Dialogue with the High Commission
By everyone who went on this trip
On the 6th of June, we visited the Singapore High Commission in London. We were greeted by Ms Cheryl and Ms Rozana. It was extremely exciting to be stepping on Singapore ground so far from home. We instantly felt welcomed by their warm smiles and their confident postures and after being ushered into a room, we started our discussion.
The Singapore High Commission was set up to form strong international relations with the United Kingdom as well as to care for the well-being of Singaporeans in the UK, especially since such a large population live or study there.
it was a very fruitful and unforgettable experience as it was a rare opportunity for us to openly voice our questions on any issues ranging from international problems to even questioning their personal opinions about the issues that Singapore and the world is facing.
To Singapore, the UK is a partner to enhance capabilities, investment opportunities and technical expertise. Singapore is trying to create partnerships and forge strong ties with different countries (as seen from the Trump-Kim summit) The UK is one of the permanent five members in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the 5th largest economy and also having the long defence cooperation with Singapore through the 5 Power Defence Agreement and Cybersecurity. We have learnt how UK’s relationship with Singapore plays an imperative role and the importance of establishing good international relations since Singapore cannot sustain itself.
Having a job at the High Commission does not come easy. It is indeed a privilege to serve one’s country in a diplomatic capacity. One of the challenges they face is the different stances and views that they have as diplomats regarding government and global issues which causes many political uncertainties. They often have to stand from Singapore’s perspectives in terms of policies because thought they may disagree with it, there are always points that are beneficial to Singapore. At times, Singapore may be forced to take sides on controversial issues. We will face some form of opposition for whichever choice we make, however, diplomats have to stay true to Singapore’s beliefs and principles and make informed decisions that will best benefit us. For diplomats, however, this means always prioritising the country’s stance and interests over their own. Ms Cheryl and Ms Rozana also shared about the techniques of how to achieve our country’s interest when handling issues without crossing borders and offending others; which is to understand the other party’s position and be aware that they’re both trying to achieve what’s best for their country, which will then enable us to work towards a win-win situation and achieve common ground.
As we were about to leave the High Commission after the fruitful dialogue, the phone rang and after answering a call, Ms Rozana hastily left the room. It turns out, there was a fire that had started at the Mandarin Oriental hotel (just a 10 minute walk away from the High Commission, and the hotel that we were standing at while waiting for a few of our friends earlier) they were worried that there might be Singaporeans staying in that hotel and had to confirm their suspicions. Fortunately, no one got injured in the fire.
All in all, it was a really enriching and eye-opening experience. Ultimately, everything is done in the interest of Singapore, and the people at the MFA have done an extremely good job in establishing good ties with other countries.