Faculty of Arts students Rebecca Pearson and Helen McNeill give their insights into the Inside Singapore Study Tour:
With hearts as heavy as the darkening monsoon clouds, we approached the Ngee Ann – Adelaide Education Centre on Friday morning in the knowledge that our Inside Singapore Study Tour would soon draw to a close. Dr Benito Cao ran an intensive morning lecture looking at what the future might hold for the citizens of this ‘little red dot’ that is Singapore. Drawing on our learnings from our two weeks here, we discussed how this nation might address the many challenges that surely loom ahead.
Upon conclusion of the seminar, two of the students, Hannah and Deanna, took the opportunity to present some small gifts to express our heartfelt gratitude to Benito for his utterly outstanding efforts in putting together such a memorable and engaging course, and also to acknowledge the work of our fabulous logistician, Amanda Schiller of Scope Global.
The final event on our itinerary took us to The Future of Us exhibition which, as if curated explicitly for our study tour, projected the future vision of Singapore in a series of domes. The multimedia exhibition emphasised the ways in which citizens could (and should) contribute to an idealised society of tomorrow. The themes and ideas we had discussed in the two weeks prior were present throughout the videos in the first two domes, and reiterated in the final two domes where an eerie collection of citizens ideas had culminated in a model replica of the future Singapore, complete with delivery drones, energy producing ‘kinetic floor tiles’, a visual display of the future army (which represented something out of Call of Duty) and buildings that produce food. We were also happy to discover that it seems hover boards will be available in the future Singapore.
Our final soiree took us up to the observation deck of Marina Bay Sands hotel. Gazing across at the mass of buildings along the marina and beyond it to the fog covered island, we contemplated the lives of those who inhabit this vast urban jungle and saw, for the first time, how all the pieces of Singapore’s enormous puzzle had been constructed to fit together, creating the skyline that we now stood in awe of. The fog (smog) stretched into the distance, giving one the notion that there was plenty to see, but perhaps just out of sight.
Reflecting back, the final words uttered to us by Benito, borrowed from the speech delivered by the Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, during the closing ceremony of the 8th ASEAN Para Games, summarise our experience perfectly:
“All of you have done your best. I congratulate you for your efforts. I hope you’ve made new friends and you’ll take away good memories.”
And of that, we certainly will.