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320 pages, Paperback
First published March 22, 2020
"Singaporeans may fancy ourselves as citizens of the most envied nation in the region, but there are some things across the Causeway that make us wide-eyed with wonder. Why is it, for example, that the average Malaysian roti canai beats even our best prata in taste and texture? How did Malaysia build the region's most charismatic budget airline when we're supposed to be the transport hub of Asia?"
"On the whole, I credit Singaporeans with more sophistication and common sense that elite rhetoric grants them. There is simply no evidence that the Singapore electorate is prone to impulsive, flighty, or fickle behaviour. Look at the way it votes and you'll see an impressively level-headed public that knows what it wants."
"Singapore's tragedy is not the total absence of idealism, but that it systematically rewards the individualistic majority and discourages the social conscious minority"
"I don't subscribe to the populist tendency to reward relatability over ability. I have enough friends to share a prata with; I don’t need government leaders to fill that role. "
Twenty years seems a long time in the life of a fast-changing city-state. In that time, the number of people in Singapore rose by 45 per cent. The nation got richer, and more developed. Singaporeans are more connected, and live longer... The political system, though, has remained exceptionally stable.
a society with a unique blend of comfort and central control, where people have mastered their environment, but at the cost of individual autonomy, and at the risk of unsustainability.
Only those who have forgotten the pangs of hunger will think of consoling the hungry by telling them that they should be free before they can eat. Our experience is that economic growth is the necessary foundation of any system that claims to advance human dignity, and that order and stability are essential for development. - Wong Kan Seng, Foreign Minister 1993