Excerpts from The Straits Times’ article by Chua Lee Hoong titled, “High growth brings high risks, for nations too”:
FIVE years is all it will take to ruin Singapore, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said recently.
Watching the financial crisis claim one victim after another in quick succession in recent weeks, I have been wondering if Mr Lee wasn't being too optimistic. Perhaps it won't take five years; perhaps a couple of years might be enough!
Lest you think I have taken leave of my senses, let me hasten to add that I make that remark in light of the cataclysmic collapse of Lehman Brothers and the bizarre bankruptcy of Iceland.
Singapore's leaders have reminded the country time and again how important it is to have prudent ministers who will make decisions for the long-term good, and to save for a rainy day.
Let's fess up, most of us had become tired of hearing those reminders. But the rainy day is upon us, and it would be thoroughly churlish not to say now that those injunctions were right.
All we need is an incompetent leadership with no experience in steering the economy or setting monetary policies, and we won't need five years before we start seeing the negative effects.
If Singapore were North Korea or Myanmar, insulated from the global turmoil, it wouldn't be so vulnerable. But it wouldn't be very wealthy either.
Once you've cast your lot with the global economy, there can be no decoupling.
But would Singaporeans have it any other way?
Probably not, which is why it is so critical how you choose your financial planner - or your political leaders.
Read Ms Chua's article in full here.