This must have annoyed a great many Singaporean authorities
(Wired Sept/Oct 1993) Disneyland with the Death Penalty
We sent William Gibson to Singapore to see whether that clean dystopia represents our techno future.
Asian Development Outlook 2013 – Singapore
Growth will gradually accelerate over the next 2 years, with inflation moderating but still higher than average in the past decade and the balance of payments recording large but narrowing surpluses. Prudent economic policies, a flexible labor market, a sound banking system, and substantial foreign exchange reserves will counterbalance adverse developments overseas. As the government implements its growth strategy encouraging firms away from reliance on foreign labor, it should take measures to reduce the impact on small and medium-sized enterprises. Policy challenge—supporting small and medium-sized enterprises Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)—businesses with annual sales of up to S$100 million or up to 200 employees—are an integral part of the Singapore economy. SMEs account for 99% of all enterprises, more than 50% of output, and 70% of employment. Recent years have been particularly challenging for SMEs in Singapore. In addition to weak demand in the protracted global recession, SMEs face a labor supply squeeze and rising domestic costs, which are largely induced by the government’s economic restructuring policy. SMEs feel the consequences of these shocks more strongly because of their limited access to finance and their less-developed financial and management capabilities. Recent surveys indicate that profits margins have narrowed, the number of SMEs reporting losses has risen, and enterprises are less optimistic regarding sales, profits, hiring, and capital investment in the coming months. (ADB Singapore country report)
More than two decades ago, political leaders in Singapore put forward the idea of “Asian values” to assert that liberal democratic principles and practices were not suited to the region, sparking an important debate that centered on the universality of human rights. But these discussions largely neglected another innovative proposal from Singapore’s leaders: modern political systems, they declared, should operate as meritocracies. …
In Singapore … political meritocracy has remained a central issue, with the country’s leaders continuing to advocate the institutionalization of mechanisms aimed at selecting the candidates who were best qualified to lead – even if doing so meant imposing constraints on the democratic process. In order to win support, they have often appealed to the Confucian tradition. As Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong explained, one of the many Confucian ideals that remains relevant to Singapore is “the concept of government by honorable men, who have a duty to do right for the people, and who have the trust and respect of the population.”
Read more at http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/the-rise-of-political-meritocracy-in-asia-by-daniel-a–bell-and-chenyang-li#F5uUgzXoG3z5Plfm.99
Read more at http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/the-rise-of-political-meritocracy-in-asia-by-daniel-a–bell-and-chenyang-li#F5uUgzXoG3z5Plfm.99
Singapore Looks Below for More Room
(NYT) Singapore, with a little less land mass than New York City, is running out of room for its 5.4 million people.
The city-state has built upward — with apartment buildings reaching as high as 70 stories — reclaimed underused properties for housing and pushed out coastlines for more usable land.
But as one of the world’s most crowded cities, and with projections for 1.5 million more people in the next 15 years, Singapore’s options are as limited as its space.
So Singapore is considering a novel solution: building underground to create an extensive, interconnected city, with shopping malls, transportation hubs, public spaces, pedestrian links and even cycling lanes.
Singapore has nothing to fear from the North Sea trading route, yet
(China Post) A Chinese container ship has made the news for being the first commercial vessel to go through the Arctic sea route, reviving questions over the Suez Canal’s influence, and Singapore’s position as a maritime hub.
If this new route – the Northern Sea Route (NSR) — eventually becomes commercially viable, ships may bypass Singapore, which is at present a key shipping node on the route via the Suez Canal, a 193km passage between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.
The Chinese-flagged Yong Sheng skipped the Singapore route, reaching Rotterdam from Dalian via the NSR on September 10. The trip took 34 days — 11 days shorter than if the Suez Canal had been used.
The event also points to increasing interest in the NSR, as melting polar ice opens up the Arctic sea passage, enabling ships to use the route for three months during the summer.
Singapore: How to Profit From This ‘Switzerland of Asia’
Singapore is an economic juggernaut with an unmatched combination of modern comforts, sophistication, cleanliness, and an energetic enthusiasm for commerce.
(Uncommon Wisdom) With a population around 6.9 million, the country generates $60,688 in per-capita gross domestic product. That’s the third highest in Asia, behind only Hong Kong and Japan. Singapore also has a sky-high 95% literacy rate and the highest standard of living in Asia.
The World Bank calls Singapore “the world’s easiest place to do business.” The country earned that moniker by concentrating on growth industries like financial services, biomedical research, technology and oil refining.
Internet big boys take aim at Singapore’s ‘regressive’ new rules (Reuters) – Singapore’s move to tighten regulation of news web sites, already under fire from bloggers and human rights groups, has attracted criticism from an unexpected quarter – large Internet firms with a big presence in the city-state which say the new rules will hurt the industry.
Web giants Facebook Inc, eBay Inc, Google Inc and Yahoo! Inc have said the revised rules “have negatively impacted Singapore’s global image as an open and business-friendly country”.
Verdict in Singapore: U.S. engineer Shane Todd killed himself
(Reuters) – American engineer Shane Todd committed suicide in Singapore last year, a coroner’s inquiry in the city-state concluded on Monday, a verdict at odds with his family’s belief that he was murdered because of his work. Not convinced by the verdict – see background at 30 March post.
Singapore sunny, Malaysia gloomy
(The Australian) SINGAPORE has woken to clear blue skies thanks to favourable winds but Malaysia is still being suffocated by smog from forest fires in Indonesia, where cloud-seeding flights have produced little rain.
Officials in Singapore, which bore the brunt of the smog last week, warned against complacency, saying the situation could deteriorate again if monsoon winds carrying smoke and particulates from Indonesia’s Sumatra island change direction.
Smog in Singapore from Indonesia fires could last for weeks
(Planet Ark) llegal burning of forests and other land on Indonesia’s Sumatra island to clear space for palm oil plantations is a chronic problem during the June to September dry season. … “It can easily last for several weeks and quite possibly longer until the dry season ends in Sumatra,” [Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong] told a news conference, warning of action if Singapore-linked companies were behind the burning. “On the scale of it, it’s unlikely to be just small stakeholders slashing and burning.”
Smog over Singapore — Hazed and confused
(The Economist) … all outdoor activity has virtually come to a stop, and many of those who dare walk the streets are wearing surgical masks. The jogging and cycle tracks are empty, as are the famous Botanical Gardens, where I do most of my walking. Yesterday evening, eerily devoid of humans, the gardens were being reclaimed by the giant monitor lizards that normally skulk in the bushes. Restaurants have closed their al fresco dining areas and many office workers have been advised to stay home to avoid the commute. The southern part of neighbouring Malaysia has also been hit badly, with the state of Johor closing hundreds of schools on June 20th. The medical advice from the government is that the elderly, pregnant women and children, as well as those with existing heart and lung conditions, should now just stay indoors completely; all could be adversely affected when PSI levels stray into “hazardous” territory.
People are already beginning to count the financial cost of the haze as tourism drops off, some building work is halted and flights out of Changi airport start to be delayed. The government has set up a “Haze Inter-Ministerial Committee” to direct its response, but in truth there is not much it can do, apart from dispensing advice to citizens struggling to cope. After all, the root cause of the hazing lies across the straits—with the Indonesians in Sumatra. What baffles Singaporeans is why the Indonesian government has not got a grip on this problem, even after decades of seeing the same thing happen every year.
New pollution high as haze chokes Singapore
(BBC) Pollution levels reached a new record high for a third day in a row in Singapore. The Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) hit 400 at 11:00 on Friday (03:00 GMT) – the highest in the country’s history. A PSI reading above 300 is defined as “hazardous”.
Singapore chokes on haze as Sumatran forest fires rage
(CNN) — Singapore was shrouded in haze on Wednesday as smoke from forest fires in nearby Sumatra drifted across the Malacca Strait in the city’s worst pollution crisis in more than a decade.
Buildings in the city of 5.3 million people have been enveloped in a smoky haze since the beginning of the week as illegal burn off in nearby Indonesia and prevailing winds were causing a smoke crisis not seen since 1997. … Authorities in Singapore are anxious to avoid a repeat of the 1997 Southeast Asian haze which the government estimates cost $9 billion in health care costs and disrupted air travel and business.
Singapore gets new oil technology (video)
(BBC) In spite of having no resources of its own, Singapore relies heavily on the oil and gas sector.
That is because much of the oil produced by neighbouring Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia is processed and refined in the city state.
This week, Singapore unveiled a new technology to help safeguard the country’s oil refining sector
Online media licensing undercuts Singapore’s financial status: report
(Reuters) – Human Rights Watch said on Friday that Singapore is undercutting its status as a financial center by expanding media censorship to the web and urged the city-state’s government to withdraw the new licensing requirement for online news sites.
Singapore Needs Immigrants, Says Jim Rogers
(Forbes) For many years, Singapore’s ruling People Action’s Party (PAP) has advocated a liberal immigration policy to offset the country’s falling birth rates and support its booming economy. But with the influx of immigrants coinciding with strains on infrastructure, inflation, and rising income inequality, public opinion turned against this policy. Many citizens took to the ballots to register their growing resentment against immigration and the party suffered its worst ever showing in the 2011 parliamentary elections. In response, the government has raised barriers to restrict the inflow of immigrants. … At the root of Singapore’s immigration policy is its worrying demographic structure. With a fertility rate of only 1.2, far below the replacement rate of 2.1 and one of the lowest in the world, Singapore will face a shrinking workforce and aging population if new immigrants are not brought in. Rogers warns that if Singapore tightens its immigration policy too much, it will become “an old age home in 10 to 20 years.” Given that more resources will then have to be expended to support the elderly, he thinks Singapore will find it “very difficult” to develop and compete with its neighboring countries.
Singapore to regulate Yahoo, other online news sites
(Reuters) – Websites that regularly report on Singapore including Yahoo News will have to get a license from June 1, putting them on par with newspapers and television news outlets, in a move seen by some as a bid to rein in free-wheeling Internet news.
“Online news sites that report regularly on issues relating to Singapore and have significant reach among readers here will require an individual license,” Singapore’s Media Development Authority (MDA) said in a statement. … Lobby group Reporters Without Borders, in its latest report, ranked Singapore 149th globally in terms of press freedom, down 14 places from 2012 and below many of its neighbors.
Singapore steps up international cooperation on tax evasion
(Reuters) – Singapore, the world’s fourth-biggest offshore financial center, said on Tuesday it will adopt new measures to make it easier to share information on potential tax evaders with other countries, including the United States.
The Southeast Asian city-state, keen to avoid the kind of onslaught on tax cheats being waged against Switzerland, said it will sign up to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) multilateral treaty on sharing tax details.
The world’s richest city
With the rising cost of living, locals are starting to struggle to keep up, so is the party set to end?
(Al Jazeera) China may soon be the birthplace to half the world’s billionaires but Singapore – the world’s richest city – is where they go to play.
Some of the rich and famous who have moved to the tiny Southeast Asian island republic include Indian telecom tycoon Bhupendra Kumar Modi, Chinese movie superstars Gong Li and Jet Li, New Zealand billionaire Richard Chandler, and famed US investor Jim Rogers.
One in six households in Singapore have a net worth of $1m, reflecting the flow of wealth eastwards as the centre of global economic activity shifts to Asia.
With low taxes, a reliable, corruption-free government and protective private banking laws, the world’s ultra-rich are flocking to make Singapore home, giving it the highest percentage of millionaire households in the world. …
Cries for a larger social security net for the poor are getting louder but this will mean increasing taxes. So, can Singapore, the economic miracle, sustain the ultra-rich’s attention for long? Or will the party end soon?
Banks in Singapore agonize over rich clients in tax evasion clampdown
(Reuters) – Banks in Singapore are urgently scrutinizing their account holders as an imminent deadline on stricter tax evasion measures forces them to decide whether to send some of their wealthiest clients packing.
The Southeast Asian city-state has grown into the world’s fourth-biggest offshore financial center but, with U.S. and European regulators on the hunt for tax cheats, the government is clamping down to forestall the kind of onslaught from foreign authorities that is now hitting Switzerland’s banks.
Before July 1, all financial institutions in Singapore must identify accounts they strongly suspect hold proceeds of fraudulent or wilful tax evasion and, where necessary, close them. After that, handling the proceeds of tax crimes will be a criminal offence under changes to the city-state’s anti-money laundering law. …
The new measures are part of a delicate balancing act by Singapore, which by 2020 could overtake world leader Switzerland in the volume of offshore assets it manages, research firm WealthInsight forecast last month.
The authorities are keen to ensure the city-state is not seen as a tax haven for the wealthy from Europe, China, Indonesia, Malaysia and elsewhere without dulling its allure as an oasis for the rich, replete with casinos, luxury properties and high-end boutiques and restaurants.
Singapore’s heritage — Elegy for an urban graveyard
… the struggle over Bukit Brown takes on a wider meaning. Among the improbable coalition of birdwatchers, conservationists and heritage buffs trying to stop the road are a few who see a broader political goal: of testing the government’s promises of a new responsiveness. In that sense, as in many, the argument over the fate of the graveyard may look like a tussle over Singapore’s past. But it is really about its future.
(The Economist) Bukit Brown is an important part of Singapore’s “heritage”. That should give it a certain protection, these days. …
[The government] has just announced free entry for Singaporeans from May 18th to all national museums; and the government is to pump more money into television programmes exploring Singapore’s history. An explicit model is this year’s “History from the Hills”, which used Bukit Brown to tell Singapore’s story.
The rekindled interest in heritage is part of a broader conversation about what it means to be Singaporean, which in turn is bound up with the biggest political issues: population and immigration. Already, probably more than half of Singapore’s people were born elsewhere. Singaporeans are having very few children—their women’s average fertility rate is among the lowest in the world.
The government argues that, if living standards are to go on rising, the population has to grow. In January a government white paper on the population projected that it would increase from 5.3m now to 6m by 2020 and to 6.5m-6.9m by 2030. But this angered many of the less well-off Singaporeans, whose main daily grouses are the unaffordability of housing and the difficulty of getting onto the underground at rush hour. Many blame both problems, as well as their low wages, in part on an influx of foreigners.
So the government also talks of the importance of keeping a “Singaporean core”. For the ethnic-Chinese that make up three-quarters of that core, Bukit Brown—until it closed in 1973, the only municipal pan-Chinese cemetery, as opposed to those dedicated to different clans or dialect groups—is a central part of their heritage.
It is also the scene of an important battle in the fall of Singapore in February 1942. Jon Cooper, a British battlefield historian, paints a vivid picture of the horrors of that struggle, as young British soldiers from the 4th Suffolk regiment, newly arrived in Singapore after the long sea voyage, took shelter from an artillery barrage in the tombs of Bukit Brown, and fled through its tangled undergrowth and scattered structures as the Japanese advanced with naked bayonets and swords, and screams of “Banzai!”. Some were never seen again.
Parents get Washington to investigate son’s death in Singapore
(LA Times) Singapore police say Montana engineer Shane Todd committed suicide. But his mother and father don’t buy it and have turned his death into an international issue.
Singapore mystery death stokes speculation
US-Singapore ties fray as parents of American engineer reportedly engaged in top-secret research reject suicide claims.
(Al Jazeera) It has been a death that continues to arouse suspicion nine months later, besides spawning tensions across oceans between the United States and Singapore.
Authorities in Singapore originally said Shane Todd – a 31-year-old engineer from the US found hanging in June 2012 – had committed suicide. But speculation that the nature of his death could have been far more sinister has continued to swirl amid talk of top-secret research, potential threats to US national security, and shadowy links between giant technology firms and the Chinese military.
Singapore uses ‘fairytales’ to remind women their biological clocks are ticking
(Globe & Mail) The image is one of 15 reprised fairytales the Singaporean government is banking on to boost fertility rates in the prized 21- to 30-year-old cohort. Although many couples in the West are also postponing marriage, Singapore in particular is facing extremely low birth rates in tandem with an aging population. And so the government has gone full hilt, funding speed-dating events, as well as “love vouchers” and silly advice columns in hopes that their young people will start procreating.
Dreamed up by four senior university students, there are 15 re-imagined fairytales in all, each with explicitly stated morals pertaining to marriage, sex and baby-making. Humpty Dumpty warns about male fertility issues. Others, like Jack and Jill and Cinderella, warn Singaporeans about the pitfalls of perfectionism – of young people foolishly hoping to conjure the ideal life before even considering children. The clock is ticking, read the cautionary tales, which are really just a cutesy, dumbed-down take on the ominous fables we all grew up with.
Truefitt & Hill opens first gentlemen’s barbershop in Singapore
The world’s oldest barbershop for men , Truefitt and Hill has opened a full service gentlemen’s barbership here in Singapore on Ang Siang Road on (sic) a beautiful old colonial shophouse.
Singapore’s Lessons for an Unequal America
By JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ
(NYT) Singapore has had the distinction of having prioritized social and economic equity while achieving very high rates of growth over the past 30 years — an example par excellence that inequality is not just a matter of social justice but of economic performance. Societies with fewer economic disparities perform better — not just for those at the bottom or the middle, but over all. …
There were many things that Singapore did to become one of Asia’s economic “tigers,” and curbing inequalities was one of them. The government made sure that wages at the bottom were not beaten down to the exploitative levels they could have been.
The government mandated that individuals save into a “provident fund” — 36 percent of the wages of young workers — to be used to pay for adequate health care, housing and retirement benefits. It provided universal education, sent some of its best students abroad, and did what it could to make sure they returned. (Some of my brightest students came from Singapore.)
There are at least four distinctive aspects of the Singaporean model, and they are more applicable to the United States than a skeptical American observer might imagine.
(Singapore Business Times) DONE and dusted are the days of the feminised metrosexual, it seems.
Thanks to slickly groomed ~ yet still broodily masculine -celluloid style icons like James Bond and Don Draper, manscaping these days can be considered as essential, and definitive, for the alpha male as cigar-chuffing or whiskey-swilling.
The latest spot for the modern gentleman to get his grooming fix is Ann Siang Road barbershop, Truefitt and Hill.
Set to open on March 27, the 1,200 sq ft store will be the first Singapore outpost for the two-century-old British brand often referred to as the oldest barbershop in the world. …
Canadian Marc Nicholson, who is behind the upcoming Singapore store, is a former ad man who has lived in Singapore for a decade. He says he’s been tossing about the idea of running an upscale barbershop for about six years …
In Singapore’s Immigration Debate, Sign of Asia’s Slipping Middle Class?
(NYT) Concern over booming immigration, often focused on new arrivals from increasingly rich China, has been simmering in the nation, with many feeling that the immigrants do not play by the same rules, that their manners are poor and that they are pushing up prices. That feeling crystallized last year when a wealthy Chinese man driving a Ferrari at high speed killed three people (including himself) in a nighttime accident.
(Similar sentiments are found in Hong Kong, as my colleagues Bettina Wassener and Gerry Mullany wrote.)
Vividly illustrating the resentment, Singaporeans sometimes call the wealthy immigrants “rich Chinese locusts,” according to an article in the Economic Observer’s Worldcrunch.
So the Singapore government’s Population White Paper that passed in Parliament earlier this month, just before Chinese New Year, was bound to stir things up.
Singapore seethes over population plan
Proposal to boost city state’s population prompts rare protest, signalling growing dissent over influx of foreigners.
(Al Jazeera) Singapore’s success story is relatively well-known. Having transformed itself from a tiny island nation with no natural resources to one of the richest countries in the world, Singapore prides itself on its booming economy, sustained by encouraging foreign investment and migrant labourers.
But despite being the third-most densely populated country in the world, Singapore’s government recently announced plans to increase its total population from 5.3 million to 6.9 million by 2030. The move caused a public outcry, with thousands taking to the streets on Saturday in protest.
An aging population coupled with dwindling birth rates, escalating housing prices, overcrowding, and caving infrastructure are just some of the factors responsible for the rising dissent among Singaporeans.
In January, Singapore’s government – which has been led by the People’s Action Party since 1959 – introduced two proposals. The first was its “White Paper on Population”, which outlined a strategy to ensure sustainable population levels in the face of low birth rates and an aging society. Shortly thereafter, a plan to increase Singapore’s land area by nearly 8 per cent was announced to accommodate the new population.
In addition to the number of foreigners, an estimated 30,000 new permanent residents – a status given to foreigners who live in Singapore for long periods of time – will also be added each year.
Singaporeans have become increasingly vocal about the high influx of foreigners in recent years, demanding changes in the government’s relaxed immigration policies.
The opposition Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) recently launched its own population policy report, calling instead for a plan for businesses to favour Singaporeans when hiring and to tighten the screening of foreign professionals to wean businesses off of cheap foreign labour.
Singapore wants to boost population to 6.9 million by 2030
(Reuters) – Asian financial center Singapore, which is already more densely populated than rival Hong Kong, wants to raise its population by as much as 30 percent in the next two decades to ensure its economy remains dynamic, the government said on Tuesday.
The growth in the population to between 6.5 and 6.9 million by 2030 – from 5.3 million now – would involve persuading citizens to have more babies and handing out citizenship to more foreign-born professionals, the government said in a white paper.
Exclusive: Bank probes find manipulation in Singapore’s offshore FX market – source
(Reuters) – Internal reviews by banks in Singapore have found evidence that traders colluded to manipulate rates in the offshore foreign exchange market, according to a source with knowledge of the inquiries. …
The Monetary Authority of Singapore told banks in the city state last July to review the way they set interbank lending rates, in the wake of the Libor scandal.
As bank officials pored over documents and communications, they came across evidence that raised alarm bells over activities in the NDF markets as well, spurring an extension of the reviews to those markets in September, the source said.
Singapore ruling party rebuked in by-election as disquiet rises
(Reuters) – Singapore’s long-dominant People’s Action Party (PAP) lost heavily in a single-seat by-election on Saturday, a barometer of how the government is dealing with discontent in the wealthy Asian country over immigration and the high cost of living.
By-election shines a light on discontented Singapore
(Reuters) – Sky-high housing prices. Train breakdowns. Foreigners stealing jobs, and a widening chasm between rich and poor.
A by-election in Singapore on Saturday is putting a spotlight on strains and discontent in one of Asia’s wealthiest countries and biggest success stories: the transformation of a post-colonial backwater into an economic powerhouse.
UK author to be jailed in Singapore after losing appeal
(Reuters) Singapore’s High Court in November sentenced Alan Shadrake, 76, to six weeks’ jail and a fine of S$20,000 ($16,090) for scandalizing the judiciary with comments in his book about the city-state’s use of the death penalty.
Shadrake had been free on bail pending the appeal and starts his jail sentence on June 1, the same day the second edition of his book, “Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock,” appears in British bookstores.
After more than 50 years of running Singapore, its octogenarian leader is stepping aside. Can the island nation stay prosperous and peaceful as democratic storms begin to blow?
Emerging markets around the world are searching for a new model in a post-Washington Consensus world. Some have suggested a “Beijing Consensus” of economic reform without political reform, given the Middle Kingdom’s spectacular rise to superpower status.
Yet it is in fact the Singapore Consensus, not the Beijing Consensus, that is likely to win the 21st-century competition over governance models. Unlike China, whose government has resources and rights at its disposal that no other state can match, Singapore’s ideology is non-ideology; it is pragmatism. (See Guy Stanley comment of 31 May below.)
Architect of modern Singapore steps down
(FT) Singaporeans woke up on Sunday to the prospect of a government without Lee Kuan Yew for the first time in 52 years after the country’s founding father and dominating political figure unexpectedly resigned from the cabinet
Not fade away
(The Economist/Banyan) … Within the PAP, and for many other Singaporeans, Mr Lee remains a revered figure. But it’s also clear that new generations of Singaporeans are ready to move onto a new era, and the PAP will have to reflect that or wither. It’s unclear whether a few men in white coats took MM aside to finally do some plain speaking of their own, or whether Mr Lee took the decision himself to resign from the cabinet. But the result is the same; the founding-father will continue to opine, but the PAP will have a little more room to change and adapt to a changed electoral landscape.
(Straits Times) ‘A loss for S’pore, but economy is in good hands’
A win-win election?
(The Economist/Banyan) Singaporeans, who seem still to trust the PAP to do an efficient job, in the aggregate want not an alternative government but a stronger opposition. And they have got one.
The danger for the opposition, as Cherian George, author of an excellent book on the politics of Singapore in the 1990s, pointed out (see below) having succeeded in teaching the PAP a lesson at the polls, it will now “have to face the daunting possibility that the government actually learns it.”
Singapore, Stockholm and Seoul top-ranked in Ericsson’s Networked Society City Index
The Networked Society City Index – established through a joint study conducted by Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) and management consultancy Arthur D. Little and presented on May 10 at Ericsson’s Business Innovation Forum in Silicon Valley in the US – shows that cities with a high level of ICT maturity are better able to manage issues such as environmental management, infrastructure, public security, health-care quality and education.
This is the best analysis of the Singapore elections we have seen
Cherian George : GENERAL ELECTIONS 2011
… the opposition’s presence in the next Parliament still amounts to less than 7 percent of elected seats. This is at most a speed bump, not a barrier, on PAP’s road to writing or rewriting laws. Besides, life in Singapore is not just shaped by statutes. It is also governed through subsidiary regulations and administrative decisions that don’t go through Parliament.
A second dampener on the WP’s aspirations is the absence of a First World electorate …. Political reform anywhere depends … also on active citizens who participate through civil society. … Singapore society has been systematically depoliticised over the decades and is mired in apathy. …The 2011 election campaign may have energised ordinarily docile Singaporeans to share views on facebook, attend rallies, and jostle for WP umbrellas, but the sobering truth for the opposition is that the vast majority will return to their private lives tomorrow, and continue to outsource public affairs to politicians.
The Greed of Singapore’s Rulers
Singapore is at the top for salaries, and number 2 for the ratio of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per person! [See Antal Deutsch comment on May 9 below]
Singapore’s general election
Repent, sinners, if thou shalt vote for the opposition
(The Economist/Banyan) The rising cost of everyday goods and services in an already expensive city is the main worry for Singaporeans, and this has become the main campaign message for many opposition politicians. Immigration has become part of the mix too; opposition candidates argue that the steady stream of low-cost workers coming to Singapore depresses wages for Singaporeans, thus adding to their worries about rising prices. Some parties argue for reductions in taxation, or special help for the elderly and other groups. The PAP argues that Singapore should stick to its traditional free-market, low-welfare policies, arguing that the best way to combat rising prices is to help the already flourishing economy grow even further. Last year Singapore achieved the second-highest growth rate in the world, after Qatar.
Thomas L. Friedman: Serious in Singapore
If Singapore has one thing to teach America, it is about getting governance right.
(NYT) If Singapore has one thing to teach America, it is about taking governing seriously, relentlessly asking: What world are we living in and how do we adapt to thrive.
… Explained Ravi Menon, the Permanent Secretary of Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry: “The two ‘isms’ that perhaps best describe Singapore’s approach are: pragmatism — an emphasis on what works in practice rather than abstract theory; and eclecticism — a willingness to adapt to the local context best practices from around the world.”
Don’t go off the VERY deep end… Infinity pool 55 STOREYS above ground opens in Singapore in dazzling new £4bn resort
(Daily Mail) If you fancy a dip in this pool, you’ll need a head for heights – it’s 55 storeys up.
But swimming to the edge won’t be quite as risky as it looks. While the water in the infinity pool seems to end in a sheer drop, it actually spills into a catchment area where it is pumped back into the main pool. At three times the length of an Olympic pool and 650ft up, it is the largest outdoor pool in the world at that height.
It features in the impressive, boat-shaped ‘SkyPark’ perched atop the three towers that make up the world’s most expensive hotel, the £4billion Marina Bay Sands development in Singapore. … The Marina Sands resort was designed by architect Moshe Safdie who based it on a deck of cards.
The Global Governance Group (‘3G’) and Singaporean Leadership
Can Small be Significant?
The paper will seek to examine the relevance of the most recent groupings of states to contemporary international relations. This new generation of groups succeed the previous ones such as the G77, or the NAM, which still formally exist, but have mostly lost their utility. Singaporean diplomats shepherded the creation of the Global Governance Group (3G), perhaps a third generation of such groupings, open to all who are committed to its purposes, with a view to creating a ‘pressure-group’ to render the G20 process more consultative, inclusive and transparent.
English (PDF 13 pages 90 KB)
‘Be as one’ in Singapore
(UPI) As Singapore’s equivalent of the U.S. director of national intelligence who coordinates all intelligence and counter-intelligence for one of the world’s most important trade hubs, Peter Ho became the champion of “mainstreaming counter-terrorism.” This is tantamount to synergizing CT at each and every level of both the public and private sectors.
“Be as One” is the national security motto. In a recent poll, 83 percent of respondents said they were aware of security efforts but less than half said they were aware of what steps to take.
What Singapore has achieved and what is tested and retested day and night is light-years beyond what is possible in the United States without incurring the wrath of civil libertarians.
But Singaporeans, almost 5 million, are remarkably self-disciplined in a seamless cultural, ethnic and religious amalgam of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European influences.
5 September 2008
Two different views, both well worth reading
Pressure Builds on Singapore’s System
by Hugo Restall
(Far Eastern Economic Review) During the National Day festivities last month, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s gloomy prognosis for the economy—a “bumpy year” ahead—was overshadowed by even more dire warnings that the city state is about to start running low on its main resource, people. With an aging society and one of the lowest fertility rates in the world at 1.29, the government is pulling out all the stops, doubling the budget of baby-making incenftives to $1.13 billion. Meanwhile, in order to make Singapore a more tolerant and pluralistic place, political videos will be allowed, as well as protests in a downtown park.
It’s all straight from the ruling People’s Action Party’s standard playbook. Play up the anxiety of a small nation beset on all sides, in need of a strong government to take positive action to avert disaster. Individual citizens who are failing to live up to the expectations of society need to be brought back into line. At the same time, leaders are willing to give those citizens a few of their rights back, as long as they are not used to undermine harmony.
The PAP’s Challenge
Hugo Restall (“Pressure Builds on Singapore’s System,” Sept, 5, 2008) painted a bleak picture of a system that was losing its ability to generate economic growth and bind its people together.
Singapore faces the same challenges of globalization as other advanced economies: competition from low-cost competitors and pressures on the wages of less-skilled workers. In response, we are restructuring the economy, promoting new investments and entrepreneurship, and providing direct assistance to the poor.
Consequently, Singapore has averaged 7% economic growth and 3% productivity growth over the last five years, and has one of the lowest unemployment rates internationally. We are not doing too badly.