Sharing Singapore’s Heart and Soul

Six Chinese media friends visited Singapore to gain valuable insights into how we live, work and play.

Garden City: Visiting Singapore’s first eco-precinct Treelodge@Punggol, where greening and eco-friendliness are integrated into public housing.

The SIF hosted six Chinese journalists and editors from 20 to 24 January 2015, on a programme that gave them a closer look into Singapore’s innovations in urban planning and liveability solutions, our cultural diversity and the softer aspects and compassionate nature of our people.

Shared Ms Wang Chao, Senior Editor at China Daily: “The visit enabled us to comprehensively learn about Singapore’s history, culture, systems of governance and vision for the future. But, most importantly, we encountered the soul of Singapore. What this visit has done most successfully for me is to shatter the simplistic stereotype of Singapore, giving me insights into the nation’s spirit and citizens’ lives, and allowing me to understand first-hand how a city is run efficiently while prioritising the needs of its citizens. Such valuable insights cannot be gotten from books.”

During the four-day visit, the group met individuals and got to know organisations involved in various aspects of society and nation-building.

The media engaged in a roundtable discussion chaired by Professor Chan Heng Chee, Chairman of the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities, learning about various aspects of Singapore’s innovations in city and urban planning.

They were also hosted on visits with the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the Housing Development Board at Singapore’s first eco-precinct Treelodge@Punggol and the Marina Barrage.

Heart and Soul: Meeting Dr William Wan, champion of the Singapore Kindness Movement.

They learned more about Singapore’s heart and soul through meetings with prominent local personalities in social services such as Dr William Wan, General Secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement, and Dr Tan Lai Yong who spent 14 years in Yunnan, China, establishing the barefoot doctors medical programme in Xishuangbanna.

Through meetings with local social entrepreneurs at the Hub Singapore, they learned more about how business can be harnessed for good. They met with SIF’s very own Young Social Entrepreneurs 2010 winner – Soule, a Singaporean trio passionate about bringing school shoes to children in rural China who need them. They also visited Comcrop by The Living! Project, Singapore’s first urban farm and a social enterprise which seeks to inspire a passion for greening and farming in our citizens.

At HCA Hospice Care, they met citizen ambassador Dr R Akhileswaran who explained the importance of healthcare with a heart.

Art that Binds: SIF Deputy Director Ms Soh Lai Yee and citizen ambassador Dr Chua Soo Pong show the group around the SIF’s DiverseCity showcase.

Through walking tours of iconic Waterloo Street and our Peranakan Museum, the media were able to understand more about Singapore’s ethnic and cultural diversity. They also visited the Chinese Heritage Centre at the Nanyang Technological University, where they spoke with Centre Director Professor Zhou Min regarding the preservation of our culture and heritage and visited one of Singapore’s two remaining Dragon Kilns, along with the Wang Gungwu Library and other cultural exhibitions.

Finally, they toured the SIF’s DiverseCity 2014 showcase, learning how Singapore bridges world communities and promotes greater understanding through arts & culture. On hand was citizen ambassador Dr Chua Soo Pong, Chinese opera proponent and DiverseCity 2014 artist, to take them through the showcase which celebrates the role of artists and cultural leaders as citizen ambassadors in building networks of friendships, globally.

Concluded Mr Wang De Min, Senior Editor at “This is a meaningful and relevant visit programme that enables the exchange of insights between our two countries and such visits should continue in the future. Singapore’s openness as a city is something China can learn from, and we hope that Singaporeans will visit us as well – so that we can exchange insights and promote greater understanding on common issues shared by both countries.”

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