Tan Ching Yee
The Summit Dialogue with Ms Tan Ching Yee, permanent secretary for the Ministry of Health was an insightful one. I appreciated her thoughtful answers that she gave to the delegates who posed questions. It was obvious that she was well prepared and fully understood her work, and was very experienced in her job. I respect her effort in trying to answer the questions to the best of her ability, and her answers, albeit lengthy, did answer the questions well, and provided me with a lot of new knowledge as well. Being a Singaporean, I have already studied the healthcare system of Singapore during social studies. However, there has never been a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter because of the rushed pace of lessons. I can safely say that I have gained a lot from this summit dialogue session with Ms Tan. There are a lot of considerations by the government before implementing a certain measure, which Ms Tan has communicated to us in a clear manner. Also, she was forthcoming with the ways that the government of Singapore did not do well in terms of healthcare, such as the “two is enough” policy in the 70s. She addressed the difficulties in healthcare policies because of the problems that the policy created, such that Singapore is now facing an aging population. Overall, I really learned a lot from Ms Tan’s sharing, as now I can see some of the thought process that goes on in the government before any implementation of policies.
The role of EDB in Singapore’s economy is another aspect of national education for secondary students, hence I was familiar with the content of the sharing as well. However, as with the Summit Dialogue, I learnt much more about the role of EDB. Its role in attracting investors was not made very prominent to us in the textbooks. However, during the sharing, I found out that the EDB was responsible for bringing in 40% of Singapore’s GDP, which is an astronomical sum of money. The investors that the EDB seeks are diversified, and come from different fields, like energy and chemical sectors, which support what we have been learning. I realized from the sharing that the only way for Singapore to continue growing is for investments to keep coming in, and a continuous effort has to be made to attract investors, as well as create opportunities for Singapore to venture abroad as there is limited land in Singapore. The EDB plays a pivotal role in attracting and retaining investors in Singapore, as well as support the Small and Medium Enterprises, which provide support services to the major operations that are carried out in Singapore. In this global economy, it is inevitable that all economies are mutually dependent on one another, thus an organization like EDB is needed for countries to source for opportunities.
I have studied the measures that LTA implemented to curb and alleviate congestion under the segment of good governance. Here, the idea is reinforced, that it requires good leaders to implement policies that are necessary, though unpopular. The LTA presented their solutions, such as the Area Licensing Scheme (ALS), the successor of the ALS, the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system and the Vehicle Quota System, implemented via the Certificate of Entitlement. It was also interesting to see the LTA’s new model of the MRT train, which boasted a much nicer design than the current one! 😀 It was also enlightening to see the progression of Singapore’s public transport system throughout the ages. However, I was happy that through LTA’s sharing, I finally understood the reason for having the MRT and bus system being monopolized by two companies, SBS and SMRT, but why the area of taxi is spread across seven companies. I also realized that Singapore’s transport system is not perfect, and there are other cities with arguably better transport systems than Singapore’s. However, it is accepted that Singapore already owns a reliable public transport system, and it is not viable for Singapore to learn the ways other cities manage their public transportation because not all of the solutions will be practical in Singapore, for example, the bicycle scheme. However, the LTA can use them as a reference and strive to achieve the same level of success other countries have.
The sharing session by the PUB guide once again echoed the social studies curriculum. The presentation on the four national taps was roughly the same as from what I have learnt from school. However, it was very interesting to see the NEWater plant in person. The complicated piping in the plant, and how they managed to fit a tour gallery for tourists was very commendable to me. I appreciated the technology of the purification plant, as it was interesting to me how engineering played its part in the purification process. TBC
Tan Chuan Xin Singapore Hwa Chong Institution