10 April, 2021

Singapore-Bali Diary

Singapore is a corporation, not a country. It is to Bali as yin is to yang.

Singapore-Bali Diary

Model Town

I’m giving a talk on youth and protest politics at the National University of Singapore, but I could be in Havana, minus the mojitos. The conference organiser has invited his Marxist pals from across the world. A dialectical-materialist analysis of the Arab Spring sounds romantic but requires some grit to stay awake through. Torpor is setting in, when the Singapore foreign minister, a dapper lawyer of Tamil descent, breezes into the room. “There is a certain ideology that has taken over the world,” he says. He is talking about elections as an end in themselves. “Whatever happened to good governance?” he exclaims. Want Singapore’s dazzling economic development? What you need is: the rule of law, quality leadership and implementation, a secular economic framework and equitable distribution of its fruits....

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