Monday, May 12, 2008

Kudos for Singapore

Singapore is geographically a very small state but it carries a significance in the world that far outweighs its geography.

Singapore is like a brand which conveys certain brand values: richness, beauty, tourist magnet, cultural diversity, peacfulness, discipline, rule of law, tech savvy, business-friendly and so on. That's why the country keeps getting kudos from different quarters.

Recently, NYT columnist Thomas Friedman praised Singapore in no uncertain terms:

A few weeks ago, my wife and I flew from New York’s Kennedy Airport to Singapore. In J.F.K.’s waiting lounge we could barely find a place to sit. Eighteen hours later, we landed at Singapore’s ultramodern airport, with free Internet portals and children’s play zones throughout. We felt, as we have before, like we had just flown from the Flintstones to the Jetsons. If all Americans could compare Berlin’s luxurious central train station today with the grimy, decrepit Penn Station in New York City, they would swear we were the ones who lost World War II.

How could this be? We are a great power. How could we be borrowing money from Singapore? Maybe it’s because Singapore is investing billions of dollars, from its own savings, into infrastructure and scientific research to attract the world’s best talent — including Americans.

This article was one of the top ten most read articles at the NYT website, and it stuck around in that list for a couple of day. This kind of publicity cannot be bought with money or PR. This is real, genuine, praise and a country like Singapore deserves it and more.

There is another relevant study on this topic and I quote from it here:

Singapore emerged as the top place to work and play among university students in the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean) grouping, a survey said.

More than half of the 2,170 undergraduates polled, or 54.3 percent, said they would "most like to work" in Singapore among the 10 Asean nations.

Malaysia was a distant second with 11.2 percent, followed by Brunei at 8.3 percent, Thailand at 7.1 percent, Vietnam at 4.7 percent and Indonesia at 2.5 percent, according to findings published in The Straits Times.

This is fantastic--and it shows how other nations can learn from Singapore, which has shown size really does not matter.

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