OrangeASEAN (May 5 – May 12)

After being home for less then 48 hours I left the Netherlands again and was headed for Singapore to participate in OrangeASEAN.

May 5th, at 10:00 in the morning I took my first flight on my journey to Singapore. The flight took me to Belgrade and I landed there around 12:30, took a bus to the city centre and explored Belgrade on foot. It was raining a lot and I took refuge in a small cafeteria waiting for my next flight to Abu Dhabi. In Abu Dhabi  I met up with my friend Soushiant. I landed around 07:00 in the morning and he picked me up from the airport. We went back to his place and caught up during the commute about all that happened between now and the end of Launchpad. There I enjoyed a well-deserved break from all the traveling and I passed out at the pool after a few laps.

After a wonderful dinner prepared by Soushs wife Aubrey we went to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. The project to build this beautiful Sunni mosque was launched by the late president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who wanted to establish a structure that would unite the cultural diversity of the Islamic world with the historical and modern values of architecture and art. His final resting place is located on the grounds beside the same mosque. The mosque was constructed from 1996 to 2007. It is the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates. The building complex measures approximately 290 m (960 ft) by 420 m (1,380 ft), covering an area of more than 12 hectares (30 acres), exclusive of exterior landscaping and vehicle parking. As the country’s grand mosque, it is the key place of worship for Friday gathering and Eid prayers. During Eid it may be visited by more than 41,000 people.

After the visit, I went back to the airport and boarded my last flight to Singapore. Unfortunately, Etihad didn’t board my suitcase so when I arrived at Changi Singapore airport my suitcase was still in Abu Dhabi. Really annoying since the dress code was business formal the next day and I did not have that in my carry on.

On Monday I hence had to improvise to look at least a little decent. We started off the OrangeASEAN factory by the Dutch ambassador to Singapore wishing us an informative and rich experience. The program consists of 24 participants. 10 from the Netherlands, And 14 ASEANs. Coming from the whole ASEAN region.

After announcing the teams and introducing the teams to their projects for the next three weeks we had dinner at the residence of the ambassador in Singapore. A large stunning estate in the middle of a city packed with big buildings. Quite different compared to the hostel we stay in.

During the rest of the week, we worked on the case, got to know each other better and discovered Singapore more and more. I also learned some interesting things about myself, apparently, I look like John Mayer and Douwe Bob. If I only shared their vocal capabilities.

Wednesday was a national holiday in Singapore because of the birth of Buddha, Vesak Day. We visited China Town and got a glimpse of the festivities.

The first week has been interesting, lots of travel and lots of work with little sleep. More to come! Overall, the atmosphere is:

Interesting Singapore photos: