The magic of Singapore is everywhere to be seen and is not limited, as some believe, to the professional and economic reputation it holds globally.
Within six months of my arrival, Formula 1 engines screamed along the downtown streets. I witnessed Neymar score four goals as I watched Brazil beat Japan at Singapore’s new national football stadium. As an avid runner, the monthly running events with thousands of participants proved to be the perfect source of motivation. With my family, visiting the nature sanctuary at the Botanic Park, an ecological wonderland which is now a UNESCO world heritage site, became a weekly routine for me and my two boys.
As a Caymanian attorney, however, Singapore’s professional, economic and cultural reputation fascinated me, and on arrival I was not disappointed.
Having over 600 licensed/registered fund managers in the immediate vicinity of the office certainly has its advantages. It was not unusual for the phone to ring and the following day I’d find myself sitting in the boardroom in Samsung Hub along with colleagues and potential clients. Operating in the same time zone and being able to meet at short notice was crucial. Did our pitch close the deal? Which other jurisdictions and/or law firms were the potential clients considering? This was a new experience for me.
It was exciting exposure to another dimension of competing globally in the business of providing Cayman legal services. Singapore is, of course, a thriving economy aided by its competent government and excellent legal and financial services. Importantly and often overlooked, it also serves as a vital access point to Australia, India and Japan, as well as the members of the ASEAN family. Cayman is not alone in courting Singaporean business.
Whatever the future holds, my exposure to Singapore is something I will always carry with me. A culinary paradise, from the fruit – durian, rambutan, snake fruit, mangoes (almost as good as home), to name just a few, to the local hawker centers in the Indian, Chinese and Malaysian districts, to the cosmopolitan Din Tai Fung and Luke’s, such delights are why just about every gourmand visitor loves the place.
Singapore has strengthened my sense of self, broadened my understanding of the international market and underscored the importance of recognizing that Cayman must be outward facing if it wants to compete successfully.
Martin Davies is a senior associate at Walkers.