It's that time of year for us to dig deep into our fellow SILA council members. We are excited to share some juicy tidbits about our peers, friends and mentors in the SILA family. We promise quirky, hilarious, inspiring and more!
SILA Immediate Past President
Walk us through your journey with SILA?
I suppose the seed for volunteerism was sown in me when I was in practice at SCLD. I saw how involved Stephen Caffyn was in SILA Council, together with Henry Steed, Peter Bridgewater and other dedicated senior members of our community then. Subsequently I agreed when Damian Tang approached me to ask if I would be interested to join the council to play a part for the profession. So I served as 2nd VP when I just joined, then as 1st VP and finally as SILA President for about two terms. Now as the Immediate Past President, my role is to see to it that momentum gained from the previous term is not lost, to assist the new council and the organization's strategic pillars.
Tell us some unforgettable memories you have in SILA.
There are aplenty. Some key ones are: i. Seeing the maturity of SILA's youth division, LA Future. Really proud to see some of its pioneer members currently taking up leadership positions within the institute and in their own professional practice.
ii. Having two of our SILA members, Colin and Franklin, winning the Designer of the Year awards at the President's Designer Awards in the same year in 2015.
iii. Establishment of the BLA programme in NUS. The programme was crucial in strengthening the profession's manpower pipeline thus I am glad NUS saw the need too and established the course.
iv. IFLA World Congress in Singapore. Although I was not physically in Singapore at the time of the congress, the lead up to it and all the buzz that was generated within the community will stay with me for awhile.
v. Stabilization of the SILA Secretariat and LA Accreditation. We went through quite a few iterations of how we could do better with the management of all of our organizational processes. There is still plenty of room for improvement but we have made progressive steps forward in this.
vi. Working with the different committees and individuals over the years, some of whom have become close friends with me.
In which aspect do you envision SILA to grow in as the new SILA council takes on the baton and continues running the race, and any advise?
With Sri at the helm, I will expect a deeper focus on research and with it a stronger linkage between research and its translation into practice. The institute will need to press on with elevating the awareness of the landscape architecture profession, and also forging stronger ties with the relevant government agencies and other organizations as part of our collective journey towards the City in Nature vision.
While most of us landscape architect has a favourite plant, tell us yours and why! Full latin name please :)
I have so many that I am fond of. But currently it is the Strelitzia nicolai (Giant or white bird of paradise). It exemplifies tropical lushness with its palm/banana like fronds and blooms in muted flamboyance with its white inflorescences. Coupled with the fact that I am nurturing a couple of saplings at home, makes it the apple of my eye for the moment.
Wong Ruen Qing
SILA Council Member
What is your most used Singlish word? "buay tahan" - I love the combination of Hokkien and Malay in this expression.
What is your spirit plant? Seaweed
Describe SILA in 3 words. Between Culture & Nature.
What is your favourite Singaporean dish to recommend? Chilli crab with fried mantou.
What is your favourite spot in Singapore to unwind or gain inspiration? Rain Forest Walking Trail at Singapore Botanic Gardens.
2nd Vice President
Describe SILA in 3 words Passionate, Stewardship, Enabling.
What is your favourite Singapore dish to recommend? Bak Chor Mee Pok Tah! Minced pork flat noodles (dry, chilli and with lots of vinegar). The one dish I could not replicate during my years in Shanghai, Delhi and Bengaluru.
What inspired you to become an LA? Love plants, gardening, biodiversity, design, architecture. Have a height phobia which pivoted 20-year old me towards landscape architecture as it was ‘grounded’. 2 decades later, we as landscape architects are an integral key hand in creating vertical landscapes that now dominate the high-rise city skyline and contribute towards ecological connections and addressing climate change.