There had been talks lately, from leaders of developed countries that are far wealthier than Singapore, that they hope to steer their countries to adopt Singapore’s style of governance.
On the surface, this was ironic. Just as recent as 20 years ago, Singapore was ridiculed, threatened using passive-aggressive methods by her neighbours, to toe the line (on hindsight, this is still true currently). Singapore was belittled with the nickname of The Little Red Dot on the map. Satire works are abound on how Singapore’s success (like being very good in Maths) is built upon loss of freedom (hours spent on tuition).
Just like what the article “How foreigners misunderstand Singapore” described the fallacy in their thinking, Singapore’s success, unfortunately is not easy to replicate.
Anybody familiar with Singapore’s history would know that our pioneer leaders chose policies based on the circumstances; they picked what they think would work best for the situation Singapore was in, many times breaking the policies up and discarding outright what was not applicable… because Singapore could not afford to make a mistake. Singapore’s systems look familiar, but yet you can’t find an exact form elsewhere.
It is indeed flattering as a Singaporean that the world is finally respecting our way of doing things, from healthcare to education system. Unfortunately, the only benefit we can offer is the way our leaders built the systems for: to help businesses make money and enrich ourselves in the process.
So, yep, thanks but no thanks. We mere citizens of the red dot just hope our neighbours will stop threatening to annihilate us or send pollutants in our way.