Tag Archives: Trey Guest


Singapore, the wealthy, southeast Asian, cultural amalgam has concurrently undermined and buttressed my pre-tour conceptions of the tropical, economically prosperous nation.

To view the country pessimistically would be to dissect its almost totalitarian governmental state and scrutinise its judicial system that often confronts and contrasts typically western ideas. Disturbingly evident across the city-state, Singapore’s social underclass yields an alien politeness that commonly approaches boundaries of submissiveness and permeates the nation’s developed business culture. A consequence of the city’s cesspool of private wealth, Singapore harbours underprivileged, financially malnourished and evidently ignored cultural hotspots that seem anachronistic to the PAP’s Singapore. The industrially deprived regions are at capacity and survive day-to-day under a labour based economy that is juxtaposed the current economic prosperity of the greater population. Consequently, they fulfil the social archetypes that propagated the racial animosity that is a lone stain on the country’s short history. Perhaps these are ramifications of the nation’s exponential growth since it’s federation and an acceptable social collateral. Regardless, it is antagonisingly obvious that the PAP has little interest in levelling the socio-economic playing field for the areas that are primarily supported by the work of foreign nationals.

Governmental personality has confirmed my initial perceptions o the island state, albeit shallow and unsubstantiated. Culturally, this has extended to the greater public, which although infinitely polite, are reserved and private. In comparison to the accepted Australian identity, conclusions can be drawn between governmental activity and the persona and behavioural tendencies of its people. In any case, the borderline social and cultural oppression of the Singaporean government resulted in the privacy and shyness of its populace.

However, to view the nation pessimistically would be to deny the beauty of its landscape and political aspirations. Primitively, Singapore’s history is the proverbial rags-to-riches narrative – from humble beginnings as a farming nation with little renewable resources, Singapore has blossomed, with rapidity, into a global financial superpower. Singapore’s incredibly ethical culture and attention to detail aside, the long jeopardy and success of the PAP has fostered an inherent trust and belief in the state’s future that cannot be rivalled universally. Subsequently, this has allowed governmental agencies to confidently plan and execute advancements in infrastructure, finance, as well as science and its technologies. With no significant opposition, Singapore evidently has a functioning government with no apparent requirement for an alternative. This, in comparison with the composition of governments globally, can be accredited to the ever-presence of science in Singapore’s parliamentary cabinet.

Undeniably, this has resulted in an apparent saturation of research, design and development opportunities and investments in technological advancements across the nation. The R&D landscape in its entirety is exclusively prosperous and offers a practically infinite financial well. Subsequently, Singapore is the most appropriate and supportive environment to pursue academic success.

Participation in the New Colombo plan and its collaborative efforts with La Trobe University’s has exacerbated the potential of Nano-based industries. Initially sceptical about the future of nanotechnology, its ethical direction and the dedication of its alumni, I have been forever ensured that the industry is inherently stable and expanding exponentially. Visits to A-Star institutes and insight into their operations and motivations have propelled me to pursue in a future in nanotechnology.


Politics aside, Singapore in a nutshell: good food, transport and a bright future. Alcohol is too expensive and the humidity is at times unbearable! Shiouk! 


Reflections on the trip

After the study tour finished on the Wednesday, some of us decided to stay together at a backpackers in Little India before going home. It was a good time to relax, and get to know each other a bit better, after being busy looking at all the research facilities. While there we went out and explored some areas of Singapore that I hadn’t been to before.

Going to Singapore was a great experience. Although already been there before, I wasn’t able to look around and explore and learn about it like I did this time. I learnt more about the future applications of the material I am currently learning through the Nanotechnology course. It wasn’t just centred around one area either; we got to see a range of different areas. Singapore’s culture was interesting to learn. The food over there is a big part of their culture. It shows with how nice, and cheap it was. Everywhere we went to eat had chopsticks to use if we wanted so I’ve basically become an expert at using them now.

The last day of the study tour

Today was our last day of the study tour. The first visit of the day was to the Institute of Medical Biology. We got a tour of some of their labs, where we were shown some super resolution microscopes they use. They had picture comparisons of rat kidneys, and other things, to show us how much better the resolution is on the new microscopes. Next, one of the people working there, who is Australian, talked about his research. He was working on the regeneration of bone using certain sugars, instead of using bone growth factor. Which was fairly Interesting


Next we went and had some lunch back at NUS, before heading over to the NUS surface science labs. While at the labs, Paul was helpful in explain to us some of the machines they had there, while the other researchers also talked about what they were working on.

After that  we had a quick look at the synchrotron, as we were running out of time to get to IMRE, and talked to people who were doing there research there. I find it amazing how small the synchrotron is, compared to the one in Melbourne.


Lastly, to end the trip we went back to IMRE, where we had a talk about the places we had visited and reflected on the experiences a little bit. One of the guys we talked to also told us about some of the research they had done there.

Final entry on Singapore

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.

Post-tour adventures. Reflections upon return to Australia

I spent a few nights in little India, in the backpackers hostel The prince of Whales. It was nice to relax after such a busy two weeks. A few of us who stayed there went shopping some more at Bugis, Mustafa, and Funan. I got the chance to go to the night safari at the zoo with two Danish backpackers, which was a really nice time. The atmosphere was very nice at the backpackers but I felt that it was time to return home.
The last day: Sunday started way too early from the sleep I’ve had, but the weather here makes it possible. It is pretty annoying that as soon as I’m completely acclimatized to living here, food, heat, ect, I must return home. I am going to miss Singapore and the people I have meet on this trip.
The day was spent at the airport, with its whole Koi ponds, butterfly gardens, free movie cinemas. Singapore airport is an amazing place.
I had a nice stopover in Kuala Lumpur, which was enough time off the plane for me to get some food and have a shower before getting onto the final flight to take me home to Melbourne.
Melbourne was much colder than I expected when I got back, shorts and a T-shirt weren’t the best idea to land with. Regardless it was nice to be back home.

Away from the hustle and bustle of the study tour, I feel that I have learnt a lot about Singapore, it’s science, and the fact that their is so much to be gained from international relationships and looking past our own boundaries to other lands which have so much to offer. We now live in an age of an international community; we should use it to its full advantage.
I am very glad I have  made these blog posts, I will be able to look back onto this in a few years and remember the experiences I have had in Singapore.

Pretty buildings

Now I am back in Australia I feel as that nothing had changed here but that I have matured as a person, I must be more confident with myself, and i should work harder for the things I really want. Also better organisation wouldn’t hurt.
Keeping a journal will help me remember what has happened, while also allowing me to attempt to improve my writing. I am planning to continue blogging my other adventures on my own blog.

Cheers for following this blog, i hope you have enjoyed it.

Fun at backpackers
Fun at backpackers



Singapore airport has its own butterfly enclosure
Singapore airport has its own butterfly enclosure


Singapore airport is amazing
Singapore airport is amazing


Sun over the clouds, almost home.
Sun over the clouds, almost home.

So long, Singapore… for now!

This study tour has been a life changing experience. Not only have I gained an inestimable amount of knowledge on Singapore, but I have also had my first exposure to overseas travel. I feel that this experience has given me a much deeper insight into foreign culture than I could have ever gained in Australia.

Looking back on the last two weeks, it seems like it was all just a blur. I have experienced so much in such a little amount of time; everything from lab tours to presentations, from the Singapore food culture to Singaporean governmental politics. Looking back, I think it is safe to say that my expectations prior to coming to Singapore were not entirely accurate. Indeed, I could never have predicted exactly how it would feel to experience a foreign country, especially one as unique as Singapore.

But despite everything, I am still very glad to be home. As much as I have enjoyed both the social and educational aspects of this study tour, by the end I was beginning to miss the comforts of being at home. But with that being said, I am almost certain that I will return to Singapore at some point in my life, perhaps even for a semester exchange program.

So with that I bid you farewell, Singapore, until we meet again!

Final Day

Today marks the last day of the Nanotechnology Singapore study tour. Our first stop was to visit the Institute of Medical Biology (IMB) and receive a presentation from a fellow aussie Victor Nurcombe. His current research was into natural sugars and their ability to regrow bones, which was evident in rabbits, fish, pigs and mice. Their next step is in a human trial.

After our visit to IMB, we headed back to NUS to visit the Singapore Synchrotron Light Source (SSLS). This place was intriguing since it had 1 working synchrotron and 1 on standby in case the first fails.

After the visit to the SSLS we made our way to our last visit back at IMRE. This was a nice way to end the trip by going back to the first institute that we had visited. At IMRE we had some coffee and tea and relaxed and talked to various people, including some professors. After this little sit down, we headed off outside and said our farewells to Paul and Dongchen.

After the study tour, i had almost an extra week in Singapore. I used this time to do some activities that i didn’t have the chance to do during the study tour.

Biopolis and the final day.

After an early night, I woke up at 4:00am to watch the Brazil & Germany World Cup match. Just after the 7:1 German victory, the sky’s above Singapore opened up to a torrential downpour with lighting cracking all around us. It was truly an intense experience to have purple lighting so close to us. By our meeting time of 8:20am it had slowed down to a drizzle. We took the shuttle bus to Kent ridge then the train to Bona vista, where we then walked for a few minutes to Immunos at Biopolis. Biopolis is an international research and development centre for biomedical sciences. Immunos is one of the buildings in the Biopolis complex which houses The Institute of Medical Biology (IMB). We were greeted and given a tour of their laboratories. Then we were given a presentation by an Australian Professor, Victor Nucombe who works at IMB.

The presentation was about himself, history about Singapore, and the story of the company he is in/ how he got there.It was very interesting to know how Victor Nucombe got to where he currently is and the journey he has taken to get there.
We were then taken down to the basement where they showed us their super-resolution fluoresce microscopes. Apart from being very beautiful, the images they take there are also useful scientifically.

We then travelled back to NUS, to their surface science laboratory where we were shown their equipment and the Singapore synchrotron light source (SSLS). The SSLS is very small compared to the one we have at Monash, but it is still able to produce what is needed for experiments.

After that visit we returned to IMRE where we once again had a sit down and chatted with some of the people there. From which we were then dismissed from the tour.
I then continued my own adventures.


Our tour of the final A-Star facility, Singapore’s Institute of Medical Biology (IMB) was a raw and unaltered presentation of the companies prospectives and capabilities. An overview of the microscopy lab was delivered candidly, yet with detail and the intention of broadening our perceptions on the trials and tribulations of laboratory operation. 

A meeting with fellow Australian, Professor Victor Nucombe, allowed a starkly honest interpretation of  the life of a Singaporean professional and an analysis of the nation’s history and future; from a typically Australian perspective. Professor Nucombe covered previously undisclosed aspects of the country’s past and illustrated the events that potential prefaced their current prosperity.

Most impressively, the astonishingly confident, eccentric and ultimately compelling Nucombe was transparent with his motivations in relocating to the city-state. Unsurprisingly, financial benefit and the promise of immediate application of his research compelled the Australian’s operations. He described the government’s relationship with the industry as unlimited and under the pretence that a research environment would be constructed “where money is no object”. However enticing this may appear, it was extended by the his establishment of Singapore’s economic future. 

Currently, Singapore is the fourth largest financial centre globally and contains the greatest percentage of private wealth per capita worldwide – making it the wealthiest country on Earth. The world bank has dictated that Singapore is the most suitable environment for private business, particularly those regarding the sciences. 

Professor Nucombe’s concern with the quality of Australian science permeated his presentation and accentuated the extension of an invite to aspiring Australian graduates. Personally, the enticements of Singapore’s scientific climate may be fruitful enough to attract myself, given the appropriate research opportunities arise. 


Fusionopilis, A-Star’s corporate expose and industrial bragging point illustrated sensationalised scientific endeavours and exciting yet typical socially irrelevant technologies. The building, alike the technology it protected, was futuristic and cold, however offered a panoramic view of the cities lesser seen postcodes. The first exhibit, and ultimately spectacular, 3-dimensional holographic theatre was guarded by an enormous, confronting and inherently secure sliding door that seemed ill-fitting for the physical manifestation of the A-Star institute’s prosperity and more appropriate for the lair of an eccentric super-villain. Unsurprisingly, from this point onwards, photography was prohibited with the intention of classifying the assets of the foundation. 

Evidently, Fusionopolis existed as an inconsistent amalgamation of A-Star’s economic, technological and scientific endeavours. The extravagant environment, although impressive, was delivered in conjunction with its commercial aspirations, rather than denoting the social or political ramifications of the technology it housed. Holistically, the visit gave insight into the depth and dissonance of technological research and design, and emphasised realities surrounding the financial personality of R&D. Undoubtedly, the most marketable inventions and adaptations are those that facilitate the wants of the greater public, rather than the needs. 

Personally, I hope that this is not a consequence of the ‘push and pull’ marketing system, which could potentially lead to the commercialisation of pivotal scientific bodies whose funding be otherwise allocated to scientific necessities. Although otherwise excessive, Futuropilis was an impressive and undeniably spectacular incarnate of the flexibility of the A-Star corporation. 

Following the visit to the A-Star institute, we were allowed an intimate tour of the Singapore Zoo and its back-of-house facilities. Disappointingly, the zoo was less than impressive on many accounts and effectively heightened my appreciation for Melbourne’s own attractions. Despite the passion and enthusiasm that the staff portrayed towards the well-being of the enclosed animals, the living conditions in many of the exhibits were unrealistic, overpopulated and confronting. Particularly in the case of the attraction’s fully-grown polar-bear, whom laid  uncomfortably in solitude on a concrete slab, appearing malnourished and expressing grimace. Despite all attempts to be diplomatic in my writing, I cannot condone this behaviour on behalf of the tourist attraction. 

The day, in its entirety, elucidated the underside of the nation’s commercial activities. Juxtaposed to the prosperous endeavours in Singapore’s scientific and industrial sectors, I feel that the commercial state of the country is potentially shallow and immoral.