Passion. If all of our encounters with the local Singaporeans were summed up in one word, it would be passion. In the bustling streets of Singapore, seldom was the person who commuted without purpose and excitement. Each of the speakers at our meetings spoke with such spirit, and taught us about the local industries with a feverous enthusiasm.
Our time in Singapore was concluded with the most satisfying climax – a formal meeting with our good friend Mr. James Soh, who was kind enough to accommodate us to many of our previous events. In his company, Mr. Soh kept us entertained with his wit, insights on local culture, and personal anecdotes. As charming as he was, there was one question in the back our minds throughout the week: what type of work does he do? After letting this query build in suspense, Mr. Soh finally met with us this morning to enlighten us about his work with Singapore’s National Youth Achievement Award. After a lovely presentation, we held a roundtable discussion to inform Mr. Sohabout our perceptions of Singapore. This conversation consisted of comments on Singapore’s adaptive education system, hospitable population, and lively infrastructure.
After a heavy hearted farewell with Mr. Soh and his associates, we returned to the Albert Court Hotel to prepare for our next grand adventure in Malaysia. Some of us took one last twirl around the city’s food courts and souvenir markets, reminiscing about all the new friends, flavours, and sceneries we’ve enjoyed in the past five days – memories of which are enough to last multiple lifetimes. At approximately 2:30 pm, we loaded onto the bus and kissed the city we’ve grown to love so much a gentle good bye. Following a pleasant ride through the Malay Peninsula, we arrived at the Regency Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.
Looking forwards to a week as bright as the KL Skyline!
The sun rises yet again on the garden city we call Singapore. On day four of our time in Singapore, Global Vision’s Junior Team Canada Ambassadors partook in a day of informative and meaningful business meetings to promote Canadian industries abroad.
Starting the day off with some hands on learning, we first had a meeting with Amobee, a prominent advertising group, where we had the pleasure of learning about the intricacies of data analysis in promotional materials. We also had the chance to ask questions to a panel of amobee employees who were part of the advertising firm. The panelists explained their career paths and some of the lessons they learned along the way. The meeting was impactful and left the ambassadors with a greater understanding of the digital landscape in Southeast Asia, and how to effectively promote their brands.
After that meeting, Junior Team Canada’s ambassadors visited with Tobias Berger, a former Google employee who shared his career and life plans with the ambassadors. He helped them get a better understanding of the digital landscape and even linked-in marketing. This all assisted the ambassadors in forging their own paths in being able to effectively represent the Canadian companies in singapore.
The third leg of the day, we met with Singaporean Ministry of education representatives where we discussed the structure of singapore’s education system, and some of the ways Singapore is leveraging digital to create more experiential and hands on learning for its students. This was eye opening for the ambassadors, and exposed some of the tangible implications of technology, and how increasing partnerships in certain sectors could ensure better integration of technology.
Overall this day was a chance to explore our industries a little deeper and get a better appreciation for all that the strong relationship with singapore has to offer. Until day five Garden City.
Hello from Junior Team Canada’s third full day here in Singapore. Today we opened our eyes to the world of international trade and the importance of communication skills in relaying the successes of our mission.
After a hearty breakfast, we headed to the Marina Bay Financial Centre where we were greeted by Klaus Houben from Export Development Canada and Gregory Ross from the Canada-ASEAN Business Council. Through fruitful discussions with the two officials, we spoke on issues relaed to how Canadian businesses operate in Singapore and Malaysia and the importance of Canadian investment in the region. Klaus and Gregory also shared the implications of the new CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) and our ambassadors asked a widen array of questions. These ranged from the insurance capabilities of EDC for companies as well as the ethical concerns of trade relationships.
After a long discussion, we headed to Singapore’s McDonalds which is much more varied in its menu than its Canadian counterpart. We had a quick bite to eat before pressing on to the next meeting of the day in the Orchard Road neighbourhood. Here, we met with Karen Ho who is the regional director of ASK Media Group, who taught us about self-branding, the importance of digital citizenship, and how we market ourselves and our mission to the world.
As our time in Singapore now starts to wind down, our visit to ASK Media got us to reflect and think about how we will showcase our time here with Global Vision to everyone. The ambassadors left here stronger in their love for Singapore and hungry to continue growing their knowledge about the international importance of this city. After that meeting, we headed back out onto the Singapore streets for some more great food and great experiences.
To conclude, today showed us Singapore’s importance as an economic powerhouse of Southeast Asia and for the world. The nation’s place on the world stage can not be understated nor in its importance to Canada. Singapore is truly an Asian tiger and is a key part of our great global vision for our nation.
On our second day in Singapore began with an early breakfast so we could make our meeting at the High Commission of Canada’s office in Singapore. Situated in Downtown Singapore, the High Commission of Canada’s office includes the Trade Commissioner Service who are responsible for promoting Canadian economic interests abroad. We had the opportunity to hear from four trade commissioners for Canada, including the charge d’affaires, who represented a vast range of sectors including education, ICT and foreign investment. We learned about the benefits of Canadian companies working with the Trade Commissioner Service and the key services that they provide their clients. They shared with us that some of the priority sectors they see for Canadian companies interested in working in Singapore; they included agri-food, cleantech, education, fintech, infrastructure and life sciences. With their expertise in the Singaporean market, we were all able to gain valuable market intel for our sponsors back in Canada.
In the afternoon, we visited Temasek Polytechnic to learn about artificial intelligence and the future of automation. Temasek Polytechnic offers a unique robotics program due to its partnership with Hit Robot Group (HRG). Based out of China, HRG focuses on developing robots for a variety of fields and industries including the service, defence and manufacturing industry. Joined by Mr. James Soh, the Co-Chair of the APEC Voices Leadership Council, we learned about the future of artificial intelligence, and the different opportunities robots can provide companies. For example, HRG designed a concierge robot with a program that can guess a persons age. Our visit assisted many of our fellow ambassadors representing the tech industries in better understanding opportunities for advancement in Southeast Asia.
After a busy day of meetings, many ambassadors, including myself, decided to venture out on an adventure to see the “Crazy Rich Asians” side of Singapore. After a quick trip on the metro, we arrived at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, where we took an elevator to the 57th floor to enjoy the views from the top of the “boat.” From the restaurant, we were able to see almost all of Singapore, giving me even more respect for this beautiful country. After an expensive meal including $27 of Fiji Water, we walked into Gardens by the Bay to enjoy the light show. Set to classical music, we watched the supertrees light up and transform us into a majestic forest.
With three more busy days before we head off to Malaysia, we all headed back to the hotel to get a good nights rest before our next day of meetings.
On the first day of our Mission, GV’s Junior Team Canada had the honour of being addressed by Singapore’s Minister of Law & Health, Edwin Tong Chun Fai. Global Vision was given the opportunity to ask questions about Singaporean governmental affairs and how it relates to Canadian issues. We are grateful for his time and amazed by his passion for his community. In the evening, our team was hosted by Global Vision’s dear friend Edwin Ho for a Durian tasting event. It was a privilege to learn about the rich cultural history Durian possess in Singapore & the whole of Southeast Asia. It was an experience our team will never forget and we are forever grateful for the kindness Edwin and his team bestowed. Needless to say our mission got off to an incredible start here in Singapore.