CyberFair Project ID: 3811

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Preserving the Cultural Traditions & Practices of the Chinese Lunar New Year in Singapore
Category: 8. Local Music and Art Forms

School: Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)
    Singapore, N/A, Singapore

7 students, ages 13 - 16 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 21, 2005. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): N/A

Classes and Teachers: Ms Phuan Siew Khoon

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Our local community consists, in brief, of the people of the small island of Singapore, located at the tip of the Malay Peninsula. Singapore is today a modern city-state whose economy is based upon the twin pillars of manufacturing and services. The people of Singapore are multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-religious. They consist of immigrant Chinese, immigrant Indians, and indigenous Malays, with a significant amount of foreigners from all over Asia and the globe. Foreigners alone make up close to 25% of the population Singapore; and among locals, the Chinese make up 76% of the population.

Our focus on this project is upon the immigrant Chinese of Singapore, those who came years ago from China, and that too mainly from Fujian and Guangzhou. The immigrant Chinese community settled in Singapore years ago and continued its age-old traditions, most especially the Chinese Lunar New Year, or nong li xin nian as it is known in Mandarin. This particular community in Singapore is heavily subject to the influences of globalization, due to the high development level and global connectivity of Singapore, as well as by the large foreign population present in Singapore itself.

In summary, out project’s focus is upon the distinct immigrant Chinese community in Singapore, though we cannot ignore the multi-racial nature of the wider Singapore community.

2. Summary of Our Project

Our CyberFair Web Project showcases the Chinese Lunar New Year and its traditions and practices, in the aim of preserving these traditions and practices such that the immigrant Chinese community retains its distinct cultural identity and continues the age-old traditions of its ancestors. Our project further aims to increase to increase the cultural awareness of the wider Singapore community, comprising immigrant Indians and indigenous Malay population of Singapore, and also that of the nearly one million foreigners living and working in Singapore. Through this, we hope to build upon the idea of “unity through diversity”. We also consider, keeping in mind our own futures, the future of Chinese Lunar New Year in our community, while documenting existing community efforts to preserve Chinese Lunar New Year.

Some of the traditions and practices we showcase on our Web Project are to do with the reunion dinner, traditional food, Mandarin oranges, fish and prosperity, traditional firecrackers, calligraphy, art, handicrafts, dance, music and such. These traditions are indeed very old, and some of them are truly dying out. A number of “vanishing trades” characterise the decline in traditional handicrafts and other art forms.

As part of our efforts to showcase the community’s own efforts in preservation of Chinese Lunar New Year traditions, we have documented our own school, Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)’s efforts and in the wider community, the efforts of the Asian Civilisations Museum, to name a few.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:1

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:2-3

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

The key problems which we faced were to do with each of our group members’ busy schedules and diverse commitments in and outside school. These ranged from Co-Curricular Activities like Boys’ Brigade, Scouts and such to international competitions such as the Odyssey of the Mind. One or more of us would invariably be busy on appointed meeting dates, hindering our group collaboration. We did, however, find solutions to this problem, such as using instant messaging programs like MSN Messenger 6.0 to collaborate and discuss our ideas outside of non-school hours or during school holidays.

Aside from problems meeting and collaborating, our group also found that since we are of different ages (from 13 to 16) we did not know each other very well. However, this problem was solved with time as we got to know each other better and were consequently able to produce a better team effort.

Technical problems we faced were no less numerous, for we found that within our group there was only one of us who knew how to use programs such as Macromedia Dreamweaver and Adobe Photoshop. As a result, more of our group members had to quickly pick up the required skills, such that we could proceed with the creation of our website. We even experienced smaller problems, such as the lack of availability of a particular font on school computers where we did much of our work. Of course, such problems were easily solved by obtaining the fonts online if they were free for use, and if not, by switching to a freely available alternative.

While not insurmountable, our group’s problems certainly set us back significantly at first. Fortunately our group overcame these problems in time, and we were able to complete our CyberFair project.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

In the words of one of our team members, “We, like pieces of cloth in the giant tapestry of the many cultures in Singapore, learnt to make those crucial stitches that bond us together and unite us as global citizens as well as socially aware youths of our nation.”

That is truly what this project is to us all.

6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

Our activities and research for this International Schools CyberFair Project supports various standards, required coursework, and curriculum directives as laid out by our school, Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) and Singapore’s Ministry of Education (MOE).

Our project has a focus on Chinese culture and traditions, in accordance with the Ministry of Education’s National Education initiative, which involves every student understanding and learning about the diverse cultures which make up Singapore. Our fulfillment of this initiative is twofold; not only do we (one member of our group is ethnic Indian) ourselves get to learn about and appreciate traditional Chinese culture, but we also spread this knowledge to the school and the wider community.

Furthermore, our project is also in accordance with our school’s and MOE’s curriculum initiatives encouraging out-of-classroom and “IT-enabled” learning. Our research was conducted mainly through trips to museums, Chinatown and of course, the internet, so our project certainly exemplifies the sort of learning espoused by our school and MOE.

As a group, we also found out that our educational system encourages project work – we received instant backing for our proposal to enter International Schools CyberFair from our school, and we have been supported by the school through access to facilities and equipment since. Skills we learned centred on data collection, interaction with juniors and seniors, presentation and organization of data, and of course, web design – a skill which we feel will serve us well in the future, both in school and outside it.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?

This being a web project, we naturally used a wide variety of information tools and technologies to aid us in completing this project. We used a total of 10 computers; 7 at our respective homes and 3 at our school. Naturally, we used telephones for communication, but we also used instant messaging to discuss, collaborate, and share our work with each other. The software we used was standard web design software – Macromedia Dreamweaver and Adobe Photoshop, though we also attempted to use Macromedia Flash in places. We visited museums such as the Asian Civilisations’ Museum combined with visits to Singapore’s Chinatown, traditionally the Chinese cultural hib of Singapore, to gather pictures and resources, using digital cameras and old-fashioned but useful notebooks. We were also able to utilize the internet facilities of our school’s own Shaw Library and Resource Centre. Some of us also spoke to relatives with experience of Chinese Lunar New Year traditions.

Perhaps our most valuable tool in doing our project was the digital camera; it allowed to capture first-hand our observations in the places we visited, so that we could record them and also showcase the pictures on our website. The digital camera also made it very easy for us to integrate the pictures with the electronic medium that our website uses. The cameras were our own, for using our own resources helped give us a feel for the sort of project we were doing.

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.

In this project, we, as a team, acted as ambassadors and spokespersons for our project not in the usual sense of contacting community leaders and figures, but more in the sense of interacting with the community on information-gathering trips to Chinatown and Asian Civilisations’ Museum, as well as to other public events such as lion dances.

For example, on our trips and visits, we sometimes encountered people whom we felt might be able to help us in our task. It was these people who we approached for information. During our visit to the Asian Civilisations’ Museum, for example, we approached numerous museum staff in our inquiries, and were able to request for specific pieces of information. Not surprising was the fact that many of the museum staff were pleasantly surprised then they saw that one of our group members was an ethnic Indian.

Karan Malik, our only Indian group member, volunteered to go to the Asian Civilisations’ Museum after we had, as a team, identified it as a place which would help us greatly in gathering information and resources for our project. He decided to go because, living in Singapore, with a 76% Chinese population, where the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations are practically a nation-wide event, he felt he needed to know more about Chinese cultural practices as he had no experience with any Chinese culture or traditions whatsoever. The visit to the Asian Civilisations' Museum was an extremely valuable and enriching experience for Karan, and it helped him a great deal in understanding many of the customs and practices that he had not previously understood. In this way, Karan acted not only as an ambassador for his ethnic community and school, but he was also an ambassador for our project's aims.

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

Our project makes a difference, because, in providing information on the traditions and cultural practices of the Chinese Lunar New Year, as well as promoting and supporting the efforts of the community to preserve them, we are, ourselves, helping and doing our part to preserve these valuable cultural traditions and practices that we cannot afford to lose. The impact that our project has, is that it allows the understanding of another's culture. Working relationships between different races are very important, and through this project we hope to help build a bond between other cultures and us Chinese by helping them to understand our culture with the information and resources on the website that we created.

By helping others understand our Chinese culture, we are strengthening racial and social stability in our country. Racial, ethnic and religious conflicts can shake a country to its very core. We in Singapore have learnt this lesson, in the chaos of racial and religious conflicts that plagued our country during her early independence. Conflicts such as these, are, at the root, caused by cultural misunderstandings. By creating this webpage, we provide informaion on the Chinese culture, and this will, we hope and believe, strengthen ties between the many races in Singapore. This is our effort, in contributing to the social, and subsequently, economic and defensive stability of our country.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

Our project has depended a lot upon the help of the community; it has involved many of them directly, and many indirectly. While these may not be prominent members of the community, we feel that that the community can be adequately and in fact, accurately, represented by practically any of its members.

The people who helped us in doing our project are numerous. They range from passers-by pointing us in the right direction to lion dance performers at the Civic Plaza. These people did many vital things for us; staff and experts at the Asian Civilisations’ Museum certainly provided us much insight into traditional Chinese arts and crafts, answered vital questions, and were very friendly, showcasing their skill through hands-on lessons. Our thanks go to the organisers of these events and exhibitions, for they provided us with many excellent opportunities to take pictures and gather information, which were integral to our project.

Other than these members of the community, our families (extended families for our group’s ethnic Chinese members) provided us with much help, answering queries, supplying generous information, and putting up with our ready inquisitions. We cannot forget any of these people, members of our community, who have helped to make our project possible, and have contributed so much to it.

We must never forget, without the community our project would have little to showcase, little to talk about, for our project showcases the community, its traditions and its culture, and could not be without the community’s existence and support.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 3811)

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