Bryan Cheang has recently founded the Adam Smith Center with some of his fellow Students For Liberty team members in Singapore. The organization is currently an independent start-up and aims to be a think tank with a focus on policy research and economics education in the tradition of its namesake, Scottish economist Adam Smith.
When discussing the future of the Adam Smith Center, Bryan said, “This organisation will in the coming years drive projects relating to innovation awareness, yearly conferences on economics and philosophy-related topics involving youth and students, as well as an online journal featuring policy papers and policy op-eds on issues affecting Singapore.”
Bryan’s first exposure to classical liberal ideas occurred while he was taking part in an exchange program in Atlanta, Georgia in 2012 where he encountered the Ron Paul campaign. “Having come from Singapore, where people are largely apathetic about politics, witnessing the groundswell of support Dr. Paul received was eye-opening, and highly inspiring.” This inspired Bryan to delve more into the classical liberal tradition and to pursue more courses in political philosophy upon his return to Singapore.
After attending a Students For Liberty conference, Bryan felt inspired to build support for these ideas in his home country. As he says, “being acquainted with SFL gave me the catalyst to begin student outreach in Singapore, which I came to realise was critical, considering that there was zero classical liberal presence before this.”
“Our pitch to students is that when they join SFL, they receive development opportunities -such as attending overseas seminars, networking with renowned individuals like Mr. Daniel Hannan (who visited Singapore this year) etc. – that help them in their educational career, and even in their future jobs. Students who join us get to build their future and change the world.”
Reflecting on his time with Students For Liberty, Bryan says that he’s learned a lot about leadership through the organization. “I have come to realise that any success in life, let alone the success of an intellectual movement, depends on effective leadership, which in turn is dependent on having a strong team that you can trust.”
Bryan is currently working on his Ph.D in political economy at King’s College London where part of his academic work focuses on market failure and how the relation between the state and the market affects economic outcomes in various countries. “Singapore’s economic growth is state-led and has come at the expense of indigenous entrepreneurship and innovation capabilities; an issue I hope to write further about in my capacity as an academic political economist.”
We can’t wait to hear more from Bryan as he and the Adam Smith Center move forward and advance liberty in Singapore and elsewhere!