It was a privilege to visit Alibaba’s global headquarters, we still cannot believe that Jack Ma’s office was nearby. Being a super giant in the e-commerce trade, Alibaba has rooted itself as one of the most powerful and influential companies in the world. Within the headquarters, the area was filled with state-of-the-art technology. The company supports the staff to not only work hard on the job but also be creative and have fun.
As much as it was a surreal experience, the list of impressive things still goes on. Just within the surroundings of the headquarters are multitudes of shopping malls and apartments. These areas are owned entirely by Alibaba and hence have a unique “Alibaba” design to them. For example, the supermarkets in the mall utilize ceiling conveyor belts to transport purchased groceries to the loading bay where it will be transported directly to the customer’s home address. Not only is everything efficient, but Alibaba is able to integrate technology with lifestyle and ensures that they co-exist in harmony!
Origami Robots Presentation
After consolidating our Origami projects, all groups had to share their respective unique products. The products had a vast amount of creativity which ranged from plants to animals. Particular actions included flipping open and close, rotating and crawling. Some groups went an extra step to further enhance the projects by adding in animations and decorating the products. Moreover, they added in a storyline to make the products even more lifelike.
Not only was it fun to learn the possible structures and end products of each origami, we also got constructive feedback from the professors. They concluded that all products had a lot of potential and was impressed by the vast array of actions. However, they felt that the projects could be further improved by mimicking in detail the exact movements of each real-life species. For example, our group wanted our origami to slither like a rattle snake. However, our prototype moved in a left-right manner instead, in an ideal case, of an “S” shape. Hence, though these actions may seem very subtle, but when applied to a even bigger scale, they could have a more significant impact in terms of aesthetic appearance.
Revisiting HuShu Special School
Back to school again! During this visit, we were teaching students of the age range of 9- 12. The lessons included learning Chinese phrases and nouns and physical education. With the help of the teachers, the students were able to pick up the phrases with ease. Some of the students also volunteered to read and recite poems for the class to hear. Coincidentally, it was also one of the student’s birthday and there was also a mayor’s visit. Everyone ang the birthday song and had a piece of delicious cake to eat! The mayor interacted with the students and thanked the teachers and us for our commitment with the students.
During the physical education class, we taught them how to play Frisbee. Not only were they able to pick up a new sport, it was also an highly enjoyable experience. Passing, underhand throw and overhand throw were some of the skillsets being taught. Some students also went the extra mile to throw from further distances as well as interact with the teachers. To cap off the activity, we took a group photo to let the students remember the enjoyable day!
China Academy of Art
Similar to Singapore’s SOTA, China Academy of Art boasts a multitude of art-pieces that ranges from vintage to contemporary art. There were many exhibitions of the student’s final year projects that were venturing towards the topic of modern living. Delegates, tourists and students from all over the world travel here to experience first hand the diverse arts scene.
Renouned for its buildings’ designs, it is home to the work of China’s first Pritzker Prize winner, Wang Shu. The building is Xiangshan Campus, designed to mimic “life on the mountains”. The roof is specially inter crossed with wood planks to create the impression of mountains. Moreover, its staircases that link corridor to corridor imitate the valleys and ridges. We even got to see a bird’s eye view of the surrounding region via a lookout spot on the roof. It was indeed a trip well spent!