Frankly, Singapore does not have peers. It is a wonder that which did not have the possibility to exist in the first place. And its existence still in the comity of nations that too as a developed nation in a matter of 25 years simply too good to be true. But the city state has overcome all known obstacles and continues to exist and excel among its much much bigger neighbors.
I think a sparrow does not have any possibility of flying given its anti-flight attributes. But it flies and that too rapidly. Singapore is one such. With no possibility to even exist, it flourishes.
Can this be sustained ? Can Singapore compete with India and China and still flourish in the coming decades ? These questions are being openly debated by its erudite ministers and well read public.
Recently there was a discussion in the local TV when older Singaporeans seemed to question some of the policies of the government. Some controversial topics were also discussed. But then came the Law Minsiter Shanmugam’s turn to reply. He simply amazes every time. The manner in which he answered the questions, the tone, the voice and the details – these minsters are a class apart. He made an interesting point that while there were countries whose politicians chose to become one to make money, Singapore’s politicians don’t need to make money from politics. And that justifies their higher pays.
Not only Mr.Shanmugam. There are others too. Singapore’s Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam is one such. He was considered to head the IMF last year while later on Christine Lagarde was chosen. Currently he has been awarded the best finance minister award by Euromoney for his push towards increasing the productivity of the people and thereby reducing the dependency on foreign workers.
A nation that is blessed with the best and bright leaders is indeed a rarity these days. Singapore is one such..
But there is bad news on economic front. No, not because of something that Singapore did but because of global factors. And that is the increasing inflation. With inflation on the rise and forecast to be on the rise until the end of this year, there is an increasingly felt trepidation about the increase in living costs.
Singapore seems to have a perennial problem – that of a shortage of employees. That which started during the developmental years of the 60s has continued. And that is because of the country’s aspiration to stay on top of its peers. However, to assuage the local feelings and apparently to placate some sections, there has been a drastic reduction in the number of foreign workers. Many such workers’ work passes are either not being renewed or new workers are not being admitted. And there are visible signs of even routine tasks getting delayed due to this.
One only hopes that this self imposed reduction is done away with asap.