Days 6 and 7 – headshots, Raffles and right-wing sentiments
Student dialogue 2 – The second student dialogue, on achieving socio-economic Equality, was led by China, Malaysia, France, India and Singapore. I found India’s outline of the reasons for gender inequality – gender socialization, traditions and biology – to be satisfyingly pithy and all-encompassing, creating a great foundation for discussion afterwards. The discussion was particularly focused on young people; how education of young people can help with issues such as gender equality and inclusivity, while unemployment and income/social stratification can be factors preventing the young from fulfilling their potential. We were encouraged to think about our own approach to these issues which seemed particularly apt considering the aim of the summit (indignantly, I found myself echoing my mother’s view that young people should not feel as though the world owes them a living…oh dear)
Outdoor activity – Despite some unstable weather, during which we got a tour of the facility (where we learnt that Singapore was built ‘on sweat and smarts’ – illuminating), paintballing got underway. There’s something thrilling about having a faulty device that fires rounds like a machine gun, until you receive a resentful shot in the head (this means that I can’t show off a bruise which I’m sure is quite impressive). However, the pain didn’t detract from the novelty of watching a stand-off between two paintball dark horses, Moon and Ranjit. The fact that it was raining during dragon boating and kayaking was irrelevant once splashing technique was fully developed. I would still maintain that pouring reservoir water onto someone from a bucket is cheating but (once dried off and fed) it can all be looked back on as good fun.
Duckie, Katie, Miss Aherne and I had a great dinner out last night, where knives and butter were fully appreciated. It was also great to see Raffles, although it did contain more peanut shells and reggae than we imagined.
Community involvement – We were all looking forward to seeing the renowned Mr Long again. His unflagging enthusiasm on Labrador beach was infectious, and the sun and sea combined to make it a nice and informative morning.
Apparently this is our last journaling session, so there are a couple of other things to point out. Functioning on 6 hours of sleep has been a challenge, as has the non-stop schedule and unusual food. However, this has all contributed to the intensity of such an amazing week. While learning about how Singapore ticks and the engaging dialogues have been invaluable, what I will remember the most about my time in Singapore is experiencing this intensity with people who I wouldn’t usually get to meet, learning about their cultures and creating friendships that I hope will last.
Wycombe Abbey School, UK