Stories > On The Cover

2015 • Issue 3

On The Cover


In celebration of Singapore’s 50th birthday, we shine the spotlight on the heart and soul of our nation– our Citizen Ambassadors. Through their sharing of knowledge, skills and experiences, these people connect for change to enrich lives,whether in arts and culture, health care, education, business and livelihood, or the environment.


We applaud the good businesses that centre on effecting positive change on communities and supporting livelihoods. One such example is Singapore-based Bettr Barista Coffee Academy, a social enterprise that equips disadvantaged women and youth at risk with the skills and tools needed to become world-class baristas and more.


The role education plays in connecting and empowering communities for a better world is undeniable.With education, employment opportunities are broadened, and individuals are empowered, enabling the development of an independent, sustainable and responsible society. The Words on Wheels mobile library has travelled to cities like Bandung (Indonesia) and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), to spread the joy and importance of the English language and cross-cultural learning to children across Asia.


The arts, including street art, paintings, theatre and dance, represents a very unique facet of culture.It has evolved over time to take on an added role of promoting cross-cultural collaboration, understanding and friendship.This bronze Elephant Statue was presented by Thailand’s King Chulalongkorn to Singapore to mark his visit in 1871, and is believed to be one of Singapore’s very first pieces of public art. It is also a strong testament to the close relationship Singapore and Thailand enjoys.


Vegetables, heirloom tomatoes, Italian basil and peppermint are some of the crops grown on Singapore’s first commercial rooftop farm run by social enterprise Comcrop. Kudos to our green warriors who work towards ensuring environmental sustainability and development through the exchange of knowledge and ideas.


Health is wealth. Health care is another area in which there are many opportunities for partnerships and collaborations. This is where Singaporean and non-Singaporean health-care professionals come together to share and exchange expertise, skills and resources, and work towards a common goal of uplifting lives.


To mark Singapore’s 50th year of independence, the Singapore International Foundation invited 50 members of the international community who have lived, visited,studied or worked in Singapore to share their perspectives on the country. This collection of personal stories on Singapore’s head, heart and soul was compiled into the book Singapore: Insights from the Inside – VolumeII. Here is a selection of quotes from these individuals, representing various nationalities, on what Singapore means to them.


Noraset Rerkkachornkiat
DigiPen Institute of Technology
Digital Animation Takes Off in Singapore

“There is a palpable passion for media arts in this country. It has been a good place to live and grow as an artist.”

Andrés Martinez
Editorial Director,
Future Tense (New America)
Is Singapore the Perfect Country for Our Times?

“Singapore calls itself the Lion City, but it woild be more accurate to call it the Canary City - the canary in globalisation's gold mine. Arguably no other place on earth has engineered itself to prosper from globalsation.”

Sheriden Newman
Maya Dance Theatre
Connecting Communities through the Arts

“When taking dance productions overseas, one has to be culturally sensitive. Gaining this 'cultural sensitivity' is easier to grasp through living in Singapore, where each race and culture has its own values and customs. To live together in one country, the people need to respect and understand each other's cultures.”

Andy Holley
Practice Manager and Expert,
McKinsey & Company
Cosmopolitan Singapore - A Beacon of Positive Change in a DIverse World?

“My Experiences in Singapore show just how it has developed a far deeper cosmopolitan Identity. I beleive that Identity bodes well for Singapore's prosperous future as a beacon of inclusive, responsible and positive change in Asia, and a diverse and connected world.”

Peter Yang
Founder, Empact
Making an Impact with Empact

“The perfect mix of East and West, blending the best parts of what I found when I lived in China and the United Kingdom before moving here and keeping me connected with both. I hope that social enterprises will become the norm in the future and one day every enterprise will be a social enterprise, caring for both the social outcome and the bottom line.”

Kamsiah Kamaruddin
Deputy High Commissioner,
Malaysian High Commission in Singapore
Culture that Connects and Binds

“I have ofter asked Singaporeans, ‘What is the Singaporean identity?’ .Malaysia too, is forming its identity. We share this journey of both seeking an identity. We can share this journey together and build a deeper understanding of each other.”

Glenn D Steele Jr
Board Member,
Agency for Integrated Care
Value Reengineering Care for the Elderly

“From all of these experiences, we have learnt how Singapore takes the best from itself and from us to advance its commitment to its citizens continually.”

Prukalpa Sankar
Co-Founder, SocialCops
and 2015 Forbes India “30 Under 30” recipient
The Start-up City for Social Entrepreneurs

“Sometimes I wonder how things would have been different had I not been exposed to the thriving ecosystem and industry in Singapore, Would I have even considered a start-up? If I had, Would I have had the resources to sustain it? Would I have become a social entrepreneur at all?”

Haruhisa Takeuchi
Embassy of Japan in Singapore
Singapore, The Compassionate

“After the earthquake struck, SIngapore expressed its compassion, solidarity and support to the devastated areas in a swift and decisive manner. My country, Japan, very much looks forward to working together, walking together with Singapore and learning from each other for many years to come.”

Kanlaya Kampan
Senior Director,
Unicity Marketing and SIF representative in Bangkok
A Fellowship for Good

“I continue to try to connect Thai Fellows and Singapore citizens through regular activities where we can get to know one another better and replicate the good relationships I enjoyed during my time in Singapore. I am hoping that we can create activities that help serve communities, create awareness for social issues and gather resources to meet needs.”

Kanti Prasad Bajpai
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
An inside-out view of the academy

“Contrary to the general view, Singaporeans are not grim robotic administrators. At work, they congregate cheerily, gossip freely enough, laugh at their obsession with minutiae and order, and set about their business... What could be more social that complaining good-naturedly about work, solving problems as you go, and drowning tea and curry puffs?”

Shawn Lum
Nature Society (Singapore)
Sharing Singapore's Boundless National Treasures

“I was one of many non-Singaporeans in the Nature Society and was made to feel completely at home. We were British, Japanese, Indian, American, Danish, Dutch, German and more. but we were a small component of a thoroughly Singaporean non-governmental organisation, united by a love for nature and driven by a neenness to see it preserved for the benefit of everyone.”


This May Also Interest You