Good morning! This day we had get up early for two planned visits: IExperience and the Singaporee zoo complete with night safari. Both planned visits were as always fun. However, at this study tour the day does not end after our scheduled programme. We obvisously also like to explore the cities we visit. Allow us to firstly introduce you how we spend our time after the programme with and example of yesterdayś evening.
The first thing on the list is to get dinner, for which we get a daily fixed budget from the committee. Most evenings the group splits up in smaller groups. For us this meant getting onto the subway to explore Chinatown. We walked around and visited some local stands. After that we had dinner with a group of 9, followed by a few beers that where cheap, at least for Singapore standards (so still expensive in the end). After a few of us went back to the hostel, we decided to meet up with some fellow participants to go to a club in the Clarke Quay area. However, some locals that the other group met and who were joining us, told us that we would not be denied entrance on flip-flops and without a passport (or a copy). So a few of us grabbed an Uber taxi to switch to shoes, and to get all of our passports. But after rejoining we were still denied entry. Apperently, it is a custom to wear long trousers in the clubs of that area, which obviously none of us wore because of the weather. We therefore went to another club together with the locals. Most of us stayed till closing time, making it a long night.
Today, we had to get up early, which was not that easy for everyone in combination with the night before. But at the daily briefing around 8:45 everyone was present. In groups of 5-6 people we got onto the subway towards IExperience. This is a government institute, which objective it is to create awareness on the future of Singapore as a Smart Nation. We visited the IExperience exhibition, which shows different applications on the topic of Smart Cities. For example, they showed how the life of elderly people can be made easier and less care-giver intensive. The main motivater of this showcase is that Singapore is facing a large aging threat in the next few decades. They showed how they plan to reduce the care-giver workload with (among others) the use of smart grocery management, by detecting what groceries are required and ordering them after a simple check. Smart sensors in their houses can detect health risks, and notifying either the care-giver, the hospital or both. During the tour we saw a variety of practical applications that can help Singapore to become a so-called smart nation. We cannot name all of them in this single post, but it was certainly interesting to see how Singapore is dedicated to incorporate practical technical applications.
After IExperience, we headed to the Singapore zoo, where we spent our afternoon walking freely through the park. During the day there were shows in which different animals showed what tricks they learned. For example, the elephants were teached to move big logs into the water. Afterwards there it was also possible to get a picture with the animals and feed them. A few participants took this opprotunity as can be seen in the picture below. According to them it was a great experience.
In our experience the animals were treated well. The cages were big enough and the animals looked healthy. The whole look of the zoo was also great: there were no big fences and all over the park there were trees and flowers. And without any city noice or big buildings in sight, it did not feel like we were still in Singapore at all.
In the evening, after sunset we gathered to go to the other part of the zoo: the night safari. This started off with a show about night animals. One of us had the honour to give a hand in one of the acts. Being the tallest of all of us, including the rest of the audience, this made it very amusing. After the show we went on a long open trainbus, which drove through a whole different part of the park. In the dark we could see all the night animals, of which most were freely to walk up to the road.
All in all it was a great day! Tomorrow will also be a busy day, with three company visits and an evening programme. What we will do in the evenng is still a suprise, but we can promise you that it will be amazing!
As a final note we would like to let you know that one of our supervisors, Arend Rensink, and one of the authors of the blog also have their own private blogs. The blogs can be found at: misc-ia.blogspot.nl and rickharms.nl.