TLE Singapore 2014

By Justin Co, High 2H

We always refer to our best experiences as being “once in a lifetime.” Just like that, I truly believe that my experiences in the TLE (The Little Entrepreneur) Singapore Program was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity due to the many life experiences I learned and the little escapades I had with my friends and supervisors.

Ms. Kathleen, our TLE Singapore Coordinator, would occasionally tell us 3 things that we should always remember as we undergo the TLE program: systems, collaboration and friendship. Every time there was an orientation or we were about to head off into a new place, she would always reiterate these to us, emphasizing their importance. “In systems, remember how things work and why it’s efficient. For collaboration, remember that it is always good to meet new people so that you could collaborate with more people in doing a business. The most important thing that binds everything together is friendship. Make memories and make better bonds with your friends,” were her exact words every time.

Our 8 days in Singapore from March 20 – 27 were filled with exciting and different adventures.

Day 1 –       Arrival
–       Lunch at Song Fa Bakuteh
–       Visit to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) by Mr. Goh
–       Visit to a Hindu Temple
Day 2 –       Visit to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
–       Sharing Session with Mr. Prasoon, Founder of Billion Bricks
–       Sharing Session with Mr. Valera, Senior Research Engineer, A*STAR
–       Networking at Joyful Frog Digital Incubator
Day 3 –       Visit to Universal Studios
–       Dinner at Vivo City
Day 4 –       Visit to Pulau Ubin with Sean Yap, Walk by Nature Activist & Blogger
–       Visit to NEWater
Day 5 –       Visit to MacRitchie Reservoir
–       Sharing Session with Mr. Zen Chin, Founder of COVEXIS (M2M Technology)
–       Visit to Marina Bay Sands (iLight, Art & “iot” Technology, Foodtrucks)
Day 6 –       Visit to Nanyang Girls’ High School
–       Sharing Session with Mr. Alexius, Edible Gardens
–       Visit to Chinatown
Day 7 –       Amazing Race around Singapore
–       Gardens by the Bay
–       Sharing Session with Dr. Yap Meen Sheng, VP School of the Arts
Day 8 –       Group Presentation
–       Departure

On Day 7, we met Dr. Yap, a professor and a loving father, who shared with us all of his life experiences from childhood all the way to the present. He told us that when he was younger, he used to be a very mischievous boy. However, somewhere down the road, he realized that he didn’t like where he was going with his life, so he decided to try something new. He tried to study and to always do his best in everything until one day he finally became successful in life.  Mr. Yap shared with us, “Always remember that there are different kinds of successes in life and you have to aim for the one that you love the most.” He showed me that success is not necessarily getting good grades and honors. Rather, it could be anything that you have achieved by striving hard in doing the things that you love.

On Day 4 of our adventures in Singapore, we were also given the opportunity to meet Dr. Yap’s son, Shaun. Shaun is an environmentalist and he took us to Pulau Ubin, a natural reserve in Singapore, and toured us around the forest together with his friends who were experts on insects, birds, snakes and even trees. Together, they shared with us a ton of information that was really fun to know.

While we were going around the forest, I truly had many memorable experiences. There were times when we tracked down some hard-to-find animals and had to walk really quietly so the animal wouldn’t run away. There was even a time when I really freaked out because a flying beetle landed on my leg and I was really scared of it. Shaun’s friend even grabbed my leg just so I would struggle less as to not scare the beetle away since it was an interesting specimen for everyone to see. That for me was a really horrifying and yet  enriching experience because I was really scared of insects but I was able to see a different kind of species land on top of my leg. These really made me think that our trip to the forest was anything but dull.

On Day 3, we went to the renowned Universal Studios Singapore. That was like a day off for us since our schedule was really tight on other days and we were given a time to relax and recharge. I went around with my friends there and we rode all sorts of rides. I even remember waiting in line for more than an hour just to be able to ride a kiddie ride. In the Jurassic Park section, while we were riding the Water Rapids, I specifically remember the announcer repeatedly telling me to put my leg down. She asked for more than five times before I finally realized what she was saying. After that, my friends and I just started laughing because our ride just stopped and she wouldn’t allow the boat to move because of me. It taught me the importance of following rules and observing safety guidelines. Those were just some of the bonding experiences I had with my friends.

Travelling and exploring gave me wonderful memories in Singapore. These trips allowed me to socialize with more people that I don’t usually talk to, and they allowed me to make many new friends. It gave me valuable insights into the world of business, sustainability, urban development and the internet of things. TLE Singapore was indeed a “once in a lifetime” opportunity that I was able to have and I am truly thankful to my parents for allowing me to join this program. I will never forget the memories of going around with friends abroad, having fun learning  while having the time of my life. For more information and day to day accounts of the activity, please visit

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