Archive for the ‘Report’ Category

Singapore: Growth? Of course. What else?

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

I write this flying at an altitude of 35,000 feet in the nose of a Singapore Airlines Boeing 777, shortly before dinner on a first-class flight to Hong Kong, where we will hold our annual meeting with colleagues from many parts of the world. The short stopover in Singapore (barely 24 hours) was long enough to get local insights into matters of growth.
The naturalness with which growth is handled in Singapore is worth noting. Of course, growth is on the agenda. Of course, buildings are going up everywhere. Of course, additional land will be acquired to expand the city-state. And of course, one is aware of the fact that further growth means cultures, religions, world views must be combined and that the resulting challenges must be met together.
I have rarely, if ever, seen such a clean and liberal major city. When we asked our private guide, Anna Ong, how safe Singapore is, she answered that safety was something that she especially loves about Singapore: A woman can be out on the street at three in the morning, and nothing will happen. Steering the conversation toward youth who are educated in Singapore, Anna said that many young adults stay in Singapore because, among other things, there is equal opportunity (and equal pay, too) – independent of religion, ethnic origin, or gender.
The environment also has a place on the growth agenda, because for every new building, green compensation areas must be created or preserved. So that Singaporeans stay in Singapore, the government is diligently building (high-rise) housing, where apartments can be purchased for comparatively affordable prices. A three-room apartment of around 700 square feet costs about 150,000 Singapore dollars – about 90,000 euros or $120,000 US – which is a downright bargain, considering that the price on the private market lies in the neighborhood of 750,000 Singapore dollars ($600,000 US). Every seven years, the building exteriors are renovated so that they remain attractive.
I find impressive the friendliness of the people, their openness to strangers, the naturalness with which growth is dealt with here. All are worth imitating. No one here laments, by the way, that they are largely dependent on a few factors: trade (Singapore has the most modern port facilities in the world); finance (after London, New York and Hong Kong, Singapore is the world’s most important finance center); tourism.
Here’s to growth!

© 2013, Prof. Dr. Guido Quelle, Mandat Consulting Group, Dortmund, London, New York. All rights reserved.