Hospitality Done Right – The Singapore Way
We’ll cut to the chase.
Singapore splurged $20 million on security and logistical needs for the Trump-Kim summit.
So we deserve to know how we have been great hosts for this last-minute event, yeah?
These are just 10 ways which prove that Singapore can overcome whatever odds flung in our faces to make just about anything a success.
1. Prepared to host 2,500 reporters in less than 2 weeks
We set up the International Media Centre in less than 2 weeks.
It served the 2,500 reporters, and had working facilities, broadcast centres and high speed connectivity.
And we ensured they were well fed, with 45 dishes featuring 15 different country’s cuisines served at hot manned stations.
Home-grown ice-cream brand, Udders, even made Kimchi ice cream specially for the journalists.
By the way, food was fully sponsored so it was 100% free.
Besides food, the journalists also received a free goodie bag with commemorative items.
Except, some reporters were afraid that plugging the free USB fan into their computers might get them “some customised malware”.
RE-UPPING FOR THE MORNING CROWD IN SINGAPORE.
DON’T PLUG THE FAN INTO YOUR COMPUTER UNLESS YOU WOULD LIKE TO EXPERIENCE SOME CUSTOMIZED MALWARE. https://t.co/y8QUxeUG8r
— Jeremy Bowers (@jeremybowers) June 11, 2018
2. Robust Home Team command
Hosting one US President Donald Trump is enough of an influencer nightmare, given all the blood he’s shed on Twitter in recent years.
Letting a North Korean Supreme Leader loose in Gardens by the Bay is even less a stroll in a park.
A rare Kim Jong Un wefie with our ministers
But Singapore’s security teams rose up to the challenge.
Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said security arrangements were made within two weeks.
5,000 Home Team officers, including police officers, worked tirelessly to secure the summit.
Home Team Event Command Post – Spot PM Lee in the background!
Police officers patrolling the streets
Officers from the elite and fearless Gurkha Contingent
Officers “worked around the clock” to make this happen.
Apart from the pictures above, you can check out the Singapore Police Force’s (SPF) video of security arrangements for the summit.
3. “Special event areas”
More stringent security measures were enforced in the “special event areas“.
These areas included Sentosa, waters off the south-west beaches and the vicinity of Shangri-La Hotel.
People in these areas must allow police officers to check their belongings if requested to.
To ensure the summit runs peacefully, certain items are not allowed. These include substances “capable of being used to mark graffiti”, loudhailers, flags and large banners.
Clearly, the government was careful to minimise the likelihood of an ugly protest.
4. Road closures
Singaporeans had to deal with more than 20 road closures in the past few days.
SPF posted multiple announcements that looked similar to this on Facebook.
These closures were conducted with maximum efficiency, and managed to keep disruptions to a minimum.
We’re definitely proud of our boys in blue, but some Singaporeans were less than happy with the roadblocks.
For instance, an uncle triggered by a barricade, voiced his anger about the summit’s cost at a hapless police officer just trying to carry out his duty.
5. Airspace restrictions
Singapore restricted her airspace from 10 Jun to 14 Jun.
Commercial flights in and out of Singapore may still face delays.
Additionally, all aircraft entering Singapore Changi Airport have to reduce speed and face certain restrictions on their use of runways.
Aviators were also required to keep clear of Paya Lebar Air Base, where past US Presidents have landed.
Air Force One touchdown at Paya Lebar Air Base
Aircrafts that breach the restrictions may be intercepted.
6. Hotel Frenzy
Part I: Couple break-ups
Hotels blocked off rooms once Singapore was confirmed as the venue for the summit on 10 May.
Some even took rooms back from tour agencies.
But when Mr Trump announced that the talks were cancelled, hotels began releasing the rooms.
Only to be greeted with more confusion, as authorities said talks could still go on.
Thankfully, our hotels played by ear and made all the necessary arrangements in the nick of time.
Part II: Toilet Bowls
Carpark closures, workers grooming roadside shrubs and tents erected by the poolsides.
All done at short notice, because Singaporeans were still busily guessing the venues of the summit, less than a week before the talks.
St. Regis Singapore, Shangri-La Hotel and Capella Hotel did not just have to make snap arrangements for the leaders’ entourages.
They also had to deal with quirks like Mr Kim’s running bodyguards and the toilet bowls he reportedly brought with him.
Mr Kim brought his toilet to this grand place
Can you imagine the headache for St. Regis, with Mr Kim arriving in their Presidential Suite with his own loo?
Mind you, the Presidential Suite comes equipped with;
- French marble artwork by Modernist artist Marc Chagall
- A gym (not that Mr Kim might use it)
- A baby grand piano
- Custom-made Czech crystal chandeliers
Despite the lavish accommodation, Mr Kim still preferred to use his own toilet.
St. Regis staff must be bewildered. But, they dealt with it.
7. Ridiculously short notice
We’ve really come a long way to make this on-and-off relationship work.
8. Military – air, land and seas
Less visible was our military, especially the heroes protecting our skies and seas.
But in a tribute to our Singapore Armed Forces troops on 12 Jun, Minister for Defense Ng Eng Heng acknowledged its contributions to the security of our nation.
Republic of Singapore Air Force fighter jet
The Singapore Army’s Special Operations Task Force on standby
He also thanked the Singapore Navy for protecting the waters around Sentosa.
9. Told suspicious people to go home
10. Made sure everyone else toed the line
It is perhaps fitting that when a Korean leader visits Singapore, Singaporeans must be in for some drama.
But throughout this whirlwind, one thing becomes clear.
Clearer than the fact that some international news outlets cannot pronounce PM Lee Hsien Loong’s name correctly.
Singapore can really get just about anything done with her uncompromising efficiency.
That’s something to be proud of, whether or not we can get world peace from the summit.