Home News Featured News Singapore should learn from Venice; concentration of power in a few led...

Singapore should learn from Venice; concentration of power in a few led to downfall

- Advertisement -

The rise and decline of Venice as the foremost naval and economic power in the Mediterranean between the early 12th and late 18th century serves as an example for Singapore, with ways in which this city-state can learn from their governance.
In his article, Leslie Fong, former editor of The Straits Times drew out two lessons that Singapore can hope to use.

He wrote, “Venice rose to become a great maritime empire (Stato da Mar in the Venetian dialect) because it gave its citizens a say in their governance and a chance to share in its growing prosperity. Mr Fong added that a lottery would be held in order to choose nominators for candidates to the council, which Venetians would eventually vote upon.

He also said that the people were given opportunities to “buy a small stake in any voyage organised by established merchants and make money if the goods brought back were sold for a profit. This opened the economy to every citizen who cared to calculate the risk, return and profit in, say, sailing to Morocco or Turkey for spice”.

In relation to Singapore, he then questioned, “do Singaporeans feel they have an adequate say, beyond the regular general elections, in how they are being governed and if they have views on policies that affect their lives, are these being heard?
Second, is the sharing of Singapore’s economic success broad and deep enough and if not, how should Singapore address this disparity without blunting the country’s competitiveness and prospects for growth?”

- Advertisement 1-

Another pertinent lesson that Mr Fong brought up was that “Venice sealed its fate when it concentrated all political and economic power in the hands of a minority”.

He added that while there may have been other factors in play as to the downfall of Venice, after the “law restricting membership of the Great Council to male descendants of noble families already represented in the body”, the downfall of venice began.

He wrote, “If Singaporeans need a further, and Asian, example of how political stratification and concentration of all power in the hands of a few brought down an empire, they might want to look at Han dynasty China.”

“There is no Golden Book in Singapore but I know there are Singaporeans who are alienated by what they see as a ruling class of elites who often say they have thought through everything and are disdainful of contrary views.
In this regard, I welcome the ruling party’s latest assertion that it wants to be inclusive and maintain a shared space where differences can be aired without eroding social cohesion”, he concluded.Follow us on Social Media

Send in your scoops to news@theindependent.sg 

- Advertisement -

Read More

Stories you might’ve missed, Jan 25

Leon Perera: We should never trust blindly in any government or institution FB screengrab: Leon Perera Singapore — Workers’ Party Member of Parliament Leon Perera (Aljunied GRC) pointed out that while Health Minister Ong Ye Kung recently echoed a phrase WP...

NFT earnings of S$7.5 million in 10 days for S’pore-based influencer Irene Zhao

Singapore — Singapore-based Chinese influencer and Instagram model Yuqing Irene Zhao listed her non-fungible token's (NFT), garnering purchases from prominent individuals like Galaxy Digital...

‘3 years and look how people still miss you’ — fans remember Aloysius Pang on his death anniversary

Singapore — It's been three years since actor Aloysius Pang died in an accident during a military training exercise, but he has been far...

Nagaenthran’s case: Appeal against death sentence adjourned, calls to spare his life continue

Singapore — An appeal from Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, a convicted Malaysian drug trafficker facing execution in Singapore, was adjourned on Monday (Jan 25). Ms Violet...

Shock & disappointment for loyal customer who finds cockroach in porridge, decides to support different outlet

Singapore — After finding a "fresh-looking" cockroach on his order of porridge from a Tampines outlet, a loyal customer decided to patronise a different...

Stories you might’ve missed, Jan 25

Leon Perera: We should never trust blindly in any government or institution FB screengrab: Leon Perera Singapore — Workers’ Party Member...

NFT earnings of S$7.5 million in 10 days for S’pore-based influencer Irene Zhao

Singapore — Singapore-based Chinese influencer and Instagram model Yuqing Irene Zhao listed her non-fungible token's (NFT), garnering purchases from...

‘3 years and look how people still miss you’ — fans remember Aloysius Pang on his death anniversary

Singapore — It's been three years since actor Aloysius Pang died in an accident during a military training exercise,...

Nagaenthran’s case: Appeal against death sentence adjourned, calls to spare his life continue

Singapore — An appeal from Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, a convicted Malaysian drug trafficker facing execution in Singapore, was adjourned...
Follow us on Social Media

Send in your scoops to news@theindependent.sg