After an amazing first two days here in Singapore, from swimming to the cultural exhibition and a heritage tour of Singapore, today has also been fantastic. At breakfast I finally tried the coconut jam after hearing so much about it but accidentally burnt the toast earning me some sarcastic remarks from our Australian friends (the usual). Everyone looked tired but hopefully by tomorrow we will finally all be recovered from our jetlag!
After that we went to the first summit dialogue which I found very interesting. I think Mr Kausikan’s points on foreign diplomacy were incredibly enlightening as he is obviously very experienced in his field being the Ambassador-at-Large. I really appreciated and enjoyed having the opportunity to hear the views of someone so involved in world politics and international relations. His responses to the poignant questions posed by the delegates were equally as fascinating.
This was followed by a trip to the supreme court which has a very large difference to the justice system in the UK – capital punishment. This, along with descriptions of gory crimes committed here, made for a very intriguing exhibition. The lack of a jury present in Singaporean court proceedings was also highlighted and this is also different to the UK, even though it is based on the British system. In addition, the views of Singapore from the observation deck in the circular room at the top of the High Court were beautiful.
Meeting the president this afternoon at the Istana was something completely different that I have never done before. We chatted and Martha asked an interesting question about Singapore’s relationship with other Asia-Pacific countries. We then took some photographs which I hope I will be able to receive one day! It was lovely to mingle with everyone and chat and the food was lovely – I had actual tea for the first time since I came to Singapore! (the main thing I miss about England!)
Signing off now,
Melissa, United Kingdom