SST notebooks to give it to our Thai counterparts. Some of us forgot our name-tags and had to go up to the hotel room to get it. Not long after, we used up the remaining time to know our partner’s name so that we would not have much difficulty when we got there. 

  The bus came and we boarded it. Our tour-guide, Jack, gave us an overview of the Thai culture and how we should greet them and the basic words to know when we are in Thailand. He taught us several words, such as ‘Thank you’, ‘Hello’ etc. It was rather difficult to remember but then we managed to memorise it. 

  Before we knew it, we were already right in front of the school! It was exciting and on the other hand scared as we were scared that we were not able to use the kits in front of them and show them how to use it. When we stepped foot out of the bus, a gigantic banner greeted us warmly with the words, ‘We wish you a warm welcome School of Science and Technology, Singapore.’ We were delighted and went forth into the school, singing its national anthem and being waved at by the students. 

  We walked as fast as our legs could carry us to the meeting room and sat down. The two emcees for the session were introduced and we listened attentively to them. They asked us how Thailand was like and what was the overview of the session for today. The other teachers then gave their welcoming speech. I knew that they thought highly of us, wanted us to excel and to demonstrate how we used the kits and Arduinos. I learnt that we need to be determined and strive for the best in order to fulfil their standards.

  Not long after, the two seniors presented their Investigative Skills in Science projects that they had done earlier that year and it was rather interesting and impressive. We were then shown to our partners for the visit. 

  We were then dismissed to our respective locations. The first location for me was the Chemistry Lab, which was located on the second floor and our partner followed us, hoping to learn more. Before we go any further, let me tell you a little something about her. Her name is Loksorn and she likes playing computer games. Anyway, the first thing we did was to do the soil test kits. 

  At first, everything was going well for me but somehow things started to go out of hand. The plunger got stuck into the barrel and we could not continue the experiment. Nevertheless, we still did not give up and completed in the end. Want to know how? I used the same one as my friend’s and explained the experiments at the same time! I learnt how to troubleshoot when things crop up. Other than that, we had to state some of the reasons for doing the tests and I was glad that I had remembered all of the reasons! It came in so handy, this is why we should be prepared as we do not know what is coming up next. 

  The session dragged on for one and a half hours and for that period of time, we managed to do tests for nitrogen, pH level, potassium and phosphorus. I also explained it to them in exquisite detail so that they would understand what was going on. It was until twenty minutes before the session ended that we had the most fun. We talked about the daily things in life and related it with science, it was really cool and interesting.

  Secondly, we got to use Arduinos! We had to complete Circuit 10 to 14 with our partners. Fortunately, when we finished the trail lesson (Circuit 1), my partner got the hang if it and started to do things on her own! (with me supervising). We started off with the hardest circuit of all time, (Circuit 14) and finished off victorious! We managed to do it within 10 minutes. It was a little bit confusing but we were able to handle it. The wires and bulbs were practically everywhere and the table was a mess. It looked as if a war had occurred. Once we were done, we took a picture to record our success and were proud of it. (see below)

   Following that, we completed the other circuits with ease except for one as unfortunately, the motor was not working and the circuit could not be carried out. Overall we had a fun and enjoyable time! We tried out the different circuits and each of them had its own unique function. For example, one of them had a buzzer which would produce a vibration and a sound, the others lighted up simultaneously. It was such fun! I learnt that co-operation is very important as without my partner’s help, I doubt that we could complete the whole thing! I also learnt that we had to help others as when my partner needed help and did not know where to put the wires, I helped her and in the end, we were able to finish the task given. We then awarded ourselves with a round of applause. 

  Last but not least, we went down to the meeting room once more as Mr Tan told us about the projects that we had to do with our Thailand counterparts. We had to do one engineering project and a science project with them. We were tasked to team up and choose two topics for the above, most importantly, it had to be related to Chiangmai! We carefully thought it through and in the end decided on the topic. For engineering, we chose to invent a machine that would predict when the floods would come and that would prevent the floods from happening. The other idea would be testing the quality of water as the water in Thailand is rather contaminated and I want to make it better so that others would be healthy and they would not get sick easily. 

  I teamed up with another SST student along with two Thailand students. Still, as the saying goes, ‘Two heads are better than one’. It really is true as with more people, we were able to think of a topic quickly and researched on it, hoping to find more deep-down information. 

  I learnt that when doing a project, everyone has to contribute to it and play their part, if not the project will go tumbling down, collapsing as no one would want to work together anymore. From this experience, I learnt that teamwork and collaboration is one of the key things we need in life. Without it, we will not be able to learn from others. 

  In conclusion, we have to strive for the best and be determined at all times no matter what awaits us. We also need to have teamwork and communicate with our peers in order for the project to work. A solo project cannot be compared to a group project as in a group project, you will have multiple opinions and you will be able to see the criticism and work on it. 

  The adventure continues tomorrow and I hope to be ready for it!

Day 4:

  Today is finally the last day of the trip! I feel excited and yet a pang of regret as I have left my Thailand counterparts and soon enough, I would leave my friends and not see them till next year. I think that today was the most exciting part of the journey as I have tried something that I would have never thought of in ten years. Want to know what, well, let me tell you. 

  As usual, we were woken up by the beaming sound of the alarm clock as well as the wake-up call which was scheduled at 0530. We then proceeded down to the breakfast area, ‘Carnival Corner’ and ate breakfast. Some of the events changed, such as during breakfast, my friends tried to scare me by telling me fun facts about the food and drinks. It was disturbing but I tried my best to drone it out and soon enough, before I knew it, it had faded into the thin air. I knew that we had to be early at all times so we have to be punctual at all times, I also found 

  After that, we proceeded to the Yupparaj Wittiyalai school for our final session there. Beforehand, we did not know much of what was happening and was consumed by curiosity on what was going to happen that day. In the bus, it was silence the entire time. As the bus peered into the school gates, the adrenaline in me surged up and I was excited the entire time, I jumped for joy and was enthusiastic into meeting my Thailand counterparts once again. 

  Firstly, we proceeded to the field where the Thailand students, all of different grades (Grade 7 to Grade 12) lined up and got ready for the national anthem, pledge taking and the singing of the school song. Although we did not understand what they were saying, we did not talk or disrupt the process but instead we stood attentively and waited for the ceremony to end. Up till now, this phrase buzzed into my mind, ‘We wish SST a warm welcome as they are our special guests.’ We were special that day and I would never forget that. Other than that, we also took a group photograph, to remember that auspicious day! 

  Secondly, we gathered into the meeting room to listen to one of the groups from the Thailand Science Programme. First up was the professor and he told us the definition of lichens (their project) and introduced it to us. Secondly, the group presented their slides, results and the experiments they had done in order to achieve the solution they had wanted. They had worked hard and in the end, it had all paid off. Their problem and solution into finding out was so interesting and out of the box. I learnt that in all activities, we should not only just think of the ordinary but we should think creatively and form extraordinary ideas. We should also be determined at all times and never give up. 

  Once they were done, we were split up into our colour groups (which was based on our name tags) and were researching on the lichens grown in some parts of Thailand. I was in the Pink Group, with Sean Lim, Shaun Teo, Wen Yu and Serena. We had a lot of fun! We walked as quick as lightning to the destination and tried to measure the areas that we had to find out and take a picture of it. 

  Unfortunately, something cropped up and at first, we were unable to do so. Despite the circumstances, we did not just talk and not do anything. We tried to take estimates of the areas going to be taken and looked at the lichens, measuring their diameter. After what seemed like eternity, the measuring tape came and we were able to measure the necessary on the wall. Wen Yu and I was in charge of measuring the appropriate length and putting the frame so that we might take the picture. 

  After taking and measuring all four sides of the wall, we were done with it and shouted, “Three cheers! Hooray!”. It was a joyous occasion as after several minutes of standing and getting bitten by mosquitoes, it was a success!

  We then walked back to the school and inputted the photos into photoshop as we had to complete the data sheet that was given in the earlier part of the day. The pictures taken needed the amount of red, blue and green colour. To find the average, we had to take green over red plus blue plus green. 

  Yet again, it did not go smoothly. Want to find out more? Well, as the pictures were taken on a Samsung, the computer somehow could not detect the software! (even when we put in the USB cable and used the Wizard) I felt really sad but still stood strong. We had to be united as a team and stand strong no matter what hits us. Finally, after relentless trying, it worked. (once we changed the computer) We then uploaded the photos to Photoshop and did the tasks we needed to complete. 

  We finished just before time would end and ran as fast as a cheetah towards the meeting room. I thought to myself, “We would be the last team.” Surprisingly, we were the first team to arrive! It was a miracle, miracles can happen and that is when you want to try hard. I learnt that we had to believe in ourselves and not look downcast!

  Thirdly, we were split up again into the one SST student and one Thai student as a group! As I have said in the earlier reflection, I was paired up with Loksorn. We then chatted more on the Investigative Skills in Science Studies topics and generated a few more! Most things we want cannot be there forever for us so it was almost time to part. Before that, the teacher said a few words in closure. 

  At this step, we took action and gave our souvenirs with our Thai counterparts and took pictures as a memento. After a while, the room was quiet. The emcee spoke into the microphone, “Now, let us have the representative of the Singaporeans to say a few words.” At this instant, everybody looked around, hoping to find out who was selected, only I did not look around. Instead, I stood up and walked on the aisle to the stage. 

  Loud claps and cheer was in the crowd as I walked there. Everyone was surprised at the same time excited! I was going to make a speech. Wonder when I was informed? I was informed of doing the speech about twenty minutes ago. I was stressed but I kept my cool as I organised the thoughts in my head, thinking of what to say. 

  As I said a few words to thank them for hosting us, I included the part where we had to cook. Scenes of the event spurred in mind. It happened so fast. Actually, to tell you the truth, my culinary skills are not that good as I have not had the time to practise but up to date, I know how to cook rice, instant noodles and fry an egg. I was astounded by myself as my legs and hands galvanised into movement, volunteering to be the first one to try out cooking the dish. As I was nervous, I was hyperventilating and stressing myself out but as I held the spatula and the frying pan, it was not all that scary! All my worries were uncalled for. I whipped up a dish that was unimaginable, my friends and one of the teachers complimented me on it! I was so proud and happy that I had decided to try it out for the very first time. From this incident, I had learnt that we have to try new things in order to succeed. If you keep on doing the same old things, you will never improve and instead stay at the same level the entire time! 

  After I had reminisced what had happened, reality came back. I ended and was once again, greeted with cheers and applause. We sat with our partners again and talked for the very last time, saying our goodbyes. It was a hard time trying to leave them but it was time to go. We exchanged our Facebook and Twitter usernames so that we would keep in touch! I did not want to lose a friend! 

  I learnt that collaboration is very important in our lives, communication as well. You have to know and understand your partner inside out so that we might be able to come up with a better project and at the same time, have fun together! 

  This looks like the end of the reflection but wait, there is more! Since it is almost the end of this GCP (we are flying off tomorrow), I will now sum up what has happened and what I had learnt over the past few days. 

  Another thing to note, my favourite activities were using the Arduino as well as thinking of project idea with my partner. Why, you may ask? Arduino was an interesting and important part of the trip as it was a software that was only introduced to us about one and a half months ago. We tried to familarise ourselves with the equipment and tried out very best to explain the things to them. Once I had taught her, she had gotten it and did most of the circuits all by herself. I helped someone feel a sense of accomplishment and that was what beamed me. 

  The generation of project ideas with my partner really wrecked out brains as the topics were very specific (has to be related to Chiangmai and it needs to be engineering and science). We listed out all of the problems that occurred in Chiangmai but they were almost the same as all the other finished research projects. Again, we thought hard, to reveal the problems that were yet to be uncovered. We finally thought of it (see previous reflection for ideas) and it was actually feasible!  

  During this journey, up to four days, I have worked with my friends and also made new ones too! I have gained the team spirit, the elements of communication, collaboration, cross-cultural understanding and last but not least, determination. At times in life, we may give up on things, thinking that they are trivial but now, I know that whatever we are tasked to do, whether ranked the most important or the least important, we have to do our level best and strive hard. When working in a team, we need to know the person’s background and compromise at times when needed. Things cannot always go your own way, sometimes, another person’s idea might work or could possibly be better than ours! We also need to respect the other person’s opinions and decisions as everything has a reason behind it. 

  I have gained a lot of knowledge and experience throughout this trip. It has made me known myself, as well as my friends better. I have also learnt elements that I would never try or do before. It is beneficial to me and even when we are back in Singapore, I will still continue to strive harder for these few aspects and most probably, learn more! I have also become a better person. 

  This ends my trip in Chiangmai and I hope the adventure continues! I guess this is goodbye, until next time. Bye! 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Johanna !
    This is Beck :D Hope you still remember me...We were in the same group. I was with you in the experiments that you and your Thai counterpart did together on the first day. I observed you guys! hahaha You are very sweet, Johanna. Your talents amazed me! You are brave and are very good at speaking and explaining. You are a girl that is not easily give up to do things ! I have seen that you seemed to get some problems along the experiments but you still tried to fix it as much as you can and it was finally success! :D It was pretty sad that we didnt really have much time to talk together but I'm very glad that I got to know you! and I'm very happy that you had a good time during this trip in Chiang Mai.

    Hope to see you again! :D