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Tai Long village was originally composed of five small village in the past. However, three small villages was vanished due to the immigration of villagers to United Kingdom. Nowadays, Tai Long village is composed of two small village called Tai Wai and Ham Tin. This village consists of many small houses which contains the tiles roof. This type of building can retain some Chinese culture in this village. Most of the villagers are living in these houses. Due to the long time exposure, most of the houses are deteriorated. There are risks that villagers living in these houses. Furthermore, Tai Long village is far from the urban area. It is not convenient for the villagers to seek help from the others. For example, if the one villager gets sick, the only way and the fastest method is using the helicopter for transportation. It is easy to deteriorate the diseases of villagers. This condition can explain why there are few people remaining in Tai Long village. Villagers do not have jobs in Tai Long village. In order to make a living, villagers are required to find the resources. Some villagers open a store to sell food and drink to earn money. Some villagers may utilize local resources to maintain their life. Although Tai Long village is old and lack of facilities, natural resources are one of the most valuable substances in this village and it is a good place to get away from the hustle and bustle city.
It is found that each villager has their own story in Tai Long village. When gathering all the stories of villagers, this generates an interesting story that other visitors may not find such information in this village. It is a valuable to retain these cultures in the format of words and pictures. In the proposal, two wooden signs are planned to be made. One is made for footpath of Cheung Uk Wai and Lam Uk Wai in order to indicate the location of two vanished villages and provide information of these two villages. Another wooden sign is made for the disused house beside the path of Ham Tin because this house was significant for the electricity generation in the past. In addition, leaflets are planned to be made for the village leader’s store, Hing Kee Store and Hoi Fung store to record the story of the store keeper. Also, two banners are planned to be placed at the wall of villager leader’s store and the place beside Hoi Fung store as a tourist map. As a result, four leaflets have been made. One more leaflet is made for the On Kee store. This decision is made because fairness is considered as each store has a leaflet and On Kee store’s keeper has provided the genealogy of Ham Tin village which is a valuable information. Moreover, the style of the leaflets are changed to picture-based instead of word-based. Also, the location of one banner has changed. Overall, the tasks can be completed as planned in service proposal.
Participating in service-learning has a great variety of benefits which can enhance our thinking and personal development. According to Mckenna and Rizzo (1999), participating in service-learning can help to digest the knowledge that acquired from the course materials. It is an important point that we can have deeper understanding of the course materials. In this course, we have learnt how to produce the asset map and the knowledge about geographic information. After this course, we know how to find the map and geographic information from the internet. However, these information belong to third information which may not be accurate. Through service-learning, we can go to the site and record the information that required to make the asset map. We can get the first hand information, which is relatively new and updated. Without service learning, we will only base on the old information on the internet and make a similar asset map compared with previous works. We can make an asset map with some personal styles. For example, we can show the details we want in the map such as the house location and who live in those houses. Therefore, service-learning can give a great experience for us to utilize the knowledge from the course and discover some new things. Through this experience, our knowledge in this subject can be digested thoroughly.
It is found by Batchelder and Root (1994) that service learning can have a positive effect on the complexity of problem analysis. Service-learning can enhance our problem solving skills. In this subject, we have learnt the communication skills in this subject. As our group topic is oral history, communication is one of the most important part in the service day. We need to collect the first hand data through communication. We learnt that communication involves different categories such as verbal, non-verbal and written communication. Through utilizing different types of communication, we can effectively achieve a two-way communication and receive and convey the message efficiently. However, we find some difficulties when we try to communicate with the villagers. The villagers are busy on the operation of the store and they don’t have time to communicate with us. We also need to communicate with the store keepers to discuss the position of banner and the leaflets that we made. If we cannot communicate with the villagers, we cannot finish this project. Eventually, we thought of different way of communication, such as telephone communication, to avoid the cloud period of the store. Besides, our group has tried to stay overnight in Tai Long village and try to communicate with villagers at night. This can increase the chance of successful communication. Through the service-learning, our problem analysis skills have been improved since we can find the core problems in communication and propose solution to solve the problems. At the same time, we can also practice the knowledge of communication in the service-learning to ensure the functionality of the knowledge.
Third, service-learning can enhance our creation of practical strategies for community action. In this subject, we have learnt the knowledge of sustainable development. This is also one of the purposes of this subject in order to nurture the sense of sustainable development in society. Sustainable development is development that needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Therefore, we need to find a solution to help the development of Tai Long village with compromising the social, environmental and economic aspects. This involves high extent of creativity as the development has great variety of choices. In the process, our group had brainstormed and gave different idea as so to fulfill the requirements of development and ensure the practicability of the products. This process can train our creativity. Besides, sustainable development is familiar as this idea has been introduced in the secondary school. However, we have never implement the idea of sustainable development in the reality. This subject gives us the chances to practically implement the idea that we made and learn the concept of sustainable development accurately. For example, we have made notice board using the abandoned materials in the village and this considers the environmental aspects. This project can also strengthen the concept of communal consideration when we need to do any decision in the future.
In this service learning, I need to go to the Tai Long village and find a way to help the development of the village. This village is far from urban area and it has beautiful scene. This village has high diversification in inserts and animals. Therefore, this village has high quality of natural resources. As I live in the urban area, I seldom see the beautiful natural environment in residential area. The air quality must be worse than the Tai Long village as there are few plants and many vehicles in urban area. Nowadays, people may focus on the economic development in the society and neglect the environmental development in the reality. People have many behaviors which deteriorates the environmental development such as the use of private cars instead of public transportation. This may affect the air quality of urban area. As a responsible citizen, I should be responsible to the environment because the environment belong to all citizens. I should pay attention to my own behaviors. I should save the electricity when I am using different electrical appliances in order to reduce the carbon footprint. Furthermore, I should use more environmentally-friendly products which helps to protect the environment. Every citizen should protect the environment in order to maintain a good environment for next generation and myself.
In the Tai Long village, each villager has the voting right to select the village head according to their preference. In this small village, the villagers can still organize a voting event and each villagers are willing to take part in the event related to the village. When village head is selected by all villagers, the village can be operated efficiently. As a responsible citizen, I should participate in the event related to society. For example, I should participate in the district council member selection as I should utilize my voting right to change the society and make a better society. We should obey our obligation. We should also actively provide our opinion during the consultation of the policy. Through the communication and compromise of different people, the living can become better.
In this service learning, I understand the importance of natural environment. I should treasure the environment. I am studying in building service engineering and this discipline is related to the air conditioning system, fire system, plumbing and drainage system and electrical system. As a professional in building service engineering, I will consider in the aspect of sustainable development. For example, I will try to design a building system to reduce the amount of electricity used and save the water consumption. The building service engineer is responsible to design a building system to ensure the practicability and sustainability of the system. For a long term usage, a sustainable design can help to reduce the carbon footprint and reduce the negative effect to the environment.
First, my communication skills have been improved during the service learning. I am a student and not good at communication, especially the people who are not known. I am not confident when I am communicating with the people who are not known. As a result, the voice may be relatively soft during the communication. Sometimes, the volume of my voice may be too small that other people cannot listen what I am talking about. This is one of my weakness. At the beginning of the service learning, I need to communicate with the villagers to collect the data required. However, I think it may be difficult to initiate the communication as the villagers are busy at their own work. Although I know the purpose of the communication and questions have been set to ask the villagers, the communication process may not be stick to my plan and I cannot rectify the communicate the process correctly. This affects the progress of data collection. Besides, the same conditions appear that my voice may be too soft that the villagers cannot listen to my voice clearly. After the second service day, I am familiar with the villagers. I know how to initiate the communication at the right timing. I am willing to talk to them with a voice with suitable volume. I adapt the changes in the communication direction gradually and correct the progress with sufficient skills. For example, when the villagers talk too much on the topic which is not related to our project, I need to bring the conversation on the right track. Therefore, my communication skills have been improved during the five service days.
Second, my character has been changed from introverted to outgoing. In my daily life, I prefer staying at home and surf the internet rather than going out with friends because I feel comfortable sitting at home. Also, I seldom do exercise when I have time since I think doing exercise is too hard for me. At the beginning of this course, I understand that I need to go hiking and go to the small village. I am worried whether I can withstand this kind of exercise. However, I am forced to go hiking in order to finish the service learning. Gradually, I adapt to the exercise and reach the village. When I arrive the Tai Long village, I can see the beautiful scene and inhale fresh air. I can feel how fabulous that go outside. This activities can extend my view. At the same time, I love nature and go out with friends. After finishing the service learning course, I changed my life style as I do more exercise with my friends which can enhance the friendship during the process. The frequency that going to the rural area has increased because staying at rural is so relaxing. Therefore, this service learning can lead me to health lifestyle.
This service learning course give me a great chance to go to the rural area and keep contact with the village culture. This experience can remarkably extend my view in the earth because this service learning recall my memories about the people living in rural area. This reminded that I should not addict to the electronic world and I should try to go out, discovering more new things. Furthermore, I can learn different interpersonal, conceptual and technical skills during this service learning. All of these skills can increase my capability to handle different event in daily life. I can also improve my ability to handle the academic matters. I can have all-rounded personal development through service learning. In addition to the deep learning through service learning, this can remind me about the responsibilities and role as a responsible citizen. Service learning induces my reflection in my future career. This can strengthen the identification as a Hong Kong people which enhance the cohesion of the society. Lastly, service learning can let me review my character and find out my weaknesses and strengths, facilitating self-understanding. I hope this service learning can be operated continuously and give more chances to students to review their life. At the same time, students can contribute their effort to help developing the village at a suitable rate without destroying the natural environment of Tai Long Village.
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