The Riddle of Singapore’s Stalled Productivity

The Riddle of Singapore’s Stalled ProductivityThe economic success of Singapore is not debatable. This leads many observers and even insiders to think of the city-state as a model of economic development. However, it should be rather thought of as an experiment in social planning. And social planning always bears a cost. This cost might endanger the future success of the…

The Cost of Indonesia’s 2015 Fires

The Cost of Indonesia’s 2015 FiresIndonesian forest fires, fanned by an extended drought associated with El Nino, delivered more carbon emissions into the atmosphere than the entire European Union, an astounding 11.3 million tonnes per day against 8.9 million tonnes for the EU, according to a new study. The study, written  by nine climate scientists from Kings College London in…

Singapore’s Nanny State Kicks Out Foreign Support for LGBTs

Singapore’s Nanny State Kicks Out Foreign Support for LGBTsClaiming interference in domestic affairs, Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs has ruled that foreign entities are heretofore to be barred from sponsoring Pink Dot, an annual nonprofit event for the LGBT community put on at Singapore’s Speaker’s Corner in Hong Lim Park, the only venue where free speech is allowed. The event, a rather sedate…

Singapore Shocks its Neighbor to the North

Singapore Shocks its Neighbor to the NorthThere is more than meets the eye in the Singapore investigation into 1MDB and the subsequent forced closure by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) of the local operations of Swiss private bank BSI. This was the first time in decades that the MAS has resorted to such actions. BSI has also been heavily fined…

1MBD Starts to Come Apart

1MBD Starts to Come ApartThe decision on May 24 by the Monetary Authority of Singapore to force the closure of BSI Bank Ltd – the first merchant bank to be closed in Singapore in 32 years – means that after months of last-ditch defense in Malaysia, the scandal over the state-backed 1Malaysia Development Bhd is finally starting to unravel…

Singapore’s Opposition Figurehead Trounced Again

Singapore’s Opposition Figurehead Trounced AgainOn April 19, a political analyst in Singapore who declined to be named said opposition leader Chee Soon Juan, a five-time unsuccessful political candidate for office, would have to get 30 to 35 percent of the vote in a by-election in the working-class Bukit Batok district to remain a viable political leader. Chee was trounced…

Singapore’s ‘Jolly Hangman’ About to Strike

Singapore’s ‘Jolly Hangman’ About to StrikeOn Feb. 17, 2008, a 24-year-old Sarawakian migrant working in a rag and bone company in Singapore was drinking an apparently potent substance called “Narcissus Ginseng Wine Tonic” with four friends when they got the idea to rob someone. After they split up and three of them went their separate way, Jabing and his friend,…

A Veteran Singaporean Foe Challenges the PAP

A Veteran Singaporean Foe Challenges the PAPOn March 12, David Ong, a People’s Action Party MP resigned his seat in the Bukit Batok constituency of Singapore when the husband of his lover and campaign volunteer, Wendy Lim, lodged a complaint and the subsequent publicity drove him from both the office and the ruling PAP. That has opened the door for a…

An Icon of Singaporean Resistance Dies

An Icon of Singaporean Resistance DiesSaid Zahari, a onetime leading journalist who was one of an extraordinary group of anti-colonialists who became implacable foes of the late Lee Kuan Yew, the patriarch of modern Singapore, has died in Malaysia at age 88. Arrested in February of 1963 under the colonial-era Preservation of Public Security Ordinance in the infamous Operation Coldstore…

Singapore’s Lawsuit-Happy Lee Family

Singapore’s Lawsuit-Happy Lee FamilyThe current squabble going on in Singapore between the children of patriarch Lee Kuan Yew, who died last April, is yet another indication, if any were needed, of the extraordinary litigiousness of the Lee family, which now seems to be caught in its own embarrassments, and which included a marathon pursuit of a British neurologist…