I get bored easily. Hence, when I stood at the crossroads trying to figure out what I wanted for my future, there was only one thing I was sure of: I want a future that is exciting, rewarding, and out of the ordinary. Life as a Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) Scholar has been nothing short of that.
Before leaving for London, I worked as an intern at MPA’s legal department. That experience was an eye-opener on how legislation safeguards the continuous growth of Singapore’s maritime industry. During the course of the internship, I had the chance to attend a two-day seminar conducted by Joseph Tan Jude Benny on the different aspects of the industry. It left a lasting impression on me because understanding the ways that different sectors of the maritime industry interact made me realise how vast and self-contained the industry was. I could not wait to get started and dabble not just in the legal sector but in other aspects of the industry as well. There was so much to learn and discover!
Two months into my stay in London, I had the privilege of attending the 25th session of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Assembly held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel. I sat in for the assembly session and helped out with the Singapore lunch reception hosted by our Minister of Transport for the assembly delegates. In addition to that, together with the officials from MPA, I visited the embassies of Russia, Cyprus, Malaysia, and Indonesia in London. The interaction with delegates from different countries coupled with the wide selection of food each embassy had to offer certainly made it a memorable night. All in all, it was a good first-hand experience of the role MPA plays on the international stage. I was fascinated by the delicate interplay between international law and international relations throughout the event. It led to a realisation of how little one can learn about international law from books because so much more can be learnt only through the practice of it. This experience has sparked my interest for international work, adding to my list of the industry’s aspects that I would like to explore in the future. For now, it definitely serves as a motivation to excel in my Public International Law course.
The MPA Scholarship is more than just a scholarship – it is an opportunity to venture beyond the run-of-the-mill, the common, and the tried-and-tested, to something that is extraordinary and waiting to be explored. The maritime industry is not a common option because it isn’t as heard of as other fields, such as the finance industry. However, that does not make this career path any less viable or interesting. On the contrary, the curiosity as to the kind of possibilities and opportunities that are waiting to unfold adds the element of thrill and adventure into the journey. I believe this is one voyage I will never get bored of.