Today i return home from a study tour in Singapore. I originally arrived in Singapore on the 20th of June to spend some time with my girlfriend and get used to the new place. Singapore has surprised me in many ways, from its multiculturalism to its education system. One thing that engaged me the most was finding out how much the government cares about science and being able to see its relevance not only for the country, but for the global community.
I learned so much on the study tour not only in my field of nanotechnology, but also in business and education. It seems to me that if you want a quality research program then go to Singapore where the government is eager to help. I would like to come back to Singapore some day, not just for the food, oh now there was some amazing food there. I could get lost in my thoughts just relishing in the never ending gastronomical possibilities that exist in Singapore.
Upon returning to Australia it just hit me how different the two countries are. Just turning on the news and listening a bit, i see how different our attitudes are to those in parliament. While in Singapore the government is treated with reverence, here back home we treat them harshly, questioning their every move. The little things also remind me im back home, such as how expensive it is to eat lunch in Australia. In Singapore you can get a filling meal with your pocket change, not so easily in Australia. But the land don under has one thing the Singaporeans don’t have, good fresh coffee. Oh how i missed my cappuccinos and espressos, where ever you go in Melbourne, you can be sure to find good coffee.
I guess that’s all i ask for Singapore in the future, don’t change one bit but import some real cafes.
Unfortunately, due to a severe headache on Friday, I was not able to attend many of the activities that were planned for us, and I was forced instead to spend the afternoon sleeping in my room. As I am therefore unable to provide any insightful comments on the day’s tours and presentations, I will use this opportunity to reflect on some more general aspects of Singapore.
For all intents and purposes, many of the features of Singapore are not too different from home; the city has a very ‘Westernised’ feel, and it is often easy to forget that I am in a different country.
One strikingly obvious difference is the food. If there is one thing that I will miss when I return home to Australia, it will be the mouth watering, exotic dishes that can be found all over Singapore city. From tasty curry laksas to steamed pork buns, and from delicious kaya toast and egg in the mornings to generous servings of Indian curries in the evening, Singapore has given me a culinary experience that I will surely never forget.
With that being said, I am certainly looking forward to a nice cold glass of real milk when I get home; I have had enough condensed-milk milos, thank you!
Today was a nice day. We started with a trip to Republic Polytechnic and were also able to meet a couple of students there who had gone to La Trobe earlier in the year. It was nice to see them again and great to hear their experience in Australia. Following the presentation about Republic Polytech we had a guided tour around their facilities, my favourite one being the aviation hanger on campus. Inside was a small assortment of aeroplanes and engines in the hanger. Behind this were the working stations where the students were able to practice their techniques on maintenance.
In the afternoon after Republic Polytech we made our way back to NUS and met up with a biodiversity group to head off to the aquarium. This was the visit I was waiting for the most today since we were able to go behind the scenes and shown how science applies to the running of an aquarium. My favourite area was the coral tank which was a giant circular tank with coral in the centre and schools of fish swimming around.
After our time at the aquarium came to an end, me and a group of people made our way to Satay by the Bay. This was the time that I try my first bbq stingray; to me it tasted like the chicken of the sea. I will definitely be keeping my eye open for more stingrays to eat around Singapore from now on.
So today is the first day on my trip to Singapore and what a day it’s been. Wake up bright and early to get to the airport and prepare for my journey. At the check in I ask for an upgrade to emergency seating so I have slightly more leg room, but that was to no avail. As my girlfriend and I make our way towards the terminal I pick up a book I’ve had my eye on for a while, Down and out in Paris and London by George Orwell, and with this I am set.
Now all we have left to do wait to board. But there is a delay with the flight which wasn’t announced until just before we are supposed to board. And with this I get a bit annoyed since it meant I could’ve been able to go to Hungry Jacks and ward away the lack lustre food which was surely to come on the plane. Now it’s time to board the flight and sit for 8 hours.
All in all, the flight wasn’t that bad. I met a family from France who moved to Melbourne and are taking a trip back to their homeland. It was nice to speak some French, seeing as it may be the last time I will be able to practise it in the coming weeks. We were met at change airport by my girlfriend’s mother who took us out for a little dinner and here was my first of many delicious encounters with Singaporean dining. We got a little take away and one of the dishes in it was cheesy fries, this little dish had me hooked from the first taste. It was nice to eat the same chips but with a completely new dip that I have never tried before.
I can’t wait to see more of Singapore and what it has to offer, not to mention some completely new and interesting food.