I was privileged to be invited by the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS) to attend the second South Asian Diaspora Convention (SADC) on 21 and 22 November 2013, at Suntec Convention Centre. Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security and Minister for Home Affairs, Mr Teo Chee Hean inaugurated the event and delivered the keynote address. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mr Tharman Shamugaratnam, and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law Mr K Shanmugam were also involved in the event.
At the convention, I was thrilled to be introduced to Mr J Y Pillay. He was a top-ranking civil servant and an entrepreneur. Mr Pillay is known as a visionary and a brilliant bureaucrat who is one of the pioneers who helped build the Singapore economy after its separation from Malaysia in 1965 and was instrumental in building Singapore Airlines (SIA) into a leading world-class carrier. He is also the Chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers (CPA) and exercises the functions of the office of the President in the absence of the President. That explains why I am standing proudly beside him in the photograph.
The convention was also instrumental in helping me gather vital information for my school project. I needed information on Indonesia and its business environment. I wanted my group’s project to contain information that was not easily available and something that could not be easily found through online research. This is where I was fortunate to meet Mr Pushpanathan Sundram who is the Managing Director at EAS Strategic Advice - Asia (EAS). EAS has bases in Brussels, Buenos Aires, Moscow and Singapore. It provides regulatory advice on food and nutritional products for companies, governments and trade associations. Mr Nathan introduced me to a colleague of his to help me with the information I needed. What more, I was getting expert advice without having to pay consultation fees!
The convention not only helped me with my current project, it also helped me identify a potential client for my Final Year Project. Although I will be embarking on the project only next year, it is never too late to start work early. I was seated beside him during lunch and I used to opportunity to find out about his business and explored the possibility of him being a possible client for my project.
Overall, the few hours that I spent at the convention acquiring knowledge and the mileage I got out of networking were priceless.
Diploma in International Business 2nd Year