Students journey into Singapore's story

05 February 2019

In November 2018, Scope Global hosted a group of 24 students from the University of Adelaide on a tour through Singapore. Throughout, they gained inside knowledge on the country’s politics and identity.

Daily activities began with morning seminars covering a variety of topics in history, diplomacy and economy at local education institution Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

Reginald Wee presentation

Reginald Wee presenting to students. 

In the first week, the group heard from guest speakers Reginald Wee, Centre Director in the Building and Construction Authority, and Abby Chan, Regional Business Development Manager of Wee Hur Capital. What better way to gain a deeper understanding of Singapore than from those with local insight?

Reginald Wee has had a varied career in marketing, education, engineering and the public service. His professional experiences provided students with an individual perspective of and context to the cultural and political landscape in Singapore. Abby Chan has worked in both marketing and business development roles across the private and public sectors. Notably, she has contributed to high-profile visits from the Duke Harry and Duchess Megan of Cambridge, Victoria Beckham, and former UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

 

Julie, student, being a news reporter - Singapore Discovery Centre

Student being a news report in interactive exhibit at Singapore Discovery Centre. 

The group set out to all corners of the city-state to immerse themselves in its rich culture. They embarked on guided tours of the Singapore Discovery Centre, the National Museum of Singapore, Battlebox, the National Gallery of Singapore, Singapore City Gallery, and other notable spots.

The Singapore City Gallery was a fascinating look into civic participation. This gallery is a platform for Singaporean students to voice their opinions on current and future urban development and city planning. Tour participants learned that many of the artistic and historic attractions are aimed at Singaporean students rather than tourists, as the government wants to educate the younger generation on their history and culture.

Australian High Commission group photo

Students at the Australian High Commission.

One of the days involved a special visit to the Australian High Commission. Participants listened to a panel of staff members talk about their career paths and what a typical day might look like in the office. Opportunities like these are invaluable for students to develop an idea of possible pathways to pursue professionally. The evening ended with a river cruise and the spectacular Marina Bay Sands Light Show.

The following week was as jam-packed as the first, with a trip to Parliament House and the Supreme Court – all in preparation for a morning seminar on Singapore’s democracy.

Kristen Han, a freelance journalist and editor-in-chief of New Naratif, was the final guest speaker on the tour. She met with the students to discuss Singapore’s media restrictions. To complement this learning, students took a trip to Speakers’ Corner – a designated area within Hong Lim Park. Speakers’ Corner is for permanent residents of Singapore to speak freely on many topics, once they have received government permission to do so.

Little India street art

Students walking past street art in Little India. 

The last few days of the tour were an exploration of the country’s rich diversity and environment, with visits to Chinatown, Little India, the Indian Heritage Centre, Transient Workers Count Too and Ground-Up Initiative.

Student in front of Ground Up Initiative

Student in front of the Ground-Up Initiative. 

The Ground-Up Initiative is a non-profit, eco-conscious community dedicated to showcasing the importance and benefits of urban sustainability. The government in Singapore takes preservation and regeneration of the environment very seriously. As Singapore is going through a greening phase, it has become regulation that new developments must incorporate plant life into the design.

As all great things must come to an end, students strolled through the Gardens by the Bay for a beautiful conclusion to the tour. Students could reflect on all they had experienced throughout the trip, their new knowledge of Singapore’s culture, history, and politics, and the life-long friendships they made along the way.

 

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