Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew and The Fourth Revolution

Lee Kuan Yew

Lee Kuan Yew

If you love Singapore, you may want to read The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State. The book says Singapore is providing inspiration for countries seeking an alternative to the Western model. The authors, John Micklethwait, editor-in-chief of The Economist, and his colleague, Adrian Wooldridge, cover Singapore extensively. Here is what they have to say about Singapore and its first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, in the chapter, The Asian Alternative:

Excerpt from the book

One pilgrimage is obligatory for anyone who wants to look at the future of government – visiting one of the world’s smallest countries to see an elderly Asian man who supposedly retired from politics many years ago… His words are listened to. When one of us went to see him in 2011, the meeting was delayed because Xi Jinping, who had just been anointed as China’s next leader, wanted to jump the queue to meet “the senior who has our respect”.  Westerners too have waited in line. Margaret Thatcher declared that “he was never wrong”. Henry Kissinger has said that none of the world’s leaders he has met over the years has taught him more than Lee Kuan Yew. [Read more...]

Eric Clapton, feel free in Singapore

Eric ClaptonEric Clapton begins his Asia and Middle East tour in Tokyo on February 18 and will perform at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on March 4. Ready to rock? Fans can buy and sell tickets on

Clapton, who first performed in Singapore during his Journeyman tour in 1990, has played at the Singapore Indoor Stadium twice before — in 2007 and 2011 — but this will be a special occasion for Clapton fans.

The legendary guitarist, the only artiste inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame three times, has just completed 50 years in the limelight.

In October 1963, Clapton was invited by singer Keith Relf and bassist Paul Samwell-Smith to join the Yardbirds and catapulted to fame.

Clapton left the Yardbirds after they scored their first hit, For Your Love, in 1965 and joined John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers.

I love For Your Love and enjoyed every minute of the Yardbirds’ gig shown in the Antonioni movie, Blowup. You can see the sequence on YouTube. It was as a Yardbird that Clapton was first inducted into the Hall of Fame.

But Clapton, for me, will be always be associated with the band he joined after leaving the Bluesbreakers.

In 1966, Clapton was invited by drummer Ginger Baker to join him and bassist Jack Bruce, another Bluesbreaker veteran, in his band, Cream, and the rest is history. [Read more...]

North Indian temples in Kolkata and Singapore

A temple in Kolkata

I loved this temple in Kolkata. Quiet, well-maintained, it’s a welcome refuge from the world outside. Located on busy Diamond Harbour Road in Kidderpore, it’s an island of tranquillity. There is complete peace as you walk up the long flight of steps from the gate to the interior of the temple.

I was reminded of the Shree Lakshminarayan Temple at Chander Road in Singapore. It is bigger than the Lakshminarayan Temple and the architecture is different too. While the Lakshminarayan Temple is an ordinary-looking house standing on a quiet lane, this temple with its long flight of steps and high dome is clearly a Hindu religious building.

So why did it remind me of the Singapore temple? [Read more...]

New Year greetings from Kolkata

A lane in Kolkata

Here’s wishing everyone a happy New Year from Kolkata (formerly called Calcutta). Kolkata is a world removed from Singapore though only four and a half hours away by plane. There are still plenty of old buildings in the lanes and streets of Kolkata. Public buses and trains are overcrowded. So people want their own cars. And that adds to the congestion. Home to nearly five million people, Kolkata is almost as populous as Singapore, but with very little greenery, narrow, congested roads, it seems even more overcrowded. [Read more...]

Singaporeans among earliest bloggers

Singaporeans were among the earliest bloggers. I just found that Alex Au launched Yawning Bread in 1996.

Justin Hall

Justin Hall: Blogging since January 1994

That was only two years after Justin Hall, then a Swarthmore College student, created Justin’s Links from the Underground ( in January 1994. It’s considered the very first blog. But he called it his personal homepage. [Read more...]