I left my last journal shortly before our first Student Dialogue, which turned out to be excellent, in case you were wondering.
Yesterday we visited two extremely slick and swanky buildings: the Economic Development Board and the Government Investment Corporation. The EDB’s work is far-reaching and has a huge impact on the future of Singapore but the real highlights of the talk were the adorably delicious mini donuts (of which I may or may not have eaten four…). The GIC’s building was equally gorgeous and they handed out more practical freebies in the form of notepads and highlighters.
The first activity of today (Moon’s birthday!) was visiting the Land Transport Authority to learn about the fabulously shiny transport system in Singapore. As my mother cycles through London to get to work and my father is from the Netherlands (a.k.a cycle capital!), cycling and cycle safety is an issue close to my heart. Therefore I took the chance to ask the LTA Directors on the nature of cycling and safety in Singapore, to which they replied that there was not much of a cycle culture but paths and access were being widened in new constructions. To me this was just the cherry on the cake of ways in which the Singapore transport system strikes me as better than that of London – although credit where it is due to the “Boris bikes” cycle hire scheme in place in London. We also got to visit a mock tube carriage (for those not in the know, a subway or metro carriage) where – unsurprisingly – the ‘fragrant’ durian fruit is sadly banned. At the Public Utilities Board building learning about NEWater, we discovered that the time it takes a 17-year-old to regress to the age of 12 when presented with a clicky video game is approximately 0.2 seconds. This mentality didn’t leave us until we were done pretending to be water molecules. (Yes, we are your leaders of the future…)
As the week goes on we are also discovering more games we can play together while travelling or waiting, which is leading to some very competitive games of Down in the Jungle, groups of confused people attempting to click shapes (it’s hard to explain) and some very loud coach journeys. Naturally these are probably the best bits of the day. Including when we, the British, have to explain to those who ‘corrupted’ our language that jam is not jelly and fizzy drinks are not soda and his name is quite clearly Incy Wincy Spider.
Tonight we are looking forward to the Night Safari, so if you don’t hear from me again I am likely in the belly of a rhinoceros… although I don’t even know if they are carnivorous…
Martha, United Kingdom J
P.S. It rained a lot this morning and I felt like I was home again ;D