Left: Tracey Chua looks towards the future as a Senior GeoSpatial Consultant. She and her team support the push for Whole-of-Government and SLA geospatial use and strategies, such as Geospatial-Powered Singapore under the Singapore Geospatial Masterplan or Smart Nation Singapore. She has a Bachelor of Social Science with Honours (Geography) from National University of Singapore.
Right: Muhammad Izzat Afiq Bin Othman, an SLA (Mid-Term) Undergraduate Scholar, is a Senior Executive (Project Manager), preserving the “tangible past” overseeing and coordinating project works at Black and White heritage bungalows rented to tenants in prime districts. He has a Bachelor of Science (Real Estate) from National University of Singapore.
Land is an especially precious resource in Singapore, a small island nation. With that in mind, Singapore Land Authority's (SLA) role as a developer and a regulator is most certainly a pivotal one. As a developer, it manages State land and develops and markets State properties to benefit the public. And as a regulator, it is the national land registration authority and oversees the registration of property transactions in Singapore.
The work at SLA is dynamic and it requires plenty of verve, which is why the statutory board is always on the lookout for those with a passion for real estate and an eye for Singapore's land future. It has found two such talents in Muhammad Izzat Afiq Bin Othman, SLA Undergraduate Scholar, and Tracey Chua, Singapore Geospatial Scholar.
Their wildly differing roles in SLA form a snapshot of the varied careers and opportunities available at our foremost land authority. Izzat is a Project Manager (Senior Executive) from the Leasing Division, preserving the “tangible past” overseeing and coordinating project works at Black and White heritage bungalows rented to tenants in prime districts.
In contrast, Tracey looks towards the future as a Senior GeoSpatial Consultant. She and her team support the push for Whole-of-Government and SLA geospatial use and strategies, such as Geospatial-Powered Singapore under the Singapore Geospatial Masterplan.
It Begins from the Earth
SLA was the obvious organisation for them, with its focus on local land development. “My interest in real estate and the inclination to serve in the public sector made SLA a natural choice,” remarked Izzat. “As part of SLA, I have the opportunity to be exposed to work that touches on the different aspects of real estate.”
In Tracey's case, the decision was even more of a foregone conclusion, as SLA was the only organisation offering a geospatial scholarship at the time. That said, she was quick to emphasise other unique advantages of the organisation.
“The joint scholarship also seemed enticing since I'm given the opportunity to learn from more than one organisation,” she reminded us. SG Geospatial Scholars could work in other collaborating agencies, including BCA, GovTech, JTC, HDB, LTA, NEA, NParks, PUB and URA, besides the primary sponsorship agency.
Envisioning the Land
Tracey sees much more than simply the world around us as she views Singapore through the lens of geospatial use. In her role as Senior Geospatial Consultant in the Geospatial Data and Planning Department, she pushes for Whole-of-Government and SLA geospatial use and strategies on a few fronts. This includes managing work in the Geospatial Trusted Centre, engaging local and global stakeholders to participate in key geospatial events, and building geospatial capability efforts through curating geospatial courses with the team.
“To me, ‘Geospatial-Powered Singapore' is in a way a vision to help communities realise the importance of integrating location data with emerging technologies for a variety of purposes - from completing simple, mundane tasks to unlocking rich new insights about the world,” she elucidated.
Making this future into a reality involves some serious work with not just those already involved, but gathering youth and professional involvement as well. Tracey proudly described her first run with the Regional Geospatial Youth Forum, which brought together interested parties in Singapore and ASEAN for geospatial interest and awareness building.
“In preparation for the forum, I had a lot of fun coming together as a team to brainstorm on ideas, engaging with several geospatial academics and industry players and co-creating related materials to ensure a smooth run,” she said.
Certainly, she can look forward to pushing geospatial awareness forward effectively with SLA as she continues her work.
Working the Land
Taking on something different at SLA is Izzat, who manages Black and White heritage bungalows.
As a project manager, his work entails everything from marketing a property to prospects, to tenancy management, refurbishment works, and maintenance.
“Should any one of our properties require works to be done – from building to horticulture to pest control – I will coordinate with the tenants and oversee relevant contractors to carry out the works,” he clarified. “On a typical day, we oversee and co-ordinate all sorts of works – anything and everything under the sun.”
He laughed: “People often forget that properties under our portfolio are really old – most of them were built in the early 1900s! In a country like Singapore where almost all of our houses are relatively new and are built post-1965, these issues may be unheard of to many – but these are what we deal with on a day-to-day basis.”
The Black and White bungalows are themselves a source of pride for him; “tangible artefacts” that preserve and showcase Singapore's historical ties to the British. “Such buildings are a physical manifestation of Singapore's history and should be safeguarded for future generations,” he said with conviction.
“I'm honoured to be part of a team who contributes to the preservation of architectural heritage as it's an important role.”
A Forward-Thinking Organisation
“If you're interested in real estate, SLA provides a good opportunity for one to have a diverse portfolio in their career. SLA has a diverse scope of works, all related to optimising land resources for the economic and social development of Singapore,” Izzat commented.
He went on to highlight the various pathways at SLA. “If you're interested in real estate, SLA provides a good opportunity for one to have a diverse portfolio in their career. At SLA, all staff are given the opportunity to apply for rotation to a different department or role after spending two years in a role. This is not restricted to scholarship holders.”
Tracey focused on another pull-factor about the organisation – its purpose in addressing the future. She asserted: “SLA is a forward-looking organisation whose initiatives are invaluable to addressing challenges in today's world.”
Indeed, SLA is a land of opportunities.