Were they talking about Singapore when they coined the phrase “Being in the right place at the right time”? The daredevil little nation has succeeded brilliantly by sourcing for and capitalising on opportunities. With Wall Street financial giants reeling in the aftermath of the subprime crisis, Singapore’s state-linked investment firm Temasek Holdings has taken a 4.4 billion US Dollar stake in Merrill Lynch. A few months back, Singapore Airlines purchased the first A380 plane and launched its first flight. Named after the lion and dubbed the Lion City, Singapore certainly roars in the right places at the right times!
When Hong Kong businessmen in the early 90s feared a downturn due to the imminent return to China in 1997, Singapore made itself a conducive destination for those businessmen. When the Chinese were attacked in Indonesia during the economic downturn in the late 90s, Singapore attracted them. Singapore has started to show a keen interest in the Islamic banking sector. An F1 track will be unveiled in the country later this year. The Integrated Resorts are coming. In a nutshell, Singapore is happening.
The reason for Singapore’s nimbleness is the inherent insecurity of a small city-state with no natural resources. It makes Singapore an opportunist par excellence in the international scene. Grandpa Lee may not like me saying this, but maybe we Singaporeans should thank our lucky stars for not having any natural resources. It rules out the possibility that we would ever become complacent fat cats.