The Go Abroad Fund gave me another chance to witness the robust life at Singapore! The intent to participate at the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) World Congress held last July 2018 went beyond just listening to the speakers and submitting my paper for the proceedings as it brought me to an exciting world of intellectual dialogues with colleagues and partners of the profession from around the world. It also became the interface of academics and professionals as most participants were able to share research and professional insights related thereof.
Singapore can definitely be considered as “crazy-rich” when it comes to its garden city experiences. The robustness of the city-country goes beyond just being a global hub of everything technological, ecological, and leisurely. For a landscape architect and a PhD student like me, it does have its charm of being a learning environment – an excellent venue to understand the congress theme on biophilic cities, smart nation, and future resilience of our places to move us forward to a more sustainable future. It also has its historic towns, new districts, and gentrified neighbourhoods which can perhaps become models for future settlements planning. And have I stated that the food in Singapore is spot-on? People should visit Singapore also for its gastronomic splendour.
An excellent example of my crazy-rich experience is encapsulated in my daily traverse to the Congress. Each morning during the Congress, I took off from the Bugis district and had a short stop to grab a quick “Singaporean” breakfast of tea, eggs, and kaya toast. The meal was not as heavy as what I usually have back in the UK where breakfast was indeed a big platter, but it was enough to fill me up as I enjoin the commuters who travel to their work in an orderly manner using the public transportation which efficiently combines walking and the MRT (train). What I love about Singapore is its Environmental Graphic Design (EGD’s) which they always improve on, meaning signage are everywhere and you wouldn’t need to ask how to go to places! It was indeed one of the most comfortable places to visit because of its legibility. Aside from this daily commute to the Congress, what was also considered as one of my successes during the trip to Singapore is the engagement in the dialogues with scholars who share the same ideals with cultural landscape management. Being able to bring into the discussion my concerns on managing cultural landscapes, specifically in peri-urban regions in my country, the Philippines, brought me new perspectives on how to move forward with my dissertation. Listening to their ideas can indeed help me shape my framework more efficiently and perhaps, reevaluate my thoughts on how to design and manage our cultural landscapes. Overall, that crazy-rich trip was indeed an experience to remember.