Singapore is a relentless city. It is passionate about many things. Superficially the residents of Singapore are known for three passions. They could be in any order – shopping, eating, and making money. The country is known for being organized, clean, and strict. What many miss is that Singapore is focused on change. It wants to remain competitive so its citizens will have an opportunity to work and grow. It wants to be modern, so its residents can benefit from the best that the world community knows to offer. It wants to be transparent and accountable to its citizens. The latter is in context of the first two points.
In contrast of the sleepy island village that I found my freshman year in high school, Singapore is a very different place. Physically, Singapore is much the same. It is a tropical island with few natural resources. It is limited in its size, although it is 25% bigger than it was then. Everything that has followed is the result of determination, grit, and perseverance.
It is interest to put the island in context of where it was in the late 60’s UN world GDP rankings. At that point, an analysis of the decade said that Singapore was growing at the same rate as Tunisia, Czechoslovakia, and Mexico. Without comment as to what other countries have done, Singapore’s drive to make things better reminds me that it is not about what you have that counts. Life is about what you do.
A writer reminds us that Divinity “decides who gets what, and when.” (1 Corinthians 12.11) While one debates the pros and cons of the statement, it is good to remember that each comes to the present with different gifts and abilities. From experience, spending time on the question of why we are different distracts one from the core question that remains without an answer. What are you and I going to do with what we have today?
I do not know your answer. I do know my actions will tell others what I believe my answer is.