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.Continue Reading

Chulia Kampong, Singapore

Chulia Street, Singapore
Chulia Street, Singapore

Looking at Chulia Street off Raffles Place and Boat Quay now, no one would know what it was like before. Chulia Kampong, unlike Kampong Glam, has vanished from the map of Singapore. So I was intrigued by the description given by the Indian writer Amitav Ghosh in his novel, River of Smoke. The book, set in the 1830s, is about the opium trade between India and China which used to pass through Singapore.Continue Reading

Public trust in politicians highest in Singapore

Take a bow, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Singapore ranks first in the world in public trust in politicians, transparency of government policy making, efficiency of the legal framework in settling disputes, and the quality of math and science education. That’s according to the Global Competitiveness Report 2012-13 by the World Economic Forum.

Switzerland  is first and Singapore second again in the global competitiveness rankings this year, same as last year. Finland is third, Sweden fourth, the Netherlands fifth, Germany sixth, the United States seventh, the United Kingdom eighth, Hong Kong ninth and Japan 10th. Qatar is 11th, Denmark 12th, Taiwan 13th, Canada 14th, Norway 15th, Austria 16th, Belgium 17th, Saudi Arabia 18th, South Korea 19th, Australia 20th, France 21st, Luxembourg 22nd, New Zealand 23rd, the United Arab Emirates 24th and Malaysia 25th. China is 29th and India 59th.

The report says:Continue Reading

Singapore second freest economy: Heritage Foundation

Singapore is the second freest economy in the 2012 Heritage Foundation Economic Freedom Index after Hong Kong.  Singapore stands out for having the lowest unemployment rate as well as the lowest government spending as a percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP) among the top 10 countries on the Economic Freedom Index. (In the Asia Pacific region, government spending as a percentage of GDP is lower in Taiwan, ranked 18th on the Economic Freedom Index, and Indonesia, ranked 115th.) The 10 freest economies are

  1. Hong Kong
  2. Singapore
  3. Australia
  4. New Zealand
  5. Switzerland
  6. Canada
  7. Chile
  8. Mauritius
  9. Ireland
  10. United StatesContinue Reading