From Sumbawa to Kent Ridge – Navigating Diversity and Sustainability through the TF LEaRN Program in Singapore

Kent Ridge remains an indelible waypoint in the chambers of memory, unraveling a tale spanning three weeks in Singapore. At the bus stop that perennially served as the final destination for the journey back, the mosque that sometimes offered solace, leaving an impression replete with melancholy, etched deeply in a mind that is nigh impossible to erase. I always wove strands of smiles as my feet embarked onto the buses. The bus drivers were always the recipients of my first smiles. Around NUS, known as the ‘National University of Singapore,’ those words hold extraordinary significance in the depths of the heart. This campus became the confluence where I encountered not just individuals of greatness, who became friends, but also tutors in the art of camaraderie, beyond the scripted programs.

I partook in the TF LEaRN program, a curriculum of leadership instillation, social awareness, networking, and self-development orchestrated by the Temasek Foundation, in collaboration with the National University of Singapore.

In one segment of the program, a few days subsequent to the inaugural event, we were afforded the privilege of attending a lecture on Cultural Intelligence at Singapore Management University. Humanity, across the world, has woven customs, traditions, and cultures based on their perspectives. Some might be peculiar and beyond the grasp of reason, while others serve as exemplars, a gesture of reverence toward the cultural heritage bequeathed. For instance, when foreigners venture to Indonesia for investments, they manifest openness by conducting business meetings or formal affairs clad in batik, a mark of respect for Indonesian society’s culture. Elsewhere, like Tokyo, their tribute is marked by a slight bow. The ability to comprehend, appreciate, and interact with diverse cultures with sensitivity and efficacy builds bridges connecting individuals from varied backgrounds. In this era of globalization, a leader shines through cross-cultural communication skills, leadership within diverse teams, and an embrace of diversity fueled by genuine curiosity. With an open mind and sincere empathy, a leader not only forges positive connections but also contributes to business success, personal growth, and enlightenment in the richness of the world’s diversity. I also realize the importance of upholding faith, beliefs, and values. Possessing a framework of do’s and don’ts enables one to analyze what is virtuous and vice, worthy of emulation or not.

Furthermore, I had the privilege to visit the PUB NEWater Visitor Centre, which could be analogized to PDAM, Indonesia’s water utility company. It was novel to learn that Singapore’s local water supply is insufficient to meet the needs of this diminutive nation. They recycle wastewater, desalinate seawater, gather rainwater through reservoirs, and as a final resort, import water from Johor, Malaysia. Indeed, Singapore is bound by water import contracts with Johor until 2061. Hence, public policy in Singapore plays an instrumental role. PUB NEWater is a tangible example of visionary public policies oriented toward innovation that aids a nation in surmounting critical natural resource challenges. Government involvement in the development of NEWater showcases a commitment to safeguarding water supply sustainability and elevating community living standards. Singapore’s public policies have recognized the necessity of diversifying water sources to lessen reliance on natural water supplies. Faced with limited natural water resources, this policy propels technological advancements and infrastructural development to yield high-quality water from alternative sources. It also involves educating the populace about the importance of judicious water usage and engaging in sustainable practices. PUB NEWater stands as a conduit for fostering public awareness regarding the benefits and safety of processed wastewater.
The pinnacle of my learning journey in Singapore was when we cast our gaze toward ASEAN in 2040, collectively envisioning eco-friendly renewable solutions that preserve sustainability. In essence, learning to be a ‘futurist.’ We collaborated, and truly comprehended the importance of collaboration in upholding the future prosperity of ASEAN nations. A fascinating facet of the learning experience in Singapore was that we were consistently grouped with different individuals for different sessions. The central point was singular: to broaden networking horizons and exchange thoughts.

I extend my gratitude to the Directorate of Global Partnerships at the Universitas Teknologi Sumbawa. Thanks are due to Mr. Eri Sofiatry and Ms. Nurul Izzati for their trust. I perpetually aspire for my knowledge to benefit myriad souls. My constant aspiration is to ensure that the knowledge I have gained serves as a conduit for the betterment of countless individuals. This commitment proper me forward, fueling my ongoing dedication to leveraging my acquired insights for the greater good, reaching a multitude of souls who stand to benefit from it.

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