asiamagazine 2012 NO 20 A MAGAZINE BY CHALMERS STUDENTS IN ASIA
CHINA - TYING THE KNOT ONE NIGHT IN SINGAPORE
Chalmers International Taiwan Office
asiamagazine WHAT IS CHALMERS INTERNATIONAL TAIWAN OFFICE? Chalmers International Taiwan Office, CITO, was opened in March 2003 and is the result of a bilateral exchange agreement between National Chiao Tung University, NCTU, and Chalmers University of Technology. CITO is strategically located at NCTU, near Hsinchu Science-based Industrial Park. PURPOSE - Increase awareness at Chalmers about the development in East Asia, with focus on Taiwan. - Support mobility of students and staff between NCTU and Chalmers. - Enhance Chalmers’ visibility in Taiwan and the neighbouring region. - Act as a hub at NCTU for Chalmers students in East Asia. - Further develop cooperation with Swedish companies in Taiwan and Asia.
A part of CITO’s mission is to enhance opportunities for Chalmers students in Asia. To do this we search for internships, master theses or other cooperation. If you are looking for assistance to grab the opportunities in Asia, do not hesitate to contact us today! THE CHALMERS ASIA MAGAZINE The purpose of this publication is to increase the awareness of Asia among the students and the staff of Chalmers. The articles are written by the Chalmers’ exchange students within the World Wide Programme in Asia. EDITOR ALEXANDER FORNELL
email@example.com ART DIRECTOR HAMPUS TENGFJORD
firstname.lastname@example.org CONTACT ADRESS CITO, National Chiao Tung University, 1001 Ta-Hsueh Rd., Hsinchu 300, Taiwan, R.O.C. WEB www.asia.chalmers.se PHONE +886 (0978 355 991 +46 (0)31 772 10 00
Front cover: Sunset over the mountains, Fuxing, Taiwan, photo by Johannes Schygge Back cover: Temple god, Bei Pu, Taiwan, photo by Johannes Schygge Page 1: Fields of Taiwan, Yilan, Taiwan, photo by Johannes Schygge
asiaContents asiaOffice 2 ASIA LETTER 3 ASIA STAFF 13 ASIA INTERNSHIP 27 ASIA EXPERIENCE 28 EXPLORE ASIA 30 ASIA APPLY
asiaReport 4 TYING THE KNOT 6 E-SPORT IN SOUTH KOREA 8 KOREA DIVIDED 10 THE REBIRTH OF THE SHAOLIN TEMPLE 14 SINGAPORE’S SUSTAINABLE WATER MANAGEMENT 16 THE BADUI TRIBE OF WEST JAVA 18 ONE NIGHT IN SINGAPORE 20 SINGAPORE - SUCCESS COMES WITH A COST! 22 THE CENTER FOR QUANTUM TECHNOLOGIES 24 EXPLORING TAIWAN
asiaLetter Do you ever find yourself wondering what life would be like if you lived somewhere else, perhaps somewhere warmer than Sweden? You might dream of a new environment, new friends, new possibilities and new experiences. I have shared that dream and Chalmers made it come true! Our university offered me and other bachelor students the World Wide exchange. The exchange program is intended for students about to begin their master studies and lets them study in locations outside of Europe. For me, there was no question regarding which part of the world I would apply for. I knew Asia had so much to give, so much culture and so many interesting differences. It is also a region, which will play a great role in the future competition of attracting and producing the best engineers. What you should ask yourself is: Am I one of them? My name is Johannes Schygge, and I took the opportunity to go to Asia. More particularly I took the chance to go to Taiwan, the heart of Asia, to study and manage the Chalmers International Taiwan Office. Here I and six other Chalmers students work in our free time as the central hub for Chalmers in Asia. We meet companies, receive delegations and organize events for students and release this magazine twice a year. Those are only some of the things we do, just to give you a hint about the life over here. No other exchange have an office like we do here in Taiwan, but I can assure you that be-
ing an exchange student is very rewarding wherever you go. So take my advice and make sure to apply! The application process for the World Wide exchange is not difficult. As a 3rd year graduate engineer or architect student you are permitted to apply and all of the World Wide exchanges last for one year. The application is done through an Internet portal called â€œMove Onâ€? and is also to be handed in physically together with a two-page A4 motivational letter to the Chalmers Admission Office. If you are nominated by Chalmers to go abroad, you have to accept before February 12th 2013. If you are not nominated, you might still get to go if someone does not accept their exchange. Now take a few minutes to read more about Asia and the endless possibilities that await for you here. In this issue of Asia Magazine you will read about some of the adventures that the Chalmers students in Asia have experienced. This particular edition contains articles written by exchange students in Shanghai, Singapore and of course Taiwan. I hope that you will enjoy these stories and that your interest in this part of the world grows with every word you read. Furthermore, I want to thank everyone who contributed to the magazine and made the publication of this edition possible.Chalmers International Taiwan Office. Johannes Schygge Head of Office, CITO
asiaStaff Johannes Schygge Head of Office Holds a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Management from Chalmers University of Technology. Currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Management and Economics of Innovation. Email: email@example.com
Deputy Head of Office and Treasurer
Responsible for the Alumni Group and
Holds a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Management from Chalmers University of Technology. Currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Management and Economics of Innovation.
Holds a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Management from Chalmers University of Technology. Currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Management and Economics of Innovation.
Editor in Chief of Asia Magazine
Art Director and IT Responsible
Holds a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Management from Chalmers University of Technology. Currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Management and Economics of Innovation.
Holds a Bachelor’s degree in Automation
Responsible for Academic Exchange
Responsible for Corporate Relations
Holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Chalmers University of Technology. Currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Product Development.
Holds a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Management from Chalmers University of Technology. Currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Supply Chain Management.
and Mechatronics from Chalmers University of Technology. Currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Systems, Control and Mechatronics
Tying the Knot Wedding Traditions in China Text & photos: Elina Lindqvist and Axel Eriksson, Tongji University Shanghai
Every year around ten million couples get married in China.The wedding industry is a flourishing, multi-billion dollar business. As a result of an expanding middle class and rising living standards, young Chinese couples spend more money than ever on their weddings. When walking down the streets in Shanghai it will not take long for anyone to realize that there is what you could call a wedding craze in China at the moment. There are fashionable boutiques displaying the latest design of western style wedding dresses, jewelry shops named “I do” and not to mention the numerous honeymoon advertisements in the subway stations. There is even an annual China Wedding Expo held in Shanghai, attracting some 600 exhibitors and 80 000 visitors. Everything you need for your big day can be found there, from wedding photography and all set wedding packages to the latest within hairstyle fashion. Evolving Wedding Traditions in China Historically, marriage has always been an important matter in China. According to Confucian tradition the married couple is considered the basic unit of society and matrimony had a far greater meaning than just finding one’s better half. It represented the joining of two families, which in turn is important for the prosperity and reputation of the both families. The importance of marriage is reflected in the complexity and richness of the Chinese wedding traditions. It is an elaborate process, loaded with both symbolic and meaningful customs dating back thousands of years. There is a big variation in customs between the different regions of China. The traditional wedding follows more or less the same six steps, beginning with the proposal and matching of the couple’s birth dates and continuing with a complex process ending with the wedding banquet. Today many of these ancient wedding traditions are changed or simplified, even if the wedding still involves many activities related to the old customs. In modern society the wedding day begins with the groom and his male friends driving over to the bride’s house to visit her and the family. In order 4
to get into the house he must answer a number of tricky questions and bribe his way into the house with money or treats. Another important custom is the tea ceremony with the bride’s and the groom’s parents and finally the wedding banquet. Experiencing a Chinese Wedding and “Helan går” After a mere two weeks in Shanghai we were lucky enough to get the opportunity to experience a Chinese wedding ourselves, as a Chinese friend invited us to her brother’s wedding. It turned out to be quite an experience. The wedding was held in a big hotel, which might seem a bit strange to western people. At the hotel entrance, decorated with flowers and silver garlands, was an enormous wedding picture of the couple. The groom and the bride were standing right next to the picture greeting all the guests and offering candy or other treats. After presenting themselves to the couple the guests handed over the traditional gift, consisting of a red envelope containing money. The name and amount of money from every guest is carefully noted in a book at the entrance. In this way the couple will know the proper sum of money to give when they attend future weddings. Moving on into the banquet hall we were seated among the 300 guests and waited for the ceremony to start. The room was filled with round tables and divided by an aisle in the middle leading up to a stage at the front. Loud music, highly resembling the theme of “Pirates of the Caribbean”, was streaming from the speakers by the stage and artificial smoke was spreading around the room creating an atmosphere of excitement. Finally the lights were dimmed and the couple entered the room. They walked down the aisle, accompanied by another thunderous piece of music, and entered the stage where the wedding ceremony took place. The ceremony consisted of different traditional parts, such as the couple lighting a candle together, toasting with each other and the parents, and making prayers to heaven and earth. The ceremony was then finished off by the couple exchanging rings and ended with a rather impressive explosion of confetti, soap
bubbles and advanced pyrotechnics. When the ceremony was finished and the couple seated, it was time to eat. The round table was crammed with plates, each with a different dish. According to tradition the wedding banquet consists of twelve dishes and the different foods and the way they are cooked have a symbolic meaning, such as fish for wealth, toad for luck or pigeon for a peaceful future. The traditional white spirit, Baijiu, is also an important part of the dinner. Because we as foreigners were considered important and honored guests, we were asked to enter the stage and say a few words to the wedding couple. A speech that somehow ended up with the both of us improvising Chinese and singing the Swedish song “Helan går” in front of the guests, a quite unforgettable experience. Even if the hype on weddings in China can seem to be a bit too much at times, one thing is for sure; visiting a Chinese wedding is a unique experience that with the contrasts between the modern and the traditional, east and west, is beautiful, entertaining, interesting and strange at the same time.
StarCraft Brood War champions
E-sport in South Korea Text & photos: Alexander Fornell and Viktor Mårdström, NCTU Taiwan
Imagine a small arena crammed full with a cheering crowd and two teams pitting their players against each other in epic battles and where the individual players have huge bases of devoted fans. Although this may seem like a strange mix of sports and pop-star fandom, it is actually the scene at one of the many professional computer gaming leagues of South Korea. Welcome to Seoul, the most wired city in the world. Asian Financial Crisis Impact on South Korea South Korea was hit hard by the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990’s which led to massive layoffs from the country’s export orientated manufacturing base. Daewoo, an industrial manufacturer that was at the time the second largest chaebol (from chae: wealth or property + pol: faction or clan refers to a South Korean form of business conglomerate), went bankrupt when access to cheap credit from the government ceased. In one year the unemployment rose from two to seven percent and as millions of unemployed and newly graduated students needed to find an escape from the 6
harsh realities of life, StarCraft was released to critical acclaim. The timing of the release of StarCraft by Blizzard Entertainment also coincided with government plans for a massive expansion of the country’s connectivity. These factors came together to form an interest in professional computer gaming that is completely unique to South Korea. Even though other games became popular during this time, StarCraft remains unparalleledin its appeal and has been estimated to be South Korea’s second most popular sport, second only to soccer. In the words of high-profile American StarCraft player Greg “IdrA” Fields, who have competed as a foreigner in South Korea :
“It was in the middle of an economic recession and (StarCraft) was easy, cheap entertainment. It really took over and just captivated a nation.” - Greg “IdrA” Fields StarCraft and the Professional Scene StarCraft is a Real Time Strategy (RTS) computer game which essentially means a strategy game set in continuous time, as opposed to games like chess that are turn-based. In StarCraft, the player controls a number of military units and buildings and the goal of the game is to beat the other player by eliminating all of his or her military buildings. The system of units can roughly be said to utilize a form of rock-paper-scissors logic where unit A might be effective against unit B, yet ineffective against a unit C. Unit B may then on the other hand be highly effective against unit C. The most important implication of this system is that in the world of StarCraft, unlike many
previous RTS titles, there are few if any end-all be-all strategies. Specifically, those used to watching South Korean professional gamers know that no two games are alike. The dynamics of StarCraft means that surprises abound, sometimes for the players as well as the audience. This is very likely a major factor in explaining how the game has been able to maintain its popularity for so many years. Another important part in explaining why the game has continued to draw a lot of interest from fans and sponsors is that even though competition is purely played in a one versus one manner, all players are still part of a team. Professional players in South Korea typically live together in a shared house in which they can practice and receive coaching from retired players. Most players end their career around age 25. This is due to the extreme dexterity required to be able to compete at the high level.
was that audience consisted of equal parts women and men, mostly Korean teenagers and a few older westerners. One curious fact was that one of the Korean girls sitting next to us had brought a small portable straightener which she used throughout the day, presumably to make sure that she looked as pretty as possible in case she were to meet one of the players. The fact that two of this year’s Chalmers exchange students to NCTU are interested in Korean gaming speaks for itself when it comes to understanding just how global the phenomenon has become since the original StarCraft was released. Furthermore, whereas in the west computer gaming is usually associated with geeks and social awkwardness, in South Korea players have groupies. Lots of screaming girls swarming around the more popular players is not unusual and love letters arrive in droves. This combination of features have thus far not spread to other parts of the world and foreigners (i.e. non Koreans) sometimes move to Seoul in order to compete professionally. During our visit at the I’Park Mall, although prepared, it was somewhat of a culture shock to see giggling girls bring photos of their favourite players. What Does the Future Hold? Although the specifics of professional gaming at the level seen in Seoul can largely be said to be uniquely Korean, the phenomenon is rapidly becoming global. With large tournaments being held in both North America and Europe it is possible that we will see a similar trend there due to conditions being comparable those of South Korea during in the late 1990’s. However, it could be argued that the specific characteristics of the South Korean culture might have unique synergy effects when combined with the eSport phenomenon. Therefore, South Korea might be well ahead of its time when it comes to commercializing competitive gaming and thus continue to be a unique feature of the industrialized world for the foreseeable future.
The mixture of Korean traditional values and the rise of the eSport scene has produced an environment that can sometimes be very confusing to a westerner. For one thing, consider the notion that in South Korea, playing StarCraft can be a career. Imagine being around 14-16 years old and telling your parents that you need to scale back on your studies because you are trying to achieve a professional StarCraft career. In Europe or StarCraft professional gamer Yum Bo Sung also known as Sea America, that might cause your parents to question your mental health but not in South Korea. It is possible for players in the highest leagues to make upwards to $100 000 a year, which is why pursuing such a path might seem like a pretty attractive choice to a teenager. Experiencing StarCraft in an eSport Arena While spending a few days in Seoul we took the time to visit Hyundai I’Park Mall, where some of the league games of StarCraft and StarCraft 2 are held. Duking it out that day were two of the more successful teams, STX SouL and CJ Entus. Since we had previously attended live StarCraft events in Sweden we had some notions about what to expect. This is because larger gaming events try to emulate the South Korean experience, where players sit in separate booths in front of an audience while commentators cast the games. But this was still the original and one of the first things that struck us 7
Korea Divided A Tale of Two Countries
minister Lee Myung-Bak demanded that Japan withdraws its “ridiculous” claim of the islands. The North Korean leadership must have felt that the islands belonging to South Korea rather than Japan is the lesser of two evils, Text & photos:Viktor Mårdström and Alexander Fornell, NCTU Taiwan since they in a rare show of Pan-Korean unity openly supported the South Korean position in the matter. Through our binoculars we can watch North Korean farmers walking along the road leading from Japan occupied the Korean peninsula in late 19th centhe fields up to their village. Further east you can tury and ruled with an iron fist. As the Japanese were clearly see an immense flagpole 160 meters tall, forced off the peninsula following the end of world war flying the North Korean flag. When standing at two however, the issue of governance of Korea bethe Dora Observatory on the South Korean side came urgent. The Soviet Union was rapidly dismantling it becomes clear that the sad fate of the North the remains of the Japanese occupation to the north, Korean people is to have been reduced to a mere and opted to support communist guerrilla leader Kim tourist attraction, something akin to a freakIl-Sung in his claim for all of Korea. This did not sit well ish zoo. More than fifty years have passed since with the western powers, particularly the United States, the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed who chose to support conservative strongman Rhee that declared the 38th parallel a Demilitarized Syngman. Rhee was not pleased with the prospect of Zone while at the same time dividing the Korean a Korea divided but was violently anti-communist. The peninsula into two different countries. Since then USSR and USA thus accepted the Japanese surrender of South Korea has been transformed into an ecotwo different parts of Korea: one north and one south nomic powerhouse while North Korea remains of the 38th parallel. In 1950, North Korea launched an hopelessly impoverished with a greatly suffering invasion of South Korea with military support from the civilian population. Soviet Union. Japanese Occupation of Korea A general sentiment felt in various ways in South Korea, albeit subtly, is that Japan isn’t too popular. The troubled relation between Korea and Japan made itself quite evident already at the flight from Taiwan to Incheon Airport outside Seoul. The on-board monitors were looping the major news of the past day, notably the territorial dispute between Japan and South Korea concerning a group of miniscule islands between the two countries. The news anchor emphasized that the South Korean prime
At the time, the prevailing view in the United States was that if countries around the world started to fall to communism, this might soon spiral out of control. Colloquially known as the domino theory, it prompted a military response. An American lead UN force managed to push back the invasion almost to the point of defeating North Korea. However, at this stage of the conflict, China joined in to aid North Korea and successfully moved the front line back south of the 38th parallel. In 1953, there was a
Entrance to the War Memorial of Korea, located on the site of the former army headquarters
Part of the Korean War Monument stalemate and the front line was situated almost exactly where the war had started, along the 38th parallel. An armistice was reached and while the two Koreas are still technically at war, there hasnâ€™t been any major conflict since. A demilitarized zone (DMZ) was established between the nations to prevent border clashes, but other than that the war resulted in almost no change of territory for either state. However, the conflict claimed about 3,5 - 4 million lives. Visit to the Demilitarized Zone The modern history of Germany is similar to that of Koreaâ€™s in that she was also a nation divided for almost half of the 20th century. However, while Germany today is recovering from its past wounds and the division of Berlin has passed into history, the Cold War is still very much alive in the Korean peninsula. This is evident in an unusually high concentration of military personnel around Seoul, and in the various tourist trips organized to the DMZ. We took part in a tourist trip that first showed the so-called third tunnel of aggression, which is the name used in South Korea. The tunnel was discovered by South Korean forces in 1978 and was meant to serve as a way of carrying out a surprise attack against the South Koreans, however, when found the North claimed that it was built as a coal mine and secondly that it was built by the South. The view that we have today of North Korea is built on many of these stories that showcase the insanity of the Northern regime. At the DMZ, we watched the South and North Korean forces glare menacingly at each other from their respective side of the border, which they have been doing for almost 60 years. It was obvious here that the North Korean state is having a hard time keeping up even with things such as basic maintenance of their buildings at the border. While the South showcased modern buildings and had a sizeable force at the perimeters the North Korean building across the border was in a state of decay in front of which a single guard stood guard. The border
is guarded mainly by American and South Korean forces but Swedish and Swiss military observers are also there to act as mediators. The Swedish presence was appreciated by one American soldier that we talked to that expressed how much he liked lingonberry jam. Another tell-tale sign of on going conflict is the fact that South Korea practices historical revisionism, albeit on an extremely marginal scale as compared to North Korea. During a very memorable tour at the South Korean War Memorial Museum, we had the privilege of being assigned a personal guide. During the tour great care was taken to explain the various hardships brought by the conflict, but there was very little information available on what was happening inside South Korea at the time. In fact, there was a large-scale witch hunt of suspected communists that lasted up to the 1960s. The most infamous incident was the Bodo League massacre, where up to one million suspected communists were executed. While the South Korean government launched a formal investigation into the matter in 2005, the subject is still largely taboo in South Korea. Reunification Possible in the Future? The impact of the conflict on South Korea is unmistakable, although it is difficult for a foreigner to discern just how much the effects of the war and antagonism are interwoven with other aspects of the Korean culture. While eastern and western Germany were divided, none of the states elected for an isolationist strategy with minimal contact with the other state which meant that the gap between the two states was less than the one between the two Korean states. Furthermore, if one compares the difference in population and size of economy between North and South Korea as compared to East and West Germany, it becomes obvious that a reunification is at present a very distant goal. While the reunification of Germany meant that a physical wall was torn down, it might prove that mental wall between North and South Korea is harder to tear down. 9
Gates at beginning of the Shaolin Temple grounds and the first statue visitors vill encounter
The Rebirth of the Shaolin Temple Text & photos: Hampus Tengfjord and Jesper WallĂŠn, NCTU Taiwan
The mist swept down on the mountains and the sun lit up several monuments from a low angle, it almost felt like we could touch history as we entered the temple grounds.The statue greeting visitors seemed to hold all the wisdom and power you would expect from Shaolin warrior monks. If not for the thousands of tourists the experience
would have been complete. Each day starting from 8 AM, four hours after the monks wake up, busloads of tourists arrive on the temple grounds. They come to experience the gorgeous nature, the many monuments and of course to watch one of the daily Kung Fu performances.Two million people visit the temple each year and this will not surprise you if you have been here. Plenty of kiosks and stands selling souvenirs can be seen everywhere giving the impression of this being just another tourist spot. We travelled for twelve hours on a train with hard seats from Beijing to Louyang an old city located near the Shaolin temple. We exited the train station at 7 AM and while trying to get a taxi to our hostel a woman approached us offering a guided bus tour to the
famous Shaolin Temple. We accepted her offer and rushed to eat breakfast but we still managed to delay the tour for a few minutes. During the bus ride we managed to catch up on sleep lost to the hard seats before arriving at the first destination. As usual in China a bus tour to a famous destination includes several other not so famous attractions. This is not always a bad thing though and we came across a really peaceful not so densely crowded academy. We ended up exploring the sites on our own due to our Chinese skills being insufficient to understand the guide Life as a Monk and Hong Kong Movies During the 20th century the temple was in a state of decline however in 1982 a Hong Kong film called The Shaolin Temple was released and became a big success and brought back a lot of the previous fame. The current abbot since 1999 Shi Yongxin (释永信) who holds a MBA degree and a great mind for business has managed to rebuild the Shaolin Temple. For the majority of people applying to the temple it is a way of making a career and to become famous. People from the top Kung Fu Schools from all over China are chosen to train at the Shaolin temple and only the best of the best will travel the world to perform. Shaolin Kung Fu schools that have been established by monks sent by Shi can be found all over the world as part of his plan to further spread their teachings and morals. For example when visiting a tourist attraction in Hong Kong we saw a joint
performance with Shaolin monks and Wu Dang monk. We were of course impressed with their expertise in Kung Fu but it was not magical, it seemed very commercial and far from mysterious. We also learned that the performance was given several times a day. This is not the only aspect that seems to be out place, rumours would have it that Shi had planned to let the Temple float on the stock exchange. He approves the usage of the Shaolin trademark in movies and state productions and revenue from the entrance fee is supposed to be 30 million USD each year. Other rumours also circulate about Shi’s private life, which is often on display in Chinese newspapers. There are also often articles that decry his failure to live according to the monk’s traditional way of life. Our preconception of the Shaolin temple would have it to be an ancient place with high moral standards and strict way of life for the monks. During our visit the impression we got did not correlate with our preconception.Visiting temples adhering to traditions untouched by the modern world would probably have been more enjoyable. It is uncertain if this would be possible because it is of the up-to-date mindset of the abbot that we had the possibility to visit a Shaolin temple at all. It does after all seem to be a good compromise because the values of Buddhism is still a vital part of the monk’s training. Shi’s accomplishment is inspiring and he made the rebirth of the Shaolin possible. Time will tell if they will stay true to their values and keep inspiring people.
Upper picture, Shaolin monks performing in Honk Kong. Lower picture, their youngest participating monk demostrating impressive agility The temple and the surrounding area have a rich and long history stretching back to the 5th century. It was built in honor of Batau, a dhyana master, who traveled by foot from India to spread Buddhism in China, or so the legend says. Emperor Xiaowen built the temple and made Batau the first Shaolin temple abbot. The temple has been destroyed several times during history the most recent destruction happened during Mao Zedongâ€™s Cultural Revolution and by the time China opened up the temple consisted of only eleven monks. The basic training is based on the Kung Fu characteristically endless repetition of movements and strengthening exercises, most of them painful and exhausting. The beginning of the training focuses on making the body as agile and flexible as possible. For the best possible outcome training has to start at age five and at the age of nine the training is so extreme that the children require almost twice as much food as the adult monks. Their physical and mental training is also paired. with a vegetarian diet, however you could question one of the monks habit of taking a cigarette between the shows. 12
asiaInternship Text: Alexander Fornell, NCTU Taiwan Photos: Johanna Bjarsch Fohlin, Chalmers Sweden
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work in Asia after completing your studies? There are actually ways of doing it right now, which will grant you both valuable work experience and a better understanding of the Asian economies. By doing an internship for either an Asian company or a Swedish company with offices abroad you can do all this while you are completing your studies at your university.There are various ways of obtaining an internship, by using your personal network it is possible to gain access but it is also possible by using organizations such The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE) that has an office at Chalmers. Presentation Johanna One week after completing her bachelor thesis at Chalmers University of Technology Johanna Bjarsch Follin sat on a plane heading for Shanghai. She was about to start her internship at Wison Group, a chemical engineering company headquartered in Shanghai. The internship lasted for three months and she was assigned to the R&D department with the goal of improving the English of the employees in that department. Why did you choose to go to China? I was curious about how it would be to work full time in China and doing it directly after completing my bachelor made it the perfect opportunity. I am also of the opinion that with Chinaâ€™s formidable growth that there will be plenty of job opportunities there in the future. What have you learned after completing your internship? The realisation that knowing the culture of your clients and co-workers is sometimes overlooked in academic studies. For example, in China the hierarchical structure is much more rigid than in Sweden and you are expected to do what your superior tells you to do and nothing else until you get a new assignment. This can be frustrating sometimes since in Sweden you are rewarded for taking your own initiatives and working independently. What was the best part of your internship? When I first arrived at Wison Shanghai I was one of their first international interns which meant that I got a somewhat disorganized welcome. However Wison had decided to accept interns from all over the world that soon arrived and since we were all in the same situation we quickly became a close knit group. That meant that I now have some very good friends from Asia, North and South America as well as Europe.
IAESTE Facts If you are a student at Chalmers University of Technology it is possible for you to apply for international internships through IAESTE. They are an international organization with committees in 80 different countries that organizes internships in their respective home countries. The local committees find internships in their home countries, which are later traded for internships in other countries. The trading takes place once a year in the beginning of January and the local organization will post the internships that they have gotten in early February. This means that you will apply through your own local committee for internships abroad. When the internships has been posted you can apply for those that you are interested in and that fits your background.
Singapore’s Sustainable Water Management Text & photos: Erika Alatalo, NUS Singapore
Due to a lack of land, providing enough water for its citizens has always been a challenge in Singapore. Currently 60% of the water needed comes from local catchment and imported water from Malaysia.This percentage has been reduced in recent years with the help of two technologies, desalination of seawater and recycling of wastewater.The aim of the city-state is to achieve a completely self-sufficient and sustainable water management system and the United Nations have already named Singapore a good example of water recycling.
small island with a high population density there is a limit to how much water Singapore can produce by catching and storing rainwater. The island has no natural aquifers and since its independence in 1965, Singapore has been heavily dependent on imported water from neighbouring Malaysia. One of the agreements with Malaysia expired in 2011 however and this has made Singapore explore other alternatives. One of these alternatives is the recycling of wastewater and the first attempts to reclaim water in Singapore were made already in the early 1970s. The wastewater is purified using advanced membrane technologies and ultraviolet disinfection. The product is called NEWater and it When you enter MacRitchie Nature Reserve it is easy is highly clean and safe to drink and used by industries to forget you are only a few kilometres away from the that demand ultra pure water. NEWater has become the centre of a bustling city. It is a working day and yet there pillar of Singapore’s sustainable water management and it are plenty of people hiking along the trails and kayaking has been praised around the world. The current NEWater on the lake. As you walk in the forest along the paths you plants produce 30% of the water needed. occasionally run into wild monkeys and you can hear the The other alternative pursued in Singapore is desalination. sounds from a variety of wildlife. The nature reserve is Since Singapore is an island, desalinating seawater creates however not just a place where plants and wildlife can a steady source of water that is unaffected by the amount flourish and where people can come to relax. The forof rainfall. Traditional desalination methods require huge est is also a water catchment area and what looks like a amounts of energy but recent technological advancecompletely natural lake is actually a water reservoir used ments, namely reverse osmosis via membranes, has made to supply the citizens of Singapore with their daily water desalination a more realistic opportunity for Singapore. needs. Singapore has one of Asia’s largest reverse-osmosis plants which produces 10% of the island’s water needs and a Collecting Rainwater and Desalination of second plant is scheduled to open in 2013. Seawater Local catchment water, imported water, NEWater and Rainwater is efficiently collected throughout the island desalinated water are known as the four national taps of and stored in the 17 reservoirs like the MacRitchie Singapore. The city-state is aiming to be completely water Reservoir. In fact, three-fourths of the island’s land area self-sufficient by 2061 when the current agreement with currently functions as a water catchment area and SinMalaysia expires. The goal is to produce 80% of the water gapore is one of the few urban areas in the world where needed with NEWater and desalination. rainwater is collected on a large scale. However, being a 14
The reservoirs are also used for recreational activities such as canoeing and kayaking. Increasing Public Awareness The Singapore government and PUB, Singaporeâ€™s national water agency, play a huge role in directing Singapore towards a more sustainable future. The ABC (Active, Beautiful, Clean) Waters programme aims to make all of Singaporeâ€™s water bodies clean and beautiful while making Singapore a City of Gardens and Water. This is thought to bring people closer to water, which in turn is thought to raise awareness and make people appreciate their water resources more. Public awareness campaigns, pricing and taxation have also been strategies for reducing the amount of water used.
Singapore is regarded worldwide as a good example of water management but research in water recycling is being conducted in different parts of the world. One example is the CIT Urban Water Management programme at Chalmers that is helping create systems for sustainable urban water management and sanitation. But due to its small size and lack of resources, Singapore has special reasons to pursue sustainability. Singaporeâ€™s water management needs to be sustainable if it wants to be selfsufficient, the city-state simply cannot afford to waste its resources.
Boardwalks and walking paths make the reservoir and nature reserve easy to enjoy for everybody
The Badui Tribe of West Java Text & photos: Johannes Schygge, NCTU Taiwan
Only an hour after arriving in Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, me and an Indonesian friend are driving down the streets of Jakarta when my friend suddenly yells â€œDid you see that?!â€?. He is referring to the four men walking barefoot on the side of the road, dressed in black sarongs a traditional Indonesian garment, black shirts and some white cloths around their head. He told me that they are the Badui traders and they are a rare sight that are only seen outside of their territory twice a year to sell their woven and knitted handicrafts, knives and other wares. Of course we
had to stop them to trade and to take some photos. When we caught up with them I realized how big their feet are and that these men are actually teenagers and almost a head shorter than.They speak the national language Bahasa Indonesia and also a version of Sundanese, which luckily my friend understands. After this encounter we decide that we have to visit the Badui territory, and six days later we make the trip.
The Badui territory is located about 150 kilometres from Jakarta and the journey there takes about three hours of which is the last quarter is done on smaller roads. There we hired a guide to take us through the villages, because tourists are The children of Badui are not not allowed to visit the region on their own. used to encountering foreigners The guide explains that the territory is split into two areas, the outer and inner Badui, both sworn to the traditional way of life. The difference between them is that the inner Badui people, the Tangtu, obey the entire set of customs, including the traditional prohibitions. Some of these prohibitions are smoking, divorcing, travelling by other means than walking, owning things from the outside and leaving Badui. Badui Traditional Life Entering outer Badui means entering a densely forested area and steep mountain terrain and to get to the first village, Balimb-
pillars, woven bamboo walls, palm-fiber-lined sago leaf roofs as well as wooden and bamboo couches in front. Using only local materials, the dwellings are built without nails or pegs, and are unpainted.Yellow plastic twine, however, is bought from the outside and used to fasten the roofs. Walking further through the territory we passed two more villages to get to the border of inner Badui. I saw a lot of children running around the villages, playing and exploring, all very afraid of me and keeping their distance. We learnt that children are not allowed to go to school in Badui. In their view, schooling makes you intelligent, and smart people sometimes become greedy, justifying any means to become wealthy and finally rejecting the Badui custom and heritage. Thus, the knowledge the Badui hand down to their children is limited to their language, farming skills, conservation and wise utilization of resources.
ing, we had to walk for 45 minutes. When we reached the village I could detect that the villagers in outer Badui are dressed a bit different from the traders I had seen before, with blue as their colour instead of white. The Badui way of living implies not using electricity, water, soap, detergent, shampoo and toothpaste among many other things. In their own territory they are almost a self-sufficient and non-consumerist community. Everything they eat is grown or made in their own territory except rice, and that is why the traders are the only ones allowed to leave the area. All men work with farming, foresting and fishing and the women pick fruits, weave and knit and take care of the smallest children. The village is made up of modest homes with wooden
The Badui traders, dressed the inner Badui way
Blessed by a Witchdoctor After two hours of walking we reached the border to inner Badui and the river that is separating the two areas. About ten meters long, the bridge was built by binding bamboo stems with palm fiber ropes. Two big trees on opposite banks serve as supporting pillars, making it solid and safe. Unfortunately I was not allowed to enter inner Badui, because I am not Indonesian. As sad as that may have been, I still had one thing to look forward to: visiting the witchdoctor of outer Badui, who had accepted me as a guest in his house. People often stay overnight to get a chance to speak to the witchdoctor, as he is the spiritual leader of the indigenous religion in the outer Badui area. The witchdoctor is an albino man in his 70â€™s and he talks to the nature spirit that the Badui believe in. In his home he blesses a bottle of water for me which contents will bring me health, happiness and prosperity - something that will come in handy during my coming studies at Chalmers.
One Night in Singapore Text & photos Fredrik Brosser & Alfred Nilsson, NTU & NUS Singapore
Getting in a cab at Orchard Road; “Where you wan go lah?” It’s Friday night and I’m taking you out to dinner. Knowing better than to try to speak Singlish, the local version of English, back to the taxi driver, I simply ask him to take us downtown: “Club Street, please” Singapore Dining Dining is somewhat of a national pastime in Singapore, second only to shopping and the late-, or even midnight dining options are plentiful: from the European influenced little bistros around Tiong Bahru, catering to the area’s many European professionals, to the Indian and Malay street food of the northern districts. Singaporeans love food and locals generally eat at outside food courts, which can be described as a sort of cultural summary of Singapore, with all the different cultures and cuisines of Singapore usually represented: Chinese, Malay and Indian are the main cultural groups, but you will find many exciting fusions and mixtures as well. Tonight, I decide to take you to a Malay seafood restaurant on Club Street in downtown Singapore. The Chili Crab is a must-try and the Fish Laksa, a curry based noodle soup, is also a given choice. Being in a Malay restaurant, we can expect to be served some rather spicy and hot dishes: “Not too spicy, though, please...” After a great (but despite my request still rather spicy) meal, it is now around seven o’clock and the sun is setting over the tall buildings around us, same time as always, as Singapore is located only one degree north of the equator. Having all the ingredients for a great night out, one could say that Singapore shines even more brightly after dark. I’m wearing long pants and a shirt, a rather unusual sight in Singapore during the day, but a necessity in the evening if one wishes to get into one of the better restaurants or night clubs. “Smart Casual” is commonly the expected dress code. As the night is still warm, I roll up my sleeves to cool down a bit and advise you to do the same. I suggest cooling down a bit: “Time for a drink?” Cocktail Culture in Singapore We jump into another cab heading to One Altitude, a rooftop skybar on the 62nd storey of a skyscraper in the busy business district around Raffles Place, to meet up with some friends. Raffles Place has enough tall buildings to accommodate a host of skybars, offering some stunning views of the city. 18
Singapore prides itself on being somewhat of a cocktail capital: it’s simply a great place to get drinks! Many creative and talented bartenders choose to work in Singapore, inventing new cocktails as well as reinventing old ones: there is more to be discovered in Singapore than the classic sweet, pink Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel. We order two “Bubble Tea”, a surprisingly good, not to say excellent, mixture of tea, cranberry juice and Tanqueray. The bartender smiles, as this drink happens to be his own invention and speciality. After hours, Singapore transforms itself from a hectic, efficient business hub to a lively network of nightclubs and bars, with vibrant districts and buzzing night spots coming to life after dark. Feeling like the night is about to really take off, our growing party of friends are now finishing their second order, with laughter and friendly conversations filling the air around us. From our seats at the rooftop bar, we have a stunning view from the 62nd storey as the evening settles and Singapore starts to light up.
Singapore loves food! Laksa or Hokkien Mee, no one can tell the difference
Singapore Nights The night is still young and we decide to head for Clarke Quay, a European inspired club district in central Singapore. We get in yet another cab. “Clarke Kee”, we pronounce it and the driver repeats it understandingly. A few minutes later, we arrive: everything seems to be within walking distance when out in Singapore. Entering Clarke Quay, we cross the Boat Quay bridge, by locals simply known as “The Bridge”. A popular meeting spot, The Bridge is buzzing with life and people in the evenings and nights, as the area around it is home to many restaurants and bars, as well as a number of nightclubs open well into the early hours. Deciding on “Attica”, a popular nightclub just by the water, we get into the line and it actually seems to be moving quickly. Getting in isn’t a problem for us: it usually isn’t, as long as you follow the dress code. The dance floor of Attica is already starting to fill up: the lights, the atmosphere and the bass beats are sucking us in, as we submerge in Singaporean club culture. The clubbing scene in Singapore is as colourful and diverse as the city itself, owing to the city’s many different cultures and influences: edgy, hip, laid-back or retro, you’ll find the full gamut of experiences, if you know where to look. The well-established club Zouk is somewhat of an institution in Singapore - lines stretching around the block despite its remote location testifies of the club’s almost legendary reputation. A few sweaty hours of dancing and house music later, we’re starting to feel kind of tired. Actually, you are feeling a bit peckish again. Some of the best food can only be
found at this time of night (or rather morning) and it is generally very cheap and fresh from one of the so called hawker stalls, selling food and snacks. It’s only a short walk away and the morning air is nice and cool. We stop at a hawker stall in Chinatown and I order some Hokkien Mee for you; a lovely fresh dish of noodles, lime and shrimps. We sit down to rest our tired legs and to finish our noodles, before waving in a cab to take us home. Asia or Europe? Pinpointing exactly what defines Singaporean nightlife is a rather difficult task and we ask ourselves: from a nightlife point of view, is Singapore more Western or more Asian? While western style nightclubs is what we first encounter in Singapore, digging deeper and getting acquainted with the locals will reveal a more Asian side of Singaporean nightlife: karaoke clubs, hawker stalls and tiny, local pubs are a few examples. While not as expensive as Tokyo, Singapore is on par with European cities such as London or Amsterdam price-wise. A quick, subjective and not necessarily fair comparison with other Asian cities could be summarized with the statement that the nightlife in Singapore is more diverse than in most other places: on one hand rather westernized, but on the other still very Asian, Singapore offers a lot of options. So, where do we place Singapore in all this? In short, Singapore can be said to be a true mixture of cultures and this is also true when it comes to Singapore’s nightlife. But then there are these little details, the experiences and quirks that truly define Singapore and that I have been trying to show you in this article: what I’ve just taken you through is just one of many ways of spending one night in Singapore.
Singapore shining even more brightly after dark, Raffles place, Skybars etc
Singapore – Success Comes with a Cost! Text & photos Fredric Ghatan and Daniel Josefsson, NUS Singapore
Two months ago we arrived at National University of Singapore (NUS) for two semesters of study. One of the first things that we noticed was how well developed the country was compared to other countries in South East Asia. Singapore is a very well working society with good infrastructure, great healthcare and low unemployment.The country is now one of the fastest growing economies in the world. It is the fourth leading economic centre and has one of the busiest ports. Singapore’s GDP real growth rate is 7,7% and since 1965 the GDP per capita has grown from $512 to $62,100 Two questions that came to our mind were; how could Singapore be so much more successful than other countries in South East Asia? How have these achievements affected the lives of the Singaporeans?
Fireworks over Marina Bay
When the republic of Singapore became a sovereign state in 1965, the country was suffering from political instability, a weak economy and it had no natural resources. However with a dedicated government and the People’s Action Party (PAP), with Lee Kuan Yew as prime minister, a massive industrialization program was launched to improve the economy. The government also managed to attract a lot of foreign capital to strengthen the country’s economy. Since then the PAP has successfully ruled the country and managed to increase the country’s growth year after year through different reforms and programs. Two Voices on Singapore Foo Shih Shun who studies South East Asia, believes that one of the biggest reasons of Singapore’s growth was Goh Keng Swee, the former Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore. He was one of initiators of the National Services, which is mandatory for all male Singaporeans. This provides the Singaporean government with two years of free manpower. Another reason why Goh Keng Swee had a major influence on Singapore’s achievements is that he was one of the first distinguished fellows in the Singaporean Economic Development Board, SEDB. Under his guidance, SEDB played a major role in the economic growth of Singapore, says Shih. Aaron Yong, who studies Economics at NUS, says that more recently the big investments in education and human resources have played an important role for Singapore and its development. The Singaporean government has scholarships for top
performing foreign students to undertake their university studies in Singapore. By doing this Aaron opines that the schools gain competent students, which later contribute with research for Singapore. However the success of Singapore comes at a high cost. In order to afford their living and pricy housing, Singaporeans have to work very hard for long hours. In fact, Singapore was the country with the highest amount of working hours annually in 2010, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. One downside of this is that many Singaporeans do not have time for their families, says Foo Shih Shun. In his opinion, this is also one of the main reasons that the birth rate is falling, which is a rising problem for Singapore. According to Melissa, a literature student at NUS, the pressure to constantly improve affects the population’s mental health. In 2009, the Ministry of Health released a statement, which said that 5,6% of the Singaporeans suffered from anxiety-related disorders. Melissa thinks that the way the educational system is built is very stressful for the students. According to Shih, education is very important and in his own word “There is a very low tolerance for failure, if you fail there is no room for you in the society”.
thing applies to the surveillance that the state imposes. In order to make the country develop in the manner they find appropriate they enforce a lot of rules and control. But citizens born in Singapore, such as Shih and Melissa, never consider the control as being intrusive on their private lives. To them it just makes society better and decreases crimes. To summarize, the cost of Singapore’s success are mainly the long working hours and the stress felt by the Singaporeans. The government’s strong commitment to improving the living standard in Singapore and their actions are the main reasons Singapore has been so successful. The reason to why Singaporeans work so hard is not only due to the government but also very much to the mentality and culture in Singapore. They value hard work and a rich life in means of a high living standard. Unfortunately it goes out over their well-being and family life. Overall, among the people interviewed and according to statistics, the Singaporeans are content with the work of the government and their measures to ensure Singapore maintains a high level of development. We realised that Singaporeans have made a choice to work hard for what they believe in.
State Surveillance Versus Personal Integrity The fact that the government is directing its citizens more than it is done in Sweden and most European countries in general does not seem to bother the Singaporeans interviewed for this article. They have a lot of confidence in the governments work and do not feel like their personal integrity is compromised. The same
Experimental physicists at work in one of the laboratories at the Center for Quantum Technology, Singapore
The Center for Quantum Technologies Text & photos Rikard Lundmark, NUS Singapore
Hosted by the National University of Singapore and in connection to the Physics department, is the Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT). With approximately 150 researchers, the centre is Singapore’s first Research Centre of Excellence. As a physics student at the NUS, I pass through the centre daily. I have talked to some of the researchers about their background, why they chose the National University of Singapore, the prospects for students and of course the exciting research they are doing. The Centre for Quantum Technologies was established in 2007 and has a world-class research program. Research is conducted in both theoretical and applied quantum theory, as well as the quantum applications of information technology. Singapore National Research Foundation and the Ministry of Education fund the centre and even though it is hosted by the National University of Singapore it enjoys significant autonomy in both governance and research. The CQT describes their mission as “to conduct interdisciplinary theoretical and experimental research in quantum theory and its application to information technologies”. The focus is on the development of quantum technologies for the coherent control of individual photons and atoms and to explore both the theory and the practical possibilities of con22
structing quantum-mechanical devices for cryptography and computation. CQT an International Workplace To get an idea about what kind of problems individual people are working on, as well as their thoughts about the CQT, I have been talking to some people from both the theoretical and experimental side of the CQT. Colin Teo is a second-year PhD student in theoretical quantum physics. Teo is from Singapore and made his undergraduate studies at the National University of Singapore. In his undergraduate studies he gained connections with the CQT and he was later offered a PhD position there. Colin likes the CQT and mentions the great possibilities for cooperation arising from having many researchers within the same field at the same place. For example, sometimes it is possible to ask the experimentalists questions relevant for the theoretical research and probably the other way around. Currently, Teo is working on an experimental proposal to rigorously test Bell’s Inequality (a quantum-mechanical statement), which is fundamental and yet has applications in quantum cryptography and communications. He is also interested in quantum-simulators, which in essence is using a well-studied platform (cold-atoms, which enables substantial control) to simulate interac-
The frequency comb setup in action tions that are notoriously hard to solve. Johannes Gambari is a Research Fellow in one of the experimental labs at the CQT. He is originally from Sweden although he had his basic science education at Imperial College in London. Gambari considers the work at the CQT as really exciting and just like Teo he mentions the colleagues as one of its greatest assets. They are all very excited about their research, which creates a nice atmosphere and environment of productivity. Singapore is a relatively young country, but is trying to build reputation and research quality and much money is invested in this. Gambari himself has experienced this when working with his research project, which consists of setting up and managing a frequency comb used for research projects at the CQT. In Europe it would probably be hard to raise money, but here it was easily funded even though the comb as such costs over $500,000 USD. The frequency comb has been Gambariâ€™s project for the last two years. Quantum Experimentation Gambari took his time to explain about the comb. The frequency comb is a laser source whose spectrum consists of a series of very well-defined and equally spaced peaks. When doing experiments within the field of quantum physics, it is often important to have a very well-defined wavelength of a laser to get any useful measurement data at all. Lasers however tend to drift off and thus some kind of feedback system to precisely control
the position of the laser wavelength is required. The frequency comb is used to accomplish this. Signals from lasers throughout the building are sent to the frequency comb and a feedback signal to adjust the laser frequency is returned. The feedback signal is calculated by comparing signals from the lasers that require exact frequency calibration to the closest signal in the frequency comb. The deviation is then measured from the well-defined energy in the frequency comb. The exact details about operation of the frequency comb is well beyond the scope of this article, but more information can be found on the web page for the Centre of Quantum Technologies http://quantumlah.org Students also have great opportunities at the CQT and they can sometimes get to work on research projects. For more information about this, see the web page of the CQT. Personally I think this might be something worth considering when applying for exchange studies at the National University of Singapore. The NUS is currently ranked as one of the best universities in Asia and aims to become even better. To me, the CQT is a good example of how money and dedication can create a really good research environment in just a few years. For prospective exchange students still not convinced about applying, it is probably worthwhile to mention the short distance from the Physics department to an Olympic-size swimming pool in this country where the summer never endsâ€Ś
Surrounded by lush forests the beaches in Kenting makes for something special
Text & photos Lisa Barrehag and Nina Johansson, NCTU Taiwan
Taiwan is a beautiful country that offers a lot of places to travel and even though the island is small there are many things to explore and to visit as a tourist. Some hundred years ago Taiwan was actually called Isla Formosa, which is Portuguese for beautiful island. We have been travelling around the island and would like to share our stories about two destinations, which we think deserve some extra attention, namely Kenting and Hualien.
Kenting Kenting is located at the southernmost tip of Taiwan and has warm and tropical weather the whole year. A trip here can offer many different things, depending on what you want to see. Beaches The first thing that usually comes to peopleâ€™s mind when mentioning Kenting is the beaches. They are quite popular here in Taiwan since they consist of white sand and are considered more beautiful than the beaches in the north. Sure they are nice looking; the water is turquoise and much clearer than in the northwest but if you expect paradise beaches of Thailand or Malaysia standard, you will be disappointed. Nevertheless, it is really nice to go for a Text & photos Rickard Lundmark NSU swim there. That is, when you can go for a swim. The problem is that you are not always allowed to swim, because the guards put up the red flags as soon as the waves get too high. However, there are several beaches in Kenting and hopefully you can find a beach that is not closed. Talk to the local Taiwanese and they will try to help you! But if you are unlucky, you can end up going to Kenting without being able to swim in the ocean.
Bridge in Taroko Gorge National Park Kenting forest recreation area Luckily there are lots of other things to explore in Kenting! One of these is visiting the Kenting Forest Recreation Area, which is a park located in the mountains a bit above the village of Kenting. At a distance of four km from the village to the entrance of the park, travel guidebooks recommend that you use a scooter to get there. Since we are not scooter people, we decided to walk there instead and it actually turned out to be a very nice walk. Just be sure to watch out for the cars and scooters on the road! As we made our way towards the park we passed beautiful scenery and when we arrived at the entrance we were rewarded with a stunning view of the sea. The park itself is not that big but enjoyable to explore anyway. There are many different trails to walk with interesting sights along the way, such as narrow caves and exotic plants.You will surely run into some lizards and beautiful butterflies during your walk here and if you are lucky, you could also spot some macaques monkeys. One of the absolute highlights in the park was in our opinion the observation tower, from where you can overlook the Sunset over the main beach in Kenting
southern tip of Taiwan, with the sea stretching out in three directions. After walking around in the park for several hours we returned to Kenting, where the night market was just about to open. Night market The night market in Kenting is a special experience. After being almost completely empty during the hot day, the streets are filled with thousands of people in the evening, looking for some street food or a nice souvenir. The main street, which runs through the whole village, is turned into a marketplace filled with vendors on each side of the road. Here you can find lots of different food, such as fried mushrooms, fried sweet potato and if you are brave you can try the local favorite â€œstinky tofuâ€?. Other than food, you can also do some shopping, although it is heavily focused on beach stuff. Hualien Hualien is located at the east coast of Taiwan and one of the most visited cities in Taiwan. The easiest way to get there from Taipei is by train, which leaves several times per hour during daytime. On our way to Hualien we made a stop at Fulong, a place which offers a nice sandy beach with clear water. Hual-
ien itself does not offer many suitable places for sunbathing and swimming. For most Swedes these things are compulsory on a trip to a warmer country, hence a stop of a few hours was required. Due to this delay we arrived at Hualien in the evening. The weather that evening was dull and rainy and we were afraid that our plans for river rafting or whale watching the next day would be spoiled. The weather forecast predicted cloudy with some thunder for the upcoming day, but we hoped for the best and through our hostel we booked river rafting for the next day. Early next morning we woke up to a bright blue sky, so never fully trust the weather reports in Taiwan! River rafting The river is not located very close to Hualien city, it took about one and a half hour to get there by minivan. When we arrived at the river rafting center it was really confusing, we did not know if we were going any further or if this was the final destination. But we just followed the other people, bought some water shoes, watched a movie and 45 minutes later we ended up in a boat with one paddle each. What we had heard about river rafting is that you always come back soaking wet, therefore we did not bring any electronic devices such as cellphones or cameras. Not all participants had taken this precaution and one person who was very happy to take photos before jumping into the boats, ended up with a disassembled phone lying in the sun three hours later.
There were four river rafting boats and two motorboats. The motorboats were there for our safety and helped us through rough passages, which was really necessary when the water current got too strong! We were sitting in the boats with one foot outside and one inside, paddling down the river. â€œWhat is river rafting without splashing water on each otherâ€? that must have been thought of the oldest participant when he started to splash water with his paddle at us. We thought it was fun and the water splashing continued during the whole trip whenever we got to close to another boat. The river rafting itself was very fun and we will also remember the beauty of the green high mountains, with the river winding through them and finally flowing out to the sea. Epilogue Our travels have shown that Taiwan certainly deserves being called the beautiful island. It is clear that most tourists in Taiwan are Chinese or Asian but we are sure that western people could appreciate this country just as much. It might be helpful to know some Chinese, since the English of many Taiwanese is limited. However, if you do not speak any Chinese, do not worry the Taiwanese are one of the most helpful people we have ever met! If you travel around Taiwan you will be guaranteed to see some beautiful and exotic sights. We therefore highly recommend you to put Taiwan on your list of must visit countries.
View of Kenting and the ocean from the national park
Being Accepted is Merely the First Step Text: Hampus Tengfjord, NCTU, Taiwan Photo: Dennis Lundstrรถm, NCTU, Taiwan
When I was finally accepted for exchange studies by Chalmers after several weeks of waiting, I could finally start planning my year abroad in earnest. I would of course also have to be accepted by the National Chiao Tung University (NCTU), but thus far no student that has been accepted for exchange studies by Chalmers has been rejected by NCTU. This was in the beginning of February and by the end of March the official application had to be in Taiwan. The application process to NCTU was somewhat arduous. I had for example get a letter of recommendation from a professor that vouched for my study capabilities. Since I lacked a close relation with any of my professors I was at first left pondering on what to do. However after speaking to friends, former exchange students and reading other exchange students stories I realized that this would not be a problem. The solution was to reach out to a professor connected with the master program that I had selected and who had been a lecturer in a course I had previously taken and ask him to vouch for my capabilities. It quickly became apparent that this was not the first time he was approached regarding this matter and shortly after I had crossed if off on my to-do list. Dealing with Bureaucracy The VISA application for Taiwan can be a bit more complicated. The first thing to do is to contact the Taiwan Mission in Sweden to get up-to-date information of what to send them, preferably by calling them since emails can be lost.You have to provide a health certificate and
while getting that you might as well renew your vaccinations. The list of recommended vaccines includes some quite obscure diseases and the vaccines necessary are standard to receive as a child in Sweden. The common denominator of all items connected to the NCTU application is that it might take some time and possibly cost some money but should present no significant problems. The VISA is now ready to be processed, as long as you have received the official admission letter. We were told that we would receive this in mid-April but they became available to collect at Chalmers in early June. This would not normally be a problem but I was going to USA about a week later and you need to send your passport with the application. Luckily they offer an express service and I had a two day margin. During the summer NCTU offers an introductory course in Chinese, which is very popular among the Swedish exchange students. It consists of six intensive weeks of studies, Monday through Thursday. I decided to take this course and so did all the other exchange students from Sweden, including three students who later went to Singapore. I can highly recommend you to take this course, since you will be able to get a jump start on your Chinese skills. On the 1st of July I could do my packing and fly away from Sweden for a year in Taiwan that has so far been an amazing experience. Do not be put off by the application process, if you have the possibility, take it and meet a new culture for a year.
Chalmers International Taiwan Office
– Part of Chalmers’ World Wide Exchange Programme The economies in East Asia have showed a remarkable devel-
Parallel to the studies at NCTU the students maintain the Chal-
opment during the end of the 20th century. Japan has become
mers International Taiwan Office, CITO. The work at CITO in-
accompanied by China among the world’s economic giants. The
cludes arranging representation events for Taiwanese students
region is interesting, dynamic and challenging. Among those with
at NCTU as well as visiting companies and representing Chalm-
technical education, an increasing portion will have contacts in
ers throughout East Asia.
the whole region from Singapore to Japan within their professions. With this in mind, Chalmers has developed a special ex-
Contents of the Programme:
change programme based in Taiwan, giving students an oppor-
– Intensive course in Mandarin, 6 weeks in July - August at
tunity to study in and gain experiences from these economies.
NCTU in Hisnchu, Taiwan. – Full academic year of engineering or architect studies at
The exchange programme is located at the National Chiao Tung University (NCTU), which is the foremost technological university in Taiwan. NCTU is specially profiled within electronics and information technology. However, in cooperation with the neighbouring National Tsing Hua University, the exchange covers all engineering programmes at Chalmers. Courses held in both English and Mandarin can be selected.
NCTU. – Maintenance of the Chalmers International Taiwan Office at NCTU. – Company visits throughout East Asia. For more information on how to apply, please visit www.chalmers.se
CHALMERS IN ASIA Studying at Chalmers does not limit you to Gothenburg, Sweden. Through many exchange programs Chalmers students are given the opportunity to study at a range of Asian universities. Likewise, students from many different countries are invited to study at Chalmers in Sweden.
Sendai, Japan Tohoku University Tokyo, Japan Tokyo Institute of Technology Seoul, South Korea Konkuk University
Shanghai, China East China University of Science and Technology Hsinchu, Taiwan National Chiao Tung University
Hong Kong, China The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Singapore Nanyang Technological University The National University of Singapore
Chalmers University of Technology
SE-412 96 Gothenburg, Sweden Phone +46 31 772 1000 www.chalmers.se