11 June 17 The Straits Times by V.K. SANTOSH KUMAR
A specially choreographed dance about the process of metamorphosis and its transformative power encapsulated Singapore's efforts to develop effective energy solutions at the country's Expo 2017 pavilion.
It was opened yesterday by Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, who is in Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan, for the event.
Themed Small City, Big Ideas, the pavilion showcases the innovative solutions in sustainable energy that Singapore has adapted to its local circumstances, such as zero-energy buildings and floating solar panels for use in our reservoirs.
"As a country with limited land and no natural resources other than its people, Singapore has to develop unique solutions," said Madam Halimah. "We hope to share our experiences with Kazakhstan and other countries in the region through a series of workshops that will be held at our pavilion."
Also at the opening ceremony were Mr Bektas Beknazarov, deputy chairman of the Senate of the Parliament of Kazakhstan, Mr Abai Rakhmetulin, first deputy chairman of the Kazakhstan Supreme Court, and delegates from Singapore.
The Expo opened on Friday and will run till Sept 10. It is expected to attract more then five million visitors from all over the world.
The Singapore pavilion, designed by noted local architect Randy Chan, is divided into six zones and styled as a terrarium.
Besides the sustainable energy ideas and innovations, the pavilion also features 250 mini-terrariums, each containing handwritten notes and clay models which depict what young Singaporeans think best represents their country.
In the coming days, a capacity building programme will be launched to engage policymakers and regulators from Central Asia and neighbouring countries.
Through this, Singapore aims to promote best practices in sustainable development, urban planning and future energy, and hopes to encourage greater exchange of knowledge and expertise in new energy solutions, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Kazakhstan's ambassador to Singapore Usen Suleimen, who was at the ceremony, said his country and Singapore enjoy close ties, adding: "Kazakhstan sees Singapore as an important political, trade and economic partner in the Asean region."
He said both countries "enjoy constructive relations in all areas of cooperation", adding that he hopes to strengthen and expand trade, economic and investment ties.
In March last year, Mr Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, chairman of the Senate of the Kazakhstan Parliament, visited Singapore.
Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong visited Astana a few months later, in September, at the invitation of Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev.