As tourists from around the world fly in for the F1 race this weekend, hundreds of business and thought leaders have also gathered in Singapore for two high-profile summits focused on coping with a fast-changing world.
American economic think-tank Milken Institute's fifth Asia Summit wrapped up yesterday at the Four Seasons Hotel, where speakers including AirAsia group chief executive Tony Fernandes, former US commerce secretary Carlos Gutierrez and Monetary Authority of Singapore managing director Ravi Menon gave their take on global trends and challenges from technology disruption to global investment and geopolitics.
Last night, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung also opened the two-day by-invitation-only Singapore Summit at Shangri-La Hotel, at which Asia's leaders will discuss opportunities and challenges in the region and the world.
A highlight of this year's summit is a dialogue with Malaysia's prime minister-in-waiting, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, today.
Today also marks the 10th anniversary of Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy, which plunged the world into a deep financial crisis, and the winds of change continue to buffet the world. This time last year, North Korea was still launching missiles and raising geopolitical tensions. And Mr Anwar was still in jail as an opposition leader.
"If there is one thread that flows through the topics, it is that we have to constantly reconsider the assumptions that we hold, view issues with fresh eyes and look again at the opportunities around us," Banyan Tree executive chairman Ho Kwon Ping said in his foreword as the Singapore Summit's conference chairman.
Discussions at the forum will include geopolitical risks in the Asia-Pacific, the rise of the digital economy and the debate over whether and how much to regulate big tech and social media companies.
A session at yesterday's Milken summit also examined the evolving place of traditional and social media. Editors on the panel noted that while trust in institutions may have taken a hit worldwide, there has been renewed faith in journalism.
The latest Edelman Trust Barometer indicated that trust in traditional media has grown, while confidence in social media platforms and search engines has dipped, given how online platforms can amplify or give credence to fake news.
But editors said social media proliferation, diminishing press freedom and a fight for funds have made their jobs tougher.
"The challenge we face is not one of readership, but of revenue," said Straits Times editor Warren Fernandez, a panellist who is also editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings' English/Malay/Tamil Media Group. He noted that ST's readership across its print and digital platforms has been growing, with its journalists engaging readers throughout the day on their phones and computers, in addition to the print paper in the morning.
The proliferation of fake news was both a boon and a bane, he added, as it had led to people seeking out trusted sources of information they could rely on. This explained why ST's subscriptions have grown since it adopted its new "premium" paywall in February, with readers being asked to subscribe to read original content by ST journalists.