Notes from Singapore
I wasn’t in Singapore for too long, but I was excited to visit.
I arrived in Singapore after visiting India, which was quite a juxtaposition. In India, everything was dirty and it seemed there were no rules.
In Singapore, everything was clean, and there were many rules.
The first sign I saw as I exited the airport in Singapore said that this was a drop off area only, and violation had a $300 fine… but more importantly, 3 demerit points. They are tough here.
But yes, it was quite clean and that was very noticeable.
There was some Singaporean food I tried, I wasn’t super into it. I had chicken rice, some chicken satay (which I did like more), went to a hawker center — it’s like a spot with lots of food stands. I went to visit this putu piring stand, it was actually on the Netflix Street Food show. The dish is a steamed rice cake filled with sugar.
I didn’t go to too many tourist sites, but I few I saw were the Marina Bay Sands building, the iconic towers that look like they have a boat on top of them. You can get a good view of them from Merlion park. Also nearby is Gardens by the Bay. There are these massive trees, as well as a few indoor exhibits, one with flowers and one with an indoor rainforest.
It’s interesting to compare Singapore to many other nearby Asian countries where things are a bit…. chaotic. Why does Singapore stand out in this way? It’s especially interesting given that the country doesn’t have many natural resources. It seems that since the independence in 1965, the focus on an honest and non-corrupt government, giving people the basic needs, open immigration, focus on education and good incentive systems were key to rapid development. The openness to foreign trade and investment, and additionally the development of a strong port, which is now one of the top 1–2 ports in the world was very important.
Singapore has the highest home ownership rate in the world, which seems partly a result of government policy incentives.
And Singapore really prioritized improving education, prepping for different jobs depending on the needs, from more labor intensive, now to more advanced industrial, knowledge-based and technical jobs. I visited a school there who we have worked with for a while, and it seemed to be a really solid school. There are various measures for education quality by country, but it seems Singapore rates at the top or near the top.