For 12-year-old Aliff Mattin Abdul Salim, being a primary school pupil is all he has known.
But in just four hours, the 12-year-old from New Town Primary School got a taste of what it might be like to be a mountaineer, a courier and a crime scene investigator.
"I have never thought the experience would be so real," said Aliff of the various jobs he tried his hand at yesterday at KidZania Singapore.
He was among more than 20 beneficiaries of The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (STSPMF) who took part in the HeadSTart outing - a programme which bring journalists and fund beneficiaries together as the children explored careers and picked up new skills. The children, who are mainly from upper primary, went around various stations in an imaginary city trying out different careers, such as firefighter, chef, window washer, journalist and insurance agent.
At each station, they learnt about what each job entails and earned imaginary "kidzo" currency.
Aliff said he was excited about the outing as he might not have had the chance to visit KidZania since "it is quite expensive".
Equally excited was Gabriel Wong, a Primary 5 pupil from Punggol View Primary School. He attempted the high elements obstacles at the KidZania mountaineering school. Despite having to overcome obstacles more than 5m in the air, he was unafraid.
"I tried it before during my Primary 5 school camp, which is of a higher height, so I'm not scared. If I had the chance, I wouldn't mind trying it again," he added.
During the outing, each beneficiary also received a Samsung Galaxy Tab A tablet with S Pen, worth $498 each. Both the outing and tablets were sponsored by Samsung Electronics Singapore.
Its head of public relations and corporate marketing, Ms Esther Low, said: "It is a delight for Samsung to play a part in giving the children a glimpse of what they can do when they grow up.
"We hope that the outing has tickled their imagination and our Galaxy Tab A with S Pen can be their gateway to explore even more of what the world has to offer."
ST crime reporter Ng Huiwen, 26, who was one of the 11 volunteers who guided the children, said it was very meaningful being part of HeadSTart. "It is good to let the kids explore the different career options available in a fun manner," she said, adding that on a personal level, volunteering her time was a good way to contribute to STSPMF.
Ms Tan Bee Heong, general manager of STSPMF, said: "We are very thankful to the staff from The Straits Times for taking time to be with our beneficiaries, and giving them a fun and memorable day."
Started in 2000, STSPMF is a community project initiated by The Straits Times to provide pocket money to children from low-income families to help them through school.