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...]

India, Singapore among world’s biggest arms importers

India, China, Pakistan, South Korea and Singapore were the top arms importers between 2008 and 2012, reports the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). India, China and Pakistan received the bulk of their arms from Russia while America was the top supplier to South Korea and Singapore.

India’s share of international arms imports went up from 9 per cent in 2003-2007 to 12 per cent in 2008-2012. China’s fell from 12 per cent to 6 per cent, as this chart from the SIPRI fact sheet shows.

Singapore accounted for 4 per cent of the international arms imports in 2008-2012, up from 1 per cent in 2003-2007.

[Read more...]

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. [Read more...]

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: [Read more...]

India 131st, Singapore 135th on Press Freedom Index

India continues to slide down the Press Freedom Index while Singapore has moved up one place.  Singapore is ranked 135th on the 2011-2012 Press Freedom Index while India is 131st, having dropped nine places. India was 122nd on the 2010 Press Freedom Index, down from 105th in 2009. [Read more...]