1. Description of Our Community
Our local community is our country, Singapore. Even though Singapore has a small land area of 697.1 sq km, it has gained a foothold in the world as a vibrant, cosmopolitan city since its 40 years of independence. Singapore is also a multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-religious country.
Singapore is setting its eyes on the arts scene, striving to develop into a regional cultural hub. With the building of the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, The ARTrium and the new Drama Centre, as well as the launch of several cultural events island-wide recently, many opportunities have arisen for Singaporeans to showcase their talent in the arts scene. This is a step forwards in Singapore’s quest to become a cultural hub in South East Asia.
Our project, however, focuses on the Singapore in the 1980s, where a form of music called Xinyao flourished and paved a path for Singapore’s music development today.
2. Summary of Our Project
Our CyberFair Web Project looks into the local arts scene, more importantly, “Xinyao”. “Xinyao” is a genre of songs that is unique to Singapore, wherein the songs are composed and sung by Singaporeans and are usually about life in our island country.
With popular music culture being all the rage across the globe, we would like to share with the world an aspect of music that is uniquely Singapore. Although “Xinyao” is mainly Chinese-oriented, the “Xinyao Festival” held in the past had invited artistes from the other races to participate, hence showing that “Xinyao” is for the masses. Thus, we aim to increase the awareness of such a style of music amongst Singaporeans, as it is one of the common things every Singaporean can identify with.
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:more than 6
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
The key problem that we faced was working with our team members’ busy schedules. Although we had a common Co-Curricular Activities session every Thursday for 2 hours, it was not enough to complete what was essential for our project, and on the occasion, a public holiday would fall on Thursday, causing a reduction in the number of sessions we would usually have if not for said holiday. The work had to be brought home to be continued and this posed problems as each member had their own after-school activities as well as school homework to complete. However, with proper time management, we overcame this problem and completed what was required.
The background history of Xinyao was mainly found in one book that tracked the history of Xinyao from its creation until modern day. However, the major glitch with the information was that the book was written entirely in Mandarin with only the English translation for certain organisations’ names, as Xinyao is mostly sang in Chinese. Hence, we needed to translate the large amount of information into English before we were able to place them into the website. Despite being bilingual, it was no easy task to handle the translations, as we could not make direct translations for it would make the flow of words awkward. However, we persevered and completed the translations in time.
We also had difficulty trying to get songs to be uploaded into our website. Due to copyright laws, we were unable to upload the full song online. However, we managed to get a student and a teacher to sing a song each for us and hence solved the problem.
There were also problems with the flash games at first because we had different versions of flash in different computers. We managed to solve the problems by transferring the flash file to a html first before editing it and linking it to our website in another computer.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
CyberFair 2006 was an enriching experience, which enabled us to understand more about our local music culture and to share them with the world. We also learnt through our project what Xinyao is all about and appreciate the hard work that was put in by the pioneers of Xinyao. It made us feel proud of our music culture as well as who we are today.
That, we feel, made CyberFair a meaningful and enjoyable experience.
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
Our CyberFair project serves to create awareness of Singapore’s very own kind of music – Xin Yao. It is important for Singaporeans to be aware of “Xinyao” as it is symbolic and unique to Singapore. Much like how the Merlion is automatically associated with Singapore, we hope that with the creation of this website, “Xinyao” would also be identified as something that is only present in Singapore.
We also realised the importance of effective time management to complete such a large-scale project, which is essential in both schoolwork and other form of project work. Our translation of the information also highlighted the importance of bilingualism in our world so that we would be able to communicate effectively to a wider audience.
We also applied the relevant teamwork and communication skills. As most of us have a different schedule to follow, it is important to keep in touch with each other through emails and phones. We tried to distribute the work evenly so that we can be more efficient. We also encouraged one another along the way.
Though this project, we also applied critical thinking skills that were taught to us in school. While reading and translating the book, we tried to be objective and reflect on what we have learnt and read. We realised whether Xinyao is still present in our society today is a controversial issue and can be viewed from different perspectives. This is why in our website we did not give definite answers to some of the questions but encouraged the audience to explore and think about the answers themselves.
Besides these, our project also meets the standards as it deals with the macro-concepts of change and continuity and system. These concepts are emphasised in our school as it is important for us to see how a system works, how it changes and evolves. From the development of Chinese ballads to Xinyao, and from Xinyao to Mandarin Pop, we understood how the culture of the society is linked to its people and how everything is interdependent on one another. The macro-concepts helped us to see things more clearly as well.
In addition, we have found out about the limitations of Internet sources. Other than credibility problems, detailed information on less popular topics is generally unavailable. Hence we learnt to be flexible, and by not focusing solely on Internet sources, we were able to find comprehensive and credible sources of information from books, which contributed to a large part of our website.