Day 1: 2016 Singapore Study Tour

The daily chronicle of the 2016 POLIS Study Tour to Singapore, “Inside Singapore: History, Politics, Identity”.


We spent the morning in a tutorial-style discussion about the “Historical Memory” of Singapore – mapping out the significant milestones that are said to contribute to the unique identity of this city-state. Of particular interest were those things that have been included (and excluded) in the official narrative.

Reginald Wee delivered a detailed and entertaining insider’s view of “the little red dot” at the southern end of the Malacca Strait. He painted a glowing picture of an industrious and harmonious community that has survived and thrived against the odds. Some words of wisdom from Mr Wee:

  • “If you’re laid back in Asia, you’re toast!”
  • “Only the paranoid survive!”
  • “Just keep swimming!”

The afternoon visit to the National Museum was another highlight, with very informative guided tours of the Singapore History Gallery (charting the development of the island’s 700 year history through colonial days, Japanese occupation and post-war struggles, to become the global city of today) and Life In Singapore: the Past 100 Years looking at snapshots of everyday life through more recent history.

After a quick dinner at a local hawker centre, we headed back to the National Museum to see “I’m Coming Up” – part of the 27th Singapore International Film Festival. Billed as a unique cinematic experience of an HDB block (one of the ubiquitous high rise government housing blocks), filmed over 90 minutes in a single-take, the silent film was accompanied by a live band. Sounds interesting? Let’s just say it was a “unique” experience…!

Tessa McLean - The Red Dot Reimagined

Thanks to the Media Team for providing this entry: Mikaela Groom, Michael Migali, Hollie Seacombe, and Karen Seeley.


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