‘I’ll never forget when I got out of the airport in Bangkok and got hit by this wave of humid air, this cacophony of noise, of motorbikes and car horns and people and smells of cigarettes and food cooking on the side of the road. I thought ‘wow’, this is something different to anything I’ve ever experienced before’, says Guy Scott, board member of the Australian Chamber of Commerce Singapore, known as AustCham.
Guy was born and bred in Melbourne, studied a Bachelor of Building at RMIT and was working for a building contractor when he took his first trip to Asia. He returned home on a mission. ‘I said to my company, I’m going to Asia. If you can help me get there, great, but if not I’m going anyway.’ Fortuitously, his company won a tender to build the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, and within four months he was there and hasn’t looked back.
Guy has spent much of the last 26 years living in Asia, working for his own or other project management companies in various locations in Indonesia, India and Singapore. He has been based in Singapore since 2001. Guy is a vital part of the business community, having been on the Board of AustCham since 2009, including four years as its president.
We try and create opportunities for Australian business.
AustCham is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to foster and provide a forum for business links between Australia and Singapore. AustCham connects members to business and government and each other, and keeps members informed of the latest issues and opportunities in Singapore and the region. ‘We try to create opportunities for Australian business. We help them understand the nuances of doing business in this part of the world, and help those businesses connect to organisations here’, Guy says.
Guy considers Australian roadshows one of AustCham’s greatest achievements. ‘On an annual basis, we go to four or five cities in Australia with the High Commissioner and the Senior Trade Commissioner to talk to Australian business about opportunities in the region and how to take advantage of them.’
The relationship between the Australian High Commission in Singapore and AustCham is close—they share premises, so there’s a ‘natural, strong communication line’. Guy describes it as ‘symbiotic’. ‘We’ve all got the same common goals.’
They cooperate on forums and High Commissioner-hosted breakfasts, and the High Commission’s access to the Government of Singapore has enabled high-level guests to attend. ‘I’m a huge proponent of the High Commission and what they do in the community’, Guy says.
Guy’s interest and commitment to the region remains strong after all these years: ‘I haven’t lost that interest in the vibrancy of the market, the scale of the projects we do. It’s a great place to live too.’