Lessons in Governance: A few pointers from the Singaporean way

A very Happy New Year to my Friends all over the World, I have shifted base from Singapore to Oman over the last week. I have spent most of my childhood and my undergrad degree from Oman, so I call Muscat my home in many ways although I prefer to call my self a Global Nomad- a wanderer in search of new knowledge and experiences globally.

My Time in Singapore during my masters has been truly influential- a case in how an Asian city-state has transitioned from being a Third World back-water to a First World case study in Urban meritocratic governance. A city-state where electricity access is un-believable, You can drink off the taps and the public transportation is the envy of the world. The key to this to have an educated civil service, a political leadership which is world-class and where meritocracy is the buzz word.

I have come to subscribe to the Singaporean philosophical school of ‘Pragmatism’ as Kishore Mahbubani, the Dean of the Public Policy School at NUS says in his book on the rise of the Asian hemisphere. There is not a system of Governance which is absolute, like the American neo-con policy of global democratization, which has lead to wars in Iraq and Af-Pak. Rather the Late Chinese Premier Deng Xiopeng said- A cat whether, balck or white…does not matter as long as it catches mice!

Democracy sans education and access to livelihood is a recipe for chaos as is the case of the former USSR and countries of Latin America have shown. Governance is the most vital game changer in a country…it can make it or break it.

Singapore has shown the way for Asian cities to manage themselves…Its time that Mumbai and Jakarta take suit!


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