Thursday, August 10, 2006

Singapore's Birthday

Wow, what beautiful fireworks to celebrate the birthday of my birthplace. Singapore turned 41 years old on Aug 9 -- well, that's like forty years older than me! :-)

Source: The Straits Times

Dad always tells me that he is always, in no small measure, amazed about the rapid developments of Singapore. The country has grown so fast since it was booted out of Malaysia in 1965 -- just two years before my father was born. Although my father was born in Malaysia, he has studied the history of Singapore and Malaysia closely. He has written quite a bit about the two countries.

One amazing aspect of Singapore is the size of its economy, which is just slightly smaller than Malaysia in absolute terms although the island is puny compared to Malaysia. Singapore's gross domestic product is nearly S$200 billion, which is about RM450 billion.

In comparison, Malaysia's official GDP is about RM500 billion. Of course, Singapore's per capita GDP of nearly S$50,000 is a lot more than Malaysia's income per head of less than RM20,000 or less than S$9,000 due to Malaysia's biggest population base.

Singapore's land size is less than 700 sq km. Can't be absolutely sure cos of the constant reclamation going on to enlarge the physical island. Imagine how it takes dad to drive 1 1/2 hours from one end of Johor to another, while it doesn't take more than half an hour for him to zip from Jurong on the west to Changi on the east in Singapore.

Check out this map.

But dad also thinks that the Malaysian economy is understated cos of the massive underground economy. He says those peddlers of pirated DVDs, pasar malam vendors and his 'financial consultant' brother are unlikely to have been captured in official stats of Bank Negara. Haha.

The Malaysian economy is a bit like China's. Remember the bombshell last year when its government found out that it had understated its economy by a staggering US$300 billion -- more than the combined size of Malaysia and Singapore! As pointed out by one wit, that's bigger than the economy of Australia (I think).

See this article in South China Morning Post in December 2005.

China's economy understated

[BEIJING] China's booming economy, already the seventh largest in the world, has been understated by as much as US$300 billion, the country's first nationwide economic census has discovered, says a report in the South China Morning Post.

The sum, equal to nearly 20 per cent of last year's US$1.65 trillion gross domestic product, highlights the serious understatement of data on the nation's sizzling services sector, according to mainland economists who have been briefed about the census results.

Similarly, the Malaysian economy could be a lot bigger than Singapore if those guys in Bank Negara can fully capture activities in the underground economy. Maybe Malaysia has been hiding a Singapore all these years!!!

But there is no denial that Singapore has done a more remarkable job in building a first world nation in just a generation.


Nonny said...


Now said...

that's a nice picture you've taken!!! I'm surprised your camera can capture the fireworks!! : )