Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Singapore in the news

It is not often that I find anything about Singapore in the local newspapers here, so I immediately noticed when I saw a full-page article "Singapore only cares about itself" in a serious, well-read Dutch newspaper today. The article describes how relations between Singapore and Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia are very bad, mostly caused by Singapore's "economic imperialism" towards its neighbours.

Of course the article talks about Temasek's ("run by the prime minister's wife") investment in Shin Corp Thailand and how it triggered the fall of Thai prime minister Thaksin. It also gives a detailed account of the money laundering done in Singapore by Indonesia's mostly ethnically Chinese elite. I had already read in the Singapore on-line media that Indonesia has stopped delivering sand to Singapore, but I didn't know that the Indonesians have sent 5 war ships to check possible illegal deliveries.

Once again, an article that is mostly negative about Singapore. I had already noticed that most of my friends, relatives and colleagues use words like "boring, bland, and totally money-oriented" when they talk about Singapore. I often find myself defending Singapore, and tell my friends about my positive experiences there.

I wonder how many Singaporeans know about the bad image of their country abroad. If you only read the State's (hehe) Times or watch ChannelNewsAsia, definitely you will only get a very particular version of the truth.

And perhaps the Singapore government should realize that yes, you can run a country like a company, but at the same time don't be surprised that other countries would want you to go bankrupt.

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