SINGAPORE: In case you didn’t know, Singapore is richer than the United States, the United Kingdom, and France, Bloomberg pointed out recently, just as the island nation is just about to get a new Prime Minister for the first time in 20 years.

Staying as wealthy as it is today will be one of the top challenges for Mr Lawrence Wong, who is set to take over the premiership on Wednesday (May 15), it added.

The US-based finance, tech, and media company published a seven-minute video on YouTube titled “How Singapore Got So Crazy Rich” on May 10, which is quickly approaching half a million views.

The video touts Singapore’s transformation from “a colonial port” to a “buzzing financial centre that’s envied the world over,” with a GDP higher than many developed countries in the West.

Moreover, Singapore’s path to riches is an example for other nations to follow.

Tracing the country’s success to “decades of planning” by its leaders, it showed how Singapore first became a manufacturing base while stabilizing the government and establishing the health care and public transport systems.

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Later, it established itself as the finance hub it is today, with 4,200 multinational companies headquartered there.

The country then developed into a prime tourist destination, attracting visitors with the F1 night race and integrated resorts, as well as a place where the wealthy could “park their money.”

However, “Singapore needs to stay competitive as other countries learn from its model of growth. And climate change is becoming a threat to national security. This is the Singapore that Lawrence Wong is inheriting.”

The incoming PM is seen as “having more of the common man’s touch,” Bloomberg added, who will have to deal with higher housing and living costs, an ageing population, and the perception that the foreign labour that was needful for economic growth is a threat to locals getting good jobs.

“Wong’s job is to sustain the city-state’s hard-earned success.”

In a recent interview with The Economist, which also acknowledged Singapore’s “astounding economic success”, Mr Wong was asked what he wanted his legacy to be.

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In his answer, the Prime Minister-to-be expressed recognition of his mission, saying, “We will always be the improbable, unlikely nation, forged only through the collective will of our people.

What has happened in the last 60 years has been nothing short of a miracle. And my mission is to keep this miracle going for as long as I can. And to make sure our little red dot shines brightly for as long as possible.” /TISG

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