TODAY -

Lessons from Singapore

K Rajeshwar Sharma *

 Singapore - 2007
Singapore as seen on 2007 :: Pix - Martin Haobam



After watching on YouTube a video on Singapore, a niece ofmine, who is reading in Class III, said to me the other day, 'Why is Manipur not Singapore?' Her question was a bolt out ofthe blue. It was impregnated with ambiguity. Although it needs to be explained, I replied in a simple sentence, .....because Manipuris are not Singaporeans.' for she is too young to be interested in my explanation why and how Singapore became a developed First World country.

There is hardly anyone who is not amazed by the unprmedentedandextraordinary economic success of Singapore. Ithas been an interesting subject for academics as well as specialists in comparative economics and for policy makers as well. Singapore transformed itself from a poverty-stricken slum dwelling tiny island-state into a prosperous developedFirst World country within a span of thirty years.

At the time of its independence in 1965, Singapore was a typical Third World country with high unemployment rate, per capita income of five hundred dollars and racial tensions that triggered communal riots more often than not After less than fifty years ofits independence, Singapore has managed to achieve a per capita income of fifty thousand dollars. This is a remarkable achievement that makes Singapore one of the "Asian tigers", an envy of every country in Asia.

The success story of Singapore provides the world with many important lessons. Many developing and Third World countries in Asia wonder whether they can replicate the Singapore model. According to Professor Kishore Mahbubani, former Dean of Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, the Singapore model can be replicated provided that the "MPH Formula" is applied.

The acronym MPH stands for Meritocracy, Pragmatism and Honesty. Singapore was founded on the three pillars of Meritocracy, Pragmatism and Honesty, which Professor Kishore Mahbubani called "MPH formula, the secret of Singapore's success." Meritocracy is the practice of selecting and electing the best people to run the country.

"And what brings many countries down, especially in the Third World is that when it comes to selecting they will give their jobs to their brothers, their cousins, their uncles, their relatives, and not to the best people. And Singapore did the exact opposite..." said Kishore Mahbubani. In Singapore, jobs are given to the best people. Pragmatism is an English concept.

It is "the quality of dealing with a problem in a sensible way that suits the conditions that really exist, rather than following fixed theories, ideas, or rules." Singapore in its effort to achieve economic success practises pragmatism rather than political dogma. It follows China's former Premier Deng Xiao Ping's dictum "It doesn't matter whether a cat catches red or green mice so long as it catches mice."

Some of its economic policies are capitalist and some are socialist. In other words, Singapore's economy is a mixed economy and it is not bound by any ideology. Professor Mahbubani said, "So it would take some policies that are capitalist and some policies that are socialist and even mix them up. And that's what pragmatism is about."

Honesty is one of the most important human values without which no one can be trusted. But it is also the most important pillar of the three that ensures a corruption-free nation. In most of the Third World countries corruption, an offshoot of dishonesty and greed has made them fail to achieve success in implementing their policies.

"And indeed what has brought most Third World countries down and what has led to their failures in development has been corruption" said Professor Mahbubani. Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, the first Prime Minister of Singapore and its founding father always made sure that there is no corruption in his country. In order to achieve this goal, Lee introduced harsh punishments and uncompromisingly enforced them to all Singaporeans no matter how high or low he might be.

He even made it a point to punish top bureaucrats as well as his ministers who indulged in corrupt practices. As a result, Singapore has become the 4th least corrupt country in the world. Singapore was an impoverished country with malnourished children and gangsters fighting in the neighbourhoods. Communal riots flared up now and then.

Speaking to Sohail Rahman of Al Jazeera, Jeya Ayadurani, a local historian said, "We didn't have electricity, we didn't have safety" It was the kind of life that Singaporeans went through at the time of their independence. With these challenging conditions coupled with lack of natural resources, there was even doubt at the beginning whether Singapore could even exist as an independent state.

Literally Singapore had to start all over again from scratch. However the political leadership led by its long-term Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew handled the challenges by strong government intervention and strict state control in almost all areas of life. First they made sure to create a national identity which would enable individuals to associate with the state in an ethnic-based society.

Their second task was to create an economic foundation for the country by creating jobs, providing housing and healthcare, building industrial infrastructure, and establishing state institutions. Singapore, a "small red dot on the map", as Singaporeans often call themselves, has a total area of 280 square miles, which is even less than half of the total area of Manipur Valley but its population is twice as much as that of Manipur. Similar to Manipur, which has three distinct communities Meiteis, Nagas and Kukis, Singapore's population is made up of Chinese, Malays and Tamils.

More than sixty percent of its total population is Chinese and the rest are Malays and Indians who speak different languages, pray to different gods, and have neither common culture nor history but they have a feeling of "belonging" to Singapore as their motherland. It all resulted from the relentless efforts of the political leadership particularly the Prime Minister Mr. Lee Kuan Yew to bring communal harmony by introducing religious and language policies to build a national identity.

For instance, the maintenance of Religious Harmony Act was passed to promote religious tolerance among its citizens, and English was adopted as an official state language and as a language of instruction in education. Not only does English help unite Chinese, Malays and Indians as Singaporeans but it also helps Singapore attract huge amounts of foreign investments. In 1965 when it became independent or rather it was forced to leave the Malaysian federation, Singapore had no manufacturing industries.

Nor did it have an adequate supply of drinking water let alone agriculture. Neither does Singapore have natural resources like oil, minerals and forest. The only natural resources that Singapore is gifted with are its people and location. Singapore had no choice but to capitalize on its only natural resources-people and location.

In order to provide a qualified workforce, the government of Singapore under the leadership of its Prime Minister Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, streamlined the national education system that emphasizes practical skills and programs in science and engineering. In Singapore, education is considered as the main tool for advancing the national economy and nation-building as well. The country soon increased the number of universities, some of which emphasized science and engineering on par with the best in America and Europe.

National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University are among the top ten universities of the world. Singapore's educational system is well known for its science and mathematical programs. It helps the students go for higher studies in science and technology. But emphasis on mathematics and engineering does not happen at the expense of language and communication skills.

Location of Singapore plays a very important role in developing its economy. It lies at the tip of the Malay Peninsula, and is separated from Malaysia by the Johor Strait and from Indonesia by the Singapore Strait. It is at the point where ships carrying crude oil from the Middle East, and ships from Far East countries pass through.

Capitalizing on this strategic location, the Singapore government invested heavily to establish Singapore as one of the largest centres of oil-refineries in the world. hi addition to establishing petro-chemical industries, Singapore managed to establish manufacturing industries as well. The manufacturing sectors are electronics and precision machinery, oil-drilling equipment, chemical industry, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology.

It also established itself as a global service centre of the world. Seventy percent of Singapore's GDP is created by the service sector. In the absence of a stable government, communal harmony and business-friendly environment, Singapore could not have transformed itself from a Third World country into an economic powerhouse of the world.

All the credits of these remarkable achievements go to its founding father Mr. Lee Kuan Yew.


* K Rajeshwar Sharma wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on August 21 2022.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #3
  • Violence in Manipur 2023-2024 : Timeline
  • Reviving Lamphelpat : Conservation : Gallery
  • Commemorate Naga Plesbicite Day 1951 #1
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Hojai
  • The Power of Poppy - 32 :: Poem
  • Insights from CUET-UG Counselling
  • International Day for Biological Diversity
  • Unseen force at work: Time to unravel it
  • Sheikh Hasina's revelation
  • The Vanishing Meitei Tribe
  • Building career in defence & strategic study
  • Why example of model code of conduct ?
  • Ownership of responsibility
  • Will pressure mount on key players in NE
  • How to save your foot after an accident
  • Children Camp @JNMDA Imphal #3 : Gallery
  • Education Fair @Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • Project Associate @ CSE, Assam Univ
  • Understanding schizophrenia
  • Advancement in Multi Objective Optimization
  • When will women in voter list increase ?
  • Making 2 plus 2 is equal to 5
  • Changing face of drug menace
  • Scientist of Manipur: Jayanta Manoharmayum
  • 25 yrs since Atal Vajpayee visit to RIMS
  • 4 Lakhs donated to support (L) Maipak Family
  • Clarification: Guwahati Meet on Humanitarian
  • Start UPSC prep after 12th for success
  • Tips to avoid melting makeup in summer
  • Giving a big solid push to ST demand
  • Time to come clean
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba: 1 occasion, 2 narratives #3
  • Khongjom Day @Khebaching #2 : Gallery
  • A year of hostilities
  • Licypriya Kangujam to travel to Italy
  • Declining moral standards in public life
  • Healthy democracy with independent media
  • Why endangered species matter to us
  • Significant Guwahati meeting : 1st visible step
  • The Pallel story
  • Aftermath of ferocious hailstorm #2 : Gallery
  • Ukhrul: Climate change grip on water supply
  • Commemoration of World Eld's Deer Day
  • Indo-Naga Talks (From 2012) :: Timeline
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Hiyanglam
  • Dance of democracy, a miracle in making !
  • Learn to look 10/20/30 years hence
  • The zero FIR, zero lesson
  • 'Ishanou' Selection @ Cannes #1: Gallery
  • MOU signed: MTI-HUB & KIIT-TBI & SAbF
  • Lament of the Mourning Choir :: Poem
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Wabagai
  • RSS-BJP fracas
  • Trials for Canoe Slalom World Cup
  • Poser from a villager says it all Kamjong
  • The cover-up effort
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #2
  • Manipuri women in the arena of politics
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Assam
  • Aimee Baruah at red carpet of Cannes
  • National Defence Academy Exam 2024
  • How digital media changed communications
  • Manipur stands scandalised
  • All eyes on UP battle
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #32: Download
  • Riots to a shrine- Ram Mandir of Ayodhya
  • Handle with care. F.R.I.E.N.D.S inside!
  • The Power of Poppy - 31 :: Poem
  • Celebrate the journey !
  • Career counselling : A life guidance tool
  • Scientist of Manipur: Amom Ruhikanta
  • Conspiracy, thy name is Kuki !
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Thounaojam
  • Ket Meth New Album "Ghost Stories"
  • World Hypertension Day
  • International Day of Families
  • Let the rule of law prevail
  • When donation becomes obligatory demand
  • Tourism of Manipur through Gastronomy
  • Beyond Eternity :: Poem
  • Patriarch subjugation on women
  • Celebrate Manipuri Cinema shine at Cannes
  • Training on cultivation of various mushroom
  • Transformative impact of Ayurveda & Yoga
  • War for over a year : Delhi is answerable
  • The logic behind illogical chargesheet
  • Preserving Thang-Ta :: Rare Photos
  • Regarding Human Rights Situation in Manipur
  • World Hypertension Day 2024
  • Article 355 of Constitution of India #3
  • Disinformation campaign touba thengnarey
  • Deeply mourn the demise of Oja Biren Lamba
  • Water Mimosa for sustainable development
  • Publicity drives of educational institutions
  • ED's revolutionary move!!!
  • Malemnganbi Laishram : Science Topper
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2024 #2: Gallery
  • Thokchom Sheityajit : Arts Topper
  • Aiena Naorem : Commerce Topper
  • AISSE 2024 Exam Result- RKM Imphal
  • Gold, new world currency !
  • Milk for hair and skin
  • Of illegal immigrants & the larger picture
  • The missive from Kamjong
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Science Topper
  • HSE 2024 : Subject Pass Percentage
  • HSE 2024 : District Pass Percentage
  • HSE 2024 : Candidates with Highest Marks
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Science Full Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Arts Full Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Commerce Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Arts Topper
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Commerce Topper
  • Sezo Ringa- Debut Music Video "Revival"
  • Journalism - A thrilling career #2
  • After Class XII where? The eternal question
  • Entry of Arvind Kejriwal
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #1
  • Our nurses, our future: Power of care
  • Screenplay Writing course concluded
  • Workshop on IP & Patent Filing held
  • Let there be less Politics in Sports
  • Sam Pitroda is absolutely white
  • Motherhood: Soul & spirit of family & society
  • Time has come to criminalise ecocide
  • Meiteis, a disappearing community in Manipur
  • World Bamboo Congress @Taiwan : Gallery
  • Ima Manipur should smile more
  • 2nd National Lok Adalat at High Court
  • The Power of Poppy - 30 :: Poem
  • Army impact on Tamphasana Wushu odyssey
  • Aftermath of ferocious hailstorm #1 : Gallery
  • "Dynamic library service" :: Book Rvw
  • Radio E-pao: Manipuri Film OST (130+ song)
  • Artificial Intelligence & Environment
  • Article 355 of Constitution of India #2
  • Integrated Farming Systems for farmers #4
  • Delhi's stand after 1 year of clash
  • A new type of terrorism
  • Scientist of Manipur: Waikhom Vishwanath
  • SRF, JRF, RA @ Assam University
  • The Bleeding River :: Poem
  • Executive Meeting of WMC Assam Unit
  • Journalism - A thrilling career #1
  • Raising the call to replace Minister
  • A storm in a political teacup
  • Cheirao-chingkaba @ Chinga : Gallery
  • Happy Mother's Day
  • Empowering hill communities via U-Mangra
  • African Swine Fever
  • Free Training on Mushroom at Nagamapal
  • Harshit Dhingaun recieves award from Korea
  • Look for ways to restore normalcy
  • The danger of last kicks of a dying horse
  • Preserving Thang-Ta traditions
  • Resolving ST issue by democratic process
  • Top 5 songs to awaken your inner patriot
  • Project Assistant @ Manipur University
  • Leishemba Sanajaoba conferred Doctorate
  • Double tragedy: No time for red-tapism
  • A Youtuber called Dhruv
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing : Full Book
  • 174th Anniv Maharaj Narasingh #2 : Gallery
  • Challenges in Healthcare in rural Manipur
  • A salute to leadership quality of PM Modi
  • Career in press for freedom of expression
  • One day after devastating hailstorm
  • Understanding the suffering of others
  • A ferocious hailstorm @Imphal : Gallery
  • Article 355 of Constitution of India #1
  • Integrated Farming Systems for farmers #3
  • Election gossip & rumours
  • 'Melodic Minds' Tour in Guwahati
  • Leaving a trail of destruction
  • Political see-saw
  • A brand-new Scientific discovery
  • In memoriam of the happiness we shared !
  • Crop/animal for higher productivity in NE #5
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Sekmaijin
  • Oh Motherland :: Poem
  • Animal life should be treated with dignity
  • '365 Days of Chin-Kuki Aggression' : Gallery
  • Renaissance of politics in our youth
  • TB & tobacco co-epidemics in Indonesia
  • The Power of Poppy - 29 :: Poem
  • Advanced Charging Infrastructure in NE
  • Lessons learnt in the last one year
  • True colour of politics
  • World Heritage Day @ MU : Gallery
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Kakwa
  • Joint Combing Operations in Jiribam
  • Reboot PSUs for jobs: Task for new Govt
  • Ayurvedic remedies to keep healthy eyes
  • May 3, 2023 to May 3, 2024
  • One year of crisis, and what next ?
  • Scientist of Manipur: Nongmaithem Rajmuhon
  • Whither social justice & work for women?
  • Taiwan to enhancing economic ties with India
  • Integrated Farming Systems for farmers #2
  • Athoubasingi Numit #2 : Gallery
  • Privilege trap of While Male Meitei
  • Crop/animal for higher productivity in NE #4
  • 'Chizami Model' working in Gujarat ?
  • Racing towards the one year mark
  • On misattribution & falsifying history
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #15 :: Book
  • May Calendar for Year 2024 : Tools
  • 12th World Bamboo Congress at Taiwan
  • Complex dance of democracy in Manipur
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Pangaltabi
  • Integrated Farming Systems for farmers #1
  • Showing ugly face of muscle power
  • Spare the rod, spoil the monster
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #31: Download
  • Socio-Historical analysis on Ethnic Conflict
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Langmeidong
  • Ngangbam Dipapati- Gold @European Cup
  • Crop/animal for higher productivity in NE #3
  • Fresh surge in violence
  • The real culprit
  • National Science Teacher workshop
  • Livelihood Disaster in Mapithel Region
  • Scientists of Manipur : Laishram Ladu Singh
  • Imphal Ring Road Project to Transform
  • Lok Sabha polls in Manipur #2 : Gallery
  • The Happiness Code : Download
  • NH-2 Bridge bombed @Sapermeina : Gallery
  • Khongjom Day @Khebaching #1 : Gallery
  • Id-ul-Fitr @Hatta #2 : Gallery
  • Workshop @ NSU Manipur : Gallery
  • 174th Anniv Maharaj Narasingh #1 : Gallery
  • Lok Sabha polls in Manipur #1 : Gallery
  • Children Camp @JNMDA Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #2 : Gallery
  • Scientists of Manipur : Laitonjam Warjeet
  • Community seed bank @Umathel : Gallery
  • Athoubasingi Numit #1 : Gallery
  • Scientists of Manipur : Ngangkham Nimai
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #1 : Gallery
  • Kenedy Khuman (Singer) : Gallery
  • Students @ Class X Exam : Gallery
  • GHOST of PEACE :: Download Booklet
  • List of Kings of Manipur: 33 - 1984 AD