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Singapore Lee Kuan Yew

9 lessons from Lee Kuan Yew on transformational change

Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of modern Singapore, died this week. He transformed an old colonial outpost to a country that has one of the highest GDP per capita in the world, a thriving economic hub and an education system that is the envy of Asia.

Are there lessons in project management and transformational change that we can learn from him? Yes, and I experienced this firsthand. I was Lee Kuan Yew’s baby, in the sense that I was born in Singapore, and since 1965, when his policies were endorsed, I have felt every change.

I was in the first year of primary school at the time and my experience was markedly different to those children born in previous years. For example, whereas in the year before me the girls learnt French and embroidery, I was packed off in buses to learn technical drawing, woodwork and metalwork. I also had to learn economics as a compulsory subject. Without this early grounding, I would not have taken to structure, delivery and meticulous implementation of project management.

Here are the lessons in transformational change Lee Kuan Yew taught me. These can be applied to projects and programs today:

1. Clarity of vision

Lee communicated what was expected of us as Singaporeans: what would need to be achieved to convert a cholera- and flood-prone country in the 1960s to a modern city state.

2. People first

Lee focused on people. He knew that this was the only resource that Singapore had. Singapore was self-sufficient in nothing (it even imported its water from Malaya). So Lee focused on skills. He first undertook an extensive exercise to test and grade all students. There was an expectation that we were all to perform at our varying abilities. Failure was not in our thinking. It was about what we could do for the strategic objectives—the country.

3. Communicate a better future

The Singapore pledge was said each day in class and we sang the anthem in Malay which started with the words ‘Sama sama maju ka hadapan, pandai chari pelajaran’ (Let us all together unite and progress our country and apply ourselves to our learning).

4. Lead the change

Walk the talk; Lee led the change. His salary and that of his ministers was publicly available. They wore humble attire (simple short sleeve shirts, no suits) among many signs of solidarity with the people.

5. Courage in leadership

Lee was not afraid of making mistakes. He expected us to follow suit and make it work. He stepped out and we stepped up.

6. Clear accountability for projects and programs

Lee made sure that there were accountable heads at every tier of government and in each of their massive programs, such as the Housing Development Board program where a new apartment was built every 25 minutes in the 1970s.

7. Benefits were framed in terms of ‘the collective good’

Every program and project had clear benefits articulated. Everyone knew why they were doing what they did. For example, the ‘no chewing gum’ policy meant understanding that liberal attitudes did not work in a country with high density of population of 3,000 people per square kilometre. Personal liberty is subsumed by the collective good. We all accepted this and understood the WIFM ‘What is in it for me?’

8. Active risk management

Risks become issues if they are not managed. Lee focused on risks from the onset. It was public knowledge and it was actively tracked. How else would monumental projects such as the reclamation land project (some of the land on which top hotels now stand were on reclaimed land) and the Central Provident Fund (superannuation) project, which enabled every Singaporean to own a property and have a nest egg, have worked?

9. Lessons learnt

Lee was a stickler for this. If there was a mistake. It was not going to happen again. If it did, you lost your job! There were countless stories of this. This may appear somewhat harsh, but the principle of not re-inventing the wheel and improvements were embedded in all of us.

Indeed, the Singapore story is my story too. He was focused on the end game regardless of whether the players were men or women. He respected women’s contribution providing tax-free allowances for maids to assist with children and married a woman (Mrs Lee) who had higher marks than he had at Cambridge. His adage was, ‘If you cannot beat them, join them’. Without Lee Kuan Yew’s investment in education, people and women, we ‘Lee Kuan Yew babies’, would not be here today.

Singapore undertook a massive transformational change in one generation. This has marked each one of us under his leadership and is something we can learn when we embark on changes in our projects and programs to implement change in our organisations here in Australia.

admin
Angela Lecomber, CPPD, is the principal of See Differently, a consultancy specialising in transformational change. She has almost two decades of project management experience in seven sectors and four countries, and has extensive experience in shaping capability through empowering, training and coaching project teams.
has written 2 articles for us.

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Comments from the community

  • FMenting says:

    Wonderful article Angela, reinforces how far Singapore has come and that project management and transformational change are always relevant

    • Angela says:

      Thank-you. We need the courage, self-belief informed by experience to carry out what we already know to be the approach to take in managing our projects and programs.

  • Ali Juboh says:

    For someone who claims that she was “Lee Kuan Yew’s baby” – I’d daresay the old man would be embarrassed by this “tribute”.

    1. The words you describe are not from Singapore’s National Anthem.

    ” the anthem in Malay which started with the words ‘Sama sama maju ka hadapan, pandai chari pelajaran’ (Let us all together unite and progress our country and apply ourselves to our learning).”

    Those are the words to Singapore’s Children’s Day song! What on earth did you sing daily?

    Clarity of vision? Give me a break – that’s why the population was controlled at 2 children for years and priority was given for them at schools. They’ve clearly admitted it was a mistake and Singapore’s population isn’t even replacing itself anymore.

    Look at the number of creative people who’ve been alienated and marginalized and emigrated from Singapore. I could go on and on but can’t be bothered to tolerate such hogwash!

  • Al Ternative says:

    1. Clarity of vision?
    I doubt that Lee communicated it. It was ordered, so it be done. Many things were done via a fine – $500 and embarrasing campaigns.

    2. People first?
    So graduate mothers were encouraged to have offspring and become baby factories but only if they married graduate males. Population restricted to two and given priority in schooling – the stop at two policy stopped Singapore’s population growth for years and was a mistake as history has shown.

    3. Communicate a better future
    Faux pas. There’s a very defined line between daily propaganda being forcefed and one’s true reflection and patriotism. And the previous poster has pointed this out.

    4. Lead the change?
    The Prime Minister of Singapore earns more than the President of the USA? The ministers are amongst the highest paid in the world. Meanwhile Singaporeans salaries have gone up but life’s a struggle with a VERY high cost of living. Pray tell, how many MPs or Ministers living in HDB flats? How many use public transport? How many have friends of other races whom they didn’t meet or know in the course of their work but socially? How many of them are the products of interracial marriage?

    5. Courage in Leadership
    Lee was an unforgiving, hard driving man and often heads rolled when mistakes were made. Too bad he didn’t see the mistakes BEFORE it happened. Many civil servants and a few oppositions politicians paid a very high price for the stress they went through.

    6. Clear accountability for projects and programs
    Really?! No one’s been able to justify the price of public housing in Singapore to this day. And these properties are on a 99 year lease! And if your precinct or block of flats vote for the opposition, benefits, access to government infrastructure is reduced even though you pay taxes and are entitled to them.

    7. Benefits were framed in terms of ‘the collective good’. Personal liberty is subsumed by the collective good.

    Oh! So that’s why we’ve got a government controlled print and electronic media and people were denied access to alternative means of expressing opinions. And the vast majority of Singaporeans are dull and depressed. Things have improved slightly because of the internet but 45 years went by and Singapore has paid a price. Go to the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the US or Canada. See the number of creative, independent-thinking Singaporeans we’ve lost over the years and will never see coming back. They were alienated due to the so called “collective good”.

    8. Active risk management

    I think you give too much credit here. Superannuation and land reclamation have been around for a long before Lee came onto the scene. Risk management? Do you know how much money invested in the Suzhou Industrial Park which became a flop? It cost $20 billion to build and “invest” in (that figure’s not a typo) and in the first 5 years they lost US$90 million. They finally withdrew from by lowering their share of ownership in the project to the Chinese government.

    9. Lessons learnt

    “Lee was a stickler for this. If there was a mistake. It was not going to happen again. If it did, you lost your job! There were countless stories of this. This may appear somewhat harsh, but the principle of not re-inventing the wheel and improvements were embedded in all of us.”

    My goodness, no wonder Singaporeans are hopeless at risk-taking and have no dynamism or creativity. Re-inventing the wheel is often what makes things improve. Who is to say the wheel is perfect? If that’s the case, women should stay at home and be baby factories and home makers? Anyone without money deserves to live forever in poverty and pestilience. Why? Because it’s no use reinventing the wheel – this is the way life is.

    You want to keep your job? Don’t be adventurous. It’s a tragic way of management. Steve Jobs practiced it. Speilberg practiced it. The world’s inventors practiced it. NOT.

  • Al Ternative says:

    Hmm, I looked up Singapore’s newspapers and googled the following records Singapore has set:

    constantly mentioned for:

    World’s leading airport

    Relatively pollution free (e and oe on haze)

    Corruption free civil service

    Corruption free police force

    More reserves than UK, Australia or NZ

    Constantly one of the world’s top 3 busiest seaports

    One of the world’s most mathematically proficient children

    A multiracial, multilingual people who live in harmony

    One of the world’s best newspapers

    Relatively drug free

    You can walk the streets at night in relative safety

    Great weather

    Efficient service – everything works, streets are cleaned, mail delivered etc.

    One of the world’s best workers (documented by Perc and Beri)

    A Senior Minister which the UK seriously wanted as their leader and whom Margaret Thatcher admired

    A country that’s able to defend itself

    Has one of the world’s tallest hotels.

    Financially stable banking system.

    The world’s longest manmade waterfall.

    The world’s longest pohpiah

    Largest Collage Made Of Chinese New Year Cards

    Singapore
    Most Number Of Photos Posted On Instagram In 2 Hours

    World’s longest line of knotted sarongs – 530m! Symbolising close bonds within the community and the nation.

    World’s most expensive city to live in!

    At 42 x21x17.65mm, Singapore’s Z-Nano is the world’s smallest optical mouse….
    and the list of greatness goes on

  • Ali Juboh says:

    Dear Miss Lecomber,

    You were quick to reply to FMenting’s post but haven’t replied to others. We need to learn from your wisdom. Can you please reply to the posts underneath?

    • Ali Juboh says:

      Singapore constantly wins awards for:

      World’s leading airport
      World’s best public housing
      Relatively pollution free (e and oe on haze)
      Corruption free civil service
      Corruption free police force
      More reserves than UK, Australia or NZ
      Constantly one of the world’s top 3 busiest seaports
      One of the world’s most mathematically proficient children
      A multiracial, multilingual people who live in harmony
      One of the world’s best newspapers
      Relatively drug free
      You can walk the streets at night in relative safety
      Great weather
      Efficient service – everything works, streets are cleaned, mail delivered etc.
      One of the world’s best workers (documented by Perc and Beri)
      A Senior Minister now retired which the UK seriously wanted as their leader and whom Margaret Thatcher admires
      A country that’s able to defend itself
      Has one of the world’s tallest hotels.
      Financially stable banking system.
      The world’s longest manmade waterfall.
      The world’s longest pohpiah
      Largest Collage Made Of Chinese New Year Cards
      Singapore
      Most Number Of Photos Posted On Instagram In 2 Hours
      At 42 x21x17.65mm, Singapore’s Z-Nano is the world’s smallest optical mouse….
      and the list of greatness goes on.

      Yes sure Singapore kept its title as the world’s most expensive city.

      The Southeast Asian city-state of Singapore retained its title as the world’s most expensive city for the second consecutive year, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said in a new survey.
      In fact, the top five priciest cities ranked in this year’s Worldwide Cost of Living Survey remained unchanged from 2014: Paris ranked second followed by Oslo, Zurich and Sydney.
      “This façade of relative stability is deceptive, however, and it is extremely rare for an identical top five to be achieved in ranking the global cost of living,” the EIU said.

      Worldwide cost of living index: The top 10 most expensive cities
      1. Singapore
      2. Paris
      3. Oslo
      4. Zurich
      5. Sydney
      6. Melbourne
      7. Geneva
      8. Copenhangen
      9. Hong Kong
      10. Seoul

      Singapore among top 20 nations in global prosperity index, its economy is No. 1

      SINGAPORE – Singapore’s economy ranked first in the world in a global prosperity sub-index and Asean region, while the Republic ranked 17th among 142 countries in the index released by the Legatum Institute on Monday (Nov 2).

      Norway topped the overall index, ranking among the top 10 for all categories but not coming out tops in any one of the eight categories which include education, entrepreneurship & opportunity, governance, health, personal freedom, safety & security, and social capital.

      Singapore disloged Switzerland to take the top spot in the economy sub-index this year, climbing one spot from last year, London-based Legatum found.

      The index also found that Singapore has the second highest capital in the world at US$240,750 per worker while 47 per cent of its manufactured exports are classifed as “high tech”, the third highest in the world.

      Singapore performed worst in the personal freedom category, ranking 38th in the world, while it stood 12th in entrepreneurship & opportunity as well as safety & security.

      Among Asean nations, Malaysia came in next highest, ranking 44th overall followed by Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.

      South-east Asia’s biggest economy, Indonesia, climbed up 21 places in the last seven years – the most by any country in the world, to rank 69th overall.

      Canada was the freest country in the world, ranked among the top five, including Norway, New Zealand, Iceland and Ireland to be most tolerant towards immigrants.

      United Kingdom was the world leader in enterprise.

      Legatum first published the index in 2007. “The purpose of the index is to spark debate and to encourage policy-makers, scholars, the media, and the interested public to take an holistic view of prosperity and to better understand how it is created,” the Institute said on its website.

      THERE IS NO GUN CONTROL IN SINGAPORE BECAUSE THERE ARE NO GUNS!! Also everyone lives in multi-racial, multilingual, multicultural harmony.

      Record for longest chain of knotted sarongs set at inaugural Mosque Family Day

      Lee Min Kok
      Lim Yi Han
      SINGAPORE – The first ever Mosque Family Day was attended by more than 7,000 members from Singapore’s 69 mosques, who gathered at Pasir Ris Park on Sunday (Jan 31) for a day of bonding activities.

      A Singapore record for the longest chain of knotted sarongs – measuring 530m – was also set at the event, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) said in a press release.

      Minister for Communications and Information Yaacbob Ibrahim (left) holding up a section of the knotted sarong chain with other participants. PHOTO: MUIS

      More than 500 people were involved in tying the sarongs from one end to the other, symbolising close bonds within the community and the nation.

      Mosque Family Day was held in recognition of the mosque volunteers who had sacrificed their time to serve the Muslim community, with six families given the inaugural Mosque Exemplary Family Awards to honour their contributions.

      Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim, Muis president Mohd Alami Musa, Muis chief executive Abdul Razak Maricar, and Mufti of Singapore, Dr Mohamed Fatris Bakaram attended the event.

      Speaking to the media, Dr Yaacob, who was guest of honour, said that the mosques have become “significant nodes within the national grid”, contributing to social cohesion through their close links with grassroots organisations, Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circles, social service offices and other voluntary welfare organisations.

      He cited the examples of mosques actively partnering with national agencies such as the Health Promotion Board to promote a healthy lifestyle, and the National Environment Agency to care for the environment.

      Moving forward, mosques will continue to open their doors to the wider community regardless or race or religion, Dr Yaacob, who is also Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, added.

      Singapore has a great quality of life.

      Singapore is top Asian city for quality of living

      Singapore has been ranked as the best in Asia and 25th globally for its quality of living in a new report.
      Interestingly the city-state’s position in Asia and globally has remained the same since last year’s report.
      The annual Mercer Quality of Living report, published today, helps multinational companies and other employers compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments.
      Vienna was revealed as the city with the world’s best quality of living, according to the rankings of 223 cities globally. Zurich and Auckland follow in second and third place respectively, while Munich is in fourth place, followed by Vancouver, which is also the highest-ranking city in North America.
      Ranking 25 globally, Singapore is the highest-ranking Asian city, Dubai (73rd) ranks first across Middle East and Africa, while the city of Pointe-à-Pitre (69th) in Guadeloupe, takes the top spot for Central and South America.
      Slagin Parakatil, Senior Researcher at Mercer, said: “Political instability, high crime levels, and elevated air pollution are a few factors that can be detrimental to the daily lives of expatriate employees their families and local residents.
      “In a world economy that is becoming more globalised, cities beyond the traditional financial and business centres are working to improve their quality of living so they can attract more foreign companies.
      “This year’s survey recognises so-called ‘second tier’ or ’emerging’ cites and points to a few examples from around the world. These cities have been investing massively in their infrastructure and attracting foreign direct investments by providing incentives such as tax, housing, or entry facilities.”
      Parakatil added that emerging cities will become major players that traditional financial centres and capital cities will have to compete with.
      Singapore is followed by four Japanese cities – Tokyo (43rd), Kobe (47th), Yokohama (49th) and Osaka (57th), while Dushanbe (209th) in Tajikistan is the lowest-ranking city in the region.
      Parakatil said: “Asia has a bigger range of quality-of-living standard amongst its cities than any other region. For many cities, such as those in South Korea, the quality of living is continually improving. But for others, such as some in China, issues like pervasive poor air pollution are eroding their quality of living.

      EVEN THE BBC ADMITS IT!!

      Why does Singapore top so many tables?
      24 October 2013
      From the section Asia

      Singapore is a small nation with few of its own natural resources. Yet in the past 50 years it has transformed itself into one of the world’s economic powerhouses. Here, Tenna Schoer, a Danish journalist based in Singapore, counts some of the measures where the country comes top of the class.

      1. Low crime rate
      Take a ride on the subway in Singapore and you’ll quickly notice that it is only the tourists firmly holding on to their bags. The locals are very relaxed about their belongings and show no hint of fear that somebody might snatch their smartphone. Unsurprising perhaps when you consider that Singapore has one the lowest crime rates in the world.
      Crime has fallen in each of the past three years. Last year had the lowest recorded crime rate in more than two decades – there were 80 days in which not a single robbery or “snatch theft” was recorded.
      Not only do you not need to worry about your belongings, your life isn’t in very much danger either.
      According to UN data, Singapore has the second lowest murder rate in the world (Data excludes tiny Palau and Monaco.) Only 16 people were murdered in 2011 in a country with a population of 5.1 million. Compare that to similarly sized Finland which had 116 murders and Slovakia with 96 murders in the same year.
      You don’t have to look that hard to discover why this might be, though. The little city state is well known for its harsh punishments for crime, even for low-level offences. Recently, a security guard was sentenced to three months in jail and three strokes of the cane for spray-painting “democracy” on a war memorial.
      The police are also putting in place a network of cameras that will eventually cover all public housing blocks and car parks. In Singapore there are seemingly few concerns about “big brother is watching” when it comes to fighting crime.

      2. The healthiest people in the world
      Runners on an obstacle course
      Keeping fit and losing weight is official government policy
      When the sun is up, so are Singaporeans, doing their morning exercise. Take an early stroll in the beautiful Botanical Gardens and you’ll find young and old, men and women jogging around the pond or doing tai chi.
      And where Singapore scores poorly…
      In Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index 2013, Singapore came in at 149 out of a total of 179 countries, behind nations such as Russia, Fiji and Zimbabwe
      In Freedom House’s annual survey of political rights and civil liberties 2013, Singapore was rated “partly free” – defined as “limited respect for political rights and civil liberties”
      In the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index 2012, Singapore placed 81, jointly with Tanzania and Guatemala, and was categorised as a “hybrid democracy” – characterised by government pressure on opposition parties, weak civil society, pressure on journalists
      A UN Human Rights Council Periodic Review in May 2011 recommended that Singapore boost migrant workers’ rights, improve freedom of speech, place an immediate moratorium on executions, abolish mandatory death sentences and end the practise of caning

      Maybe that’s one of the reasons why Singaporeans are ranked as the healthiest people in the world. Based on health-related indicators from the United Nations, World Bank and the World Health Organization for 145 countries with at least one million people, one survey placed Singapore in an overall first place with a health grade of 89.45%.
      However, like most developed countries Singapore is also seeing an increase in obesity. So, in order to shape a healthier workforce, the country’s Health Promotion Board recently announced the “1 million KG challenge”.
      This campaign is trying to get Singaporeans to collectively lose one million kilograms within the next three years through more physical activity and healthier eating behaviours.

      3. The easiest place to do business
      Roughly, half of those living in Singapore are here on a temporary basis, working for the many foreign companies that have a regional office in Singapore.
      These businesses didn’t just choose the city state because of its convenient location close to the rest of Asia and the Pacific.
      Last year, Singapore was named by the World Bank for the seventh consecutive year as the best country to do business in. The bank highlighted Singapore’s standards for trading across borders, dealing with construction permits and protecting investors.

      4. The largest manufacturer of jack-up oil rigs
      oil rig and shipping in Singapore
      Singapore is a leader in the construction of jack-up offshore oil rig platforms
      Singapore doesn’t have a drop of oil to its name but it dominates the oil industry in one crucial sector: it is the world’s biggest maker of jack-up rigs, the platforms used for off-shore oil exploration and drilling.
      Since the 13th Century, the country has benefited from its strategic location at the confluence of major shipping lanes through the Strait of Malacca. Today, it remains a magnet for the world’s shipping industry.
      Until recently, when it was overtaken by Shanghai, Singapore was the largest port in the world.
      Out of its shipping heritage grew two giants of the oil industry, the local conglomerates Keppel and SembCorp, which have been transformed from humble ship repair centres to global leaders, helping Singapore command 70% of the world market.
      The Singaporean marine and offshore industry employs some to 75,000 workers and had a total output of 12.9bn Singapore dollars (US10.3bn, £6.42bn) in 2011, one of the fastest growing sectors in the country’s economy.

      5. One of the least corrupt countries in the world
      Situated in a region where corruption is sometimes a part of life, it’s notable that Singapore scores as well as it does in the international rankings for corruption, currently number five on the list of least corrupt countries in the world.
      Most Singaporeans praise the Republic’s first and long-serving prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, for building an environment almost free of corruption. But several years before Mr Lee took office, Singapore decided to fight corruption by establishing the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau in 1952 in order to attract foreign businesses to invest in their land.
      Today, when it comes to any kind of corruption the country doesn’t distinguish between white or blue collar crime. It tries all cases according to Singapore’s stringent penal code, with long-term jail terms and large fines up to 100,000 Singapore dollars (£50,000).
      Singapore also keeps the salaries of politicians and civil servants high in order to repress economic incentive to engage in corrupt activity.

      6. Where millionaires are minted in the shortest time
      Super yacht moored in Singapore
      Conspicuous wealth is rarely hidden away in Singapore
      Take a walk in almost any residential car park in Singapore and you’ll find a handful of luxury cars such as high-end Audis, BMWs and Mercedes, a couple of Jaguars, and at least one Ferrari or Maserati.
      This luxury doesn’t come cheap in the first place, never mind after adding a car sales tax rate of 150% plus the 84,000 Singapore dollars ($42,000) it costs to obtain the certificate to own the car. (Not to mention the 90kph/60mph speed limit in Singapore.)
      But wealthy Singaporeans don’t mind spending several hundred thousand dollars on a luxury car. Why? Because they can.
      According to a recent wealth report from Barclays Bank, over half of Singapore’s wealthy people have taken less than 10 years to accumulate the majority of their wealth, the quickest rate across the globe.
      Not only does money grow fast, the concentration of millionaires is also among the highest in the world. With 8.8% of the population with a private wealth of at least one million US dollars, Singapore comes in as number five on that list.

      7. Top of the class
      School children walking in a crocodile in Singapore
      Education is a top priority for government, with teachers held in high regard
      In 1965, Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew created the master plan behind the modern Singapore, a “first-world oasis in a third-world region”, as the now 90-year-old Mr Lee has put it.
      Having few natural resources, Singapore invested heavily in education in order to build and maintain a well-educated work force. Currently, approximately 20% of government spending goes into education.
      According to the latest OECD report on education performance around the world, it seems like that effort is paying off.
      Based on rankings achieved in mathematics, science and reading literature, Singapore comes second in the overall results, just behind Shanghai. Some 12.3% of students in Singapore attain the highest levels of proficiency in all three assessment subjects.
      Students work hard and do more hours of maths and science than the OECD average. Not only do the students feel a notable pressure from their “tiger parents” as well as the society in whole, there’s also a sharp focus on the teachers.
      Teaching in Singapore is a highly respected profession. They are selected from the top third of each cohort, and to keep them on track with the newest teaching techniques they are entitled to 100 hours of professional development every year.
      The country’s education system is often criticized for not producing “out-of-the-box” thinkers, but efforts are being made to change that. The Ministry of Education recently cut academic content to create space for schools to develop critical thinking.

      8. The lowest drug abuse in the world
      Most places in the world have a neighbourhood known for its drug problem, but not Singapore. The country has the lowest level of drug abuse in the world when it comes to opiates, cocaine and ecstasy, and the second lowest for cannabis and amphetamines, according to a UN World Drug Report.
      Punishments for possessing drugs are harsh – possession or consumption of cannabis can earn you up to 10 years in prison, a 20,000 Singapore dollar (£10,000) fine, or both. And the zero-tolerance approach can also mean a mandatory death sentence.
      Getting caught trafficking 30 grams of cocaine or 15 grams of heroin will put you on death row, where some 34 people are currently facing execution.

      9. The third-largest gambling market
      Casino in Singapore
      Singapore’s casinos now contribute significantly to the economy
      The quick moves of the slim hand reveal both anxiety and routine as the young woman places her bet on the roulette. In front of her are stacked several piles of tokens worth more than 5,000 Singapore dollars.
      It is Thursday night and the giant casino is buzzing. Singapore legalised gambling only three years ago and licensed two large casinos to attract more tourists. Visitor numbers have jumped nearly 50% since.
      What’s more, the casino industry paid 2.2bn Singapore dollars (£1.1bn) in tax and contributes an estimated 1.5-2% to Singapore’s GDP.
      There is a long tradition of gambling but to keep scandals (and suicides) to a minimum, locals have to pay an entrance fee of 100 Singapore dollars, whereas a foreign passport gives you free access to the glittery machines and freedom to win or, more often, lose money.
      Singapore’s casino industry pulled in an impressive US$5.85bn in 2012, up 8% on the year before, putting it in third place globally. That’s close to Las Vegas’ US$6.2bn, but some distance from the world’s number one gambling market, Macau, which generated US$38bn.
      Though the Singapore casinos have seen a decrease in visitors as the novelty factor fades away they still attract around 17,000 people a day.

      10. The most unhappy people in the world
      In Singapore you can find almost anything you desire but one thing in short supply, apparently, is happiness.
      A recent Gallup report revealed that Singapore’s wealthy population is the unhappiest, or least positive, in the world, less happy than people in Iraq, Haiti, Afghanistan and Syria.
      When asked if they had been well-rested, treated with respect, if they had smiled or laughed a lot, and had done or learnt something, only 46% of the Singaporeans replied “yes”.

      Admittedly it occasionally slips.
      Once again, Singapore narrowly misses out on top spot, and *gasp* its to the dreaded foe down south: Australia! Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked

      Australia best for kids: expat survey March 11, 2010 – 5:09PM
      With its beaches, outdoor lifestyle and friendly schools, Australia has been voted the world’s best country to bring up children by expatriates parents working there, an HSBC bank survey shows.

      Australia provided the best environment for healthy and active children, with more than three quarters of expat kids spending more time outdoors than in their home country, the survey said.

      Expat children living Down Under also found it easier to make friends and ease into new school environments, while schools in the United States and Britain were the least child-friendly for foreigners, the study found.

      The survey looked at more than 3,100 expatriates from 50 countries, now living and working in expatriate hubs including six major ones: Hong Kong, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United States, United Arab Emirates and Australia.

      Respondents rated their adopted homes on quality of childcare, education, ease of integration, costs of raising children and time spent on outdoor activities.

      Australia had the largest proportion of expat parents who reported an improvement in the quality of family life compared with their original homes, while almost half (45 percent) said moving to the UK could have a negative effect.

      Singapore ranked second overall behind Australia in the top six, followed by Hong Kong, the UAE, the United States and Britain. But Singapore ranked first for safety, while Australia was marked down slightly on childcare quality. Parents saw Britain and the U.S. as generally less healthy places to live, with children in both countries more likely to spend more time watching TV and playing computer games.

      Children in the United States were also more likely to frequently eat junk food compared with where they used to live, with 47 percent of expats eating more junk food, HSBC said.

      Overall, expat parents believed their children benefited by moving to a foreign country, with an average 48 percent of expat kids adapting well to a new culture, half making new friends easily and 49 percent adapting well to new schooling.

      The UK ranked top on cultural adaptation, while cultural differences saw the UAE ranked last.

  • Adeline Teoh says:

    Hello, if you’re trying to post comments on this thread you will need a valid email address. I email the addresses in the ‘pending comments’ section and if I do not receive a reply after 30 days I deem the comment invalid. I suspect by the length of the comments some of you would be better off starting your own blogs on this topic.

    • Ali Juboh says:

      “We must keep our heritage and respect the culture and language of our different races and be proud of Singapore. Never be impressed by the white man who thinks he is superior to you. We are no less and probably more capable than he is. If Papa and his Old Guard colleagues did not believe that, they would not have fought for independence and built up this country”.

      Lee Wei Ling
      Daughter of Lee Kuan Yew

  • Ali Juboh says:

    Ali Juboh says:
    September 18, 2016 at 10:26 pm
    Singapore constantly wins awards for:

    World’s leading airport
    World’s best public housing
    Relatively pollution free (e and oe on haze)
    Corruption free civil service
    Corruption free police force
    More reserves than UK, Australia or NZ
    Constantly one of the world’s top 3 busiest seaports
    One of the world’s most mathematically proficient children
    A multiracial, multilingual people who live in harmony
    One of the world’s best newspapers
    Relatively drug free
    You can walk the streets at night in relative safety
    Great weather
    Efficient service – everything works, streets are cleaned, mail delivered etc.
    One of the world’s best workers (documented by Perc and Beri)
    A Senior Minister now retired which the UK seriously wanted as their leader and whom Margaret Thatcher admires
    A country that’s able to defend itself
    Has one of the world’s tallest hotels.
    Financially stable banking system.
    The world’s longest manmade waterfall.
    The world’s longest pohpiah
    Largest Collage Made Of Chinese New Year Cards
    Singapore
    Most Number Of Photos Posted On Instagram In 2 Hours
    At 42 x21x17.65mm, Singapore’s Z-Nano is the world’s smallest optical mouse….
    and the list of greatness goes on.

    Yes sure Singapore kept its title as the world’s most expensive city.

    The Southeast Asian city-state of Singapore retained its title as the world’s most expensive city for the second consecutive year, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said in a new survey.
    In fact, the top five priciest cities ranked in this year’s Worldwide Cost of Living Survey remained unchanged from 2014: Paris ranked second followed by Oslo, Zurich and Sydney.
    “This façade of relative stability is deceptive, however, and it is extremely rare for an identical top five to be achieved in ranking the global cost of living,” the EIU said.

    Worldwide cost of living index: The top 10 most expensive cities
    1. Singapore
    2. Paris
    3. Oslo
    4. Zurich
    5. Sydney
    6. Melbourne
    7. Geneva
    8. Copenhangen
    9. Hong Kong
    10. Seoul

    Singapore among top 20 nations in global prosperity index, its economy is No. 1

    SINGAPORE – Singapore’s economy ranked first in the world in a global prosperity sub-index and Asean region, while the Republic ranked 17th among 142 countries in the index released by the Legatum Institute on Monday (Nov 2).

    Norway topped the overall index, ranking among the top 10 for all categories but not coming out tops in any one of the eight categories which include education, entrepreneurship & opportunity, governance, health, personal freedom, safety & security, and social capital.

    Singapore disloged Switzerland to take the top spot in the economy sub-index this year, climbing one spot from last year, London-based Legatum found.

    The index also found that Singapore has the second highest capital in the world at US$240,750 per worker while 47 per cent of its manufactured exports are classifed as “high tech”, the third highest in the world.

    Singapore performed worst in the personal freedom category, ranking 38th in the world, while it stood 12th in entrepreneurship & opportunity as well as safety & security.

    Among Asean nations, Malaysia came in next highest, ranking 44th overall followed by Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.

    South-east Asia’s biggest economy, Indonesia, climbed up 21 places in the last seven years – the most by any country in the world, to rank 69th overall.

    Canada was the freest country in the world, ranked among the top five, including Norway, New Zealand, Iceland and Ireland to be most tolerant towards immigrants.

    United Kingdom was the world leader in enterprise.

    Legatum first published the index in 2007. “The purpose of the index is to spark debate and to encourage policy-makers, scholars, the media, and the interested public to take an holistic view of prosperity and to better understand how it is created,” the Institute said on its website.

    THERE IS NO GUN CONTROL IN SINGAPORE BECAUSE THERE ARE NO GUNS!! Also everyone lives in multi-racial, multilingual, multicultural harmony.

    Record for longest chain of knotted sarongs set at inaugural Mosque Family Day

    Lee Min Kok
    Lim Yi Han
    SINGAPORE – The first ever Mosque Family Day was attended by more than 7,000 members from Singapore’s 69 mosques, who gathered at Pasir Ris Park on Sunday (Jan 31) for a day of bonding activities.

    A Singapore record for the longest chain of knotted sarongs – measuring 530m – was also set at the event, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) said in a press release.

    Minister for Communications and Information Yaacbob Ibrahim (left) holding up a section of the knotted sarong chain with other participants. PHOTO: MUIS

    More than 500 people were involved in tying the sarongs from one end to the other, symbolising close bonds within the community and the nation.

    Mosque Family Day was held in recognition of the mosque volunteers who had sacrificed their time to serve the Muslim community, with six families given the inaugural Mosque Exemplary Family Awards to honour their contributions.

    Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim, Muis president Mohd Alami Musa, Muis chief executive Abdul Razak Maricar, and Mufti of Singapore, Dr Mohamed Fatris Bakaram attended the event.

    Speaking to the media, Dr Yaacob, who was guest of honour, said that the mosques have become “significant nodes within the national grid”, contributing to social cohesion through their close links with grassroots organisations, Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circles, social service offices and other voluntary welfare organisations.

    He cited the examples of mosques actively partnering with national agencies such as the Health Promotion Board to promote a healthy lifestyle, and the National Environment Agency to care for the environment.

    Moving forward, mosques will continue to open their doors to the wider community regardless or race or religion, Dr Yaacob, who is also Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, added.

    Singapore has a great quality of life.

    Singapore is top Asian city for quality of living

    Singapore has been ranked as the best in Asia and 25th globally for its quality of living in a new report.
    Interestingly the city-state’s position in Asia and globally has remained the same since last year’s report.
    The annual Mercer Quality of Living report, published today, helps multinational companies and other employers compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments.
    Vienna was revealed as the city with the world’s best quality of living, according to the rankings of 223 cities globally. Zurich and Auckland follow in second and third place respectively, while Munich is in fourth place, followed by Vancouver, which is also the highest-ranking city in North America.
    Ranking 25 globally, Singapore is the highest-ranking Asian city, Dubai (73rd) ranks first across Middle East and Africa, while the city of Pointe-à-Pitre (69th) in Guadeloupe, takes the top spot for Central and South America.
    Slagin Parakatil, Senior Researcher at Mercer, said: “Political instability, high crime levels, and elevated air pollution are a few factors that can be detrimental to the daily lives of expatriate employees their families and local residents.
    “In a world economy that is becoming more globalised, cities beyond the traditional financial and business centres are working to improve their quality of living so they can attract more foreign companies.
    “This year’s survey recognises so-called ‘second tier’ or ’emerging’ cites and points to a few examples from around the world. These cities have been investing massively in their infrastructure and attracting foreign direct investments by providing incentives such as tax, housing, or entry facilities.”
    Parakatil added that emerging cities will become major players that traditional financial centres and capital cities will have to compete with.
    Singapore is followed by four Japanese cities – Tokyo (43rd), Kobe (47th), Yokohama (49th) and Osaka (57th), while Dushanbe (209th) in Tajikistan is the lowest-ranking city in the region.
    Parakatil said: “Asia has a bigger range of quality-of-living standard amongst its cities than any other region. For many cities, such as those in South Korea, the quality of living is continually improving. But for others, such as some in China, issues like pervasive poor air pollution are eroding their quality of living.

    EVEN THE BBC ADMITS IT!!

    Why does Singapore top so many tables?
    24 October 2013
    From the section Asia

    Singapore is a small nation with few of its own natural resources. Yet in the past 50 years it has transformed itself into one of the world’s economic powerhouses. Here, Tenna Schoer, a Danish journalist based in Singapore, counts some of the measures where the country comes top of the class.

    1. Low crime rate
    Take a ride on the subway in Singapore and you’ll quickly notice that it is only the tourists firmly holding on to their bags. The locals are very relaxed about their belongings and show no hint of fear that somebody might snatch their smartphone. Unsurprising perhaps when you consider that Singapore has one the lowest crime rates in the world.
    Crime has fallen in each of the past three years. Last year had the lowest recorded crime rate in more than two decades – there were 80 days in which not a single robbery or “snatch theft” was recorded.
    Not only do you not need to worry about your belongings, your life isn’t in very much danger either.
    According to UN data, Singapore has the second lowest murder rate in the world (Data excludes tiny Palau and Monaco.) Only 16 people were murdered in 2011 in a country with a population of 5.1 million. Compare that to similarly sized Finland which had 116 murders and Slovakia with 96 murders in the same year.
    You don’t have to look that hard to discover why this might be, though. The little city state is well known for its harsh punishments for crime, even for low-level offences. Recently, a security guard was sentenced to three months in jail and three strokes of the cane for spray-painting “democracy” on a war memorial.
    The police are also putting in place a network of cameras that will eventually cover all public housing blocks and car parks. In Singapore there are seemingly few concerns about “big brother is watching” when it comes to fighting crime.

    2. The healthiest people in the world
    Runners on an obstacle course
    Keeping fit and losing weight is official government policy
    When the sun is up, so are Singaporeans, doing their morning exercise. Take an early stroll in the beautiful Botanical Gardens and you’ll find young and old, men and women jogging around the pond or doing tai chi.
    And where Singapore scores poorly…
    In Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index 2013, Singapore came in at 149 out of a total of 179 countries, behind nations such as Russia, Fiji and Zimbabwe
    In Freedom House’s annual survey of political rights and civil liberties 2013, Singapore was rated “partly free” – defined as “limited respect for political rights and civil liberties”
    In the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index 2012, Singapore placed 81, jointly with Tanzania and Guatemala, and was categorised as a “hybrid democracy” – characterised by government pressure on opposition parties, weak civil society, pressure on journalists
    A UN Human Rights Council Periodic Review in May 2011 recommended that Singapore boost migrant workers’ rights, improve freedom of speech, place an immediate moratorium on executions, abolish mandatory death sentences and end the practise of caning

    Maybe that’s one of the reasons why Singaporeans are ranked as the healthiest people in the world. Based on health-related indicators from the United Nations, World Bank and the World Health Organization for 145 countries with at least one million people, one survey placed Singapore in an overall first place with a health grade of 89.45%.
    However, like most developed countries Singapore is also seeing an increase in obesity. So, in order to shape a healthier workforce, the country’s Health Promotion Board recently announced the “1 million KG challenge”.
    This campaign is trying to get Singaporeans to collectively lose one million kilograms within the next three years through more physical activity and healthier eating behaviours.

    3. The easiest place to do business
    Roughly, half of those living in Singapore are here on a temporary basis, working for the many foreign companies that have a regional office in Singapore.
    These businesses didn’t just choose the city state because of its convenient location close to the rest of Asia and the Pacific.
    Last year, Singapore was named by the World Bank for the seventh consecutive year as the best country to do business in. The bank highlighted Singapore’s standards for trading across borders, dealing with construction permits and protecting investors.

    4. The largest manufacturer of jack-up oil rigs
    oil rig and shipping in Singapore
    Singapore is a leader in the construction of jack-up offshore oil rig platforms
    Singapore doesn’t have a drop of oil to its name but it dominates the oil industry in one crucial sector: it is the world’s biggest maker of jack-up rigs, the platforms used for off-shore oil exploration and drilling.
    Since the 13th Century, the country has benefited from its strategic location at the confluence of major shipping lanes through the Strait of Malacca. Today, it remains a magnet for the world’s shipping industry.
    Until recently, when it was overtaken by Shanghai, Singapore was the largest port in the world.
    Out of its shipping heritage grew two giants of the oil industry, the local conglomerates Keppel and SembCorp, which have been transformed from humble ship repair centres to global leaders, helping Singapore command 70% of the world market.
    The Singaporean marine and offshore industry employs some to 75,000 workers and had a total output of 12.9bn Singapore dollars (US10.3bn, £6.42bn) in 2011, one of the fastest growing sectors in the country’s economy.

    5. One of the least corrupt countries in the world
    Situated in a region where corruption is sometimes a part of life, it’s notable that Singapore scores as well as it does in the international rankings for corruption, currently number five on the list of least corrupt countries in the world.
    Most Singaporeans praise the Republic’s first and long-serving prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, for building an environment almost free of corruption. But several years before Mr Lee took office, Singapore decided to fight corruption by establishing the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau in 1952 in order to attract foreign businesses to invest in their land.
    Today, when it comes to any kind of corruption the country doesn’t distinguish between white or blue collar crime. It tries all cases according to Singapore’s stringent penal code, with long-term jail terms and large fines up to 100,000 Singapore dollars (£50,000).
    Singapore also keeps the salaries of politicians and civil servants high in order to repress economic incentive to engage in corrupt activity.

    6. Where millionaires are minted in the shortest time
    Super yacht moored in Singapore
    Conspicuous wealth is rarely hidden away in Singapore
    Take a walk in almost any residential car park in Singapore and you’ll find a handful of luxury cars such as high-end Audis, BMWs and Mercedes, a couple of Jaguars, and at least one Ferrari or Maserati.
    This luxury doesn’t come cheap in the first place, never mind after adding a car sales tax rate of 150% plus the 84,000 Singapore dollars ($42,000) it costs to obtain the certificate to own the car. (Not to mention the 90kph/60mph speed limit in Singapore.)
    But wealthy Singaporeans don’t mind spending several hundred thousand dollars on a luxury car. Why? Because they can.
    According to a recent wealth report from Barclays Bank, over half of Singapore’s wealthy people have taken less than 10 years to accumulate the majority of their wealth, the quickest rate across the globe.
    Not only does money grow fast, the concentration of millionaires is also among the highest in the world. With 8.8% of the population with a private wealth of at least one million US dollars, Singapore comes in as number five on that list.

    7. Top of the class
    School children walking in a crocodile in Singapore
    Education is a top priority for government, with teachers held in high regard
    In 1965, Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew created the master plan behind the modern Singapore, a “first-world oasis in a third-world region”, as the now 90-year-old Mr Lee has put it.
    Having few natural resources, Singapore invested heavily in education in order to build and maintain a well-educated work force. Currently, approximately 20% of government spending goes into education.
    According to the latest OECD report on education performance around the world, it seems like that effort is paying off.
    Based on rankings achieved in mathematics, science and reading literature, Singapore comes second in the overall results, just behind Shanghai. Some 12.3% of students in Singapore attain the highest levels of proficiency in all three assessment subjects.
    Students work hard and do more hours of maths and science than the OECD average. Not only do the students feel a notable pressure from their “tiger parents” as well as the society in whole, there’s also a sharp focus on the teachers.
    Teaching in Singapore is a highly respected profession. They are selected from the top third of each cohort, and to keep them on track with the newest teaching techniques they are entitled to 100 hours of professional development every year.
    The country’s education system is often criticized for not producing “out-of-the-box” thinkers, but efforts are being made to change that. The Ministry of Education recently cut academic content to create space for schools to develop critical thinking.

    8. The lowest drug abuse in the world
    Most places in the world have a neighbourhood known for its drug problem, but not Singapore. The country has the lowest level of drug abuse in the world when it comes to opiates, cocaine and ecstasy, and the second lowest for cannabis and amphetamines, according to a UN World Drug Report.
    Punishments for possessing drugs are harsh – possession or consumption of cannabis can earn you up to 10 years in prison, a 20,000 Singapore dollar (£10,000) fine, or both. And the zero-tolerance approach can also mean a mandatory death sentence.
    Getting caught trafficking 30 grams of cocaine or 15 grams of heroin will put you on death row, where some 34 people are currently facing execution.

    9. The third-largest gambling market
    Casino in Singapore
    Singapore’s casinos now contribute significantly to the economy
    The quick moves of the slim hand reveal both anxiety and routine as the young woman places her bet on the roulette. In front of her are stacked several piles of tokens worth more than 5,000 Singapore dollars.
    It is Thursday night and the giant casino is buzzing. Singapore legalised gambling only three years ago and licensed two large casinos to attract more tourists. Visitor numbers have jumped nearly 50% since.
    What’s more, the casino industry paid 2.2bn Singapore dollars (£1.1bn) in tax and contributes an estimated 1.5-2% to Singapore’s GDP.
    There is a long tradition of gambling but to keep scandals (and suicides) to a minimum, locals have to pay an entrance fee of 100 Singapore dollars, whereas a foreign passport gives you free access to the glittery machines and freedom to win or, more often, lose money.
    Singapore’s casino industry pulled in an impressive US$5.85bn in 2012, up 8% on the year before, putting it in third place globally. That’s close to Las Vegas’ US$6.2bn, but some distance from the world’s number one gambling market, Macau, which generated US$38bn.
    Though the Singapore casinos have seen a decrease in visitors as the novelty factor fades away they still attract around 17,000 people a day.

    10. The most unhappy people in the world
    In Singapore you can find almost anything you desire but one thing in short supply, apparently, is happiness.
    A recent Gallup report revealed that Singapore’s wealthy population is the unhappiest, or least positive, in the world, less happy than people in Iraq, Haiti, Afghanistan and Syria.
    When asked if they had been well-rested, treated with respect, if they had smiled or laughed a lot, and had done or learnt something, only 46% of the Singaporeans replied “yes”.

    Admittedly it occasionally slips.
    Once again, Singapore narrowly misses out on top spot, and *gasp* its to the dreaded foe down south: Australia! Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked

    Australia best for kids: expat survey March 11, 2010 – 5:09PM
    With its beaches, outdoor lifestyle and friendly schools, Australia has been voted the world’s best country to bring up children by expatriates parents working there, an HSBC bank survey shows.

    Australia provided the best environment for healthy and active children, with more than three quarters of expat kids spending more time outdoors than in their home country, the survey said.

    Expat children living Down Under also found it easier to make friends and ease into new school environments, while schools in the United States and Britain were the least child-friendly for foreigners, the study found.

    The survey looked at more than 3,100 expatriates from 50 countries, now living and working in expatriate hubs including six major ones: Hong Kong, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United States, United Arab Emirates and Australia.

    Respondents rated their adopted homes on quality of childcare, education, ease of integration, costs of raising children and time spent on outdoor activities.

    Australia had the largest proportion of expat parents who reported an improvement in the quality of family life compared with their original homes, while almost half (45 percent) said moving to the UK could have a negative effect.

    Singapore ranked second overall behind Australia in the top six, followed by Hong Kong, the UAE, the United States and Britain. But Singapore ranked first for safety, while Australia was marked down slightly on childcare quality. Parents saw Britain and the U.S. as generally less healthy places to live, with children in both countries more likely to spend more time watching TV and playing computer games.

    Children in the United States were also more likely to frequently eat junk food compared with where they used to live, with 47 percent of expats eating more junk food, HSBC said.

    Overall, expat parents believed their children benefited by moving to a foreign country, with an average 48 percent of expat kids adapting well to a new culture, half making new friends easily and 49 percent adapting well to new schooling.

    The UK ranked top on cultural adaptation, while cultural differences saw the UAE ranked last.