Economics and Development: 4 of 9

In the space of two days since our last posts, we’ve visited a variety of organisations relating to Singapore’s finance and civil development. Also in that space we had our first student dialogue and our second summit dialogue.

The student dialogue was undoubtedly one of the most intrinsically fascinating discussions I have ever experienced. it was incredible to see every delegate inputting substantial amounts of information in addition to their own logic, philosophies and arguments behind them. It was an extremely engaging debate, of which the next few I am highly anticipating.

The next day we visited the Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Government Investment Corporation (GIC). We had excellent presenters at both of these advocating their benefits to Singapore, although with this I could not resist but to think that both the organisations were more glorified advertisements than pedagogical exhibitions. The EDB spoke a lot about how multinational corporations nowadays are investing increasingly in Singapore. Behind this I am split over whether or not the actual intention was to persuade us to invest in Singapore in the future. At the GIC we indubitably learnt a lot about economics and finance and had a very informative and helpful presenter who also answered a lot of our difficult questions. However once again by the end I questioned its actual relevance to the educational aspirations of the summit and felt it was again an attempt at advocating Singapore’s economic situation. Subliminal persuasions aside though, both of the organisations were enjoyable and gave us lessons to take home.

Today, we paid the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Public Utilities Board (PUB) visits. At the LTA we were exposed to the inherent transport and traffic issues present in Singapore and what is being done to address them. It was an inspiring and thought-provoking session. It was also interesting to see the history of Singapore’s transport system and how it has developed from a heavily flawed, ineffective system into one of the world’s most efficient and heavily utilised (59% of travel in Singapore is public transport) in such a short period of time. At the PUB we learnt about Singapore’s incessant issue involving its water supplies and the PUB’s solution NeWater: reclaimed wastewater. The science behind NeWater is certainly plausible and convincing although I expect it would take more than that the settle the intrinsic concerns, stigmas and phobias many of the delegates (including myself) held. Nevertheless it so far has proved to be an effective source of water for Singapore.

Overall it has been some very busy past few days and the pace isn’t dropping soon. The Summit has definitely been worth the effort.

Andy Wang
Brisbane Grammar School

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