Three responses below to yesterday's post on why Singapore has succeeded. Roger Bayliss writes:
The analysis is highly superficial. Peranakan culture is only one of many facets of Singapore's highly successful economic and social performance. Quoting Singapore cab drivers is hardly a basis for judgement. While Singapore is indeed Asia's best managed city, most Singapore cab drivers do not travel in the region. Ask them.
Geoffrey Wade asks:
Having lived in Singapore for six years I would agree in general with the theory that the Peranakan heritage is an important element in explaining the Singapore success story, but the author hits the nail squarely on its head in her last para only.
Contrary to all neighbours and potential rivals in the region, LKY realised that creating a Western enclave (adoption of English as ’the mother tongue’ of all Singaporeans; easy accessibility; functioning infrastructure; law and order) was the one and only way at the time of independence to bring in capital and know-how so crucial for the development of the country. Once the others woke up to this reality, Singapore was too far ahead in the race for corporate HQs, often covering not only SE Asia but the whole Asia Pacific.
While I was Ambassador there, we built up an official Swiss R&D base called Swissnex. At virtually the same time, Swissnex Shanghai was started. Swissnex S’pore was up and running in three months, while Swissnex Shanghai took three years to open, the cost per man unit was and still is a factor 4 less in S’pore and so on down the (bottom) line. If you enter the Asia Pacific now, you certainly have to set up in China but in the race for that second, non-Chinese business location in the greater region (including India), Singapore had, and continues to have, by far the best cards.