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Saturday, January 15, 2011

BEST PLACES IN THE WORLD (PART 30: #6 Singapore)

The following continues the serialization of the final chapter from SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity:


#6: Singapore 

The first settlement in Singapore occurred around 200 AD, and largely remained a fishing village until the Portuguese came around 1600, then the Dutch. However, British adventurer Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles established a trading post in 1819, clashing with the Dutch, which nevertheless ultimately decided to instead focus on Indonesia. Occupied by the Japanese in World War II, the British regained authority in 1945. In 1963, Singapore and Malaya combined to form Malaysia, but Singapore split off in 1965 and joined the United Nations as a parliamentary republic with a representative democracy.

From a backwater trading post with high unemployment, lacking land and resources, the country has grown into a major financial and high technology power, thanks to Lee Kuan Yew and his “benevolent dictatorship.” Singapore now has a population approaching 5 million and a Gross Domestic product/capita at $31,000. The unemployment rate in 2007 was 1.7%. Their K-12 students general rank #1 in comparative standardized tests. Racial harmony is good. Singapore Airlines and Changi Airport generally are also rated #1 or #2. They just spent $1.2 million on Terminal 3 because Bangkok in 2006 opened a new international airport at a cost of $4.7 billion, and China, Dubai and Kuala Lumpur have taken steps to unseat Singapore as the best in the Orient.

In my visits there, I felt a bit uncomfortable about their intense focus on profits and relationships which lacked warmth. Not flushing public toilets is a crime and gum chewing until recently was, too. Remember, they flogged American Michael Peter Fay, which was, actually, deserved. But there is a basic humanitarianism missing, more recently realized and being addressed.

Should you wish to move to Singapore, check out the following website: www.smcmc.com. There is an e-relocation corporate online program at: www.entersingapore.info/relocation/e-relocation.php.

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