Singapore - what we can learn


"Money makes the world go round" is an incredibly common phrase one hears living in any capitalistic society. It'd be safe to say that I’d have heard this in my early years growing up in Singapore, a society so new (50 years in the making..) and adaptive to current issues and situations. In a mere 50 years, Singapore has transformed itself from a fishing village to a financial hub where investors both flock and yearn to be in -- in numbers, the population of Singapore more than quadrupled in a mere 40 years from 1.2 million to a whooping 5.6 million people. When people think of Singapore, our minds immediately drift to the film - Crazy Rich Asians, its obsession with cleanliness - its ban on chewing gum, and its innovative engineering feats - Marina Bay Sands, but I’ve begun to realize that what makes Singapore great precedes all of those things, her ability to innovate and think ahead of the pack allows her to remain relevant in an ever-changing climate. While I learnt about Singapore’s “forward-thinkingness” in social studies class, I’ve only begun to realize its importance in a future where unpredictability and uncertainty dominates the characteristics. Contrary to its citizens, and places in the West, who are still struggling with the credibility of climate change, the Singapore government has already taken steps to ensure the survival of its citizens in the event of torrential rains and intolerable heat. Singapore has a master plan - multiple in fact - and its not waiting for the rest of the world to take action before she does. From projects that ensure water security to investing in urban farming technology to drafting out underground cities, Singapore has thought of it all. The incredible thing isn’t that it’s thought about these things, it’s the plan to action and its willingness to invest in (what I believe is) essential technology that is surprising to me. I was given the opportunity to see first-hand what it meant for a city to provide for herself, to believe and work with its scientists, as well as to relate observations to logical reasoning. What it’s done isn’t impossible though, if anything Singapore has only touched upon a small fraction of what could be and countries who look to Singapore should see how it could innovate in ways that mimic the same attitude her government takes in understanding future challenges and situations. The debate shouldn’t be able whether climate change is real or not, from the several severe weather events that have occurred in the past couple of months in areas like Australia and California, the question should instead be HOW can we make our societies resilient to a world with such a sporadic change in climate.