My Friends in Singapore

Here are some nice group photo.

A nice working lunch with faculty and students from School of Computer, National University of Singapore.

After the talk to students.

Meeting with NUS Entrepreneur Alumni at Soc, NUS

Meeting with MDA.

Below is the time of the lecture:

Meetings in Singapore

Meetings include:

  • Meeting with faculties in National University of Singapore
  • Workshop on China’s Internet – The room will filled with 300 students with another same size room broadcasting the video
  • Meeting with Infocomm Development Agency
  • Meeting with Media Development Agency
  • Meeting with Temasek
  • Meeting with NUS alumni
  • Meeting with computer department of NUS.

There are other smaller meetings in it. I love my Singapore trip. Here are some photos.

Below: A cool demo by a company invested by MDA.

P.S. the F1 will be held inside the city tomorrow, roughly at the time I am flying above Vietnam.

Singapore Pte Ltd

I joked with Prof. Juzar on the way to dinner, that I found myself on the campus of a big company called “Singapore Pte Ltd” these days. Some people joked that the president of China acts as CEO of China Limited Corparation. I felt more so in Singapore. I formed the impression from the interaction with the government agencies, universities, and private sectors, and some ideas comes from the autobiography of Lee Kuan Yew.

The National University of Singapore campus

It is obvious to me that the whole Singapore acted as one single company. The government, the universities, and the private sectors worked so well, just like the different teams in a big company. Universities can be the HR department, while the government can be the legal and finance depart, with the private sector act as R&D, and business develop organization.

One example is the way they acquire talent. In the lecture this afternoon, Prof. Tan asked how many students are Chinese. About 70-80% in the room raised their hand. I asked Prof. Tan what is the definition of Chinese students, he said, they are very likely to be from mainland China. After chatting more on this topic, I understand that the Singapore government sponsors the university to offer full scholarship to the students to attract them to study in Singapore (most of them are the best from the Tsinghua, Peking or SJTU). Most of the students stayed in Singapore, and contribute to this newly emerged economy. Think about it. It is just like the scholarship and internship program we are trying to run on campus – but Singapore is running it as a country.

From the different organizations and programs, I can feel the passion the government is trying to foster entrepreneurship. Developing the people is one of the four key strategies for iDa (Infocom Development Agency), and the key driver for School of Computer in National University of Singapore, and very likely to be key strategy for all universities here.

Take the workshop of this afternoon. The NUS sponsored the air-ticket and the hotel for the panels from Shanghai. What an effort! If the conference can help to accelerate one successful entrepreneurs out of the audience, that quite pays back everything.

From the autobiography of Lee Kuan Yew, they are using this effort to attract few hundred best students from around the world. Not a big number, in China scale (well, in China, people are talking about students in terms of million), but it is so critical for Singapore, especially when we consider the quality of the people they attract.

Obviously, Singapore has a clear strategy to attract and keep the world’s best talents. How about China?

P.S. The workshop went on very well. I enjoyed the conversation, and impressed by the sharp questions people asked. In case you are among the audience, and we didn’t have a chance to exchange name card, you can find my contact information on the right side of my blog homepage.

P.S. 2. During the presentation, prof. Tan quoted two “Singapore styles” – one is using mixed language to present the talk (English or Chinese or combined), and the other one is to keep the order by queuing after the microphone. If a country or company formed certain style that people living within can recognize and actively promote it, it is called a new culture.

Singapore Second Impression

I am at Orchard Hotel at Singapore, on the famous Orchard road.

This is my “second impression” of Singapore – the first impression was about 10 years ago.

1. Singapore is far from China. I was surprised that there is no time difference after 5 hours’ of flight. Then with the help of a map, I figured out that it is at the same longitude with Kunming in China, only moved to 1 degree north near the equation. That was my major mistake, since I always thought Singapore is somewhere very west.

2. I read the autobiography of its formal prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew. The development of Singapore is very unique, and not replicable.

3. Singapore is small. Xiamen is maybe one of the small cities that is like Singapore – It is also on an island. Singapore’s surface is 710.2 sq km, and Xiamen, is 1,565 sq km, about twice the size. Singapore has about 4 million people, while, in China, there are 39 cities with urban population more than 4 million. If we count the rural populations under those cities, the list can be longer (the 30th largest cities in total population, Tangshan, has 7 million people). So, it again reminds me to put things into perspective, and don’t simply transplant rules in Singapore to China.

4. Having said that, I found there are many great ideas and learning from the experience of Singapore, like the greenization effort, and using English as a comprise for all the people there.

5. Singapore airport is still the best airport, and they are trying harder. I was selected as a participant in their usability test. Two college age girls followed me to tour the airport, and asked interview questions to me about how to improve the airport.

6. The people I met, mainly in airport, and hotels, are very friendly. They speak different languages. The reception who looks like Chinese does not speak Chinese at all. They are from Philippines. The FAQ in my mind was, what language the person is speaking in. Lerry even got confused when waiter speak Chinese to him: “Which language she was using?”

7. I was completely blew away 10 years ago on Orchard road. Now, with more big shops like the new LV flagship store, I just don’t feel more excited than Huaihai Road, and Nanjing West Road. Singapore is great, but I am growing up, and my standard changes.

8. Thanks Prof. Tan for the great arrangement, and picking us at the airport. I felt very welcomed, and taken good care of. Looking forward to talking with about 300 students in National University of Singapore tomorrow.

Singapore e-Visa

I was impressed by the efficiency of Singapore government. They issued an e-visa the second day after I submitted the application, although the standard processing time is 3 days – an example of “under promising, over delivering”.

The e-visa is just a printed paper (just needed for airlines to check-in). The real visa is in the computer system, and will be validated with my passport.

The visa fee is 153 RMB (30 S’$). It is valid of two years, and multi-entry.

Good. I am happy that I can visit Singapore at any time. If there is cheaper airline ticket, that will be better.

If you are interested in the event I am going to participate, check here. Thanks for the kind sponsorship from the School of Computing of National University of Singapore for the trip.

This will be my second trip to Singapore, with the first one about 10 years ago.