singapores success

Singapore’s Success



 fragile prospect independent
resent memoir natural resources
harbor illiberal transform
strait strategic  relatively
found expand maritime
region prosper dynamic
hub efficient encourage
harsh survey  ingredient
ideal honest punishment
tame judicial  credit (2)
permit essential authoritarian
restrict orderly vulnerable
hostile separate emphasize






When it started life as an independent, separate country in 1965, Singapore’s prospects did not look good: tiny and underdeveloped, it had no natural resources and a population of relatively recent immigrants with little shared history.

The country’s first prime minister, the late Lee Kuan Yew, is credited with transforming it.

He called one volume of his memoirs, “From Third World to First”.

Why did Singapore become an economic success?

First, its strategic location and natural harbor helped.

It’s at the mouth of the Malacca Strait, through which perhaps 40% of world maritime trade passes.

It was an important trading post in the fourteenth century, and again in the nineteenth, when British diplomat, Sir Stanford Raffles, founded the modern city.

Now it is at the heart of one of the world’s most dynamic regions.

Second, under Mr. Lee, Singapore welcomed foreign trade and investment. Multinationals found Singapore a natural hub and were encouraged to expand and prosper.

Third, the government was kept small, efficient and honest — qualities absent in most of Singapore’s neighbors.

It regularly tops surveys for the ease of doing business.

But the island city is not ideal.

Although clean and orderly, it has harsh judicial punishments, a tame press and illiberal social policies.

Homosexual acts for example, remain illegal, and protest demonstrations are rarely permitted.

Mr. Lee saw his authoritarian style of government as an essential ingredient to Singapore’s success, emphasizing the island’s vulnerability in a potentially hostile neighborhood.

But younger people now question whether Singapore really is that fragile, and resent the restrictions on their freedom.

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1. Did Singapore start of with many advantages when it became independent?

2. Who was Lee Kuan Yew? Did he found Singapore?

3. What is the first reason why Singapore is successful?

4. What is the second reason? What sort of economic policy did Singapore have?

5. Is Singapore similar to its neighbors?

6. Singapore is a (completely) free society. Is this correct or wrong?

7. Did Lee justify authoritarian rule?

A. Have you been to Singapore? What was it like?

B. Would you like to live in Singapore? Why or why not?

C. Singapore should become a role-model for the rest of the world. What do you think?

D. Would you like your city or country to be like Singapore?

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