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Singapore and Asia - Celebrating Globalisation and an Emerging Post-Modern Asian Civilisation

Singapore and Asia - Celebrating Globalisation and an Emerging Post-Modern Asian Civilisation

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The economic achievements of peoples bear a close relationship with their cultures and level of development of their civilization. Until the 16th century, the major world civilizations were similar in stage of development in being feudalistic, authoritarian and religious. Since then with the Enlightenment, the age of Reason and the control of nature through mastery of science, Western civilization has taken a quantum leap in creating the modern industrial world and achieved wealth through colonization and globalization.

In stagnating for centuries, Asians paid dearly at the feet of Western hegemony. Nevertheless, through the embrace of techno-science whilst retaining traditional values, Asians are now catching up fast. East Asians have happily discovered that practicing their cultural heritage of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism has been to their advantage. This thesis has been reinforced by Communist China’s phenomenal success in the global economy.

At the same time East Asia has found cultural consonance with the philosophy of Constructive post-modernism. This has been a movement in the West which questions the precepts of modernism, its materialism and lack of spirituality, its failure to achieve harmony in society and amongst nations, and its excessive exploitation of Mother Nature. Constructive post-modernism movement has placed its biggest hope in the harmonious rise of Marxist China.

An East Asian champion of globalization has been Singapore. Initially thought too small to exist as a country, Singapore has surprised in reaching the ranks of a global city well within a life span.

SINGAPORE----Celebrating globalization and fusion of civilizations

Singapore is currently ranked 7th in position as a global city, joining in wealth and influence New York, London and Tokyo. Caux Round Table, a global index of social capital in 2009 ranked Singapore 14th among 200 countries. Singapore was top in Asia and ahead of the United States and Britain.

Singapore’s exciting fusion of Western and Asian civilizations started in 1819 when the British East India Company set up a trading post at the sparsely populated island off the Southern tip of Malaya at the strategic Straits of Malacca. When colonial initiatives made Malaya into the world’s biggest producer of rubber and tin, the port city grew into the “New York of Malaya”.

Following the usual rhetoric of newly independent countries against colonial exploitation, the Republic of Singapore was pragmatic in remaining closely aligned to the Western world.

The elevation of English to be the first language of instruction in all schools not only helped unify multi-lingual Singapore, but also facilitated linkage with the global economy and progress in techno-science.

English speaking workers together with other positive factors such as hard work ethics, freedom from labor strikes and corruption attracted MNC investment. Since the 1960s Singapore has become the biggest MNC hub in the world. In 2007, over 7000 foreign companies account for $15 billion or 85% of fixed asset investment and 44.5% of the GDP.

Besides MNCs, Western talents in top level management, finance, academia and research have all been recruited. International Advisory Panels (IAP) continue to assist Government and statutory bodies.

Unlike much of Asia, a key element in Singapore’s success has been winning the war against corruption through political will, tough anti-corruption laws and paying ministers and civil servants well. Transparency International has consistently ranked island-State as one of the least corrupt countries in the world.

The livability of Singapore has for past decades been significantly improved by clearance of slumps, clean tree-lined and crime-free streets, decent housing, and access to high quality education and healthcare. Architectural legacy

The economic achievements of peoples bear a close relationship with their cultures and level of development of their civilization. Until the 16th century, the major world civilizations were similar in stage of development in being feudalistic, authoritarian and religious. Since then with the Enlightenment, the age of Reason and the control of nature through mastery of science, Western civilization has taken a quantum leap in creating the modern industrial world and achieved wealth through colonization and globalization.

In stagnating for centuries, Asians paid dearly at the feet of Western hegemony. Nevertheless, through the embrace of techno-science whilst retaining traditional values, Asians are now catching up fast. East Asians have happily discovered that practicing their cultural heritage of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism has been to their advantage. This thesis has been reinforced by Communist China’s phenomenal success in the global economy.

At the same time East Asia has found cultural consonance with the philosophy of Constructive post-modernism. This has been a movement in the West which questions the precepts of modernism, its materialism and lack of spirituality, its failure to achieve harmony in society and amongst nations, and its excessive exploitation of Mother Nature. Constructive post-modernism movement has placed its biggest hope in the harmonious rise of Marxist China.

An East Asian champion of globalization has been Singapore. Initially thought too small to exist as a country, Singapore has surprised in reaching the ranks of a global city well within a life span.

SINGAPORE----Celebrating globalization and fusion of civilizations

Singapore is currently ranked 7th in position as a global city, joining in wealth and influence New York, London and Tokyo. Caux Round Table, a global index of social capital in 2009 ranked Singapore 14th among 200 countries. Singapore was top in Asia and ahead of the United States and Britain.

Singapore’s exciting fusion of Western and Asian civilizations started in 1819 when the British East India Company set up a trading post at the sparsely populated island off the Southern tip of Malaya at the strategic Straits of Malacca. When colonial initiatives made Malaya into the world’s biggest producer of rubber and tin, the port city grew into the “New York of Malaya”.

Following the usual rhetoric of newly independent countries against colonial exploitation, the Republic of Singapore was pragmatic in remaining closely aligned to the Western world.

The elevation of English to be the first language of instruction in all schools not only helped unify multi-lingual Singapore, but also facilitated linkage with the global economy and progress in techno-science.

English speaking workers together with other positive factors such as hard work ethics, freedom from labor strikes and corruption attracted MNC investment. Since the 1960s Singapore has become the biggest MNC hub in the world. In 2007, over 7000 foreign companies account for $15 billion or 85% of fixed asset investment and 44.5% of the GDP.

Besides MNCs, Western talents in top level management, finance, academia and research have all been recruited. International Advisory Panels (IAP) continue to assist Government and statutory bodies.

Unlike much of Asia, a key element in Singapore’s success has been winning the war against corruption through political will, tough anti-corruption laws and paying ministers and civil servants well. Transparency International has consistently ranked island-State as one of the least corrupt countries in the world.

The livability of Singapore has for past decades been significantly improved by clearance of slumps, clean tree-lined and crime-free streets, decent housing, and access to high quality education and healthcare. Architectural legacy

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  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • Globalisation Today
  • The Changing Global Economy
  • Financial Management Makes or Breaks Economies
  • The Threat of Climate Change
  • Globalisation and Changing World Civilisations
  • The Quantum Leap of Western Civilisation
  • Imperialism Kick-starts Globalisation
  • Impact of Globalisation on Asian Civilisations
  • Singapore as Part of British Malaya
  • Building a Nation in a Globalised World
  • The Magic Wand of the People’s Action Party
  • International Relations and National Security
  • Wealth Creation through Globalisation
  • Climbing the Global Economic Ladder
  • Towards a Knowledge-based Economy
  • Money Matters
  • Building Human and Social Capital
  • Singapore Workforce and Welfare
  • The Relentless Pursuit of Education
  • Keeping Singapore Healthy and More
  • A Decent Home for Everyone
  • Enhancing Liveability
  • Architecture and Urban Design
  • Awakening of the Arts
  • Night Life and Gaming
  • A Sports Hub
  • The Tropical Outdoors
  • Index

Celebrating Globalisation and an Emerging Postmodern Asian Civilisation


Copyright © 2012 by TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI. Library of Congress Control Number: ISBN: Hardcover Softcover Ebook 2012904750 978-1-4691-8364-0 978-1-4691-8363-3 978-1-4691-8365-7

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

To order additional copies of this book, contact: Xlibris Corporation 1-800-618-969 www.Xlibris.com.au Orders@Xlibris.com.au

To Linda, Ei, Yan & Daphne

Preface .................................................................................7 Introduction......................................................................... 13

Globalisation Today ..................................................... 15
1 2 3 4 Global Singapore ............................................................. 18 The Changing Global Economy .......................................... 24 Financial Management Makes or Breaks Economies .............. 37 The Threat of Climate Change ........................................... 46

Globalisation and Changing World Civilisations ................ 55
1 2 3 The Quantum Leap of Western Civilisation........................... 60 Imperialism Kick-starts Globalisation .................................. 94 Impact of Globalisation on Asian Civilisations .................... 106

Singapore Celebrates Globalisation and an Emerging Postmodern Asian Civilisation .......................................137
Prelude—Singapore as Part of British Malaya .......................... 139

Building a Nation in a Globalised World ..........................155
1 2 The Magic Wand of the People’s Action Party ..................... 157 International Relations and National Security..................... 170

...........................................247 1 2 3 4 5 Architecture and Urban Design .......................................................................... 217 Keeping Singapore Healthy and More .................. 287 Index ........... 299 . 207 The Relentless Pursuit of Education .... 200 PART SIX Building Human and Social Capital ..................................................... 262 Night Life and Gaming .. 275 The Tropical Outdoors ............................... 189 Money Matters ...... 250 Awakening of the Arts .................................................................... 270 A Sports Hub ........ 237 PART SEVEN Enhancing Liveability ......................................................................177 1 2 3 Climbing the Global Economic Ladder ..................................................205 1 2 3 4 Singapore Workforce and Welfare .......................................................................................................PART FIVE Wealth Creation through Globalisation ... 230 A Decent Home for Everyone.................................................... 181 Towards a Knowledge-based Economy .......................................................................................................... 280 Summing Up—Singapore and East Asia—Celebrating Globalisation and Emergence of a Postmodern Asian Civilisation ...........................

peace and security. and spared of the traumatic uncertainties of early years of independent Singapore. race-blind meritocracy. who in the early 1900s. work. Taiwan. Singapore together with Japan. Straddling across civilisations and in search of identity. who are now Singapore citizens. in many ways represents the new generation of Singaporeans with a global outlook. South Korea. The present authors have lived in Singapore through this exciting period of change in the birth and growth of a new nation. Edward. Hong Kong. Singapore’s excellent education system may well be a double-edged sword from the state’s perspective. Edward is of the opinion that many under thirties view Singapore as perhaps the default and not necessarily the only home. to the grave. Detractors on the other hand may highlight Singapore’s pressure-cooker environment where persons who do not fit her cookie cutter mould are often left in the dust. Proponents of Singapore as ‘home always’ point towards our low crime rate. They are a new breed of global citizens benefitting from globalisation and a fusion of the world’s major civilisations. the authors. and an excellent city to raise a family. ventured into British Malaya and became pioneers in the then newly established rubber and tin economy. have finally found it crystallised in the process of writing this book. From the cradle. a lawyer by training.Preface The present authors are descendents of poor Chinese immigrants. in working life and planning to retire. pragmatic Singapore’s policies seem to suggest that it has no choice but to look at what -7- . and China is on tract in the evolution of a vibrant and stable postmodern Asian civilisation. and live in anywhere around the world. it gives the brightest amongst her the mobility not only to move up within Singapore’s social strata but also to play. Born and raised in an era of relative prosperity. good living standards. in the chase for paper qualifications.

there remain memories of the family moving into a log house in a rubber estate to eke a living away from the Japanese invaders. whilst certainly defensible at the state level. National service. Concurrently.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI each citizen or worker can give to the whole. the promotion of the arts and Singapore’s night life may go some way towards buffering brain-drain and perhaps attracting new foreign talent. The joy of British ‘liberation’ was temporary. who had been shot dead in an ambush as he visited his rubber smallholding. however. perhaps even more so. but what you can do for your country’ is no doubt a beautiful social ideal. the state needs them. may also be another consideration why the younger generation feels that they ought not to be circumscribed by something as mutable as citizenship. While J F Kennedy’s oft quoted words of ‘Think not what your country can do for you. It was just as chilling the day the British High Commissioner was shot dead in an ambush fifteen miles away from TK’s home. as Singapore becomes a truly global city. the government mindset appears to be evolving as its leaders come to the realisation that the city-state and its people that they preside over is not what it used to be. rather than the more socialist view of many advanced countries—what the whole can give to the individual. has lived half his life in Singapore. At the end of the day. The dead Chinese man had been a ‘running dog’ in not collaborating with the ‘freedom struggle’. it like all other global cities must stay competitive to keep the best and brightest. Whilst fundamental issues of housing and vehicle prices may be constrained by our physical limitations. Edward’s father. Exorbitant costs of living particularly in housing and cars may also be yet another reason why some young Singaporeans look for their greener pastures. The colonial -8- . it seems that more and more young Singaporeans realise that as much as they need the state. TK. Born a grandson of Chinese immigrants just before the Japanese occupation of Malaya. as this was soon followed by the armed struggle of communist ‘bandits’. A particularly traumatic experience was witnessing the uncontrollable anguish of a young mother with a brood of seven children at the funeral of the father.

Hee. who together with his wife (Wong Ko Mee) had studied Arts at the Chi Nan University in Shanghai in the 1930s when China was a victim of European and Japanese imperialism. Malay. We lived in an English-style bungalow. its modernising influence was a winner. and Shakespeare. As a medical student in Singapore. an Australian accountant at the Raub Australian Gold Mine. Mandarin. Kiap. CT Cheng was also ahead of his time in identifying himself as a Malayan with a cosmopolitan. This included some good English-medium schools. Electoral support for the PAP grew rapidly. That experience could well have changed his world view on Chinese civilisation and the absolute need for modernisation. Father and Mother were secular. where in addition to cricket. and other ‘men in white’.K. the science laboratory was a harbinger of modernity. TK. a British teacher in the Malayan Education Service. rugby. evident in the -9- . In depriving food supply to the communist insurgents. Gurnell. especially in the sciences. Kok. was deeply inspired by the inquiring approach and analytical thinking in chemistry as taught by S. ‘colour-blind’ outlook. Some of his best friends were Indians and Malays. conversing in English as he sipped Scottish whiskey and water and ate South Indian curry. Kok and three cousins were enrolled in a boarding school in Australia. The importance of having a science-based education was instilled in TK by his father. T. retaining only the practice of Confucian filial piety and thrift. and Hokkien made by Lee Kuan Yew. During his formative years at the Victoria Institution in Kuala Lumpur. where the huge crowds were mesmerised by the rhetoric in English. He was thus well ahead of his time in making a strong case to his seven children—Chor. Ong Eng Guan. with recommendations from a family friend. Yik and Kim—and to many more nephews and nieces on the importance of university education. Though colonial rule had a downside. As a result Chor. TK has vivid memories of the election campaigns at Hong Lim field. Rajaratnam. Ti Cheng Toh (C T Cheng). the back of the communist uprising was broken.Singapore and Asia response was to institute military rule and incarcerate the rural population in fenced-up. ‘new villages’. countrywide.

What a change it has been since then. the overcrowding of patients had worsened. An early dent in self-confidence came when Prime Minister Lee was captured on television. The much touted slogan of ‘a Malaysian Malaysia’ had not gone down well across the causeway. Yet there were hiccups. the East Asian economy is beginning to threaten the supremacy of the West. Would the tiny island state of two million survive? A professorial appointment at the National University of Singapore brought TK back to Singapore in 1979 to work as a consultant surgeon at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH). It has perhaps not been coincidental that most rapid progress has been made in Singapore and other East Asian countries where there has been modernisation of people with a Confucian legacy. Globalisation. and Southeast Asia. Grossly expanded by the entry of 1. choking with disappointment as he announced the separation of Singapore from Malaysia. Just as remarkable have been changes brought on by globalisation in neighbouring countries in East. with extra beds for emergency admissions sardine packing the ward aisle and spreading into the corridors.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI increasing size of the crowd. If anything. Waiting list for surgery was weeks and for a radiological examination such as a Barium meal. and the enthusiasm of the ‘Merdeka (freedom) salute’. is facilitating the emergence of a postmodern Asian civilisation. months. Health has become an expanding service industry whilst research and manufacture of biomedical goods is becoming a pillar of Singapore’s growing knowledge economy.32 billion Chinese during the past three decades. with continual creation of new hospitals with state-of-the-art facilities and research centres. syringes and needles recycled. Singapore peoples were clearly excited at their new dawn. Ward instruments were worn out with age. South. in promoting the fusion of civilisations. It was initially a cultural shock of disappointment as time appeared to have stood still since he was a medical student at SGH in 1960-1963. .10 - . the thunderous applause.

M. The views expressed in this book. 2002. Friedman Thomas. The World is Flat. Much of the details and some perspectives on world history have been gleaned from Robert’s acclaimed book.Singapore and Asia In the writing of this book. the present authors’ life experience in Singapore and Malaya. books. Amongst the references made. and the media. Times Media Pte Ltd. Robert’s global review of History of the World1 particularly apt. In the current very rapidly changing world. Memoir of Lee Kuan Yew From the Third World to First. Singapore and East Asia—Celebrating Globalisation and an Emerging Postmodern Asian Civilisation 1 J. London. As a small island state completely dependent and rapidly changed for the better by globalisation. has been inspirational and an important source of material. are entirely personal.M. From Third to First: The Singapore Story: 1965-2000. 2 3 . the media has been an invaluable source of updated information and opinions. 2006. travels in Asia together with study and research stints in Europe and the USA have been fortified by references in the English language in the literature. a perspective of two apolitical citizens in Singapore. cosmopolitan Singapore is a veritable living social laboratory. 2000. The New Penguin History of the World. Lee Kuan Yew. The Singapore Story: 1965-2000. Singapore.2 a frank account of the shaping of Singapore into a global city. Amongst the books on globalisation. Roberts. Our book is ambitious in attempting to present a bird’s eye view of the history of world civilisations and how it has been shaped by the integrating global economy.11 - . Friedman’s The World Is Flat3 triggered the challenge of writing the present book from an Asian and Singapore perspective. the authors have found the analytical approach in J. yielding clues in ‘best practice’ for successful globalisation and modernity. Penguin Books. Penguin Group.


Until the eighteenth century. The Enlightenment. This thesis has been reinforced by Communist China’s phenomenal success in the global economy during the past three decades. Clinton recently asserted that the twenty-first century would be ‘America’s Pacific Century’ just as the twentieth was America’s Atlantic century. Taoism. have happily discovered that practicing their cultural heritage of Confucianism. ‘Whose Century.13 - . In stagnating for centuries. 2011. performance in the global economy during the past several decades has renewed Asian confidence. the age of Reason. China and India had been the world’s two largest economies. Nevertheless. East Asians. and Buddhism has been to their advantage not only in the global economy but also in social stability. . but has the super power floundered somewhat since? As to Asian expectations.4 Unquestionably. Parts One and Two chronicle the history and development of the major world civilisations. and the control of nature through the mastery of science paved the way towards the modern industrial world and a global economy. Asians are now fast catching up. 4 Pierre Buhler. Western civilisation sprinted ahead during the past five centuries. Asians paid dearly at the feet of Western hegemony.Introduction In response to pronouncements of a twenty-first Asian century. in particular. November 24. the 21st?’ New York Times. America had been a worthy successor to the European nineteenth century. through the embrace of techno-science whilst retaining traditional values.

and its excessive exploitation of Mother Nature.14 - . its materialism and lack of spirituality. Western ideas are constantly sought after but are only implemented after vetting or with modifications to suit local needs. governance. For pragmatic Singaporeans. social and sustainable city development. Whilst Parts One and Two discuss the inter-relationship between civilisation characteristics and success at the global economy. which questions the precepts of modernism. Initially thought too small to exist as a nation. it has been the quality of governance and the political will to succeed that really matters. Indeed.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI At the same time. arguably Singapore has shown a postmodernist spirit. East Asia has found cultural consonance with the philosophy of constructive postmodernism. its failure to achieve harmony in society and amongst nations. Parts Three to Seven of the book present a detailed case study on global champion Singapore. Singapore has surprised in reaching the ranks of a global city well within a lifespan. In its experimentation of politics. Importantly. there would not have been a global Singapore had there been no PAP. Constructive postmodernism movement has endorsed the European Union and placed its biggest hope in the harmonious rise of Marxist China. Lessons from Singapore could help the shaping of a postmodern civilisation in East Asia. . Singapore’s success has been due to its ability to adopt an unusually successful mix of Western and Asian qualities and values. This has been a movement in the West. Asian respect for benign authority explains Singapore’s support for the People’s Action Party (PAP) government since its independence.

Part One Globalisation Today .

globalisation has perhaps even tilted in their favour. which was largely a tale of European expansion and colonial exploitation.16 - . American-led post-war globalisation on a flatter playing field is no longer a zero-sum game but has brought hundreds of millions of non-European people out of poverty. Singapore is devoid of resources. Straits Times. This happy fate would have been unthinkable as Lee Kuan Yew wept when Singapore was literally expelled from Malaysia in 1963. September 20. as Asians work up the technological ladder. Singapore has been able to build up human and social capital and maximise its strategic port to become the seventh amongst the global cities. Asian success has been earned through old-fashioned hard work ethics and thrift—qualities which seem to be in abeyance in the rich West in recent years. After several decades. Unlike pre-war globalisation. These differences have manifested as massive public debts (with Asians as 5 Habibe B.. Apart from its natural deep sea harbour and its strategic location at the Straits of Malacca. . a compliant multi-ethnic Asian population with a British colonial past. Significantly. 2006. ‘What I meant by “Little Red Dot”’. and just as importantly an American-led capitalist economy hungry for expansion into Asia. Western detractors of the global economy argue that though investments abroad increase profits and cheaper imported goods. it has also led to job loss at home. It had required an unusually effective mix of political will. J. especially in China and India. Within decades.A few million cosmopolitan Asians now live well in the ‘little red dot’5 of a newly created nation not easily located on a world map. Yet the impossible dream has materialised.

innovative scientists and technologists would soon make advances in energy efficiency and lower costs of renewable energy. We Must Build Too. Hopefully too. the world as a whole faces the serious challenge of deleterious environmental effects of the rapidly expanding global economy. the USA housing bubble and bank failures in 2007-2009 caused serious setbacks on the global economy worldwide. . the sustainability of globalisation is being tested. Furthermore. in all countries involved in the capitalistic global economy. 6 David Brookes. Started by the West and particularly promising to the developing world in the post-war era. sluggish growth. Thus. In the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant disaster. 2011.Singapore and Asia creditors). September 4.17 - . ‘Don’t Just Cut. and the world has not got out of it at press time. and technology as well as mitigating force that concentrates on wealth and nurturing instead of a broad-based opportunity society. It has been pointed out that the European and USA economic models need to be tilted away from consumption towards production. from entitlement spending towards investment in infrastructure. there is serious questioning on the safety and role of nuclear energy as a cheap source of renewable energy. Straits Times. an increasingly widening income between rich and poor has been a potential source of social unrest. Success lies with the yet unrealised but vital collaboration of determined governments in reducing reliance on fossil fuels. and high rates of unemployment.’ New York Times. quantitative easing. skills. Apart from solving problems affecting the performance of individual states.6 The integrated global economy and financial system has made West and East inter-dependent.

‘What I meant by “Little Red Dot”’. www.singstat.sg 2009. Economic Survey of Singapore 2008. led by UK and USA at 52 billion each and the Netherlands and Japan each at 49 billion. and Malaysia. British Virgin Islands.10 Singapore’s per capita GDP which places it seventh in ranking in the world has indeed been a remarkable achievement for a third world country several decades after independence. Singapore Government.9 In 2008.gov.1 Global Singapore The ‘little red dot’7 of a budding nation is not easily located on a world map. per capita indigenous GNI $49.sg Statistics Department. www.987600. Singapore’s stock of Direct Investment Abroad (DIA) amounted to $298 billion.gov. per Capita GNI $51. February. Ministry of Trade and Industry.18 - 8 9 10 . 2006. which is the highest in the world. in order to China. 7 Habibe B.8 Three in ten of the workforces are temporary migrant workers. . All of 710 sq km (131 sq km reclaimed from the sea) is home and hope for a cosmopolitan population in 2009 of 4. September 20. and gross national saving 47 per cent of GNI.singstat. At end of 2008. Unemployment rate was 2. the GDP was $257 billion. Singapore’s dependence on trade is shown by its 2008 trade-to-GDP ratio of 360 per cent. the stock of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).3 per cent.733900 are citizens and permanent residents.739. was $470 billion. of which 3. J. mainly as capital for MNCs. Straits Times. Republic of Singapore. United Kingdom..996.

Small countries with small domestic markets and limited natural resources have found success through international trade. and political engagement.com . Hong Kong’s population is more homogeneously Chinese. and Hong Kong intimately shares the rapid growth of China. Switzerland. closely followed by Hong Kong. and in order. Political engagement counts involvement in international organisations and treaties as well as financial and personnel contributions to UN peace-keeping missions and levels of governmental transfer. Canada.11 In the 2007 ranking. technological connectivity. Technological connectivity is assessed by the number of Internet users. What has Singapore in common with the winners’ circle? Seven of the top ten countries in the index have populations fewer than eight million.19 - . United States. but it was only in 1997 when British rule ended that Hong Kong became a Special Administration Region (SAR) in China. Singapore was ranked first. and cross-border transfers. Singapore is by far the smallest of these countries. Jordan and Estonia. Internet hosts. The Netherlands is also a small country with a long history of very successful global trading history since the seventeenth century when it displaced the Iberians as leaders in Malacca and the Indian Ocean. Denmark. Hong Kong like Singapore had a similar history of British colonisation for over a century. Personal contact is derived from figures on international travel and tourism. including remittances. Ireland. international telephone traffic. personal contact.Singapore and Asia Ranking as a Global Country The Globalisation Index by Foreign Policy magazine and Stockbrokers AT Kierney ranked Singapore as the most globalised country for three consecutive years (2005-2007). 11 www. The index is based on twelve variables grouped in four categories: economic integration.atkearney. Netherlands. and secure servers. Economic integration is quantified by combining data on trade and foreign direct investment.

May 20. as a twenty-six-billion-dollar stimulation package has been unrolled. with export almost twice the GDP. ‘S’pore No. However. This together with the loss of competitiveness of the USA has pushed Singapore ahead of long-standing champion USA and rival Hong Kong towards being ranked by Swiss business school IMD as the world’s most competitive economy. especially from China. 1 in Competitiveness’. 2010. Since then Ireland has reformed retail in education and research.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Ireland. Singapore showed a 13 per cent growth in the first quarter of 2010. and currently more than half the world’s population live in cities. giving support to workers. in a very tight spot. a flexible educated workforce. The World Is Flat. focused on attracting investments from US high-tech companies after building up a quality infrastructure. bank failures. Chan Fiona. upgrading skills training. and building infrastructure. Science Foundation Ireland has established more than 160 new research groups. and huge national debts have again put Ireland’s economy.12 Unfortunately. which was on the brink of economic collapse in the 1960s. As a result.13 Ranking as a Global City Commerce and civilisation started with urbanisation. along that with Greece.1 per cent. Straits Times. Singapore has always been prepared for the proverbial rainy day. this brisk growth has been badly hit by the 2008 global recession. Cities are the 12 13 Friedman Thomas. As a result of this very effective stimulus. and reducing corporate taxes. The retreat of globalisation during the current economic meltdown has also been felt by the highly globalised economies of the Asian tigers. 2006. suffered a drop in annualised rate of 17 per cent in the last quarter of 2008. Singapore. A housing bubble. which has finally arrived. Penguin Books. . Recovery has been faster than expected.20 - . by doubling PhD graduates in science and technology as well as actively recruiting research scientists. The nation of savers has not been particularly ruffled. the Celtic tiger per capita GDP grew to be second only to Luxembourg in Europe. the 2009 contraction in GDP being 2.

Singapore has consistently since 1995 been ranked high in international surveys on business competitiveness amongst cities. New York. The second dimension measures human capital. and number of broadband subscribers. and Tokyo. Kearney and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs ranks cities according to 24 metric across five dimensions. Straits Times.Singapore and Asia centres of civilisation. June 10. T. and influence to shape the interconnected world. Political engagement assesses the city’s political influence as indicated by the 14 Tay M. number of Fortune 500 headquarters. sophistication. international schools. weighing financial as well as cultural and political influence. The 2008 Global Cities Index devised by Foreign Policy in collaboration with A. Singapore came up first in ease-to-do business. and values and ideas of cities shape the countryside. The first is business activity. wealth. but behind London.14 A new study has compiled a list of the world’s most global cities. Singapore was rated fourth ahead of Hong Kong. which includes the value of capital markets. and legal/political framework. What makes this new index more comprehensive than previously devised global city indices is inclusion of cultural experience and political engagement as dimensions. Cultural experience includes major sporting events and performing arts venues. amount of international news in newspapers. Thus. 2008. and percentage of university graduates. is assessed by the number of international news bureaus. . Although Singapore’s perceived relative lack of personal freedom placed her fortieth out of the seventy-five cities surveyed. in the 2008 MasterCard Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index. and volume of goods transacted.. Global cities have a special position in having the power. The third dimension.21 - . as the most influential commercial centre in the world. economic stability. as reflected in immigrant population. information exchange.

where throughput is highest in the world. which was strong on business.22 - . Next was London well ahead in the cultural dimension. 2008. scoring not only on its museums. it would be more liveable if there is greater tolerance of lifestyles. believes that London lacks entrepreneurial diversity with all its eggs in the financial market. New York was top because of Wall Street. www.com Oon C.foreignpolicy. and political conferences. its network of multinationals.15 The 2008 Global Cities Index ranked Singapore seventh amongst the world’s most global cities. October 24. international organisations. Singapore stands out in its port activity.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI number of embassies. Strait Times. Thus Singapore was placed by Monocles at a ranking of 22 in 2008 and 18 in 2009.16 15 16 ‘Foreign Policy’. The government is reliable and efficient and provides a non-interfering and inviting business environment. Third was Paris. ‘Lover of Cities Seeks Extra Oomph in Singapore’. Singapore ranked third in holding international conferences and fourth in international students attending its universities. A lower dose of government planning could promote more creativity. including attitudes towards gay people. Sixth was Los Angeles. Ranking as a Liveable City While the ranking in globalisation of cities is fairly consistent. which has heavily drawn multinational corporations. . there has been wide variability in city rankings for liveability conducted on expatriates. Fourth was Tokyo. editorial director of Monocles. Although Singapore is moving towards more cultural vibrancy and openness. the multi-ethnic and cultural metropolis and the Hollywood film business. but was top in information exchange. and its creativeness. The 2008 Global Cities Index. Tokyo was ranked third in 2009 while London and New York were not among the first 25 listed. Hong Kong’s strong financial links placed it fifth. major think-tanks. Tyler Brule..

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Liveability ranking placed Vancouver followed by Vienna and Melbourne at the top. trust that keeps us together when forces try to pull us apart. like when we hosted the Youth Olympics Games. Straits Times. climate preference. 2008.19 17 Chee Frankie. July 6. The Singapore spirit embraces ‘shared values like multiracialism. Cheam J. In his 2010 National Day Rally address to the nation.17However. 2010. August 30. pride in working together. 2009. Nur Dianah Suhaimi. Straits Times. The spirit includes ‘determination that make us press on when things are tough. the respectable overall ranking of Singapore’s liveability is testimony that the rapid growth into a busy global city need not necessarily make it less liveable. as in the recession last year. Singapore was fifty-four. and confidence that we will prevail come what may’. . Nevertheless. July 25.18 The rather wide variability in ranking in liveability of cities suggests that rankings could be coloured by subjectivity. meritocracy. behind Osaka and Hong Kong. quite pride and discipline that make sure that things go right. instilled at independence by the island state’s founding fathers. and aspirations’. Straits Times. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong emphasised the significance of these values for Singapore’s success in a rapidly changing globalising world. and shared memories. Singapore emerged as the best place to stay for expatriates. ‘The Singapore Spirit. and cultural bias of the responders. dreams.Singapore and Asia Mercer’s quality of living survey in 2009 placed Singapore at twenty-six (highest in Asia) in a list dominated by Vienna at the top and Swiss and German cities. ranking first for quality of accommodation and second for luxury living. loyalty commitment. responsibility. competence. Five Years On’. in a 2008 HSBC Bank survey of forty-nine locations.23 - 18 19 . ‘How Livable a City is Singapore?’. like when we encountered extremist terrorism. The Singapore Spirit Behind Singapore’s success has been the flowering of the ‘Singapore spirit’.

Whilst progress has been made in primary education enrolment and access to safe drinking water. there remains a wide disparity in the stage of development between West and East. August 26. in addition to improving social safety net.340. Middle-income Asian economies. Financial Times.140 dwarfs that of China at $4. and inequality is increasing in the emerging middle-income economies. Straits Times. Asian development has been far from being uniform. Asia is rapidly re-emerging. other areas of non-income development such as child and maternal mortality and sanitation targeted by the United Nations 2015 Millennium development goal may not be achievable. .20 Furthermore. perhaps much faster than had been anticipated.260 and India at $1. China has just overtaken Japan as the second biggest world economy while Tokyo.2 The Changing Global Economy Thanks to globalisation during the past decades.24 - . ‘Why Western Ways Are Still Winning’. Thus the United States and the European Union together have a tenth of the world population but produce half the world’s output. need to 20 Martin Sandb. Asia’s challenge is to narrow income and non-income inequalities before the inevitable slide into political instability. and Singapore are amongst the top global cities. US per capita gross national product of $47. 2011. Nevertheless. Hong Kong. The poorest peoples have become poorer.

with nearly two-thirds of the world’s central bank reserves held in dollars and 90 per cent of all trades in $3. Jeffrey Sachs. 2008. Karmin Craig. the global capitalistic market economy has shown promise of being the best system towards a fairer world. Straits Times. It has been felt that the realities of the global economy and competition from Asia are at the core of the current economic malaise and sovereign debts in the United States and Europe. be innovative.23 American-led global finance and economy accelerated after the 1930s Great Depression and the Second World War. huge challenges lie ahead for the creation of a more equal world. 2010. There is also need for Asia to adapt to changes in the practice of globalisation which the developed world might impose hence. In Jeffrey Sachs’ words. and deepen financial and regional cooperation. USA Leadership As the successor to the First Liberal Economic Order of the British Empire. The US dollar has served as the world currency. Biography of the Dollar.25 - 22 23 .2 trillion per day in the foreign exchange market. and American companies make up nearly half of the world stock market capitalisation. Straits Times. the new super power USA has shaped the post-Second World War Liberal Economic Order. New York. . As the world order continues to evolve.Singapore and Asia move up the technological ladder. 2011. August 27. accommodation from both developed and developing nations would be necessary to keep the flattening playing field acceptable by all. made worse by a failure in political leadership. ‘Two Faces of Asia’s Economic Success’. USA accounts for about 30 per cent of global gross domestic product. August 20 (from the Financial Times).22 Hitherto. Crown Business. It had been 21 Changyong Rhee. ‘The Hard Truth of Globalization’. ‘both regions (the United States and Europe) are being whipsawed by globalisation’.21Thus. although globalisation has opened the door for a small proportion of Asians to join the First World.

Technology Galore The space race with the USSR which launched Sputnik in 1956 stimulated the rapid build-up of scientific manpower and research in the United States. nuclear energy (and bombs). using common workflow software. the genetic components. Biotechnology is expanding in the production of new pharmaceuticals and biologics for the prevention and treatment of a wide range of diseases. cheap Middle East fossil fuel. The onerous task of identifying the genome of man was completed in 2000. jet planes. Physics and chemistry continue to reveal intricacies in the laws governing the workings of Earth and the Universe down to the quantum sub-atomic level. such as the computer. The understanding of the material building blocks of life itself has been greatly enhanced by research in cellular and molecular biology. Penguin Books. . bone marrow cancer as well as tissue and organ replacement. paving the way towards increased understanding and hence better treatment of genetic diseases. Research has yielded exponential knowledge of mathematics and the physics and chemistry of the material world and the universe. fibre-optics.24 In the twenty-first century. Research of the pluri-potent stem cells holds promise for such diseases as Parkinsonism. hand phones. and cancer. diabetes. Unlike the traditional model where 24 Friedman Thomas L.. and an expanding trade frontier of capable new players. and their sequencing in chromosomes (genome). ageing. goods and services are conducted across national borders and distances. 2006. Computerisation has been applied in nearly all advanced technology. This increasing knowledge has been applied to a rapidly increasing stock of new technology. the strong impact of computers has led Friedman to suggest that since 2000 the world has moved into a new era of Globalisation 3. Internet. The World Is Flat.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI boosted by explosive innovations in technology. In the area of manufacture and trade. London.0. and nanotechnology.26 - .

Fostering International Trade The Liberal International Economic Order (LIEO) of the United States is less liberal from that of nineteenth century British LIEO in that free trade is not offered unilaterally. and Uruguay in 1986 progressively cut tariffs in trade. Kennedy in 1963-7. Great Britain.27 - . . The World Affairs Companion. Tokyo in 1973-9. 1993. Furthermore. As a result. world trade climbed sixfold from US$500 billion in 1960 to US$3. although GATT’s successor. out-shoring. labour. reducing trade barriers by multilateral agreements and through bilateral negotiations. taxation. United Nations Agencies In the post-war period. WTO director-general Lamy believes that the Doha Rounds is finally at the home stretch as governments refocus on the deal as a means 25 Segal Gerald.Singapore and Asia a product is completely produced at a particular factory. in the flattened global platform. A UN agency. the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Instead reciprocity is practiced. the present production strategy saves costs by out-sourcing.25 However. including services and investments. the 153 members have not been able to reach consensus for further tariff cuts. and transportation. the World Trade Organisation (WTO). the Americans set up a flow of capital through the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). has met at Doha for the past decade. and supply-chaining. Components of a product are supplied by different factories across borders lowering the total production cost in brain power. successful players need no longer be restricted to countries or companies but can include capable individuals from anywhere. 104 nations had joined GATT. was set up in 1947 to promote multilateral international trade with tariff reductions. Simon and Schuster Ltd. By 1992.000 billion in 1992 (at 1985 prices). Nevertheless. Periodic meetings of GATT the Dillion in 1960-2.

Save the World’.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI to speed up recovery from the 2008 global meltdown. European nations re-empowered in the form of the European Union. working towards totally eliminating trade taxes 26 Chan Robin. . New Zealand. poor countries have been unable to export agricultural products due to a protectionist policy with heavy subsidies on farming in the richer countries. and Chile. but its initiatives such as setting up a common fund to purchase buffer stocks to raise primary commodity prices fizzled out. Trade Blocs and Bilateral Pacts The current trend in forming regional trading blocs and bilateral pacts takes a preferential and political approach in world trade. over 200 regional and bilateral trading agreements are in place. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNTAD) was set up in 1964 to address this. Straits Times. Agreement on Doha would reduce by half the tariffs amounting to $250 billion in 2009. with more than 100 coming into force during the seven years that Doha came into existence. While GATT/WTO has been facilitating trade amongst the richer countries. A pioneering effort has been the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Thus Singapore has actively sought collaboration with its nine other neighbours in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the larger 21 member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in making small steps towards economic integration and lowering of tariffs. Deprived of their colonies. Singapore.28 - . ‘Save the Doha Round. Worldwide. July 29. 2009. poorer countries have felt left out. signed four years earlier amongst Brunei. Until now. 2010 marked the onset of the China-ASEAN free trade zone. National boundaries have been removed within the Union for the free flow of trade and labour.26 This could potentially add US$300-700 billion to world trade.

As the world’s manufacturing powerhouse. legal system. Straits Times. like Singapore.27 Successful New Players In 2005. Australia. had inherited British democracy. Peru. and if it collaborates. and Singapore. These countries are integrating with some success into the global capitalistic economy.29 After independence in 1947. gas. London. APEC could have the bare bones of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP). which is currently less than a third of that of the USA. communism’s failed centrally planned economy led to the sudden implosion of the USSR and satellite states in Eastern Europe. for the first time since the industrial revolution. Yet the most dramatic effect of free trade has been in the communist world. Within thirty years of joining in the global economy. Similarly. Communist China has leapfrogged many countries in economic development and almost unbelievably has become the biggest holder of USA’s national debts. China’s GDP. the British colony of Hong Kong. 2009. Russia’s economy has been growing at 7 per cent during the past five years. Initially involved in low-end manufacture. ‘A Bigger World’. is expected to surpass America’s in 2030 and double that of the USA in 2050.29 - 28 29 . and business practice as well as the 27 Ignatius Low. thrift. ‘Enigma Variations’. improved social conditions and education have enabled these ‘Asian tigers’ to rapidly upgrade to middle-rung manufacture. September 20.Singapore and Asia by 2015. 2008.28 Following Japan’s lead were South Korea. India. November 29-December 5. Taiwan. emerging countries accounted for more than half of global GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP). 2008. and hard work ethics. November 14. Interested parties include United states. and metals make up 80 per cent of its exports. The Economist. which share common Confucian cultural assets of love of learning. Oil. and Vietnam. The Economist. ‘A Spur to Freer Trade Flow’. .


English language. However, Nehru opted for a Soviet-type planned economy, which proved damaging. Nevertheless since 1990, India’s economy, after liberalising, has grown rapidly at 6-10 per cent annually. It has focused on IT at world-class cyber hub, Bangalore, and knowledge-based services. It’s GDP doubled from US$310 billion to US$ 661 billion in 2004, about 10 per cent of USA. However, there is still a massive poor rural population, though rural-city migration is expected to step up to man the new industries planned for the next twenty years. There are also large numbers of non-resident Indians well versed in English who have assumed high corporate positions in US and UK multinational corporations.30 Like Russia, Brazil’s economy has been growing fast since the mid-1990s because of record commodity prices and record credit growth. In 2001, Jim O’Neill, chief economist of Goldman Sach, used the acronym ‘BRIC’ for Brazil, Russia, India, and China as a group of four emerging countries joining the big league. Sach had predicted in 2001 that by the end of the decade, BRIC economies would account for 10 per cent of global GDP at (PPP). However by 2007, their share had exceeded this at 14 per cent.31 The recent inclusion of South Africa has extended the potentially powerful BRICS to include the largest emerging economies to all continents. The US tenet of promotion of free trade, not its military might, has brought down the Berlin and other walls in the rapidly integrating and less unequal world.

The New Game
Since 2000, cross-border direct investment has fallen sharply amongst developed countries, while it has risen strongly especially in China


Lee Kuan Yew, 2008, ‘Managing Globalization: Lessons from China and India’, in Amitav Acharya, Singapore’s Foreign Policy, World Scientific, Singapore.


2008, ‘A Bigger World’, The Economist, September 20-26. - 30 -

Singapore and Asia

and India. This is all the more significant as these countries have large numbers of engineers graduating and creating a remarkable innovative environment, with the result that the US and Europe now face high-quality, low-cost competition.32 However, the current state of competition still favours the developed countries and could remain so for yet some more years. Emergent economies like China are strong in the low—and middle-range technology while the old multinationals continue to dominate the high-tech sectors. Competition is keenest in mid-range technology. Emergent economies have to also narrow the considerable gap in technological innovation and managerial skills. In the current third phase of MNC development, instead of having its headquarters at home and having smaller versions of itself in emerging countries, the firm moves people and jobs anywhere in the world ‘based on the right costs, the right skills, and the right business environment’. ‘“Work flows to where it will be done best” is how GEC positions itself,’ said its CEO, Palmisano.33 Encouragingly, there has been a more collaborative approach between rich and poor countries. Emergent countries are not just a source of cheap labour, but they now provide high-skilled and high-valued workers. MNCs are now more willing to set up cutting edge research laboratories in emergent countries.34 These MNCs find that it works to take on a local partner, such as GEC has with AirTel. Furthermore, rather than just having the old-fashioned joint venture partnership, strategic partnerships have been set up as in the case of India’s Ranbaxy, with its understanding of low cost production of generic drugs, and Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo, providing research and development as well as access to the Japanese market. Taking advantage of their greater experience, branding, and imagination, the old MNCs such as GE and IBM have tied up with the governments of emergent countries such as China and Vietnam in building up

32 33 34

Gumbel Peter, 2005, ‘In Search of Davos Man’, Time, January 31. 2008, ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, The Economist, September 20-26. 2008, ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, The Economist, September 20-26. - 31 -


infrastructure and safeguarding the environment. This is yet another example of how the profit motive of globalisation can work towards a better and more equal world. Goldman Sachs calculates that the global middle class, with an income of $6,000-$30,000, is growing at 70 million a year. In his book The Fortune at the bottom of the Pyramid, Prahalad represents the income of people in emergent economies as an inverted pyramid. Profits can be maximised by selling products at different levels of sophistication to suit the range of incomes starting from the bottom. Basic models of products, made from a minimum of resources, or ‘frugal engineering’ as coined by Carlos Ghosn’s, are for the mass market and particularly suit new firms in the emergent countries. Indian companies such as AirTel and Safaricom have rapidly spread mobile phones amongst the poor; Homex, Mexican builder of low-cost housing, have expanded into India and Cairo. India’s Tata with operations in eighty-five countries, besides making a series of high-profile international acquisitions, has made plans for mass production of Nano, a $2,500 small car, with a state-of-art design.35

Downside of Global Market Capitalism
Increasing Rich-Poor Divide
Anti-globalisation protestors at Davos grouse about the rich-poor divide in economies brought on by globalisation. Protestors from the rich nations are particularly concerned about the workers’ loss of jobs due to off-shoring and out-sourcing and import of cheaply produced goods from the developing countries. The integration of China, India, former USSR States, and Latin America into the global trade system added two billion workers to the world’s labour force, causing downward pressure on unskilled wages. Technological innovations have also reduced the requirement of unskilled labour. The loss of jobs, reaching 10 per cent in the USA as a result of the 2008-9 economic meltdown, would be expected to lead to trade disputes and protectionism, especially between the fast-rising emerging countries and USA.


2008, ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, The Economist, September 20-26. - 32 -

Singapore and Asia

Across countries, the rewards of the global economy have not been distributed equitably, with economic growth flowing disproportionately to the top 1-10 per cent of earners. The rich-poor divide is most striking in countries which have embraced capitalism and the global economy most enthusiastically—USA and China, and small, open cities like Singapore and Hong Kong. Thus the median income of American male workers since 1978 has stagnated to just under $46,000 (in 2007 money), The GNI coefficient in the USA has climbed steadily from 0.395 in 1974 to 0.463 in 2007, indicative of a less equal society. On the other hand, the rich 10-20 per cent has been pulling away from the rest because of education, job skills, and connections creating an expanding class of super rich.36 Although global competition and job loss have contributed to the increasing wealth mal-distribution in the USA and indeed everywhere, it has been suggested that the decisive factors have been transformation of manner and morals, politics and public policy over the past three decades. In many countries current policies of taxation favour the rich.37 Thus in the 1970s, following corrosion of the post-war economic model by rising inflation and a series of oil shocks, the Reagan-Thatcher reforms put an end to the ultra-high tax rates of the post-war years. The mal-distribution of wealth in globalised economies, with its social destructive effects, demands the attention of governments. If neglected, Marxism, although losing the first few rounds, could stage a successful comeback. Since independence, Singapore’s People’s Action Party’s mandate has been founded on delivering a fair and just society. In response to more widely expressed discontent than expected in the 2011 General Elections, the newly elected PAP government has responded

36 37

Reich R., 2007, Newsweek, November 12. Gross D., 2007, Newsweek, November 12. - 33 -


positively by pledging to re-examine its policies in the distribution of wealth in a rapidly changing Singapore.

Climate Change: Food and Water Deprivation
The Food and Agriculture Organisation, the World Bank, and the World Food Programme have all been criticised for failure to support adequate food production in poor countries.38 Subsistence farmers are in fear of starvation as floods and droughts, possibly related to climate change, further reduce food yield. Stock piling of grain in Japan and China, trade barriers, and export bans are additional adverse factors. The plight of the poor has been aggravated by the recent steep rise in staple food prices, threatening to plunge more than 100 million people into hunger. The figure approaches one billion when malnutrition in children is included. The global spike in food prices in 2008, 83 per cent over the past three years, puts as many as thirty-three countries at risk of civil unrest.39 Besides the necessity of urgent immediate measures to alleviate current food shortage, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon stresses the long-term need to increase world food production 50 per cent by 2030.40 Johannesburg-based poverty campaign group Action Aid warns that the current food crisis amounts to gross violation of human rights and could fuel a global catastrophe.41 Equally worrisome is the plight of a substantial proportion of people with inadequate water supply. In Asia, 700 million people lack access to clean drinking water while 2 billion lack sanitation. Water shortage occurs from a multiplicity of factors: population growth to 9 billion by 2050, a more affluent lifestyle, droughts from global warming, and depletion of ground water from over-extraction in agricultural areas.42

38 39 40 41 42

2008, Washington Post, Straits Times, May 20. Bremmer I., 2008, Straits Times, May16. Reuters, 2008, Straits Times, June 4. Reuters, 2008, Straits Times, June 4. Benedek A., 2008, Straits Times, June 21. - 34 -

Singapore and Asia

In rapidly developing vicinities, water depletion is compounded by pollution, such as that experienced in China where stretches of the Yellow River are heavily polluted and nearly dry. The building of dams to harness clean hydroelectricity as well as storing water, while clearly beneficial to some, could cause conflict in depriving water downstream. States most susceptible to shortage of food and water include those in sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans, the Caucasus, South and Central Asia, and parts of Southeast Asia.43 The vicious trap of poverty, ignorance, and illiteracy is aggravated by disease. In addition to malnutrition and water-borne diseases, malaria kills a million and saps the energy of many more millions; of the thirty-three million with HIV infection, two-thirds are in sub-Saharan Africa. Globalisation has created a class of super-rich. It is heartening that philanthropy is not dead. There are people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, who having amassed massive wealth from the capitalist market economy, technology, and globalisation, are redistributing some of their profits to improve the health of peoples who need it most. Nevertheless, to be effective, there is need for far more robust support from supranational bodies.

Great Disruption or Big Shift?
Looking at the big picture, Friedman draws attention to ‘seismic changes afoot’ in the future of globalisation from two recent perspectives. Gilding’s book, The Great Disruption, sees the present growth-obsessed economic system, with little regard to equitable wealth distribution and environmental degradation as a broken system. Hagel’s big shift sees the way forward as a ‘huge flow of ideas, innovations, new collaborative possibilities, and new market opportunities as a result of talents growing everywhere’.


2008, ‘US Clout “to Ebb in Next 20 Years”’, Los Angeles Times, Straits Times, November 22. - 35 -

Friedman foresees the great disruption being followed by rebuilding resulting from the big shift. New York Times. ‘You have a huge chunk of the world where incomes are getting closer and closer to the highest economies in the world. 2011. October 13. David Carbon. Friedman.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI As an optimist of globalisation. . Seismic Changes Afoot’. Responding to the forecast that Asia will equal the United States in economic size in 2016 and by 2020 will be 17 per cent higher. said. 44 Hopefully he is right. ‘Wake Up. That is a big conversion in equality. and to me that is a good thing. Straits Times.36 - .’ 44 Thomas L. managing director of DBS economic and currency research.

savings and sovereign funds.3 Financial Management Makes or Breaks Economies Finance has been described as the ‘brain of the economy’.37 - . rapid and poorly regulated expansion of the Western financial system has also led to intermittent years of economic crises and instability in the world. Singapore and other Asian countries have been able to build up capital for asset growth and as insurance against the proverbial rainy day. Globalisation with the rapid emergence of developing countries especially in Asia could also have contributed to the 2008 economic and financial crises originating in the West. capital mobility. . The Virtue of Thrift and State Capitalism As a result of a thrifty fiscal policy. The modern financial system with its roots in the renaissance has massively enhanced credit availability. Through insurance. has facilitated the phenomenal growth of the global economy during the past three decades. but Western profligacy has also been fuelled by Asian thrift. Nevertheless. including the US dollar not backed by gold. Not only have jobs been taken away. financial innovations. Rapid expansion of the financial system. financial services offer protection against risks.

45 46 2008. Even tiny Singapore has built up several hundred billions in its sovereign funds. Global Institute forecasts Asia’s sovereign funds to reach $7. Kuwait. Karmin Craig. that currency trading is ‘unproductive and totally immoral’. The Economist. and Russia. reaping millions as third-world countries bled. ‘The Rise of State Capitalism’. The Asian financial crises in Indonesia.46 The Asian crises required IMF bailout of ninety-five billion dollars.7-12. .6 trillion in 2007. Sovereign funds have been diversified in acquiring businesses in the United States and elsewhere. This has saved some banks and business in the current financial crises but has caused unease in the West despite assurances that these investments are purely for financial gain. rightly so. Even at $50 a barrel.45 Besides US government bonds. Biography of the Dollar. Crown Business. Sovereign funds have also grown enormously from high oil prices in the United Arab Emirates. South Korea. the assets of these states will rise to $8. Richard Cookson has pointed out there is an element of hypocrisy in keeping out involvement of sovereign funds in Western business as the United States did use their political and economic clout in acquiring Asian assets in the Asian crises in the 1990s. causing heavy losses in the stock and bond markets. Saudi Arabia. Foreign exchange dealers managing hedge funds speculated. It remains controversial whether implementing the Washington Consensus terms—higher interest rates and smaller government deficits—in fact worsened the crises. 2008.9 trillion by 2013 from $4. local currency tumbled. When the ‘hot’ money was suddenly withdrawn.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Thus China has accumulated US$ three trillion in national reserves. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir opined. and Thailand had been brought about by these countries lending out long term in local currency and borrowing short term in US dollars.38 - . Japanese banks and households have the world’s biggest pool of liquidity—Japanese household assets totalled US15.4 trillion. Malaysia.2 trillion by 2013. September 20-26.

Crown Business. Karmin C. ‘The Rise of State Capitalism’. the US economy continued to grow.Singapore and Asia Developing Asian countries have since learnt to build up large foreign reserves as defence against future raids by astute speculators. Following the Second World War which impoverished Europe. whilst Asian countries such as China and Singapore drew billions from their large national reserves to stimulate successful recovery of their economy. and Johnson’s Great Society Programme 47 48 2008. and two-third of the world’s oil. Biography of the Dollar. had to resort to more loans and quantitative easing. The newly created International Monetary Fund (IMF) would supervise rates of all other currencies relative to the dollar.39 - .47 In the recent global economic crises. This was very different a century ago in 1913 when after creation of a central bank authority—the Federal Reserve Board—the US dollar joined the British pound in being backed by gold. the Korean and Vietnam wars. Whither the US Dollar? At press time. 2008.48 At Breton Woods in 1944. September 20-26. the United States dollar was formally installed as the prime world currency to succeed the British pound. Standard and Poor’s downgrading of the US dollar from AAA (a credit rating it has held since 1917) to AA+ together with the inability to contain sovereign debts on both sides of the Atlantic has caused panic selling and losses in stock markets around the world. developed economies. The greenback was fixed at $35 to an ounce of gold.. half the world’s coal. already saddled by large national debts. Billions spent on US post-war aid to Western Europe and Japan. The Economist. . New York. producing half the world’s manufactures. Sovereign funds symbolise the shift in the balance of economic power to the emerging markets.

The downside is that US foreign debt has escalated to such a level—more 49 Karmin Craig. As world trade is in US currency. Nixon devalued the dollar to $38 for an ounce of gold and in 1972 abolished the gold standard altogether.9 trillion in 2004. The Economist. By 1970. US companies have been enjoying an unfair advantage in that the USA has the exclusive privilege of printing dollars. Nevertheless.49 Global trade had also enabled China and other East Asian countries to accumulate huge US dollar reserves.40 - 50 . In 2007. US gold reserve dropped to 22 per cent of dollar value held abroad. 1985-1995. which has apparently been a subsidy from the poorer economies. and 47 trillion in 2006. In 1980.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI resulted in large US balance of payment deficits. 2002-2008—and recovery in the intervening years. 40. ‘The Resilient Dollar’. About two-thirds of the estimated $760 billion in circulation is outside the United States. There have been cycles of dollar weakness—1973. The bond interest rate of 2 per cent is lower than that of inflation. 2008. Crown Business.7 trillion in 1990. 2008. the world’s total economic output was $10.2 trillion a day. This doubled to $21. which have been largely ploughed back to low-interest US Treasury bonds. In 1971. . October 4-10.9 trillion. New York. Biography of the Dollar. Since then the greenback has maintained its role as the global currency purely by faith. The dollar value in relation to all other currencies is determined by the traders and speculators in the large foreign exchange market—to the value of $3.50 This has enabled US companies and people to borrow at low-interest rates. Inflation since 1971 has resulted in the greenback losing an estimated 85 per cent of its purchasing value. the increased money supply after abandoning the gold standard had the overall effect of stimulating world economy. over $2 trillion US investment came from outside America.

Since the 1980s. November 22.Singapore and Asia than 14 trillion dollars—which has a serious negative impact on the recovery of the US economy. Straits Times. an advocate of a self-correcting market economy.41 - 52 . Even before the recent downgrading of the US dollar. In 2006. financial innovations and hedge funds have swarmed the market. On hindsight. ‘US Clout “to ebb in next 20years”’. Both started in Wall Street.52 Lessons from the 2008 Global Financial Crises The swiftness of occurrence and magnitude of the latest crises stunned most economists including former USA Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. with financial bubbles—the stock market in 1929 and sub-prime housing mortgage market in 2008. worldwide. Straits Times. Asia. whilst the total value of domestic and international bonds. . Ng G. US intelligence had predicted that the dollar’s role as the major world currency will weaken to the point where it becomes a ‘first among equals’ in 2025. 51 2008. Unrealistic expectations of wealth creation through speculation and lack of financial regulation are common factors in both meltdowns. vividly testifying to the integral nature of the global economy. and around the world. based on a basket of currencies in place of a currency controlled exclusively by one country. wiped out stock market values by more than 50 per cent.. was 68 trillion US dollars. caused millions of lost jobs. ‘Status of SU dollar Under Siege’. 2009. The failure of sub-prime housing mortgage in America soon brought down iconic banks and insurance companies. March 27. the total market capitalisation of the stock markets was 51 trillion. and threatened a deep and lengthy depression.51 This could set the stage for BRIC’s suggestion of a supranational reserve currency. there are many similarities between 2008 and 1930. The financial and economic tsunami rapidly spread to Europe. Los Angeles Times.

53 54 55 Ferguson Niall. the notational values of ‘over the counter’ derivatives—futures. based on high-powered mathematics and computerisation. Quick routes to riches have been taken by private equity firms and hedge funds to make risky bets on rising asset prices with borrowed money and in sophisticated instruments in the liberalised market. China’s purchase of US debt at low interest rate fanned US consumerism and sub-prime housing mortgage. New York. who have become phenomenally wealthy. and other benefits. Ferguson Niall.54 Almost as damaging were the flawed calculations in arriving at the ‘value-at-risk’ (VAR) which assesses the potential loss of a portfolio and the need for the bank to put aside money for this. 2008. the recent financial meltdown has drawn attention to derivatives—‘toxic assets’—as a cause of bank failures in the USA and Europe. options. but also precipitated the current recession. option grants. . These derivatives can be useful. The Ascent of Money.53 Nevertheless. the free market and global media have given rise to superstar celebrities in entertainment and sports.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI In 2007. 2008. ‘A Special Report on the Rich’. Additionally. such as in protecting businesses against movements in exchange rates and swings in interest rates. Penguin Press.42 - . compensation. Penguin Press. Collateralised-debt obligations (CDOs) have been created by bundling sub-prime mortgage and selling at AAA rating. Such abuse of the poorly regulated financial system not only caused a mal-distribution of income. Warren Buffet’s opinion of derivatives as ‘financial weapons of mass destruction’ aptly describes this aberration. and swaps—was 596 trillion.55 An aggravating factor has been Western excess fed by Asian thrift. New York. CEOs have been benefitting excessively from their ‘halo of reputation’. April 4-10. Risk assessment of these very complex CDOs. The Ascent of Money. 2009. has been unrealistic. The Economist. Central banks have been willing to use interest rate cuts to bail out financial markets. with massive pay packages.

2010. Standard and Poor downgraded the US dollar from AAA to AA+. what went wrong has been expressed in the words of economics Nobel laureate Joseph Stigitz. But many people have misinterpreted . .Singapore and Asia In short. Learning from the Great Depression. ‘(Adam Smith) was much more aware of the limitation of the invisible hand. getting the banks to lend again. Ironically. brought in stimulation packages. still a poor country. and built infrastructure to save jobs and overcome the credit crunch. A Changing Economic Order Recovery in the economy of the USA and Europe has been stalled by high unemployment rates and private and public debts.43 - . US debt has been bought at low interest rates by thrifty China.’56 In trying to prevent a total collapse of banks and big business. appear to be responsible citizens while undermining basic ethics. and more recently Italy and Spain face defaults in their national 56 Cheong Suk-wai. . ‘Most corporations . . breaching the sacredness of non-governmental participation in traditional laissez faire economy. Despite the last minute deal in the US Congress raising the ceiling on its national debt and hence preventing default. Several Euro countries such as Iceland. while the average US household debt is 30 per cent. governments throughout the world have rapidly cut interest rates. . .’ He also said. February 23. the simplistic view that markets can be left to run by themselves. Politicking within the divided US Congress had not given confidence that the US government would be able to steer the country out of the red. Ireland. ‘Of Bankers and the System’. . billions of bail-outs have been handed out. Straits Times. Greece. This has been described by critics as irresponsibility of US politicians. . and gotten . Thus the USA government has chalked up more than fourteen trillion dollars in debts. Portugal.

China. ‘Dawn of a “Golden Age” for Asia’. USA. January 19. With the West in the doldrums. 2010. with huge losses in share prices everywhere. with serious socio-political consequences. The two decades of ill-conceived monetary union of twenty-seven member states varying widely in economic development flounder in disarray as Europe faces decades of austerity and economic decline from an over-valued currency. Asian countries face an uncertain future in the next few years. the reaction from stock markets has been gloomy. they may not be able to support the massive capital demands to finance Asia’s growth. This is felt most acutely by the poor. 2010. repercussions echo around the world. Thus the unrest in the Arab world has been joined by street protests in Israel. a spendthrift country torn by corruption and incapable of collecting taxes. With Europe. and Japan all under the weather. angered by rising cost of living. Tan Tony.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI debts.44 - 58 . Additionally. Facing a second default is Greece. Straits Times. The next decade could be the ‘Golden Age’ for Asian financial institutions if they could rise to the challenge of developing quickly and joining in the unusually open playing field. The effect of quantitative easing and pumping billions to fight the financial crises has had an inflationary effect worldwide in the rising price of oil and food. . is deeply concerned that inflation (and corruption) could lead to social unrest amongst its millions of rural poor. with the Western banking systems hampered by capital constraints and regulation. ‘The End of an Economic Dream’. At press time. Straits Times. despite its good recovery from the financial crises.57 In today’s inter-dependent global economy.58 57 Jonathan Eyal. October 15. emerging countries of Asia together with Brazil and Russia are expected to account for more than half of the world’s gross domestic product in the coming decade.

45 - . Latin America. the changing multi-polar world has seen the timely expansion of the G8 rich countries into a larger group of twenty to include the emerging countries of Asia. and Africa.Singapore and Asia Finally. .

The Threat of Climate Change
Globalisation and the current techno-scientific civilisation have been built on a ready supply of fossil fuels, which is likely to run out of supply in several decades. More urgently, rigorous scientific research over the past two decades supports the hypothesis that such massive combustion of fossil fuel could lead to climate change with serious damaging effects on our lives and mother earth. Unfortunately, the necessity to invest today for uncertain returns in the future has not inspired enough political will amongst the world’s leading nations to collaborate and combat against this threat effectively.

Fossil Fuels, Politics, and the Global Economy
The economy of oil is closely linked with the economy at large. Furthermore, as oil is a strategic geopolitical commodity, the need for energy security influences national foreign policies and creates global political tensions. In the post-Second World War years, the oil resources in the Middle East whilst yielding petrodollars could have engendered Western imperialism and the rebound effect of radical Islamism. By adjusting supply, oil-rich countries and organisations such as OPEC control oil price. Prices have fluctuated wildly in recent years, contributing to economic instability. Thus, oil prices rose fivefold between 1973 and 1980, ushering in ‘stagflation’ and slowing economic growth. In 2007, oil reached nine times the 2000 price,
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before dropping to US$ 40 a barrel, a quarter of what it was just before the recent meltdown. At press time, oil prices have again risen to its historic high, impeding economic recovery, especially amongst Western nations bogged down by budget deficits and unsustainable national debts.

Fossil Fuels and Climate Change
Although air pollution causing smog, respiratory diseases, and soot-coated houses has been a feature of industrialisation, the greenhouse effect has not been recognised until recent years. Deforestation has been an aggravating factor. Surprisingly too, a head of cattle, in emitting methane, produces as much greenhouse effect as an automobile! The increase in world population; worldwide industrialisation; motor cars, steamships, and airplanes; electricity and air-conditioning; and other comforts of modern living has accelerated the use of fossil fuels. Whilst a large amount of energy usage was the prerogative of the European people, the rest of the world is now participating in environmental sins. Nevertheless, on a per capita basis today, each American consumes fifteen barrels of oil per year in comparison to two barrels consumed by the Chinese.

Adverse Consequences of Global Warming
Global warming causes chaotic climate change resulting in heat waves, droughts, floods, storms, and tsunamis. It hampers food production, leading to increase in food price and famine. It has been predicted that floods and droughts, food shortage, and scarcity of fresh water, aggravated by climate change will plague large parts of the globe by 2025, triggering mass migrations and political upheaval. The melting of the polar icecap and rise in ocean acidity and sea level could cause worldwide flooding and submersion of coastal areas with large populated cities and settlements. Tropical cyclones intensify, a stark example being the unexpected hurricane in 2008 causing massive destruction and loss of an estimated 100,000 lives in the Irrawaddy Delta in Myanmar. Human-generated climate change
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is altering plant and animal life throughout the world with flowers blooming and birds breeding earlier and polar bears becoming cannibals.59 There has also been significant loss of flora and fauna species since the 1970s. As a consolation, global warming could have beneficial effects. Thus, a navigational route across the Arctic would considerably shorten the distance between Europe and the Far East. The warming planet would also extend Russia’s and Canada’s growing season and access to northern oil fields. Nevertheless, the destructive effects of global warming far outweigh the beneficial effects.

Green Movement
On a per country basis, the United States and China have the largest carbon footprints. At the present rate of demand, by 2030 the world would need the resources of two planets to meet present-day lifestyle. If everyone lives the way Americans live, four and half planets would be needed.60 The solution to climate change depends on progress made across many fronts, including international collaboration, strong political will, wide public support as well as research and innovations in green technology. Currently, the cheapest form of renewable energy—wind power—still costs almost twice that of coal. The green movement has been much more evident in Europe than in the United States, though the Obama administration is taking a more responsible leadership role. The US bailout of the car industry includes caveats on greater fuel efficiency and lower carbon emission in the automobile industry together with doubling in alternative energy within a three-year period. Obama’s 2009 new energy legislature, hotly challenged by the Republicans, requires United States to reduce greenhouse emissions of 2005 levels by 15

59 60

Reuters, 2008, Straits Times, May 16. Reuters, 2008, ‘Humans’ Big Eco Footprint Endangers Earth’, Straits Times, October 30. - 48 -

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per cent by 2020 and by 83 per cent in mid-century. It is hoped that clean energy in creating new businesses and entire new industries will be not only profitable, but also lead to millions of American jobs that pay well and cannot be outsourced.61 China is focusing on raising energy efficiency, developing clean-coal technology, increasing in wind power capacity, expanding carbon-absorbing forests, and building nuclear energy plants. The government plans to raise the market shares of energy-efficient air-conditioners and other home appliances to more than 30 per cent by 2012. China could surpass Europe, Japan, and the United States in becoming the world’s biggest renewable energy consumer by 2010, according to Washington-based research organisation World Watch Institute.62China is also cashing in on the blooming carbon credit market. Being currently exempted from a cap of greenhouse gas emissions set by the Kyoto Protocol on high emitters in 1997, China sells offset and reduction carbon credits to rich countries which have exceeded their limits. There has been criticism that China’s carbon credits from clean coal and hydropower plants are sub-prime. Selling away carbon credits cheaply could also turn out to be a loss should China have to buy them back in future when the country has to comply with UN requirements. The consumer compliances giant, Japan, has positioned itself to be a leading country in innovative technology in green energy. Japan hopes to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide by 50 per cent come 2050.63 A priority is to reduce cost of conversion of solar energy to electricity, which is currently six times the cost using conventional energy source. India has been waived by the Nuclear Supplies Group (NSG) of non-proliferation rules allowing access to the nuclear international


Reuters, 2009, ‘US House Passes Emissions Bill’, New York Times, Straits Times, June 28. Reuters, 2009, ‘Bloomberg, Beijing Warms to Greener Air-cons’, Straits Times, June 3. Kwan W.K., 2008, Straits Times, May 20. - 49 -




market without having to give up its nuclear weapons. This has paved the way to resume civilian nuclear trade after three decades of international isolation. India has reached expertise in building small—and medium-size nuclear power plants (220 MWe and 440 MWe heavy water reactors), which would be more suitable than light water reactors, for the developing world and Southeast Asian countries.64

Need for International Collaboration
However, despite all the hype from around the world, the Copenhagen meeting in December 2009, successor to Kyoto, has failed to reach agreement on mandatory reduction of carbon footprint. At best, it was a start of negotiations which could prove unending. As expected, a main hurdle is in apportioning reduction of carbon footprint. Should the historical carbon debt be taken into consideration? Or should this be based on per capita population? If the latter formula is applied, how is the third world ever going to catch up? Has the Third World the human right to catch up with the developed world? The consensus-based UN process with 192 countries is cumbersome. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) deemed 25 to 40 per cent emission reduction below 1990 values is necessary by 2020 to limit warming to two degrees. Central America, the main laggard, has offered 4 per cent. China’s ‘uncooperative’ response has been a commitment to cut the carbon intensity of its economy by 40 to 45 per cent by 2020—little difference based on its existing policies. Emerging countries want the rich world to pay considerably more than EU’s offer of E100 billion a year, for adaptation to and mitigation of climate change.65 Rich nations’ arrogance reduced the effectiveness of the talks.66 A start was made with the Copenhagen Accord amongst China, South Africa, India, Brazil, USA, and with a small group of about two dozen

64 65 66

Rethinaraj T.S.G., 2008, Straits Times, September 30. 2009, ‘Stopping Climate Change’, The Economist, December 5-11. Agence France-Presse, 2010, ‘Rich Nations “Arrogant” During Climate Talks’, Straits Times, March18. - 50 -

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countries, proposing an agreement to be supervised by the United Framework Convention on Climate (UNFCCC). The Accord promises to deliver $30 billion as aid to developing countries over the next three years, rising to $100 billion by 2020. A green climate fund, proposed to be raised through taxes on international aviation and banking transactions, would help mitigation and technology transfer to developing countries.67 It has been estimated that the cost to stop climate change amounts to an affordable 1 per cent of the world’s GDP if policy is well designed. However, it has been difficult to get the world to rally around mitigating climate change as the benefits are uncertain and distant and the formula for apportioning responsibility is elusive.68

Singapore’s Response
As a low-lying, densely populated small island, Singapore is vulnerable to a rising sea level consequent to global warming. More than one-tenth of the island’s land area has in fact been reclaimed from the sea. Will the rising waters in the years ahead submerge this and other low-lying areas of Singapore? Sea level has been projected to rise up to 50 cm over the next 100 years. Reassuringly, Yaacob Ibrahim, the minister of environment and water resources, stated that reclamation sites since 1991 have been built at least 125 cm above the highest recorded tide level. Furthermore, Singapore’s flood prone areas will be halved from 98 ha by 2011 through widening and deepening of canals and drains.69 Singapore has no oil, but its strategic global port has made it one of the biggest oil refineries and bunkering centres in the world. While benefitting from the current world dependence on oil, Singapore has also looked ahead and made some progress in the research of clean

67 68 69

BBC News, December 19 2009. 2009, ‘Stopping Climate Change’, The Economist, December 5-11. Au Yong J., 2008, Straits Times, September 16. - 51 -

Singapore is at the edge of the Indian Ocean fault line and has been fortunate in being shielded by the large Indonesian island of Sumatra from quakes. 70 Chua Mui Hoong. In the meantime Singapore. With no options for developing wind and hydroelectric power.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI energy technology. Significantly. and Germany has already turned its back at the continued reliance on nuclear energy. . a nuclear energy facility may be necessary in the future. Very minor tremors are very rarely felt in Singapore’s skyscrapers. ‘Emissions Target a Deft Balancing Act for S’pore’. Currently. Nevertheless. such as the destructive 2004 tsunami. there is a reduction in taxation of green vehicles. With regard to natural disasters. but the higher cost of these vehicles despite this concession has not made these vehicles popular.52 - . arguably with no historical debt of carbon emission as a young nation. Straits Times. The Government intends to use regulatory and fiscal measures to influence households and industries towards achieving this goal. Space constraint dictates that it be built off-shore as in the case of Singapore’s existing oil refineries on man-made Jurong Island. This is at the lower end of the UN recommendation that developing countries cut emissions by 15-30 per cent. which appears to be eminently suited to the compact city state. has pledged a 16 per cent emission reduction below ‘business as usual’ projections by 2020. the safety of nuclear energy is undergoing intensive scrutiny. green technology has been incorporated in the new townships and industrial parks at home as well as by Singapore companies in China and elsewhere in Asia. 2009. in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant disaster. R&D in the technology of solar energy is under progress in the National University of Singapore and in collaboration with a Norwegian MNC.70 A potential avenue of reducing carbon footprint is in electric cars. A trial is to be undertaken in 2011 regarding the feasibility of wider usage of these vehicles. December 4.

53 - . grew in fervour at independence. Founding Director Kerry Sieh.Singapore and Asia A new initiative is the Earth Observatory of Singapore at the Nanyang University of Technology. a leading geologist formerly in the California Institute of Technology.71 said that Southeast Asia is the best place in the world for an earthquake experiment. there being no other place in the world with such a high frequency of earthquakes. which started with the British creating the Singapore Botanical Gardens in the image of the London Kew Gardens. Professor Kerry Edward Seah. The ‘clean and green’ campaign initiated the metamorphosis of Singapore. Singapore’s romance with nature and the environment. 71 NTU Academic Profile. . It is hoped that the studies would lead to earlier forecast and avert disasters in this region with hundreds of millions of people.


Part Two Globalisation and Changing World Civilisations .

. . Poem a Day. . . . These change And if these do not last Do man’s vision last? Do man’s illusions? Take things as they come All things pass Lao-Tzu(sixth century BC. . mountain . Hanover. . . . sky . . . Zoland Books. wind . .56 - . . . .All Things Pass All things pass A sunrise does not last all morning All things pass A cloudburst does not last all day All things pass Nor a sunset all night All things pass What always changes? Earth . New Hampshire. lake . thunder . water . Founder of Taoism)) From translations adapted by Timothy Leary72 72 McCosker Karen and Albery Nicholas. . . fire .

2002. through his sword. Well. Firstly. For millennia until about 500 years ago. let alone peopled by worthy meso-American civilisations. and steeped in tradition and religion.During the past centuries. The splendid isolation of civilisations was to change forever when Western Europeans made two historic advances. approachable only after months of hazardous travel. swept on horsebacks westwards to Europe. Genghis Khan and Tamerlane. trade occurred in luxury goods via the Silk Road on camelback across the arid Taklimakan Desert. heeled Romans wore silk and admired Chinese pottery. conservative. Neither the ‘Sons of Heaven’ on the Dragon Throne nor the Popes in Rome could have imagined that beyond their (Pacific and Atlantic) oceanic shores was a brave new world. It was more than a millennium later when the Central Asians. London. In peaceful time. Penguin Books.73 The civilisations were for the most part in splendid isolation. European explorers seized the opportunity for enrichment 73 Roberts J. The oceans were even more forbidding..57 - . . a new confident and adventurous West European spirit led to the discovery of global sea routes. The New Penguin History of the World. threatening the fate of Christian and Islamic civilisations. seismic changes have been imposed on China and the rest of the world by Western Europeans. propagated Hellenism across the Middle East to Persia and India.M. Alexander the Great. the major world civilisations were unchanging and essentially similar in being agrarian. at the turn of the sixteenth century.

clashes and assimilation occur. rewarding ‘survival of the fittest’ white civilisation over the rest of mankind. occurring in an environment of improving living standards (contributed at least in part by colonisation). European hegemony from wealth creation and modernisation put all other civilisations.58 - . and tobacco. Science. Globalisation had a bloody beginning as Western Europeans colonised the world. use of cotton and silk. Straits Times. urbanisation. October 15. The second European advantage was the advent of science in the age of reason. The British spoke of ‘bearing the White man’s burden. In contrast.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI and over-lordship. Centuries of European wars and crusades had sharpened their gunnery and combative skills.’ In the post-colonial era. ‘Five Myths of American Exceptionalism’. and this justified Empire building. engineering. a flowering of the arts and philosophy. economy. communication. Washington Post. at their feet. . whose imperial activities were hardly distinguished. Benefits of colonial rule weren’t always one-sided. architecture. The dominant modern Western civilisation has assimilated little from Asia beyond acquiring a taste for spices. It was social Darwinism at work. the Americans have similarly justified their superiority with ‘unique’ special burdens. sugar. coffee. and an appreciation of fine pottery. in revealing the laws of nature. Portugal. plundering and harvesting ill-gotten gains. and health care as well as in lethal warfare. cocoa rice. empowered Europeans to device wondrous technological innovations in transportation. the French—la mission civilisatrice. Walt. and natives were easy prey.74 In the meeting of civilisations. 2011. especially in recent decades. the eastward export of Western civilisation in techno-science. which had sadly stagnated. tea. believed that it was promoting missao civilisadora. 74 Stephen M.

are progressively losing ground. there is increasing confidence that their path towards modernity needs modification of the Western model to accommodate the best of their own unique history. and the English language has been embraced fervently. Latin America. East Asian cultural values such as those of Confucianism have proved to be an asset in the global economy and in promoting the stability of society. There has been a robust challenge to the concept of the universality of modern Western civilisation. and Africa develop. As Asia. and religions. thankfully. .Singapore and Asia the arts.59 - . The Western concept of equality in political and civil rights has been a thorn at the side of oppressive autocrats who. sports. Significantly too. culture. Arguably. worthy non-European civilisations formed from a fusion of the best of West and non-West civilisations would emerge in the post modern era. Yet there is a gap between East and West in the enthusiasm for liberal democracy and the extending frontier of human rights.

With regard to Protestant values. Niall Ferguson highlights six ‘apps’ (applications) which have shaped modern Western civilisation: competition. enthusiasm for liberal democracy has been more muted for cultural and pragmatic reasons. consumerism/ industrial revolution. Ferguson’s linkage of the development of democracy with property rights is contentious. analysis. especially in East Asia. property/democracy. There has certainly been enthusiastic downloading of Western science. similar Confucian values have existed in East Asia for millennia.60 - . and ignition of the competitive spirit. In an open eco-system with new ideas exposed to debate and evaluation. Key aspects of Western modern civilisation have been in the progressive evolution of science and its applications and in a more equal society through rule of law and the practice of democracy and human rights. In East Asia.1 The Quantum Leap of Western Civilisation In his recent book. progress has been accelerated. modern science. and Protestant work ethics/reading/ thrift. whilst the peoples welcome property rights. imagination. . medicine and industries. modern medicine. and innovation. Underlying European scholarship has been a heightened (and restless) spirit of inquiry. The downloading of these apps in the modernising world has to some extent negated the historical European advantage and has led to a changing world order.

However. had the benefit of being kindled by civilisations of old from the Euro Asian land mass. likeness of human beings in art. realised or forthcoming. wiping out the wisdom of Asia. A promising experiment could be the fusion of modernity with pre-modern Confucianism. Semitic nomadic peoples from Arabia have played a vital role in the development of European civilisation. This disillusionment has engendered postmodernisation movements in quest for superior alternatives. Buddhism. foundation of mathematics.75 Following the Sumerians.Singapore and Asia The civilisation of mankind has been a process of incorporating layer upon layer of innovative thinking whatever the source. it has not been all embracing. Thus modern Western civilisation. Babylonians made progress in mathematics. Seafaring Semitic Phoenician 75 Roberts J.. roots of civilisation sprouted in the Fertile Crescent of Sumer in south Mesopotamia at the confluence of the River Tigris and Euphrates (modern day Iraq).M. far from evolving de novo. In the oldest written story in the world. and Taoism. 2002. In the West itself modernisation thought to have been the end of civilisation has not lived up to expectations. In our current era. astronomy. . and through the Hammurabi code. the flow of information and ways of thinking from West to East is unstoppable. ‘Epic of Gilgamesh’. rule of law and the legal principal of eye for an eye. This was followed by Mycenae of Greek-speaking peoples and subsequent evolution of classical Greece.61 - . Early Roots of European Civilisation Between 3500 BC and 500 BC. The New Penguin History of the World. Aegean ‘Minoan’ civilisation excelled with innovations in art and architecture. there is semblance to the Biblical creation of the world and Noah’s Ark. London. reaching its height in 1500 BC. and devising an educational system. Sumerians have been credited with the invention of writing in pictograms. Penguin Books.

Pythagoras developed arithmetic and geometry to the extent that further progress occurred in Europe only in the seventeenth century. whose lingua franca was Latin then. and Aristotle’s philosophical discussions continue to influence modern thinking. Classical Greek civilisation contributed essentially mental and spiritual values. were oblivious to much of the Greek heritage until the Middle Ages when translations from Greek to Latin was made available by Islamic intellectuals in occupied Sicily and Spain. and the theatre. Competitive sports led to the first Olympic Games.62 - . stimulated the early civilisation of continental Europe. Democracy had its beginnings in Athens. and town planning. all reached a high level of sophistication. history.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI traders. poetry. Yet the most profound effect by the Semitic Jews on European and world civilisation was the abstract notion of God and the foundation of the Abrahamic religions. well before European enlightenment. Classical Cradle The forerunner of modern Europe was the classical Mediterranean civilisation which spanned a millennium from the sixth century BC. together with the Cretans and Mycenaean culture. The ethics of medical practice laid out by Hippocrates remain the gold standard for Western-trained medical doctors worldwide. Plato. Europeans also benefitted from advances made in the study of astronomy. and attention to space and lighting in the design of buildings. Architectural innovations include the use of concrete. developed the concepts of algebra which . architecture. Socrates. Greek art forms. which reached its height in the ninth to twelfth centuries. besides introducing Hindu numerals (0 to 9). Islamic Abbasid Civilisation Europeans. and mathematics made by the Abbasid Islamic civilisation. Thus Al-Khwarismi. Roman engineers excelled in hydraulics. building of roads and bridges. chemistry medicine. the vaulted dome. Ancient Roman laws introduced into medieval Europe engendered order and stability. literature.

Although Christians were persecuted for many years both by the Jews and the Romans. after Jesus himself. Physician Mohammed Ibn Zakariya ar-Razi described how measles could be differentially diagnosed from smallpox. this golden age of Islamic science and arts fizzled out with the fall of the Abbasid dynasty from Mongol invasion and earlier conflicts with the crusades. Astronomer Abu Rayhan Biruni calculated the earth’s circumference with an incredible degree of accuracy. Jabir Ibn Hayyan. Poetry. a true papal monarchy emerged. It was Paul. moral and spiritual reform standardised practice within the church. songs. was the first man who elevated chemistry to a science.63 - . . During this period. arguably. Christianity is for all mankind. By founding Christian Europe. Unfortunately. The Secret Scientists. a Pharisee.76 Christianity and Medieval Scholasticism Christianity was the civilising influence on Europe in morality and search of life’s greater purpose and the divine. Ibn al-Haytham’s research on light and optics rivals that of Isaac Newton. Church ascendancy rose to its height during the revolutionary years between 1000 and 1250. and dance with accompaniments by music from the lute and guitar brought refinement to Abbasid civilisation. BBC Documentary. who had the greatest influence. Unlike Judaism which was for the chosen race.Singapore and Asia had its origin in ancient Babylon. in making Christianity cosmopolitan. Constantine laid the foundation of the modern world. the acknowledged father of physics. 2009. For a millennium after the conversion of Constantine. April. a seismic change occurred in AD 324 with the conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine. and religious orders notably the missionary Franciscans 76 Jim Al-Khalili. Islamic architecture and sculpture with influence from classical Europe and Asia gave rise to mosques and other monuments of great beauty. Henceforth Church and Roman Empire were one. European civilisation evolved with Christianity at its core.

gave the medieval mind a big boost in logical thinking. an institution directing intellectual activity and religious education and providing a supply of administrators to the Crown. European landscape developed its characteristic architectural landmarks with the ubiquitous building of Gothic churches. and by 1400. in search of the meaning of Christian teaching.77 Life in the medieval Europe was bound to religion.. medieval Europe was far from the ‘dark ages’ of intellectual stagnation that frequently portrays it. yet lacking in spiritual inspiration. Roberts J. Nevertheless. it gave rise to the birth of the university.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI and the Dominicans sprouted. drew increasing criticism. the arts. Penguin Books. This was followed by the ‘Great Schism’. The Church permeated into every sphere of human activity. Classical civilisation was embraced as a prelude to Christianity when Dominican scholar Thomas Aquinas assimilated Aristotle’s classical philosophy with the Christian concept of God. there were fifty-three more. The Church’s worldliness in power and wealth. .. Significantly. the economy.64 - 78 . be it in social regulation. London. 2002. 2002. The New Penguin History of the World.M. medieval Christian Europe was showing strain in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. charity. administration. justice. The New Penguin History of the World.M. or in learning. London. Penguin Books. when Rome and Avignon each had a Pope and the division was only settled by the ecumenical council of the Church in 1417. music. with leadership from Church and religious orders. The first college at Oxford was started in 1264 at about the same time as universities in Bologna and Paris. However. 77 Roberts J.78 Medieval scholasticism. Disputes between the papacy and kings as well as within the Franciscan order led to a French Pope moving the papal cruria to Avignon in France from 1309 to 1377.

absolutions. the modernising Europeans were inquisitive and innovative. He held that only the few elect who had been predestined by God would be saved. a German Augustinian monk. he proclaimed himself as the Head of the Church in England with full support from the Parliament.65 - . Catholicism had lost half of Europe to the Protestant Reformation. a new type of brain reminiscent of the great secular thinkers of the classical civilisation evolved. In England. Dutchman Erasmus pleaded for a more humanistic and rational practice of Christianity. and the rise of science of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries evolved into the Enlightenment or the Age of Reason in the eighteenth and nineteenth . Although intellectual thought was engendered by Medieval European scholasticism. As intellectuals deviated from theological modes of thought. the Roman Catholic Church in the 1556 Council of Trent made changes which rejuvenated fervour in the clergy and laity alike. this was limited to theology. without an heir. Nevertheless. preached a forgiving God. Luther. Modernisation of European Civilisation since AD 1500.Singapore and Asia Reformation of the Church The weaknesses of the Church drew the intellectually religious to agitate for reform. Reformation of the Church. Not gaining the Pope’s blessings. His condemnations of confession. Lord Chancellor Thomas More chose execution rather than concede papal authority to his king. Nevertheless. King Henry VIII. and clerical celibacy questioned papal authority and doctrine. resulting in his excommunication in 1520. heresy. the Protestant movement continued to expand following Frenchman John Calvin’s preaching in Switzerland. The Renaissance. was determined to divorce Katherine of Argon. Like their predecessors. In a belated response for reformation. Amongst the improvements made were the discontinuation of sale of indulgences and in the steps taken to instruct the rural ignorant and superstitious on the Catholic faith. They started challenging the past and questioned authority and contemporary institutions. not a punitive God. indulgences.

1983. re-connection with classical civilisation led to the Renaissance of the arts. globalisation. remarkable developments were made in art. and the work of philosophers uplifted the minds across society. Individual expectations increased 79 Downs R. reasoning could lead humanity to a state of earthly perfection. originally a Chinese invention. . The scientific approach vastly increased the understanding of nature. making Europeans the most literate in the world. and philosophy. By the middle of the eighteenth century. Towns and cities in Europe grew in size. it was felt that through the philosophical and scientific process. Mentor..79 In Northern Italy. Latin. The printing press produced the first true book in Europe. Penguin Books. With this understanding came technological innovations which led to the industrial revolution. Newspapers and magazines promoted literacy. modern scientific medicine. With the greats such as Michael Angelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. Protestant reformers emphasised the importance of being able to read the Bible. but were thence free to express their creativity on secular subjects. there was a wide circulation of newspapers in Britain. Printing on paper. was improved by Gutenberg. comprising forty thousand titles. about half the population in the mid-nineteenth century could read. Greek. based on observations and experimentation. By 1550. Artists were no longer confined to the religious sphere. As religious faith eroded. a diamond polisher from Mainz.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI centuries. The greatest intellectual leap was in the concept and growing practice of the scientific approach. An increasingly confident and outward-looking European civilisation stood out in wealth and influence. and world domination.66 - . the Bible.B. there were ten million books. Literacy. Books that Changed the World. While in medieval Europe literacy was virtually confined to the clergy. neoclassical architecture. educational institutions. and other classical writings had for the first time a wide readership.

He and other scientists and intellectuals believed that understanding the secrets of nature would serve human needs best. A. metaphysics.67 - . and people of European stock were prepared to fight and die for this new ideal.Singapore and Asia with demands made for egalitarianism and granting of political and civil rights. Aristotle as a great collector and classifier of biological specimens is a precursor of modern biologists. Through reason all (European) humans ought to be equal. and accurate time measurement. Deductive reasoning without confirmation but with observations had its limitations. The atomic theory of matter proposed by the Greeks had to wait another two millennia before it could be confirmed in the laboratory. geometry. and the harmonics of vibrating strings. Scientific observations and experiments required better equipments such as telescopes. Pythagoras made great strides in arithmetic. Nevertheless. and this need sprouted technological innovations. microscopes. The essence of the scientific method—making observations and measurements and testing a hypothesis through repeatability of results in experiments—was crystallised in the seventeenth century. In this way. Modernisation through Science and Technology The Gift of Science The earliest scientists—the classical Greek philosophers—delved into the nature of the physical universe through abstract thought. as shown for instance by the egregious hypothesis that the sun moved around the earth. A leading name in scientific study was British Francis Bacon. and logic. just as they did very successfully with mathematics. the quest for an understanding of the nature of the material world had started. An extremely progressive development of the scientific culture is its openness in sharing research findings at scientific meetings and publication in journals. Repeatability of results in experiments could .

and energy in an underlying unity of all existence. with advances in physics and cosmology. changed the Aristotle and Ptolemy concept that the universe is earth-centred. and confirmed theories could be used by other scientists as a springboard for further research. Boyle’s laboratory experiments saw the separation of modern chemistry from medieval alchemy which had tried to convert base metals to gold. Watson and Crick discovered the highly complex genetic codes . The seventeenth century. space. Developing on the study of Wilkins on DNA crystals.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI thus be verified. was confirmed by mathematical calculations and telescopic observations by Italian Galileo in 1632. the basis of the atomic bomb and nuclear energy. whom every school child remembers as discovering the laws of gravity while seeing an apple fall. the atomic structure of matter and the nature of the universe were unveiled. nearly a century after Mendel’s. The eighteenth century was notable for pioneering work in chemistry. observation that heredity in garden peas is governed by mathematical probabilities. The hypothesis of the heliocentricity of the universe. By the early twentieth century. Charles Darwin. matter. through his own studies in the Galapagos Islands as well as the ideas of earlier workers. an Austrian scientist monk. Plank’s theory revealed that energy exists as indivisible quantum units. Einstein’s theories of relativity linked time. with its technological applications. This unity in the scientific community led to a surge in the accelerated advancement of science. founding the development of quantum physics. initiated by Polish Nicolas Copernicus. proposed the evolutionary theory of survival of the fittest and man’s ancestry from lower forms of life. Energy and matter are related by his equation E=mc2. found that the same laws of gravity govern the mechanics of the universe.68 - . The nineteenth century excelled in biology and geology. The breakthrough in the life science of genetics occurred in 1953. Newton.

England and North America had rich sources of iron and coal. making it the world’s premier economic power.69 - . Industrial Revolution and Urbanisation In pre-industrialised Europe. and later motor vehicles 80 Perdue P. The human genome was eventually coded in 2000. The European societies of peasants and craftsmen were transformed into engineers. Science and technology was rapidly advancing.. mechanics. Technology and Society: an Int. tea. In the ‘Great Divergence’ of the nineteenth century. 1 143-5. Britain led in the Industrial Revolution. currency and taxation. 2007. J. the raw products for industries: steam engine trains.Singapore and Asia contained in the DNA double helix spiral molecule. It has often been asked why the promising Chinese technological developments did not generate a Chinese industrial revolution. . steamships.C. agricultural yields. earning them the Nobel Prize. iron. railways. technicians. despite years of research filling up encyclopaedic volumes. ‘Chinese Science: a Flexible Response to the West?’. has not been convincing that advances in early Chinese technology were founded on scientific enquiry.. paving the way for the treatment of hereditary diseases and cancer by genetic engineering. Chinese production of ‘useful and reliable knowledge’ (URK) focused on mining. silk. The Needham Research at Cambridge University. and the wheel. and ideas related to the political economy of agrarian development. the compass.80 The ‘Industrial revolution’ was the biggest change in human history since the coming of agriculture. Importation of Chinese technologies of the printing press and paper making was instrumental in dispersing literacy and learning as Europe modernised. Europeans made improvements on Chinese discoveries of gunpowder. Capital for investment had been built up from savings over the years. and bookkeepers. Besides porcelain and glassware. East Asian Science. On the other hand. water conservancy. and other products from China arrived via the Silk Road. and innovations in ship building. URK based on scientific investigation was the key to Europe’s advances to coal and steam-powered industrialisation.

Sentimentality for the deserted English countryside also inspired the works of many other great writers and poets. crime. rapid urbanisation took place. child labour and abuse became a contentious issue and in 1815 led to laws in Britain for protecting children and women in mines and factories. started to increase from the accelerated use of coal in the Industrial Revolution. Black industrial towns due to chimneys emitting sooty smoke from factories were characteristic landscapes of Britain. ‘the workshop of the world’. filth. As workers flocked to the towns and cities for work.70 - . Thus. fed by industrialisation and an expanding overseas commerce from the colonies. London had a population of 4. Muscle and wind power propelled ships until the introduction of the steam and steam turbine engine in the . Recent studies on climate change indicate that the greenhouse gas. of course.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI and aeroplanes. Pollution. and Berlin 2. Human contribution to climate change had started. smog. it also brought new problems. The massive migration of people to the towns caused housing and other social problems.7 million. and fog caused respiratory and other illnesses. Transport and Communication Technology Improvements in transportation and communication have made the world shrink progressively. This was most evident in the large cities. The network of roads and railways that were built opened up the countryside for agri-horticulture. providing labour and markets for manufactured goods. (Works from these authors and William Shakespeare. including Oliver Goldsmith and William Wordsworth.) In the factories. Although rapid industrialisation gave wealth to many. were compulsory reading for school children in British Malaya.7 million. These cities grew in wealth and prestige as great centres of world civilisation. atmospheric carbon dioxide. as vividly narrated in Charles Dickens’s novels.6 million. and disease characterised the slums in the East End of London. Paris 3. Population in Europe and the Americas increased rapidly. In 1900.

spacecraft technology has made valuable contributions to mankind and further shrunken the world. Today’s computer is in much of our daily personal life. The world’s first all electronic computer. which facilitated overland travel and opened up the continents. in business and industry. fish movements. was launched at the University of Pennsylvania in 1946.71 - . cyberspace technology has yielded inexpensive access. and split-second communication across the globe. the computer has been roped in to help solve any problem. Satellites relay telephone and television channels around the globe. a large number of satellites and spacecraft have been launched by several nations. Yet the machine that is producing the most rapid social and economic revolution in history is the digital computer. and road traffic congestion. crop diseases. Steam power was replaced by the more efficient petrol-driven internal combustion engine in automobiles by Benz and Daimler in 1885. pollution. serving educational as well as other purposes. As a source of artificial intelligence.81 In the years since USSR’s Sputnik 1 was ushered in the space age in 1957. the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator (ENIAC). . Derived from the gas turbine engine.Singapore and Asia nineteenth century. Marshall Cavendish Books Ltd. the jet engine has propelled modern aircrafts since the world’s first military jet went into service as a light bomber in 1944. storage and transmission of knowledge. and also provide weather forecast by photographing cloud patterns. London. Apart from their value in scientific study of the universe and controversial military applications. infrared photography of the earth’s surface provides a wide variety of information on mineral and forestry resources. 1975. Since then. Distances across continents and oceans have shrunk rapidly since the Wright brothers’ trans-Atlantic air flight in 1904. Distances between the continents were reduced by the construction of the Suez Canal and the Panama Canal. Steam power was also the force that made the great railways. in evaluating 81 The Marshall Cavendish Illustrated Encyclopedia of Science and Technology.

Computers help scientific investigations. or when smallpox and influenza that decimated entire populations. since then buttressed by science. traumatic injuries (including from warfare). that is. the diagnosis and treatment of disease. resulting in a life expectancy of 30+ years.82 For generations before that. Invisible germs or micro-organisms were first uncovered by early biologists Hooke and Leuwenhoek peeping down the microscope. if one was not around during such pandemics as the bubonic plague ‘Black Death’ of 1348-1350. simulate complex situations.72 - . But it was not until the mid-nineteenth century that Frenchman Pasteur suggested that infections are due to micro-organisms. the Chinese and Turks had practiced sniffing and inoculation of smallpox pus. New York. . took their toll. St Martin’s Griffin. Public health measures. nutritional defects. Maternal and infant mortality. struggling to survive and propagate. effectively reducing epidemics and controlling infections. have been crucial in extending man’s lifespan. The battle against smallpox had in fact started even before Edward Jenner’s observations on milkmaids in 1796 that cowpox infection prevented smallpox. public health measures based on shrewd observations were instituted. living things. the Great Plague of London in 1665. 1993. The Alarming History of Medicine. and in guiding management policies. The mysterious devils of death are like us. Scientific Basis of Public Health Controls Infectious Diseases Even before scientific knowledge of disease was available. Scientific Medicine Extends Lifespan and Improves Quality of Life Life expectation today is two to three times of what it was in Medieval Europe. as well as a myriad of other functions. infectious diseases.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI marketing statistics. 82 Gordon Richard.

There has however been a resurgence of the disease. more than 90 per cent occurring in the developing countries. the 2008 outbreak of the cholera epidemic in the failing state of Zimbabwe. and treatment of diagnosed patients reduced the incidence of the disease. which spread to adjacent countries. related largely to immigration. New York.Singapore and Asia Jenner’s important contribution was that vaccination with cowpox pus is safer. Harrison’s Internal Medicine. In 2005. In the late 1980s and early 1990s. The practice of providing a safe source of water supply and sanitation soon caught on in the British Empire and elsewhere. Yellow fever killed thousands of workers building the Panama Canal. This is another example of the globalisation of disease. occurring only four years after cholera had killed ten thousand Londoners in the summer of 1847. ‘Global Issues I Medicine’. The ubiquitous mosquito in the tropics was the greatest health challenge faced and overcame by the Empire builders. 2008. The control of water-borne epidemics dates from 1851. health education. Tuberculosis has been an important chronic health problem related to crowded slum housing conditions throughout the ages. when John Snow using observations on the spread of cholera hypothesised that the disease is water-borne.73 - . Nevertheless. isolation. there were still five million new cases of tuberculosis worldwide. Smallpox has in recent years been globally eradicated following enforcement of widespread vaccination by the World Health Organisation. the number of cases increased in the industrialised West. before it was 83 Jim Yong Kim and Paul Farmer. was discovered by German Robert Koch in 1884. In the twentieth century. mass chest X-ray screening. Vibrio cholera.83 This was a great triumph in public health. McGraw Hill Medical. improved housing. . He proved it by preventing a cholera outbreak in London by turning off the contaminated water supply. It happened several decades before the causative bacteria. is a stark reminder of how disastrous epidemics in dense populations follow a breakdown in public health. BCG vaccination of the newborn.

such as the Bill and Belinda Gates Foundation. Nevertheless. turning forest land into plantations. Bioscience Modernises Medical Treatment Unlike the relatively simple concepts in public health measures. causing 240 million infections and a million deaths annually. the basic medical sciences were consolidated by Frenchman Claude Bernard’s . particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. As with the Panama Canal. It was not until the second half of the twentieth century that modern scientific treatment of diseases made rapid progress. the treatment of diseases requires knowledge and skills across multiple disciplines which have taken many more years to build up. and urban centres linked by roads and railways.74 - . spraying oil on water collections. Its link with the mosquito was unknown until Ronald Ross identified the parasite in the body of an Indian mosquito in 1894. as many as 20 per cent of rubber tappers died annually of malaria. the British success story in Malaya and Singapore would have been impossible without controlling malaria. The good news is that with support from philanthropic organisations. Progress in disease treatment thus awaited the maturity of the basic medical sciences and allied fields of study. Malarial fever was for centuries believed to be due to foul gases emitted from marshes. mines. Control of malaria through elimination of the mosquito vector—by subsoil drainage. Renaissance Belgian anatomist Versalius made a descriptive study of the human body in 1543 while British physician Harvey described the circulation of blood in 1628. In uncontrolled rubber estates. In the nineteenth century. hence named as ‘marsh fever’. malaria continues to be a major health problem worldwide. research workers are breaking grounds in the complicated process of developing an effective vaccine for malaria.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI controlled by eradicating the wet breeding grounds of the mosquito vector and more recently by vaccination against the virus. and treatment with quinine from the cinchona bark—enabled the Empire builders to venture safely into the wild.

Since then. The European barber surgeons. Freud’s work on psychiatry. The mysterious malady of early global seafaring traders suffering from bleeding in body cavities and swollen gums was finally solved in 1920 by British biochemist Hopkins.Singapore and Asia work on the endocrine glands. In 1945. a Dutch physician who had shown that the polyneuritis of beriberi in the Dutch East Indies. . Fleming was awarded the Nobel Prize together with German-born British biochemist Chain and Australian pathologist Florey who developed the production of penicillin. was preventable by feeding with unpolished rice. The most recent wave of expansion is in biologics—products such as vaccines and antibodies derived from biological sources.75 - . and Frenchman Laennec’s use of the stethoscope. It was later shown that the active component in unpolished rice was vitamin B1. the list of antibiotics and other drugs such as those modifying body functions or targeting the metabolism of cancer cells has expanded exponentially. bone-setters. The modern era of antibiotics only came about after the Second World War. A key therapeutic tool was the long-awaited discovery of drugs effective against micro-organisms responsible for most diseases. was available. Western surgery started with empirical practitioners. It was not until the 1930s that the first anti-bacterial drug. From Barber Surgeons to Global Surgeons As with all civilisations. Antibiotic therapy became a possibility when Scottish bacteriologist Alexander Fleming in 1928 fortuitously noticed a bacteria-free circle around a mole growth. who traced it to a deficiency of Vitamin C found in fresh fruits and vegetables. sulphonamide. Hopkins was awarded the 1929 Nobel Prize along with Christiaan Eijkman. and stone-cutters all did their work with the patient fully awake and held down. reproducible in laboratory chickens. viewed in public. It was not until the 1840s that a New England dentist first used laughing gas as anaesthesia.

Edinburgh. and Australasian Royal Colleges.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI The Edinburgh and the English barber surgeons were given royal charters in 1506 and 1540. The past two decades have also witnessed rapid growth of keyhole surgery. e. isolated cases of face transplant and a case of tracheal transplant using stem cells have been reported. Organ transplantation has been made possible by the discovery of immunosuppressive drugs to prevent rejection of transplanted organ. the practice of surgery was largely in traumatic injuries and war wounds. robotics. including Singapore. This discovery started the practice of antiseptic surgery.000 Fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. Glasgow. half of them are non-British who live and work in the . and computerised technology. g. evolving into the modern era of aseptic surgery. computerised radiology and fibre-optic endoscopy. Doctors in the former British Empire. continue the tradition of taking postgraduate examinations to be Fellows of the British. In 1865. At the time of writing. In the process. Thus amongst the currently 17. Innovations in medical technology. Until the late nineteenth century. playing a major part in globalising modern medicine. all helped to make surgery safer. which is conducted under sterile conditions. Separation with the barbers only took place in England in 1745. respectively. their Fellows accompanied the British Military Forces throughout the British Empire. and a wide range of antibiotics.76 - . made possible by advances in optics. improved anaesthesia and peri-operative care. these doctors helped build up the health and medical services and the new medical schools in the British colonies. including Singapore and Malaya. Out of the early British barber surgeon companies grew the Royal Colleges of Surgeons of England. ultrasonography. and Ireland. Irish. An important advance was saving life through resuscitation of shock by fluid infusions and blood transfusions. Amputation was frequently done and life-saving. Along with sister Physician and Obstetrics and Gynaecological Royal Colleges. The second half of the twentieth century saw a rapid expansion of major surgery and specialisation. Scotsman Lister showed that the application of carbolic acid as an antiseptic reduced post-operative wound infections.

85 With the intent to leapfrog into the race for knowledge creation. The Post-industrial Knowledge-based Economy The rapid build-up of knowledge in science and its ease of transmission and transfer through media.org . 84 85 The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. including the high level of practice in Singapore.ac. www. distribution. especially through cyberspace. Thus.rcsed.oecd. Knowledge-based economies are directly based on the production. and academics. most medical specialists are Fellows of British Royal Colleges. British physician and surgical colleges have played an important role in the globalisation of medicine. government. The college is increasingly concerned with the provision of surgical education and training in addition to its traditional role of setting the standards and conduct of examinations.uk 1996. could arguably work in Singapore too. currently. The knowledge-based Economy. education and training for high-skilled workers. which had driven the American dream.84 In Singapore.77 - . Such approaches in building up human capital. a generous portion of Singapore’s wealth has been channelled towards building human capital in lavishly equipped research centres and universities.Singapore and Asia countries of the former British Empire. and use of new knowledge and information. Innovation would be driven by interaction of producers and users and amongst industry. Complementing this is an aggressive state policy to attract scientific and managerial talent. and new managerial approaches. have been creating ‘information societies’. Economists’ ‘new growth theory’ opines that OECD economy’s productivity and economic growth in the twenty-first century will be driven by knowledge and technology. www. Paris. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Key to success in the knowledge-based economy is the yield from scientific research (both basic and translational to industry).

Penguin Books. could not bear close scrutiny as Europe modernised. Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius initiated the concept of human rights. the form of government in which the supreme power is invested in the people and exercised through elected agents under a free electoral system. When a tyrannical ruler infringes upon the natural rights of his people. 86 Downs R. Struggles for Social Justice. and Human Rights For more than a millennium. 1983. Revivalists of Athenian democracy such as John Locke.. Thomas Paine’s ‘Common sense’ and Thomas Jefferson’s A Summary View of the Rights of British America helped to ignite revolutionary fervour. in his ‘Treatise on Civil Government’. In this Locke was supported by Rousseau. Mentor.86 In governance. Books that Changed the World.78 - . Democracy. Christian morality had civilised Europe. Nevertheless it was felt that through the philosophical and scientific process reasoning could lead humanity to a state of earthly perfection. In America. Fellow Frenchman Voltaire stood out amongst the intellectuals in the struggle for freedom of thought and the fight for civil liberty and toleration. the monarchical and aristocratic systems.B. nominally at least. Struggles for Democracy and Human Rights Democracy. . which had been prevalent throughout the world. 1. but this had to wait for another 300 years before it was enshrined for all people in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. even if this leads to regicide. whose concept of government is based on majority decisions. has become. held that governments are based on contract. the standard of government in today’s world. he should be resisted.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI B. With the rise of science in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries came the erosion of religious faith.

Universal male suffrage was practiced in France. politicians learnt that public opinion. Woman suffrage was led by Finland and Norway in 1914 and needed another thirty years to become accepted throughout Western Europe. In 1911. Under pressure of strong socialist sentiments and despite opposition from industrial capitalists. the . democracy at least in name rules the world. thus creating a more egalitarian society. can be a powerful force and to be respected. With the breaking up of communism in the USSR and its satellite states and China joining in the global economy. Britain’s House of Lords lost its power to restrain an elected House of Commons. increasing job opportunities in an industrialised economy. The journey in the evolution of democracy has taken more than two centuries. democratic liberalism in Western Europe reformed further. the social welfare state was created in European countries.79 - . The American Revolution—‘No Taxation without Representation’ The American Revolution arose following riots and boycotts against unilateral acts of legislation by the imperial British parliament. spanning the American and French Revolutions. the world wars. all contributed to the progressive liberation of women. and the Cold War. After the Second World War. and home conveniences. Women’s right to education. the right to vote has progressively become less restrictive. Britain.Singapore and Asia During its evolution. Until then. The state played an increasing role in regulating society. universal suffrage only came about following the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Outside the parliament. In the United States. birth control. such as in higher taxation of the wealthy to pay for social services. literacy and other tests were used to disenfranchise African Americans. and Italy by 1918. Germany. frequently expressed as mass demonstrations.

a cargo of tea was destroyed by the protesters. . who traditionally enjoyed legal privileges. The democratic despot. and the pursuit of happiness. This ignited the Declaration of Independence in 1786. In 1792. The theocratic monarch. the Convention. while maintaining the popular sovereignty of the republican constitution. both elected by the people. and economic hardships. brought on by governmental impotence. was executed in 1793. social injustice. his power being moderated by a bicameral legislature. Since then the USA has expanded across North America and in succeeding Great Britain as the superpower has assumed the role of defender and propagator of Western democracy. the right of rebellion deduced from other natural rights—of life. Population growth had outstripped food production and resulted in social unrest. As a consequence. and in the ‘Boston Tea Party’ in 1773. inaugurated a dictatorship (1799-1815). to raise taxes. Louis XVI. The assembly formulated a radically new constitution. The revolutionary slogan was ‘no taxation without representation’. and other fiscal measures to raise tax. the Napoleonic legal codes. Victorious in the war. through wars won. A system of centralised representative government separated executive from legislative power and ended censorship. George Washington in 1789 was elected the first president. separating Church and State. As a federation of the thirteen states. The French Revolution—‘Popular Sovereignty’ In the late eighteenth century. In 1789. considerable autonomy was retained by each state. Lands of the Church were nationalised. France was shaken up by violent revolutionary fervour.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Stamp Act. A large class of French nobility. Napoleon Bonaparte. which had revised laws relating to family. a Paris insurrection.80 - . and commoners in the estates general turned itself into a national assembly and claimed sovereignty. built up an empire in much of Western Europe. close to bankruptcy then. a long defunct national representative body of nobles. liberty. made it impossible for the government. clergy. overthrew the monarchy and a new assembly drew up a republican constitution. instituting equality before the law.

81 - . socio-economic egalitarianism emerged as a new political end in industrialising Europe. replacing local. Rather. unemployment. the founder of modern political communism. inaugurating the second French Republic. was deposed by the February 1848 Revolution. Injustice was further buttressed by property ownership. and ecclesiastical laws.Singapore and Asia property. Karl Marx. ‘Utopian socialism’ sought the creation of a just society on moral principles. Socialism and communism had been at the roots of European and Christian thinking for aeons. failing to support extension of suffrage to the middle class. and the Russian Revolution In the wake of the French Revolution. as democracy continued to evolve in France. The 1840s in Europe were years of food shortage. The imagined society of Plato had similarities with that of Jesus’s disciples as recorded in the Book of Acts and of the monastic orders whose vows include voluntary poverty. Britain. In the twentieth century. it was seriously challenged by two other European political systems—illiberal fascism and communism. individual. in industrial countries. were adopted throughout Western Europe. ‘Socialism’ first came in common use in Paris in the 1830s. In his 1848 Communist Manifesto. and the USA. and social unrest. which created a wealthy class exploiting the working class. suggested a more pragmatic approach in attaining socialism in an industrialised society. Plato proposed abolishing all private property (including wives and children) in the hope that common possession would mould them into a fraternity and leave no cause for rivalry or personal ambition. and public power. In The Republic. The restored French King Louis Philippe. Socialism. Intellectuals had criticised industrial capitalism for its moral unjustness. Socialists were opposed to laissez-faire capitalism. Communism. a just socialistic society would be created following a . Roman. he preached that moral arguments for a just society lead to nowhere.

soon replaced France as the dominant land power in Europe. In the Great War that followed. which was suppressed. Support from the peasants was garnered by promise of land reforms. The Bolsheviks. In the past. after defeating France. the ‘Revisionists’ in the German Social Democratic Party favoured a peaceful advance of socialism through the parliamentary process. At the abdication of the tsar. Within Marxism. the Second Reich. Prussia. leading to demoralisation and food riots. feudal society had been swept away by a capitalistic one. under Lenin. Anglo-German rivalry eventually led to the world wars. By 1900. rootless class. In the Great War (1914-1918). a provisional liberal and socialist government failed to handle the chaos. united with Bismarck’s Germany. German technology had surpassed the British. and the German naval build-up was challenging the supremacy of the Royal Navy. disbanding the elected representative group. This was opposed by the ‘Second International’ in 1896. The United Nation of German Peoples. and this engendered the 1905 revolution by 200. Habsburg Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire fought alongside Germany as the Central Powers . with the support of a small group of industrial city workers assumed power. it was the destructive effect of the German invasion which set the stage for Bolsheviks’ October 1917 revolution and establishment of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Democracy and Communism Overcome Fascism in World Wars Following the 1848 French Revolution. Marx suggested that the latter would in turn be swept away by the revolutionary industrial proletariat towards a socialist millennium. nationalistic revolutionaries in Habsburg Empire agitated for independence and in the process created Italy and Germany in 1856.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI revolution by the working. which ended European imperialism.82 - . Reforms towards social and economic progress in Russia were lagging behind Western Europe. In 1871.000 impoverished workers. Marxism thus became an inspiration to workers and trade unions and captured the revolutionary tradition from liberalism.

The USA had by then developed into a strong industrialised nation. The participation of USA on the side of the Allied Forces turned out to be the deciding factor in the outcome of the war. Russia. Hitler backed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour and declared war on the United States of America in December 1941. but was eventually beaten back. the German army took Yugoslavia and Greece and advanced into Russia within reach of Moscow. which had been a menace to Allied merchant shipping.83 - . the Low Countries. Hitler in 1938 seized Austria and a part of Czechoslovakia and in 1939 invaded Poland. extending the Great War into a world war and swung the war in favour of the Allied Forces. America joined in the fight. This started the Second World War against Britain and France. Soon German forces were under attack from several fronts. In April 1940. was elected Chancellor of Germany. To combat the superior British Royal Navy. Germany overextended its forces and resources by opening a new war frontier. and France. overran Norway. under the inspiring leadership of Winston Churchill. Backed by Mussolini of Italy and General Franco of Spain. German submarines created havoc.Singapore and Asia against France. At this crucial moment when the European war was at a stalemate. which were allied to Britain. as well as the new technology of radar and The Royal Air Force. the German air attack was beaten off in the ‘Battle for Britain’. Adolf Hitler. German colonies were made into trusteeships to the victorious nations. Britain was the next target. Denmark. The Austrian-Hungarian Empire was divided with creation of a new Czechoslovakia: Yugoslavia based on an extended Serbia and a resurrected Poland. Italy. the Allies won the Battle of the Atlantic. In 1943. The Treaty of Versailles in 1919 cost Germany territorial loss and imposition of economic reparations. the German army. in a swift move. The central figure in fascism. and Japan. who were honouring their guarantee to protect Poland from German attack. In June . with a heightened sense of ethnic nationalism and opposition to both Marxism and liberalism. The backlash to the humiliating terms of the Treaty of Versailles was fascism. When an American ship was sunk by a submarine in 1917. successfully destroying the German U-boats. However. In December 1940.

84 - . their economy.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI 1944. many millions of lives were lost during the world wars. East Asia was turning red. German women were mated with blond. improved the peasants’ lot. five to six million Jews were systematically exterminated. ironically. the infrastructures. was the German ‘Final Solution’ to wipe out European Jewry. finally resolved in 1949 with the revolutionary communists assuming power as the erstwhile US-supported Kuomintang government retreated to Taiwan. as he led his nation to war for a Greater Germany. At the conclusion of the Second World War in 1945. despite strong US intervention with massive military support. and there was massive destruction of the great European cities. had self-destructed. Lenin’s approach. Far more repulsive and sinister. factories. what started as the Marxist ideology of ‘Dictatorship of the Proletariat’ ironically inverted into an autocratic totalitarian state under Stalin. The Allied Forces advanced through Central Europe and across the Low Countries into Germany with massive bombing of German cities. Meanwhile. blue-eyed men to preserve the superior Teutonic race. Ultra nationalism based on ethnicity was the driving force of Hitler’s fascism. was once again a great power spreading the gospel of communism worldwide. With modern technologies of warfare. Germany had been completely destroyed. As intended. the New Economic Policy. The century of chaos in China. In the Holocaust. The war that followed in the Korean peninsula ended in a stalemate . and by 1939. which had been patiently built up over the past centuries. Democracy Overcomes Communism Following the Russian revolution. However. the yield from this rural economy powered industrialisation in the cities. of course. an Anglo-American invasion of Normandy freed France. The brutally enforced collectivisation of agriculture provoked a civil war and deaths of millions of peasants. Hitler committed suicide in April 1945. In the Cold War for global supremacy. the Russian army had entered Poland and advanced into Berlin. European imperialism. and industrial centres. the world’s most populous country. Russia. under Stalin.

when a ceasefire occurred. The British enacted tough laws and measures. A Geneva conference partitioned Vietnam into a Communist North. Thus in 1962. The war in Vietnam proved even more disastrous for the United States. Malaya (including Singapore) under colonial rule had made significant progress in living standards. In 1953. The North Vietnamese army entered Saigon in 1975. the Americans had spent hundreds of billions and incurred 58. Taiwan. South . having developed a successful market economy of tin and rubber plugged into the emerging global economy. In 1973. supported by the USSR and China. supported by the United States.000 fatalities. The United States held the dogma that the fall of South Vietnam would have a domino effect. which had colonised Indo-China since 1863.000 American servicemen in Vietnam and the United States had dropped more bombs in North Vietnam than had been used against Japan and Germany together in the Second World War. France. Furthermore. the revolt against colonialism did not gain the support of the majority conservative Muslim Malay population or the Western-educated Chinese who were intimidated by terrorist activities. and a South Vietnam. mainly Koreans. A war for the unification of the country broke out when the North threw in their support for Vietcong guerrilla in the South. and a united Communist Vietnam has been there since. Most importantly. The war escalated to such an extent that in 1968 there were 500.85 - . which starved the ‘bandits’ into submission. British Malaya was similarly threatened by a communist armed uprising. In the early decades of post-war. gave up Cambodia and Laos and had to leave Vietnam the following year after losing the battle of Dien Bien Fu to the Ho Chi Meng-led communists. allowing communism to spread like wild fire in Southeast Asia. The terrible destruction on Vietnam by ‘carpet bombing’ included three million lives. the economic success of Singapore and Malaysia along with non-Communist Hong Kong. with the country divided at the Thirty-eighth parallel and a loss of three million lives.Singapore and Asia in 1953. America threw in support for the corrupt South Vietnam Government.

Reclusive Communist North Korea. Interestingly. the communist utopian dream had turned out to be disheartening years of poor living conditions in a totalitarian state of collectivised agriculture. The central-directed economy was towards production of heavy industrial goods and armaments. Integration into the global economy might be worth trying.86 - . he had opened a Pandora’s box and within five years presided over the total disintegration of the USSR and Communist Europe. The fairy tale of Communist China’s economic progress after joining in the global economy is discussed elsewhere in this book. standards of living fell. White Supremacy. In 1985. With household goods in short supply and environmental and public health conditions deteriorating.’ There is considerable concern that nuclear armaments from Communist North Korea and possibly in the near future from Islamic Iran could find its way to terrorist groups. Regime change is no longer an option. Everywhere. despite needing international aid to keep away starvation. and Racialism As democratic liberalism and individual rights evolved. there remained the need to resolve the institutions of slavery. introduced Glasnost (openness) before Perestroika (restructuring). Communist Vietnam hopes to achieve a similar Renaissance through plugging into the global economy.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Korea. and Japan contrasted sharply with the stagnating economy of the communist world. Herbert Spenser coined the term ‘social Darwinism’ to describe what has been the . Like China. The communist experiment had succeeded only in levelling everybody downwards. Unknowingly. Imperialism. Thus out of the blue. superpower USA since 9/11 continues to feel the threat of ‘rogue nations. Though relieved of the challenge by major communist powers. colonial domination. and racial discrimination. in an attempt to avert the collapse of communism. has continued to be defiant. President Gorbachev. European Communism imploded.

As in the ancient Greek democracies. Racial and socio-economic divide continued and caused riots in the 1950s. In dismantling European Empires and granting independence to colonial peoples the right of liberty was.M.. Penguin Books. eighteenth-century Republicans limited suffrage exclusively to white men owning property. A total of ten million slaves had been sold to the Americas.87 As in the evolution in the animal kingdom.88 Slavery in the Americas was increasing at a time when it was on the decline in Europe. extended to non-European people. legislation made segregation in schools unconstitutional and secured voting rights for the blacks. the most adaptable and the strongest flourish in society just as the more developed European civilisations colonised and subjugated the rest. After the carnage and destruction of Europe in the Second World War. with nationalistic uprisings everywhere. Mills in his book Representative Government’ extolled democracy in the new USA Republic as the ideal state.org Roberts J. embracing the ethos of ‘might makes right’. at least in theory. providing popular sovereignty. . The New Penguin History of the World. In so doing. equality. It has also been a prelude to the election of a black American as the forty-fourth president of the United States. and liberty for ‘all’. was popular in Victorian Britain to justify the Empire.87 - . London. It took an extreme form in German fascism’s Aryan supremacy and genocides as well as in American sterilisation laws directed against ‘unfit’ individuals until 1930. It took a great civil war in the United States to abolish slavery in 1865. After 1961.Singapore and Asia natural course of development of societies. thirty-one years after the British Empire had taken the lead. imperialism was no longer sustainable. 2004.allaboutscience. Social Darwinism. it has given the United States more moral authority to preach to the world about liberal democracy and human rights. 87 88 ‘What is Social Darwinism?’ www.

founded more than two centuries ago. Ideologically wonderful. The tribal instinct is deeply entrenched in peoples. and throughout history. Without an informed public and true interactivity of ideas. on the eve of the United States decision . American democracy is in trouble. between a third and a half of Americans still believed that Saddam was personally responsible for planning and supporting the attack. while television news has been ‘dumped down and tarted up’. A vibrant democracy is based on the collective wisdom of a well-informed and responsible electorate. Gore was bewildered that more than four years after 9/11. tribal interests have only too often been the cause of unending conflicts. racial and religious differences surfaced and conflicts erupted in many newly independent countries and have continued to be a severe barrier to economic development and nationhood. Disproportionately long hours are spent in front of the television box. the right of liberty was thus extended to all people. democracy has proved extremely difficult to work well in practice. democracy has been the buzz word used by most countries in the world to describe their government.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Yet racialism is not confined to whites discriminating against the rest. With the withdrawal of colonial authority. Furthermore.88 - . With the failure of communism. Former US Vice President Al Gore complained that reading has been in sharp decline. which because of profit motive focuses on entertainment. However. Current Practice of Democracy In dismantling European Empires and granting independence to colonial people. this may not be present even in the first amongst democracies. from which the best ideas judged by the market rise to the top. Representative democracy depends on the wisdom of a well-informed citizenry contributing to a ‘marketplace of ideas’.

it appears reasonable for democracy to be taken in small steps. economists. ‘American Democracy in Trouble’.90 Contra-wise. China would be an interesting case study on economic development by an enlightened oligarchy as a prelude to meaningful democracy. and this was attributed to the rise of China. Other impediments to meaningful democracy include widespread electorate illiteracy.Singapore and Asia to invade Iraq. It has also been encouraging that globalisation and increasing development of East Asia in the past three decades has been associated with progress in democracy. while gains were recorded in sixteen. frequently rather badly. . Is it then unsurprising that democracy has faltered.91 Additionally. religious bigotry. Freedom House expects that China would be classified as ‘partly free’ in 2030. ‘Why is this chamber empty? Why are these halls silent?’89 Non-European people had throughout their history only known authoritarian rule. the inland provinces of China remain poor and would require another generation to modernise. December 19 2009-January 1 2010. ‘Democracy in China’. The Economist. 2005. corruption. Senator Robert Byrd stood on the Senate floor and asked. 89 Al Gore. January 16. Currently. Goh Sui Noi. since regaining its economic well-being. The Economist. www. racialism. Freedom House noted declines in liberty in forty countries. which had been further enforced during the centuries of colonial rule. and other intellectual elites into its ranks.89 - 90 91 92 . Freedom House lists Japan. October 6.92 Perhaps then. The total number of electoral democracies at 116 amongst 193 nations is the lowest since 1995. the status of Singapore today. in the Third World? In 2009. 2010. Until then. Chinese governance has improved considerably in efficiency with the inclusion of engineers. and vote rigging. ‘Crying for Freedom’. Chinese society has become much more open today. such as with ‘inner party democracy in the appointment of party leadership’.org 2010. commondream. ‘Legacy of June 4 Leaves Grounds for Optimism’.

which bestows equality amongst all human beings.. and Oman—concluded that regardless of the forms of government what matters is how people in power perform. The outstanding success of Singapore and China’s economy. In Indonesia. and defeat of slavery and colonialism. is the highest expression of ideals developed in modern Western civilisation.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI South Korea. Indonesia. Japan. Western observers are delighted that in both India and Japan the decades-long single party rule has come to an end. Democracy is an advantage in getting everyone on board. liberalism in the political system may be far less important in contributing to economic success. Nine of the above countries are East or South East Asian countries with a strong Confucian culture of work ethics. also questions the assertion of Washington that privatisation is an essential factor for success in the global economy. freedom of worship. both of which have strong state participation. Taiwan.93 In particular. Current Practice of Human Rights and Responsibilities The concept of human rights. 93 Bhagyashree G. a recent study of thirteen rapidly growing countries—China. India. Singapore. Hong Kong. social welfare. and love of learning. Straits Times. . not how they got there. Brazil.90 - . Contrary to the Washington consensus. Thailand. Taiwan. and Indonesia as free democracies. thrift. South Korea. 2008. There has been consensus that these cultural qualities have been the key to their economic success. Malta. a new party has emerged. gender and racial equality. Communist China’s experience reinforces the hypothesis that while liberalism in economy is an essential factor. drawing support away from the established parties with its anti-corruption and anti-terrorism campaign. though not necessary for a country’s prosperity. May 30. Botswana. Malaysia. Equitability in human rights has been the basis of democracy.

Emerging from the survival value of gun ownership as fledging America extended westwards. hunger. In the present integrating world threatened by religious and racial conflicts. epidemic diseases. starting in the seventeenth century. Constructive Postmodernism The modern Western world.91 - . Yet what might be viewed in Singapore as a glaring case of abuse of free speech is the recent threat of public burning of the Koran. rights of ‘liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ understandably sound hollow to these unfortunate people. had its own sense of finality. basic human needs such as freedom from water shortage. The ubiquitous gun culture periodically manifests as preventable tragedies such as in mass shootings in schools by psychotically disturbed youths. Erosion of work ethics and labour strikes undermine global competitiveness and sustainability of idealistic social welfarism. the American democratic process continues to uphold the sanctity of gun culture.Singapore and Asia Yet what constitutes human rights and abuse today continues to be derived from an entirely Western historical and cultural perspective. this has sparked off a tragic reprisal with loss of lives at the United Nations office in Afghanistan. gun ownership became a human right. Thus. Negative social impact might also arise as the sanctification of homosexual marriage gains ground. Its basic characteristics. . Denied of the basic human right of ‘life’. would the American democratic process consider amending a constitution conceived in a small isolated white-dominated society two centuries ago? Current preoccupation with human rights without a healthy balance of human responsibilities seems problematical. culturally. and unsanitary living conditions in the Third World receive little attention from Western nations and human rights activists. To the amazement of people in Singapore where robbery with firearms carries a death penalty. Not unexpectedly.

shtml . process thought addresses questions of social. but rather as energy events. led to the conclusion that there is no certainty and that all beliefs arise out of particular socio-cultural-economic and historical context. In the brain. offers a vision of hope. The Center for Process Studies. global. Process thinkers work towards changing harmful and restrictive social structures to reflect the interrelation reality. respect for female gender. As a relational rather than mechanistic cosmology. Whitehead’s process thought sees reality not as matter in motion. and the idea of the substantial self-ego. the basis of modern Western thought. In its universalism. failure of the promise of modernism engendered postmodern thinking and movements. and environmental responsibility. cultural. these events are linked to past experiences. economic. Process thought advocates personal. and are relational to other people and to nature and the environment. In its constructive approach towards 94 Sheela Pawar. ethnic. in uncovering flaws in modern science and philosophy.ctr4process. political. Process thought. constructive postmodernism of Whitehead does not reject modernism but seeks to revise its premises and traditional concepts.org/about/process/synopsis. participatory democracy. there was no necessity to look at other traditions for guidance.92 - . It rejects dualism. www. community-based economics. non-violence. and ecological justice. shape subsequent events. and ecological and economic sustainability. ‘A Synopsis of Process Thought’. and racial diversity. thus.94 Spirituality in the universe as a concept of postmodernism has engendered a revival of religion. Unlike deconstructive postmodernism which is nihilistic.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI philosophically and scientifically. an end to patriarchal structures. Deconstructive postmodernism. 2007. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. were the forms that advance would take place. The interrelationship of the human community with the nature of postmodernism replaces the isolated individuality of modernism.

values.93 - . the way forward could be via constructive postmodernism. postmodernism welcomes a plurality of ideas. In this. the world view of constructive postmodernism has considerable consonance with East Asia’s cultural heritage of Buddhism and Taoism. and procedures including the pre-modern. For Asia. .Singapore and Asia improving modernism.

2006. London. and reason for expansion afar.2 Imperialism Kick-starts Globalisation Imperial China could have changed world history when Admiral Cheng Ho with the then greatest fleet the world had known sailed beyond Malacca to the Middle East and Africa. Subsistence farming was developing into a market economy as agric-horticultural techniques of intensive cultivation yielded surplus production. an imperial decree in 1433 forbade Chinese ships to sail beyond the coastal waters. and Chinese ship yards soon lost the capability to build great ocean junks. China’s priority had been to marshal resources for the construction of massive irrigation canals and parts of the Great Wall.94 - . This resulted in population growth. Soon after that event. . made long-range oceanic sailing within grasp. Advances in European shipping technology. a renewed spirit of confidence and adventure amongst the Iberian sailors developed following the re-conquest of Spain from Islamic occupation in 1492. e. A Brief History of Globalization. three masts with mixed sails as well as improved navigating skills and understanding of geography. stern-post rudder. 95 MacGillivaray Alex. Perhaps disappointingly. Robinson.g.95 In contrast to the Middle Kingdom’s inwardness. urbanisation. all he did was to bring back a giraffe to amuse his emperor.

Though there have been a multitude of sins 96 MacGillivaray Alex. the seamen explorers finally reached the Cape of Good Hope in 1487. 2006. London. . A Brief History of Globalization. Pythagoras (569-475 BC). Vasco Da Gama reached Calicut in India in 1498. mistaken that he had arrived in India. renowned intellect and philosopher Aristotle (384-322 BC). Since then. progressive European modernisation has placed all other civilisations at their feet. This was supported by fellow Greek.Singapore and Asia Trade between Europe and China had been via the hazardous caravan routes of central Asia—the Silk Road bearing silk and porcelain.95 - . It was indeed a huge step for mankind when after a three-year trip (1519-1522) Magellan led a Portuguese expedition and circumnavigated the world. whose theorem is taught in mathematics class to all teenagers. is credited with the first man to believe that the world is spherical. who predicted that ‘the bulk of the earth must not only be spherical. but not large in comparison with the size of other stars’. Spices from the Indian Ocean reached Alexandra and Beirut and were distributed in Europe by Venetian Mediterranean traders at huge profit margins. The ancient Greek Ptolemaic geography had been finally verified.96 Magellan’s epic voyage could be described as the birth of globalisation. With the help of Arab guides and maps of the Indian Ocean. a Genoese under the employ of the Spanish Monarch. Robinson. Enterprising Portugal with the patronage of Prince Henry ‘the navigator’ took the lead. After many increasingly long trips hugging the West African Coast since the 1420s. Columbus. Meanwhile in 1493. He named the Caribbean islands as the (West) Indies. sailed west across the Atlantic Ocean. The Ottoman Islamic Empire controlling the Middle East increased difficulties for these trade routes. A sea route to the legendary superior civilisation of the Orient would break the monopoly of the Venetian traders.

has brought the world’s people to work. Spanish Settlers and Traders in Central and South America During the sixteenth century. shorn off colonisation. More than bullion. Smallpox. further decimated the local population. The present third phase of American-led globalisation. In the Caribbean islands and Brazil. conquered by Pizarro in 1531. In 1519-21. remained the main source of silver for Europe for the next three centuries. tobacco. play. coffee. The first phase. Adventurer ‘Conquistadores’ Cortes had destroyed the Aztec civilisation of Mexico. stimulating European economy and enhancing European lifestyles. . unclaimed territories to the West belonged to Spain while Portugal had monopoly of the East. Spanish trade was also linked by ‘Manila galleons’ between Acapulco across Pacific Ocean to their Southeast Asian colony. an infectious disease until then unknown in the Americas. Spaniards settled down in Central and South America. A. and live together in an increasingly shrunken and flattened global village. arguably non-European people have also benefitted from the presence of European powers. and tropical fruits and raised cattle with African slave labour supplied by the Dutch.96 - . Spanish planters grew sugar cane. To simplify. was led by the Iberians followed by the Dutch. By 1564. the Iberians set about reaping their rewards guided by the decree of Pope Alexander VI. globalisation thence may be considered as occurring in three phases. these agricultural products were exchanged for European goods. the Philippines. Early Era of European Colonisation and Globalisation Capitalising on their momentous oceanic discoveries. occurring until about the middle of the eighteenth century.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI of colonisation. Peru. Globalisation became truly worldwide in the second phase when an increasingly modernising Europe led by Britain ruled the world.

Portuguese ships carried carpets from Persia (Iran). and silk and porcelain from China for trade within Asia and Europe. in 1510. Malacca saw a flowering of Malay civilisation and became the first urbanised centre in Peninsular Malaya. Malacca had been a thriving regional port since its foundation in 1405 by Sultan Iskander Shah. until the present. deposed early ruler of early Singapore (Temasek). the façade of which remains until today. India. Influenced by Arab and Muslim traders. Situated at the Straits separating the Malay Peninsula from Sumatra and with the seasonal monsoon winds bringing in ships. With squadrons stationed in the region. Portuguese Control Straits of Malacca The Portuguese were quick in recognising the strategic importance of the Straits of Malacca.97 - . at Goa. Portuguese Traders in Asia In the sixteenth century. Spice Islands of Moluccas in 1513. seizing it in 1511. they suppressed local traders. They had not only trading monopoly with Europe but also acted as carriers amongst Asian countries. and fabrics from India and Persia. With overwhelming superiority in ship building. and fine craftsmanship of guns. Malacca was a convenient port for maritime trade for spices from Moluccas. metallurgy. cloth from India. and this was supplied from the Spanish colonies in Central and South America as payment for African slaves sold by the Portuguese. the Portuguese set up a chain of trading stations and forts along the African coast. Portuguese imperialism from a small home base population of one .Singapore and Asia The Spanish Empire at its height was second only to that of the British. though the development of Latin America. The Asians wanted little from Europe except silver. copper and tin from Japan. including the previously dominant Arab competitors. Portugal soon became masters of the Indian Ocean and beyond. in 1523. silk and porcelain from China. Macao. pales in contrast to Anglo-Saxon North America. After more than a century of dominance in Asia and South America. cloves from Moluccas. China. Malacca in 1511. and building a great fort.

TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI million people could not be sustained. and Japan. . and eventually they became the major carriers of Europe. and enslavement and extermination of rivals—including Chinese traders in junks and murder of English traders in Amboyna in 1623. The Penguin Press. which they renamed Batavia. The East Asian trade flourished and soon was self-financing with bullion from Japan and China.98 - . Shares offered attracted well over a thousand subscribers. Dutch trade was carried out not only with Malaya and Indonesia. 2008. raising 6. New York. but also with Formosa. Dutch innovations in finance provided capital in this early era of globalisation. Dutch Commercial and Colonial Imperialism in Asia-Dutch Malacca Dutch traders had risen in prominence by shipping salted herrings to European markets in their uniquely designed bulk-carrying vessels. The Dutch were imperial traders par excellence and predominance in trade overruled all considerations. making the VOC the biggest corporation in the world then. The joint stock company and the stock market originated in Amsterdam after the setting up of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in 1602. Control of the Straits of Malacca in 1642 came with the capture of Portuguese Malacca. helped by the Johor Sultan. Cape of Good Hope. Moluccas. To capture the spice trade. The Ascent of Money. deportation. Calicut. and Persia. they ousted the Portuguese from Java in 1595 and in 1602 set up the Dutch East India Company in Jakarta. Dutch commerce was also established in Ceylon.45 million guilders.97 97 Ferguson Niall. they had an early history tainted by insurrection. To concentrate all sources of profits. Capital build-up from public participation enabled the VOC to have the scale to control the spice and Indian Ocean trade for a century and colonise the vast expanse of the Indonesian islands. From Malacca. In the early seventeenth century Portuguese trade in the Indian Ocean and Malacca was taken over by the next wave of imperialists. China. the ‘flute’ or fly-boat.

they were in the forefront of missionary work and . Christian Missionaries Disseminate European Civilisation ‘A gun in the right hand and a Bible in the left’ has been used to describe European conduct as they assaulted the world. This possession was temporarily restored to the Dutch in 1816. This treaty demarcated the sphere of influence of these two European powers. and well received in the courts of European kings and the Chinese Ming Emperors. the Jesuits. More importantly. The British innovated rubber industry in Malaya and built up the infrastructure that started the modernisation of Malaya and Singapore ahead of the rest of the pack. The Anglo-Dutch treaty of 1824 was to be of epochal importance to the destiny of Malaya. to Christianise the infidel subjects in the Portuguese Empire. and Indonesia. A few white traders had cast the dice. political. This was a particularly apt description for the Iberian people with a particularly strong left hand. Singapore. Dutch Malacca was exchanged for the British trading post at Bencoolen in West Sumatra. Britain took control of Malacca in 1795 and attacked and captured Batavia in 1811.Singapore and Asia Dutch and British Partition the Malay Archipelago Dutch naval power was surpassed by a new player in the region—Britain. The British were allowed to stay in Singapore without further claims by the Dutch who had earlier disputed the legality of British settlement in 1819. Relatively sparsely populated Malaya and Singapore were left to be shaped by Britain and become a small part of the British Empire. an order founded by Ignatius of Loyola in Spain in 1540. At the request of the Portuguese king. Falling into the ambit of the powerful British Empire brought law and order.99 - .000 square miles and tens of millions of inhabitants were to be controlled by a young European nation with a narrow base of a few million Dutch. The myriads of islands in the Malay Archipelago with a land area of 700. the Pope directed the Society of Jesus. The Jesuits were intellectual. over which the sun never set. During the French-Dutch wars.

In Southeast Asia. each headed by a local-born bishop. then is the bed of the deep laid bare. propagating the English language as well as various aspects of European civilisation as it matured. visited Malacca in 1545-47 and gained recognition as ‘Apostle of the Indies’. B. St Francis Xavier. missionary schools. and churches were set up by Christians of all denominations in Malaya and Singapore. ministering to the sick. teaching children. As early as 1557. ‘Be ye removed’. Over the years. The ‘jewel of . They say to the lesser floods.’ Under their rods are the rocks reproved they are not afraid of that which is high. ‘Be dry.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI education throughout the European colonies. That the sons of Mary may overcome it. who all remained Muslims. hospitals. and spreading the Word. conversions occurred in modest numbers only amongst the immigrant Chinese and Indians and because of governmental policy none amongst the Malays. disseminating European religion and values to the world. The co-founder of the Jesuit order. 1907) The rebellion and loss of the American colonies and declaration of the Monroe doctrine diverted British attention to Asia.100 - . Then do the hilltops shake to the summit. a Catholic bishop seat was established in Malacca. (Rudyard Kipling. Today there is a lively Catholic community in Malaya and Singapore. However. conversion to Catholicism was most successful under the Spaniards in the Philippines. pleasantly sleeping and unaware. The British Empire and Global Free Trade Tribute to the Empire builders has been vividly captured in the following verse by Britain’s poet Laureate: From ‘The Sons of Martha’ They say to the mountains. The Jesuits have continued to be one of the most active Catholic orders in Singapore.

Singapore and Asia

the British crown’, the centrepiece of British imperialism and colonial commerce, was India. Acquisition began insidiously after British merchant adventurers set up trading forts in Madras (Chennai), Bombay, and Calcutta. As with rival French traders, the British East India Company conducted trade in coffee and textiles. In the last decades of the seventeenth century, British naval power had surpassed the Dutch and was supreme in the Indian Ocean. In 1707, Aurangzeb died and the Mogul Islamic Empire collapsed. In the ensuing power struggle with the nawab of Bengal and the French India Company, Robert Clive of the British East India Company (EIC) prevailed and was installed as the ruler of Bengal in 1764. By the 1840s, the British EIC had subjugated the whole Indian subcontinent. Trade expanded in the 1830s and 1840s. Indian cotton was exported to the Lancashire mills in return for manufactured goods and textiles, in effect checking the development of Indian industrialisation.98 With a base in India, British trading interests spread further eastwards into Burma and China. The British eventually found a commodity for the China trade—Indian opium. Following the 1839 Opium War, opium trade was enforced and China ceded Hong Kong to Britain. The strategic Straits of Malacca—the nearest sea route to China and Japan—had by 1824 come under British control, with ports established in Penang, Malacca, and Singapore. The Malay states, rich in tin, had earlier attracted Chinese immigrant miners. This caught the attention of the British, who soon assumed indirect rule over the Malay states. British entrepreneurship turned the jungles of Malaya into cultivated rubber estates, from seeds smuggled out of the jungles of Brazil. In this, they were joined by fortune hunters and indentured labour from crumpling China and colonial India. In the early twentieth century, Malaya stood out in the global economy as the top world source for rubber and tin.


Roberts J.M., 2002, The New Penguin History of the World, Penguin Books, London. - 101 -


Beyond Asia in the southern hemisphere, British immigrants settled in sparsely inhabited Australia and New Zealand, where climatic conditions were suitable for European agri-horticulture. British colonisation of Africa initially arose out of strategic considerations. In 1841, Britain had taken over from the Dutch Boers’ control of South Africa because of the need to safeguard the sea route to India around the Cape of Good Hope. Diamond was found, and conflict between Boers and British resulted in the establishment of an independent South African republic in 1881. The best lands in South Africa, Rhodesia, and Kenya attracted English settlers. To ensure security of the Suez Canal which had been completed in 1869, Britain seized control of Egypt. In the break-up of the Ottoman Empire after its defeat in the First World War, the League of Nations awarded mandates to Britain over Palestine, Transjordan, and Iraq. Thus was established the global British Empire, not forgetting Canada in North America. Today the legacy of British civilisation and economic traditions permeates much of the world. The Empire has metamorphosed into the British Commonwealth of Nations, bound by a shared history, language, and civilisation. British colonialism had not always been crudely exploitative. As Britain modernised, a pragmatic approach tinged with Christian morality crept into colonial administration. European attitude towards subject people was starting to mature as shown, for instance, by the anti-slavery Emancipation Act of 1833 abolishing slavery in the British Empire. (In the United States, slavery was not abolished until after the Civil War in 1865.) To their credit, too, the British dispatched progressive-minded, educated gentlemen to India and other colonies to transfer ‘the spirit of civil liberty and forms of social order which had made the British civilisation the best amongst equals’. Since the 1950s Britain’s extension the USA has made a similar approach towards Third world countries receptive of its patronage.

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Singapore and Asia

Britain Shapes Global Free Trade—First Liberal International Economic Order
At the centre of the British Empire, London’s politicians, financiers, insurers, and ship owners shaped the character of nineteenth-century global trade.99 The Industrial Revolution enabled Britain to produce cotton textiles and metal products that were more competitively priced than other countries. Thus, it was advantageous for Britain to move away from the prevalent mercantilist policy to one of free trade. As a strategic British port in the Far East, Singapore fitted well into the expanding global trade. The repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 dissociated Britain from protectionism. Britain adopted Adam Smith’s free trade doctrine, even if this was unilaterally implemented. In having a laissez-faire trade policy, the economy was allowed to function without government intervention. This policy was in line with Oakeshott’s classification of Britain as a ‘civil state’ and not an ‘enterprise state’. However, laissez-faire was abandoned at the end of the nineteenth century to meet the demands of socialism. Expansion of world trade and the flow of international capital was facilitated and confidence instilled by the gold standard of the British pound, which lasted until 1931. The transnational legal system agreed amongst the European nations protected international property rights until the First World War. In addition to slave labour, the global economy was further facilitated by free labour mobility, which provided thirty million Indian migrants across the British Empire and twelve million Chinese migrants until the 1930s, mainly to Southeast Asia. For the economy to prosper there was need to provide for both internal and external order, which involved heavy costs.


Lal Deepak, 2004, In Praise of Empires, Palgrave Macmillan, New York. - 103 -


A successful economy justified the Empire and the Royal Navy. India and the Straits Settlements which were under the control of the East India Company came under Crown control in 1858. However, British colonial acquisitions in Africa after 1850 did not appear to have benefitted the British economy. The global liberal economic order promoted by Britain, together with rapid techno-scientific progress, accelerated global per capita GDP. Britain was rewarded by a tenfold increase in trade between 1820 and 1870. A quarter of all international trade was British. British exports tripled from 1870 and 1913, most of this to an empire of over 400 million people. In 1913, Britain was still the dominant trading nation, with nearly a fifth of the global trade. Several colonised countries, notably British Malaya (including Singapore), benefitted as exporters of primary commodities and enjoyed rapid growth during the first Liberal International Economic Order. Unfortunately, despite free trade rhetoric, the Indian textile industry was suppressed and opium trade enforced on China. Globalisation meant colonial subjugation and exploitation to most non-European people. In the second half of the nineteenth century, as Germany and the United States caught up with Britain’s manufacture, London relied increasingly on the sector serving world trade—shipping, financing, insuring, and management.

The Rise of USA and the Second Liberal International Economic Order
In the 1620s, the English followed the Spaniards to the Caribbean islands to cultivate tobacco, and at about the same time, the first English settlement at Jamestown in Virginia was established. Tobacco cultivation expanded in Virginia and Maryland. In the 1630s, Calvinistic Protestants colonised New England. The earlier Dutch settlement on Long Island Manhattan was absorbed and renamed New York. By 1750, the English had established thirteen colonies along the North American sea board, with well over a million people. By 1763, Philadelphia was as developed as any European city.
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Singapore and Asia

Following independence in 1789, the United States of America received large numbers of European immigrants. Britain was the largest source with the Irish, who were suffering from the potato famine, forming half the number. Population grew rapidly in the United States, from five million in 1800 to forty million in 1870. The United States territory was hugely expanded westwards with the purchase of Lousiana from France in 1803, Florida from Spain in 1819, and by the annexation of Texas, California, Utah, Nevada and Arizona from Mexico in 1853. Helped by African slaves, the United States grew increasingly more prosperous with its large tracts of land growing grain and cotton and a rich resource of coal and minerals fuelling industry. Besides her rich natural resources, the United States attracted British and European capital investment and a continuous inflow of talent and labour, which continues until today. By 1870, Americans were on track to have the highest per capita income in the world. In 1914, US production of pig iron and steel was more than twice that of Britain and Germany combined, and the country made more cars than the rest of the world. International cooperation amongst European people for free trade was failing in the late nineteenth century, culminating in the First World War. In the 1920s, a ‘quick rich’ mentality chased up the stock prices in Wall Street. Unsustainable, the bubble burst in 1929, with stock prices falling to 25 per cent of its value and widespread collapse of banks, loss of jobs and homes, and soup kitchen queues. Failure by the Hoover administration to relieve the credit crunch sunk the United States into the Great Depression, which spread worldwide. Subsequent Roosevelt’s pumping up of the financial system and the social network of the ‘New Deal’ helped, though the American economy remained in recession until boosted up by the armoury economy of the Second World War. With the failure of the World Economic Conference in 1933, even Britain abandoned free trade. Laissez-faire global economy had lost its glow. With Europe and Britain in tatters after World War ll, the USA assumed world leadership. Free international trade, abandoned by Britain in 1933, was replaced by global trade with agreed low tariffs, as described in Part One.
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Impact of Globalisation on Asian Civilisations
In the post-war era, the fear of neocolonialism led to a distancing by newly independent countries from the West. Nevertheless, the benign hegemony of superpower USA in the conduct of the post-war global economy soon convinced much of the world that globalisation need not be a zero sum game. Globalisation, in providing the opportunity for economic development and modernisation, can be adopted by any country without sacrificing its identity in traditional cultures and religions. Globalisation is thus conducive to a new world of postmodern civilisations which, whilst retaining aspects of traditional cultures and religions, have commonality in techno-science, rule of law, as well as people-centred governments. Confucian East Asia, with its rapid rise in the global economy, has been the front runner towards postmodernity. India, the world’s biggest democracy, legatee of British civilisation and also enjoying rapid growth in the global economy, could possibly follow with a fusion of Western civilization and modernised Hinduism, shorn off the caste system and suppression of women. Additionally too, the Abbasid and other enlightened eras of the Islamic world together with the current ‘Arab Spring’ movement in the Middle East conjure up visions of an eventual postmodern fusion of Western civilisation and modernised Islam.

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There is a small class of super rich amongst the masses in abject poverty. 2009. reviewed by The Economist. Face book and Twitter. ‘The Crises of Islam’. The Seljuk (Oghuz Turks) caliphate (1037-1153) left a legacy to the Islamic world of theocratic rule of local areas by ulema (religious teachers). and Libya. This was followed by the Abbasid caliphate when Islam reached its height of development. and parts of North Africa. Mesopotamia. The decay has resulted in corrupt and mal-administered economies and autocratic governments abusing human rights. These sudden explosive street protests across the Arab world have brought down governments in Tunisia. Modernisation of Islamic Civilisation At press time. had a history of rapid expansion since its foundation. a Quraysh Arab who worshipped the same God of Abraham as the Jews and Christians has. hampering modernisation. The Ummayad caliphate until 750 had defeated the Byzantine forces. the unexpected happened. Egypt. Ali Allawi had alluded to the collective failure of Muslims over the past 200 years to respond effectively to Western modernisation. Young people. the per head income of petroleum-rich United Arab Emirates is 200 times that of poverty and rife-stricken Somalia. Sassanid Persia. 100 Allawi Ali. Jerusalem. In a recent book The Crises of Islamic Civilization.100 Indeed. Islam founded in the seventh century by Prophet Mohammed. Nostalgia and frustration is expressed in the observation that ‘the creative output of the twenty or thirty million Muslims of the Abbasid era (750-1258) dwarfs the output of the nearly one-and-half billion Muslims of the modern era’. agitated for change in government and democracy across the Middle East and North Africa. capturing Syria. many of whom were below twenty-five years old and unemployed—brought together by social media of You Tube. the arduous struggle for a better livelihood for the masses in the Arab world has finally erupted. This unity of Islam and State has continued to inspire the ultra religious. In a region beset with a multiplicity of wide divisions. . Egypt.107 - . Thus. April 18.Singapore and Asia A.

British troops were only withdrawn from the canal zone after a widely criticised 1956 abortive Anglo-French invasion of Egypt in collusion with Israel. Clash with Christian West and Israel As neighbouring civilisations with a similar level of development until the nineteenth century. Most divisive has been the attitudes towards sex and male domination. Western predatory activities in the Arab Middle East yielded British and French protectorates. as well as attitudes towards modernisation and radical Islamism. Internal Conflicts Schism since the foundation of Islam has plagued Islamic civilisations with incessant Shiite-Sunnite conflicts until today. In the nineteenth century. military rule. the eight-year war between Iraqi Sunni and Iranian Shiite cost a million lives. border disputes (especially over oil fields). Thus. misreading USA’s stance. Divisions have been aggravated by differences in ethnicity. a surge of Islamic fundamentalism has risen during the past thirty years.108 - . political structure (autocratic kingdoms. Liberalism of Western modernity is at opposite poles to the (stifling) conservatism of Islamic theocracy. Saudi Arabia’s flood of petrol dollars following the Arab oil embargo in the 1970s funded mosque building and advancement of conservative Wahabism. This was soon followed by Iraq’s abortive invasion of Kuwait. With the Islamic world in conflict. . provoking Islamists’ bitter resentment of Western political and cultural imperialism. which has undergone a sea change since medieval Europe. Egypt was made a British protectorate until 1922. With the opening of the strategic Suez Canal in 1869. The recent public demonstration in Bahrain is by the majority Shiites against the Sunni king. when the Ottoman Empire was disintegrating. While there has been a resurgence of Islamic religious fervour. and Islamic states). rivalry between Islam and Christendom goes back a thousand years to the Crusade. Western civilisation has become increasingly secular and liberal.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI A Civilisation in Turmoil Current crisis in the Islamic world is bewilderingly complex.

When Hitler persecuted and sent millions of Jews to the gas chambers. Pleasantville. theocratic Iran’s nuclear ambition has been worrisome. possibly influenced by a strong American Jewish lobby. Readers Digest Association. 101 Great Events of the 20th Century. As a result. and Japan. The Palestine cause has been a unifying force for Muslims. causing a world recession. who set up the first modern Islamic Shiite state.109 - . with the well-entrenched Israelis strongly supported by the United States. the discovery of rich deposits of oil in the Middle East Gulf states drew more American and European intervention. New York. and its call for the annihilation of Israel. the British Balfour declaration of 1922 supported the creation of Israel in its Palestine protectorate.000 Jews living amongst 1. In the 1950s and 1960s. pro-American secular Shah of Iran by Ayatollah Khomeini. In the midst of these wars.Singapore and Asia The creation of Israel as a homeland for the Jews has had a deep destabilising effect on peace in the Middle East. Islamism gained in momentum with the successful overthrow of the Westernised. oil prices shot up. the Jewish diaspora migrated in large numbers into the land of their forefathers. Iran has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in the ‘Arab Street’ due to defiance of the United States. Saudi Arabia and the Arab states imposed reduction of oil supplies to the USA. American and British influence was temporarily established with the overthrow of the unfriendly government of Iran in 1953. However. Europe. this UN proposal of dual states—Israel and Palestine—has yet to be achieved. there were 650.101 However. Israeli-Palestine conflict has raged on since. At the Ottoman succession. following Arab disgust with the 1973 Yom Kippur War. In recent years. There was then more excuse for foreign intervention. . in response to Jewish nationalism. even more so after the humiliating failure of the combined attack by six Arab states and loss of more Arab territory in the 1967 and 1973 Yom Kipper wars. In 1947. Yet the UN Security Council without unanimity has been unable to apply effective sanctions. its nuclear programme.1 million Arabs when the United Nations with US support agreed to the partition of Palestine.

Countries friendly with the United States remain at special risk. July 14. the war on terror may hurdle into trillions. Through the Internet. Congressional Research Services. Unfortunately.110 - . This dark child of globalisation has been described as a venture capital corporation. ‘A Special Report on al-Qaeda’. This has contributed to the current weak US fiscal position. including Saudi Arabia and Indonesia—most recently a third attack on Jakarta in 2009.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI 9/11 and the ‘War on Terror’ A decade ago. July 19-25. If related loss such as in stock market wealth is factored in. investing in promising terrorist projects and providing training of terrorist activities. Islamic wrath was directed overtly at American domination and what Western civilisation stood for. the response of the USA and allies in the ‘War on Terror’ since 11 September 2001 has disappointed. the justification of the Iraq invasion and regime change. without UN support.102 There seems to be an unending pool of unfathomable young men and women in Osama’s cause. 2008. President Bush’s claim of bringing democracy to Iraq is at best tenuous. With the anticipated 102 103 2009. Furthermore. terrorists targeted not only London and Madrid. but jihadist groups linked to al Qaeda have also on several occasions attacked Islamic countries. . Suicide bombing now forms part of the culture of radical political Islamism. jihadist groups are interlinked and dark ideology dispersed. which promotes terrorist activities as jihad (holy war) and promises martyrdom with quick admission into heaven. ‘The Cost of Iraq. The jihadist groups form a network under Osama’s virtual caliphate. Afghanistan and Other Global War on Terror since 9/11’. taking infidels with them.000 American soldiers (indigenous casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan are estimated to be 100 times the number) and cost the United States $859 billion as war-related appropriation.103 This is more than the $662 billion spent on the ill-fated Vietnam War. The wars have taken the lives of more than 4. Belasco Amy. The Economist. Following the audacious attack on America. is highly controversial. ever ready to blow themselves up.

while President Kasai makes plans to negotiate a peace deal with the Talibans. The rising . Indonesia. In Southeast Asia. suggesting a failure of integration into European society.Singapore and Asia withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. it has been suggested that Shiite-majority Iraq would fall under the influence of Iran. Turkey has for many years been knocking at the door of the European Union. Religious differences with the majority population complicated by economics and politics have contributed to tension and bloodshed in these countries. The Afghanistan war appears un-winnable. the perpetrators were local born and well-educated young people. the fusion postmodern Euro-Islamic civilisation would also have elements of Confucianism. The Gulf states have invested their oil wealth in ultra-modern architecture and infrastructure and significantly too in modern well-staffed universities in preparation for the future when the oil supply dries up. as it expands into Pakistan. Arab Spring Towards a Postmodern Middle East? While extremist Islamist groups have resorted to terrorism. Globalisation has spread Muslim migrant workers abroad to the extent that European cities with significant minorities of Muslims have developed hybrid ‘Eurabian’ characteristics. Thus.111 - . In the terrorist attacks in Europe. Winning over Muslim Minorities One-fifth of the world’s Muslims form significant minorities in many countries worldwide. has been listed by Freedom House as fully democratic and is a member of the recently created G20 group of large economies. significantly. former British colony Malaysia and former Dutch colony Indonesia—both Islamic majority countries with a Chinese diaspora taking the lead in the economy—have shown rapid growth at the heels of the Asian tigers. the large majority of Muslims are peace loving and are in favour of integrating and benefitting from modernisation. the country with the largest Muslim population in the world—exceeding 200 million. A postmodern civilisation with the best of Islamic culture is foreseeable. In Southeast Asia.

Innovative Group Representative Constituencies.wsws. has eradicated racial and religious politics. Severe punitive laws against speech inciting racial and religious conflict are in place. in the name of free expression continue to fan the flames of conflict and must question the wisdom of unfettered liberalism. he believes that there should be more active promotion of Western values of human rights.org www. Singapore’s approach towards multiculturalism is undemocratic by Western standards.105 Belgium has banned wearing complete veils of burqa or niqab in public places. British Prime Minister Cameron has advocated a more robust approach towards multiculturalism. January 9-15.com .examiner. a quota system in each block enforces integration of its diverse people. Minds and Mecca’. www. such as the Danish cartoons and the Dutch film Fitna. In the allocation of public housing. 104 105 106 2010. each including at least one minority candidate. when Canada’s McGill University deprived Muslim students of a prayer room.106 Insensitive expressions of what is perceived by Muslims and non-Muslims alike as deriding Islam. forming student associations suspected to be incubators for fundamentalist ideas and self-imposed segregation. has been of concern though difficult to manage fairly. ‘Hearts. an appeal to Quebec’s Human Rights Commission was promptly made. While space has to be given in deference to the essence of religions. Rather than passive tolerance of Muslims. The Economist. Thus.112 - . and France has refused citizenship to a Muslim man for ordering his French wife to wear a burqa.104 How Can Better Integration be Brought About? Europeans are groping for the answer. prohibition of extreme practices which separate Muslims from fellow citizens seems constructive.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI profile of Muslim students in the Western world. World socialist web site. The democratic process in Switzerland has recently voted againgst building minarets in new mosques. Yet it has succeeded in building a cohesive inclusive society absolutely necessary for its stability and success in the global economy.

a civilisation based on religious practice had held sway in the Indian subcontinent. and to continuously repeat creation. Indian civilisation is at last on ascendency after centuries of foreign domination. 107 Roberts J. The superpower sees India as a benign democracy to balance China. With a GDP growth rate approaching 10 per cent. This religion was nameless until the arrival of the British colonisers who coined the term Hinduism to describe the religious practice of India. Penguin Books. The New Penguin History of the World. It could have started as a fertility cult in the worship of Shiva.Singapore and Asia B.M.113 - . 2002. London. Hinduism had its beginnings in animism in Harappa city in the north-eastern Indus Valley. Westernisation in recent years has also been fostered by strategic ties with the United States. the gods needed sacrifices by priests. India has joined China. India has also made considerable progress in techno-science and nuclear energy. Emergence of Hindu India Redirection away from Nehru’s post-independence socialistic centrally planned economy towards the global capitalistic economy has brought accelerated development to India in the past two decades. Other Harappan seals seem to suggest a religious world centred about a mother goddess and Nandi. Initially gaining recognition in the service sector. Russia. . and South Africa (BRICS) into a potentially powerful bloc of emerging countries..107 There was a pantheon of hundreds of gods. the bull. about 2500 BC. A middle class of 400 million people continue to expand while Indian entrepreneurs both local and foreign born have earned Forbes listing as amongst the world’s richest billionaires. where an American lobby is gaining in strength. Hinduism—the Heart of Indian Civilisation For millennia. Brazil.

were completed. The Vedic caste system became solidly entrenched into the Indian society. The third and second century BC. expressed by the Rig Veda. Classical Hinduism matured in the first century BC. moved into the Indus Valley about 1750 BC and was absorbed into the declining Harappan society. The Vedic religion. Cults from Vishnu developed into Krishna. Indo-Europeans from the Hindu Kush. and reflections of holy men pointed to a monotheistic creation of the universe. husband. The eventual endpoint is the identity of soul and Brahma. the creative principle. the Ramayana and Mahabharata. the latter included India’s greatest literature—the Bhagavad Gita. The great Hindu epics. strictly confining social . and son. architecture and mathematics—the decimal system was invented. the embodiment of goodness in kingship. the sacred Upanishad texts of about 250 devotional utterances. Devi the mother goddess joined the pantheon of gods. Sanskrit literature. resulting in the transmigration of souls up and down the scale of being in the human and the animal world. was marked by a flowering of Indian art. It emphasised the necessity of performing duties designated by one’s caste and love of Krishna for the achievement of eternal happiness. a collection of more than a thousand hymns. and Rama. were also years of advancement for Hinduism. Human destiny is determined by one’s conduct of life. with mass psychological appeal. which saw the spread of Buddhism under Asoka of the first Mauryan Indian Empire. expressed by works such as the Kama sutra and worship of fertility cult. brought abstract and philosophical character into Hinduism. About 700 BC. aphorisms. It was towards the end of the Gupta era. Social hierarchy and occupation was regulated by a hereditary caste system: the priestly Brahmans. Non-Aryans belonged to the ‘unclean’ shudras caste and performed menial tasks. The Gupta era. the warrior Kshatriyas. in the fifth century AD. hymns. and the peasant vaishyas. that Hinduism reached maturity.114 - .TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI The Aryans. Sexual attitudes appeared liberal. which started in 320. This poem epitomised Hinduism around Vishnu and Krishna.

with the practice of child marriage and sati—self-immolation of widows on their husbands’ funeral pyres. claiming India for the Crown. In the sixteenth century.Singapore and Asia interactions.108 108 Roberts J.M. the Moguls—with Mongol ancestry from both Timur and Chinghis Khan and Turkish in tradition—established a Muslim Empire uniting the ill-defined Hindu states of sub-continental India. and specific occupations within each caste. the caste system and subordination of women persist to some extent until today. decline had set in under Aurangzeb. discouraged sati. admired learning. and Shah Jahan were all progressive rulers. and Hinduism. Islam. Mogul Islamic Influence As part of the Abbasid civilisation. . It has also been suggested that Hinduism’s fatalistic approach to life has the effect of inducing passivity and the futility of human action. The power vacuum was filled in by British officials of the East India Company (EIC). Akbar. They were tolerant of other religious faiths. a mishmash of Zoroastrianism. Subordination of women was intensified. marriage. The New Penguin History of the World. then a weak nation. Penguin Books.. Akbar’s Empire was one of the most powerful in the world. Akbar tried to found a new religion. Jahangir. Urdu.115 - . ruling over a civilisation as glorious as that of the Hindu Maurya (third and second centuries BC) and classical Gupta Hindu Empire (fourth and fifth centuries AD). A direct relationship was established with Queen Elizabeth l of England. 2002. The lingua franca was a new language. Muslims of Indian origin such as mathematician Al-Khwarismi introduced Hindu numerals (0 to 9) and concepts of algebra (which had its origin in ancient Babylon). London. Despite being outlawed in modern India. and were patrons of the arts and architecture. and the Mogul Empire collapsed in 1707 following his death. However. with a Hindi structure and Persian and Hindi vocabulary. Babur.

In economic development. fatalistic. In the prolonged struggle for independence. Yet enlightened despotism that followed had started the modernisation of India. In 1857. Britain’s industrial revolution and the opening of the Suez Canal increased British-Indian trade. Nevertheless. grossly ignorant. Gandhi was assassinated. . He pioneered non-violent protests. Gandhi set up an ashram—a Hindu group living together in a religious spirit with little material wants. Colour bar and discrimination confined the educated Indian to the lower ranks of administration. the first three universities in India were founded. Sceptical of organised religion. steeped in idolatrous superstition. and the downtrodden. including fasting until death for justice and harmony between people of all faiths. Roads. he campaigned for the liberation of women. there was the humiliation of India being denigrated as ‘a country densely peopled. a British-trained lawyer who had spent twenty years agitating for the rights of Indian workers in South Africa. the caste system. railways. indifferent to most of what we regard as the evils of life and preferring the response of submitting to them to the trouble of encountering and trying to remove them’. India acted as the British base for the China trade.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Modernisation under the British Raj When the British Raj arrived. Legal codes were introduced. and canals were built. This expanded most in the 1830s and 1840s. For accommodating Muslims which led to the creation of a separate Islamic state of Pakistan. unenergetic. At the same time. the export of cotton textiles from the Lancashire mills to India dampened growth of India’s textile industry. English replaced Persian as the language of administration and was taught in school. a key figure was Mahatma Gandhi. when following the Opium War China was forced to open its market to the import of Indian opium.116 - . Christian missionaries preached the eradication of female infanticide and sati. On his return to India.

Nevertheless. which has a Moslem majority. fall behind Hindus in education.Singapore and Asia Challenges to the Creation of a Postmodern Euro-Indian Civilisation The modernising force of the Mogul rulers and the British Raj did not permeate to the common people in the vast subcontinent. . A further bone of contention between Pakistan and India is Indian-ruled Kashmir. April 10-16. the Maoist insurgency has an estimated 14.’ The Economist. accepting their lot and finding comfort in Hindu spirituality.117 - . jobs. hundreds of millions have continued to live their traditional life of penury and illiteracy in the countryside. the communist utopian dream survives in the subcontinent. ‘India’s Naxalite Insurgents. People marrying outside their own caste continue to live in fear of ‘honour killings’ by aggrieved relatives. Moslems in India. and income. Thus. 998 people have been killed in the Maoist-related conflict and sadly the official response has been pathetic.109 109 2010. Affirmative action such as increasing allocation of university places to untouchables has raised resentment amongst the privileged castes. Deliberate neglect of daughters and induced abortion of female foetus has led to a declining ratio of females to males in some states. With roots in peasant uprising in West Bengal in 1967 amongst tribal communities. Several terror attacks on Mumbai. Thus. the latest being ‘India’s 9/11’ in 2008. sadly.000 full-time fighters and loosely controls a swathe of jungle areas in central and eastern India. India’s commercial capital. constituting the largest Moslem minority in the world. Politics with Blood. have taken place since 2003. extreme sex and caste discrimination continue to be practiced. Through 2009. The Marxist approach to uplift lives of the poor of India in the form of Nehru’s centrally planned economy as well as communist participation in state politics has made little impact.

‘India 2020’ calls for an economic transformation of India reducing the poverty line to zero by 2020. Indian farmers. legatee of British civilisation for 200 years. the success of India during the past two decades in the global economy has brought optimism. are receiving support in getting them add value by converting crops to food products and increased accessibility to water for irrigation.110 Hopefully widespread education would follow. Emergence of a Postmodern Asian Civilisation East Asia’s rapid rise in the post-Second World War global economy has been surprising. and a people-orientated economy.com. India. which has occurred with increased wealth creation from globalisation. Straits Times.118 - . educational achievement. who make up 60 per cent of the population that produced 235 million tons of crops in 2011.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Happily though. a comfortable level of foreign exchange reserves. leading to a more open society and reformation of negative aspects of religious India.sg . September 27. C. but then Japan was an honorary white nation. A somewhat controversial recent development has been the surge of Hinduism. and socio-economic development. suk@sph. Japan paved the way. ‘You Should Become the Captain of Your Problems’. having modernised in the nineteenth century. has shown great promise in the global economy. By far the biggest democracy in the world with a young electorate and wide divisions in religious beliefs. Japan had also displayed its imperialistic might in the Second World 110 2011. India’s continued modernisation depends much on the performance and political will of its democratic elected leadership. a saving rate of 20 per cent of earnings. The increasing success of the tripartite of state-Hinduismcorporation and the danger of a democracy in which the majority takes all has caused concerns to minority Muslims and others. Former President Abdul Karim—a nuclear scientist—believes that this is possible with an expanding middle class.

Along with Confucianism which shaped Eastern civilization are two religions: Taoism and Buddhism. Flow with the nature of things and love. Taoism preached simplicity.119 - . originated several centuries BC at about Confucius’s lifetime. a latecomer of only thirty years in the global economy. contentment.Singapore and Asia War. the Greater Tao. passivity. Hong Kong was a British colony until 1997 whilst the former British colony of Singapore situated itself in the sphere of American influence. Prominent literature on the great Tao includes works of Tao Te Ching and Chuang Tzu. Taoism. Taoism and Buddhism China’s native religion. East Asians work harder for a fraction of the pay. The surprise which has caused turbulence in Europe and the United States is the big leap made by Communist China. and kindness will then follow.1 . The outperformance of the West by China and East Asia in the global economy raises questions about the universality of Western civilisation. Here again South Korea and Taiwan were not only former colonies of Japan but also enjoyed the patronage of the United States as a consequence of the latter’s commitment in the containment of communism. non-action. non-striving. What are the strengths in East Asian civilisation that could explain the unthinkable? The answer appears simple enough. Japan’s rise was followed by the Asian tigers. a life in communion and harmony with nature. they don’t go on strike and save more! Their children in school study hard for A grades! They are following a tip passed down through the generations from a sage named Confucius who lived in China more than 2000 years ago. taking on the United States and humbling Western European powers in snatching their colonies in Southeast Asia.

but simple and agnostic. If you don’t realize the source. Immersed in the wonder of the Tao. The demands of the flesh when shed lead to the attainment of the blessed state of nirvana or self-annihilation. Unlike Hinduism. but contemplate their return. total control of the body is achieved. and non-interference in the Chinese character. amused. . This frees the soul from the endless cycle of transmigration and rebirth. avoid contact. you naturally become tolerant. introvertness. Meditation is accompanied by following an eightfold path of moral and spiritual improvement. and when death comes. whereupon illusion of personality and the material world is revealed. Each separate being in the universe returns to the common source. you are ready. you stumble in confusion and sorrow. kindhearted as a grandmother. ‘Even though the cockerel’s crow can be heard from the next village. The Gupta era saw orthodox Buddhism becoming a Hinayana minority.’ Buddhism was founded in the sixth century BC by Siddharta Gautama in northern India as a reformation of the Upanishad’s Brahmanical religion. Buddhism is non-ritualistic.120 - . Buddhism attracts the downtrodden. Let your heart be at peace. Mahayana Buddhism took the shape of popular and ritualistic religion. Returning to the source is serenity. Through deep meditation (Hindu yoga).TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Empty your mind of all thoughts. With no caste structure and discrimination against women. When you realize where you came from. you can deal with whatever life brings you. dignified as a king. Watch the turmoil of beings. disinterested. Tao Te Ching2 Taoism could have influenced passivity.

epidemics. and the Spring and Autumn Annals (Ch’un Ch’iu).Singapore and Asia elevating Buddha to the greatest of Bodhisattvas. Mahayana Buddhism spread to China and transformed into Zen Buddhism in Japan. Poetry (Shih Ching). merit. breed temperance and avoidance of extremism and conflict. and gentleness to the opposite subordinate members. Confucianism—the Heart of Chinese and East Asian Civilisation Confucius. Confucianism. and between society and ruler. Thus Taoism and Buddhism give the Orientals links with spiritualism and fortitude to accept what the simplicities of life had to offer along with the hardships. elder brother. husband to wife. based on respect for age. to be worshipped. the . History (Shu Ching). and authority. and older friend are dominant and show benevolence. and invasions. such as the Yangtze floods. father to son. father. These Oriental characteristics persist in them as they adjust to the beauty and strength as well as the unresolved complexities of modern Western civilisation. Buddhism and Taoism. Buddhism rejects worldly values. husband. or saviours. and Great Learning (Ta Hsueh)—were compiled in modernised Chinese and used as the basis for the imperial examinations. the four books—the Analects (Lun Yen). Mencius (Meng Tzu). Like Taoism. Rites (Li Ching). Doctrine of the Mean (Chung Yung). was a rationalist and a humanist who taught the Chinese how to live and conduct themselves in society. born in 550 BC in Shantung province where he was a civil servant. The ruler. In return.121 - . The five overarching relationships are ruler to subject. elder brother to younger brother. and the patron or older friend to client or younger friend. Confucianism regulates interpersonal relationships in family. society. All three philosophies. kindness. and some of its teachings became incorporated into Taoism. Devoid of mysticism and utterly pragmatic. His teachings were recorded in the five classics consisting of Book of Changes (I Ching). During the Sung dynasty in the eleventh century.

1994. and in practice until 1905. testing depth in understanding of the Confucian classical texts as well as mechanical abilities and the capacity to excel under pressure. a meritocratic system of appointing capable civil servants was formalised in the Tang dynasty. This sentiment is well expressed in the inaugural address to King Cheng’s accession to the throne. inculcate subordination of individual interest to group interest which is so important for social stability and harmony. Your influence will spread from land to land. Wang Keping. Nashville. though stratified and hierarchal.. A Confucian scholar takes pride in the cultivation of virtue and harmony. Broadman& Holman Publishers.112 O princes bright and brave Favoured by former kings! The boundless blessings we have Will pass to your offsprings. and piety to the dominant members. Civil officials 111 Braswell Jr. 4. Confucianism propped up the legitimacy of the emperor. In return for the people’s support. obedience. This took the form of nationwide imperial competitive examinations. 1996. deference. Understanding World Religions.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI subordinates demonstrate loyalty. Tennessee. .122 - 112 . 618-907. To ensure good governance. xvii. Try to employ wise men. During the Sung and Ming dynasties in the tenth to seventeenth century Chinese civilisation was deeply influenced by Zen Buddhism and in the process classical Confucianism morphed into ‘neo-Confucianism’. Think of your service great You may enlarge still more. Social Sciences in China. ‘Confucius—Expectations of Poetry’. the emperor had to be benevolent as otherwise the mandate of heaven would be withdrawn (resulting in a revolution). and George W. Do not sin against your state And you will be honored as before.111 Such attitudes.

Tibet. Indo-China. and Burma became vassal states. The city was at one end of the Silk Road and imported Buddhism from India and Islam from the Middle East. In fact. Commerce. and extended control over Formosa (Taiwan). Classical Chinese civilisation reached its peak in the late Tang (618-907) and Sung (960-1126) periods.400 miles by the first emperor. 1234-1368) and Emperor K’ang-his of the Ch’ing Dynasty (1644-1912) made positive contributions in uniting China and extending the empire. Arabs and Central Asians.123 - . lower only to those accorded to the imperial family. The cities. Ch’in. These officials provided a huge and diverse empire with a uniformly high standard of governance. built Zoroastrian temples and Muslim mosques. making up perhaps 10 per cent of the population. Korea. free from corruption. The Great Wall. the Mongolian dynasty (Yuan. By the late Han dynasty. With a meritocratic Confucian scholar-based government. was completed over 1. it did not even matter that foreigners sat on the Dragon Throne. The Tang capital. which until the past two centuries was the largest in the world. Europeans since the days of the Roman Empire had yearned for . Confucian values of hard work and thrift were drivers of imperial China’s economy. enabled harnessing millions of labourers to construct mega structures. Kublai Khan extended suzerainty over neighbouring Vietnam and Burma. Urbanisation and commerce were already vibrant from the earliest dynasties of Chin (325 BC) and Han (206 BC—AD 9). a great system of canals linked the lower Yangtze valley of rice fields to the Yellow River valley. provided fine craftsmen and a lively commerce. At a later period. built to keep out barbarian invaders. Merchants from Persia. had a population of two million. Ch’ang-an in Shensi province. in yielding taxation.Singapore and Asia were bestowed material and social privileges. Emperor K’ang-hsi rebuilt Peking. During this period. Buddhist elites created two new industries—porcelain and tea—which soon reached international fame through the Silk Road. This river transportation network enhanced political unity and economic development. badly ravaged by the Manchu invasion. and Mongolia.

Fighting was frowned upon. Without science. Iron usage was at its height. The lowly status accorded to the soldier has a moral appeal but was certainly not pragmatic. Cross exchange of skills as a consequence improved craftsmanship in pottery and silverware. grid maps. Technological innovation included the discovery of gun powder and movable type printing. . and casting of bronze. making China easy prey not only to neighbouring people but also to seaborne mercantile foreigners most adept in the language of gunfire. promoted the status quo and conformity. and with water spinning machinery. painting. China’s strong adherence to the ancient wisdom of Confucianism. Little respect was given to the craftsman and technologist who dirtied their hands. There was also economic advancement from planting a rice variety permitting two crops a year. Paper had been in use since the second century BC and printing before AD 700. which since the fifteenth century had been a preoccupation of European intellectuals. Canton and Peking had also large populations. and little respect was accorded to the soldier. more colloquial and easily understandable than classical Chinese. The growing commerce gave rise to paper money in AD 650. The Sung period showed further refinements in ceramics. City life gave rise to a new literacy and literature. There were great voyages by large fleets such as undertaken by Cheng Ho in 1409. The inquiring mind of the scientist which enabled the Europeans to master nature failed to develop in the conservative Chinese civilisation.124 - . textile production improved. There was no parallel development in intellectual questioning of established traditions and authority. In shipping.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Chinese silk. and innovations in ship design. whilst invaluable in maintaining a stable society. technological innovations had grave limitations. and soon China lost the craftsmanship of ship building for ocean sailing. the Chinese had an enviable record of use of the marine compass. but an inward-looking Ming government prohibited such ventures.

The feudal Tokugawa Shogunate was replaced in 1868. Young Japanese went abroad to understudy Europeans. This contrasted with the fate of neighbouring Japan which for centuries had venerated China and had been the legatee of Chinese language. and the samurai tradition of death defiance together. Japan obtained further concessions. military conscription. taking over control of Shantung province from Germany at the end of the First World War. giving Japanese control of a part of China proper. communication. with power restored to the centralised administration of the imperial ‘Meiji Restoration’. the Japanese army annexed industrial Manchuria and set up the puppet state of Manchukuo in 1931. culture. and in a representative bicameral parliament. and invasion and occupation of Southeast Asia is seen in clearer perspective. To offset poor Japanese industrial production as a result of the global depression. Japanese intellectuals made the pragmatic decision to modernise. and the practice of Confucianism.125 - . These include retention of the Japanese language and the observation of the traditional Confucian duties of filial piety. Modernisation took place immediately in education. While undergoing westernisation. With American blessings. Add fascism. The Japanese army received training from French and Germans. the ‘China incident’ resulted in destruction and conquest of much of north and . To avoid the fate of China. In 1937. and the Japanese conduct at the ‘China Incidence’. An attack on Shanghai in 1933 was followed by a peace settlement.Singapore and Asia Modernisation of Neo-Confucian Japan Failure of myopic neo-Confucian China to respond to a changing world order in the nineteenth century extracted a heavy toll. which effectively made it into a Japanese protectorate. obedience. Japan annexed Chinese-controlled territories of Taiwan in 1895 and Korea in 1910. Victory in the Russian-Japanese War in 1905 was followed in 1915 by twenty-one demands on tottering China. and self-sacrifice to the state and emperor. traditional values central to Japanese culture have been preserved. Pearl Harbour. With modernisation came the imperialistic spirit. emperor worship.

neo-Confucianism had a new lease of life in China with the publication in 1958 of A Manifesto on Chinese Culture to 113 Chang Iris. Japan. Initially involved in low-end manufacture. succeeded in building up the world’s second biggest economy exporting cars. The revolution of 1911 deposing the Ch’ing Emperor was followed in 1919 by the 4 May movement to ‘destroy the shop of Confucianism’ so as to modernise. was being ‘sliced up like a melon’ by Western colonialists and modernised Japan. and home appliances everywhere (until it was surpassed by China in 2010). and hard work ethics. The Rape of Nanking. 1998. revisiting the carnage. the seventieth anniversary of the event was marked by the release of eight Hollywood films.113 In December 2007. and indiscriminate killing of hundreds of thousands of Chinese was at its greatest excess in the attack of the southern capital city. improved social conditions and education have enabled these ‘Asian tigers’ to rapidly upgrade to middle-rung manufacture. Anti-Confucianism reached its height in the Mao years. Memories of these and other atrocities elsewhere in Asia continue to be stirred up and cause diplomatic tensions whenever a Japanese Prime Minister pays homage to its war dead at the Yokosuka Temple.126 - . Penguin Books. Taiwan. Nevertheless.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI coastal China. This ‘Rape of Nanking’ is vividly recorded in Iris Chang’s best-seller. Rise of Newly Industrialised Economies Following Japan’s lead were South Korea. Japanese perceived brutality. and Singapore which share common Confucian cultural assets of love of learning. in participating in the post-War global economy. since the Opium War (1839-42). the British colony of Hong Kong. Although the Asian Co-prosperity Sphere through colonisation failed miserably. . thrift. Modernisation of ‘New Confucian’ Communist China Meanwhile China. electronics.

127 - . Xu Fuguan.114 China staged its coming-out party in the 2008 Twenty-ninth Olympiad with great confidence and style. 2004. collectivisation of farms into ‘communes’ with expropriation of private ownership was enforced. 114 Bryan Van Norden. At the same time. and Zhang Junmai. and Chen He’s voyage of discovery. The communist experiment with a USSR-inspired state-generated economy failed miserably. brush painting. wonderfully choreographed China’s contributions to civilisation in acrobatics. which is currently less than a third of that of the USA. is expected to surpass America’s in 2030 and double that of the USA in 2050. In 1955. ‘live’ globally on television. Within thirty years of joining in the global economy. paper manufacturing. October 10. China’s GDP. Ma Zongsan. America’s Encounter with Confucian Thought—Three Trends. The opening ceremony. China topped the gold medal rally. In this third epoch of ‘New Confucianism’. calligraphy. silk making. printing. edu/bivannor/ Three Trends pdf . Communist China has leapfrogged many countries in economic development and almost unbelievably has become the biggest holder of USA’s national debts.Singapore and Asia the World by Tang Jnyi. the compass. As the world’s manufacturing powerhouse. displacing the United States. http//facultyvassar. the 1911 revolution led by Sun Yat Sen deposed the Ch’ing Dynasty. China became stable only in 1949 after the communists drove the Kuomintang to Taiwan. China was exhorted to modernise and learn Western science and democracy without total abandonment of Confucianism. it was expressed that the West has much to learn from Confucianism’s greater compassion and a more embracing wisdom. This seismic improvement of Chinese participation in modern sports has been engineered from the top. Following imperial China’s decline and dismemberment by European and Japanese imperialists. A civil war between Western-supported Kuomintang and communists ensued. which provides the funds and the organisation in the selection and rigorous training of young talent.

This practice was endorsed by Deng. previously disgraced Deng Xiao-ping became vice premier. GDP fell to an all-time low. in 1978. a drought led starving peasants in central China’s Anhui province to parcel out the commune into individual family units. Americans wanted to get out of Vietnam fast. family values.000 dead. when China joined the World Trade Organisation it had become fully assimilated into the global economy.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Mao’s ‘Great Leap Forward’ in 1958. By 1973. Productivity and grain yield rose dramatically. the General Assembly had voted in favour of China replacing Taiwan in the United Nations. following the death of Mao. Learning from Hong Kong and Singapore. To withdraw honourably. industry. the war had cost the United States vast sums of money and 58. Universities were closed and physical labour was demanded from all. through carpet bombing. Richard Nixon. TV brought the stark realities of a losing war to every living room in the United States. In the same year. driving farmers to build up the steel industry in backyard furnaces (and bad weather). with reforms in agriculture. brought horrific destruction and killed three million Vietnamese. with the Little Red Book and radical ‘Red Guards’ opposing capitalism and spearheading disconnection with China’s long-held traditions—Confucianism. thus changing course and steering the country towards joining the global capitalistic economy. They had. at loggerheads with Moscow.128 - . The second break came when. In 2001. and respect of intellectuals. with no prospects of containing the communists. Economic liberalisation of China came about when two lucky breaks occurred. and by 1982. 90 per cent of agriculture retuned to family farming. and the ‘ping-pong diplomacy’ eventually led. In 1978. to USA normalising diplomatic relations with China and recognising China’s rightful place in the United Nations. science and technology. and national defence. Firstly. pragmatic Deng Xiao-ping launched the four modernisations. special economic zones set up in the coastal cities offering reduced . caused famine and loss of twenty to thirty million lives. needed the support of Communist China. The ‘cultural revolution’ (1966-69) revitalised Mao’s image. As early as 1971.

China overtook Germany as the world’s biggest exporter of manufactured goods and the USA as the largest automobile market.129 - 116 . ‘China’s Misunderstood Economy’. China’s GDP from a very low base has now reached nearly a third of that of the USA. incremental reforms continue to be made in controlling corruption and the weak banking and legal systems. China’s GDP is expected to grow by 8 per cent annually over the next decade. Straits Times. Zhu Rongi made economic reforms to develop the interior and Western provinces. whose mandate of heaven comes from wealth creation and ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics. as with other East Asian countries. embracing techno-science passionately and with the wisdom of Scotsman Adam Smith roped in.Singapore and Asia tax tariffs attracted massive foreign investment.’ It has turned out for China. This stimulated the growth of state-owned enterprises and attracted migrant labour from the countryside. 2010. . the God of fortune has once again smiled on the rising dragon. January 16-22. Thus. private entrepreneurs were given a place alongside workers and peasants forming the ‘Three Represents’ to guide ideological development of the Chinese Communist Party. In 2002. In 2009. The authority of the emperor has been replaced by an oligarchy of technocrats. Property rights were included in the constitution for the first time in 2004. In 1998. At the same time.116 In 2009.Y. The Economist. December 6. accounting for more than a quarter of China’s exports. during the past three decades. Further reforms continued after Deng.. China replaced Japan as the world’s second largest economy.115 Foreign direct investments in MNCs and joint ventures have played a significant part in China’s economic growth. China’s GDP is expected to 115 Sim C. ‘The Village Where It All Began’. that modernisation and moderate values of reformed Confucianism is a star combination in the global economy. 2008.

With no recent hangover of imperialism. As a new global company. exhibiting Chinese culture and teaching Chinese language throughout the world. minerals—are vital to its continual growth as a manufacturing powerhouse. thus regaining its position as the world’s biggest economy. . October 24-30. The Economist. and the global marketing department is at Bangalore.130 - . the waking dragon has unobtrusively made inroads everywhere. a position which it held for eighteen of the past twenty centuries. ‘A Message from Confucius’. China’s car market has just overtaken that of the United States. and motor vehicles. based only on economic considerations and diplomacy and unencumbered by political coercion or ties. In China’s new-found confidence.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI surpass that of the USA in 2030. The Economist. soft power has been expressed in the establishment of Confucius institutes. household appliances. China looks determined to go beyond supplying billions of dollars worth of low—and middle-technology goods. China’s GDP could double that of the USA in 2050. Towards this direction. October24-30.117 A middle class is rapidly developing. large investments have been made in education and research in the sciences and in infrastructure. 2009. Thus large deals have been struck with governments in these regions.118 117 118 2009. and there is a bountiful supply of these products especially in Africa and Central Asia. Raw materials—fossil fuels. space travel. Lenovo has no headquarters. The team led by Yang is multinational and seasoned international appointments make up for possible managerial deficits. providing a big domestic market for homes. China has made impressive progress in super-fast trains. In science and technology. ‘The Odd Couple’. and green technology. Chinese companies such as Lenovo acquired IBM Thinkpad laptop and within five years reached the ranking of Fortune 500.

Both countries recognise the need for wide-ranging collaboration towards a more equitable balance in the global economy as well as in solving global problems such as the North Korean and Iran crises.347.119 An Emerging Postmodern East Asian Civilisation The rapid rise of China in the global economy seems to have validated the thesis that with modernisation people from a Confucian background excel in the global economy. must be perturbed by the potential power of a rising rival non-democratic nation with fourfold its population.645. Furthermore. These figures compare favourably with those of the United Kingdom at $35. ‘Obama. The East Asian population of 1. Hu Pledge to Work Together’.533 billion is almost twice the combined population of 813 million of the USA (313 million) and European Union (500 million).418. Chinese nationalism is aroused by such seemingly imperialistic behaviour.322 billion Chinese. per capita GDP of Japan is $34. and 5 million Singaporeans. and Singapore $59. November 18. Nevertheless. 49 million South Koreans.Singapore and Asia Flag bearer of democracy. 23 million Taiwanese. A common civilisation of almost a quarter of the world’s population is emerging in East Asia. . South Korea $31. Unsurprisingly. in the wake of the economic crisis. tit-for-tat protectionism is rearing its ugly head. United States. This civilisation comprises 1.123. 127 million Japanese.280. lags behind with a per capita GDP of $8. 7 million Hong Kongers. Yet globalisation links the interest of ‘the odd couple’ together.665. with its rapid rate of growth. 2009. with its huge population half of whom are farmers in the interior of the country. Taiwan $37. Recent hiccups have arisen from USA’s continued arms sale to Taiwan and open support for Tibet’s Dalai Lama.208. In 2011. the figure is expected to increase to 119 Sim Chi Yin. China.645 and USA at $48. which has remained unabated despite China’s ascendancy and its position as the biggest holder of US debt. as its own economy falters.131 - . Hong Kong $48.

it was 45 per cent in Singapore.729 in 2016.2 per cent in China.6 per cent.5 per cent in Japan. and mathematics. 22.121 their current dominance in producing half the world’s output is expected to be challenged by Asia in 2050. In the 2009 Programme for International Students Assessment (PISA). respectively. ‘The Hard Truth of Globalization’. Life on msnbc. 2011. China is expected to equal the per capita GDP in the United States. With both the United States and Europe whipsawed by globalisation’. the other East Asian countries are all amongst the top thirty countries. Singapore. science. Hong Kong. Christine Armario.120 In another seventy years.123 Literacy rates in East Asia are uniformly high. are the second and third largest world economies while Tokyo. and Shanghai China ranked far ahead of the United States amongst thirty-four countries in reading. South Korea.6 per cent in Hong Kong. education. and standards of living—except for China. varying from 94 per cent in China to 99 per cent in Japan and South Korea. and housing or saved as sovereign funds and invested abroad.1 per cent in South Korea. literacy. CIA World Face book data.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI $13. Gross fixed investment of GDP has been uniformly high. The figures for Britain and the USA were 16. August 20 (from the Financial Times).com United Nations Statistics Division—Demography and Social Statistics. Straits Times. health care.124 East Asian 120 121 International Monetary Fund. The hard-earned money in East Asia has been wisely invested in building up assets in infrastructure. which is midway in world ranking. education. and 20. Japan. In 2008. Today. 27. and Singapore are amongst the top global cities. China and Japan. ‘“Wake-up Call” US Students Trail Global Leaders’. respectively. 42. .132 - 122 123 124 .122 In the 2011 United Nations-commissioned Human Development Index ranking—a comparative measure of life expectancy.7 per cent and 14. Hong Kong. April 2011 Jeffrey Sachs.

2011. In response to Western and Japanese imperialism in China and Southeast Asia.133 - 126 . the progress which Asians have made in science is nevertheless awesome. Japan. English has served well as the working regional and global language for higher education. In line with its Confucian culture of scholarship and boosted by a strong economy. Spurred by ultra nationalism of European fascism. Whilst their mother tongue anchors them to their Asian cultural heritage. research.Singapore and Asia people are becoming increasingly bilingual.125 In an analysis of 10. South Korea. throughout 125 Juliana Goh. Taiwan. popular peasant support created Communist China and Vietnam. visions of independence founded on a stable and egalitarian society led to a love affair with Marxism.500 academic journals across the world. Bilingualism has been invaluable in the access and appreciation of cultures other than one’s own. became the Asian hegemon. and Thailand is only second to that of the USA and surpasses that of the European Union. commerce. December 5. it was impatient for an imperial Japanese Asia in the image of European colonialists.126 Although the quality of work by Asian scientists has not been systematically assessed. Japan. One-quarter of the world’s research publications is from Asia. The Telegraph. in catching on the train of modernisation early. Thomson Reuters reported that China is only second to the USA in terms of numbers of academic papers and could take first place by 2020. science. the development of East Asia mirrors that of Europe as the latter modernised. Whilst the communist struggle failed in Malaya and Singapore. Asian Scientist. . and communication with people everywhere. Singapore. Asia has joined the West in investing heavily in research. India. ‘The Growing Hub of Scientific Research’. Mathew Moore. 2011. unaware that American techno-science had elevated combative weaponry to an unprecedented scale of destruction in the atomic bomb. April 3. and this has had a positive impact in promoting harmony and global citizenship. One-third of scientific researchers in the world are Asians. In some ways. The combined R&D expenditure of China. Malaysia. However.

Unlike in the nations of the former USSR. the Communist Party of China continued to hold the vast nation together whilst plugging into the global economy. and other human rights could be expected to increase up to the point of not damaging the good of society as a whole. and devising Group Representative Constituencies to piggyback racial minority candidates into parliament. Such an approach not only builds up human and social capital but also work ethics. and Marxism have similarities with constructive postmodernism in their world view of reality—in the inter-relationship amongst people. and respect for authority have driven the re-emergence of China. paying political ministers extremely well in order to attract capable people. Human nature being such. Where there is conflict. some of the practice of classical Confucianism such as a strongly patriarchal society with suppression of women and unbending authoritarianism would be consigned to dust. there is the case of pragmatism overriding ideology. there has been considerable interest that the constructive postmodernisation model would best suit China’s modernisation needs. Freedom. there was little incentive to work hard. the planned economy only resulted in levelling everybody downwards. Since then as with Japan and the Asian tigers. Furthermore. Confucian cultural values of hard work ethics. it has deviated from the West by adopting meritocracy. Singapore’s approach towards wealth distribution differs from Western social welfare in that state assistance are not handouts but are subsidies making housing. and health care more affordable.134 - . education. In what might be an emerging constructive postmodern East Asian civilisation. love of learning. Thus disappointingly. During the past two decades. democracy. and with the cosmos. In the same way. Confucianism. thrift. the experiment of a planned economy and egalitarianism turned out to be a failure. a government would be judged not so . Whilst the principle of equality in giving every person a vote has been followed. with nature. The innovative approach of Singapore’s elected People’s Action Party in beefing up efficiency in governance could arguably be described as postmodern.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI the communist world. Buddhism. Taoism.

The economy would be to serve the community at large whilst avoiding consumerism. and building sustainable cities to meet the expected large rural-urban migration. .135 - . Such a government could have enhanced capability built on meritocracy. and benevolence in its people centredness. virtue of being corruption free. preserving ecology.Singapore and Asia much by its practice of democracy but by the quality of its governance in advancing a harmonious cohesive society.


Part Three Singapore Celebrates Globalisation and an Emerging Postmodern Asian Civilisation .

Indians. Following independence. and importantly. drawn together by the quest for wealth at the crossroads of shipping in the Straits of Malacca. governance has been boosted by the practice of meritocracy and eradication of corruption. and others. Singapore has continued close linkage with the West and in the process developed a strong economy from globalisation and an emerging fusion postmodern civilisation.138 - . . With British leadership and migrant Asian industry. though different in details. wealth was created. a large measure of cohesion has been achieved amongst the majority Chinese and the sizeable minority of Malays. and a new culturally Euro-Asian society started to evolve.Singapore has celebrated globalisation and a fusion of civilisations since its British foundation in 1819 when the meeting of East and West occurred. The postmodern civilisation emerging in Singapore has similarities with that evolving all across Confucian East Asia. English is Singapore’s main language.

Recent excavations at Fort Canning reveal gold ornaments. . the most powerful of the Hindu kingdoms in Java. silk. which was hence renamed Singapura ‘Lion City’ in Sanskrit. and wrote about Chinese merchants who had settled there. bartering porcelain. in 1405. In the 1330s. A History of the Malay Peninsula.127 The Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annals) records that five kings had ruled the town before it was attacked in 1335 by Majapahit. Early Singapore 1300-1819. evidence in maps. maintained by Sabin Zain. Singapore History Museum.G. When Singapura was sacked by the Siamese.Prelude Singapore as Part of British Malaya For centuries before its British foundation. and tea for exotic jungle products. 2004. text and artfacts. the last king Paramasevara who originally came from Palembang in Sumatra fled north to Muar and subsequently. and building structures dating to the fourteenth century..128 Temasek depopulated in the fifteenth century following Ming dynasty’s restriction on overseas trade and the emergence of Malacca as the premier port in 127 Miksic John N. Singapore had been a port of call for Chinese traders who sailed the Nanyang (Southern Seas). founded the Sultanate of Malacca on the West coast of Malaya. and Low M. a Chinese trader called Wang Dayuan visited Singapore. then known as Temasek ‘Sea Town’ in Malay. Sejarah Melayu. Legend has it that a lion was spotted on Temasek.139 - 128 . Chinese pottery.

Straits Times.140 - 130 . This vulcanisation process extended the use of rubber as washers in machinery. Food stored in vacuum-packed tin cans could be preserved safely for years. a little island at the southern end of the Straits of Malacca. 2009. electric wire cables as well as tubes and tires in bicycles and motor vehicles. Goodyear discovered that heating rubber with white lead and sulphur made it durable to temperature changes. Even more than tin.129 Thus Singapore had regressed to a fishing village at its acquisition by Raffles in 1819. British control of the strategic Straits was undisputed with the 1824 Anglo-Dutch Treaty exchanging Dutch Malacca for the British trading post of Bencoolen in Sumatra.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Southeast Asia. In 1839.130 The automobile lifestyle. ‘S’pore through a 700-year Lens’. The nineteenth century had seen a new industrial use of tin. and Singapore into the Malay States was initially prompted by interest in tin. The Marshall Cavendish Illustrated Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. 1975. was a bonanza for Malaya. greatly facilitating the worldwide distribution and trade in food products. had been a strategy of the British East India Company (EIC) to expand eastwards towards the China trade. June 30. a show of power against the Malay Sultanate of Kedah at the northern end of the Straits had been rewarded by the ceding of Penang Island. rubber became the lifeblood of the fledgling Malayan and Singapore economy. particularly welcome before the age of refrigeration. Malacca. The foundation of Singapore. 129 Heng Derek. Twenty years earlier in 1789. which began in 1907 with the introduction of Ford’s low-priced mass market model T in the USA. A Market Economy in Tin and Rubber—Collaboration of Civilisations British expansion from the Straits Settlements of Penang. . Marshall Cavendish Books. London and New York. which was then mined by Chinese immigrants.

Hevea brasiliensis. The large estates exceeding 100 acres formed 60 per cent of acreage. Earlier sugar and coffee plantations were also transformed into rubber estates. as well as all the smallholdings. Malayan rubber provided half of the world’s supply. The total acreage under rubber in 1952 exceeded 3. From these seedlings grew all the rubber trees in Malaya.141 - . introduced bud-grafting methods which give a threefold increase in latex yields. The rest of those. transported the raw . which were conveying the bulk of the world’s trade in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Rubber Research Institute set up in Kuala Lumpur in 1926. director of Singapore Botanical Gardens. Millions of acres of primary equatorial forests once covering the undulating hillsides were cleared and replaced with rubber plantations. of which 75 per cent was owned by the British. Seedlings germinated there were sent to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and twenty-two survived the voyage to Singapore in 1877. latex collected in cups could be obtained for twenty to thirty years from rubber trees which mature in six to seven years.000 seeds which were planted at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew.6 million. introduced horticultural and tapping methods that are used until today. The biggest stakeholders amongst the Asians were the Chinese although some rubber smallholders were Malays who had switched from growing padi. By cutting a very thin slice of bark in a herring bone pattern each morning. Others were planted at the Perak British Residence of Huge Low. most of which took place after 1900. and their direct descendent trees attract tourists today. were Asian owned. Henry Wickham obtained 70. Some of these were planted at the Singapore Botanical Gardens. himself a trained botanist.Singapore and Asia Brazil. Labour in the European-managed estates came largely from the Indian subcontinent. Nevertheless. near London. Henry Ridley. which had been supplying the world with rubber extracted from wild rubber trees. had tried to prevent the export of rubber seeds. Rubber and tin were exported largely through the port of Singapore. British ships. amongst other contributions. By 1918.

insurance. second only to Japan. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI materials and on their return voyage brought British-manufactured goods. Economic Growth and Development in Singapore. Singapore’s tin smelting factories which processed tin ore were also smelting tin ore from Siam.131 Through the practice of the free trade policy of the British Empire. and Wilson P. reducing travel time to Europe from three months to forty days. the per capita GDP for 131 Peebles G. It had the only university in Malaya and was the place where the British governor of the Straits Settlements resided. The per capita income in Singapore was US$411 in 1959.405. Edward Elgar. As the ‘New York of Malaya’ exporting the country’s bounty of rubber and tin. Relative to other Asian countries. Singapore and Malaya were affluent at the time of their independence. and in the 1930s. In 1969. Indochina. as by far the biggest city in Malaya with a population of 2 million. Singapore’s growth accelerated. Singapore as part of colonial Malaya was amongst one of the brightest spots in the British Empire both for the rulers and for the ruled. The first air flight in Singapore took off in 1911. Singapore also benefitted from the tin industry by setting up companies for mining and supply of equipment. and US$751 in 1968. Security against piracy had been in place since the arrival of the Royal Navy in 1836. . Singapore was the financial. UK. Singapore was credited as having the finest airport in the British Empire. and banking services. which was US$1. In 1965. and the electric telegraph connecting London and Singapore in 1871 facilitated Europe-East Asian trade. and Africa.142 - . the British rulers shared the wealth of the land with the people in building infrastructure. industrial.. Singapore had become the most important British naval base east of Suez. Australia. Wisely. and business centre. schools and hospitals. and in establishing a civil service. Singapore also benefitted from growth in shipping. By 1922 after the conclusion of the Washington-British Treaty of 1921. US$534 in 1965. which limited British naval expansion in Hong Kong.

who were largely rural subsistence rice farmers. The Singapore Miracle. 2006.Singapore and Asia Malaya was US$326. Myth and Realty. and other infrastructure. together with Indians from South Asia who worked in the rubber estates and tin mines. piped water. It was the predominantly Chinese immigrant population. Assisting the British in the Malayan Civil Service were the Malay elite educated in English at the Malay College at Kuala Kangsar. and Confucian values. and paid taxes for the modern roads. With their long tradition of commerce. and craftsmen. 132 King Rodney. Support for the Malays. urbanisation. Insight Press. fishermen. Malaya and Singapore were favourite destinations. the Chinese succeeded in playing a key role in the economic development and urbanisation of Southeast Asia. and electric supply to the rural areas.132 The history of Singapore as a part of British Malaya bears testimony to the fruitful collaboration of civilisations. the first British Resident in Perak—relations between British rulers and the indigenous Muslim Malays were remarkably peaceful. well ahead of neighboring Thailand’s US$165 and Indonesia’s US$80. primary Malay medium schools. . The special position of the Malays was expressed in the formation of Malay regiments and the predominantly Malay police force. the extension of roads. Attracted by the law and order and an expanding market economy. twelve million ‘Hua Chiow’ or overseas Chinese of peasant stock immigrated to Southeast Asia. Except for two incidents—the routing of the Malays of Kedah resulting in the ceding of Penang Island and the murder of Birch.143 - . Western Australia. Rule was by proxy through the state sultans—in later years assisted by the appointment of a Malay Mentri Besar (chief minister) in each state. was in the form of building of mosques. hence shaping the modernisation of Malaya and Singapore. built towns and cities. railways.

the peaceful collaboration of the British rulers and the diverse Asian population was tested by external forces and internal tensions. Indonesia. Firstly. allied to the Axis powers. Korea. Nevertheless. Malaya. Following on an American trade embargo in October 1941. and Taiwan. Most importantly. This was soon followed by the communist struggle. when the Western European colonial powers were preoccupied in Europe fighting Germany. and Singapore. These stresses tested the cohesiveness of the plural society in British Malaya. Predation of the sleeping neighbouring Chinese giant yielded Manchuria. The Japanese Occupation The rise of Japan following immediate modernisation in the mid-nineteenth century gave it a new-found confidence and grand imperialist ambitions. Japan had little trouble in taking over possession of their Southeast Asian colonies. the modern European conscience on human rights had evolved to the extent that it conflicted with the practice of white supremacy and colonialism. the Japanese within a few months conquered Indo-China. After two years of Singapore’s union in an enlarged Malaysia (incorporating Sarawak and North Borneo). on 7 December Japan.144 - . there was a three-and-half-year occupation of the country by a modernised Japan.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI British Succession—Clash of Civilisations After a hundred years of benign colonialism. Philippines. launched a surprise air attack on Pearl Harbour. the rival colonial powers could not sustain colonial rule. Perhaps too. Malay Muslim-majority Malaysia divorced Confucian Chinese-majority Singapore. Malay nationalism prevailed. Hawaii. when independence came. In 1942. Three days later. the wind of freedom was blowing everywhere. Without harassment by Pacific American and British sea forces. . Mutually destroyed in the Second World War. the British battleship Prince of Wales and the battle cruiser Repulse were sunk off the east coast of Malaya. The Chinese provided support for the anti-Japanese movement and the communist struggle.

In the first fortnight after conquering Singapore. which killed a thousand Japanese. Indian. . surrendered unconditionally. Percival. After fierce fighting for a week. From Third World to First: The Singapore Story 1965-2000. established complete control of the air. the British commander. airlifted food and weapons to the communist resistance in the Malayan jungle.000 Japanese troops landed in the north-east coastal town of Kota Bahru. the Kempeitai (Japanese military police) massacred 50.Singapore and Asia In the Malayan invasion. British troops retreated to Singapore and blew up the Straits of Johor causeway. Lt. 150. It was not until 1962 that the mass graves of those killed were unearthed. Understandably. and Dominion soldiers to Lt. 000 young Chinese men. The bitter enmity had a historical origin in the Japanese invasion of China. In 1966. Chinese resistance was organised by the Malayan Communist Party. Capturing the airfields. The wax museum in today’s Singapore resort island of Sentosa captures the signing of the surrender. It was also not surprising that the Chinese immigrants in Southeast Asia bore the brunt of Japanese brutalities. Gen. Thus large numbers of the Chinese escaped to the countryside to eke out a living. Times Media Pte Ltd.000 British. Force 136. which had since its inauguration in 1930 agitated for independence.145 - . this link-up was a temporary marriage of convenience and would end in a 133 Lee Kuan Yew. Singapore. Japanese troops swept southwards with no difficulty except for an ambush at Gemas by an Australian division. with superior ‘Zero’ fighter planes. Gen.000 to 100. together with more than 60. the ‘blood debt’ was settled for $50 million. the Japanese Air Force.133 Commerce in the towns throughout Malaya and Singapore was coming to a standstill. Yamashita on 15 February 1942. This did not prevent the Japanese from landing on the north-west of the island on 8 February 1942. 2000. British agents. Squads from the force eliminated local people who worked with the Kempeitai. while others crossed overland from Siam (Thailand) into the north—west state of Kedah.

agitating union workers and spreading their revolutionary ideology which was especially well received in the Chinese middle schools.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI bitter divorce when the common enemy was defeated by the United States in 1945. Communist-inspired strikes continued to build up. mass demonstrations occurred at Sungei Siput and Ipoh. which had by far the most urban workers. in Malaya. Indonesia. In October. to halt services. Japan’s rapid re-emergence in the post-war global economy has similarly given confidence that modernisation can make Asians champions. Singapore. On 25 October the Singapore General Labour Union was formed representing 200. the first post-war dock strike began when 7. and Malaya. a ‘Comintern’ or ‘Third International’ was formed for the spread of revolutionary communism worldwide. 2003. Media Masters. . and British troops shot dead thirteen demonstrators. Malayan communists infiltrated into the trade unions. on 21 October 1945. the Japanese aggression clearly dismissed the myth of supremacist Europeans. The union expressed solidarity with the freedom movements in the Dutch East Indies and Indo-China. My Side of History. resulting in loss of 700. Similarly. there were 300 strikes in Malaya and Singapore. The Communist Struggle In 1919. whilst remaining Asians at heart. In keeping with the modus operandi of Marxism. Since its inauguration in 1930. communist movements fighting for independence started in Vietnam. especially in Singapore. In Southeast Asia. This change in mindset expedited the subsequent onset of decolonisation.000 workers.000 wharf labourers refused to serve ships in Tanjong Pagar. Two days later. In Singapore.146 - . Singapore’s main bus operator. a ‘hartal’ paralysed Singapore and 134 Chin Peng.134 Despite Japanese atrocities and their ultimate defeat.000 man days. In 1947. soon after the establishment of the USSR. the Communist Party of Malaya had been a thorn in the side of the British colonial rulers. strikes forced the Singapore Traction Company.

Media Masters. which would be totally unacceptable by today’s standard of human rights. Communist disruption continued to escalate. A British rubber planter was shot dead at his home in Sungei Siput. Kuala Lumpur. Longmans of Malaya. Media Masters. though it was revealed years later to be unplanned. on the road towards the hill resort. as all shops and business were closed for a day. Fraser’s Hill. Singapore.000 guerillas and up to 250. Chin Peng. which had made Malayan citizenship for the Chinese more stringent. leading to the declaration of a state of emergency on 16 June 1948. My Side of History. Singapore. The Special Branch estimated the communist strength to be made up of 5. . General Briggs as Director of Operations began forcefully resettling 600. with the support of the communists. 1958.P.Singapore and Asia the towns of Malaya.100 incidents. climaxing in the killing of the British High Commissioner. In 1949. Singapore. recounted that it was the success of the Briggs plan denying his guerillas sustenance that broke the back of the communist struggle. Chin Peng. 2003. Perak. Dartford G.138 135 136 137 Chin Peng.. My Side of History.135 With unused weapons airlifted into the jungle by Force 136.000 Chinese villages and squatters at the jungle fringe into barbed wire fenced-up ‘new villages’ throughout the country. These included indefinite detention without trial and repatriation to China of suspected communists and supporters under the Internal Security Act. 2003. the Federation of Trade Unions. Henry Gurney. there were 6. and the All-Malayan Council of Joint Action. as a protest against the proposed Federation of Malaya Constitution.000 Min Yuen supporters.136 The communist struggle was eventually defeated after several years of draconian measures. 2003. Media Masters.137 The leader of the insurgency. the communists started an armed struggle. Chin Peng.147 - 138 . The villagers were bodily checked by security for possession of food each morning when they left for work to the nearby rubber estates and farms. A Short History of Malaya. In 1951. This action was called by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce. My Side of History.

and the chief Minister of the colony of Singapore. He did not hesitate to severely punish. a softer approach of winning the hearts and minds of the people paid dividends. but for some years. and collapse of global communism. manned by aborigines who had been won over.148 - . the Malaysian. the talks failed. military rule was further intensified with the appointment of General Gerald Templer as both high commissioner and supreme commander of the armed forces. Incidents dropped sharply by 1953 to 1. Tunku Abdul Rahman. curtailment of Chinese-medium schools. These freed ‘white areas’’ first declared in Malacca in September were extended gradually throughout the country. In December 1955. the Baling talks were held amongst Chin Peng. people who did not collaborate with the government. It was not until 1989 that the communist struggle formally ended in Malaysia with a tripartite peace accord amongst the Communist party. As expected. they were pursued by security forces. the chief minister of the Federation of Malaya. individually and collectively. and starvation and a hefty reward system yielded surrenders. In both Malaya and Singapore. . David Marshall. self-destructed by boycotting parliament after winning thirteen seats. Simultaneously. Chin Peng with his residual guerillas retreated to the jungle of the Malayan Thailand border. when an unconditional surrender was demanded from Chin Peng. communism was also proscribed. and the Thai governments.100.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Following the killing of the British High Commissioner. In urban Singapore. who maintained territorial control through forts established in the remote jungle. the allure and support for communism could not be sustained due to improving living standards. As the residual guerillas retreated deeper into the jungle. Strikes and unrest stirred up by communist trade unionists against the British continued during the period of self-rule. it exerted influence through infiltration of left of centre political parties. The struggle for a Communist Singapore fizzled out when the Barisan National Party. formed by dissident communist sympathisers of the ruling People’s Action Party.

the Malay College at Kuala Kangsar. and Singapore had less land for rubber plantations and no tin. The British provided support for the state sultans and in the building of mosques. the Malays. Nevertheless.149 - . Malay Nationalism Wins In retrospect. helped by the traditional Islamic law that apostasy—renouncing the faith—carries the death penalty. The west coast Malay states of Perak. The Straits Settlements of Penang. These advantages. They and the immigrant . Selangor. together with the Malay police force and Malay regiment. and religious schools. During the British era. There also appeared to be considerable credibility in the colonial government’s propaganda that the communist rebels were terrorists and bandits. These west coast states and the Straits Settlements thus had attracted the most Chinese immigrants. The heart of the problem was the divide in life values. the indigenous Muslim Malays and the immigrant Confucian-Buddhist Chinese. where they were groomed for the Malayan Administrative Service. and craftsmanship created a new middle class. Malacca. political power.Singapore and Asia The communist struggle also failed because it did not gain support from the Malays and the English-educated middle-class Chinese. had assured the special position of Malays as bumiputeras (sons of the soil). Royalty and the elite attended the English medium secondary school. the separation of Singapore from Malaysia in 1965 was not unexpected. and economic and educational development between the two main ethnic groups. Entrepreneurship in the tin mines and rubber estates. Negri Sembilan. the communist insurgency was a wake-up call to the colonial subjects of Malaya on its impending independence. continued to be subsistence rice farmers and devout Muslims with unwavering loyalty to the village chief and sultan. Islam has bestowed on Malays a strong sense of identity and unity. with little interest in the changing economy. Malay medium primary schools. trade. but they grew in prosperity by serving as urban centres and ports for their hinterlands. and Johor with their market economy from tin and rubber were the economic growth engines of Malaya.

divisions within the Chinese community developed insidiously. was established in Singapore. Further bonding was promoted by clan and dialect associations. The Peranakan community is Sino-Malay in culture. and Malays. Besides home upbringing. though having a common Confucian culture and written language. Pride in Chinese culture was given a further boost in 1956 when a private Chinese university. Urbanisation followed where Chinese settled. Their women dress like well-off Malays in baju kurung and sarong kebaya. Piped water and electricity supply became the norm although modern sanitation with water closet would not be available until after the 1950s. and temples. British teachers under the colonial educational Service and Christian brothers and nuns taught at the premier English-medium schools in the main towns and at the Malay College.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Indians also provided labour and skills for the large British-owned enterprises. A newly opened Peranakan Museum in Singapore features 1. The earliest settlers did not bring their women and set up Peranakan families with Malay wives. private Chinese schools found even in small towns were unifying in perpetuating Mandarin and Chinese culture. Chinese immigrants. English-medium schools . the largest collection of its kind in the world. Towns had the advantage of schools set up by clan associations. Indians. the Nanyang University. as well as health care facilities. English-medium schools importantly broke down racial barriers and fostered social cohesion amongst Chinese. old folk’s homes. (A glamorised version is the uniform of the Singapore Airline girl. were not a homogeneous group but spoke several distinctly separate dialects. conversing in Malay though maintaining many aspects of Chinese culture. However as years went by. and the colonial government. Christian missionaries. which carried out social functions as well as philanthropic projects in schools.200 artefacts.150 - .) The Peranakans and some other Chinese preferentially enrolled their children into government and Christian Missionary English-medium schools available in the larger towns.

studied at the Raffles College before proceeding to Cambridge. Malaya (including Singapore) had almost six million people. Chinese population continued to increase because fewer Chinese were returning to China. Mr Lee Kuan Yew. who was to be the Founding Father of Independent Singapore. English-stream students sought higher education in Britain. Another Malaysian Prime Minister. had studied medicine at the University of Malaya in Singapore. The Cambridge Examination Syndicate has been an instrument in the cultural globalisation of Singapore and other colonies in the British Empire and Commonwealth. These colleges. 33 per cent Chinese. conducting examinations overseas since 1863. Higher education.2 per cent of the total population marginally exceeded the Malay population of 43. and 11 per cent Indians.8 million people in Malaya 51 per cent were Malays. Abdul Razak. Mr Lee’s contemporary at Raffles College. . Australia. Dr Mahathir.Singapore and Asia disseminated European ideals of civilisation and Christian morality and succeeded in implanting European values and conversion of some Chinese and Indians into Christianity. was Prime Minister of Malaysia from 1970 to 1976. and a law was passed in the 1930s restricting Chinese immigration.151 - . and the United States while a much smaller number from the Chinese stream went to China. both in Singapore. By 1947. and the Chinese at 45. Census figures in 1911 showed that out of the 2. available only to the English educated. were amalgamated into the University of Malaya in 1946. The school leaving examination was conducted by the University of Cambridge Local Examination Syndicate (Overseas). The arrangement has worked so well that even today Cambridge continues to hold examinations in collaboration with the Ministry of Education in Singapore both at ordinary and advanced levels. In addition to the opportunities of higher education locally. This examination body had been set up in 1858. was provided at the King Edward VII Medical College (established in 1905) and the Raffles College (established in 1928). In the 1930s.6 per cent.

Despite its promising development and an economy only second to Japan in Asia. The first test of Malay political power was in rejecting the 1946 formation of the ‘Malayan Union’—headed by a British Governor and with equal rights for all racial groups. Hence. At independence. The tiny island state of two million people was cast asunder and was now alone.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI In the post-war period. This marriage of convenience broke down in two years. Conventional wisdom held that Singapore. and its city has joined the ranks of the great global cities. following robust agitation and visible support for the Chinese-led People’s Action Party campaign for a more equal ‘Malaysian Malaysia’. would be viable only if it formed part of a larger nation. the Chinese in Peninsular Malaya had to concede to demands for a Federation of Malaya Agreement instituting Malay special rights. Malays with the support of the state sultans formed a Malay political party—the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO). The Republic of Singapore Develops Its Identity Unexpectedly. the parting of ways with Malaysia has been a boon to Singapore and perhaps to the world at large—at least until now! Miraculously.152 - . stirred towards nationalism by the Japanese occupation and the communist uprising. after a plebiscite. the challenges facing Singapore appeared insurmountable. colonial Singapore had not shed its Third-World image. which had remained as a British colony. With a weak leadership under the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA) and little cohesion in the community. it accepted the British suggestion of a merger with the Federation of Malaya and the British colonies of North Borneo and Sarawak to form a new entity—Malaysia—in 1963. Around 22-25 per cent of its two million people . the Republic of Singapore has worked its way into the First World.

USA-led post-war globalisation. Myth and Reality.Singapore and Asia lived below the poverty line and more than half lived in slums. Deprivation of its Malayan hinterland. justifying social engineering and tough laws 139 King Rodney. led to nightmares of Singapore regressing into a failed state. soon found a niche in the rapidly developing global economy. 2006. there was one doctor for 2373 people compared to one in 655 in 2007. the transformation of Singapore has been due to the convergence of a number of favourable factors: 1. Western Australia. Hard work ethics and thrift have been fortified by governmental policies against labour strikes and promotion of self-reliance. spurred by rapid innovations in techno-science and search for cheap labour and markets. Respect for benevolent authority and pragmatism helps explain the continuous rule of the People’s Action Party government since independence. In retrospect. The Singapore Miracle. Secret societies controlled opium dens. education. and prostitution and extracted protection money through threats to life and property. 3. 2. on which its well-being had historically depended. Fortunately it was not to be so. while 13 per cent were unemployed. . The Singapore system of social welfare offers no free lunch but makes subsidies in house ownership. Societal good takes precedence over individual rights. Insight Press. Cohesiveness amongst the majority Chinese and the Muslim Malay minority had been further strained by Singapore’s expulsion from Malaysia. The Singapore population has been a product of fusion of Western modernisation and Confucianism. was just taking off. and health care available to the needy. with the advantage of a well-run port in the Straits of Malacca. There was an urgency to cultivate a national identity and build up the machinery of an independent state from scratch.153 - . Most worrisome was the economy.139 In 1960. Independent Singapore. gambling.

The government’s initiatives in shaping Singapore’s economy have also been critical. .’ said Singapore’s Founding father. technological connectivity. Pragmatism has ruled. The strong meritocratic government of Singapore continues to have the mandate to rule. supported not only by international trade but also by a prosperous national hinterland. 140 Rachel Chang and Teo Wan Gek.atkearney.140 The great global cities in economy and influence—New York.141 It has beaten the odds. . simply because it delivers. Singapore has not adhered to the Western model of development in all its details. London. Lee Kuan Yew. The island state of Singapore. the port city of Singapore now ranks as the seventh global city. . flattened world of globalisation. personal contact. in doggedly building up its global economic integration. drug consumption and trafficking. and Tokyo—have earned their rankings over centuries of development. has become the most globalised country in the world. and political engagement.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI against corruption. Small populations in small countries and limited natural resources need no longer despair. ‘Mr Lee on . Thus. Unexpectedly. we used all the forces that came our way to our advantage. 2011. ‘What I did was to catch every wind that came along . www. terrorism.com . 4.’ Straits Times. whilst very favourably disposed towards many aspects of Western civilisation. This apparent anomaly is a product of the borderless. without a national hinterland. and divisions in race and religion. September 15.154 - 141 . . crime.

Part Four Building a Nation in a Globalised World .

. high per capita income. This overachievement owes much to its political leadership running a tight ship since its independence in 1965. the elected multi-racial People’s Action Party government has institutionalised the best practice in every sphere of governance. and the budding nation has not ceased to surprise. and in international prominence.Singapore has punched well above its weight in many aspects: in its global economy. national security. In an orderly and systemic manner. by being a major force in regional cooperation in Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific.156 - .

157 - . In the 1951 direct election of nine of the twenty-five members for the Legislative Council by 23000 registered voters who were British subjects. a Singapore-born Jew. Rajaratnam. in winning forty-three of fifty-one seats. formed the government of self-ruling colonial Singapore. Key politicians amongst Chief Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s old-guard colleagues were Goh Keng Swee. Eddie Barker. Toh Chin Chye. C. the Labour Party won ten seats and its leader. and Othman Wok. Marshall had formed a coalition government with United Malays National Organisation—Malayan Chinese Association (UMNO-MCA) Alliance. In 1955. Lim Kim San. S. Ong Pang Boon. Malays (15 per cent). Sui Sen. all drawn from the English-educated elite. following reforms increasing the elected seats in the Legislative Assembly to 75 per cent. became the first chief minister. Indians (7 per cent). representing the racial groups of Chinese (75 per cent). . Tan won six elected seats. the Progressive Party led by C.1 The Magic Wand of the People’s Action Party Confidence in Lee Kuan Yew’s multi-racial People’s Action Party (PAP) had a momentous beginning in the 1959 General Elections when the party. with Yusof Ishak as Head of State (Yang-di-Pertuan Negara). and Eurasians and others (3 per cent). The 1959 election was the third in the history of Singapore. Hon. formed the opposition. led by Lee Kuan Yew with thirteen seats. The People’s Action Party. David Marshall.

The arrests had been a condition for the merger set by Malayan Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman. broke off as the Barisan Socialist Party and won thirteen 142 Dartford G. to back Mr Lee Kuan Yew and the People’s Action Party—perhaps bringing in 20-30 per cent of the electorate. In its political ascendency. leading to the granting of full internal self-government to the colony of Singapore in 1959. the leader of the Singapore Communist Town Council. Riding the Tiger In the 1950s.. .158 - 143 . through Operation Cold Store (using the Internal Security Act). led further negotiations. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.142 As a young lawyer. thus shattering the Singapore network.143 A faction of the People’s Action Party led by Lim Chin Siong. In the crucial May 1959 elections. the Communist Party of Malaya concurred with Eu Chong Yip. Longmans of Malaya. communist-inspired agitation in the trade unions and Chinese middle schools was beginning to destabilise colonial Singapore. both of which had also been destabilising forces in Malaya. Marshall’s electrifying persuasive skills in the courtroom influenced the decision to end the jury system in Singapore. 2008. Kuala Lumpur. A Short History of Malaya. Singapore: The Unexpected Nation. prior to the merger with Malaysia in February 1963. the PAP government. Lee Kuan Yew had defended communist trade unionists. Singapore. Lee Edwin. As a criminal defence lawyer.P.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI After a failed negotiation in London for independence. arrested 115 communist suspects. 1958. Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew had to overcome two serious political challenges threatening the party and the new nation: communism and communalism. However. as recalled in Mr Lee’s memoir. Lim Yew Hock. Marshall resigned and in later years served as Singapore’s ambassador. a communist. Marshall’s successor.

At the same time. Singapore’s strategy. since its independence. has become the premier language. has been to create a flat playing field.Singapore and Asia out of fifty-one seats in the 1963 General Elections. free speech deemed to ridicule racial and religious differences or incite tension is prohibited and punishable by severe laws. (Nair was subsequently made the president of Singapore. However. considerable progress has been made. religions. Barisan denounced Singapore’s independence as ‘phoney’ and boycotted the parliament. and religion. These divisions. and celebration of major ethnic and religious festivals as public holidays. English. and government has since ensured industrial peace in Singapore.) An unusually collaborative tripartism amongst labour. support of multicultural events. this decision has also been crucial in Singapore’s transformation into a global city state. when Singapore separated from Malaysia. It makes sense to Singaporeans that whenever there is conflict the well-being of society takes precedence over individual rights. rendering the communist-united front ineffective. Overcoming Politics of Race and Religion An even more difficult continual challenge has been overcoming divisions and politics based on race. In Chinese-majority Singapore. This was followed by resignations of the Barisan’s members of parliament.159 - . it has been a compromise that a neutral language. Communist and British-style confrontational trade unionism was eradicated through the formation of the National Trade Union Congress under the leadership of Devan Nair. . and tongues into a nation has yet to be achieved. Importantly too. which had led to Singapore leaving Malaysia. tongues. Racial harmony and religious pluralism are promoted through compulsory instruction of mother tongue in schools. plagued nations throughout history and could have easily destroyed the tiny new nation. employer. Though the intimate bonding of Singapore’s people of diverse ethnicity. In retrospect.

India. At the 2008 Global Indian Diaspora Conference. and in promoting the ethics of hard work and competitiveness amongst its recipients. innovative Group Representative Constituencies have been implemented. and China and self directed towards the majority race in Malaysia. under the Housing and Development Board scheme. Furthermore. Equal opportunities are provided for all in schooling. Mr Lee reiterated his open secret: A capable and incorruptible government is necessary for correct decision making. As . religion. health care and employment. irrespective of race. However.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Enclaves of minority races have been eradicated by a quota system in the allocation of public housing. As captain of the government making decisive moves. Affirmative action in providing educational and economic advantages to historically disadvantaged minorities is practiced to a varying extent in the USA. self-help organisations assisted by the state have been established in each racial group. in achieving the desired end results. Mr Lee had led a very capable team of ministers who understood what had to be done to get there. affirmative action has been problematic in implementation. compulsory national service has helped bonding across racial and religious divisions. Jobs are given based on merit alone. or family and other connections. Singapore Malays are narrowing the historic economic and educational gap separating them from Singapore Chinese and Indians. language. thereby achieving multiracial living. In place of affirmative action.160 - . More Than Getting the Basics Right The People’s Action Party governance started with what the founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew refers to as ‘getting the basics right’. every Singaporean has been given the opportunity of being a stakeholder in Singapore through ownership of a home. To discourage voting at elections along racial lines and ensuring representation of the minority races. Finally.

everyone feels a responsibility to perform and vote in an effective government.144 Having established the basics. Meritocracy.B. In Europe. Meritocracy Meritocracy—a system of government based on rule by the most capable—was favoured by Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle.145 Egon Zehner drew attention to the systemic approach of attracting the best people to both key political appointments and the exemplary civil service by Singapore’s founding fathers. the imperial examinations based on Confucian philosophy selected a civil service which kept alive the longest continuous civilisation in history. integrity and being squeaky clean. without natural resources and scale. In China. Singapore’s gross national product 144 145 Kor K. October 11. meritocracy was practiced by Napoleon and nineteenth-century Finland. As a result. Lacaria Christopher. In picking a winning team.161 - . Egon Zehnder. and patience. complementary skills of avoiding risk of herding and group thinking and a right balance in investment of politicians and competent professionals are considered. the political will to succeed has defied limits. 2008. Uwire. and respect for benign authority—values reminiscent of Confucianism—have empowered the transformation of colonial Singapore into a global city state with a postmodern civilisation.. The screening process needs the highest level of attention.com . ‘Obama’s Nascent Cabinet Gives New license to Meritocracy’. The appointment of Harvard and other Ivy League University graduates in his cabinet has given new licence to meritocracy.Singapore and Asia Singaporeans are all stakeholders. Straits Times. discipline. elimination of corruption. Relevant experience. a global executive recruiting firm writing on President elect Obama’s first priority. highlighted the importance of hiring the right people. and looking beyond IQ and standard measures of intelligence to a track record of leadership role are assessed.

The reward system of meritocracy undoubtedly maximises productivity and competitiveness in the global economy. and considered for future political appointments. 2008. Young Michael. . a key element of competitiveness. Talent. Always thinking ahead. race.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI per capita multiplied eight times in real terms since 1965. wealth. disapproving it as legitimising inequality. ‘Hiring the Right People’. the PAP takes great pains to rejuvenate their ranks. However. amongst modern nation states. while America’s multiplied by a factor of less than three. In fact. nepotism. closest to being a pure meritocracy—shunning the unjustness and inefficiency of appointments by social position. Promising committed students and young people are identified. 1958. the word meritocracy was coined by Michael Young. and cronyism. both the capitalistic global economy and the system of meritocracy have a tendency to widen inequalities of income.) 146 Fernadez-Araoz C. but since then the Republic of Singapore has perhaps become. is most likely to flow into a country known to reward merit generously. offered scholarships to prestigious universities abroad. The Rise of Meritocracy. (Further discussion on this follows. chief architect of Britain’s post-war welfare state.162 - 147 . groomed for the civil service and statutory bodies. Attracting and keeping talents in Singapore has been a key factor in the young nation’s rapid progress. Straits Times.147 This negative image of meritocracy—reflected in the high pay structure of government ministers—became a ballot box issue in Singapore’s 2011 General Elections. Pelican..146 Meritocracy took roots in Singapore as a development of the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) quest for equal opportunities for all races in a ‘Malaysian Malaysia.’ This propelled Singapore’s expulsion. November 14.

In 1952.transparency. and social unrest. placed Singapore as the least corrupt amongst 130 countries. Its 2007 Corruption Perception Index (CPI). are caught in the unending vicious cycle of corruption. It is all the more pathetic that many freedom fighters. In corruption and judicial systems. Even the old democracies of France and Italy are currently having a run of court cases on corruption at high places. inefficiency. defines corruption as ‘the misuse of entrusted power for private gain’. As a result. a Berlin-based NGO founded in 1993. Thus corruption is most rife and destructive in Third World newly independent countries where administrative institutions are too weak to control it and temptation is ever present because of low earnings. because of insatiable greed. 148 www.Singapore and Asia Eradicating Corruption A key element in Singapore’s success has been winning the war against corruption. become plunderers of national wealth on assuming political control.148 As a British colony. an anti-corruption law had been in place since 1937. many a Third World country. to deal with increasing corruption at lower and middle levels of police. inspectors. it takes roots on a wide scale ‘where temptation meets permissiveness’. based on perceived corruption existing amongst public officials and politicians. and land bailiffs.163 - . poor law enforcement. As a result. Besides engendering efficiency and social cohesion. hawkers. Transparency International. a Corrupt Practice Investigation Bureau (CPIB) was established. this positive image of Singapore has been an important factor in attracting global business and talent. widespread poverty. Significantly. some of which are resource rich and politically democratic. Transparency International has consistently ranked Singapore as one of the least corrupt countries. Singapore was ranked second after Denmark in least corruptness. Whilst corruption is found in all countries. injustice.org .

2000. MM Lee Kuan Yew noted that the government under Lim Yew Hock (1956-1959) had started to veer. It is to their credit that the PAP’s political will to stamp out corruption remains as strong today as it was when it first came into power in June 1959. Suspects could be found guilty of corruption even if no payment had been received—intent was sufficient to secure conviction. The judge could accept evidence from an accomplice. including arrests and search of bank accounts of not only suspects but also their wives. ‘The fish rots from the head’ is an African saying. the judiciary. Three Singapore ministers and a president of the National Trading Union Congress (NTUC) were convicted of corruption in the 1960s to 1980s. making it mandatory for witnesses summoned by the CPIB to cooperate. Times Media Pte Ltd. and agents. fines for corruption were increased. In 1960.164 - . and civil servants. In 1989. Singapore. Further tightening was made in 1963. the anti-corruption law of 1937 was amended into the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) to give wider powers to investigators. Living beyond one’s means or owning unaccountable property was treated as corroborating evidence of accepting a bribe. custom officers.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI the civil service was reasonably honest when Singapore became a self-governing colony in 1959. In his memoirs. clerks of work.149 The pursuit and conviction of these high-profile cases bears testimony to the political will and moral authority of the PAP government and the independence of the judiciary as well as the CPIB. children. and false information became an offence subject to imprisonment and a fine. From Third World to First: The Singapore Story 1965-2000. . public health labourers were exposed and rooted out. The high pay packet of Singapore political leaders is an innovative departure from what political leaders are officially paid throughout the world. The reward system has also facilitated PAP’s 149 Lee Kuan Yew. Organised rackets of petty corruption including mobile squad policemen. Such cases might have also influenced the PAP leadership in raising considerably the pay checks of ministers.

banks. Singapore is obligated to act against her citizens who bribe foreign public office. being a signatory in the 2002 United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNAC). Its chairman. providing correct economic incentives. To put things into perspective. . and this needs to be jealously guarded. Straits Times. Significantly. Singapore Institute of International Affairs in September 2009 initiated a conference on governance and anti-corruption. However. Would Singapore civilisation reach such a level that the Singapore businessman would be able to take a lead in this direction in Asia? Perhaps it has made a start. Singapore businessmen lament. ‘17 MNCs in Asia Sign First Pledge Against Graft’. Nevertheless. described the pledge as a ‘gentle but firm commitment’. Simon Tay. This finding suggests that Singapore companies are much less inhibited about offering bribery when operating in Third-World countries. Reforming policies. her ranking in 2006 as twelfth amongst thirty countries on TI’s Bribe Payers Index (BPI) is less than exemplary. 2009. perpetration of corruption has an important transnational element. during which seventeen MNCs in Asia signed the first pledge against graft. Singapore Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau’s director Soh Kee Hean noted that in places like the Middle East Singapore companies are viewed in a positive light for being clean.150 150 Zakir Hussain. and thousands of Western-based companies. TI’s CEO. Thus sadly. it might be pointed out that corrupt culture in the Third World receives much fuel from Western financial institutions. Things can’t move without bribery in these countries. and improving legal regulation are necessary means to help control corruption.Singapore and Asia policy of meritocracy in attracting capable people into politics and government service. has also suggested that an appeal to man’s sense of justice and morality has a part to play. Nassbaum.165 - . September 30. while Singapore has performed with distinction at home in controlling corruption.

166 - .500 in 2008. especially where education has raised people’s expectations. 45. Nevertheless.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Reforms in People’s Action Party and Singapore Politics The 2011 General Election has been described as a watershed in Singapore politics. ‘There Is Nothing Uniquely S’porean about Inequality’. . Such a result would be celebrated as a landslide victory in any other country. the People’s Action Party (PAP) was returned to power—with an 81 to 6 majority in parliament and 60.1 per cent of all votes cast. This has been an expression of social tension over the widening gap between the rich and the poor.151 Housing price in land-scarce Singapore has escalated far beyond the rise of income. Singapore. An opposition party. the electorate has sent the message that policies 151 Radha Basu. Doubtlessly as a result of inflow of migrant workers and talents. In Singapore. September 14. up from 40. In recent years the rapid inflow of immigrants—permanent residents. 2011. For the first time. with a birth rate well below the replacement level. A growing wealth gap has been an extremely challenging problem in globalised economies. increased competition in educational institutions and jobs. the Workers Party. and driven down low-skilled wages. a nation that prides itself on subsidised home ownership. and temporary workers—has fuelled house prices. strained public transport. the one party government of Singapore was being overtly challenged. has remained competitive and continues enlarging its national economic pie. As in the past fifty-two years. It is not so in Singapore where it is about the worst report card that could be handed over to a party which has been one with the people since its independence.000 are renting subsidised one and two room flats in 2011. Straits Times. new citizens. beating the PAP candidates which had included two ministers in the PAP government. had won a five-member Group Representative Constituency (GRC).

Thus the current parliament. and attempting at reducing GNI. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made amendments to increase the number of NCMPs to nine.Singapore and Asia increasing the economic pie need to be tempered by improving the lot of the poor. An independent committee has recommended that a sizable 30-50 per cent reduction would still be compatible with this goal. and long-term goals. would have three NCMPs. The 2011 General Election speaks well of Singapore in that after several decades opposition parties are getting more organised and offering better-quality candidates. and the PAP government has accepted the recommendations. Singaporeans are pragmatic and not adverse to benign authoritarianism.167 - . Singaporeans do not need to be reminded that the divisive two-party politics—the norm in the USA and Europe—has an uncertain record of leadership. efficiency. building more public housing. . Asian and in particular Confucian civilisation differ from modern Western in relegating the rights of the individual to be subservient to the good of society. in addition to the six elected opposition members. If the number of elected MPs is less than nine. The PAP government has been actively responding to the people’s concerns by reducing the inflow of foreign workers. Singapore is still a long way from the Workers Party vision of a ‘First World Parliament’. Human Rights Differences in culture and historical experience have coloured the perception of human rights by civilisations. expediting plans to improve public transport. their rank would be topped up to nine by allowing the best performing losers to become NCMPs. In 2010. The electorate would only break its contract with the PAP when the latter ceases to deliver. Opposition politicians have in a way been given a nudge since Prime Minister Goh introduced the Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) scheme for three opposition candidates with the highest loser votes. A sensitive issue has been that Singapore’s ministers are by far the highest paid politicians in the world—so as to draw in capable and honest people into the government.

TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Thus. From Third World to First: The Singapore Story 1965-2000. including the death penalty for murder. The ability of the Singapore government to defend itself against perceived unfair interference—which could destabilise the miniscule young city-state—has bolstered creditability in the PAP government. Singapore. the communist struggle. see Singapore’s accelerated material development as a trade-off for restrictions in individual freedom. the internal security act (indefinite retention without trial) introduced by the British to fight the communist insurgency has helped combat international terrorism.’ When misreported or slanted stories on Singapore are published. Used with discretion. and the primacy of purpose of an elected government.168 - . Similarly. freedom of the news media. as did happen to a number of Western newspapers. Older Singaporeans who have experienced colonial rule (British and Japanese). 2000. MM Lee has probably the support of the majority of Singaporeans in stating that ‘freedom of the press. Singapore’s social engineering towards racial and religious harmony has yielded the bigger good for society—a state unachievable in most parts of the world. armed robbery. Western analysts. Zero tolerance of libellous publications on Singapore leaders has led to payment of large damages. 152 Lee Kuan Yew. ‘Singapore’s domestic debate is a matter for Singaporeans .’ He also says. and drug trafficking. . Times Media Pte Ltd. must be subordinated to the overriding needs of Singapore. . If this is breached. Yet it has infringed on the sacredness of Western-conceived human rights of freedom. . understandably. Singapore has continued to retain severe colonial criminal laws. communal conflicts.152 and this invariably brought compliance. the government should have the right to have their unedited reply published. (in the same way that) only Americans can control a (media) business which influences opinion in America. reduction of their circulation was imposed.

slum living. would the competitive edge of Singapore against much larger resource-rich countries be eroded? Would Singapore then be able to attract foreign investment and talent. democracy blended with benevolent authoritarianism which brings prosperity has had the support of pragmatic Singaporeans. which has until now contributed so much to its ability to punch above its weight? Thus. Having had no tradition of freedom. With possible loss in efficiency from lack of continuity of governance and conflicts in an adversarial two-party democracy. it is indeed questionable whether the tiny dot of a nation of barely three million plus citizens of diverse Asian races and religions could ever be comfortable with or afford the luxury (and baggage) of a Western-style liberal democracy. In the years ahead. would Singapore then slip into mediocrity or even struggle for survival? .Singapore and Asia secret societies. whilst democracy and human rights might realistically be expected to be liberalised in baby steps.169 - . and unemployment have no qualms about this trade-off. unaligned with traditional Asian values.

Singapore’s strong national defence capability and support of US military presence. 2000. as a predominantly Chinese enclave in the Malay Archipelago. Singapore’s foreign policy has been described as a realpolitik approach.000 combat-ready national servicemen. Singapore had just been asked to leave Malaysia. In addition. dictated by it being a small state obliged to cope with a world that is potentially hostile and without a common government.2 International Relations and National Security Singapore is nonaligned and relies on its own defence forces made up of a career military force of 55. At independence.153 The realpolitik approach has been especially felt in the early years of the republic.000. a compulsory two years plus full-time national 153 Leifer Michael. London. . Singapore as a city state of only two million citizens acutely felt its vulnerability. and Soekarno’s Indonesia was in a ‘konfrontasi’ mode.170 - Foreign Policy: Coping with Vulnerability. supplemented by 300. Singapore increased its defence force to twelve battalions of regulars. The defence forces are continuously being modernised by a defence budget accounting for 30 per cent of government-operating expenditure. Routledge. With the departure of the two British and Malayan battalions at independence. Singapore’s . deprived of protection from the British Empire. hence.

‘Reading Trends. foreign powers have in a virtuous cycle helped provide Singapore’s external security. World Scientific. but littoral states Malaysia and 154 Amitav Acharya.Singapore and Asia service programme has yielded a large pool of combat-ready army reservists. Amitav Acharya.171 - 155 156 . Instiute of Policy Studies. In protecting their own economic interests. 2008. Lee Kuan Yew. and the other seven members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Combat-fit numbers have been multiplied by reservists in national service. and Korea. Collaboration has been sought amongst ASEAN countries. World Scientific. 2009.155 Nevertheless. although complexities associated with different socio-political systems based on the supremacy of the indigenous people exist.156 Singapore’s port facilities in the strategic Straits of Malacca. as well as with the Asia-Pacific countries. April 10. Japan along with the United States and India have previously offered help in maintaining security of the Straits of Malacca. Singapore. . are vital to the economy of Japan. Singapore’s Foreign Policy. The efforts made by the fledgling nation in maintaining its security has enabled it to attract foreign investment so vital to its economy. Singapore’s foreign policy has increasingly recognised that long-term survival is also dependent on acceptance as a sociable member of the regional and international community. Rigorous training by Israeli military advisors has helped build up the Republic of Singapore Armed Forces (RSAF) into one of the best trained and equipped in Southeast Asia. trade has been an important binding force between Singapore. Staying Nimble’. particularly serving the transportation of Middle East oil. Straits Times. Singapore’s Foreign Policy.154 Relations with immediate neighbours Malaysia and Indonesia have improved. Singapore. China. Malaysia. Indonesia. Training terrain has been provided by friendly countries in the region.

As a small nation which has benefitted from being under the umbrella of super power USA’s presence in Asia. 2009. and economic elements. Sue-Ann Chia. including Japan and India. November 14. So we need America to strike a balance’. . China Not Zero-sum Game: SY’. The most recent offer to Singapore has come from rising China. Thus.159 Singapore’s security has been built around a twenty-five-year-old concept of total defence. Thus. Straits Times. to match it in weight and capacity in about twenty to thirty years. Chan Cheow Pong. despite increasing goodwill and trade collaboration between Singapore and China. MM Lee has once again called on the United States to stay engaged in East Asia to balance rising China. 157 Lin Zaowei. Straits Times.157 As a very small state in a strategic location in Asia.158 Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong explained that all countries want to be friends with the United States and simultaneously with China. November 13. as they could benefit from China’s growing market. psychological. ‘China Offers Help on Strait Security’. This includes civil. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Teo Chee Hean in 2009 stated that the global economic crisis has created uncertainties that can spark social and political instability. a balance of power to secure peace in the Asia-Pacific region has been a pillar in Singapore’s foreign policy. military. Upgrading is a continual process made possible by the buoyant economy. MM Lee has recently commented that ‘the size of China makes it impossible for the rest of Asia.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Indonesia have rejected the idea of having foreign troops stationed in the waterway. November 6. The anticipated Obama administration’s re-engagement with Southeast Asia is desirable after a lapse of eight years during which the United States had been preoccupied with the Middle East and North Korea. social.172 - 158 159 . 2009. ‘Ties with US. ‘“Balance” Gets Lost in Translation’. 2009.

which together with the smaller F-16 form the vanguard of any RSAF attack or defence. 2009.163 As a pro-American prosperous Chinese-majority island-state in Muslim Southeast Asia. of SAF Troops for Afghanistan’. Teh Joo Lin. as the war has a direct bearing on Singapore’s security. July 1. twenty-four F-15 SG fighter jets. 2009. sailor.173 - 162 163 . realistically the threat of extremist terrorism 160 161 Chow Jermyn. This is required as there has been an influx of new citizens and foreign residents and the mindsets of today’s citizens have changed. There is also concern that extreme ideologies can now be freely exchanged in cyberspace. naval helicopters. Chow Jermyn. piracy. Straits Times. frigates. May 24. Recent hardware improvements include the Terrex. and airman has enabled a reduction in size of the SAF in terms of people and reduction of duration of national service to two years. and Archer class submarines. Straits Times. Straits Times. Chow Jermyn. ‘Record No.160 The increased capability of each soldier. and pandemics.162 Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng recently announced plans to hire 1. May 24. March 15. At a Singapore navy exercise with a newly acquired Seahawk naval helicopter and a stalwart frigate.Singapore and Asia Other threats include terrorism. the commander of the US Navy Third Fleet Vice-Admiral Hunt commended the Royal Singapore Navy as being ‘towards the top of all navies I’ve gotten to see’. The complex security context necessitates continuous transformation of the Singapore Armed Force into a third-generation (3G) force of highly integrated assets. Straits Times.500 officers at neighbourhood police centres and land checkpoints.161 SAF servicemen (160 in 2010) have been functioning as a peace support force in Afghanistan. . SAF’s commitment in Afghanistan is part of a wider strategy to engage with other countries in a collaborative process to ‘shape the environment’. a mother ship for an infantry section. 2010. ‘S’pore Navy on Target in Pacific Exercise’. 2010.

The burden of service has also been a factor in influencing some young . National years of training national service does carry considerable costs. In Britain. National service has enabled a large pool of reservists to complement regulars in the Singapore Armed Forces. This compulsory recruitment was unpopular. a proportion of young men were called up for military service. Conscription legislature. the occasional fatality in the tough programme. Thus. Training under the guidance of Israeli officers—Israel was the only country that responded—was tough. some of whom found the training a traumatic experience. reservists undergo periodic training and testing of physical fitness and military skills. and to avoid conscription. Nevertheless. national service was not new to British Malaya and Singapore. there was less reason for the young male school leavers not to respond to the call for the two plus years’ compulsory military training.174 - . National Service The introduction of compulsory military service has not only beefed up the Singapore Armed Force but has also importantly changed the mindset of Singapore citizens and permanent residents that the security of the nation is the responsibility of everybody. conscription was first introduced in 1916 to fight in the world war. Following the two plus year training. was reinforced in 1939 with the onset of the Second World War and ended in the early 1960s. it was still a cultural shock for boys from well heeled homes. During the communist uprising.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI is ever present. When independence came. Chinese youths returned to China for good. Compulsory recruitment into the British Army for war service or military service was designated as national service in 1948. This has been learnt from the West. which had lapsed in 1920. Pragmatism dictates that the Internal Security Act (first introduced to combat communism by the British) remains indispensable. including two plus a young man’s career. and decades as reservists.

critics might also question whether 30 per cent of the nation’s budget allocated to national defence is an inordinate proportion. this rite of passage to adulthood has toughened up Singapore society and helped in uniting Singapore’s multiracial. In a similar note. National service is an expression of the people of Singapore to live freely as a nation and their willingness to defend this right at high costs. multicultural. . for the great majority.Singapore and Asia Singaporeans to emigrate abroad. Nevertheless.175 - . and multi-religious people in nation building. it remains a moot point whether its duration of training and service could be further reduced. However.


Part Five Wealth Creation through Globalisation .

9 per cent. In 2008. Singapore. United States 9. Indonesia 8. the third largest after Houston and Rotterdam. and Thailand 3. Hong Kong 5. Ministry of Trade and Industry. As the world’s most trade-dependent country. . South Korea 4. Taiwan 3. Continuous governance by the PAP over the past five decades has earned Singapore the reputation of being politically stable and efficient. Its proximity to Malaysia (connected by road and rail) and Indonesia has helped traditional regional trade. EU 11.7 per cent. Japan 6. Connectivity with the world has been enhanced by its flagship Singapore Airlines and a world-beating Changi Airport.5 per cent. free from corruption and crime.6 per cent. Oil tankers bring crude oil from as far away as Saudi Arabia for Singapore’s refineries.9 per cent. Economic Survey of Singapore 2008.1 per cent.164 Singapore’s deep harbour strategically sited between the Indian and Pacific Oceans has become one of the busiest in the world. Singapore’s top ten trading partners were Malaysia 12 per cent. berthing in Singapore for refuelling and trade. February.The global economy has rewarded Singapore in having the seventh highest per capita income in the world. Half the world’s population is several flying hours from the island state.9 per cent. China 9. Currently one-third of world trade and two-thirds of world energy and shipping traverse the Straits of Malacca.178 - . 164 2009.3 per cent.2 per cent. and of being a clean. Singapore’s trade is almost four times its gross domestic product.

including the ten-state grouping in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). ASEAN+3 (China.179 - .8 per cent in 2007. the per capita GNI was $51. GDP in 2000 was twenty-four times its level in 1960. In 2000. down from 7. Singapore has also benefitted from developed countries through the Generalised System of Preference (GSP).4 times mainly from labour-intensive exports. Government revenue during this period increased 4.5 per cent. the economy in 2008 expanded by 1. 2002. Restructuring programmes in the economy made in 1979 and 1985 led to higher value-added exports (including microelectronics.871 million.2212. The 2008 GDP at 2000 market price was $233. Workers speak English and trade unionism is unusually collaborative. petrochemicals. and engineering) and higher wages. Economic Growth and Development in Singapore. Australia. The average annual growth rate for the real gross domestic product (GDP) from 1960 to 2000 was 8.Singapore and Asia green and liveable city.739 while per capita indigenous GNI was $49.996 with a gross national saving of 47 per cent of GNI. East Asia Summit (ASEAN+3+India. Singapore’s output growth rate has been consistently high. and New Zealand). the gross national product (GNP) per capita—which includes earnings of Singaporeans abroad—was $4. independent Singapore has worked towards increasing trade liberalisation through multilateral institutions—GATT. and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) amongst twenty-one countries around the Pacific rim. . Japan.165 Following the global downturn in the fourth quarter. and South Korea). UK. WHO. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. and ASEM as well as regional groupings. The period from the mid-1960s to 1973 saw rapid growth of world trade and Singapore. To foster globalisation. Being an 165 Peebles Gavin and Wilson Peter.1 per cent. Government policy has also ensured a ready supply of world talents and migrant workers are paid competitive wages.

Ministry of Trade and Industry. and providing services to the region’s growing middle class in health. Straits Times.400 per month in 2010 to $3. confident of economic growth from urbanisation. July 3. 2010. Economic Survey of Singapore 2008. travel. Finance Minister Tharman expects Singapore’s median income to grow from $2.166 Looking ahead.180 - 167 . .TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI open economy heavily dependent on trade.167 166 2009. GDP growth in the 2009 recession was 2. water management.1 per cent. ‘Goal 2010: Higher Income. Cai Haoxiang.100 in 2020(in dollar value of 2010). Better City’. education. and finance. entertainment. Singapore. February.

1 Climbing the Global Economic Ladder Singapore owes much of its economic success to state initiatives in welcoming multinational corporations (MNCs).181 - .168 168 Lee Kuan Yew. Singapore soon attracted many MNCs in its formative years. Winsemius. 7000 MNCs contributed 71 per cent of net fixed assets in the manufacturing sector and 44 per cent of employment in Singapore. MNCs were searching for suitable locations which could provide cheap labour and proximity to Asian markets. Learning from the UN adviser Albert Winsemius about how European and American CEOs think and operate. with rapid advances in technological innovations. and government-linked companies (GLCs) Critical Role of Multinational Companies Multinational corporations have had a critical role in the metamorphosis of Singapore from that of a port city for British Malaya exporting primary commodities of rubber and tin into a global economy. who continued to play a crucial role as economic adviser for twenty-three years until 1984. From Third World to First: The Singapore Story 1965-2000. Singapore Press Holdings. In the post-world war era. . 2000. commented that the good working relationship with Prime Minister Lee and the Economic Board Chairman Mr Hon Sui Sen was due to a ‘congruence of the Calvinistic and Confucian philosophy of life’. state enterprises. In 2005.

. The British. On hearing this. Esso and Mobil followed. (EDB) as a one-stop coordinating agency in conducting training for workers and arranging co-investors.169 Singapore’s petrochemical industry also owes its origin to the initiative of Japanese. jumped into action and built the first refinery at Pulau Bukom in 1961. It started as a national joint project with Singapore setting up a petrochemical corporation at a small island. serving companies such as Chevron. NUS Press. Pulau Ayer Merbau. Japanese MNCs with middle-range technology came in strongly in the 1980s and soon became Singapore’s second biggest investor ahead of the Dutch and British. came in the 1970s. and this was vividly shown when a small Japanese company. Subsequent land reclamation of six adjacent islands created a vast Jurong petrochemical island. together with the government’s generous tax breaks did much to bring in the MNCs. The arrival of American MNCs laid the foundation of Singapore’s high-tech electronic industry. A Mandarin and the Making of Public Policy. which had used Singapore as only a distribution centre for a hundred years. applied to build a small oil refinery. 169 Ngiam Tong Dow. Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) drained swamps in Jurong and other industrial estates and built up infrastructure and factories for the MNCs. Shell. 2006. The efficiency and professionalism of the Economic Development Board. Maruzen Toyo. America has remained the largest foreign investor. Hasegawa of Sumitomo Chemical of Japan. Singapore. Dutch. and French. creating an international oil refining centre in Singapore. who had for centuries been global traders in their Southeast colonies. in 1975. A little competition amongst the MNCs helped.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Welcoming MNCs was revolutionary at that time as newly independent countries saw them as exploiting neocolonialists.182 - .

and SembCorp Industries. 2010. a 2.171 The twenty-first century economic landscape is becoming increasingly Asian.Singapore and Asia ExxonMobil. Robin Chan. GLCs include Singapore Power Supply. linking the island to the mainland. PSA International Neptune Orient Lines. and most recently. research. solar energy. Your Home Away from Home’. 2009. and Sumitomo.000 multinationals and several thousand Chinese and Indian companies to Singapore as a long-term base. Teo Ester. CapitaLand. Rolls-Royce plans to build a $700 million facility at Seletar Aerospace Hub to make engine fan blades for large aircraft. Singapore. . DBS Bank. doing business. at the suggestion of Minister of 170 Ngiam Tong Dow. innovation. Thus besides computer parts. Celanese. In 1974. Singapore’s aerospace sector is a growth area.172 State Enterprises and Government-linked Companies At the same time. The company is transferring its global headquarters of its marine business from London to Singapore. Mitsui. Straits Times. Singapore Airlines. telecommunication equipment. oil refining. the first outside Britain. and development for the Asian and global market. In 1999.170 MNCs have been involved in a wide spectrum of commerce. many of whom have studied in the West. a large network of state enterprises and government-linked Companies (GLCs) has been built up and staffed by selected brainy young Singaporeans. banking and finance.183 - 171 172 . Singtel. making Singapore into a regional training centre. NUS Press. December 7. February 1. ‘Singapore. and petrochemicals. posting output of more than 7 billion in 2008. ‘Rolls-Royce Launches Facility’. other activities include biotechnology. A Mandarin and the Making of Public Policy. Straits Times. and talent. and Singapore is positioning itself to be the Asian headquarters for business. EDB’s ‘host-to-home’ strategy hopes to anchor the current 7.3 km causeway was completed. 2006.

steel was recycled from old ship parts and used to build HDB homes. At the same time. NOL acquired American President Line (APL). May 15.184 - 174 175 . Straits Times. Temasek Holdings was formed to take over the management of these companies. The British Royal Navy dockyard at Sembawang was converted to civilian use as the Sembawang Shipyard. in 1997. Singapore. Under the supervision of UN Adviser Frenchman Scherechevsky. engineering and construction. and other core businesses are utilities. www.175 The shipyard repaired Japanese super tankers transporting crude oil from the Middle East to Japan. which in 1998 merged with Singapore Technologies Industrial Corp into SembCorp Industries.174 Minister Goh Keng Swee saw the potential of a commercial ship repair yard for Japanese ships and initiated the establishment of the Jurong Shipyards (now part of the Sembcorp Marine Group) as a joint venture with Ishikawajima Harima Heavy Industries. and the shares are traded on the Singapore Stock Exchange. . America’s oldest shipping company.173 The Neptune Orient Line (NOL) has grown to become the fourth largest sea cargo box holders by capacity.irasia. The first indigenous manufacturing plant was National Iron and Steel Mills. which was set up in the Jurong Industrial Estate. 173 Ngiam Tong Dow. SembCorp runs the largest ship repair and conversion in East Asia. A Mandarin and the Making of Public Policy. The extent of public ownership of GLCs has progressively increased since 1993. ‘The Architect of Singapore’s Prosperity’. GLCs continue to take up joint ventures with foreign investors. 2006.com Chan Fiona and Chen Gabriel.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Finance Goh Keng Swee. NUS Press. 2010.

SembCorp Marines and Keppel FELS built the rigs from which a clean-up operation for the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 has been mounted. Straits Times. ‘Sembcorp Focuses on Core Strength’. From Third World to First: The Singapore Story 1965-2000. has become one of the three busiest ports in the world—Shanghai and Rotterdam being the other two. and today.185 - 177 178 .Singapore and Asia environmental engineering. Lee Kuan Yew. logistics. Singapore Press Holdings. development of both a first-class air carrier and international airport have further contributed to the globalisation of Singapore. Kor Kian Beng. as well as a budget airline terminal. It is to the credit of the then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew to have chosen to site the new airport away from the city on reclaimed land. Since then two more terminals have been added. February 17. but the one runway at Paya Lebar soon showed its limitations. 2010. ‘Shipyards Set Example for Productivity’.178 The former Royal Air Force airfield at Changi was extended by land reclamation from the sea to become the largest airport in Asia in 1981.176 The skills learnt in repairing super tankers led to building of oil rigs for the major oil exploration companies. . Straits Times. In an age of rapid expansion of air travel for passengers and cargo transport. expertise learnt from running the port has been translated into business ventures in running ports elsewhere in Asia. and more recently building eco-cities in China and Vietnam.177 With Singapore’s position at the southern end of the strategic Straits of Malacca. Singapore shipyards have built 70 per cent of the world’s jack up oil drilling platforms. 2010. in handling distribution for the MNCs and entrepôt trade for the region. Significantly too. the port of Singapore. The original Kallang Airport had been replaced in 1955 by Paya Lebar airport. 2000. August 30. 176 Chan Robin. Changi International Airport has for a number of years been consistently rated by travellers to be the best in the world.

186 - . few others have grown into large corporations. Straits Times. 179 Karamjit Kaur.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Singapore Airlines came into existence following the split of the Malaysia-Singapore Airlines in 1972. it has remained highly profitable and continues being acclaimed as one of the best in the world. have each a fixed asset investment of up to $15 million or employ up to 200 workers. attractive Singapore girl with a million-dollar smile and a figure flattered by a suitably padded sarong kebaya that sells SIA. It is not just the young. This apparent lack of entrepreneurship amongst Singaporeans has been attributed to a feeling of security of hired jobs together with fear of failure and bankruptcy. making up to 90 per cent of all enterprises. Singapore Airlines. the airline won the Skytrax Airline of the Year award. beating more than a hundred airlines. ‘IATA praises Mr Lee on Being Ahead of His Time’. In recognition of MM Lee Kuan Yew’s campaign for air service liberalisation and free market principles since 1972—basic commercial freedoms which the airline industry desperately needs today. Airbus 380. Despite an air crash in Taipei airport in 2000. June 9. The Singapore Airline was the first to fly the world’s biggest passenger jet. By 1996. In April 2004. . They contribute about 40 per cent of Singapore’s GDP and employ more than half the workforce. A concern is that except for Creative Technologies and Hyflux. had worldwide destinations. A more plausible explanation is the domination of the Singapore economy by the giants—MNCs and GLCs. with a young fleet of Boeings and air buses. 2009.179 Small—and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) SMEs. the International Air Transport Association (IATA) presented MM Lee with the 2009 Global Aviation Leadership Award.

Statutory Boards.A. waste management. Spring. June 2. and recycling of water. is carbon neutral and uses forestry discards as fuel. Chia S. corporatised in 1997. especially for Singapore’s SMEs. Thus.183 One of Britain’s largest renewable power projects. profits amounted to $1. In 2007. 2008. One aim is to help diversify Singapore’s portfolio so as to reduce the volatility of business risks. and Oh B. SembCorp’s Marine and Offshore Engineering does a thriving 180 Chan Francis. Top management connections. recent polls show that 65-70 per cent of SMEs have some kind of presence overseas that contributes to their business. has been exported as Singapore actively globalises in Asia. A global company headquartered in Singapore Ascendas is currently in the third phase of jointly building the Dalian Software Park modelled after the Singapore Science Park and the International Tech Park in Bangalore. led by the Economic Strategies Committee. 2008. has operations in twenty-eight ports in sixteen countries. Straits Times.ascendas.P. building and management of sea—and airports. and International Enterprises (IE). Business Times. 2009. especially in housing. www.187 - 181 182 183 .181 Ministers including MM Lee Kuan Yew and SM Goh Chok Tong travel around the world to make connections at the top so as to facilitate Singapore’s participation in business abroad. ‘Giving Smaller Firms a Leg Up’. Port of Singapore Authority. Straits Times.182 Singapore Actively Globalises The expertise gained during the past decades in Singapore’s development.. There has also been interest shown by banks and MNCs to participate in SMEs’ overseas expansion. the SembCorp Biomass Power Station at Teeside. similar to the guanxi built up with China.92 billion.. urbanisation. June 7. Chen H.com . are indispensable for business links with emerging countries such as Russia.Singapore and Asia Encouragingly.180 The state continues to offer assistance to SMEs to be globally competitive. September 23.

sembcorp.com .184 Furthermore. It has built a marine facility in India and a shipyard in Brazil and integrated townships in China and Vietnam. offshore. Towards this end. Singapore has for the past decade invested heavily on R&D towards a knowledge-based economy. as a natural development in its ascendancy in the global economy. Singapore has aspirations to climb to the heights of an economy befitting that of a First World nation.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI business in rig building. The progress made on this is described in the next section. 184 www. and conversion and ship repair business.188 - .

a-star.185 Direction and Funding of Research Institutions Facilities for high-quality research started in 1987 with the establishment of the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology at the National University of Singapore. ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship in a Knowledge-based Economy’.sg .sg 186 www.nrf. It has to be ahead of its fast rising and better resource-endowed neighbours. Singapore is engaging into the new era of the evolving global knowledge-based economy.imcb. To achieve this.186 185 Tan Keng Yam Tony. www.gov.edu. In this post-industrial economy of developed nations. the generation and exploitation of knowledge play a predominant part in the creation of wealth.2 Towards a Knowledge-based Economy Singapore’s economy has passed through several stages from labour-intensive to skills-intensive and in the 1980s and 1990s towards that of higher end technology. there has been rapid building of institutions directed towards translational research. At the same time. The knowledge-based economy has special relevance to Singapore. a little island state with no natural resources. Singapore’s deficiency of innovative high-tech start-ups has been addressed by deepening and broadening the nexus amongst academia and the tech-entrepreneurial community of start-ups and venture capitalists. Moving into the twenty-first century.189 - .

October 18.190 - . two massive major research hubs have been built under A *Star.C.187 The direction and funding of research in Singapore has been given a big boost in 2005 with the establishment of the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the Research.sg Liaw W. infectious diseases.188 In 2007. comprises cabinet ministers and representatives of local and foreign business. constituting 2. Straits Times’.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Following the establishment of Singapore’s National Science and Technological Board in 1991. Funds are awarded to small and medium enterprises (SME) as well as institutes of higher learning and research centres to push innovation and entrepreneurship and help take research closer to the marketplace. RIEC deputy Chairman and Chairman of the National Research Foundation. During the past five years. the level of funding in research intensive countries. It is advised by an international board with expertise in broad areas of science and technology.33 billion in 2007. . It is a healthy sign that two-thirds of the funding comes from the private sector. ‘would transit Singapore from what is essentially an industrial economy to a knowledge based R&D economy’. Research funding has more than doubled since 2000 to 6. chaired by the prime minister.291 full-time 187 188 www. RIEC has for the third year running granted more than a billion dollars in research grants. It reached 3 per cent of GDP in 2010. The council.6 per cent of GDP. ‘R&D Spending Reaches Record High’. The Biopolis conducts research in stem cells. It comprises the Biomedical Research Council (BMRC) and the Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC). the private sector employed 14.edu. 2008. the Agency of Science and Technology (A*Star) was formed in 2001 in furtherance of a robust research community in Singapore. In 2008. The national framework for innovation and enterprise in the words of Dr Tony Tan..a-star. science. and bioengineering whilst the more recently opened Fusionpolis nearby conducts research in technology. and technology. Innovation and Enterprise Council (RIEC).

Building a Research Culture In the spirited strategy to leapfrog into top-notch research capabilities. translational. everywhere. Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner: ‘Water. Singapore’s share of scientific publications in the world has increased from about 0. Thus. September 27. water. www. As a research culture is being embedded. compared to 9.6 per cent in 2006. lead research institutes. A*Star was ranked the seventh research institute in the Asia-Pacific region. ‘The Research Innovation and Enterprise Landscape in Singapore’. In 2007. 189 Lim Chuan Poh.585 in the public sector. and all the boards did shrink. 2010. and build up research centres of excellence.Singapore and Asia research scientists and engineers. biomedical sciences.1 per cent in 2000 to 0.190 1. Water and Environment Technology A dispute with the Malaysian government over the supply and pricing of water historically piped in from across the Johor causeway made Singapore islanders feel the thirst of S. and clinical research. NRF has funding schemes to attract anchor and research talent.191 - 190 .sg .gov. water.T. Singapore has recruited globally eminent and promising scientists to jump-start research in niche areas.nrf. Sir David Lane is Chief Scientist at A*Star and Edison Liu conducts world-class research in genomics at Biopolis. A*Star speeches. and interactive and digital media. and mentor young scientists. nor any drop to drink’. establish campuses to foster research programmes between top research universities and Singapore-based institutions.189 Progress in Singapore’s Knowledge-based Economy The National Research Foundation (NRF) has identified three strategic research programmes for funding: water and environmental technology. Patents have increased from 579 in 1998 to 1581 in 2008. water. everywhere. spearhead research.

Au-Yong Rachel. Keppel Corp announced that using Dutch technology ‘Memstill’ it will start tests to harness heat generated from waste incinerators to produce power to turn sea water into fresh water. Such water technology is being researched in several universities and commercial research centres in Singapore using solar and cost-saving energy generated from waste. Within a few years.. Singapore has become a veritable showcase of the best that is available in water technology. and the University of Oxford to train forty research scientists and engineers. recycling waste water. ‘International Water Week/World Cities Summit’.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Singapore was thus stirred to turn its vulnerability into an opportunity. 2010.192 - 193 . Chan Fobin. is undertaking research on water policies as well as on advisory and consultancy projects.193 Singapore plans to be self-sufficient in water supply by 2060 when the water supply agreement with Malaya ends. This is to be achieved through conversion of the whole island into a rain catchment area. ‘Big Splash in the Water Sector’. Singapore’s Public Utility Board (PUB) WaterHub houses the Global Water Intelligence (GWI) and other water-related organisations and research institutes. Straits Times. 2008. July 1. May 17. part of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. and desalination of sea water.191 This involves the use of membrane technology for the filtration of water. Straits Times. Peking University. July 1. Together with the existing reservoirs. 2010. It was also announced that Singapore’s National Research Foundation has awarded $63 million for a collaborative effort amongst the National University of Singapore. Straits Times. The finest ultra-filter membranes prepare drinking water from sea water and NEWwater from recycled water. At the Singapore 2010 International Water Week/World City’s Summit. the damming of the Rochor and Singapore Rivers at the Marina Barrage has converted much of 191 192 Fane T. .192 The Institute of Water Policy. PUB has also granted research grants for two local and three international firms in water research..

provides NEWwater to supplement Singapore’s domestic needs. Hyflux has currently 1. it has several industrial waste water treatment facilities in China.4 billion. Nevertheless. the whole island would serve as catchments. with a lot of sunshine. It is hoped that recycling and desalination would become more affordable with advances in technology. Beyond Singapore. Solar and Clean Energy Singapore. Hydrochem. When all other rivers in Singapore are dammed. was started two decades ago by Oliver Lum. has been quick to take advantage of solar energy’s tremendous potential as clean energy.hyflux. Home-grown companies such as Sembcorp currently supplement Singapore’s piped water with recycled NEWwater. UAE. Procter and Gamble’s plant in Singapore has planned to provide 200 million purification packages a year for export. with one of the world’s largest water recycling facilities. Singapore’s share increased to 0.36 per cent.194 SembCorp Industries.com .Singapore and Asia the Island into catchment areas. who had worked as a chemist with Glaxo. In 2006. with Singapore’s share of 0. A second water desalination plant will be completed by 2013. costs are coming down with 194 www.24 per cent amounting to S$1. In 2008. it won a contract to build the world’s largest reverse osmosis desalination plant in Algeria. Singapore’s NEWwater meets 30 per cent of its needs in 2010. Photovoltaic technology currently converts only 16-20 per cent of sunlight into electricity.000 plants using membrane technology in over 300 locations across the globe. which costs two to three times more than conventional energy sources. The global environment and water industry was worth US$629 (S$863) billion in 2004. and Oman. Currently less than 1 per cent needs of the world are met by solar power. Desalinated water is expected to ultimately contribute 30 per cent of Singapore’s needs.193 - . Singapore’s Hyflux predecessor.

Amresh Gunasingham. Singapore could become a ‘hub for environmentally sustainable solutions. 2009. green buildings. believes that ‘with the growing worldwide emphasis on sustainable development. chairman of the National Research Foundation. It will feature energy-efficient technologies for buildings in the tropics. First in with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. is working towards efficiency in converting sunlight into electricity. where clean energy products are produced and exported’.3 billion in building the world’s largest integrated solar manufacturing plant in Singapore. According to Dr Tony Tan. recently retired director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems. . Straits Times. Singapore has joined the race in R&D to produce electricity from the sun more cheaply. developing cheaper materials for photovoltaic cells. November 20. The Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise is being built. Singapore players can offer a suite of urban solutions that encompasses urban planning. used water and waste—and more’. a director of International Enterprise Singapore. the base material to make solar cells. Straits Times. ‘S’pore Opens $130m Solar Research Hub’. and integrating solar power into building structures.195 Norway’s Renewable Energy Cooperation has invested $6.196 Urban Solutions Tham. 195 Gunasingham Amresh. The Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (Seris) at the National University of Singapore is headed by Professor Luther.194 - 196 . management of water. 2009. the Campus hopes to draw research centres from top universities in the world. The institute. November 20. led by architect Russell Drinker.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI improvements in manufacturing processes and technology as well as costs of silicon. with more than seventy researchers. ‘S’pore Opens $130m Solar Research Hub’.

In China. Its Centre for Liveable Cities will focus on research on urban planning and policy and help share Singapore’s experience with the world.Singapore and Asia Singapore’s successful journey of rebirth into a modern metropolis and extensive public housing provides useful experience for new city planners. and eco-cities. Significantly.3 billion lives in cities and the proportion is increasing. and environmental needs. Singapore’s expertise in urban development and environmental technology has spearheaded its active globalisation in fast-developing Asia. city shopping malls. Translational. In June 2008.197 This gathering of world experts and policy makers is timely as more than half the world’s population of 6. and video games. ‘S’pore to Create Cultural Eco-city’. Straits Times. Straits Times. the first International water week on sustainable urban water solutions. June 21. Biomedical Sciences. 2008. Cities consume three-quarters of the world’s energy and are responsible for 80 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions causing global warming. including design. The latest proposal of a cultural eco-city in Shandong is a green project. serving beyond Indonesia and 197 198 Oon C. film making. November 29. the eco-city is sited at Qufu. It has become accepted for cities to plan land use and funding to achieve an optimal balance for economic. close to cultural attractions of the famed Confucius Temple. the birthplace of Confucius and Mencius as well as the tombs of Han Dynasty emperors. 2009. Singapore aspires to grow as a medical hub. featuring creative industries.195 - .198 2. and Clinical Research As a country with the best health care facilities in Asia. Grace Ng. Singapore firms have collaborated in the building of business parks. Singapore with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank inaugurated the World Cities Summit. and an East Asia Summit Conference on Liveable Cities. . social.

300 workers. 3. Interactive and Digital Media As civilisation advances. Anticipating that biopharmaceuticals would be the next big wave in the health care market. unable to compete in terms of costs with rival centres in Thailand and Malaysia. This has led to six multinational biologics plants—Glaxo-SmithKline. a crucial move was made in 1990 to set up the Bioprocessing Technology Unit. Another growth area is in medical technology where MNCs in Singapore currently have an output of $3 billion in the industry. Medical facilities continue to be upgraded as the spate in the building of several new private and government hospitals continues.3 per cent of the gross value-added GDP in 2005. such as nasopharyngeal cancer. and Lonza—with a total of $2.55 billion over five years to kick off clinical research.5 billion in investment and employment of 1. and the role of stem cells in cancer. The Ministry of Health has also set up a fund of $1. The arts and culture. Singapore. competes on its reputation of offering state-of-art medical and surgical care. the creative industries accounted for 7. As a medical hub. with an annual growth . Genetech. was awarded the President’s Science and Technological Medal in 2009 for building up R&D capabilities in biologics manufacturing. BTI’s Executive Director. Thus. translating laboratory findings to patient care. Thus. provided by the creative industries. design. in the United Kingdom. There has also been commitment to lead in performing good clinical research on diseases prevalent in the region. Daniel Tenen from the Harvard Medical School. the RIEC in 2008 awarded the Cancer Research Centre of Excellence at the Centre for Translational Medicine (currently being built at the National University Health Systems Campus) a multimillion-dollar grant to a team led by Prof. It will focus on cancers more commonly found in Asians. Novartis.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Southeast Asia.196 - . which in 2003 grew into the Bioprocess Technology Institute (BTI) in Biopolis. and media not only add refinement to civilisation but also significantly contribute increasingly to the economy. Miranda Yap. Baxter Bioscience. people everywhere search for improvement in quality of living.

200 Currently. 199 Background paper prepared by UNCTAD secretariat. 200 ‘Media 21: Transforming Singapore into a Global Media City’. mobile phones. digital. based on integration of these media technologies and robotics. The National University of Singapore Interactive Digital Media Institute has set up an international network and laboratories in intelligence and animation as well as a digital space laboratory at the Department of Architecture.197 - . mobile phones. January. in addition to current polytechnic training. 2008. ‘Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on the Creative Economy and Industries for Development’. and film-makers have made their mark in Asia. film. Japanese Keio University in collaboration with NUS is developing wearable body media. music recording. and televisions.199 The Media Development Authority (MDA) seeks to increase the GDP contribution of the media cluster—publishing and printing. MDA. Media Development Authority. Personal computers. broadcasting. MDA is studying the feasibility of setting up a media academy.56 per cent to 3 per cent in one year. such as a necktie that doubles up as antennae or screen. Singapore . games. and embedding computers into the body. It is hoped that the attractive working environment together with Singapore’s assurance of intellectual property rights and media financing would attract the world’s best media companies.Singapore and Asia of 6 per cent during 1997-2005 and 4. Singapore’s business-friendly multicultural society and high-tech savvy population make it suitable to develop a vibrant ecosystem and serve as a test market for innovation and creation of IDM products in education. TV producers. The computer revolution is leading to the future media. Singapore’s National Research Foundation has identified interactive digital media as worthy of special support.5 per cent of all goods and services exported. and online media—from the current 1. local artistes in the music industry. An entire media ecosystem has been established at research centre Fusionpolis. and game machines have changed society rapidly. songwriters. To augment media talent.

. 2009. The spirit of inquiry and creativity comes only with nurturing. which is making huge leaps. As shown by the achievements of Asians and others growing up and working in the Western scientific eco-system. November 28. academics. Arguably. a senior Australian delegate commented wistfully to the present senior author that a research centre like the Biopolis could not be built in Australia. ‘Chinese S’pore Digital Media Firms Ink Deals’. Finland. primary.201 Future Prospects At a recent Asia-Pacific Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Society Conference held at the Biopolis. Singapore’s strategy into research differs in that there has been strong synergy with the West in participation by MNCs. getting a helping hand through kick-starting and mentoring though important needs support by a new breed of Singaporeans with a passion for research. the decision process on such a project in Australia would take decades to arrive at. Sweden. Until now. Research is expensive and returns are uncertain. the scientific mind and creativeness have been most developed in Western civilisation.198 - . In return. and leaders in research. Straits Times. However. which starts from the cradle and continues into pre-primary school.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Singapore digital media firms have recently inked deals with Chinese media industry. While a quick decision has realised the Biopolis. This is yet another pragmatic decision made by the PAP government. MDA Chairman Tan Chin Nam commented that ‘China offers immense market potential and talent. 201 Fiona Chan. and secondary school and college. Singapore offers our global connectivity to partner Chinese media enterprises that plan to expand their international operations’. It is only in recent years that Singapore can afford to join other small countries such as Israel. and South Korea to allocate 3 per cent (and more) of GDP to research. scientific innovation is not in the chromosome but shaped by civilisation.

Finally. Research findings are frequently of no translational value immediately.Singapore and Asia Singapore’s tweaking of its national educational system would spark off the creative spirit of the First World in Singaporeans. Whilst Singapore administrators need to justify the vast investments with foreseeable returns from translational research. a source of tension was unveiled recently when foreign talents Edison Liu and several other researcher ‘whales’ resigned.199 - . scientific research culture is believed to be most productive in a free echo-system. .

202 Singapore’s role as an international financial centre started in 1970 when foreign off-shore banks through Asian Currency Units (ACU) operated the Asian dollar market (ADM) in the hours when both New York and London were closed.3 Money Matters Financial Services The Singapore financial sector has become important. The 2009 World Economic Forum (WEF). Times Edition. 2000. including institutional and business environment. and the United States.203 In 2004.200 - 203 . Singapore Press Holdings. and the size and depth of the capital markets. ACU had non-resident deposits amounting to US$582 billion in foreign currencies. Australia. ranked Singapore fourth in the world after Britain. October 10. Straits Times. used to finance corporative activities in Asia. financial stability. . 2009. The removal of the 20 per cent liquidity requirement on foreign currency and the establishment of regional MNC headquarters in Singapore enabled the ADM to compete with the Eurodollar markets. currently contributing 12 per cent towards its GDP. ‘Singapore Leaps to 4th Spot on Financial Centre List’. basing on more than 120 factors. Lee Kuan Yew. 202 Cheam Jessica. From Third World to First: The Singapore Story 1965-2000. Singapore’s improvement in ranking from tenth in 2008 is attributable to its financial stability scores in the recent global recession.

corporate finance. banks. The debt issuers include not only Singapore GLCs but also MNCs. Protection of local banks was also reduced. Economic Growth and Development in Singapore. Currency is 204 Peebles Gavin and Wilson Peter. Compared with Singapore’s prominent position in international finance. foreign law firms in areas such as banking. In 2005. a memorandum of understanding was signed with the Chicago Board of Trade to set up jointly a derivatives exchange to trade in Asian commodities. the domestic capital market and fund management were underdeveloped. Following the Nick Leeson debacle in incurring Baring Bank losses of US$1. . As part of reforms to help Singapore’s development as a financial centre. the Singapore International Monetary Exchange (SIMEX) was set up and linked to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. governments. Monetary Policy The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) was set up in 1971 and functions both as central bank and financial regulator. reforms were made in financial supervision by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).204 In 1984. Edward Elgar. making medium—and long-term funds available. In 1997. In 1999. and marine law were licensed. and clearing practices. audit.201 - . the Development Bank of Singapore started the Asian Dollar Bond Market (ADBM). SIMEX reviewed its rules. as Singapore braced itself as a centre for global banking.Singapore and Asia In 1971. SIMEX was merged with the Stock Exchange of Singapore. UK. realising that Singapore’s financial centre had been over-regulated.4 billion on Nikkei 225 futures and Japanese bonds in 1995. SIMEX traded in Eurodollar and Euroyen interest rate futures as well as stock index futures of Asian countries and has won a number of awards from the International Financing Review. Listed debt issues include Euro-Asian bonds floated simultaneously on Asian and European bourses. 2002. and international organisations.

UK. On top of this.206 This budget surplus. MAS manages the Singapore dollar against the currencies of the country’s major trading partners and competitors with the main intention of countering imported inflation. and the Money Authority of Singapore (MAS). UK. The reserve has been managed by the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC). Singapore dollars are bought or sold against foreign currencies to stabilise the exchange rate. 205 Peebles Gavin and Wilson Peter.205 National Reserves Singapore’s fiscal policy has been conservative and Victorian. and each Singapore dollar has to be backed by reserves. Thus. 2002. Should the trade-weighted exchange fluctuate beyond an undisclosed policy band. Despite this apparently tight-fisted policy. whilst government expenditure in Britain is 52 per cent and USA is 41 per cent of GDP. Edward Elgar. budget surplus has averaged 4. it is argued that a large pool of dollars outside Singapore could hinder Singapore’s domestic monetary policy. Economic Growth and Development in Singapore. . Edward Elgar. together with the compulsory pension fund—Central Provident Fund (CPF). has allowed Singapore to build up a large national reserve of several hundred billion dollars. Temasek Holdings. Economic Growth and Development in Singapore. Peebles Gavin and Wilson Peter. it is 20 per cent in Singapore. Although it has been suggested that internationalisation of the Singapore dollar would crucially help boost Singapore as a financial centre.3 per cent of GDP each year. 2002.202 - 206 . and education. housing. there has been rapid expansion of infrastructure and adequate social support to the needy in the form of subsidies in health care.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI issued separately by a currency board.

Singapore’s other sovereign wealth fund.203 - . has pumped billions into troubled financial giants in the wake of the US sub-prime crises.sg Ng Grace. has assured the world that the investments by Singapore’s sovereign funds are entirely for a good return. government use of interest and dividends from the reserve—the net investment (NII)—was reduced from 100 per cent to 50 per cent. . investing$9. and Sembawang Marine. established in 1981.5 per cent in US dollars and 8.Singapore and Asia The Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC). a portfolio worth well over US$100 billion. At the suggestion of the then President Ong Teng Cheong. The total shareholder return since its inception thirty-five years ago has been more than 16 per cent compounded annually.2 per cent in Singapore dollars. GIC chairman.com. May 1. PSA international. manages Singapore’s long-term investment of foreign reserves.208 MM Lee.207 In recent months. was founded in 1974 and has many core portfolio companies under its wing such as Singtel.82 billion in Citigroup in January and $14 billion in Swiss bank UBS in December 2007. Special Investments. A new framework has been set up to allow a more accurate calculation of the 50 per cent of interest and dividend accrued from the national reserves for spending in any financial 207 208 209 www. Singapore Airlines. GIC’s first public disclosure in twenty-five years showed an average annual return of 9. 2008. To calls for greater transparency. As a global investment management company.com.3 per cent per annum.gic. The average rate of return over global inflation was 5. Temasek Holdings. GIC significantly enhanced the value of Singapore’s reserve.temasek. Mr Lee explained that GIC’s approach would prevent others from anticipating its moves and avoid populist pressures to spend.sg www. the GIC’s private equity unit.209 The need to protect the reserve led to the creation of the elected presidency in 1991. Sing Power. with no hidden motives. Straits Times. At its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2006.

This has increased the amount which could be used to pay for increased social welfare. Singapore takes comfort in its ability to rapidly implement the massive resilience package. the government took over a significant share of the risks of bank lending. This has limited damage to a 2009 GDP contraction of 2.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI year. expand provisions on education and health. Although Singapore banks are well capitalised. Resilience Package Bails Singapore Out of Economic Crisis Singapore’s reserve came in useful in the recent global economic meltdown when it was able to pump a resilience package of S$ 20. and transport infrastructure spending. and make Singapore into an even more liveable garden city. health care. Singapore has one of the most competitive tax environments in the Asia-Pacific region. Recruitment for government employees was stepped up.204 - . to encourage the flow of credit to business. As a country highly dependent on global trade.5 billion into its economy. and more subsidies were provided for training and additional support for lower-income workers. Combined with Singapore’s extensive tax incentive regime and tax treaty network. To sharpen Singapore’s business competitiveness. The government also saw the downturn as an opportune time to further improve the infrastructure. corporate tax was lowered from 18 per cent to 17 per cent. A job credit scheme helped employers keep their workers. . education.1 per cent. Singapore’s Trade figures have since rebounded in 2010.

Part Six Building Human and Social Capital .

and government. health care. Industrial peace has been achieved through collaboration amongst workers.206 - . and home ownership. At the same time. health care. wealth creation from the global economy and a judicious fiscal policy has enabled the state. Thus. industrial peace. to help uplift lives and promote social cohesion. and home ownership.Critical to Singapore’s success in the global economy has been hard work ethics of Asian people. employers. through subsidies in education. The last labour strike in Singapore occurred in 1977. universal education. . Singapore’s people continue to advance through a virtuous cycle of wealth creation.

Importantly too. workers’ productivity has been glaringly low. and innovation—prerequisites of a truly First World economy. has caused resentment amongst working-class Singaporeans. The rapid expansion of the foreign workforce. there has been the remarkable collaboration between trade unions and employers unheard of in Western economies. Workers’ Welfare and Industrial Peace Tripartism A strong pillar of industrial peace and competitiveness in Singapore is an unusually effective tripartism amongst the National Trades Union . Nevertheless. have yet to breed a culture of risk-taking. This shortfall has been more than made up by a large influx of temporary foreign workers and talents.207 - . No labour strike has occurred in Singapore since 1977. As with all countries which have arrived at First World living standards. especially in recent years. without whom the country’s rapid economic growth would have been impossible. though well qualified educationally.1 Singapore Workforce and Welfare Singapore’s national educational system has yielded dividends in nurturing English-speaking workers with a good background of science and mathematics. Singapore’s birth rate has fallen below the replacement level. It is of concern too that Singaporeans. entrepreneurship.

Though communist influence declined. However. This call did not fall on deaf ears. Times Media Pte Ltd. charging the union leaders for calling an illegal strike and deregistering the union. In the late 1940s to 1960s. the tripartite made a call to companies who were out of the trough to consider giving moderate wage increases or one off bonuses to their employees for sacrifices made in the past year during the global economic crisis.210 Tripartism had been implemented in Western European countries soon after the Second World War. the government took swift action. and the government. Thus. despite this. Against the background of exploitation of workers in industrialised countries then. the British government brought in advisers from the British Trade Union Congress. communist-controlled unions engineered innumerable strikes. In 1967. causing havoc to employers and the government. with the support 210 211 Tripatism. ilo. in November 2009. had a long history dating from its formation in 1919 as part of the Treaty of Versailles following World War l. labour strikes continue to be a regular feature in Europe until today. The tripartite system.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Congress (NTUC).211 In 1968. the bedrock of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). amid emerging signs of a recovery of Singapore’s economy. To counteract communist influence. British-style trade unionism made unsustainable demands. the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF). From Third World to First: The Singapore Story. following a union call for a wildcat strike over a dispute which had been referred to the Industrial Arbitration Court. 2000. 1965-2000.org/global Lee Kuan Yew. . the sentiment was that universal and lasting peace could only be accomplished if it is based on social justice. The evolution of tripartism in Singapore grew out of the then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s handling of confrontational labour activities in the early years of independence.208 - .

pmo. NTUC run cooperatives in supermarkets.Singapore and Asia of the newly formed National Trades Union Congress (NTUC). The forum also recommended the Skilled Programme for Upgrading and Resilience (SPUR).213 Over the years. whose decision is final and binding. health and other insurance. and forging consensus. tripartism has built up trust and understanding between workers. When a dispute arises and negotiation between unions and employers fails. a job credit system subsidising up to 12 per cent of an employee’s wage saved jobs.edu/economy . 2007. generating ideas. In 2007. This reorganisation in bringing in wider leadership from the unions. the Industrial Relations Act and the Trades Disputes Act were amended. In the 2008-2009 economic downturn. A secret ballot has to be conducted before a trade union calls for industrial action. tripartism in Singapore was enlarged into a Singapore Tripartism Forum. and this has yielded additional profits for workers. conciliation by the Ministry of Manpower kicks in at the request of either party.insead. through the forum’s recommendations. the dispute is brought to the Industrial Arbitration Court. Singapore’s strong labour relation has contributed to its ranking as the third-most 212 213 Lee Hsien Loong. employers. Workers’ welfare has been enhanced by corporatism of the NTUC. transportation.209 - .212 Thus.Knowledge. the forum has made recommendations for increasing the retirement age of workers. and the government. A symbiotic relation between NTUC and the ruling party has since been built up. If there is still no resolution. www. and government has been more effective in raising issues. which funds 90 per cent of training fees of workers and absentee payrolls. Henceforth. www. employers.sg Cho Karen. all strikes to certain essential services were banned.gov. as well as recreation resorts. Devan Nair (who later became President of Singapore) had organised the NTUC from the non-communist unions after the left-leaning PAP members quit and formed the Barisan Socialist Party.

2009.e.214 National Wage Council In 1972.489 in 2007—i. representatives from workers. Workers’ interests are also expressed through appointment of union leaders to statutory boards and committees on social and economic issues.44 in the 1990s to 0. and government set up the National Wage Council (NWC). Yacob H. tripartism had established wage councils.215 Workfare A minimal wage system developed in the West seems just but may not be sustainable during a recession. For much of the twentieth century in Britain.216 214 215 216 2009.000 workers. Singapore wages are kept at a competitive global market value.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI competitive economy behind the USA and Hong Kong in the World Competitiveness Yearbook. Straits Times. greater inequality.. A rising GINI coefficient has been a feature of the most globalised economies such as Singapore. 2007. the excessive demands of a minimum wage system caused widespread unemployment in Western countries. the average income for Singapore families for the bottom decile grew 3-4 per cent while the topmost decile grew 6-11 per cent.200 per month. Piketty T. The GINI coefficient has been progressively increasing from 0. and the United States. As a consequence. May 15. November 12. management. about 300. Recommendations are not binding and in principle link wage adjustments to productivity. IMD World Competitiveness Year Book. Thus in the 2007-2009 crises. The Singapore NWC has not set a minimal wage but makes recommendations on yearly adjustments of salary and benefits for workers at all levels across the country. Newsweek. 2008. resulting in a significant rise of within country inequality in the past decade. regulating the minimal rates of pay and conditions of employment in low wage industries.. a substantial 20 per cent of Singapore citizens. Hong Kong. .210 - . earn less than S$1. Between 2005 and 2007.

211 - 219 .481 in 2008. Along with all other employees in Singapore. campaigned by Civil Rights leader James Evers in 1968. Canada. ‘CPF 55th Anniversary’. the compulsory CPF contribution in Singapore which has varied over the years from 30 per cent to 40 per cent of wages has allowed the government to build up a substantial nest egg for investment. members’ cash balance amounted to $172. In 1955. with proportional contribution by employers. June 8. the pension scheme does not appear to be sustainable. civil servants now make compulsory deposits to a central provident fund. and Australia217. The pension scheme has over the years been withdrawn. In implementing the Workfare Income Supplement Scheme (WIS). 2009. Straits Times. Straits Times. has caught on in the United States.218 The Workfare Training Support Scheme (WTS) provides incentives for low wage workers to train and upgrade their skills for increased employability. The social security of old age pension puts the burden on the future generation. Central Provident Fund (CPF) and Social Safety Net Under the colonial administration. July 4.1 billion. In 2010. On the other hand. Singapore civil servants were paid an old age pension on retirement.1b Boost for the Needy’. borne by a declining working population. 2010. . the colonial government set up the Central Provident Fund (CPF) as a social security system for workers. Wikipedia Chia Sue-Ann.219 The CPF has provided capital for the Housing 217 218 Workfare. With an increasingly ageing population and low birth rate. Singapore government aid to low wage earners totalling $1. bringing it down to 0.1 billion has arrested the Gini hike.Singapore and Asia Workfare as an alternative to conventional social welfare. in the British tradition. Increasing budget deficits in Western countries have been overstretched by generous welfare and old age pension. ‘Income Gap Narrows with 1.

which continues until today. April 3. The American dream has depended on a steady inflow of talent and immigrant workers. 2010. faces the problem of population decline and an ageing population. education. 220 Vivian Balakrishan (Minister for Community Development. Prosperous Singapore.220 Dependence on Foreign Talents and Workers A country’s success is closely linked to its talent pool and the productivity of its workers. The rapid decline in birth rate was expedited by the overly successful campaigns in the 1960s and 1970s preaching that ‘two is enough’.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Development Board to build subsidised homes for 80 per cent of the population. and even in specified stock market companies. with a fertility rate of 1. reversal mortgage schemes for HDB apartments. Straits Times. Disincentives such as being last in the queue for admission into schools of choice for the third and subsequent children contrasted to privileges of getting into the front queue for children whose mother had undergone sterilisation after the birth of the second child. A number of steps have been taken to redress this shortfall. To cover health care costs of the poor and aged. A proportion of the CPF savings can be used by the contributors to pay towards housing loan. It has recently been highlighted that the CPF personal savings. A newly introduced scheme in 2009—‘CPF Life’—shares the risks of longevity.2 and an expanding economy. though helpful. Pooling of CPF contributions requires a smaller minimum sum for each contributor to receive a fixed monthly allowance until death. ensuring universal health care. Singapore with an excellent health care service has one of the fastest ageing populations. .212 - . would not be adequate as an old age fund. Medifund from social welfare kicks in. and even enacting laws enforcing support of aged parents. These include increasing the retirement age. medical expenditure. Youth and Sports). ‘Keeping the Social Net Strong’. should the Medisave component of the CPF and its insured Medishield prove insufficient.

213 - . According to MM Lee. July 12. a number of top Singapore 221 222 Lee B. and adaptability to venture to distant lands in search of opportunities. amongst the 18000 scientists working in Singapore’s lavishly equipped research centres. Employment pass holders are generally graduates. With an expanding economy. With strong commitment and funding.Singapore and Asia Singapore leaders are also seriously concerned that one in four of its top A-level students yearly chooses to work overseas after their studies. half are foreigners. The foreign talents include a number of Americans. and Japanese. Some have become permanent residents and citizens. Straits Times.’222 How this is to be accomplished could be causing sleepless nights. 2008. Singapore could reasonably hope to evolve a culture of research and innovation which would propel it into the ranks of a First World knowledge-based economy. Goh Chin Lian. ‘Like wild geese that migrate each fall. strength. They will slowly influence the migrants to become like us. steeped with the culture and instincts of what a Singaporean is. the Singapore workforce has been heavily fortified by foreign talent and workers. who run the MNCs or work as academics and researchers. But when spring returns. In 2002.’221 To counter brain drain. A recently hatched plan is to offer partial scholarships for Singapore undergraduates who had privately enrolled at good universities abroad.. and they widen the talent pool of Singapore. June 28. brain drain is the biggest problem facing Singapore. Europeans. Currently. Straits Times. ‘You need 65 per cent of the population to be born and bred Singaporeans. 2009. young Singaporeans should be equipped with the courage. Deep Roots’. Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong urged schools to inculcate the development of deep roots and strong wings. a price for educating Singaporeans to the best of world standards. . Singapore can ill afford this haemorrhage. they will come back as this is their home. The Singapore government has also found it beneficial to harness the expertise of specially invited intellectuals in its numerous international advisory panels. ‘Wanted: Strong Wings.

000 domestic helpers who free Singapore women to join the economy. This has been one of the main grouses of the electorate in the recent 2011 General Election. India. Singapore’s labour productivity (measured in terms of output per employee) lags significantly behind that of the US. More than a million temporary migrants are in Singapore on work permit. France. Hong Kong. . has to rely on temporary migrant workers from the less developed Southeast Asian countries like China.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI company executives and three of the four presidents (and president designates) of Singapore universities are expatriates. Temporary Foreign Workers and Productivity Cities throughout East Asia because of globalisation and new technology have been rapidly industrialising. A constant net inflow of foreign talent is necessary for a country’s rapid development. Bangladesh. However. drawing workers from their hinterland. Productivity has been particularly dismal in the construction sector which depends largely on poorly skilled and transient migrant workers. Since 2006. and Sri Lanka.214 - . They provide essential labour for construction. Norway. driving down wages of low-skilled workers. In recent years. To continue to draw in talents. Singapore must be able to compete with countries like the USA in remuneration. working conditions. and quality living. shipyards. cleaning services and include 190. in 2009 one-third of the three million workers were foreigners. the service industries in Singapore have also suffered from lack of basic conversational English amongst migrant workers. and stalling productivity. there has been an increasing inflow of these migrant workers into Singapore. the accelerated arrival of low-skilled workers in recent years has been detrimental in causing social problems. without a rural hinterland. While foreign workers in 2004 constituted a quarter of the Singapore workforce. Singapore. and Taiwan.

Au Yong Jeremy and Oon Clarissa. Straits Times. Li Xueying & Cassandra Chew. November 30. and cleaners would one day ‘be the best in the world’. ‘What PM Lee Would Have Done Differently’. productivity has risen annually by about 0. Singapore’s security guards. gardeners. .226 223 Fiona Chan.000-300. ‘If we had known how quickly the pace of change would accelerate and how much our people would be under pressure from globalisation . At the same time.224 Labour Chief Lim Swee Say announced recently that the 200. July 3.’ While the continuing education and training programme to promote lifelong training can be traced to 1973. . . Straits Times. From negative production growth in the 1990s. ‘ESC Panel Offers Ideas on Productivity’. 2010. after the Workforce Development (WDA) was set up in 2003. 2010. 2009. Straits Times. ‘Declining Productivity Here a Problem’. we would have put more resources in .225 Asked recently in a CNN interview on how Singapore might have fared better. . The new measures taken have targeted an increased productivity growth to 2-3 per cent annually. five or ten years earlier. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong replied. .215 - 224 225 226 . productivity has been fostered by multiple schemes and incentives for all workers to upgrade skills and for employers to use labour-saving technology. ‘What Ails Singapore’s buildings?’. October 21.000 low wage earners until now not receiving enough attention will have their capability and adaptability upgraded.7 per cent. Hopefully. steps taken such as an increase in levy on employers and raising skill requirements would reduce immigrant numbers. March 13. 2010. Straits Times.223 The government has agreed that while Singapore will continue to admit immigrant workers. it made inroads in a big way only in recent years.Singapore and Asia A restriction of immigrant workers would be welcome and could act as an incentive for companies to take steps to raise the productivity of a smaller pool of workers available. Chan Francis.

In the 2010 address to the nation. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recounted Bill Gates’ little secret that the majority of top Microsoft researchers have unpronounceable non-Caucasian names. Achieving it requires Singaporeans to have a robust spirit of creativity.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Growing a Singapore Culture of Creativity and Entrepreneurship Singapore’s next level of development into a truly First World economy is perhaps the biggest ever challenge facing the Singapore government and Singaporeans. and confidence on top of hard work ethics and ability to sponge up new information.216 - . This gives hope that Singapore government’s unrelenting efforts such as tweaking the education system and the emergence of a modern Singapore hybrid civilisation embracing the best characteristics of the West and East would eventually pay dividends. . entrepreneurship.

227 227 Leow Si Wan. has been invaluable in the rapid development of Singapore into a global business. Education in achieving holistic development of school children would ‘develop their physical robustness. English. Importantly. Singapore’s educational system is currently incorporating a more rounded liberal approach in the best American tradition.217 - . economic. Whilst historically steeped in the British model and to some extent Confucian rote learning. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong spoke on changes that would give students more choices to maximise their potential. they are imaginative and they know who they are—I am a Singaporean’. the adoption of English as the first language of Singapore has fostered social cohesion in its multiracial and multilingual population. ‘Seven More Schools to Offer IP’. . 2010. enhance their personal and cultural and social identity so that they are fit. financial. they are confident. In the 2010 National Day Rally address to the nation. August 30. together with emphasis on science and mathematics. which hopefully would lead to improved oral skills and creative thinking. and educational hub.2 The Relentless Pursuit of Education Singapore’s educational system has been instrumental in its rapid progress. Straits Times.

Using this line of thought.228 A primary objective of its national education policy has been to streamline the educational process for all citizens. and to be aware of their own existence merely as part of that of the state’. irrespective of race or family background. has been in place since Singapore’s independence.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Singapore’s National Education Policy A national educational system. this question evoked intense emotions and conflict in multiracial Singapore. As pragmatic colonialists. as was the practice in many newly independent countries. the question was whether English should be replaced by one or more of the local languages. Chinese education had 228 Mortimer J. 1990. Adler. As expected. Encyclopedia Britannica. who could then man the lower rungs of government administration. had adopted Bahasa Malaysia (Malay) as the national language. This had the support of Rousseau. the British provided an English-medium education to the Eurasians and some locals. who opined that the object of education is to assure that citizens are ‘early accustomed to regard their individuality only in relation to the body of the state. At the dusk of colonial rule.218 - . . Malaysia. This has helped overcome divisions created by the system of monolingual schools in British Malaya and Singapore. In the teaching of English. At independence. financed by the state. Primacy of English English had always been the administrative language of British Singapore. Great Books of the Western World: The Syntopicon l. USA. with a Malay majority. the majority Chinese felt that there was a legitimate claim for greater usage of Chinese (Mandarin) in Singapore. the government was well supported by various denominations of Christian missionary schools competing to spread the Word.

and the Barisan Socialis party. on the other hand. Donations had come not only from philanthropists and successful businessmen but also from all Chinese-speaking strata of society. Besides the difficulty in maintaining academic standards. including the most humble trishaw riders. it did not make diplomatic sense for Singapore to stand out as a bastion for Chinese language and culture. Mastery of the language. Singapore. . However. conscious of the sensitivities of Malay millions in Malaysia and Indonesia. The enterprise had been a unifying force and a great source of pride for the Chinese people. could drive Singapore towards modernisation and global commerce. Singapore Prime Minister’s Office. Report of the Nanyang University Curriculum Review Committee (Wang Gungwu Report).Singapore and Asia been strongly boosted by the establishment of a private Nanyang University in Singapore. playing field for common neutral Furthermore. Report on University Education in Singapore. in aligning with the Anglo-Saxon civilisation. 1979. surmounts boundaries in being the language of science. English. It took tough political actions and two academic commissions—the Wang Gunnyu229 and the Dainton230—before the dispute over Nanyang was settled. The conversion of the arts-orientated Chinese University into the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) achieved the double aims of replacing Mandarin by English as the medium of instruction 229 1965. this expansion of Chinese education presented new challenges. technology. The PAP government with an English-educated leadership had a different vision of education in They held that it was important to have a level all racial groups by providing education through a language—English. which had split from the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP). There was thus then a centre for tertiary Chinese education for Singapore and Malaya. communists. Nanyang stirred up a political hornet’s nest with strong support from Chinese communalists. and multiracial nation building. Sir Frederick Dainton. and commerce.219 - 230 . Nanyang University.

Currently. at the first level.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI and in re-directing education towards science and technology. Minister of Education Ng Eng Hin elaborated that just as with other school subjects. 2009. Bilingualism Meanwhile. Teaching methodology would move away from tedious rote learning to conversational skills and a fun approach through charades. MM Lee recently conceded that Chinese lessons have been pitched at too difficult a level and ‘successive generations of students paid a heavy price because of my ignorance’. a new initiative introduced in 2004 was the Bicultural Studies 231 Goh Chin Lian. university admission imposed a minimum requirement of pass at the second level in the mother tongue. The top Chinese schools were converted into Special Assist Plan (SAP) schools which taught Mandarin. Henceforth. digital games. November 22. And as English is effectively the first language. the teaching of mother tongue needs to be ability driven and customised. all schools taught English at the first level and mother tongue at the second level. This state-imposed metamorphosis of a privately established Chinese university into the NTU completed Singapore’s transition to a common national educational system. ‘OK to Use English to Teach Chinese’. As an incentive for bilingualism.220 - . along with English. Initially aimed at creating a Singapore population effectively bilingual with English and mother tongue. 27 per cent of O-level candidates take higher Chinese language. more than double the number five years ago. Straits Times. . in place of various monolingual schools. Mindful of the necessity to continue to engage with Asia. bilingualism was implemented in all Singapore schools. and online portals. interest in mastering mandarin has palpably increased in recent years. ‘it is OK to use English to teach Chinese (to Singapore Chinese)’!231 Yet with the rise of China.

‘Help Every Child Go as Far as Possible’. this dumping down of examinations has resulted in a decline in the literacy league tables. the level of academic achievement was accessed by an eleven plus streaming examination. . through a deep understanding of the cultures of people of these countries. ‘Primed to Bridge East and West’. 2009. The programme hopes to raise groups of young Singaporeans who.221 - 233 234 .know-britain. which is becoming English speaking. November 20. and the Middle East on immersion trips.232 Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recently emphasised. December 4. ‘We want to succeed at mother tongue because it is critical to Singapore—not just economically. www. Grammar schools were for the academic achievers. In secondary school. India.’ He explained that the desired result is to maintain a level of proficiency in Chinese and other mother tongues for the whole population. 2009. Education in England. Britain’s tripartite system has largely been replaced by the more popular comprehensive school which does not require an entrance examination. Secondary modern schools provided for a general education. competing for placement in the tripartite system of secondary education. while secondary technical schools prepared students for a career in technical skills. Straits Times. would generate ties benefitting Singapore. pupils are ‘streamed’ and ‘set’ according to learning ability. Chua Chin Hon.234 Unfortunately. How to effectively teach Chinese to English-speaking students continues to evolve in Singapore. with one in five pupils leaving 232 Cai Haoxiang. but also to our sense of identity and who we are as Singaporeans and as Asians in a globalised world.com. these students are sent to China.233 Maximising Student Potential through Streaming In Britain after the Second World War. Straits Times.Singapore and Asia Programme (BSP) to groom core groups of bilingual Singaporeans who could be culturally at ease with both the West and rising Asia. In recent years. Nevertheless.

mother tongue. ‘Primary Education’. Nevertheless.235 Primary education in Singapore was only made compulsory in 2003. and science) into a four-year express stream from a five-year normal stream in secondary school.222 - . The twelve plus streaming examination has been retained. Augmenting ‘Hard’ Knowledge with ‘Soft’ Skills Singapore pupils consistently rank in world mathematics competitions. It separates the more academic successful (in English. . and this has led some to believe that this could be related to the Singapore approach of teaching in instilling fundamental basics combined with reformist conceptual understanding. The Economist. There is also a small elitist ‘gifted class’ with a special programme in secondary school though there has so far been no convincing data of greater success in later life amongst the ‘gifted’. A new initiative has been to have more options for normal stream students. December 13-19. mathematics. and this could be counter-productive. It is expected that the US National Advisory Panel would issue mathematics reforms that in many ways mirror the Singapore curriculum. California recently included Singapore textbooks on its list of state-approved texts. A third stream is of technical schools. US kids using Singapore’s texts have performed well. including direct entry to a foundation year at polytechnics after obtaining good results in the N level examination after four years in the normal stream. there is a general impression that Singapore schoolchildren work hard. meritocracy is practiced early through grades achieved at school. In a society which traditionally values learning. The pressure for good grades is felt not only by the children 235 2008. There is concern that the 2008 review of British primary schooling would yet be another step towards content-less learning.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI primary school unable to read and write effectively. perhaps too hard at rote learning.

A century later the madrasah was founded in Cairo in Egypt. missionary Christian. 2010. have continued to play an important part in primary and secondary education of Singaporeans. and teach the national curriculum. whether the tendency for rote learning has dampened the spirit of inquiry is a moot point. and endpoint in examination—e. set up in British Singapore. pushing for the cultivation of ‘soft’ life skills. presently the Al-Azhar University. Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen is impressed with Singapore’s ability to achieve extremely good results in a very cost-effective way with its students’ high scores in ‘hard’ knowledge.g. They are now locally staffed. ‘independent’ schools have been given some leeway in educational approach. ‘Denmark and S’pore Can Share Best of Both Worlds’. Morocco. Religious educational institutions had been a feature of Islamic civilisation since its foundation in 859 of the first madrasah in Fas. Receiving religious instruction is voluntary and conducted after school hours.223 - . He hopes that both countries can share the best of both worlds by learning from each other. Straits Times. The Singapore student is comfortable in building up a core of knowledge and is proud of his grades earned in the process. all state-subsidised. or Islamic schools (madrasahs). Private tutors make a good living in Singapore. Denmark probably has the most expensive primary school system in the world. choice in curriculum. International Baccalaureate instead of the usual advanced level conducted by Cambridge. To encourage diversity. Christian missionary schools.236 Religious Education There is freedom regarding choice in attending state secular schools. A rounded education starts from primary school. . 236 Durai Jennani. However.Singapore and Asia but also by their teachers and especially mums. March 9.

Karayawan. an attempt was made to teach morality through compulsory religious knowledge courses in all secondary schools. clerics. rivalry in evangelism stirred up religious conflict. Past. Unexpectedly for the government. enrolment for Confucian studies was disappointedly low. This overdue reform would hopefully gradually upgrade academic achievements of Muslims to that of Christians in missionary schools.237 In the 1980s. In addition to the main religions. the limited instruction in secular subjects handicaps Muslims from further education and in gainful employment. Confucianism was included in the courses offered. Recent reforms in the curriculum in the madrasahs could help to some extent in correcting this anomaly. Present and Future’. 9. 237 Yang Razali Kassim. and scholars. Educationally. However. Reforms made to increase the teaching of secular subjects has enabled the first batch of madrasah students to sit for the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) along with all other Singapore children in national schools. the close identification of the Malay population with Islam created complexities in assimilating Malays into the national school system. 2008. ‘Remodeling the Madrasah in Singapore. July.224 - . The initiative was thus withdrawn. because of a different value system from the majority Chinese and Indians. instead of fostering the desired effect. While madrasahs have served its religious role as a training ground for religious teachers. Malay Muslims have been lagging behind in education and in the economy. there were 4000 students in six madrasahs where the curriculum is largely Koran-based and taught in Arabic. In 1999.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Singapore’s first madrasah was founded in 1907 at a time when madrasahs in the Islamic world were integrating mathematics and science into their curriculum. . Furthermore.

the figure is 25 per cent in 2010 and expected to rise to 30 per cent in 2020. Singapore).239 Without sacrificing 238 ‘Trends in Global Higher Education: Tracing an Academic Revolution’. University education continued to be elitist until the post-war years when wealthy United States took the lead in the massification of higher education. The rapid expansion of higher education occurred in Western Europe and Japan in the 1980s. www.Singapore and Asia Post-secondary School Education The first universities in Europe a millennium ago were founded for the elite to serve God and King. 2009/Global Reports. Scientific and Cultural Organization. Globally. the age-cohort enrolled in tertiary education has increased from 19 per cent in 2000 to 26 per cent in 2007.238 Singapore has responded competitively to this wave of change. .unesco/Education/WCHE 239 Teo Chee Hean (Minister of Defense. Shangrila Hotel. 2007. achieving 40 per cent of the cohort in post-secondary education in 1960.225 - . While 5 per cent of the cohort in 1980 and 15 per cent of the cohort in 1990 had a place in a Singapore university. Massification has been driven by the shift from the industrial economy to the service and knowledge economy. It is a tribute to Anglo-Saxon love of learning that the two oldest universities in the English-speaking world. October 11. Oxford and Cambridge. founded in 1096 and 1209 have until today maintained their pole ranking in the world. Together with students at Singapore’s five polytechnics. followed by emerging countries in East Asia and Latin America and currently in the most populous countries of China and India. ‘Enterprise and Education—Will Providing More Places in Higher Education Mean Less Entrepreneurship?’ Entrepreneur of the Year 2007 Award. A further 25 per cent acquire high-quality technical education at the Institute of Technical Education. United Nations Educational. about 60 per cent of Singapore students have higher education. Another 10 per cent or so study abroad.

TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI quality. To provide better opportunities for intellectual. The over reliance of Singapore on transient migrant labour and low work productivity suggests that there is some urgency in beefing up the educational sector for technical skills training. design. and cultural interaction amongst students. USA) and the joint PhD degrees between NTU and Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet in biomedical science. It is hoped that these graduates would beef up medical research in Singapore.226 - . social. A new initiative has been the School of Science and Technology which bridges technology with secondary school academic subjects. set up in 1992. ITE also functions as the national authority for setting standards and the certification of skills in Singapore. was ranked by Time’s Higher Education as thirtieth in the world. Universities The National University of Singapore NUS). NUS has started a university town . Technical Education and Polytechnics Singapore’s five polytechnics train middle-level professionals to support the technological and economic development of Singapore. They also provide continuing education and post employment development programmes for technicians. Students have more hands-on learning in business skills. media. Singapore is on track in maximising the human capital of its citizens through education. The Institute of Technical Education (ITE). while the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) was within the first hundred. has taken over the functions of the Vocational and Industrial Training Board. with its colonial origin in the King Edward Vll College of Medicine in 1905. and environmental science and technology. Amongst the many collaborations with renowned universities are the NUS-Dukes University MD-PhD programme (NUS is the second medical school in collaboration with the Dukes University of North Carolina.

. November 13. Sandra Davie. Its current focus is on academic growth. offering SU students to test designs and technologies in one of the fastest growing regions in China. Straits Times. the Ministry of Education in 2005 set out the target to get one in two university students to have at least one overseas experience whether in community work or exchange programme—and this has been on track. polytechnics. providing a first-rate technology and design education. November 24.240 The Singapore Management University has within a decade grown into a mid-sized management university. 2009. and the two established universities. Zhejiang province is primarily driven by private enterprises. believes that SU could in ten to twenty years become one of the world’s foremost universities. academics specialising in different but related disciplines working closer together in clusters have facilitated answers to important questions.227 - 241 242 . Straits Times.Singapore and Asia modelled on the residential colleges of Oxbridge. Professor Magnanti. particularly on research and postgraduates to add to the pool of talent in Singapore. Similarly.241 In addition to the partnership of MIT. Peh Shing Huei. groups of Singapore and foreign students brainstorm on topics of global importance from an Asian perspective. modelled after the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). November 4. SU’s second partner will be the Zhejiang University. The rise of 240 Cheong Suk-Wai. ranked third in China. is expected to be strongly enhanced with the setting up in 2011 of the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SU). who will assume presidency of SU. ‘Cambridge of the Orient: Exploring New Frontier’. 2009. ‘An MIT for Singapore’. 2009. Design education. and Harvard universities. Stanford. During the college year. former Dean of Engineering at MIT. ‘Striving to Make NUS World-class’. currently provided in art schools.242 Education is closely attuned to jobs and the economy. Straits Times. in the NUS. To foster a global outlook and connections.

Curtin University from Western Australia which has been running programmes with local partners since the 1980s set up a campus in 2008. Business schools offering MBA include the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. offers a master in fine arts in animation. a subsidiary of Technische Universitat Munchen. there are more than 2. along with Qatar and the UAE. Singapore. while the Tisch School of the Arts Asia.228 - . and the SP Jain Centre of Management. and film production.5 million students enrolled in higher learning institutions away from home. . public universities. stands out as an example in promoting internationalisation by welcoming prominent university branch campuses and inter-institutional partnerships for the benefit of local students as well as for becoming educational hubs. offers joint postgraduate MSc courses with NUS and NTU. foreign students also study at the branch campus of foreign universities in Singapore. Harral Hotel College of the University of Nevada Las Vegas conducts courses leading to a BSc in hotel administration and a master’s degree in hospitality administration. from the New York University School of Arts.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI China has prompted placement of increasing numbers of Singapore undergraduates as exchange students in Chinese universities. Digi Pen Institute of Technology of Washington offers BS in real-time Interactive stimulation. Globally. offering degree courses in accounting. ESSEC Business School of Paris. The German Institute of Science and Technology. In addition to admission to Singapore’s schools. digital arts. and marketing. Insead Business School of Paris. and there is free movement of countless scholars as well as mega ‘open’ universities and distance learning through the Internet. UNLV. management. An Educational Hub The massification and globalisation of education has provided opportunities for Singapore to develop into an educational hub. dramatic writing. and polytechnics.

The Management Development Institute of Singapore (MIDS). with the benefits of being a vehicle of modernisation. Intrinsic to globalisation is a free flow of talent! . Singapore Students Abroad At the same time. many Singapore students. but now increasingly in the United States and China. and to all these universities. The large number of foreign students in Singapore stood out as a favourable factor in its ranking as a global city. Malaysia. to the dismay of the Singapore government. the Republic of Singapore owes the education of many of their founding fathers and present and future leaders. India. English as the first language of Singapore. also carries a costly price. However. most frequently in Britain and Australia in the past. opened its first overseas campus in Tashkent. Many have excelled in Oxbridge and other top universities. some of Singapore’s brightest have not returned. seek undergraduate and postgraduate degrees abroad. Ironically. and Vietnam.Singapore and Asia In 2008 a private Singapore school. and some of them stay on and become citizens. Singapore has become an educational hub for foreign students.229 - . commerce. and nation building. MIDS plans to open four more campuses in China. as a joint venture with Uzbekistan Banking Association. as in the past.

000 life births in the United States and eighty years and 5 per 1. These figures compare favourably with the corresponding seventy-eight years and 6 per 1. holistic practice of medicine. The Singapore health care system not only looks after its growing population but also serves as a referral centre for the region. Currently. 2). Straits Times.000 life-births in the United Kingdom. besides expanding its role as a medical tourist hub. and biotechnology (see Part Five. September 12.243 Singapore’s health care costs are however much lower than that in the USA and Britain. Singapore’s sophisticated medical and health service has been modelled on the British system of medical education and practice. 243 2009. a medical school recognised by the General Medical Council of Britain since 1915. .000 life births. and a postgraduate educational and examination system closely linked with British universities and the Royal Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons.230 - . Invaluable British legacy include a sound public health system. Singapore is positioning itself to join the First World in medical research and in the manufacture of drugs.3 Keeping Singapore Healthy and More The 2009 WHO statistics show that Singapore’s life expectancy at birth is eighty-one years and infant mortality is 2 per 1. biologics. Los Angeles Times. ‘What ails the American Health care system’.

and unhygienic street hawking. `July 28. 2010. ‘A New “Ying Yang” Breed of Medical Graduates’. Pain clinics in state-subsidised hospitals have amongst their staff Chinese physicians with expertise in acupuncture. To bridge the gap between Western and Eastern medicine.244 Public Health—Control of Infectious Diseases Public health made a big stride when the newly independent government declared war against poor personal hygienic habits such as spitting and smoking. decent housing. has been controlled by vaccination at birth. The eradication of slums and kampongs and the massive re-housing of 80 per cent of the nation has made piped water and water closets available to everybody and eradicated water-borne diseases.231 - .Singapore and Asia Nevertheless. The provision of BCG vaccination at birth. 244 Durai Jennani. Straits Times. Regulation of qualification and standards of care of Chinese physicians have been stepped up. despite its advanced modern health care system. The big clean-up campaign removed the breeding ground of houseflies and mosquitoes and sources of water pollution. Hepatitis B. especially for minor ailments and when modern medicine disappoints. The programme involves a three-year course in the biomedical sciences. A novel double degree programme at the National Technological University in 2010 graduated its first batch of fifty-nine traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) physicians. and improved hospital treatment has contributed to the control of tuberculosis. a new breed of Chinese sinsehs is being produced. . there is still a clientele for traditional Chinese medicine and herbs. Similarly. health education. which are periodically inspected. Hawkers have been re-sited to sanitary food centres. a precursor of liver cirrhosis and cancer which is common in Asia. followed by two years training in TCM at BUCM in China. indiscriminate disposal of refuse and industrial waste.

has been identified in the Singapore population. has increased marginally. and an expanding non-smoking public space. Chikungunya. Current treatment is purely supportive. Healthy Lifestyle The war against lifestyle diseases has been winning through education. and there is a need to develop effective drugs for treatment and spread of this occasionally fatal disease. though fine wine is capturing the imagination of well heeled Singaporeans. and punitive measures. The recent rise in incidence of these diseases raises the possibility of increased mosquito breeding with the recent warmer weather in Singapore.232 - . and the rate of smoking in young adults has fallen to 20 per cent. Prostitution is legal. which carries a prison sentence. were effectively controlled by prompt and sustained health care measures with WHO collaboration. which is co-chaired by Nobel Laureate Sydney Brenner. HIV numbers. largely through heterosexual transmission. campaigns. As a result of banning of tobacco advertisement. There is zero tolerance for drunken driving.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Singapore has for some years been free from malaria although the ubiquitous mosquito continues to be a nuisance and a vector for dengue fever. though no case of prosecution against this offence has been brought up. Alcohol has not played a big role in local lifestyle. another viral disease endemic in Southeast Asia. Is this another effect of global warming? The SARS and swine variant of H1N1 influenza pandemic in 2003 and 2009. . Technology and Research. Dengue is the subject of a research grant from the Singapore Agency for Science. but a recent attempt to decriminalise homosexuality failed. Recently. respectively. The vector for this viral disease is the Aedes mosquito which breeds in small collections of water in roof gutters and around the house. The disease has symptoms similar to dengue and is self-limiting. smoking has not become fashionable. high tobacco tax.

Overweight women seek help at slimming centres. has perhaps made an undeletable imprint on the Chinese psyche. Globally. often in collaboration with the Edinburgh Colleges. Obese enlistees undergo an additional eight weeks of Basic Military Training. Specialist doctors all undergo stringent training and pass higher examinations conducted by the specialist boards of the Royal Colleges in Britain and Australasia. Nevertheless. such as diabetes mellitus at a lower body mass index (BMI). and there is practically no waiting list for elective surgery even for the poorest Singaporean. Medical Education and Standards of Health Care The standard of medical care is world class in expertise and availability of technology. obesity in the yearly 20. In the past three decades. Largely because of drug trafficking offenses. marking the descent of Chinese society. Asians have less tolerance to obesity and suffer complications of the metabolic syndrome. Drug trafficking carries the death penalty both in Singapore and China. The National University of Singapore Yong Loo Lin medical faculty (and its predecessor King Edward Vll College of Medicine in British .233 - . the National University of Singapore School of Postgraduate Education also conducts these examinations. the most widespread substance abuse is food.2% in 1990 to 10% currently. focusing on weight loss and physical fitness. However.Singapore and Asia The ‘Opium War’ in 1840. Singapore has one of the highest execution rates per unit population in the world. School canteens have reduced the sweet content of drinks.000 National service enlistees has been increasing---from 4. and overweight children undergo designated ‘Fit and Trim’ (FAT) sessions. The management of Singapore public and private hospitals is certified periodically by the American Joint Commission International (JCI). starting at 27 kg/metre2. which have a thriving business. Obesity is by no means as big a problem as in other prosperous countries.

TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Singapore) has for a century been the sole centre for medical education in Singapore. the approved list covers a wider range of universities in Asia and the United States. 2010. ‘150 Undergrads a Year at Imperial College-NTU’s Medical School’. In 2009.234 - . Singapore has a long history of being a net importer of medical personnel. . Thus a third medical school is being planned in the Nanyang Technological University as a tie-up with London’s Imperial College. As part of its strategy to beef up medical research scientists. are now seeking out training R&D stints in the USA. 200 foreign doctors were hired. August 30. it is hoped that some of this creativeness would rub on to Singaporeans. There has thus been a steady expansion of medical education in Singapore with the Yong Loo Lin medical faculty reaching its maximum of 300 student intakes in 2011 and the Dukes-NUS Graduate Medical School admitting fifty-six students in 2009. especially in postgraduate training and research. who previously headed for Britain and Australia. independent Singapore finds aspects of the American model appealing. Straits Times. mainly from Britain and the Commonwealth. the University of Singapore has started a second medical school in a joint MD-PHD programme with the US Dukes University. Health Care Financing The 2009 WHO statistics show that indicators of health care standards such as life expectancy at birth and infant mortality rate in Singapore are comparable with those in Britain and the United 245 Heng Janice. Although much of the British linkage in medical education remains. Specialists in training. The Singapore medical fraternity of Singaporeans and foreigners includes graduates from a periodically reviewed list of foreign universities. This falls far short of Singapore’s needs with its expanding and ageing population and aspirations to be a medical hub.245 As the strength of the Imperial College is an innovation of medical and surgical technology. More recently.

At the same time forty million uninsured Americans receive sub-optimal medical care.Singapore and Asia States.235 - 247 . which has drained money from education.719 for the United States and $3. It has been suggested that the United States can get pointers from Singapore’s healthcare system. the US figure is an unsustainable 17 per cent. has resulted in defensive medicine and very high cost health insurance. through insurance 246 2009. Straits Times. March 5. Los Angeles Times. ‘What Ails the American Health Care System’. research in clean energy. Washington Post. At press time. State-run outpatient polyclinics and restructured hospitals are funded on a co-payment scheme. could necessitate more taxpayers’ money and understandably has been resisted by the Republicans.332 for the United Kingdom. Singaporeans pay for their medical care directly from their savings. a means test has been put in place. public health expenditure per capita in Singapore amounts to $1017. As a welfare state. linking the quantum of subsidy to the patient’s income. compared with $6. Straits Times. while Singapore spends less than 4 per cent of its GDP on health. government polyclinics provide 20 per cent of primary care and 80 per cent of hospital care. and this has shown up in the long waiting lists for elective surgery. Miller Matt. ‘US Can Get Pointers from S’pore’s Health-care System’. and transport infrastructure. However. Subsidies can reach 85 per cent of cost. September 12. with astronomical awards for medical negligence. The health care cost of the American system. Recently. Obama’s reform. Britain’s free National Health Service started after the Second World War has been achieved at a high cost to the taxpayer.246 Thus. a culture of medico-legal litigation. In the United States. focusing on insurance coverage for the uninsured millions. The ‘buffet effect’ attracts overuse. While private practitioners provide 80 per cent of primary health care and 20 per cent of hospital care. is clearly unsustainable. .247 Medical care in Singapore is in a mix of government-subsidised and private facilities. 2010.

The Elder Shield augments the medical insurance in the elderly. the social service provides settlement of medical costs through Medifund. Thus. To move ahead.6 billion or 3. These two centres have the advantage of lower business costs. has worked well in bringing about a high level of medical care at relatively modest costs. Singapore competes with Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.236 - . in Singapore. Singapore.8 per cent of GDP. the mix of private and state-supported hospitals and clinics.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI schemes. with contributions made by employer and employee. In 2005. At the same time. Singapore is forging ahead with R&D and the manufacture of biomedical and biotechnological goods. The Medisave is a component of the compulsory Central Provident Fund (CPF) saving scheme for workers. Singapore is positioning itself to join the frontiers of health care by conducting clinical trials on Asian patients. . and most commonly through the financial framework instituted by the government. health expenditure amounted to S$ 7. 248 Ministry of Health. For the very poor.248 Towards a Health Care and Industrial Hub In regional health care. Medishield is medical insurance with premium paid through savings in the CPF. together with a financial framework for patient’s health expenditure.

. Tiong Bahru Estate has been designated a conservation area by the National Heritage Board. At the same time. clogged drains. 82 per cent of the population occupy a living space of 1000-1300 sq ft. trees.4 A Decent Home for Everyone Throughout its history. and relatively free from traffic congestion. tropical flowers. In 2009. factories. and homes. Much more ambitious was the plan to re-house the new nation by the PAP government under Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.237 - . the continuous inflow of poor immigrants into Singapore brought its share of slums. As anticipated. uncharacteristic of . In recognition of this. and disorder to the overcrowded Third World city. Slums gave way to subsidised modern high-rise housing estates which now define the Singapore landscape.019 flats at Upper Pickering Street in Chinatown and the Tiong Bahru suburb housed 9 per cent of the 1959 population. The British colonial government’s Singapore Improvement Trust had looked into the problem of housing low-income residents as early as 1927. a ‘clean and green’ campaign soon distinguished Singapore. this new image of Singapore. Singaporeans make progressive payment from their Central Provident Fund savings. safe. A creditable number of 23. Streets are clean. Greenery. enhancing the well-kept public and commercial buildings. polluted rivers. and landscaped gardens and parks sprouted everywhere in and around the city.

flats became larger and better designed. and industrial facilities such as in Toa Payoh. educational. recreational. 2000. Build and Sell Scheme. with the Design. drew First World investment and tourists. Cheam J. ‘48 Years of Housing a Nation’. 249 Lee Kuan Yew. adding commercial and recreational facilities such as parks and waterways offering water sports. Singapore Press Holdings. ‘Remaking our Heartlands’ scheme has upgraded older HDB flats and redesigned the towns. the focus shifted towards quality. 2008. condo-style HDB flats designed and built by private developers are popular. June 25.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI developing Asia.. Public home ownership reached 79 per cent of the population in 1990. Straits Times. commercial. New HDB icons like the Pinnacle at Duxton are centrally located and have all the sophistication of private condominiums. From Third World to First: The Singapore Story: 1965-2000. . the Revitalisation of Shops programme subsidises the upgrading of HDB shops. Straits Times. with neighbourhood precincts for social interaction and community development in towns such as Bishan. In the 1980s. Pisik B. boosting the economy. In the past decade.238 - 250 251 ..000 basic high-rise flats with sanitation and running water in Queenstown. the focus was on creating new towns with parks. Since the 1990s. Fixtures and amenities were upgraded for sophisticated buyers.250 In the 1970s.249 A. As the programme progressed. under Chairman Lim Kim San and CEO Howe Yoon Chong built 50. 2008. Re-housing the Nation In the first five years HDB.251 Since 2007. October 25.

cooking classes. electricity supply. the HDB received an excellence award for its performance during the past forty-eight years from the United Nations Public Administration network. and malaria as well as fire hazards. dancing. through social events such as sports. Public housing has integrated Singapore’s heterogeneous population who had traditionally lived apart. This group has in place community leaders who are trained to resolve racial and religious tensions and restore public calm should terrorist activities arise. This splendid achievement of the PAP government has been a ballot winner in every election. have helped to bring the tenants together. Running water. the Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circle (IRCC) was set up and in 2007 incorporated into a bigger scale Community Engagement Programme (CEP). building new towns and factories has become good business for Singapore companies in China and Vietnam. industry. HDB stipulates that each block of flats limit Malay occupation to 25% and Indian to 13%. tuberculosis. the expertise gained in providing good public housing has been turned into an avenue for Singapore’s active globalisation.239 - . . In the wake of arrests of some Muslims involved in terrorism-related activities in 2001. and greenery. modern sanitation. House ownership has given Singaporeans a stake in the country and a reason in having their sons serve as national servicemen. In recent years. Clearance of sprawling slums and kampongs has freed up land for infrastructure. and lectures. and adequate living space have reduced risks of diarrhoeal diseases. a hygienic environment.Singapore and Asia Public subsidised high-rise modern housing has completely reshaped the landscape of Singapore. The many community centres in housing estates. In 2008. thus eradicating racial enclaves. As an additional bonus.

creature comforts of air-conditioning of bedrooms. to their furious God. The one marked with the crucifix. July. 4. 3. a little thing we salvaged from our old place as a counter to the neighbours’ talismans. (Eric Low Soon Liang)252 Private Housing Close to the heart of all people is home ownership. and other home appliances are the norm. On the eleventh floor of the hundredth twenty-fifth block. behind the first black door next to the second grey lift.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Although public housing has provided modern living conditions for much of the population. Quarterly Literary Review Singapore. Jesus and the dust. bearded and well-armed. or touched hands. thanks to the HDB. flutters for attention.240 - . understandably the expectations of some have not been met. One. or come closer to saying anything than the slightest hint of our reluctant smile but imagine that the joss they burn on the altar outside. . with an equal coat of dust will one day burn us all down. trying to convert the wind. Nevertheless. Like everyone else we have never introduced ourselves. television. This is expressed in the following verse: We Live Here We live here. One grouse is the anonymity of one’s home in an impersonal high-rise complex and being at close proximity to neighbours who are of different backgrounds and share little in common. and this deep aspiration has been fulfilled in Singaporeans. there has always been aspiration amongst the HDB 252 2004. nailed to their door like ours and the rest loose on their money plant. Besides modern sanitation.

Ten per cent of Singaporeans are occupants of high-rise private condominiums. sharing landscaped gardens. the affordability of housing has been a contentious issue in the 2011 General Election though the PAP . The most high end of these in the city fringe are prime residences which have escalated in price. and swimming pools. by well-known foreign architect Moshe Safdie. tennis courts. Good bungalow zones with plots exceeding 15. suitable for living in a hot and wet climate. the Ardmore Park. ‘Black and White’ spacious double-storey houses built for the British administrators since the 1920s have been conserved and are today rented out mostly to expatriates. especially in recent years. and verandas and bear features of the Malay Kampong house. Paul Rudolph built the Concourse and the Colonnade—with cuboid apartments stacked on concrete columns.241 - . Landed property—terrace houses. had no dampening effect in Singapore’s property market which has continued to be bullish. and detached houses—with exceptions such as the new houses built at Sentosa Island resort. Modern designs include the Habitat. it could be damaging even without provoking an asset bubble. In raising the cost of business.500 in Singapore. They have the style of the English Tudor period modified with high ceilings. Other top-end condominiums include the Four Seasons. cannot be subdivided. numbering 2.000 sq ft. Although this is an expression of confidence in Singapore by foreign investors as well as Singaporeans. sparked off by the housing bubble in the USA and Western Europe. can by law only be owned by citizens and permanent residents. with apartments in interlocking cubes.Singapore and Asia heart-landers to move up the ladder to join the ranks of private home ownership. and the Regency. Affordable Housing The 2008-2009 global economic meltdown. generous windows. semi-detached. As previously discussed. Singapore’s competitiveness could be eroded.

By the early 1980s. the dream of young Singaporeans to upgrade to a home with a postage stamp-sized garden or a condominium at the city fringe or near to an MRT line is fading fast. popular with locals and tourists alike. When chewing gum was banned.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI government has once again reassured Singaporeans that HDB apartments would continue to be affordable for everyone. many Singaporeans cheered. all hawkers had been relocated. With the cleaning of the upstream drains.. .253 Street food stalls were relocated to specially built food centres. ‘Hawker foods’ are traditional favourite local fare. For the Singapore talented youngsters. Prevention of river pollution from sewage and industrial wastes required the challenging task of relocating thousands of riverside factories and people living in the numerous river bumboats. 2008. are escalating. the mouth of the Kallang river basin has been converted into a huge reservoir by building the 253 Lim J. washing. would the grass in Australia or the USA appear greener? B. The cleansing of Singapore’s polluted rivers complimented the clean streets. cooked on the spot. The Big Clean-up Spitting and littering. especially landed. and campaigns. and it was a triumph ten years later when fish once again swim in these rivers. although ‘squeakily clean’ Singapore was subjected to ridicule for rejecting a Western schoolboy habit.242 - . and disposal of wastes and toiletry. has changed after incessant public education. Straits Times. as well as correction orders and fines imposed on offenders. Regular inspection by health inspectors on food handling has ensured a high level of food safety at these modestly priced food outlets. May 22. However. provided with facilities for clean preparation of food. at the rate at which prices of private property. exhortation. then a way of life.

According to the WHO. What has not been resolved. and one million people die from tobacco use each year. This unhappy plight of developing countries has attracted the attention of Microsoft founder. enough for the new reservoir to supply 10-12 per cent of Singapore’s water needs. The scheme is a step closer towards water independence from Malaysia.243 - . Motor vehicles undergo compulsory periodic inspection for road worthiness and cleanliness of exhaust emissions. smoking is rising in epidemic proportions in developing countries. litterbugs continue to be hauled up. The frequent sweeping of the streets has improved air quality from dust pollution. June 26. banning of cigarette advertisements. now a more crowded city state with over a million poor foreign workers. is atmospheric pollution which occurs during the dry months when forest fires are started in neighbouring Indonesia. still an unusually clean city.. As a result. . China has an estimated 350 million smokers. In contrast. Here again a forward-looking policy has yielded great dividends. most cars are scraped or exported when they are five to ten years old. Straits Times.254 Traffic moves more freely along the uncluttered streets. despite diplomatic approaches. 254 255 Oon C.Singapore and Asia Marina Barrage.255 Forty years after the Keep Clean Campaign. 2008. few young people in Singapore smoke today. It would be some more years before civil society becomes deeply rooted in Singapore. and the prohibitively high tax on tobacco. Bill Gates. to set aside funds for an anti-smoking campaign in developing countries. As the tax structure discourages older vehicles. Regrettably. Water desalination by membrane technology yields fresh water. Reuters. 2008. The English have a saying that it takes three generations to breed a gentleman. It is heartening that Gates has teamed up with Bloomberg. July 25. Singapore has also been successful in its anti-smoking stance since the 1970s. smoking in public and air-conditioned spaces is prohibited. the New York mayor. Washington Post. Straits Times. Besides anti-smoking campaigns. an army of cleaners keep Singapore.

To enrich variety and add colour and flowers.000 types of plants. 2009. Lawns cover once bare patches of ground. angsanas. C. as a habit of courtesy. Singapore has been described as ‘Asia’s best Urban Jungle’ by Times magazine. Since 1967. corrective work orders (CWO) publicly shaming litterbugs will remain. and residential areas. sea gutta.257 The greening of Singapore soon caught the attention of neighbouring countries. placing it in the ranks of Paris’s Eiffel Tower and New York’s Empire State Building. and this wonderful culture has been adopted enthusiastically 256 257 Tan Dawn.3 million trees have been planted. 2008. tembusus. Chua Grace.256 To transform clean Singapore into the first tropical garden city. and 2. and shrubs were planted in the streets and roadsides. the land area covered by greenery has increased from 36 per cent to 47 per cent.000 varieties successfully took root in Singapore. 1. yellow flame.244 - . millions of trees. the Singapore Botanical Gardens was awarded a Michelin three-star rating. ‘Tree Planting Takes Root in Singapore’. Straits Times. industrial parks. Until then. Since 1971. tabebuia rosea. people would. In 2008. Greening Singapore With more than 10. November 21. pong-pong. February 15. avoid littering and also leave the dining tables at food courts and public toilets clean enough for the next user. Favourites include rain-trees. and many varieties of palms. . the grounds of public buildings. Straits Times. Although the Singapore population has more than doubled since 1987. the political heavyweights lead an annual tree planting day. palms. research teams went around the tropical world scouting for suitable plants.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI when rather than over dependence on cleaners.

and grow. fertilized. in squares and rectangles. transplanted. and lo and behold. 2000.Y. zoological garden. Even as the true towers of the city climbed higher and higher for the heavens. as he rested. replanted. faithful to the commandments of urban developers.245 - 259 . the green did gently.Singapore and Asia in other Southeast Asian cities to the advantage of all in raising morale and attracting tourists and investors. the man was pleased. there were trees—rain trees. flames of the forest. Quarterly Literary Review Singapore. bird park. outside banks and buildings. Remarkably. a large chunk of the island has been allocated to nature reserves of rainforests and mangrove swamps. along highways. Singapore Press Holdings. (Gilbert Koh)259 Singapore’s policies of maximising land utilisation and having 90 per cent of the people housed in high-rise buildings have enabled the preservation of so much of its tropical outdoors.. watered.. gently grow. the trees were planted. and playing fields. and in his seventieth year. in allocated corners. The Singapore Story 1965-2000. the man said. The hard lines of architecture were softened. as he felt the weight of a nation’s soil run slowly through his old green hands. bent to the will of man. ‘From Third World to First’. casuarinas.258 Garden City Let there be trees. 258 Lee K. golf courses. and groomed to grow. as he viewed his work. 2001. abandoned the chaos of jungle. the botanical garden. grew in straight lines. They appeared overnight. . Koh G. The rain did fall. The Singapore outdoors provides ample common space for communion of people with nature and greenery. 1. traveler’s palms and more—springing up against the steel and concrete of the expanding city. in car parks. angsanas.

together with a good public transport system.246 - .TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI The current focus is on further expansion and upgrading of parks. improving facilities for outdoor activities. and building and improving accessibility through a chain of island-wide pedestrian walks and cycling tracks. 4). . the nation of high-rise residents would be pampered in having the attractions of the great Singapore outdoors at a walking distance from their high-rise lifts (see Part Seven. When completed.

Part Seven Enhancing Liveability .

and access to high-quality education and health care. jobs and decent housing. the new emphasis has been on aesthetics in modern and postmodern architectural design and improvement in public transport. editorial director of Monocles. Tokyo was ranked third in 2009 while London and New York were not among the first twenty-five listed. lack of crime. economic environment. The manicured outdoors. Singapore’s achievements in public service. Equally important. and sporting facilities are constantly upgraded in the tropical garden city. As the city continues to grow. Thus. In 2008. education. talents. Unsurprisingly. social cohesion.Lucky miniscule Singapore has continued to stay in the virtuous cycle of wealth creation. liveability of Singapore deters talented Singaporeans from emigrating. Architectural legacy of East and West has been conserved. and housing has propped up its ranking amongst the world’s most liveable cities. clean tree-lined and crime-free streets. seaside. educational advancement. Tyler Brule. there were 10. believes that although . There has been a renaissance of Western and Asian arts and vitality in night life to compliment the gastronomic delights of cosmopolitan Singapore.248 - . Quality living in Singapore has helped to draw in and retain vital foreign investment. and tourists. life improvement. and city liveability. with tourism receipts estimated at S$14. Singapore was placed by Monocles at a ranking of twenty-two in 2008 and eighteen in 2009.1 million visitor arrivals. The liveability of Singapore has for past decades been significantly improved by clearance of slumps.8 billion. transport.

A lower dose of government planning could promote more creativity. Singapore has been ranked first in Asia since it overtook Tokyo in 2004. 2010.Singapore and Asia Singapore is moving towards more cultural vibrancy and openness it would be more liveable if there is greater tolerance of lifestyles. Chew Cassandra. including attitudes towards gay people. To better its twenty-eighth ranking. Straits Times. October 24. Straits Times. It helped that the casinos have come with measures to minimise adverse social impact on its population. The packaging of the casinos as ‘integrated resorts’ with a wide range of ‘clean’ recreational family activities though euphemistic has brought hints of respectability to Singapore’s casinos.. Mercer’s quality of living survey in 2010 placed Singapore at twenty-eight. Thus.249 - 261 .261 As Singapore continues to prosper. June 26. 2008. in a list dominated by Vienna at the top as well as Swiss and German cities. hitherto not experienced in Las Vegas and Macao. Mercer’s Marina Huston commented that Singapore needs more recreational activities and personal freedom and less media censorship. ‘Lover of Cities Seeks Extra Oomph in Singapore’. .260 Similarly. such as restrictions on visits by Singaporeans. predictably it would invest in liveability without infringing its own value system. 260 Oon C. its recent venture into the casino industry brought a lot of soul-searching.

Using Singapore’s architecture and urban design.5 per cent of the earth’s total land area. 262 Au-Yong Rachel. Its miniscule size is by no means the least important. Singapore’s experience in architecture and urban design as it matures into a global city has not gone unnoticed. through land reclamation from the sea. and its successful economy as a port city. the total world population of 6. the culture of its people.000 times Singapore’s land mass of 710 sq km. could theoretically live comfortably over a land mass 1. there has been urgency in the quest for sustainable solutions in urban development. This land area would be less than 0.1 Architecture and Urban Design As the world’s people increasingly move into cities.5 billion. been enlarged by 11 per cent since independence. 2010.262 Singapore’s enviable development has been intimately linked with its history. as this demanded detailed systemic planning and action to maximise usage of its precious limited land area—which has. ‘Imagine the World Living in a 1000 Singapores’. Straits Times. which is 1. the Design Singapore Council and the Singapore Institute of Architects showcased a model of Singapore’s housing and landscape and how compact development need not compromise with the liveability of cities. At the international architectural exhibition of the Venice Biennale in 2010. August 7.250 - .000 times that of Singapore’s projected population. .

The 2008 plan suggested decentralisation through growth of new towns in Jurong. the master plan has undergone eight reviews and amendments. Hill Street. This concentration of Singapore’s Asian communities. is still recognisable today. though less segregated.263 The northern bank of the mouth of the Singapore River was designated for government buildings. Further Master Plans and City Expansion The British First Master Plan for the island in 1958 regulated land use by zoning areas and introducing land density and plot ratio controls that dictated how much built-up space would be allowed in an area. soon after the East India Company set up a trading post at the mouth of the Singapore River. . 263 Powell Robert. Rochore Street. Singapore Architecture. Kampong Glam. the Chinese living and working in Chinatown to the south-west of the Singapore River. The southern bank. John Nash’s plan for London’s Regent Street had just been implemented. South Bridge Road. Major development directions for each region were clearly specified in 1998. Singaporeans would also be surprised that the crisscrossing downtown broad streets—North Bridge Road. was reclaimed for European godowns and warehouses. The 2003 master plan broadly focused on parks. amongst other streets—were already shown in the 1823 plan. Raffles appointed Lieutenant Jackson to draw up a master plan for the development of the town. which had a small Malay settlement at the mouth of the Rochore River. Since independence.251 - . The communities were allocated to different areas. and Indians upriver from the Chinese. 2004.Singapore and Asia British Singapore Singapore’s attractive urban design has roots in its foundation. Beach Road. In 1823. with the Europeans residing in Tanglin. water bodies as well as identity and heritage. was designated as an area for the Malay and Arab communities. Periplus Editions(HK) Ltd. which was swampy. and it seems likely that Raffles had received inspiration from this. including satellite towns away from the city.

and Paya Lebar. and also softer features of urban life. urban slumps and the widely dispersed unsanitary attap and zinc-roofed wooden squatter houses in the suburbs were relegated to memory. Reclaimed land is currently being transformed into ultra-modern downtown Singapore. and inflow of immigrants have all stimulated growth. Maintenance of HDB estates is complemented by a continual upgrading programme of older HDB estates. 264 Chew Valerie. www. History of Urban Planning in Singapore. public transport. an asset loving people. Basic at its onset.infoped. At the same time. Foreign investments.sg . Urban Renewal. Modern and Postmodern Architecture Urban renewal has been accompanied by selective conservation.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Kallang.252 - . Within decades. design and finishing of HDB apartments has progressively improved. Since then the Housing and Development Board (HDB) has built a million new high-rise homes. better use of underground space. nl.264 An ambitious plan of land reclamation has provided land for Singapore’s Changi International Airport and the Jurong Island petrochemical complex. In its quest to join the First World cities. newly independent Singapore took the bull by its horns. housing 80 per cent of the population. The latest HDB icon. On the drawing board are future HDB designs incorporating eco-architecture. Singapore’s skyline has been dramatically transformed since independence and continues to change by the day as skyscrapers for offices and homes sprout up everywhere. predominantly in suburban new towns. The Singapore construction industry has paralleled its booming global economy. is a fifty-storey development with seven blocks interlinked with two sky-bridges with great views. the Pinnacle@ Duxon at Tanjong Pagar. high-rise sleek condominiums with swimming pools and tennis courts have been built to house the well heeled.

and the UE Square between 1991 and 1997 while Marina Bay Sands Hotel was designed by Moshe Safdie in 2007. Expansion of health care demanded the building of polyclinics and hospitals. the UOB Plaza.Singapore and Asia Since 1975. later renamed The Regent Hotel. The Marina Bay area around the mouths of Singapore and Kallang Rivers is shaping into an extension of the financial district and the heart of the night life of Singapore. A network of pedestrian walks includes a mist walk cooled by water jets and a double helix pedestrian bridge from Bayfront to Marina Centre. Dominating the bay on reclaimed land at South Marina is the new home of recently completed Marina Bay Sands.253 - . as well as the Marina Square. the Singapore Flyer. polytechnics. with casinos and an integrated resort. John Portman designed the Pavilion Intercontinental Hotel (1982-1983). Raffles would be particularly astounded at today’s changes around the mouth of Singapore River through land reclamation. There are also open spaces for performances and concerts. imagination. and universities. and man-made super trees with green features. and a haven for water sports—yet another example of Singapore’s relentless effort to maximise its limited size. and five-star hotels. Chinese American IM Pei was architect of the OCBC Centre (1975) in the financial centre and of Raffles City. The massification of education has been met by better designed new schools. Thus. engineering. a flower market. a large fresh water reservoir. based on North American models of a shopping entertainment complex. which comprises a whole city block (1984-1985). The Marina Bay with a barrage acts as a flood control dam for the Kallang River. with the Esplanade Theatre and Concert Hall. the desire to express modernity and globality led to the award of the most prestigious projects to international symbols of modern corporate architecture with local architects as partners. and entrepreneurship. Kenzo Tange designed the Singapore Indoor Stadium. During the past . The Marina South Gardens is a fifty-four hectare park with a conservatory complex of two biomes simulating a cool dry and a cool moist temperate climate. the open air Floating Stage. the OUB Centre.

housing not only research organisations. Phase I. Over sixty of . ft of vertical vegetation winding spirally for a mile long. Singapore is a young city. As an open global city. One of these is the Fusionpolis.000 sq metres. has a gross floor area of 120.254 - . it has an interesting array of architectural heritage from its British colonial past and its immigrant Asian origins. and new homes and parks in the little city state have been effectively tackled not only by strategic planning and land reclamation but also by transforming old buildings for new use. The looming threat of global warming has demanded eco-architectural innovations which reduce carbon footprints whilst keeping homes and offices comfortably cool in the tropics. Conservation Although by global standards.000 buildings ranging from grandiose neoclassical designs to the humble Chinese immigrant shophouse have been conserved by law. designed by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa. the six main public hospitals have all been completely rebuilt. has as yet to emerge. a Singapore architectural identity.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI three decades. facilities. About 7. Singapore’s aspiring architects will continue to face steep competition from international architects. The demands on land for infrastructure.000 sq. expressing its modern culture. However. commerce. and patient comfort. who have until now been awarded most of the major projects. factories. Fate was kind that the fall of Singapore to the invading Japanese army during the Second World War was swift and the city had not suffered extensive aerial bombing and destruction. Other prominent architectural icons include brand-new state-of-art research centres for science and technology. Solaris building designed by Malayan architect Ken Yeang will have green features in retractile louvers over windows to moderate temperature and 90. and government agencies but also retail outlets and service apartments. Phase ll. providing much more space. high-tech companies.

. 2002. The family occupies the upper floors as living quarters. The front section of the ground floor is the business part of the building. The facades are decorated with a combination of European. The shophouse might have evolved in the Dutch East Indies as a hybrid of the narrow fronted houses of Amsterdam and the courtyard houses of Southern China.Singapore and Asia these buildings have been given the status of national monuments. Postmodernists have described the re-urbanisation of Singapore as the fragmentation of the postmodern landscape. Singapore.267 The five-foot way made up of the front verandas of a whole row of houses provides a covered thorough-fare for pedestrians shielding them from the hot sun and frequent tropical rain showers.266 Shophouses—Business Heartlands of Colonial Singapore Rows after rows of two—or three-storey plastered brick terrace houses lining the streets made up much of urban Singapore and the towns of Malaya during British colonial rule. perhaps serving as a goods store. ‘Fragments of a Postmodern Landscape’. a coffee shop.ura. Lim. The back portion has a light well to provide for light and ventilation and is used for cooking. 265 266 www. Shophouses are the business cum residence of Chinese and Indian urban dwellers in Malaya as well. Singapore Architecture. and Malay motifs. a bicycle shop.gov. Chinese.sg Robert Powell. Powell Robert. and toiletry.265 Conserved buildings have been lovingly restored with renovations made to the internal space and air-conditioned to suit current tropical lifestyle and usage.255 - 267 . 2004. W. Periplus Editions(HK) Ltd. or an office. William S. bathing. Select Publishing. The Dutch occupation of Malacca in the seventeenth to the early nineteenth century would thus have contributed to this development. in Postmodern Singapore. ed.

bears the statue of Lord Murugam between these temples. stacked up in a colourful pyramidal ‘gopuram’ over the front entrance. and Buddhist beliefs. in 1839-1842 in Telok Ayer Street. The temple is dedicated to the Goddess of Seafarers. the main dialect group in Singapore. built in 1843. The Jamai Mosque was built in 1830-35 by these Chulia Indians in South Bridge Road. The Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple was built in 1855 in the enclave of Little India. The Sri Mariaman Temple at South Bridge Road. Migrants from South India built Hindu temples. and Chinese heritage and has been designated a national monument. was the first temple to be built in Singapore in 1824 by the Cantonese and Hakka dialect groups. The characteristic curved roofs are covered by small semi-cylindrical-shaped tiles and elaborately decorated with dragon artefacts. who also built the hospital named after him. The annual Taipusam procession of Hindu faithful. currently a small museum on Chinese history and culture. Malay. incorporated into a property development. A larger Chinese Thian Hock Keng Temple was built by the Hokkiens. Columns and wooden doors are intricately carved. elaborately decorated by a large array of animal sculptures and human figurines.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Temples and Mosques Chinese migrants built temples combining Taoist. Confucian. the building reflects a mix of Anglo-Indian. The temple wall murals depict scenes from the Hindu epics. Indian Muslim immigrants from the Coromandel Coast built the Nagore Durga Indian Muslim Shrine in 1828-30. . where newly arrived immigrants from Fukien Province gave thanks for a safe voyage. The Tan Si Chong Su Temple was built in 1876 with material imported from China by the descendants of prominent Hokkien merchant Tan Tock Seng.256 - . The Fuk Tak Ch’i (Prosperity and Virtue) Temple. is Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple. accompanied by kavadi carriers.

The mosque has been the focal point of Islam in Singapore. He need not have worried. Singapore.268 This intention has certainly been accomplished. on taking over the government from the East India Company. built in 1846 on Beech Road. Singapore’s link with its British past continues to be displayed ostentatiously in mortar and stone whilst historic street names remain in usage. UN economist Wisemius had advised that the statue of Stamford Raffles not be brought down. directed the construction of government buildings in the colonies to impress the natives. the grand colonial buildings of yesteryear have stood the test of time and still invite awe and respect.257 - . and Istana Kampong Glam. . and Persian themes. a Malacca-style minaret. is a national monument. but also all the colonial buildings have been lovingly restored. and Chinese elements. the Armenian Church. British architectural heritage for Singapore was enhanced in 1867 when the colonial office. Preiplus Editions(HK) Ltd. Moorish. Swan and Maclaren in 1924-28 built the Sultan Mosque in North Bridge Road in a mix of classical. The Haj jah Fatimah Mosque. 2004. Decades after independence. The oldest part of the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall originally functioned as the Singapore Town Hall and was converted to a theatre in 1905 with the addition of the Memorial Hall and clock tower. The inaugural meeting of the People’s 268 Powell Robert. Coleman left a legacy of Palladian-style buildings in the vicinity of the street that still bears his name—Old Parliament House. European-style architecture made its presence soon after Raffles’ arrival. Not only has the stature been transferred to a more visible location in Empress Place where he supposedly landed. Singapore Archictecture. Celebrating New Life in Colonial Buildings As part of the strategy to bring MNCs to Singapore at independence.Singapore and Asia British architects had a hand in building Malay mosques in Singapore. It combines European classical Doric columns with an Arab-style dome. Turkish.

and early iconic films. At this museum. The building has been the official home of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra since its formation in 1979. a dining and entertainment complex. In 1996. India. The gardens of the Istana. St Joseph Institution. Catholics built the Palladian-style Cathedral of the Good Shepherd.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Action Party was held at the Memorial Hall in 1954. the St Joseph school building was converted into the Singapore Art Museum. renamed the National Museum in 1998. are open to the public on national holidays. chronicles the history of Singapore. and Museum and Government House for the British governor. was converted into the Asian Civilisation Museum in 2003. The Raffles Museum and Library. Government House has been renamed the Istana. official residence and reception of the president of Singapore. McNair designed Georgian-style Empress Place Building. has continued to serve the Anglican community. The Empress Place Building. the visitor is transited to the banks of the Singapore River in the 1820s to witness the first encounter of a modernising Anglo-Saxon civilisation with the diverse traditional civilisations of China. built with Indian convict labour and egg white as a substitute for cement. puppet shows. was renovated into CHIJMES. which had also housed the Singapore Parliament. whilst retaining the gothic-inspired chapel building. The convent. The beautiful Gothic St Andrews Cathedral Church. It includes the Southeast Asia ethnographic collection of the former Raffles Museum and Library. Raffles Library. which includes a nine-hole golf course.258 - . Displays depict the lifestyle of the immigrant forefathers. Chinese opera. ‘Old Vic’ is due to be extensively refurbished as part of the broader plan to develop cultural institutions around Empress Place. and the Malay Archipelago. The museum is the first in the region to display artefacts of pan Asian cultures and civilisations of Singapore’s immigrant forefathers. . the evolution of food and fashion as well as the arts. West Asia. and Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus for girls.

Singapore and Asia

movies, and songs. An audio-visual companion in four languages acts as a tour guide.269 Three Armenian Sarkis brothers started Singapore’s iconic Raffles Hotel in 1887 at an old beach bungalow built in 1830. Alterations and extensions of the Palladian-style building were made by Swan and Maclaren in 1899 and Architect 61 in 1989-1991. Raffles was the centre of social life, guzzling ‘Singapore sling’ as guests danced to an orchestra made up of Russian and Eastern European musicians in the 1930s. Swan and Maclaren also built the Teutonic club in 1900 for the German community (currently the Goodwood Park Hotel) and the Jewish Chesed-El Synagogue in 1905. Eden Hall, currently the residence of British High Commissioner, has an ornate Edwardian—Classical Revival style and was built in1904. The third phase of European Architecture in Singapore (1919-1942) showed a continuation of neoclassical public buildings and the introduction of modern architecture. The Fullerton Building at the mouth of the Singapore River, built in 1919-1928 and named after the governor, is a classical building with fluted Doric columns. Until 1997 when it was converted into the Fullerton Hotel, it served as the General Post Office of Singapore. Other important works include the College of Medicine Building in 1923-1926 (currently the Ministry of Health) and the Capital Building with the Capital Theatre and City Hall. It was on the steps of the City Hall in front of the large Padang (where the British played cricket) that the PAP celebrated their election victory to form the first self-government of Singapore in 1959. Next to City Hall is the Supreme Court, the last public building to be designed in the classical style. Together with City Hall, the buildings are being internally renovated to house the Singapore Art Museum.


www.nationalmuseum.com - 259 -


Urban Transportation—Lessons from Singapore
Road congestion has a strong negative effect on the economy and liveability of cities, particularly those in Asia which have grown too rapidly. Singapore’s road traffic, which was a model for other cities, has shown some strain in recent years with its rapid growth in urbanisation and inflow of immigrant workers. A fast, efficient, and convenient public transport system is still much in the ‘work-in-progress’ mode. Hopefully, this will improve with better designed bus routes and integration with the expanded Mass Rapid Transport (MRT) system. The ongoing plan to improve public transport, spending $60 billion over the next ten years, includes doubling the MRT network to 280 km with three new lines.270 The fight against slow traffic has continued to test the innovative management skills of the government over the past decades. Expansion of a system of trans-island expressways and punishing taxes on car ownership and usage have helped. Car population has been kept to below a million by a quota system requiring purchase of a certificate of entitlement through bidding (its cost buys more than a car in other countries) and an incentive with rebates for cars to be scrapped before reaching ten years. The price of cars in Singapore is amongst the highest in the world. Yet, arising out of Singapore’s challenge to manage its traffic problems, the Singapore Land Transport authority has made innovations which cities around the world have adopted. Thus, Singapore’s Electronic Road Pricing System (ERP) places a charge on car usage in crowded roads. The success of the ERP, the first in the world, has influenced London and other cities to adopt a similar Area Licensing Scheme to combat traffic congestion. At the 2010 World Urban Transport Leaders Summit, Transport Minister Raymond Lim invited satellite-based technological companies to


Zakir Hussain, 2010, ‘$60b Boost for MRT Network Over Next Decade’, Straits Times, August 30. - 260 -

Singapore and Asia

take part in a trial to determine the feasibility of replacing the gantry system of ERP with a more cost-effective satellite island wide tracking system of traffic congestion.271 Additionally, Singapore has exported expertise in city transport planning skills, integrated traffic management, and software development. The Land Transport Authority has created an academy to organise international conferences attracting participants from Asian cities.272


Almenoar Maria, 2010, ‘ERP system: From Gantries to Satellites’, Straits Times, July 1. Goh Chin Lian, 2010, ‘S’pore shows World How to Move People’, Straits Times, October 25. - 261 -


Awakening of the Arts
Singapore, once derided as a cultural desert, is currently experiencing a renaissance of the arts. An exciting arts and heritage district is emerging in the city centre, within walking distance from the shopping malls of Orchard Road and the new downtown at Marina Bay. With increasing affluence, interest in the aesthetics of life is rapidly growing. Over the decade (1996-2006), the number of Singapore arts companies and societies has increased from 400 to 700, arts and cultural events from 6,000 to 21,000, and attendance from 700,000 to 1.2 million. Museum visits have more than doubled since 1999 to 1.3 million in 2006. In Singapore style, promotion of the creative industries has been spearheaded by the Ministry of Communication and the Arts (MICA) and its agencies—the National Arts Council, Design Singapore, and Media Development Authority.273 There has also been growth in private and corporate philanthropy towards the arts. The creative industries, especially the art market, design, and the media, have been identified as growth areas in Singapore’s service sector. MICA’s vision is to shape Singapore into a distinctive city for culture and the arts by 2015. The initial phase of the renaissance plan has been in building new venues for the performing arts and converting


Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts, http:app.mica. gov.sg - 262 -

Singapore and Asia

iconic colonial neoclassical buildings into state-of-art museums and galleries. Currently, MICA is focusing on nurturing arts talents through generous grants. Traditional arts such as Chinese opera and Indian classical dance would be supported. It is hoped that public involvement and appreciation of the arts would be ingrained and that attendance of at least one arts or cultural event per year increases from 40 per cent to 80 per cent of the population by 2025.274

Performing Arts and Festivals
Until the opening of the ‘Durian’, performance venues were at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, Singapore Conference Hall, and at the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall. The ‘Old Vic’ is due to be extensively refurbished as part of the broader plan to develop cultural institutions around Empress Place. With the opening in 2002 of the new iconic Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, which has the external appearance of Singapore’s favourite fruit—the thorny durian—the performing arts have been given a big boost. The crown jewel is the 1,600 seat concert hall with superb acoustics, while the theatre seats 2,000. Other facilities include a recital studio suitable for chamber music, solo recitals, cabarets, and jazz concerts; an outdoor theatre; the Plasma at the basement for screen-based art; and space for exhibition of the visual arts. These facilities have made Singapore an important stop for world-class arts and entertainment performances. The Esplanade has blossomed. In 2009, its well-attended programmes consisted of 13 festivals, 21 performance series, and 1,500 free performances. Highlights in 2009 included the co-production with Taiwanese director Stan Lai for The Village huayi Festival of the Arts, festival Mosiac, and Baybeats, which showcased home-grown artists. There was strong turnout for Tapestry, a new festival of sacred music at sunrise and sunset.


Chia Adeline, 2010, ‘Singapore Arts Scene: Shift to ‘Soft Focus’, Straits Times, March 13. - 263 -


New work in the fusion of the world’s arts took centrestage at the 2009 Esplanade dans festival. In the world premier of Dunas, two of the world’s most celebrated dance makers combined dance roots of Spain and Morocco. The Shen Wei Dance Arts’ creation draws from the rich and diverse traditions of Tibet, Angkor Wat, and China’s Silk Road. Other notable productions include Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Cullberg Ballet. The National Arts Council is one of the main organisers of arts events. There are more than 5,000 ticketed performances yearly. Major flagship events are the Seni Singapore Art, which provides a platform for new artistic expression, the Singapore Arts, Festival and the Singapore Writers Festival.275 In the 2009 mid-year month-long Singapore Arts Festival, the forum was also a successful fusion of traditional and modern performing arts, such as a gongfu-themed production, featuring Shaolin monks, choreographed by a Flemish-Moroccan artiste. In the Terima Kost, the Indonesian choreographer meshed a fusion dance of traditional Papuan music and reggae with beeps from Nintendo game music.276 The Singapore arts festival, 2010, has thirty-four productions from twenty countries and restages Singapore’s well-known Peranakan play, ‘Emily of Emerald Hill.’ A new initiative has been made through ‘com. mune’, a year-long education and outreach programme to instil interest in the arts. The closing ceremony would be marked by public participation by thousands at a mega line dance. The local theatre scene is thriving, with more than twenty active groups and forty full-time playwrights and artistic directors together with a pool of full-time actors. The Singapore Repertory Theatre, a company with expatriate actors, in 2009 staged a successful Shakespearean outdoor production of ‘Much Ado about Nothing’ at Fort Canning Park and is on track to stage ‘The Tempest’, ‘Daughter of Shanghai’, and ‘Blackbird’ in 2010.

275 276

www.nac.gov.sg Chia Adeline and Tan Tara, 2009, Straits Times, May 22. - 264 -

serving as a bridge between the musical traditions of Asia and the West while providing artistic inspiration. May 21.300 students in fashion.265 - . and films. 2009. an arts teacher at St Patrick’s School.278 LaSalle is an accredited institution of Britain’s Open University. design communication.277 Arts and Design Education Amongst the several arts colleges that have sprouted. With a curriculum spanning Eastern and Western traditions and its links with the creative communities. Under Shanghai-born music conductor Yeh Tsung. and musical education. Straits Times. as well as experimented to include visual pictures and animation works. NTU’s School of Arts. Tan Tara. Straits Times. LA Salle has 2. with its roots in Chinese classical music. since 2002 the productions have crossed the sounds. The postmodern new college won the Singapore Institute of Architects’ 2008 Building of the Year award. December 3. the La Salle College of the Arts owes its origin to the vision of Catholic Brother Joseph McNally. and 277 278 Adeline Chia. ‘Mixing Music’. A premier Asian orchestra gaining recognition around the world. theatre arts. instruments. The tertiary college celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in a new strikingly beautiful glass and stone building at Singapore’s Arts and Heritage district. the SSO.Singapore and Asia Orchestras The ‘Old Vic’ has remained the official home of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra since its formation in 1979. has enriched the local cultural scene. Complementary to the SSO since the 1990s has been the Singapore Chinese Orchestra. 2009. and traditions of musical worlds. visual arts. entertainment. . Other major arts schools in Singapore are the seventy-year-old Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Nafa). it is hoped that it will become a resource for Singapore’s creative industries.

exchange. It can store anything from 279 Tan Tara.279 Asian Arts Mart Since 2003. Some who have excelled have migrated to further their professional development. At the same time. in collaboration with the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. ballet dancing is seen favourably by parents as part of good breeding. with departments in music. Straits Times. It is sited at Arts and Heritage district at Zubir Said Drive. July 2. The conservatory aims to be the focal point for musical activity.000 students. the road named in commemoration of the composer of the Singapore national anthem.000 students from sixteen countries in the Asia-Pacific region study for a degree course on full scholarship at the conservatory.266 - . theatre. Currently. established the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music in 2001. modelled after the Swiss Freeports in Zurich and Geneva. and dance performances might be expected to grow in quality when the Integrated Resorts are fully open in 2012. ‘Dance Retreat’. and research for both Singapore and the Asia-Pacific region. The School of Arts is a pre-tertiary institution. Singapore’s status as an international arts marketing centre is being strongly enhanced by the building of the Singapore FreePort. The professional dancers in Singapore are largely from the region. As part of the strategy to promote Singapore into Asia’s Renaissance City. and visual arts. a new high-tech art storage facility next to Changi Airport.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Design and Media. There are also film and media diploma courses in the polytechnics. dance. . it provides a flexible academic curriculum leading to the International Baccalaureate diploma. Like learning to play a musical instrument such as the piano. the National University of Singapore. 2. Private ballet schools have a following of 20. More recent initiatives have firmed up the arts educational scene in Singapore. Singapore has been hosting the biennial Asian Arts Mart. training towards the Royal Dance Academy qualifications. 2009.

The Singapore Art Museum.280 Museums and Art Galleries Singapore’s fifty museums. have been popular with visitors. 2009.267 - 281 . and its recently established contemporary art arm. The Supreme Court and City Hall buildings. China Town Heritage Center.g. May 29.. Plans are in place to introduce more interactive elements. 8Q Sam. Straits Times. to design the museum. in collaboration with Singapore’s CPG Consultants. Straits Times. led by the National Museum. with a cutting-edge security system.281‘ Besides these major museums managed by the National Heritage Board. and photography. May 19. Already. Tay S. international auction house Christie’s has taken up 40 per cent of the initial 22. In addition to their reputation of having the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of Southeast Asian modern and contemporary art. video art.Singapore and Asia art and diamonds to vintage cars and cigars. Museum visiting culture is actively promoted through innovative displays of exhibits. which has taken over the original school building of the La Salle Brothers’ St Joseph Institution in 1996. showcasing local and Southeast Asian art. had more than 6. An international jury nominated France’s Studio Milou. and children story telling sessions. 2008. in front of the padang where independence was declared. NEWwater Visitor Center. the Asian Civilisation Museum. A design competition attracted 111 entries. and other clients from the Middle East and Russia could be expected. new museums have been established: e. ‘New High-tech Art Storage in Changi’.500 sq m of storage space. lighting up of the museum at night. images of Singapore. they hold world-class exhibitions such as the Greek masterpieces from the Louvre. and the Peranakan Museum. are being renovated to become the National Art Gallery in 2013.C. The Singapore Art Museum is assisting the art gallery in content development. 280 Deepika Shetty.5 million visitors in 2008. .

282 Public Libraries Singapore’s present National Library building. Fang published a ten-volume anthology on the literary works of Chinese writers between 1919 and 1942. and at the Esplanade. the late Fang Xiu has been considered as the champion of modern Malayan-Singapore Chinese literature. opened in 2005 at Victoria Street. and more interesting display of exhibits. e. The Lee Kong Chian Reference Library includes the Singapore and Southeast Asian collection.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI and Marina Barage. with cafe and music. provide support for lifelong learning necessary for Singapore’s progress into a knowledge-based economy. Singapore Writers Amongst the Chinese scholars. Australia.268 - . September 17. Tourists formed 37 per cent of museum visitors last year and the biggest numbers were from Britain. 2009. the National Library moved into its own building at Stamford Road. which archives more than a hundred years of colonial and local publications. In 1972. ‘A Champion of Local Chinese Literature’. In 1957. The colonial-amalgamated Raffles Library and Museum building was built in 1874. ‘Grand Dame Is Tops’. including housing board estates. While seven out of ten of them were impressed with the wide range of museums. Straits Times. and America.g. These modern lifestyle libraries. Basic membership for Singapore citizens and permanent residents is free. twenty-two regional and public libraries have been set up around the island.283 282 283 Chia Adeline. . has a long lineage from the Raffles Library first set up in 1823. 2010. Straits Times. In addition to the Central Lending Library at Victoria Street. Leong Weng Kam. shopping centres. improved guided tours. respondents suggested more information on the museums and their activities. featuring toys and other niche areas. Smaller private museums have also sprouted out. June 7.

269 - . . and a sample of local works. Read the poem engraved next to the merlion at the esplanade. has been included in this book. or more conveniently in the concluding page of this book. particularly relevant to the emotions of people as Singapore modernised. captures the essence of Singapore’s happy fusion of cultures. unofficial Singapore poet laureate. near the mouth of the Singapore River where the immigrants landed. has been in poetry. Edwin Thumboo. especially in English.Singapore and Asia The most productive form of local literature.

Parks are lit up for strolling. and fishing. the Central Business District. karaoke. disciplined citizens. steered its citizens away from immoral temptations. .. pub-crawling.H. all night drinking. street performances. 284 Lee S. beach parties. Straits Times. bungee diving.270 - . jogging. and Marina Bay. A no-nonsense government. September 19. bent on building up the economy with hard-working. and Robertson Quays at the banks of the Singapore River. clubbing. and discreet homosexuality gained acceptance.284 Nightlife activities cater to a variety of interests: late night shopping. visiting museums. funky activities such as bar-top dancing.3 Night Life and Gaming Singapore’s staid image is receiving a makeover with a new generation of Singaporeans seeking vibrancy and fun. Other nightspots include Dempsey Park and converted godowns and shophouses at Boat. and other events. Fledgling independent Singapore was conservative and prudish. Singapore’s night skyline has recently an enhanced romantic appeal with the elegant lighting up of skyscrapers and other buildings at Orchard Road. This more liberal attitude has also been influenced by the desire to attract foreign talent and tourists in the changing world. 2008. bicycling. attending musicals. concerts. Clarke. By 2007. With a second generation leadership under Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong and a younger affluent population wanting a more varied and personal lifestyle. Bras Basah. Country Brand Index had ranked Singapore as fifth globally in nightlife.

g. Singapore River Festival by the Singapore Tourism Board and night festivals. For outdoor dining. This view captures the being of global Singapore. the beach restaurants along the East Coast highway offer a truly memorable view of the night horizon lit up by an unending arc of ships from all over the world. Formula One Night Street Racing In September 2008. and dance organised by the National Heritage Board at the Bras Brasah cultural and heritage precinct. Although Michelin ranking is just beginning to notice Singapore’s fine dining (perhaps losing out in sophistication in service and wine list). Singapore has claims to be the food capital of the world in its freshness of sea food and variety of global cuisine. Dining is informal. The highly successful launch of the yearly race led Formula One supreme Bernie Ecclestone to name Singapore as ‘Formula One’s jewel’. and freshly cooked food is available late into the night. . especially for sea food including Singapore’s chilli crab. live music. to boost the economy surprised many.Singapore and Asia Singapore’s national pastime is eating out. The Singtel Singapore Grand Prix was honoured with the Pioneering and Innovation Award by Autosport.271 - . broke grounds in using its night streets for F1 motor racing. Firstly Singapore. without a racing track. There has been precedence at Monaco in F1 street racing. are now cooked fresh and eaten at popular food courts. What has somewhat shifted the soul of Singapore has been its second initiative of becoming a global gambling haven. downtown Singapore was converted temporally into a racing track for Formula One’s first night race. but that has been in broad daylight. street theatres. The 2008 Leisure Plan for the island includes encouraging greater buzz and night life in the city. which used to be served by street hawkers. To keep the good times rolling. Lee Hsien Loong. further government initiatives by the present prime minister. Local favourites. describing the event as ‘outstanding. e.

272 - 286 . and was televised to twenty-six million viewers worldwide.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI with the twinkling city lights making an evocative backdrop for the world championship battle’. ‘Singapore Lauded for Innovation’. Loh Sherwin. 2008. . September 27.285 The revelation of the Renault scandal in the Singapore inaugural race and racing driver Hamilton’s complaints of the circuit being bumpy and dangerous did not deter F1 fans from zooming to Singapore for the 2009 race. Adding to the glamour was a choice selection of international celebrities revving up the night life. run by secret societies. Singapore’s participation in F1 will soon be included in two upcoming racing games. gambling dens and brothels were closed and secret societies hunted down. The Singapore Totalisator Board runs the Singapore Turf Club and through the Singapore Pools conducts the Singapore pool. the Totalisator Board donates funds for good causes. When the People’s Action Party came into power in 1959. Toto. Straits Times. Alongside this were gambling dens and cockpits. Singaporeans have also been 285 Wong J. featuring Singapore as one of the locations. football betting. 2009. Legalised gambling was reinstated in 1968. held on an outdoor stage at Fort Canning Park.. complete with the republic’s iconic landmarks. Besides worldwide television coverage. The F1 Rocks Singapore with LG music festival featured pop stars.286 Complementing the event was the biggest life music event. including Beyonce and Black Eyed Peas. Gaming and Integrated Resorts Gambling has been much a way of life since Singapore’s foundation. December 9. ‘Singapore Roars into Racing Games’. Straits Times. The Singapore Turf Club has been conducting legalised gambling since its colonial foundation in 1842. and 4-D. In addition to conducting and regulating gambling.

and to offset this. the setting of voluntary loss limits. Rich pickings of US casinos have been too tempting to ignore. Steps are also being taken to prevent and treat gambling addiction. and besides hotel rooms and rides. which is the largest marine life park in the world. Both integrated resorts would offer 35. Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) is run by Malaysian tycoon owner of Genting International Casino and Star Cruises. which has in the past years been stagnating. dominating the Marina Bay landscape. museums. in collaboration with Universal Studios.1 billion at US commercial casinos. both Singapore’s integrated resorts have opened. 2008. At press time. at around nine million a year. Malaya. restaurants. theatres. The Marina Bay Sands run by Las Vegas Sands and designed by Moshe Safdie has three 55-storey hotel towers linked in the top floor by a one-hectare sky garden. Straits Times.Singapore and Asia journeying to casinos in Genting Highlands. Strong opposition by religious groups had to be calmed by MM Lee Kuan Yew’s argument that despite his personal conservativeness the world had changed. when the government proposed the construction of two integrated resorts—Singapore’s euphemism for casinos. too. which also offer world standard hotels. and theme parks. Hopefully. social safeguards have been introduced for the local population. the new resorts 287 Reuters. It has been designed by American Michael Graves. and Batam in Indonesia. and guidelines on extending credit. as well as joining casino ships. There are in addition three large shells containing conference halls and a business venue. its star attraction is its oceanarium.273 - . Thus in 2007. shopping and convention centres. such as a membership scheme. and Singapore could not afford not to flow with the tide (in his pragmatism). there was considerable soul-searching.287 The negative aspects of casinos are well understood.000 jobs and is expected to boost up tourist arrival. guidelines on casino advertisement. Nevertheless. May 16. gamblers lost US$34. .

And if Macao’s casinos are anything to go by. As with the expertise acquired by Singapore in excelling in the management of its own airports and new towns. Marina Bay Sands will have a lotus-inspired design in an arts-science museum celebrating the advances in the sciences and the arts. who for decades has been lobbying for a casino to be set up in Singapore. Singapore’s newly acquired managerial skills in casinos could then be exported.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI would further enhance global Singapore’s position as the favoured destination for Meetings. the profits in the initial stages of the two casinos have been substantial. Singaporeans would feel comfortable with these themes. casino consultant Ronald Tan. Most recently. The Chinese (with a mahjong set in many a home) have a penchant for gambling. Singapore’s casinos which have been built embracing some of the best ‘feng shui’ designs can only do better! . Yet he foresees Singapore’s ability to learn and master this new experience of managing casinos. Encouragingly. both resorts will feature museums. Interestingly. The house does not always win. The Resorts World at Sentosa’s Maritime X’periential Museum pays tribute to the diversity and richness of Asia’s maritime history. Incentives. and half of the world’s casinos are in the red. He wonders if the two casinos have overstretched themselves in spending over $13 billion in construction costs and whether the theme parks in Singapore’s hot humid climate would be sustainable. Conventions.274 - . has expressed concerns. and Exhibition (MICE).

and Seoul. Auckland.sg . cultural and educational events provided opportunities for understanding and friendship amongst this elite group of youths from around the world. Mexico City. through sports. and the skyline provided a wonderful backdrop for the opening ceremony and beautiful fireworks display televised around the world.Singapore2010. each city representing the five continents. Singapore took up the challenge and played host at its twenty-six sporting sites to 5. the two to three weeks in Singapore went beyond competitive sports. The 2010 Youth Olympics also marked the emergence of Singapore as an international sporting hub.000 teenage athletes and sports officials from 204 nations and territories. First mooted in 2001 by International Olympic Committee President Jaques Rogge. had just been completed in time for the boat races. The Olympic flame had been relayed to the tropical global city by torchbearers from Athens through Berlin. 288 www. For the future world athletic champions.288 The inauguration of the First Youth Olympics in Singapore starts a new chapter in the World Olympics Movement. The sports-loving island state has throughout its history allocated land and resources for sporting activities. the Marina Bay Reservoir. Dakar in Senegal. Importantly.275 - . met in Singapore in August 2010.4 A Sports Hub The world. The most recent sporting facility.

or golf (for the Scotsman). . In addition to the existing 11. This rather pleasant lifestyle of outdoor sports has become available to the well heeled. It is said that when two Englishmen meet.000-capacity Singapore Indoor Stadium. A 1. The Singapore dream of the 5Cs includes a country club membership along with a private condominium.000-capacity multipurpose arena is being built. Sporting Tradition Singapore’s sporting tradition started soon after Raffles’ arrival. cricket. The Tanglin Club. a water sports facility together with a 6. Modern sports have to a considerable extent been a passionate invention of the British. car.000 sq metre commercial space provides entertainment and lifestyle needs. The centre has triple objectives of enhancing high performance and recreational sports. construction of the Singapore Sports Centre at Kallang is expected to be completed in 2014. Swimming pools and tennis abound in private condominiums. encouraging sports participation amongst the Singapore public.000 capacity indoor aquatic centre and a 3. and drawing international events to its world-class facilities.276 - . Singapore Polo Club. Sports play an important role in character and physical development in British public schools.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI In furtherance of plans to make Singapore into a land and sea sports hub. Singapore Bukit Golf Club. and children. and similar public facilities are available for hire. and the Raffles Hotel provided exclusive watering holes and a wide range of sporting activities for the white rulers in Singapore. cash. and this tradition of love of sports was implanted in English-medium schools throughout the British Empire. The game of tennis. they form a club for a sundowner and a game of tennis. though French in origin.000 spectators. was modernised by the British and thence exported around the world. as everywhere in the mighty British Empire. Singapore Turf Club. At its thirty-five-hectare site at Kallang. Asia’s best Tiger beer and the Singapore Sling were thus born. the existing national stadium is to be replaced by a new structure with a retractable roof and seating capacity for 55. These facilities will be integrated with lifestyle entertainment and run as a private and public partnership. Singapore Cricket Club.

was inaugurated in Singapore in August 2008 drawing 40. Singapore’s current FIFA ranking is second in Southeast Asia. the first in the world. after Thailand.com . was held at the Golf Club at the resort island of Sentosa. with the Singapore Golf Open having the biggest purse in Asia. has also become Singapore’s national sport. 289 www. Football. The course track was awarded the Motor Sport Facility of the year by the Professional Motor Sport World Annual Award. In professional golf. The ‘Kallang Roar’ from the Kallang Stadium was first heard when Singapore played against Malayan states at the Malaya Cup. Foreign players and coaches continue to beef up the game. which is the most popular sport throughout the world. Outdoor sporting activities are possible throughout the year. Sports Heroes Singapore’s small population has had its share of national sports heroes. the Formula One city night race. As mentioned earlier.277 - . After the discontinuation of Singapore’s participation at the Malaya Cup. basketball was internationalised by the YMCA in East Asia289 and took root in the Chinese schools of Malaya and Singapore.Singapore and Asia Amongst the American innovations of modern sports. with their nimble feet and footwork at sepak takraw. Golfing is popular and the fourteen private golf clubs add to the greenery and waterscape of Singapore. The US$5 million 2009 Barclay Singapore Open.000 visitors. Singapore is part of the Asian tour. have excelled in football. Driving in a buggy shields the golfer from the midday sun and the sometimes unpredictable thunderstorm.eb. the Singapore football league was started in the 1990s. with big names in the golfing world. although most enjoyable in the evening and morning cool. with its panoramic views of the Singapore harbour and fast changing skyline. and seventeenth in Asia. Singapore Malays.

1952. with the sponge bat and speed glue technology. was dominated by Europeans until the 1950s.com www. Singapore has the rare distinction of winning twenty-three consecutive gold medals in the Southeast Asian Games 290 291 Greg Letts. which increases speed and spin. Table tennis or ping-pong. and 1955. This game had its ancient origin in Greece and Egypt. table tennis has shifted its centre of gravity to Japan and especially to China which currently dominates the game.tabletennis. Singapore’s sports achievement started with badminton.291 The all-local colonial Malayan team. with imported talents from China. modernized and renamed after the township of Badminton in Gloucestershire in 1887. a British invention.278 - . The island nation of Singapore has excelled in swimming and water sports. www.usm. which included Singapore players Wong Peng Soon and Ong Poh Lim. In water polo. Its popularity in Britain and other countries led to the All-England Championship in 1904 and the International Badminton Federation Thomas Cup in 1948. won the Thomas Cup—the world crown for badminton—three times in succession in 1949. Singapore’s table tennis Olympic medal has been all the more welcome as the first and only other Singapore Olympic success had been a silver medal won by weightlifter Tan Howe Liang at the Rome Olympics in 1960.about. Played as ‘Poona’ in India. Malaysia’s dominance of the game has been shared with Indonesia and China. won the Silver medal in the women’s doubles table tennis at both the 2008 Summer Beijing Olympics and the 2010 World Championship in Moscow.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Singapore. The finals in 1952 were held at the Singapore Badminton Hall when Malaya defeated the United States. it was the success of ping-pong diplomacy that led to China joining the global capitalistic economy. Since then.290 Interestingly. the game was brought back to England.edu . Since then.

Singapore has also been strong in ten-pin bowling and especially in shooting. Asian. sports like the arts is no longer just a wholesome schoolboy pastime.279 - . Sports School and Talents The importance of sports in character building was inculcated by headmasters in the colonial educational service. The school has a sprawling seven-hectare campus with world-class sporting facilities. in which the accolades won in the SEA. the Singapore Sports school was established in 2004. Singapore has wisely included these pleasant activities in its latest move up the ladder. . and Commonwealth games place Singapore as a premier shooting nation. Both activities bestow soft power and contribute to the economy. Post-independent Singapore has continued this tradition. What could be a better way of stirring up nationalistic feelings than a crowd wildly cheering the home team towards victory? As a strategy to raise more sports champions. In today’s globalised world. Academic teaching prepares students for the International Baccalaureate diploma.Singapore and Asia since its inception in 1965. Playing together as a team helps bonding and in nation building. Perhaps Singapore shooters have the advantage of training while serving national service.

and Europeans were fascinated by the rich diversity of flora and fauna in the tropics. the area covered by greenery in Singapore has increased from 36 per cent to 47 per cent. Nature reserves of rainforest and residual mangrove swamps have been preserved whilst public space in parks has been considerably increased. and 270 butterfly species in Singapore today. under Raffles’ direction. . which marks the divide between the two great zoogeographic regions of the Orient and Australia.900 plant species. who had formulated similar ideas as Charles Darwin on evolution from natural selection. Wallace studied animal life in the Indonesian islands.280 - . The garden grounds also provided nurseries for the later greening of urban Singapore and the orchid industry. a master plan for the orderly development of the town had been implemented. is better remembered for the Wallace Line. In commemoration of his 1854 stopover in Singapore when he collected beetles. The tropical garden city has been the blessing of providence and good governance. responsible for the modernisation of Malaya and Southeast Asia. Arising out of this was the rubber industry. a Wallace Education Centre has been set up in the Dairy Farm Park. British fascination with tropical plants led to the establishment of the Singapore Botanical Gardens in 1859. 360 bird species. The nineteenth century was an era of advancement in biology. There are more than 2.5 The Tropical Outdoors Despite the population growing from 2. Alfred Wallace. Soon after its foundation.7 million in 1986 to 5 million in 2009 through meticulous planning.

with its thick covering of giant tropical trees juxtaposed to the blue waters of Pierce and MacRitche reservoirs. Jogging tracks at the periphery are popular as is the recently built treetop bridge walk. is one of Singapore’s most scenic spots when viewed from the golf links of adjacent Singapore Island Country club. Since independence. Nature Reserves Until the arrival of Raffles in 1819. The jungle was home to tigers and a small number of aboriginal inhabitants who collected resins and other forest products and hunted squirrels. It has been fortunate that a sizeable area of primary equatorial forest in the water catchments and that adjoining Bukit Timah Hill has been preserved. the Singapore island was covered by a dense equatorial forest. The coastal areas were overgrown with mangrove swamps harbouring crocodiles. land density.281 - . introducing regulations on land use by zoning areas. the principal vegetation being lowland dipterocarp trees. Strategic planning continues to maximise land usage while preserving the environment. This happy state would not have been so if the colonial government had not taken the lead in the 1880s by designating the area as a forest reserve. legal protection was introduced with enactment of the Nature Reserve Act.Singapore and Asia As the tropical jungle was rapidly giving way to urbanisation and rubber and other crops. the master plan has undergone eight reviews and amendments. and plot ratio in the city and satellite towns. and wild boars. The more adventurous durian lovers venture into the forest to pick the prickly pungent-smelling but wonderfully tasty durian fruit. the colonial government designated the central catchments area with its rich flora and fauna as a forest reserve. mouse deer. The British First Master Plan for the island was only conceived in 1958.) . In 1951. This pristine forest reserve. (Warning: avoid feeding monkeys or straying into military training areas or getting lost. monkeys.

In 1859. As part of the East Asian Australasian Network. the Botanical Garden was set up. and their most notable success was the establishment in 1993 of the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. especially the Singapore Branch of the Malayan Nature Society (renamed The Nature Society of Singapore in 1991). it shares with the international community for the preservation of shore birds. www. together with sea apple and sea almond trees. it received the first seedlings germinated in London Kew Gardens from wild Brazilian rubber seeds. and coastal fishes. When Ridley became Director of the Botanical Gardens in 1888. Ridley made another important contribution to Singapore. This tapping technique is still the standard of practice today. The Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and Kranji Reservoir are scheduled to build facilities for kayaking and water sports. lobbied for nature conservation. his experiments led to innovation in bud grafting and the herring bone pattern of tapping which prolongs the productive life of the tree to twenty years. This reserve has a narrow stretch of rocky shore and coral reef harbouring a large number of marine animals and plants of the Indo-Pacific region.wildsingapore.292 Sungei Buloh also has preserved most of the mangrove species found in Singapore.com . These plants became the basis for Southeast Asia’s best-known produce—rubber. He identified the then new orchid hybrid which he named after an Armenian woman who 292 Migratory birds and mangroves at Sungei Buloh. Two hundred bird species have been identified.282 - . The Labrador Nature Reserve in Pasir Panjang was re-gazetted as a nature reserve in 2002 conserving a coastal forest of Dracaena maingayi—the largest of monocotyledonous trees in Singapore. palm civet cats. forming 60 per cent of bird species found in Singapore.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Non-governmental organisations. and in 1877. The mudflats of the mangrove swamps harbour monitor lizards. where birdwatchers look out for thousands of migratory birds seeking a break from winter as they fly south from Siberia to Australia and New Zealand. Singapore Botanical Gardens Scientific research in botany and agriculture began soon after Raffles’ arrival. otters.

the Upper Seletar Reservoir Catchment Forest.283 - . and a healing garden of Asian herbal plants. New theme areas include the Ginger Garden. In 2009. the Children’s Garden. Its active breeding programme is the first to 293 294 Tay S. situated at twenty-eight hectares of land. Orchid breeding and hybridisation was conducted with great success by Holttum who was the director of the gardens from 1925 to 1949. the gardens have been made more visitor friendly with better public facilities and amenities.org.8 hectares of adjacent forest land. education. Cool Home. The society hosted the 1963 World Orchid Conference in Singapore and will again host it in 2011. the Botanical Gardens have played an important role in supplying plants for the greening of Singapore. was opened in 1973 and is particularly attractive in keeping the over 300 species of tropical and other animals in spacious landscaped enclosures which resemble their natural habitat. The National Orchid Garden was set up during the directorship of Tan Wee Kiat in the 1990s. Under the present directorship of Chin See Chun. learning forest and marshland. and his work led to Singapore’s multimillion cut flower industry. www.294 Wildlife Reserves The Singapore Zoo. He introduced the modern system of germinating orchid seeds in sterile flasks. 2008. Evolution Garden. The Vanda Miss Joachim was chosen to be Singapore’s national flower in 1981. the Botanical Gardens has been extended to a total area of 74 hectares with the addition of 9.Singapore and Asia had found the flower in her garden. In 1928. and conservation as well as a popular leisure park.sbg.293 Besides the Botanical Garden’s historic role in research.. heritage trees. Straits Times.sg . Holttum was a founder of the Malayan Orchid Society. which has bloomed into the Orchid Society of Southeast Asia. May 17.C.

Straits Times. ‘10m Gift for Natural History Museum’. and orang-utan.zoo.296 Parks The meticulously planned land usage of heavily populated Singapore has not only allowed nature reserves but also a large number of parks in the neighbourhood of HDB estates where 80 per cent of the 295 296 www. with the completion of the new water theme river safari.295 and its parent body.sg Tan Dawn Wei. is involved with other institutions in the conservation of the hornbill. The richness of wildlife in colonial Southeast Asia has been immortalised in the immense collection of 500.000 free flying birds in the massive enclosure surrounding the tallest man-made waterfall showcase 600 species from Southeast Asia. reputed to be the largest in the world.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI have successfully bred proboscis monkeys in captivity.000 specimens of animal life at the Raffles Museum and Library. Jurong. some of this Raffles Museum’s collection has been displayed at the newly established Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research at the NUS campus. Africa. a permanent home for the complete collection is expected to be ready at the National History Diversity Museum in the newly designed NUS University Town in 2010. Since 1998. It would be involved with the breeding of giant pandas when two of these animals arrive from China in 2012. 2010. a swampland in the 1960s. was converted into Singapore’s prime industrial estate. and to soften the adjacent landscape then. and Latin America. pangolin.com. . January 24.284 - . The more than 9. Wildlife Reserves. when the free roaming animals are most active in the cool of the night. With the help of public donations. The night safari takes the visitor on a slow train ride in an adjacent secondary forest. Minister of Finance Goh Keng Swee had built a lovely bird park.

May 22. catering to the needs of every taste. 2008. and revving up of city night life. Marina South.297 The most recent initiative of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is the unveiling of the Leisure Plan in 2008. and picnicking.. golf course. www. A newly built housing development at Sentosa cove has 297 298 Lim T. Ridge parks such as Kent Ridge Park. the old British cannons wrongly directed southwards.sg . Sentosa has been purposed built into a resort island. The Singapore Botanical Gardens and Fort Canning are sites for concerts—Singapore’s Ballet under the Stars and World of Music and Dance (WOMAD). Historic parks such as Fort Canning Park and Labrador Park showcase monuments and ruins. Pasir Ris. The latest developments are the gardens and parks in the vicinity of new downtown Marina Bay. exercise equipment. Straits Times.ura. Beach parks such as Changi Beach. Here. the message of environmental conservation is highlighted by man-made ‘trees’ designed to collect rainwater and are equipped with solar panels for lighting at night. regional parks offer varying experience. Telok Belangah. shelters. The ambitious Leisure Plan over 10-15 years offers a boost in lifestyle for nature lovers and outdoor activities with 4. and those on Sentosa island offer sea sports. The latest attraction has been the Integrated Resorts World Sentosa.200 ha of parks connected by 300 km of tracks.285 - . Greenery and space for leisure has been and continues to be upgraded throughout the island. Additionally. hotels. oceanarium.Singapore and Asia population resides. with its beaches. East Coast Park.gov. Shade trees. and benches are standard provisions. and Mount Faber Park offer excellent views. and the infamous surrender of Singapore captured in wax. which like the Marina Bay Sands is a casino with an array of outdoor and indoor family-friendly activities. a 150 km route for joggers and cyclists around the island state. cycling.298 Off-shore Islands Amongst the off-shore islands.

2008. Close by to the south of Sentosa island.299 It has been unfortunate that due to development more than 60 per cent of the coral reefs have been lost. Singapore’s largest offshore island in the Straits of Johor. and 12 sea-grass species. sea urchins. sand dollars. The blue plan committee has currently suggested plans to preserve the remaining 5-10 sq km of reefs which harbour 250 species of hard corals.286 - . Straits Times. Corals and Marine Life Singapore owes its rich diversity in marine life to being at the edge of the equatorial triangle of the Indo-Malay Archipelago. which attract worshippers particularly on the ninth day of the lunar New Year. has a nature reserve and an outward-bound school. Cyrene reef. 299 Lane D. and sea cucumbers. This attests to the cleanliness of coastal Singapore’s environment. et al. However since the mid-1990s. not far from the huge container terminal of Pasir Panjang.. An added attraction is a recently built mountain biking trail on the island. projects such as the off-shore land filling of Pulau Semakau have taken steps to preserve corals. is in the middle of one of the busiest port zones in the world. 120 species of fish. Pulau Ubin. This biodiversity is similar to that in other hot spots of ocean biodiversity in Southeast Asia. . rich in marine life with numerous species of sea stars. pushing up prices beyond that of the best districts on main island Singapore. a ferry ride away are the smaller Kusu island and St John’s island with attractive beaches. May 3. On Kusu island is a Chinese temple and its turtle lagoon.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI attracted buyers especially from China.

the Age of Reason. and Buddhism has been advantageous in today’s globalised world. Constructive postmodernism movement has endorsed the European Union and placed its biggest hope in the harmonious rise of Marxist China. Nevertheless. Asians are now catching up fast. This movement in the West questions the precepts of modernism. and its excessive exploitation of Mother Nature. the major world civilisations were similar in the stage of development in being feudalistic. Asians paid dearly at the feet of Western hegemony. with the Enlightenment. Western civilisation has taken a quantum leap towards modernisation and wealth creation through colonisation and globalisation.Summing Up Singapore and East Asia—Celebrating Globalisation and Emergence of a Postmodern Asian Civilisation The economic achievements of people bear a close relationship with their cultures and level of development of their civilisation. authoritarian. through a belated embrace of techno-science whilst retaining traditional values. Modernising East Asians have happily discovered that practicing their cultural heritage of Confucianism. and religious. In stagnating for centuries. . Until the sixteenth century. its failure to achieve harmony in society and amongst nations. East Asia has found cultural consonance with constructive postmodernism. its materialism and lack of spirituality. Since then. and the control of nature through mastery of science.287 - . At the same time. Taoism.

Singapore has surprised all in reaching the ranks of a global city well within a lifespan. . Western talents in top-level management.000 foreign companies accounted for $15 billion or 85 per cent of fixed asset investment and 44.5 per cent of the GDP.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Singapore has been an East Asian champion of globalisation. and Tokyo. When colonial initiatives made Malaya into the world’s biggest producer of rubber and tin. Singapore was top in Asia and ahead of the United States and Britain. over 7. June 1. London. Straits Times. Initially thought too small to exist as a country. 2009. in 2009 ranked Singapore fourteenth among 200 countries. Singapore has become the biggest MNC hub in the world. International 300 Oon Clarissa. The elevation of English to be the first language of instruction in all schools not only helped unify multilingual Singapore but also facilitated linkage with the global economy and progress in techno-science. and research have all been recruited. Singapore—Celebrating Globalisation and Fusion of Civilisations Singapore is currently ranked seventh in position as a global city. joining in wealth and influence New York. and corruption attracted MNC investment. the port city grew into the ‘New York of Malaya’. the Republic of Singapore was pragmatic in remaining closely aligned to the Western world. finance.300 Singapore’s exciting fusion of Western and Asian civilisations started in 1819 when the British East India Company set up a trading post at the sparsely populated island at the strategic Straits of Malacca. Since the 1960s. Besides MNCs. a global index of social capital. freedom from labour strikes. In 2007. English-speaking workers together with other positive factors such as hard work ethics. academia. off the southern tip of Malaya. Caux Round Table.288 - . Following the usual rhetoric of newly independent countries against colonial exploitation.

Transparency International has consistently ranked the island state as one of the least corrupt countries in the world. As the city continues to grow. and sporting facilities are constantly upgraded. Unlike much of Asia. and paying ministers and civil servants well. tough anti-corruption laws. As pragmatic people. Buddhism. the Singapore Chinese. Singapore is currently being transformed from a garden city into a city within a garden. clean tree-lined and crime-free streets. The manicured outdoors. Retaining Asian Traditional Values Despite westernisation. . the compulsory learning of mother tongue in schools would go some way in perpetuating traditional Asian values. Indians. Arguably. Architectural legacy of East and West has been conserved. The liveability of Singapore has for past decades been significantly enhanced by clearance of slumps. and access to high-quality education and health care. at least in essence.289 - . Singaporeans are comfortable with a single party government that outperforms. During the past fifty years. the new emphasis has been on aesthetics in modern and postmodern architectural design and improvement in public transport. a key element in Singapore’s success has been winning the war against corruption through political will. Respect for benevolent authority could help explain the seemingly unbreakable social contract between the ruling multiracial People’s Action Party (PAP) and the voters of Singapore. and Malays still retain. and Islam (and Christianity). seaside.Singapore and Asia Advisory Panels (IAPs) continue to assist government and statutory bodies. There has been a renaissance of Western and Asian arts and vibrancy in night life to complement the gastronomic delights of the cosmopolitan city. suggesting a high degree of satisfaction amongst the population for the paternalistic PAP government. decent housing. votes for the PAP at the General Elections have consistently exceeded 60 per cent. traditional values of Confucianism. Hinduism.

and health care are not free handouts but are substantial subsidies increasing affordability. and strict laws against strikes have all contributed to industrial peace and global competitiveness. encourages people to be gainfully employed and be thrifty to build up assets and reduces the tax burden. Always thinking ahead. This disquiet. and the influx of immigrant workers have all widened the gap between the rich and the poor. though the Workfare scheme augments the wages of the lowest paid workers. inspiration from the Confucian imperial examinations as a means of selecting virtuous and learned mandarins gave rise to the practice of meritocracy in Singapore. who through collaboration of the National Trade Union Congress with employers and government have not resorted to labour strikes since the 1970s. meritocracy. There are no unemployment benefits and no minimal wage. and considered for future political appointments. became a ballot box issue in 2011 General Election. In recent years. The global economy. Social support programmes. and government-linked companies. ethics of hard work. offered scholarships to prestigious universities abroad.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Critical support has come from workers. Singapore’s social support programmes in housing. there has been public expression on the plight of the poor and the sandwich class. unlike the European Social Welfare State. with a more vocal Westernised generation of Singaporeans. education. the PAP takes great pains to rejuvenate their ranks. A great deal of social engineering and tough laws has succeeded to a considerable extent in gelling the population. Unlike the social welfare system of Western Europe. statutory bodies. groomed for the civil service. made up of a . Promising students and young people are identified. Tripartism—an ILO concept—has worked well in Singapore’s less combative society. together with the high pay structure of government ministers. This challenge to the current PAP government needs a solution. Perhaps too.290 - . The founding fathers put in place a systemic approach to attract the best people both for key political appointments and the exemplary civil service. The Asian ‘nanny state’s’ social support system.

Such enforced undemocratic measures have narrowed the social divide between the diverse racial and religious groups in Singapore. there are laws with heavy penalties against incitement of racial and religious discord. education. are the second and third largest world economies whilst Tokyo. where their people from a Confucian background excel in the global economy. It helps that the media plays an important supporting role. This emerging East Asian civilisation. health care. and Singapore are amongst the top global cities. China and Japan. . The hard-earned money in East Asia has been wisely invested in building up assets in research. The massive re-housing of the nation presented an unusually rare opportunity for integrated living. Malays (15 per cent). has nearly twice the combined population of the USA and the European Union. Allocation of public subsidised apartments in each high-rise block removed ghettos and ensured an even mix of racial groups throughout the island state. and Eurasians and others (2 per cent). Hong Kong. teaching conflict resolution and negotiation to solve problems.291 - .Singapore and Asia Chinese majority (74 per cent). English was made the first language in a common education system for everyone. and housing or saved as sovereign funds and invested abroad. Singapore’s expulsion from Malaysia had a strong element of racial discord between the more economically advanced immigrant Chinese and the indigenous Muslim Malays. Indians (9 per cent). Representation of minorities in the parliament was ensured by an innovative Group Representative Constituency. To quell communalism. infrastructure. Furthermore. Singapore as Part of an Emerging Postmodern East Asian Civilisation Singapore has been part of the vibrant civilisation emerging in East Asia. The state works closely with community leaders for moderate voices to be heard. respectively. with almost a quarter of the world’s population.

South Korea. 301 Christine Armario. education. literacy. and mathematics. since the nineteenth century. Singapore. Arguably this resistance to Westernisation is likely to fade as Asian society is uplifted and sees the light at the end of the tunnel.com . disenchantment with modernity in the West has engendered postmodern thinkers and movements. Japan. in uncovering flaws in modern science and philosophy. science. led to a conclusion that there is no certainty and that all beliefs arise out of particular socio-cultural-economic and historical context. China. Hong Kong.292 - . and Shanghai. despite the many wonders of modernity and Francis Fukuyama’s assumption of arriving at the ‘End of History’. ‘“Wake-up Call” US Students Trail Global Leaders’. In fact.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI In the 2011 United Nations commissioned Human Development Index ranking—a comparative measure of life expectancy. which is in the midway world ranking. the key tenets of modern Western civilisation—liberal democracy and the advancing frontiers of human rights—have had a lukewarm reception in much of the developing world. and standards of living—except for China. there has been little objective evidence that liberal democracy as well as the extending boundaries of human rights without societal responsibilities has yielded a truly enlightened and progressive civilisation. In the 2009 Programme for International Students Assessment (PISA). the other East Asian countries are all amongst the top thirty countries. Deconstructive postmodernism. Thus.301 As the world becomes smaller and flatter by the day—thanks to techno-science and the global economy—it has been a moot point whether people everywhere would eventually embrace modern Western civilisation in its totality. Nonetheless. Life on msnbc. were ranked far ahead of the United States amongst thirty-four countries in reading.

participatory democracy.302 In the formation and political structure of the European Union. Process thinkers work towards changing harmful and restrictive social structures to reflect the inter-relational reality. an end to patriarchal structures. and procedures including the pre-modern.net. In these respects. Process thought advocates personal. Ng E. there has been considerable support 302 Sheela Pawar. .-Jay. and racial diversity. 2005. the world view of constructive postmodernism has considerable consonance with East Asia’s cultural heritage of Confucianism. it has been tempting to bypass the shortcomings of modernism via constructive postmodernism. non-violence. The Center for Process Studies.293 - 303 304 . the pragmatic fusion of pre-modern Asian values—work ethics. and ecological and economic sustainability. respect for gender. For Asia and the developing world. 304 Spirituality in the universe as a concept of postmodernism has engendered a revival of religion. Significantly too. global. Buddhism. and acceptance of benign authority—with Western science and technology has proven its worth in the global economy. cultural. Experimentation in politics and governance has been a winning feature in the continuous rule of the elected People’s Action Party in Singapore. thrift. In its constructive approach. ‘A Synopsis of Process Thought’.Singapore and Asia Unlike deconstructive postmodernism which is nihilistic. ethnic. Sgpoltic. Marc Glendening. modernists have been alarmed by the erosion of democracy. unsurprisingly. endorsed by postmodernists. community-based economics. postmodernism welcomes a plurality of ideas. constructive postmodernism of Whitehead does not reject modernism but seeks to revise its premises and traditional concepts. ‘Postmodern Authoritarian Singapore’. ‘Post-modernism and Then Silent Revolution’. November/December. values. and Taoism.303. 2008. The European Journal. Thus. and environmental responsibility. May 25.

Would East Asia lead in this possibility? Singapore’s Legacy There have been great city states in European history. Hindu. .294 - . In the same way. Such a government could have enhanced capability built on meritocracy. Whilst Athens was a cradle of Western civilisation. and Chinese civilisation. At the crossroads of Western European. preserving ecology. but more importantly to the world are their legacies in civilisation. and other human rights would be expected to increase up to the point of not damaging the good of society. Creative Post-modern Huaren. and building sustainable cities to meet the expected large rural-urban migration. virtue in being corruption-free. The emerging postmodern Asian civilisation. and benevolence in its people-centredness. Freedom. These innovative populations prospered in trading. the Italian city states in starting the Renaissance sparked the modernisation of Europe and thence the world. some of the practice of classical Confucianism such as a strongly patriarchal society with suppression of women and unbending authoritarianism would be consigned to dust. a government would be judged not so much by its practice of democracy but by the quality of its governance in advancing a harmonious cohesive society.305 would best suit China’s In the promise of a constructive postmodern East Asian civilisation. of which Singapore 305 Jay McDaniel. Where there is conflict. the port city of Singapore has been a living laboratory in the interaction of world civilisations since its foundation in 1819. The economy would be to serve the community at large whilst avoiding consumerism. trading city populations learnt to guard their independence and survived for centuries as successful city states. there is the case of pragmatism overriding ideology. Islamic. democracy. In the Mediterranean in both classical Greece and medieval Italy.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI that constructive postmodernisation modernisation needs.

Mauritius applied Singapore’s regulations on foreign law firms.000 officials from China. governance. Singapore’s success story with ‘its ruling party running a tight ship’ has attracted attention from Russia and China and several Gulf oil states.Singapore and Asia is a part.. July 21. and abhors extremism. Japan created a comprehensive bourse able to handle a variety of securities and derivatives based on the Singapore exchange model.308 The Singapore story has shown that whilst innovations in science and technology would continue to be central to progress. these countries are studying Singapore’s system as a model in improving their own systems.307 More significantly. July 12. Abu Dhabi has launched a Civil Service College on the Singapore model. Singapore has trained 16. prefers consensus to confrontation... Since 1996. does not expect a free lunch. This could also have led advocates of universal liberal democracy to regard Singapore’s continuous one party rule as a threat. Chia S. and the arts could flower most successfully by hybridisation with the old wisdom of Asian 306 307 308 Eyal J. April 25. Over the past decade. . Straits Times. Beyond the economy. remains Asian at heart in being connected to the family. Low A. governance. Singapore’s innovative management techniques and government solutions have been adapted by several countries. practices thrift with an eye on the future. Straits Times.306 Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi has expressed that Singapore could offer some lessons in good governance to the proposed Milan school for political governance. 2009. the Western model of politics. countries have found it worthwhile to study the Singapore model of politics. and public administration as well as in the building of a sustainable global and liveable city. 2008. culture. including many at the two master’s programme at the Nangyang Technological University and at the National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. submerges individual rights to the common good. Straits Times.295 - .A. accepts benign authority. South Korea is studying Singapore’s experience in rooting out corruption.

Heaved in battle against the gods.296 - . They buy. Puzzles. They make. Traveled and traveled. wondrous of tail. scaly. half fish. . . has been beautifully captured in verse by Singapore’s unofficial poet laureate Edwin Thumboo in ‘Ulysses by the Merlion. traveled. Touched with power. . the Lion City. Pragmatic Singapore has been a living laboratory of how this previously unthinkable juxtaposition has been advantageous. The meeting and fusion of the world’s civilisations in Singapura. insistent On this brief promontory . Brought to this island. Beneath it all I kept faith with Ithaca. they serve. Skirted islands of fire.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI and other traditional roots. Passed Scylla and Charybdis To seven years with Calypso. nothing in my days Foreshadowed this Half-beast. This powerful creature of land and sea. But this lion by the sea Salt-maned. The bounty of the seas. Met strange people singing New myths. Built towers topless as Illium’s. Nothing. Peoples settled here. they sell. The results of this social experimentation could have implications on people’s lives beyond East Asia. Contented with Circe Who loved the squeal of pigs.’ I have waters sailed many. enjoying a little. made myths myself. Suffering much.

Search for a centre. Garuda. Adding to the dragon. phoenix. Have changed their gods.Singapore and Asia Despite unequal ways.297 - . They hold the bright. So shining. laughter. Explore the edges of harmony. This image of themselves. Good ancestral dreams Within their visions. Kept some memory of their race In prayer. Perhaps having dealt in things. Full of what is now. Their spirits yearn again for images. the beautiful. This lion by the sea. naga these horses of the sun. Surfeited on them. the way Their women dress and greet. Together they mutate. urgent. Majulah Singapura!309 309 Majulah Singapura—(Onward Singapore) The National Anthem of Singapore sung in Malay .


Nicolas 68 163 corruption. 121. definition of . Eddie 67 34 157 74 80 Chin See Chun China: democracy in modernisation of Churchill. al- Cameron. 293 Copernicus. 95.299 - . 42 89 Constantine (Roman emperor) constructive postmodernism 91-3. 134. Claude Boyle. David 65 C Al-Khwarismi see Khwarismi. Robert 232 147 100 62 Bernard. 124 146-8 283 89 126-31 83 Aristotle (philosopher) 67-8. 195 63 14. Robert 22. Napoleon Brenner. David 112 36 202. 63 57 Calvin. 248 climate change.Index A Abu Rayhan. Ali 107 62. 64. 236 Cheng Ho Chin Peng 94. John Carbon. 35. Sydney Briggs (general) Britain: global free trade and 99 Brule. 161 B Bacon. 134. fossil fuels and 101 95 Columbus. 134. Warren Byrd. 124-5. Francis Ban Ki Moon Barker. Tyler Buddhism 293 Buffet. 287. 224. 127. 287. 119. 120-3. overcoming fascism 81 partitioning the Malay archipelago 121-2. 293-4 Confucius (sage) 114. Biruni Alexander the Great Allawi. Central Provident Fund (CPF) 211-12. Winston Classical Cradle Clive. 129. Robert 68 Bonaparte. Christopher 82-4 Communist Manifesto (Marx) Confucianism 47 communism. 287.

Thomas Fukuyama. Francis (Allawi) 68 107 successful new players in Eijkman. and knowledge-based financial crises new game in 30-2 77 41-3 46 37 126 131-5 271 reformation of the Church in science and technology and 67-9 transportation and communication technology in 70. Albert 68 71 75 29-30 Crises of Islamic Civilization. 35-6 292 Friedman. Francis lessons from the 2008 global . climate change and Freud. Russell 78-9 128 194 industrial revolution and Islamic Abbasid Civilisation in Dutch East India Company E East Asia: Communist struggle in civilisation in 118 144. 72 rise of newly industrialised F Fang Xiu 268 60 75 32 47 rise of postmodernism in Ferguson. 146 146-9 emergence of postmodern Asian Japanese occupation in economies in Ecclestone. 280 Calculator (ENIAC) Elizabeth I (queen) ‘Epic of Gilgamesh’ Erasmus (scholar) Eu Chong Yip 158 115 61 65 European civilisation: Christian missionaries’ dissemination of scholasticism 99-100 Christianity and medieval 63-4 62 69-70 62 65 65-6 Classical Cradle of 98 urbanisation of modernisation of roots of 61 overcoming communism overcoming fascism struggle for Deng Xiao-ping Drinker. Vasco Darwin. Christiaan Einstein. Charles democracy: current practice of definition of 78 84-6 82-4 88-90 95 68. 26. Sigmund 75 11. Alexander Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI Crick. Bernie economy: changing economic order and 43-5 financial management and fossil fuel. Niall Fleming. The (Prahalad) fossil fuels. politics. The Electronic Numerical Integrator and D Da Gama.300 - .

Yaacob India: challenges to creation of postmodern Euro-Indian civilisation in economy of Hinduism in Raj 35 116 115 117-18 29-30 113-14 63 63 63 51 Ibn Zakariya ar-Razi Gorbachev. Al 88 47-8. Mahatma Gates. 284 86 globalisation. William Henry VIII (king) 62 74 65 clash with Christian west and Israel 108-9 108 107 internal conflicts of modernisation of . 213. 123 82-3 48-50 41 147 66 modernisation under the British Mogul Islamic influence in (ITE) (ILO) 38 Ireland.Singapore and Asia G Galileo (astronomer) Gandhi. Michael Great Wall Great War 273 Great Disruption. 243 27-8. 216. 184. 51. Adolf Hon Sui Sen 116 83-4. Mikhail Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) 202-3 Graves. 181 19 75 238 90 Hong Kong.301 - Hippocrates (father of medicine) . Alan Grotius. birth of global market capitalism I Ibn al-Haytham Ibn Hayyan. ranking as global country 20 Ishak. 195. 179 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) downside of: food and water deprivation 34-5 increase of rich-poor divide 32-4 global warming Goh Chok Tong Goh Keng Swee Gore. Bill 68 Hitler. The (Gilding) 94. 270 157. 109 157. Johannes H Harvey. colonisation of Hopkins. Yusof Islam: 157 225-6 208 Institute of Technical Education International Labour Organisation International Monetary Fund (IMF) green movement Greenspan. Henry 78 Gutenberg. Hugo Gurney. Frederick Howe Yoon Chong human rights: current practice of struggle for 78-9 35. 232 95 187. Jabir Ibrahim.

Huge 141 194 65 Luther. Joseph Liu. Gregor Johann Mohamad. Martin 80 O O’Neill. 154. Singapore Malaysia. alKoch. David Marx. Edward 72 78 125-6 Ma Zongsan M 127 95 227 Magellan. Thomas Jenner. 151. 199 Louis Philippe (king) Louis XVI (king) Low. Thomas 65 7. 151 L Laennec. Robert Kublai Khan 118 109 62. Abdul Khwarismi. 68 40. Ferdinand Magnanti. 273 Lenin. 164. Raymond Lim Chin Siong Lim Kim San Lim Swee Say Lim Yew Hock Lister. 290 38. A Mao Tse Tung Marshall. 237. separation from K K’ang-hsi (emperor) Karim. 271 9. Joseph meritocracy Mendel. René Lane.302 30 157 116.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI J Japan. 84 260 158 215 158. 213. 126. 157 265 68 Manifesto on Chinese Culture to the World. 290 210 209. 160. 203. 167. Ayatollah 123 149-52 126 128 148. 172. Richard 63. Thomas L. 172. Mahathir More. 233 Ong Pang Boon . modernisation of Jefferson. 11. 157-8. 209 164. 162. David Lee Hsien Loong Lee Kuan Yew 75 191 23. Isaac Ng Eng Hin Nixon. 208-9. Vladimir Lim. Karl 81 McNally. 221. 215-17. 164 76 78 81 157 National Trade Union Congress National Wage Council (NWC) commercial and colonial imperialism of 99 Newton. Edison Locke. Jim Opium War . Nair. Joachim Luther. John 82. 128 220 98 partitioning the Malay archipelago 191. Devan (NTUC) Netherlands: N 159. 115 73 123 Khomeini. 185-7. 208. 220.

156-8. Thomas 78 31 139 Sachs. Lars Lokke botanical garden in 191 building a research culture in celebrating globalisition and 81 fusion of civilisation 138 78.303 - . 62. 95 affordable housing in approach towards multiculturalism of Pythagoras (Greek philosopher) architecture and urban design in R racialism 86. Paramasevara (king) Pasteur. 253. Jean-Jacques Rubber Research Institute Rudolph. 280-2 157 223 151 Rasmussen. Stamford Rajaratnam. 134.Singapore and Asia P Paine. 161 33. Iskander 97 Sieh. 251. 14. Moshe science: S 25 241. Louis Paul (Pharisee) 72 63 Scherechevsky (UN adviser) from barber surgeons to global 9. Paul 241 Russia. Max Plato 68 253 62. 81. Samuel J. Razak. revolution of compulsory pension fund in 81-2 . 272 Planck. Abdul 87 biomedical sciences and translational and clinical research in 195-6 282 257. Kerry Singapore: 53 241 112 97 120 Siddharta Gautama 74-5 People’s Action Party (PAP) 166-8. 162. 218 141 cleaning up in 242. 164. 160. S. lifespan and quality of life and Portman. C. Jeffrey Safdie. 253. John Portugal: controlling straits of Malacca as traders 97 32 Prahalad. K. 219. 88-9 140. surgeons in 75-6 72-4 infectious diseases and 72 medical treatment and Shah. Ronald 141 74 celebration of globalisation by Rousseau. Henry Ross. The (Plato) Ridley. 244 257-9 211 colonial buildings in conservation in 254 288-9 Representative Government (Miles) Republic. 250 arts and design education bilingualism in 220 265-6 Raffles. 273 184 Palmisano. 67. 276.

198 interactive and digital media in international relations and national security in legacy of 294-5 248 liveability in of 251 201 203 174-5 281 270-4 285-6 170-4 response to global warming master plans and city expansion monetary policy in national reserves in national service in nature reserves in off-shore islands of orchestras in religion parks in 265 solar and clean energy in night life and gaming in standards of health care in state enterprises and government-linked companies in 183-6 226 256 technical education and 166-7 polytechnics in temples and mosques in productivity in .304 - overcoming politics of race and 159-60 PAP and politics in 284-5 as part of an emerging postmodern East Asian temporary foreign workers and 214-15 . getting the basics right health care financing in 236 healthy lifestyles in human rights and 232 167 152-4 post-secondary school education primacy of English in private housing in public health in public housing in public libraries in 19-20 ranking as a liveable city ranking as global city religious education in 51-3 retaining Asian traditional values in in 289-91 181-3 149-52 roles of multinational corporations separation from Malaysia small-and medium-sized enterprises in spirit of sports in 23 275-9 233 187 193-4 22-3 20-2 223 218-19 eradicating corruption in 240 240 268 231-2 ranking as a global country identity development of 196. civilisation 291 139 as part of British Malaya 263 plant life in in 225 244-5 performing arts and festivals in direction and funding of research as an educational hub 165 financial services in 201 160 234.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI culture of creativity and entrepreneurship in and workers in 216 dependence on foreign talents 212-13 18 dependence on trade of institutions in 189-90 228 163.

Simon 119-21. 194 198 278 technology advancement in V Vesalius. Gerald Tenen. John 73 58. Edwin Toh Chin Chye tripartism 37-8 269.305 - .Singapore and Asia tin and rubber economy in universities in 226-7 252-4 194-5 260 204 urban renewal in urban solutions in 140 Tang Jnyi Taoism 127 253 Tange. Tan. 86-7 165 96 86 37-9 43 Social Darwinism Soh Kee Hean 201 Tunku Abdul Rahman U United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) 152. C. virtue of Thumboo. 158 Singapore International Monetary Exchange (SIMEX) Snow. Ronald Tan. 225 194 180 64 urban transportation in water and environment technology in globalisation in wildlife reserves in workfare in writers in 210 268 186 Templer. A (Jefferson) 78 Sun Yat Sen 127 T Tan. 296 157 Singapore Airlines 207-10 148. Kenzo Tay. 134. as colonizers Spenser. 293 165 148 196 172. Saint thrift. Daniel Teo Chee Hean use of resilience package in 191. Andreas Voltaire (writer) 74 78 Tan Chin Nam Tan Howe Liang Tan Wee Kiat 283 . 193 177-80 283 Tham Poh Cheong wealth creation through Tharman Shanmugaratnam Thomas Aquinas. Joseph Summary View of the Rights of British America. Tony 157 274 190. 287. Herbert Sputnik 1 71 State Capitalism Stigitz. C. 157 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNTAD) 28 United States of America: dollar value of 41 27 110-11 international trade and 9/11 and war on terror revolution of rise of 104-5 87 26-7 25 slavery in as top dog 79 Spain.

Alfred Wickham. Miranda Yeang. Othman Workers Party 27-8. Francis Xu Fuguan X 100 127 Washington. 128 157 173 166-7 Zhang Junmai Zhu Rongi 129 Wong Kan Seng 92. James 60-1 Whitehead. 293 141 181.TK TI AND EDWARD SW TI W Wallace. 257 280 139 80 68 Yap. Alfred Wang Dayuan Watson.306 - . George Y 196 254 265 Western civilisation. Albert Wok. shaping of Z 127 World Trade Organisation (WTO) . Henry Winsemius. Ken Yeh Tsung Xavier.

the present authors wish to share their experience and world view with readers everywhere. academic and educator and his son Edward. Five stars (out of five)” ForeWord Clarion Review “Will provoke animated conversation among global news enthusiasts. a surgeon. a lawyer are descendents of poor Chinese immigrants. As Singapore citizens. Insightful and educational……….” Kirkus Indie Review TK TI Edward Ti TK TI. . ventured to British Malaya and became pioneers in the then newly created rubber and tin economy. the authors have finally found it crystallized in the process of writing this book. they are a part of an emerging postmodern Asian civilisation. Having benefitted from globalisation and a fusion of the world’s major civilisations.“The authors captivate the readers and whisk them along with well chosen language. Straddling across civilisations and in search of identity. A fascinating look into the economy of Singapore and its role in the emerging global economy. who in the early 1900s.

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