50 Friends of Singapore Reflect on What is Singapore? What Next Singapore? on the Nation’s Golden Jubilee, SG50

Singapore, 6 March 2015 – What makes Singapore tick? What is it like to live in Singapore? How is Singapore a globalised city? The Singapore International Foundation (SIF) invited 50 members of the international community, representing 20 nationalities, who have visited, worked and studied in Singapore to shed light on the head, heart and soul of the nation through their personal essays.

Singapore: Insights from the Inside is a partnership between Friends of Singapore and SIF to foster greater cross-cultural understanding between Singaporeans and world communities and, forms part of the SIF’s efforts this year to include the international community in celebrations of Singapore’s 50th year of independence.

“The writers have opened up their lives to share their learnings, thoughts, families and aspirations with readers. This is a rare chance to learn much from the people around us who will become inspiring friends as we read their stories,” said volunteer editor Mr Richard Hartung who has lived in Singapore since 1992, and was a contributor to the first volume. Hartung joined three contributors at the book launch today to dialogue with the Singapore community.

Malaysian diplomat Kamsiah Kamaruddin drew from personal and professional experience to comment on the shared heritage and the importance of strengthening people-to-people ties between Singaporeans and Malaysians. Briton Andrew Mead spoke about inspiring the community with commissioned artwork within the city’s metro system through his work as a principal design manager at the Land Transport Authority. Malaysian social innovator Grace Sai was optimistic about Singapore’s community-driven innovations, but added that more space was needed for communities to emerge, breathe and live.

The 50 international voices included academics, healthcare professionals, diplomats, leading business people and social entrepreneurs, artists and students:

  • Indonesian Mayor Ridwan Kamil shared how he continues to be guided by his Singapore experience as an exchange student especially in the areas of governance, urban development and use of technology;
  • American ecologist and President of Nature Society (Singapore) Shawn Lum presented a lesser known side of Singapore, one that is active in the conservation of Singapore’s rich nature heritage;
  • Indian scholar Kanti Bajpai praised Singapore’s magnetism and progress at becoming a global hub for academics.

SIF’s Executive Director Ms Jean Tan said: “Singapore’s 50th anniversary presents an opportunity for both celebration and reflection. These insights into Singapore’s head, heart and soul and exchange of perspectives are a timely contribution from our friends to inspire dialogue on the way forward as Singapore looks ahead to its next 50 years. We are privileged to have our Friends of Singapore partner us in this latest edition of Singapore: Insights from the Inside, to bridge communities and build greater understanding across cultures.”

SIF will continue this series of dialogues in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, London and Washington DC this year involving the international community there to share their perspectives on What is and What’s next, Singapore?

Singapore: Insights from the Inside is available for download from the SIF website at www.sif.org.sg/sifti from 6 March, 7pm.



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