Journal – Bryan Tan (Singapore)

Day 2 – Governance

Today the activities centered around the theme of Governance.

The programme started off with a Summit Dialogue with Minister-At-Large Mr. Bilahari Kausikan. Overall, Mr. Kausikan stressed the concept of sovereignty and how one country would always place its self-interest first. Many interesting points were raised regarding the idea of how a “dysfunctional fraternity” actually allows it to function more effectively and efficaciously. The main sharing touched on the idea of how “recognizing a problem does not mean solving it”. Notably, major international organisations can only be cognizant of a crisis but are unable to enforce any binding rules, except the UNSC, on any countries, due to state sovereignty. However, one interesting remark was made by Mr. Kausikan. He mentioned that these worries will continue to surface and problems will remain unsolved till the day USA and China, the only two major powers in his eyes, reach a compromise. His point serves as an interesting alternative perspective as many a times many would refer the Permanent 5 as world powers but the current unipolar world is indeed moving towards bipolar world consisting of these two largest economies. The future of a bipolar world looms uncertainly and a close Sino-American relations would be greatly favoured by the rest of the world. A point which left a deep impression was that should Sino-American relations improve to a state where conflicts or disagreements can be solved amicably, their allies would naturally fall into their places, greater peace and prosperity could be achieved. However, this is obviously impossible in the near future, but optimistically, countries should continue to preserve their self-interest and seek to strike the delicate balance with one another in solving conflicts. I strongly believe that compromises must be taken for a resolution to tackle the concerns of all the stakeholders. The functioning of international organs will continue to increase in efficiency and efficacy with greater willingness of countries to listen and make limited compromises to solve clashes in their entirety.

Thereafter, we visited the Supreme Court and I am sure all of the delegates now have a better understanding of how the highest level of judiciary entity operates in Singapore. This was followed by a tea session with the President of Singapore, His Excellency Tony Tan. It was undoubtedly a memorable experience to meet the head of state as part of the programme outline and the short chat all delegates shared with His Excellency would definitely become valuable memories for all delegates.

The summit has been awesome so far and here’s to great days ahead! 😀

Bryan Tan
Hwa Chong Institution

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