Multicultural, efficient and green – three words that describe my impression of Singapore, an island-state in the heart of Southeast Asia with a land area two-thirds the size of New York City that houses the most competitive economy in the world.

The country’s forward-looking approach to economic development is one of the reasons it was chosen for our eight-day Asian Management Issues study tour. During the tour, we were immersed in the people, culture and environment that fuels a highly developed free market economy and the third least corrupt country worldwide. The tour gave me a wider perspective on the importance of government’s three-pronged approach to sustainability: people, planet and profit.

Multiculturalism in the workplace

We visited the offices of Google, Visa, and HP and met diverse, multicultural teams in the process. According to the employees, working in a multicultural team provides one with different perspectives, instilling a clearer understanding of the world and making the environment interesting and fun.  Singapore is easy for expats to live and work in the country because of its open policies and diverse culture.

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From L-R: Lycah from the Philippines and her teammates Ngan from Vietnam and Alex from Canada during their multi-cultural RMIT University study group.

Clean and green

Singapore’s cleanliness and green spaces amazed me. The population does not litter or smoke in public places, the air is clean, water is clean – and you can even drink directly from the tap. Green spaces such as parks, green buildings and trash cans are everywhere. I observed a culture of responsibility at every corner, as law enforcement plays a big part to achieve this.

Singapore’s mass rapid transit system (MRT) is the best in the world. It is clean and efficient, which makes commuting enjoyable and even fun. It made me reflect on my home country, the Philippines, where traffic and inefficient transport systems costs economic losses of $67 million US dollars per day. I hope we can enjoy a transport system as advanced and efficient as Singapore’s soon.

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Lycah inside the Cloud Forest Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay, a nature park spanning 101 hectares of reclaimed land in the Central Region of Singapore, adjacent to the Marina Reservoir.

HF family meetups

Finally, my Singapore trip was made complete by meeting friends from the Hinrich Foundation. I met our new GTL scholar Eddie Cai and he gave me a quick tour of the INSEAD campus. I also met our alumni Genin Koh for breakfast, where we had a fun chat about work and life. As I always say, one of the biggest perks of being part of the HFAA community is having friends and family wherever you go.

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Lycah at INSEAD campus with Hinrich Global Trade Leader Eddie Cai, current scholar, Master of Business Administration, INSEAD and co-founder of 21 Keg, an e-commerce platform that connects manufacturers of private label brands to American customers.

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Lycah at Park Hotel Clarke Quay with Hinrich Global Trade Leader alumnus, Genin Koh, Master of Business Administration, National University of Singapore. She is currently working at a tech SaaS startup as Strategy and Operations Manager.

Overall, my Singapore study tour taught me the importance of knowing your competitive advantage and being open. Singapore was a marshland 50 years ago, but it blossomed into one of the biggest economies in the world because it opened its doors to businesses and people regardless of race, language, religion and culture. This is a country that is clean and forward-thinking.

About the author – Cherrilyn “Lycah” Baylon

Singapore in my eyes: “Multicultural, efficient and green” 5Cherrilyn “Lycah” Baylon (Philippines, RMIT MIB ’20) is studying Masters in International Business at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Vietnam campus and works as the Scholar Officer for the Trade Leadership Development program. She worked as an export consultant for the Export Trade Assistance (ETA) program in the Philippines for five years, providing consultancy services and connecting small and medium-sized export companies to buyers worldwide.

Prior to working with the Hinrich Foundation, she’s been in development work for 4 years focusing on micro, small and medium enterprises. She worked as a Program Coordinator (2 years) and a Project Development Analyst (2 years) for MASICAP MSME Development Foundation, Inc., a non-government organization that also promotes trade by helping MSMEs gain access to financing. She is trained in the preparation of project feasibility study and business proposals.

Lycah graduated from the Notre Dame of Marbel University in 2010 and obtained a degree on Bachelor of Science in Commerce major in Management Accounting.