SEA at Crossroads 2019: Post-trip reflections
This trip brought together undergraduates from Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam to explore the problem of environmental sustainability through the lens of both environmental science and social sciences.
The overarching theme of SEA at Crossroads 2019 (Chiang Mai) revolves about the issue of environmental sustainability, with a particular focus on deteoriating haze conditions in Chiang Mai in recent years. Broadly, the trip was "split" into 3 sections: lessons pertaining to the environmental; site visits; a 3-day stay in the mountains.
The lessons were largely conducted in the form of lectures, incorporating theories from environmental science, as well as the screening of documentaries to accentuate the worsening condition of Thailand's air quality. Other than that, lessons were also conducted to supplement our understanding of the theoretical content taught during the lectures.
Furthermore, students were given first-hand experiences in participating in Thailand's culture, such as hand-crafting offerings to be offered to the Way Chedi Luang Temple during the Inthakin Festival.
Students were also exposed to Thailand's culture in the form of cultural performances, as well as making the climb up the renewed Dol Suthep mountain situated at the top of a mountain.
The final component of the trip involved a 3-day stay up in the mountains, where ethnic minorities resided and remained disconnected from the urban civilisation. The purpose of this stay was particularly meaningful; it granted students an insight into the conflicting narratives of the government and that of the ethnic minorities up in the mountains, allowing students to understand the various factors inhibiting both parties from reaching a common ground in regulating deforestation, which contributes largely to the haze condition in Thailand.