Politics & Development Personal Statement
In our rapidly globalising world, with news of bombings, kidnappings, civil strife and so on, I believe that no man, let alone a nation, is an island, as much as autonomy is purported. Thus, I want to study politics, its effects on development and world affairs.
Believing in the usefulness and power of communication, I began my foray into debate and drama in 2004. I was ranked the second best speaker at my first debate competition. In 2005, I was named ninth best speaker in the Singapore Secondary Schools Debating Championships, my team emerging as Champions.
As I debated issues ranging from the UN Security Council to free trade, my eyes were increasingly opened to the world around me. I have learnt to appreciate and critically analyse various differing views. I also prefer drama as a medium of expression; taking part in my school's original musical.
However, my interest is not just confined to the stage. I was also the lights manager for my college's drama club's recent production. Part of the organising committee for the annual drama camp, I acquired many invaluable skills such as listening, negotiating and other such interpersonal skills. Not just vehicles and modes of communication, drama and debate represent the discipline and confidence that I aspire towards.
Using these acquired skills, I ventured into community work. I was very involved in my Secondary School's Child Abuse Awareness Club. We presented short skits for Primary School children and put up exhibitions to raise awareness about child abuse.
My passion for this continued into college where I initiated and pioneered a similar project with my college's drama club, also being part of the script writing team. I also volunteer to tutor needy Primary School children every Saturday at a friend's church. Supervising a class of more than 7 nine-year olds can be very trying at times but has been extremely rewarding.
To gain work experience, I spent a week shadowing a Member of Parliament. I sat in during a "Meet The People" session and saw how the MP interacted with his electorate. I also processed requests for aid, making me more aware of the goings-on at the grassroots level.
My experiences go beyond Singapore. I have travelled to various countries, from cultural immersion trips to China to community projects in Thailand where I helped to build a house for a needy family. In 2006, I travelled to Cambodia for a community service project. There, I worked in an orphanage; interacting with the children and teaching them English.
Visiting the Killing Fields and the Genocide Museum of Phnom Penh, I realised that the political freedom that we so often take for granted is immeasurably precious and that the sanctity of life is not as respected as we in developed countries would like to think.
Having lived in Singapore for my entire life despite being a UK National, I have received many comments about the political climate of this island state, some call it a "dictatorship" with one party holding the political monopoly. While realising the benefits of a varied political scene, being a pragmatist, I do appreciate the stability the Singapore government offers.
I am interested in various forms of governance and political ideologies, ranging from Marxism to the Welfare State.
The effect of politics on international relations and development also interests me, specifically the consequences of colonialism and globalisation.
My ambition is to work for a Non-Governmental Organisation, focussing specifically on the issues of poverty and development in Third World Countries. I believe that studying politics would prepare me well for such a career.
I've applied to SOAS, King's, Durham and Bristol. No answers yet.