Havent been to Singapore for quite awhile. I've been here for a week to attend a well control course, primarily to renew my well control certificate (more about well control later). A lot has happened in Malaysia during my stay; from the natural disasters in China and Myanmar, TDM's blog getting more than 1M visitors within a month, the lost of Pedra Branca to Spore, Ezam rejoining UMNO, clash with toll concessionaire, more demands from State govts for oil royalty money, oil price reaching USD135 per bbl to the never-ending quarrels between our MPs over petty issues.
Anyway, since I'm in Singapore, I should divert my attention to my present location. Being a Malaysian, one cant help but compare the two nations. Singapore economy was neck and neck with Malaysia 50 years ago and have far surpassed us especially in the income per capita comparison which is 5-fold higher at $16k. The little bustling economy can boast with owning the largest oil palm plantation co in the world by market capitalization despite the fact that Malaysia has more than 400,000 hectares of it. Sings can also be proud of SIA which is the second biggest airline co in the world, 12 fortune 500 companies, etc etc. How did the gap grow so wide? They're not a oil-producing nation but owns a petroleum co which boasts a significant production around Asia.
Politically, LKY has been the biggest factor of navigating this small island into a globally recognized hub for services and investments. How could this resource-less island turn out to be so successful? I hate to say this and many will be against this notion but we need to start thinking about what went wrong and how to fix it (perhaps many have and do not know how to apply it in Malaysia, which has more political constraints).
The PAP has been dominant, just like the Barisan Nasional, but both have churned out differing results. One may argue that it's a small country and easier to manage, but that's a bit difficult to swallow. The dominance is equivalent. Don't talk nonsence about the MM or you'll be labeled as a psychopath and will get a defamation law suit up ur @$$ in two shakes of a stick.
There is a non-existent subsidy mentality here in Spore and people are told to compete or be left behind. People strive to be competitive instead of taking it to the streets. Retail business still looks good at Orchard Rd. Customer service is far superior than the typical Malaysian 'tak pe' attitude.
On media: I find articles in the ST interesting especially the ones comparing Sing and Msian politics. The Malays in Malaysia often whine and sound like they are the minority. Comments about the effectiveness of the NEP and economic prosperity among the races are often discussed. Media coverage anchors mostly on international news as I reckon there is not much news to report about the country anyway. UMNO politics and Malaysian political developments are closely watched by the Sings especially when the policies drawn by our govt directly affect them, like the petrol purchase ban in Johor.
The pride has recently multiplied when we lost the rocky structure or "island" called Pedra Branca by the Sings or Pulau Batu Putih by the Msians. This will have an impact on how the maritime border will be drawn by the two countries, as this was not and cannot be defined by the ICJ.
I've developed 2 gigantic zits either from stressing about my well control exam or thinking too much about what will happen to the Malays if they continue to be left behind and do not take the firm stance to compete.
ps: The broadband at Changi airport is fantastic and they even have free X-box terminals, which the author finds impressive, something KLIA should consider.
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