Lee Kuan Yew 16.9.23 – 23.3.15

23/03/2015

Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew has died.

Lee Kuan Yew, the statesman who transformed Singapore from a small port city into a wealthy global hub, has died at the age of 91.

Mr Lee served as the city-state’s prime minister for 31 years, and continued to work in government until 2011.

Highly respected as the architect of Singapore’s prosperity, Mr Lee was also criticised for his iron grip on power.

Under him freedom of speech was tightly restricted and political opponents were targeted by the courts. . .

A charismatic and unapologetic figure, Mr Lee co-founded the People’s Action Party, which has governed Singapore since 1959, and was its first prime minister.

The Cambridge-educated lawyer led Singapore through merger with, and then separation from, Malaysia – something that he described as a “moment of anguish”.

Speaking at a press conference after the split in 1965, he pledged to build a meritocratic, multi-racial nation.

But tiny Singapore – with no natural resources – needed a new economic model.

“We knew that if we were just like our neighbours, we would die,” Mr Lee told the New York Times in 2007.

“Because we’ve got nothing to offer against what they have to offer. So we had to produce something which is different and better than what they have.”

Tight controls

Through investment in schooling, Mr Lee set about creating a highly-educated work force fluent in English.

He reached out to foreign investors to turn Singapore into a manufacturing hub, introducing incentives to attract foreign firms.

The city-state grew wealthy and later developed into a major financial centre. But building a nation came with tight controls – and one of Mr Lee’s legacies was a clampdown on the press.

These restrictions remain today. . .

The investment in education and welcome to foreign investment both paid big dividends.

His methods can be questioned but there is no doubt that he transformed Singapore, taking it from a poor island with few resources to an economic powerhouse.


NZ has ‘short man’ syndrome

06/09/2012

How’s this for a diagnosis of what ails New Zealand?

New Zealand has the state equivalent of ‘short man’ syndrome – comparing ourselves to other countries often and regarding everything from Olympic medals to average house prices.

The default is to look over our shoulder to Australia and David Shearer keeps admiring Finland from afar, but Dr Robin Mann says we should have our sights firmly set on Singapore.

Mann says the Asian city-state has developed a culture of constant betterment that has improved its business performance immensely.

“Although a different environment it’s really about the leadership in Singapore.

“They have put in place a culture which is about trying to become better continually, year on year,” he says.

“It’s embedded from the school system to business.” . . .

How good could New Zealand be if we too had a culture which was about trying to become better continually, year on year in our schools, businesses and wider society?


April1 in history

01/04/2010

On April 1:

527 Byzantine Emperor Justin I named his nephew Justinian I as co-ruler and successor to the throne.

Tremissis-Justin I-sb0058.jpg

1293 Robert Winchelsey left England for Rome, to be consecrated as Archbishop of Canterbury.

 

1318 Berwick-upon-Tweed was captured by the Scottish from the English.

Curtain Wall Berwick.jpg

1340 Niels Ebbesen killed Gerhard III of Holstein in his bedroom, ending the 1332-1340 interregnum in Denmark.

 

1572  In the Eighty Years’ War, the Watergeuzen captured Brielle from the Spaniards, gaining the first foothold on land for what would become the Dutch Republic.

 

1789 The United States House of Representatives held its first quorum and elected Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania as its first House Speaker.

1815 Otto von Bismarck, 1st Chancellor of Germany, was born.

1826  Samuel Morey patented the internal combustion engine.

1854 Hard Times begins serialisation in Charles Dickens‘ magazine, Household Words.

Hardtimes serial cover.jpg

1857 Herman Melville published The Confidence-Man.

Confidence-Man.jpg

1865 American Civil War: Battle of Five Forks – In Siege of Petersburg, Confederate General Robert E. Lee began his final offensive.

Petersburg seige.jpg

1867 Singapore became a British crown colony.

1873 The British steamer RMS Atlantic sank off Nova Scotia, killing 547.

RMS Atlantic.jpg

1875 Edgar Wallace, English writer, was born.

 

1887 Mumbai Fire Brigade was established.

Mumbai Fire Brigade Logo Enhanced.jpg

1891 The Wrigley Company was founded in Chicago.

1908 The Territorial Force (renamed Territorial Army in 1920) was formed as a volunteer reserve component of the British Army.

1912 The Greek athlete Konstantinos Tsiklitiras broke the world record in the standing long jump jumping 3.47 meters.

1918 The Royal Air Force was created by the merger of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service.

Royal Air Force Badge

1924 Adolf Hitler was sentenced to five years in jail for his participation in the “Beer Hall Putsch“.

Bundesarchiv Bild 119-1486, Hitler-Putsch, München, Marienplatz.jpg

1924 – The Royal Canadian Air Force was formed.

Ensign of the Royal Canadian Air Force.svg

1932  Debbie Reynolds, American actress, was born.

1933 The recently elected Nazis under Julius Streicher organised a one-day boycott of all Jewish-owned businesses in Germany.

1937 Aden became a British crown colony.

1938 – Ali MacGraw, American actress, was born.

1939 Generalísimo Francisco Franco announced the end of the Spanish Civil War, when the last of the Republican forces surrendered.

 

1941  The Blockade Runner Badge for the German navy was instituted.

 

1944  Navigation errors lead to an accidental American bombing of the Swiss city of Schaffhausen.

1945 World War II: Operation Iceberg – United States troops land on Okinawa in the last campaign of the war.

Two Marines from the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines advance on Wana Ridge on May 18, 1945

1946 Aleutian Island earthquake: A 7.8 magnitude earthquake near the Aleutian Islands created a tsunami that struck the Hawaiian Islands killing 159.

1946 – Formation of the Malayan Union.

1948  Cold War: Berlin Airlift – Military forces, under direction of the Soviet-controlled government in East Germany, set-up a land blockade of West Berlin.

 

1948 Faroe Islands received  autonomy from Denmark.

1949  Chinese Civil War: The Communist Party of China held unsuccessful peace talks with the Kuomintang in Beijing, after three years of fighting.

1949 The Canadian government repealed Japanese Canadian internment after seven years.

 

1949 – The twenty-six counties of the Irish Free State became the Republic of Ireland.

1954 President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorised the creation of the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado.

 

1955 The EOKA rebellion against The British Empire starts in Cyprus, with the goal of obtaining the desired unification (“enosis”) with Greece.

EOKA.jpg

1957 BBC Spaghetti tree hoax broadcast on current affairs programme Panorama.

 

1961 Susan Boyle, Scottish singer, was born.

1965 TEAL became Air New Zealand.

TEAL becomes Air New Zealand

1969 The Hawker Siddeley Harrier entered service with the RAF.

1970   President Richard Nixon signed the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act into law, requiring the Surgeon General’s warnings on tobacco products and banning cigarette advertisements on television and radio.

1973 Stephen Fleming, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

Stephen Fleming slip.jpg

1973  Project Tiger, a tiger conservation project, was launched in the Corbett National Park, India.

Tigerramki.jpg

1976 Apple Computer was formed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

The Apple Logo

1976 Jovian-Plutonian gravitational effect is first reported by the astronomer Patrick Moore.

 

1979  Iran became an Islamic Republic by a 98% vote, officially overthrowing the Shah.

1980  New York City’s Transit Worker Union 100 began a strike lasting 11 days.

1987 State Owned Enterprises came into existance.

State-Owned Enterprises are born

 1989 Margaret Thatcher’s new local government tax, the Community Charge (commonly known as the ‘poll tax’), was introduced in Scotland.

Booklet titled "The Community Charge (the so-called Poll Tax) How it will work for you". 

1992 Start of the Bosnian war.

1997 Comet Hale-Bopp is seen passing over perihelion.

Comet Hale-Bopp, shortly after passing perihelion in April 1997.

1999 Nunavut is established as a Canadian territory carved out of the eastern part of the Northwest Territories.

2001 An EP-3E United States Navy surveillance aircraft collided with a Chinese People’s Liberation Army Shenyang J-8 fighter jet. The crew made an emergency landing in Hainan, China and was detained.

EP-3 Hainan Island 2001.jpg

2001 – Former President of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milošević surrendered to police special forces, to be tried on charges of war crimes.

2001 – Same-sex marriage beccme legal in the Netherlands, the first country to allow it.

2002 The Netherlands legalised euthanasia, becoming the first nation in the world to do so.

2004 Google introduced  Gmail – a launch met with skepticism on account of the date.

Gmail's logo

2006 The Serious Organised Crime Agency, dubbed the ‘British FBI’, is created in the United Kingdom.

SOCA Logo.jpg

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Relatively better isn’t the same as good

19/11/2009

New Zealand tops Transparency International’s 2009 corruption perception index.

The others in the top 10 are: Denmark, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands and Australia, Canada and Iceland which are 8th equal.

The countries at the bottom are: Chad, Iraq, Sudan, Myanmar, Afghanistan and Somalia.

Corruption is a form of oppression and this map shows how widespread it is:

While it’s good to be relatively good, what really matters is not how good we are perceived to be relative to anyone else but how good we are fullstop.

A score of 9.4 does mean we’re perceived to be pretty good.

That makes it more likely that other countries and other people will trust us and our institutions.

But we need to be vigilant to ensure that reality matches the perception.

Hat tip: Poneke.


August 9 in history

09/08/2009

On August 9:

1483 The Sistine Chapel was opened.

1908 The US “Great White Fleet” entered Auckland harbour.

1919 My mother was born.

1961 John Key was born.


1965 Singapore gained independence.

1963 US singer Whitney Houston was born.

 

Sourced from Wikipedia and NZ History ONline.


Incentives work

06/07/2009

Anti Dismal has a continuing series of posts headed Incentives Matter .

We saw how incentives work at Singapore’s Changi Airport.

Ground staff are paid a bonus if luggage is on the carousel by the time disembarking passengers reach it.

We were among the first people off a Singapore Airlines flight from Christchurch last week. Our thousand acre strides helped us overtake those ahead of us on the route march from the plane to immigraation so we were first in the queue there. 

Getting through those formalities took only a few minutes and our bags were waiting for us when we reached the carousel.

Only minutes in the country and we were already impressed.


Singapore dining

04/07/2009

It’s always fun to catch up with friends while travelling and one of the bonuses is they know the best places to eat.

Our Singapore-based friends took us to a wonderful Indian restaurant, the name of which has been lost in jet lag. I’ll email them to ask it, but in the meantime here’s a couple of pictures of what we ate:

singapore

We spooned the liquid into the wee pastry cases then ate them before the case went soggy – a delicious taste and contrast of textures.

singapore 2

Tandoori lamb – not sure if it came from New Zealand but it was tender and tasty.


Who pays for tourists to go?

03/07/2009

My post on the sign on the door of a Singapore loo has generated comments  about who should pay for public loos.

This is one thing I don’t mind being rated for. Like a lot of country people, I use public loos in town when I’m at home. People who live in town might not need them in their own town but if they travel at all they must use them in other places paid for by other people.

The alternative to ratepayer funding is for someone to run it as a business.  The one in Singapore was a pay-to-go loo and I’ve encountered ones where you not only pay to go, you also pay per sheet of paper.

But I suspect that only works where there’s a high volume of users and no minimum wage.

The other option is for businesses to provide them for customers, as many do.

That may help attract custom, but not all travellers want to eat, drink  or buy everytime they need a loo.

The other point to consider when wondering who should fund loos, is what people would do if they couldn’t find a loo and the consequences of that justify public funding for me. It’s enough of a problem in the coutnry or bush, I don’t want to think about what might happen if their were no easily accessible public loos in towns.


Few signs of recession in Singapore

02/07/2009

Singapore  in 1982 was an eye opener for me on my first overseas trip.

My brother was based here with the New Zealand army and showed me not just the tourist attractions but some of the local sights too.

In those days New Zealand was highly regulated with lots of tariffs and import controls so the tour also included some retail therapy.

Nearly 30 years later, shopping isn’t such an attraction, but there were a lot of sales, the only sign we noticed that the recession has hit this country. 

Apart from that, the thing which struck us was how clean the streets are. High fines, imprisonment and even the lash are very steep punishments for minor crimes but the streets not only looked pristine, they felt very safe.


If you need a haircut in Singapore . . .

02/07/2009

. . .  I can recommend one.

A much needed haircut was one of the items on my to-do list which didn’t get done before leaving home.

With a couple of hours to kill before meeting friends for dinner I went in search of a hair salon in Singapore. I had the luck to find one which gave me the best hair wash I’ve ever had.

It took more than 15 minutes, involved a lot of scalp massage and finished with a hot towel round the neck.

Bliss.

The stylist then took over and spent the best part of 45 minutes trimming, drying and trimming some more. It cost only $S50 which is less than I’ve paid for a haircut and wash which takes half the time at home.

If you have a spare hour in Singapore and your hair needs attention I can recommend Jessie at the Jiwon Hair Salon, 501 Orchard Road.


They’re eating our cheese here

02/07/2009

The breafast buffet at the Regent Hotel in Singapore had a delicious array of food from just about every corner of the world, inclduing New Zealand.

There was kiwifruit which wasn’t unexpected and among the cheeses from Europe was a Whitesone aged Airdale.


Intermittent transmission

30/06/2009

My farmer and I are away for a sunshine fix which may result in posts at odd times and a reduction in posting.

It was trying to snow at home yesterday.

We’re expecting it to be a little warmer where we’re going:  a night in Singapore, two in Barcelona then back to Vejer de la Frontera where we spent three months in 2005 before meeting friends for a walking tour which starts in Milan and finishes in Verona.


USA backs out of FTA

08/03/2009

Remember the excitement which greeted the announcement that the USA was going to enter mulitlateral free trade negotiations with New Zealand?

Well, take the champagne out of the chiller, because TVNZ reports they’re back tracking .

The Obama administration has sought to indefinitely delay the so-called Trans Pacific Partnership talks due to get underway in Singapore later this month.

They were expected to strike a trade deal between the US, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore and Brunei.

The postponement is to give time for the US to select a new trade representative.

This is a serious blow not just to New Zealand’s hope for improved access to US markets but to all who’re working towards global free trade.

As Federated Farmers president Don Nicolson said when reacting to the anouncement the USA was going to join the Trans pacific Partnership:

“Moves to negotiate multilateral agreements with likeminded countries by the United States, sends a clear signal to the WTO to get Doha back on track. 

The indefinite delay shouldn’t derail the Doha negotiations but it could result in much slower progress.

UPDATE: goNZofreakpower asks if this means we can can  section 92A?


ASEAN FTA opens market of 500m

28/02/2009

Trade Minister Tim Groser has signed a Free Trade Agreement with 10 Asian nations.

They are Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia and these 10 members of ASEAN – Association of South East Asian Nations – have a total population of more than 500 million which is a big market for New Zealand produce.

While applauding this I do wonder about the time, effort and expense involved in these sorts of agreements when the greater good would be better served by world-wide free trade.

Given the slow progress of the WTO I realise that it’s important to keep working on these smaller deals which may well be stepping stones to the big goal of full free and fair trade.

That will only come when all the protectionist barriers are dismantled so all countries open their borders to allow trade with all other countries. If there’s a silver lining to the GFC it might just be that more countries find they can no longer afford subsidies and other anti-competitive measures.


Free Trade deal with US closer

23/09/2008

Great news – the United States is going to join New Zealand, Singapore, China and Brunei in multi lateral free trade negotiations as part of the Comprehensive Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement.

The agreement, commonly known as the “P4”, was signed between Singapore, Chile and New Zealand in 2005. Brunei joined it a year later.

It aims to tear down trade barriers among participants within a decade.

World wide free trade is best, but until we get there, free trade deals with inidividual countries or groups is a lot better than trade restrictions and Phil Goff deserves our gratitude for achieving this progress with the USA.

If this free trade deal goes ahead it will be especially good news for sheep and beef exporters who currently disadvantaged by taxes put in place to protect U.S. meat producers in their local markets.


%d bloggers like this: