Tentative but no fundamental change in Singapore

Singapore's skyline gliters with lights as spheres in the waters of Marina Bay form the number '50' to mark Singapore’s 50th anniversary in 2015, ahead of the New Year's countdown celebrations in Singapore on December 31, 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Mukul G. Asher, NUS, and Chang Yee Kwan, Independent

On the usual measures of economic prosperity, Singapore went from strength to macroeconomic strength in 2014. Real economic growth was between 2.5 and 3.5 per cent for the year. The world economy was forecast by the IMF in October to have grown at 3.3 per cent. Singapore continued to grow in importance as an ASEAN hub for RMB-denominated financial services, and was named, for the ninth year running, the best global location for business and enterprise. Read more…

Why Singapore will not replicate Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests

Pro-democracy protesters wait for the arrival of Letitia Lee See-yin, leader of the anti-occupy 'Blue Ribbon' group, in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on 7 October 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Dylan Loh Ming Hui, RSIS

On 27 September, hundreds of people staged a ‘Return Our Central Provident Fund’ (CPF) protest rally at Hong Lim Park, Singapore. Simultaneously in Hong Kong, the Occupy Central movement, combined with student-led classroom boycotts, morphed into a bigger and broader pro-democracy protest — paralysing key financial and administrative locations such as Admiralty, Civic Square and Harcourt Road. Read more…

Enhancing public debate on inequality in Singapore

Guests of the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore look over the financial district from a rooftop swimming pool on 13 May 2013. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Mukul G. Asher & Chang Yee Kwan, NUS

The publication of Thomas Piketty’s 2014 book Capital in the 21st Century has brought the issue of income inequality to the fore of public policy debates in many countries. This is remarkable, given the book’s length (696 pages), the intricacy of the historical data series that forms the statistical foundations of the book’s main propositions, and its relatively narrow geographical focus (mainly the US, the UK, and Western Europe). Read more…

Singapore’s smart army

The Singapore navy guided missile frigate RSS Steadfast (FFG 70) and the corvette RSS Vigilance (90) are seen underway in the South China Sea (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eric J. Cutright).

Author: Michael Raska, RSIS

Since its inception as a small city-state, Singapore has grappled with insecurity and strategic uncertainty. Traditionally, small states have experienced considerable limitations in balancing their security needs and strategic ambitions with policies directed at maintaining economic growth and social stability. Read more…

Singapore’s history wars

Lee Kuan Yew waves to supporters ahead of submitting his nomination papers to contest in the 2011 elections in Singapore on 27 April 2011. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Geoff Wade, ANU

As we move towards 2015, a year that will mark Singapore’s 50th anniversary as a nation, a battle over the past of that country is slowly gaining steam.

The increasingly frail health of Lee Kuan Yew, the man depicted in the establishment histories as the ‘father of Singapore’, is making this battle more important for both sides. Read more…

Singapore’s impotent immigration policy

A foreign construction worker from Bangladesh walks past the city hall construction site with the Singapore skyline in the background in Singapore. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Michael D. Barr, Flinders University

It appears counter-intuitive to suggest that a cosmopolitan hub like Singapore might have a problem with xenophobia.

Yet xenophobia has emerged as a major political concern in the city-state. Read more…

Arctic newcomers: Japan, South Korea and Singapore

A boat skims through the melting Arctic ice in the Ilulissat fjord, on the western coast of Greenland on 28 August, 2008. Japan, South Korea and Singapore were made Permanent Observers at the Arctic Council in May 2013. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Aki Tonami, Copenhagen University

Japan, South Korea and Singapore are deepening their Arctic engagement. Along with China and India they were accepted as Permanent Observers at the Arctic Council in May 2013. Although becoming an observer does not dramatically change their status as non-Arctic coastal states in international fora, there are signs that these three countries have started to engage with the Arctic more seriously. Read more…

Singapore after Lee Kuan Yew

Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew waves to journalists after visiting Indonesian former president Suharto in Jakarta, Indonesia, Sunday, 13 January 2008 (Photo: AAP).

Author: Geoff Wade, Canberra

At a time not too far distant, Lee Kuan Yew, the font of all authority, legitimacy, orthodoxy and indeed fear in Singapore for over 50 years will no longer be with us. It is thus perhaps appropriate to begin discussing what the absence of Lee Kuan Yew will mean for the Singaporean republic. Read more…

Singapore: niche diplomacy through water expertise

A light and water spectacular titled Wonder Full, which features lasers and video projected onto a giant water screen, at the Marina Bay Sands Promenade event plaza, Singapore. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Mely Caballero-Anthony and P. K. Hangzo, RSIS

Through strategic planning and investment in research and technology, strong political will, and effective governance, Singapore has emerged from water insecurity to become a global hydrohub.

It has built a robust and diversified range of water sources and has successfully addressed its water challenges in the process. Read more…

Singapore in 2012: balancing growth with domestic imperatives

High-rise buildings and skyscrapers in the Singapore city centre and its outskirts (Photo:AAP).

Authors: Mukul G. Asher and Chang Yee Kwan, NUS

Singapore has continued to skilfully pursue a business location strategy in 2012, the key requirements of which include keeping the share of wages in the national income below the share accruing to capital, and tapping into new commercial opportunities and economic partners.

Predictably, the external sector’s contribution to growth has been, and will continue to be, dominant. Read more…

Singapore in 2011: the emergence of quality-of-life concerns

A rickshaw driver cycles near the business district in Singapore on 12 January 2012. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Mukul Asher, NUS

With the end of 2011, Singapore’s policy makers have ample reason to be satisfied with their economic management, and the results of the long-prevailing business location growth model.

Singapore’s macroeconomic indicators, excepting the inflation rate, exhibited encouraging trends in 2011. Read more…