< Touchdown in Singapore
29.07.2019 10:23 Age: 3 yrs
By: Kiese

SINMALINA 2019 Field Trip Reaches Indonesia

RUB students after visiting the Batamindo Industrial Park that was instrumental in turning a few fishing villages into a rapidly urbanising manufacturing hub of 1.3 million inhabitants.

Barelang bridge connects Batam with its hinterland. It is promoted as one of few tourist attractions besides the growing number of resorts and golf courses.

Unafraid of crabs, prawns and snails, RUB students enjoy fresh local seafood at a seaside restaurant in Batam Centre. All Photos by Batam Tour Guide Ogi

After three densely packed days in Singapore, the group had to leave the hotel at 6.30 am today to conquer the second country of the Singapore-Malaysia-Indonesia (SINMALINA) field trip. After a one-our ferry ride crossing the Straits of Singapore, one of the busiest sea-lanes through which more than one fifth of world trade is estimated to pass, they reached the island of Batam in the Indonesian Riau province. Based on the growth triangle concept leveraging the complementary factor endowments of Singapore on the one hand, and Batam and Malaysia’s Johor on the other, Batam had experienced rapid industrialisation and urbanisation during the last three decades.
Key to this rapid transformation was its status as a free trade zone and the Batamindo Industrial Park, which attracted numerous multinational corporations (MNCs) from especially Japan and Europe, including German giants Infineon and battery-maker Varta. At Batam, they make use of ample land, as well as low-cost labour, 80 per cent female and mostly recruited from Java and Sumatra by the park’s management company. At the same time, tenant firms use the technology, skills and excellent infrastructure of next-door Singapore for management and logistics. After a warm welcome and presentation by the park management company, a Singaporean-Indonesian joint venture, the group was show around a small but informative gallery, followed by the park itself. It includes many social facilities and dormitories housing about one quarter of the workforce of the Park’s 71 firms, which is roughly equivalent to RUB’s student population.
After the visit to Batamindo, the group switched to a regular tourist’s perspective with a tour and photo stop at Barelang Bridge, a lunch at a seafood restaurant by the sea, and a promotional visit to a shop selling Balinese coffee and other Indonesian products. When criss-crossing the island by bus, the social and environmental consequences of rapid and largely unplanned urbanisation became evident. After one more day in Singapore, the group looks forward to reaching the third country of its tour, Malaysia, on Sunday.

Singapore, 26 July 2019
Matthias Kiese