Honorary Consulate-General of the Republic of Singapore in Toronto & National University of Singapore

Stéphanie Cotton | March 31st, 2021

Last month, Poly-Monde’s members had the opportunity to discuss multiple themes regarding Singapore such as its fundamental desire to be relevant to the world, its passion for food and the role of entrepreneurship in the future of the country. For these extensive topics, our team had the privilege to meet Mr. Chia-yi Chua, the Honorary Consul of Singapore in Toronto, Mrs. Laura Isidean, a financial services professional and Mr. Harpreet Singh, the Associate Director of the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of Singapore (NUS). This colourful presentation allowed our members to have a grasp of the city-state’s history in order to achieve a greater understanding of its future.

History Shaping Singapore’s Uniqueness

By taking advantage of its weaknesses, Singapore became a strong economic center in South-East Asia and in the rest of the world in a few decades only. With the constant and existential desire to be relevant to the rest of the world, Singaporeans, as the main resource of the country, are the main levers to ensure a prosperous future. In light of this, our guest speakers explained that from the moment the country became independent, the government played its cards to maximize the potential of the smart city by optimizing their territory, their geographical position, their political neutrality and the inner relations of their multicultural population.

Taking a step back from the economy, it was obvious that our guests gave a great role to the distinct history of Singapore to explain some key factors in the country’s uniqueness. Mr. Chua and Mrs. Isidean considerably helped us appreciate the city-state’s history. They did so by giving examples of multiethnic and worldwide recognized dishes such as the Chicken Rice and Kaya Toasts, and by explaining the role of a continuous government and its population’s compliance.

Entrepreneurship to Fuel Innovation

By illuminating the fact that Singapore thrives on innovation and connectedness with the rest of the world, Mr. Singh highlighted the role the government and Institutes of Higher Learning play in cultivating innovators. NUS has been at the forefront of this movement. Through the NUS Overseas Colleges, NUS provides aspiring student-entrepreneurs with access to start-up communities in the most innovative ecosystems in the world including Silicon Valley, New York, Toronto, Stockholm, and Tel Aviv. Once the students return to Singapore with their experience and new ideas, NUS Enterprise continues to nurture them to boost the innovation ecosystem in the country. The fact that more than 800 companies were created by alumni of this program demonstrates its importance and its impact in the future of Singapore, and that of the world. With the addition of the University of Toronto as a partner, this program is creating even stronger connections between our country and Singapore, building on economic and political bonds already in place.


  • Statements collected by Poly-Monde during the virtual visit on March 31st, 2021