Day 5 – maggots, utopia and a lot of pens

Summit Dialogue – The exhaustion of the night safari meant that some of us were drowsy as the third Summit Dialogue began, but not for long. Carl Baptista’s energy reflected his innovative career and for someone who isn’t a scientist, it was still a very relevant talk. While such a heavy focus on maggot ‘secretions’ wouldn’t be my ideal choice of post-breakfast conversation, the concept of the Blue Ocean business strategy was an interesting one; I’ll be looking into the practicalities of something that seems so ideal and the reasons why it isn’t more common.

Housing Development Board (HDB) – It seems that sliding doors never get old. This was another example of an amazing exhibit, and one that I found the most interesting of all of them. In the UK, we have council housing for underpriveleged people who can’t afford their own; these are often quite low quality and a small percentage of the population live in them. It was therefore surprising to find out that the majority of singapore live in properties provided by the government, with schemes and heavy subsidising to help people at different ‘lifestyle stages’. This is not surprising as Singapore has to build upwards rather than outwards, but the formulaic housing and amenities, especially when represented by something resembling an Ikea showroom, was oddly unsettling. Perhaps it was the exceptionally patriotic video at the beginning of the tour or the way that lifestyles and communities can be constructed by these schemes and buildings that marred an otherwise utopic idea.

A*STAR – Not being a scientist, a lot of the technical chat went over my head. However, it was still interesting to understand more about research, and especially that which supports Singapore’s industry. Apparently, NestlĂ© are having issues with air permeability in their packaging, and one of the A*STAR labs, IMRE, is working on a clay substance to resolve this issue – privileged to have seen the forefront of such a development.

Other highlights – fantastic lunch at A*STAR (couldn’t get enough of that lemon chicken), and another free pen (total of 5 and counting). Can’t wait for tonight’s dialogue and tomorrow!

Charlotte Baker
Wycombe Abbey, UK

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