By Goh Yu Shaine
On the 21st of November 2013, 8 officers, 6 girls and 4 mothers gathered at Wesley Methodist Church at 5.00 a.m. Thirty minutes later, the bus came and we all headed to the airport. Our flight was supposed to be at 9. However due to some delays, we only managed to go on the plane at 10.50. While we were waiting in the airport, we were all taking photos to overcome our boredom.
Once we reached Hong Kong, Ms Maria our tour guide for the trip (also the captain of one of the GB companies in Hong Kong) welcomed us with a bright smile. Once we entered the bus, we were served pork burgers from McDonalds (because we don’t have it in Malaysia).
Because of the flight delay, our schedule was altered. So we decided to just play by ear with the day’s activities. Our first destination was to go to The Peak Hong Kong. This is a place where you can see the beautiful cityscape of Hong Kong. Hong Kong gets dark at earlier than Malaysia, so by the time we were up there, it was pitch black. It was truly a beautiful sight seeing the brightly lit city.
Our next destination was the famous wax museum, Madame Tussauds. We took lots of pictures with celebrities in Asia and also famous celebrities from around the world.
Later, we all went for dinner and ate some beef noodles with milk tea.
We then took our bus back to the place we are going to stay which was Steward High Rock Centre. Going uphill with the entire big and bulky luggage was really tiring. The girls had to help the older ones carry the luggage up. When we all reached the top, most of the girls sat down to take a break before heading to our dorm/rooms.
The next morning, the 22nd of November arrives and we first had breakfast at this restaurant.
The first item on day 2’s itinerary was to visit Snoopy Land. Because of the heavy rain on the day before, it was closed but we still managed to take some photos outside.
For lunch, the Girls’ Brigade Hong Kong Head Quarters (GBHK HQ) treated us with Dim Sum. We had such a heavy meal that all of us felt bloated towards the end of it. The Dim Sum however was really tasty and good
After chit chatting for quite some time, we all went to GBHK HQ. Over there, we had an exchange program where we shared about Girls’ Brigade Malaysia (GBM). When it was GBHK’s turn, they shared more about their ways of wearing the uniform, their awards and how they earn their badges. We did a few activities where we had to draw a logo and the meaning of GB in 5 words. This is what most of us came up with.
We also had a worship session with them.
After that, we took a bus and went to a school based GB company which was 38th Hong Kong Company. Our mission here was to make new friends. In my opinion, we actually succeeded and did pretty well.
Iris met another Iris as well!
After sharing and having a short worship, we had to fall in and have our roll call. We got to see how companies in Hong Kong do their drill. It is much different compared to ours.
Next, we had an art and craft session where we taught them to fold a bouquet of Hibiscus.
For dinner we had various type of meat, we had chicken, sotong, fish, piageon, pork…
And then DESSERT which was really awesome!
Our transport back home was riding an MTR which actually works like a MRT back home. We got to use our Octopus cards (which is something like Touch and Go cards in Malaysia)
On the third day, we went to the GBHK Navigators meeting place. The Navigators are GB members aged 55 and above. It is amazing to see them do drill. They also cooked a delicious meal for us. That was our lunch for the day.
Our next destination was to go to a church based company. We had a lot of fun there. We played games, had a short worship session, managed to show each other how we perform drill, exchanged gifts and other stuff.
We were even fortunate enough to enter one of the girl’s house to see how people with average income in Hong Kong live.
We were going to have steamboat for dinner. My group was assigned to buy some fishballs, vegetables and even tofu for the meal later. We headed off to the wet market to buy these ingredients.
After that, we had our dinner!
After eating breakfast the next morning, we headed off to a Cantonese church for a 9.30 am service. It was interesting to sing Cantonese songs and listen to a Cantonese sermon. We were quite fortunate to be in that church on that Sunday because it was Thanksgiving Day. On this day, everyone will bring some food (vegetables, fruits, noodles, rice, cup noodles too!) and place it in front of the cross. The food will be given to the poor and needy. I was really touched on how the members of the church bring in fresh vegetables, big bags of noodles and lots of fruits even though they do not earn much for a living. I remember reading this verse on the bible saying..
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ~Acts 20:35~
Since we didn’t have any more scheduled activities for the day, we decided to head over to a mall to do some shopping. We specifically went to the mall where Snoopy Land was located at because it was raining the day before. Some of us were happy that it was opened (I was one of them) so we went in and took more pictures with Snoopy and friends.
As it was really hot, we didn’t really take a lot of pictures and decided to go to the next destination which was the Avenue of Stars. We took an MTR there. The Avenue of Stars is a place where famous Asian celebrities have their stars or handprints engraved on the floor. Here are some pictures of the Walk of Fame:
In the late afternoon we split up, and did some random shopping. I teamed up with Iris, Yen Qi, Aunty Theresa and of course my mum. Our major goal was to buy sports shoes. We first strolled around a big mall to grab some lunch. We just ate bread because we didn’t want to waste time (we only had one hour to shop at this mall). After 45 minutes of window shopping I finally bought something. It was a pair of sneakers but it wasn’t just an ordinary pair of sneakers, it has wedges at the bottom of it so when I wear these shoes, I will be a few inches taller. Iris also bought a pair of shoes which has the same concept but it wasn’t sneakers. Everyone then gathered under a tree to meet up. Ms Erica, another Hong Kong citizen, gave us all individual maps around Mong Kok. She told us to circle certain destinations that might have what most of us wanted. After that, we all split up once again but this time, Joey followed us as well. We first went to a mall which was something like Low Yatt where they sell a lot of computer games, Xbox Games, Playstations and a lot of other stuff. Joey wanted to look for a Sims 3 expansion pack. Unfortunately, they only sold Sims 3 packages. So after that, we went to our next destination which was the Sports Shoes Road. On that road, you can see lots of branded shops such as Nike, Adidas, DC shoes, Converse, Vans etc. Anything branded, YOU NAME IT! Of course at every single Nike shop, one of us would be running in to see if anything matches our taste. We actually spent 3 hours just on this street alone. My feet started to hurt from all the walking and my shoulders were also tired from the weight of my bag. Suddenly it started raining, we all ran into the shops closest to us and stayed there until it just drizzled. Next, we went to a mall to have dinner. We all went to the food court because there weren’t many choices for food. We ate a lot. After that we all headed back to the hostel.
The first thing we did was to watch the pandas at the park.
After that, we took a cable car to the other side of the theme park.
We actually took lots of rides and even managed to see the feeding session for sea lions and had hotdogs for lunch.
We also rode a water ride and my whole shoe and socks were wet. To make sure I don’t get sick, I had to replace my socks with the dried raincoat that I used previously. It was quite embarrassing but oh well, You Only Live Once (often abbreviated as YOLO)!
After that, we went to see a dolphin show too.
I really enjoyed this trip and have made new friends. I have learned to also be responsible and to lead. I would really like to thank Ms. Lee Sin for organising this trip.
In a nut shell, I have learned to be more responsible with handling money in this trip. This was because I had to collect all the receipts because I was the assistant treasurer. There are differences between GBHK and GBM. We performed drill differently, had different ways of wearing our uniform and we also had our awards differently. I also noticed most of the Hong Kong citizens live in small houses of about 400 square feet only. It was a great experience to actually enter one. Their culture there is almost similar to Malaysian Chinese. I made quite a few friends there whom I will try to keep in contact with. Hopefully we will meet in the future again. The transportation there is also very efficient and fast. They have lots of public transport on the road and everywhere is really clean. I hope that one day Malaysia will be as good as Hong Kong for some of these items that I have mentioned.
WHAT OTHERS HAVE TO SAY
YL Lee Yen
I really enjoyed the trip a lot and had a great experience through this trip. I learnt a lot of things such as the culture in HK (fast) and learnt a little bit more Cantonese too. I also learnt that they are more conservative towards people that they are not very close to whereas in Malaysia, our lifestyle is more laid back and late. We are also conservative however, in a different aspect. Due to their fast paced lifestyle, restaurants, public transport and shops give fast service too. The public transport such as the MTR is very efficient and smooth.
I also noticed how organised and formed the HK people are and they are respectable. The church we attended was small but welcoming. Many people were very punctual. The service was also simple – praise and worship, prayers, scripture reading, pastor’s sermon, offering and closing songs and prayer. The main difference that stood out was the food offering for the poor and needy where everyone brings 1 or more food item, lines up row by row, and passes it to the pastor.
From visiting the various HK companies, I learnt about their uniform and how different it is from our uniform. Also their badges vary from ours. They have more variety and more challenging badges to achieve compared to us. Also, their GB extends all the way to senior citizens too and they are called the Navigators. The Navigators also have their own uniform and badge achievement system. They also practice a lot of activities similar to GB such as drill. The age for Navigator is 55 & up.
The first GB coy set up in HK was in 1962. The GB Navigators was set up is 1997 and by 2013, HK has 43 active companies. The GB companiess practise their drill commands in English while ours is in Bahasa Malaysia. Some of their honourable awards are the GB brooch and Queen’s Award. The lanyard for their captain is purple in colour while our GBM captain lanyard is red in colour. Instead of having braids to show the completion of leadership training camps, they have different coloured badges in the shape of a downward facing arrow placed at the sleeve of their uniform.
YL Queenie Yin
This Hong Kong Exchange Program helps me to learn more about GB Internationally and now I know the difference between the GB ministry in HK and Malaysia. In Malaysia, we give our drill commands in Malay whereas in HK, it is given in English. Besides that, the awards, uniform parts and also the activities are also different. However, both Hong Kong and Malaysia GB has the same aim and motto which is to Help girls to become followers of the Lord Jesus Christ through reverence, self-control and a sense of responsibility to find true enrichment of live and to Seek, Serve and Follow Christ.
Besides that, I can see that both countries have differences in its culture. In Malaysia, everything is slow paced where else in Hong Kong, it is a very busy place where everyone rushes for time. Furthermore, the difference in weather also affects the difference of the time. When it’s nearer to winter, the night will be longer than the day in Hong Kong where else in Malaysia it doesn’t work like that.
With that, I can conclude that this trip is definitely a good eye opener for all of us especially the girls to experience and to know more about the Girls’ Brigade. I hope there will be more of these exchange programs coming up in the future.
I have learnt many thing through this Hong Kong trip, people there ‘Walk Fast, Talk Fast and Eat Fast’, time is really precious to them and also I have to learn to not waste time. In Hong Kong I like how they are very strict in their rules, like for example in Malaysia they don’t line up for the public transportation but just be selfish and cut line because they are rushing. Well, people there are much considerate. I also learn more about Hong Kong’s Culture and also I know that their surroundings are clean. Besides that, they have a different lifestyle there and everything is really expensive especially their land.
Moreover, the Girls Brigade there is also different. They have an annual marching day at a stadium and also they have many kind of uniform for different season. They also have many programs and they have many different badges which we Malaysia Girls Brigade don’t have. In Girls Brigade Hong Kong they have ‘Navigator’ for elderly people from 55 and above and they still can do drill and all. And also when the girls have roll call they will need to say their GB aim and also motto.
Lastly I learnt how to manage things for example I learn how to manage my own money and I also learn on how to speak more Cantonese which is really hard. I also learnt on how to lead things much better and to communicate. Most importantly we girls got much closer.