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How Singapore Became One Of The Richest Places On Earth : NPR

A couple enjoys the view of Singapore’s financial center. Conservatives saw Singapore as a free-market success story, but Lee Kuan Yew’s government played a big role in the economy.

Wong Maye-E/AP


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Wong Maye-E/AP

A couple enjoys the view of Singapore’s financial center. Conservatives saw Singapore as a free-market success story, but Lee Kuan Yew’s government played a big role in the economy.

Wong Maye-E/AP

Singapore has been called the 20th century’s most successful development story.

“I don’t think any other economy,” says Linda Lim, an economist at the University of Michigan, “even the other Asian tigers, have that a good a statistical record of rapid growth, full employment, with very good social indicators — life expectancy, education, housing, etc. — in the first 20 years,” she says.

Lee Kuan Yew, the man who founded modern-day Singapore and died last week at age 91, led that economic transformation. One of the most influential leaders of the 20th century, Lee was an autocrat whose tiny island-state became one of the richest places in the world, and a role model for other governments in Asia and beyond.

Singapore has little land and no natural resources. But after its independence in 1965, the former British colony was transformed into a major manufacturing and financial center. The late conservative economist Milton Friedman described Singapore as an example of how to do development right.

“If you compare the conditions of people in a place like Singapore with the conditions of people in a place like red China or for that matter Indonesia, you will see that the economic freedom is a very important component of total freedom,” he said on Free to Choose, a TV series first broadcast on PBS in 1980.

Conservatives see Singapore as a free-market success story. Low taxes, few capital restrictions and liberal immigration policies have made it one of the most cosmopolitan places on Earth.

“They have very, very free trade, very low tariffs [and] very few non-tariff barriers,” says Josh Kurlantzick of the Council on Foreign Relations. “They’ll boast about how you can start your own company in Singapore in three hours.”

But like Deng Xiaoping’s China, which emulated many of Singapore policies, Lee’s government played a big role in the economy.

Mourners pay their respects to Singapore’s former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew on Friday. Lee, who died last week at age 91, led Singapore’s economic transformation.

Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images


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Mourners pay their respects to Singapore’s former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew on Friday. Lee, who died last week at age 91, led Singapore’s economic transformation.

Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

“Some of the biggest sectors domestically — shipbuilding, electronics, banking, and now they’re very involved in private banking — got their start because Lee Kuan Yew and the government specially directed state funds into those areas,” Kurlantzick says.

The government also provided social services like housing and health care, in a way liberal economists applauded.

Lim, who grew up in Singapore, says this bought a certain amount of social peace. She says these policies were designed by Lee’s cabinet, but Lee provided leadership that made them possible.

“He understood the politics of this very diverse place, and put together the laws, including the labor laws, that created a stable, peaceful place that multinationals were looking for,” Lim says.

Lee himself believed Singapore’s growth was tied to the shared values of its different ethnic and religious groups.

“We have had, since 1965, an undivided society, solidly behind a meritocratic system, pushing for higher standards of education, higher standards of performance, and meritocratic at every level,” Lee told an audience of college students in 2013.

Singapore today is a mature economy that, like Japan, has seen its growth slow. It’s had to compete with other low-wage countries that sometimes emulated its economic policies. Kurlantzick says it struggles with a problem familiar to the West.

“People live well, but the per capita GDP conceals a high level of inequality, so that is definitely a major issue in Singapore today and one of the things that the current prime minister has focused on,” he says.

But Singapore remains a big financial center with a high standard of living, and Lee Kuan Yew is remembered as the man who made its prosperity possible.

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Links:

U.S.A. Government Open Data                                                     U. K. Government Open Data        

Australia Datasets                                                                         대한민국 데이터 세트

日本のデータセット                                                                        Conjuntos de datos de Uruguay

Malaysia Datasets                                                                         Slovensko Datové súbory

Nederlandse datasets                                                                   Dados Portugueses

Jeux de données de Tunisie / مجموعات البيانات تونس                            Chinese Enterprise Database / 中國企業數據集           

Hong Kong Datasets / 香港數據集                                                 Chinese Company Search

Hong kong Company Report                                                        Tai Wan Company Report 

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Jobs top priority for next few years; economy must transform quickly, Singapore News & Top Stories

Jobs will continue to be the top priority for the next few years, said President Halimah Yacob yesterday.

Keeping people in work is the best way to help them take care of their families, and keep their skills current until the economy improves, she added, as the Covid-19 crisis continues to weigh heavily on the job market.

Speaking at the opening of the first session of the 14th Parliament, Madam Halimah said that to sustain job creation, the economy must be kept strong and competitive, which is why there is an urgency to transform it and find new ways to make a living.

For instance, air travel will be resumed safely to maintain Singapore’s role as a global and regional hub, while digital connectivity will be strengthened.

Businesses will get the help they need to develop links to new markets.

Efforts to increase the nation’s resilience in critical areas like food, healthcare and supply chain management can become new sources of growth, said the President.

The economy itself will undergo significant structural shifts, she added, with some sectors changing forever and some jobs disappearing for good, but Singapore must remain open and connected.

She said: “Much of our economy thrives because we have made ourselves a vibrant hub for the region and an attractive place for trade, investments, talent and ideas. We cannot take our hub status for granted or assume that its scope and role will remain the same.”

Madam Halimah acknowledged Singaporeans’ fears and anxieties about jobs, and said Covid-19 has worsened the pressure caused by a slowing global economy in recent years. Lower-wage workers, mature workers and mid-career Singaporeans with heavier financial commitments and families to support have been hit especially hard.

The Government, said Madam Halimah, is doing all it can to help. For instance, it is supporting businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, with cash flow and credit so that they can stay afloat and retain their workers.

And the National Jobs Council is also working hand in hand with the Government, employers and unions to create new jobs and skills upgrading opportunities for Singaporeans.

HELPING OLDER WORKERS

We will continue to look out for our lower-wage and mature workers, many of whom are also essential workers who have been keeping Singapore going during the crisis.

We are also making a concerted effort to help workers in their 40s and 50s, by matching them to suitable jobs and SkillsFuture programmes.

PRESIDENT HALIMAH YACOB

The council, which is chaired by Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, is overseeing the design and implementation of the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package to create 100,000 jobs, traineeships and training places.

Said Madam Halimah: “We will continue to look out for our lower-wage and mature workers, many of whom are also essential workers who have been keeping Singapore going during the crisis.

“We are also making a concerted effort to help workers in their 40s and 50s, by matching them to suitable jobs and SkillsFuture programmes.

“I urge employers to see mid-career Singaporeans as valuable assets, and provide them with opportunities and training for new jobs.”

Another area of focus will be sustainable growth. This means reimagining city planning, redesigning urban mobility and growing using fewer resources in a low-carbon future, said the President.

Singapore will also push for green financing and sustainable infrastructure development across the region, to ride on Asia’s growth while protecting the environment, she said.

“With creativity and resourcefulness, we can turn our aspirations for a greener Singapore into a competitive advantage.”

Study in Singapore: Top Universities, Cities, Rankings, Fees, Entry Criteria & Visa Details

Universities in Singapore

There are 34 universities in Singapore, of which six are national. The two best-known, the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) both feature very highly in the QS World University Rankings® 2021, offering courses in a wide range of subjects to their student populations of over 30,000 each.

National University of Singapore 


Singapore’s global superstar, the National University of Singapore (NUS) is currently ranked 11th in the QS World University Rankings, and first in the QS Asia University Rankings 2021. Within the QS World University Rankings by Subject, NUS displays a breadth of high performance which can be rivalled by very few universities in the world. The school is now ranked seventh in the world for the engineering and technology broad subject area, and sixth for civil engineering.  It’s also within the top 10 for social sciences & management.

Nanyang Technological University

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) was ranked just two places behind NUS in the QS World University Rankings® and two places in the QS Asia University Rankings, ranked 13th in the world and third in Asia. It’s highly regarded for its engineering courses, and in the QS World University Rankings by Subject features in the global top five for the broad subject area of engineering & technology, and is also ranked third for materials sciences. In recent developments, NTU enrolled the first batch of students at its new Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine in the summer of 2013, as part of a collaborative venture with the UK’s Imperial College London.

Trying to decide between NUS and NTU? Read a comparison of these two top universities in Singapore here. 

Singapore Management University

Offering a more specialized range of subjects, Singapore Management University is another of Singapore’s best known institutions, ranking among the world’s leading providers of education in the fields of accounting and finance, computer science, economics, law and statistics.

Ranked at 511-520 in the World University Rankings and 99th in Asia, the university also places within the global top 100 for accounting, economics and business the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018.

Other international universities in Singapore

Singapore is also home to a selection of recently established collaborative institutions, bringing together universities in Singapore with leading universities around the world. One example is the Singapore University of Technology and Design, developed in partnership with the US’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology and China’s Zhejiang University. Yale-NUS College is another international collaboration, launched in 2011 as the first liberal arts college in Singapore, as a partnership between the National University of Singapore and Yale University. These collaborations reflect a wider focus on internationalization and innovation among universities in Singapore, which is generating a growing selection of exciting options for prospective students.

Compare top universities in Singapore with other Asian universities

Life in Singapore

A crowded, yet safe and efficient city state, Singapore is one of the four “Asian Tiger” economies, along with South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan, a group known for enjoying rapid economic growth in the second half of the twentieth century.

This fast development and prosperity has also given Singapore a population density among the world’s highest, with the allure of such a strident economy and the ease of doing business proving hard to resist for many immigrants. It is also known for its cleanliness – famously, you aren’t allowed to chew gum in Singapore, to ensure none ends up on the pavements – as well as for its punctual public transport and clear roads filled with gleaming automobiles, for which time-limited certificates of entitlement must be purchased. Singapore also has very strict laws against drug use, leading to one of the lowest rates of drug use in the world.

But there’s more to this island republic than strict laws and a booming financial services sector. Singapore is a true melting pot of cultures, languages and religions, with its mixed Chinese, Malay and Indian population each contributing elements from their native cultures to create a hybrid identity which is unique to the city.

British culture is also a big influence on Singapore, which comes as a result of both a large expatriate population and colonial past. This has led to the region being dubbed as a place where “East meets West”, which gives an insight into the cosmopolitan, inclusive nature of the place. One such example of Singapore’s diverse cultural influences is its food, with its authentic mixture of Asian, Asian-fusion and Western tastes and styles talked about reverently by nearly all who visit.

Although a secular state, Singapore hosts an eclectic multitude of religious beliefs, making it not uncommon to find a mosque next to a temple amidst the gleaming skyscrapers, adding color and interest to the cityscape and reinforcing the ideas of mutual respect and social cohesion which are so important here.

In recent years, Singapore has also invested heavily in arts and culture, to aid its plethora of festivals, museums and public gardens, with the goal of helping to develop its image as more than just a hub of finance and business.

Tuition and living costs

Singapore’s strong economy and high quality of living is accompanied by correspondingly high living costs, and some of the highest tuition fees in Asia. However, it’s still a relatively inexpensive option when comparing tuition costs internationally. Annual fees for international undergraduates currently average around US$14,400 but be aware that depending on the prominence of the university and the type of program you undertake, you may end up paying considerably more. The good news is that more than half of international students receive some form of financial aid.

To give you an example, the National University of Singapore’s current annual tuition fees  for international undergraduates range from S$17,550 (~US$12,750) to as much as S$50,800 (US$36,900) for programs in medicine and dentistry. These are for students with an MOE Tuition Grant (read more on this below) – fees for those not subsidized by the government start at S$29,850 (US$21,685).

Living costs are another significant expenditure. Expect housing, bills and other necessary expenses to cost you, on average, around US$8,000 a year.

Applying to universities in Singapore 

In order to study in Singapore as an international student, you will need to apply directly to your chosen institution. So your first port of call, to check deadlines, application procedures and any other details, will be with the institution itself – consult the official website, and contact the international office directly with any questions. There may be limitations on how many courses you can apply for at any given institution, so make sure you check the fine print.

Student visas for Singapore 

International students wishing to study in Singapore will need a student visa. This will be issued along with your letter of approval (also known as your in-principal approval or IPA) once your application has been accepted by a recognized university. Your application is subject to previous recognized qualifications, evidence of the required paperwork, and proof of sufficient English language skills.

While this automatic issuance means you do not have to worry about applying for your student visa, you will have to apply to the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) for a Student Pass within two weeks of getting accepted. This also has to be no earlier than two months before and no later than one month prior to the start of your course. You will have to do this through the Student’s Pass Online Application & Registration System, known as SOLAR, which the institution at which you have been accepted will register you with.

To apply online for your Student Pass, log on to SOLAR with the registration details your school has provided and fill in and submit eForm 16 via SOLAR. This will require valid passport details, the address of your university, your email address and a recent photo.

To complete the process after arrival in the country, you’ll need to make an appointment with the ICA and bring your disembarkation/embarkation card granted on entry into Singapore, a passport-sized picture, a printout of a signed and completed eForm 16, a copy of your in-principle approval, and a recent medical report on the correct form. When collecting the Student Pass, a signed copy of the terms and conditions form must also be supplied. You will be charged S$30 (US$22) when submitting your application and a further S$60 (US$44) when the pass is issued.

Your Student Pass will allow you to work full-time in the school holidays and 16 hours a week in term time for most students.

Funding to study in Singapore

Both domestic and international students are also eligible to apply to the Singaporean Ministry of Education for a tuition grant, after having been offered a place on a course. This covers much of the costs of university tuition fees. In return for this grant, however, international students must sign a bond committing themselves to work for a Singapore-registered company for at least three years after completing their degree, in order to ensure the country benefits from the skills of those it educates. The period of this bond is longer for students of medicine and dentistry (five or six years).

Compare top universities in Singapore with other Asian universities

History of Singapore | Get to Know Singapore | GuideMeSingapore


If you are new to Singapore, you’re probably wondering how this small city-state in Southeast Asia with a total land area measuring only 721. 5 square kilometers and one of the youngest nations in the world became one of its most successful.

The answer lies in a unique set of geography and history – Singapore’s strategic location on the major sea route between India and China, its excellent harbor, and its free-trade harbor status granted by its visionary founder Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. However, while Sir Stamford Raffles created the framework for Singapore’s early success, it was Singapore’s former Prime Minister, the late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew who shaped the first quarter-century of Singapore’s existence as an independent nation and defined the path to its current success. What follows is a brief history of the country’s origins from a colonial outpost to the developed nation that it is today.

Mythical Origins

Recent studies have verified that lions have never roamed Singapore. However, the original legend was that a long time ago, a 14th century Sumatran prince spotted an auspicious beast upon landing on the island after a thunderstorm, which he was told was a ‘lion’. Thus, the name Singapore comes from the Malay words “Singa” for lion and “Pura” for city. Prior to European settlement, the island now known as Singapore was the site of a Malay fishing village and inhabited by several hundred indigenous Orang Laut people.

The Founding of Modern Singapore

In late 1818, Lord Hastings – the British Governor General of India – appointed Lieutenant General Sir Stamford Raffles to establish a trading station at the southern tip of the Malay peninsula.  The British were extending their dominion over India and their trade with China was expanding. They saw the need for a port of call to “refit, revitalise and protect their merchant fleet” as well as to prevent any advances made by the Dutch in the East Indies.

After surveying other nearby islands in 1819, Sir Stamford Raffles and the rest of the British East India Company landed on Singapore, which was to become their strategic trading post along the spice route.  Eventually Singapore became one of the most important commercial and military centers of the British Empire. The island was the third British acquisition in the Malay Peninsula after Penang (1786) and Malacca (1795). These three British Settlements (Singapore, Penang and Malacca) became the Straights Settlements in 1826, under the control of British India. By 1832, Singapore became the center of government of the three areas. On 1 April 1867, the Straights Settlements became a Crown Colony and was ruled by a governor under the jurisdiction of the Colonial Office in London.

Loosening Britain’s Stronghold

British forces surrendered Singapore to the Japanese forces in World War II. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill described this “as the worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history”. In the aftermath of the war, the country faced staggering problems of high unemployment, slow economic growth, inadequate housing, decaying infrastructure, labour strikes and social unrest. Nevertheless, it sparked a political awakening among the local population and saw the rise of anti-colonial and nationalist sentiments, as epitomised by the slogan “Merdeka” which means “independence” in the Malay language.

In 1959, Singapore became a self-governing state within the British Empire with Yusof Bin Ishak as its first Yang de-Pertuan Negara (Malay for “Someone who is the eminent Master of the State”) and Lee Kuan Yew as its first and long-standing Prime Minister (he served until 1990). Before joining the Federation of Malaysia along with Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak, Singapore declared independence from Britain unilaterally in August 1963. Two years later in 1965, Singapore left the Federation of Malaysia after heated ideological conflicts arose between the Singapore government’s major political party called the People’s Action Party (PAP) and the federal Kuala Lumpur goverment. On 9 August 1965, Singapore officially gained sovereignty. Yusof Bin Ishak was sworn in as its first president and Lee Kuan Yew remained prime minister.

With independence came bleak, if not precarious economic prospects. According to Barbara Leitch Lepoer, the editor of Singapore: A Country Study (1989): “Separation from Malaysia meant the loss of Singapore’s economic hinterland, and Indonesia’s policy of military confrontation directed at Singapore and Malaysia had dried up the entrepot from that direction. ” According to the same book, Singapore also faced the loss of 20 per cent of its jobs with the announcement of Britain’s departure from the island’s bases in 1968.

Road to Success

Instead of demoralising Singapore, these problems motivated Singapore’s leadership to focus on the nation’s economy. With Cambridge-educated lawyer Lee Kuan Yew at its helm, the Singaporean government was aggressive in promoting export-oriented, labor-extensive industrialisation through a program of incentives to attract foreign investment. After all, Singapore still had its strategic location to its advantage.

By 1972, one-quarter of Singapore’s manufacturing firms were either foreign-owned or joint-venture companies, and both USA and Japan were major investors. As a result of Singapore’s steady political climate, favourable investment conditions and the rapid expansion of the world economy from 1965 to 1973, the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) experienced annual double-digit growth.

With the economic boom of the late 1960s and 1970s, new jobs were created in the private sector.  The government provision of subsidised housing, education, health services and public transportation generated new jobs in the public sector. The Central Provident Fund, the country’s comprehensive social security scheme sustained by compulsory contributions by employer and employee, provided the necessary capital for government projects and financial security for the country’s workers in their old age.

By late 1970s, the government changed its strategic focus to skill and technology-intensive, high value-added industries and away from labor-intensive manufacturing. In particular, information technology was given priority for expansion and Singapore became the world’s largest producer of disk drives and disk drive parts in 1989. In the same year, 30 per cent of the country’s GDP was due to earnings from manufacturing.

Singapore’s international and financial services sector was and still is one of the fastest growing sectors of its economy accounting for nearly 25 per cent of the country’s GDP in the late 1980s. In the same year, Singapore ranked alongside Hong Kong as the two most important Asian financial centers after Tokyo. By 1990, Singapore was playing host to more than 650 multinational companies and several thousand financial institutions and trading firms. On the political front, Goh Chok Tong succeeded Lee Kuan Yew in 1990 and in 2004, Lee Hsien Loong, the eldest son of Lee Kuan Yew, became Singapore’s third prime minister.

Singaporean Identity

Out of 5.638 million Singaporeans, 3.285 million are Singapore citizens and roughly 0.533 million are Singapore permanent residents. Chinese, Malays and Indians comprise the three official ethnic groups in the country. With such a multi-ethnic population, the country’s leadership envisioned a Singaporean identity that calls for “rugged individualism with an emphasis on excellence”.

For more information on Singapore’s population, labor force and demographics, see People of Singapore.

Summary

The island’s initial success resulted from its role as a conveniently located and duty-free entrepot for the three-way trade among China, India and the Malay archipelago. By the late 19th century, the British overloads of Singapore had extended their influence throughout the Malay peninsula and the port of Singapore acquired a rich hinterland of resources.

When the British failed to protect Singapore from Japanese occupation during World War II, they lost their credibility with Singaporeans. The aftermath sparked an outpouring of anti-colonial and nationalist sentiments. After the merger with Malaysia and the subsequent separation, the former colonial port of Singapore become a leader in global financing and trading in the 1970s. Today, it continues to wittingly maneuver its way in the world of international trade, just as it had done in the 19th century, and a large part of that success is owed to the country’s pro-industrialisation policies and excellence-oriented multi-ethnic people.

The Park DB

In the first part of this series, we evaluated the revenue side of theme park business models.  In this series, we’ll continue our exploration of the economics of theme parks by reviewing the cost of building amusement and water parks.

More importantly, however, we will be looking at what theme park development costs mean for profitability.

As with the first installment, we’re covering a lot of ground here because we’d like to speak not only to industry insiders, but any other potential developers, investors, or those curious about theme park or amusement park business plans.

Generally, the larger the theme park budget, the lower the probability that the attraction will be project-level profitable. 

This means that indoor theme parks and waterparks have the probability for the highest returns, followed by regional and superregional parks.

Lastly, mega parks built by Disney and Universal usually feature the lowest project-level returns.

We define project-level returns as EBITDA profits against total attraction development costs.  Indeed, certain positions along the capital stack will see much higher returns based on leverage, the existence of pre-opening funding sources, etc.   

Here’s the dataset we used.  Click on any/all pictures for larger versions.  The datasets in this and all blog posts use illustrative data from publicly available sources or are internal estimates.

Now, if you literally just clicked into this post to answer the question “how much does it cost to build a theme park or water park”, here you go:

  • Mega theme parks; i.e. Disney and Universal: $2b to $4b USD
  • Regional and superregional theme parks: $200-$500m USD
  • Waterparks: as mentioned in our previous post, a water playground can be constructed for less than $1 million.  But most common is between $10-$40m.  Anything above $40-$60m is truly aiming high.
  • Indoor theme parks: $10-$30m USD.  More details in this post.

But, we hope you’ll continue on.

Mega parks are the Disney and Universals, costing at least $2b-$3b in order to build, and with cash flow up to $300m in EBITDA.

As we saw in the previous installment, Disney and Universal parks are the only theme parks in the world that are capable of achieving $1b+ in revenues.   But in order to do so, they spend accordingly. 

In the past decade, it was a rare Disney/Universal theme park that cost less than $2b-$3b in order to build.  If they did, it was because they saved on land costs:

  • Universal Studios Japan amortized its land costs in the form of a lease;
  • Universal Studios Singapore is part of the larger Resorts World Singapore and did not break out segmented land costs;
  • Tokyo DisneySea’s land basis was from the 1960s, when the Oriental Land Company (parent company) acquired land for the original Tokyo Disneyland.

Evidence from publicly-available sources suggests that the profit levels for most recent Disney and Universal projects are in the mid-single digits in terms of rate of return.  The reasons are manifold and detailed below.  The most important reason is that these parks cost way too much relative to the $$’s they generate.

Why?

Expectations

First, there’s been an inflation in theme park expectations over the past few decades.

The original Disneyland opened with an attraction mix (~20) that would be considered half-finished today, with a budget of less than $200 million in inflation-adjusted dollars.

Not a coaster in sight.

These days, Disney and Universal can spend between $30 and $100 million for a single attraction in a park full of $30 to $100 million attractions.

Partially, these theme parks are competing with…themselves in the form of the weight of decades-long accumulated guest expectations about Disney and Universal parks.  Partially, these theme parks also compete with the various forms of entertainment that didn’t exist when the first theme parks opened – videogames, internet, social media, cable tv.

The net result is that the threshold for being considered a notable theme park has been raised to such an extent that not only is it impossible for any non-Disney or Universal theme park to compete with the former, but Disney and Universal find it difficult to meet the weight of their own expectations.

Tokyo Disney Resort is famous for its meticulously, beautifully prepared data books and annual reports.  In them, they lay out their future short- and medium-term plans; the above chart is one that was prepared in 2015.

In it you can see that they planned to spend approximately 11 billion yen on each of its two parks over the next five years, which equates to $200 million total: $200 million being, nearly the price tag for a regional ride park.

This is a major reason each subsequent park is getting more expensive to build, because the attraction mix that you need to open with in order to compete with each existing park is stupendous.  Universal Studios Japan is going one further and adding a Nintendo World area at a cost of $500 million, following the successful Wizarding World of Harry Potter, whose price tag was also reported as in the range of $300 million.

$500 million is how much Legoland New York is supposed to cost, in total.

Ticket Prices

Next, while development costs can range greatly, especially on the high-end, ticket prices are much more constrained.  The ticket price that guests are willing to pay for a location-based attraction; i.e., theme parks or waterparks, is relatively constrained within a range of $10 to $70.  There is a strict price ceiling; i.e., no park other than Disney or Universal, with a few minor exceptions, can charge more than $90 in current terms.

Indeed, 95% of the theme park tickets in the world cost less than $60.

Now, while the maximum that even mega theme parks can charge one visitor is in the ~$100 range, the development cost per visitor has a much wider range.  The development costs for a Disney or Universal park, per visitor, are relatively un-constrained, especially on the high end – with outliers like Hong Kong Disneyland effectively having costed almost $900 per annual visitor!

This relationship matters because total revenues per visitor are pegged to ticket prices.   Ticket prices comprise the single largest category of spending for guests at theme parks and anchor guest perceptions of experiential value.

So when parks like Hong Kong Disney cost more than 12x revenues, that indicates…a very long payback period.

Case Studies

Indeed, the theme park business is a hard one, and it is not uncommon to have a barely break-even operation years after opening.  Here are snapshots of three of the mega parks above.

  • You’ll notice that Euro Disney, in the third year after opening, was generating barely $50m USD in operating cash flow for the entire resort, compared to a nearly $4b development cost.  But at least cash flow was positive back then; the resort has struggled to even break-even during the last few years because of a massive debt load.
  • It was a similar situation for Hong Kong Disney, built at a development cost of over $4b and not operationally profitable until 2010, five years after opening.  Compare total resort EBITDA of ~$30m against the development cost.
  • While Universal Studios Japan generated positive EBITDA in the first years after opening, cash flows plummeted along with attendance in the second year, and did not return to its first year levels for many years.  This effectively resulted in ROI in the low to mid-single digits.

A Caveat: Creative Financing

Although, to the last point, we offer a counterpoint.  All this is not to say that Disney and Universal earn no money on their investments.  Quite the opposite.  In fact, Disney and Universal’s varied and major sources of financing likely enhance their returns greatly.

ALL recent Disney and Universal parks have featured highly varied sources of financing other than just equity:

  • Disney invested less than 10% of Hong Kong Disneyland’s $4b+ budget.  The rest was 90% financed, directly or indirectly, by the government in the form of equity, loans, infrastructure, land reclamation, etc.
  • Similarly, Shanghai Disney was helped by the government’s investment in a dedicated metro line, preferential loans, government equity, land relocation.
  • Euro Disney was financed through an IPO and add-on equity raise, government loans, low tax rates, infrastructure subsidies, accelerated depreciation, and real estate sales.
  • Universal Studios Japan was subsidized with infrastructure spending, loans, and equity by the Osaka Municipal Government.
  • Universal Studios Singapore was financed, essentially, through Resorts World Sentosa’s casino license (1 of 2 in Singapore).  Casino revenues comprise more than 70% of the total resort’s revenues, while Universal Studios is an estimated 15-20%.

Further, this does not even mention the pre-opening sources of cash flow that Disney and Universal cleverly insert into their partnership contracts, including design fees, management and operational fees, licensing payouts and royalties beginning at contract signing, etc. etc.

Thus while mega theme parks, at the project level, are among the least profitable, let’s not worry too much on behalf of Disney or Universal who begin earning fees before the parks are even designed :).

Many would-be developers and governments miss this point.

Summary

Disney and Universal build so large not only because they have to, but because they can.  The strengths of their brands allow them to negotiate with governments and banks to an extent that theme parks in lesser tiers would find it impossible to do.  And for this reason, the spending is so massive that project-level returns appear to be quite paltry.  

These operators are able to spend so much because the primary metric by which their government partners are judging success is not financial, but measured in economic impacts; tax revenues, foreign exchange earnings, employment creation, tourism growth, and output multipliers.

Walt Disney, both the man and the company, was and is a creative financing genius, which shall be the subject of a later post.

Now let’s examine indoor theme parks and waterparks.  At the project level, they have the highest probability of being profitable, with investment returns in the mid-teens to 20%+ range.

These are indoor parks that cost between $10-$30m to build, and generate cash flow (EBITDA) of between $3m to $10m.  This class of smaller parks are both more efficient users of capital and space. 

What we’re talking about when we talk about indoor theme parks are projects usually between 2,000 and 9,000 square meters in size, which act as anchors or inline tenants within urban retail environments.

This class does not include indoor playrooms or kids cafes that are usually generic and less than 1,000 sqm, or indoor ride parks of more than 30,000+ sqm that happen to have a shell above them, such as Nickelodeon Universe, Lotte World, or Trans Studio.  Some of the major brands in this category include Kidzania, Merlin Midway, and Joypolis.  Some scenes below.

Because of their smaller size, their sales productivity (per unit of area) is highest among all theme park categories.  Their development cost per unit of area is also lower than that of mega parks.

You can see this relationship even more clearly when we look at revenues and costs per visitor, as below.  We return to the point about ticket prices again.

In the case of indoor parks, they benefit perhaps from the fact that there is a price floor/threshold; i.e., a minimum amount that people are willing to pay for a location-based attraction – in the range of $15-$20 for adult visitor.

When we compare revenues per visitor (which reflect this ticket price threshold) against development costs per visitor, it is apparent that, all else equal, this class of parks looks attractive from an investment standpoint.

For more on this specific type, refer to our guest post on the Global Real Estate Experts blog.

Finally, right in the middle of the pack are regional and super-regional parks.

In this tier, we have a lineup of very famous brands that are not Disney or Universal, such as Legoland, Cedar Fair, Seaworld, and Six Flags.   These parks cost between $200m to $500m to construct, and earn (EBITDA) between $30m to $100m.

There is no clear definition about what parks are in this category.  In most cities where there is no Universal or Disney park, these regional / super-regional parks are the major theme park of the market, even if it doesn’t have a world-renowned brand.

Operations such as Tivoli Gardens in Denmark, Everland in Korea, Parc Asterix in France, Alton Towers in the UK, etc., come to mind.  Most have been around for decades (centuries in the case of Tivoli).  Once again, the parks we review below are ones that have revealed their data publicly.  And no, we didn’t include Tivoli, whose development cost is from the 19th century and was too hard to calculate 🙂

This category is interesting for several reasons.

Low $/sf

First, notice that this category of parks is usually the same size as parks in the Disney/Universal category, in the 200,000 to 400,000 square meter range.   Yet, their revenues are a fraction of Disney/Universal’s.  This sets us up for some interesting implications.

Now, even if this category of parks earns $100m to $300m in revenues, the latter of which is on the high-end, this is still a fraction of what a similarly-sized Disney or Universal would generate.  This means that sales productivity (in terms of sales per unit of area) is low.  A $200m revenue park spread over an average-sized area of 30 hectares (300,000 sqm) translates into sales of ~$670/sqm, or ~$60/sf.

As a piece of yield-producing real estate, this is quite low. 

Returning to this chart, we can see that regionals are indeed the lowest-performing (lower left) in terms of revenue efficiency per unit of space.

On the other hand, they also cost the least in terms of unit of space.

A Time and Place for Everything

This brings us to one of our theses, which is that regional and superregional theme park development may be a relic of certain macroeconomic and socioeconomic conditions.   In the developed world, this convergence of conditions has largely passed.  In certain other geographies, however (China + Middle East, to name names), this is still ongoing.

In the developed countries and cities of the world, purely private theme park development was often a relic of low land prices and lower expectations, to name some of the more important ones.

With growing and rapid urbanization in most countries, as well as central bank policies, land prices have appreciated – and continue to appreciate – at a rapid pace, crowding out the potential for large amusement or recreation parks.

If we simply consider the development history of theme parks in the United States, we can see that most of the major parks were built in the 1960s to early 1980s.  Ask yourself, looking at the list below, if there’s been another major park in the vicinity of the metropolises below, in the last 20-30 years.  Not counting second gates and Orlando.   Is there one?

Now, let’s see what’s been happening in China.  It’s no secret among industry insiders that China has dominated theme park development in the last decade, accounting for nearly a quarter to a third of all theme park openings since the year 2000, as below.

And the theme parks that are being built in China are regional parks, notwithstanding the blustering of certain property moguls.

Their attraction mix (hard ride-based) more closely resembles that of Six Flags and Cedar Fair than it does Disney or Universal, and their development costs, in USD, are also in the range of $100-$500m.  Does it not resemble the US during the 1960s and 1970s?

Once a regional park is built, it is very difficult to build another in the same market.

As land prices and urbanization increase, the opportunity cost of setting aside 300,000+ square meters in order to generate less than $100/sf in revenues is simply prohibitive.   Moreover, selling the positioning and differentiation angle to the consumer is almost impossible when there’s already another regional park in the market.  This means that existing regional theme parks are usually minor monopolies in their regions.  

As an ending note we need to mention that in both China and the Middle East, governments and other sovereign-related entities are sponsoring theme park development.  And theme park ‘returns’ in these geographies are measured mostly not in financial terms, but employment, prestige, branding, tourism impacts, and GDP multipliers.

For this reason it’s not always wise to include China into a discussion with Legoland, Cedar Fair, and Six Flags, but this is an interesting point nonetheless.

Waterparks

Waterparks deserve their own post, as they are category unto themselves, but it’s interesting to measure them side-by-side with other types of theme parks.  The major points we want to make here are that:

  • Waterparks are smaller than theme parks, at 10,000 to 60,000 square meters, on average;
  • They likewise cost a fraction of their outdoor theme park equivalents, with the largest waterparks costing anywhere from $60-$100 million, maximum;
  • But in many markets outside of the United States, the price to enter a waterpark is nearly the same – if not higher – than a theme park in the same market.   All this makes waterparks attractive from an investment standpoint as well.

For this reason, waterpark development has been torrid (torrential?) in China, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East (hospitable climates for waterparks, to be sure).  Let’s take another look at the chart below.

Given that the cost/sf and revenue/sf between waterparks and the regional parks are similar, what kind of project would a risk-minimizing developer choose, when the investment level for a waterpark is in the range of $30 million, compared to a regional park that costs 10 times that amount?

Despite our extended rambling, we’d like to think that you can leave with some concrete implications.  In summary, here are some of the major ones.

  • Mega theme parks such as Disney and Universal find it difficult to be profitable in the first few years after opening, and have a very low project ROI.  But it doesn’t matter.
  • Don’t seek to compete with Disney or Universal, unless you are them, or you can line up tremendous sources of financing.  Look for creative sources of financing.
  • For investors, indoor parks are promising because they generate enough in sales productivity to be appropriate for urban retail environments.
  • Regional and superregional parks are appropriate when land prices are extremely low, and the market does not have similar types of developments.  They can be built relatively cheaply.  And once built, these parks can become the landmark attraction of a market for decades.
  • Waterparks are often a more efficient alternative to regional parks, in that they occupy less space but have a similar return profile.
  • It’s important to define the return measure for attractions.  Very often, the partner/developer/government cares less about financial returns and more about employment, tourism, and GDP impacts.  Governments can be a good partner.  On the other hand, don’t benchmark these kinds of developments if you’re a purely private operation.

Business Planning

From our decades in the business, we’ve encountered hundreds of would-be theme park developers who immediately will point to the first tier and insist that their parks will generate Disney or Universal-like performance, without spending nearly enough.

While there are plenty of advisors out there who will happily take huge consulting fees to prepare self-justifying financials on pro forma, we’d like to urge anyone in the business to stop and think about the real issues here, and offer these pieces of free advice to serve your theme park or amusement park business plan or feasibility study.  Don’t read it if you like to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars in ‘consulting’ fees.

As Charlie Munger says, sometimes the best thing to do is invert.  And in inverting the problem of attraction performance, we find that the 3 real questions, in order, are:

1. What type of park are you attempting to develop or acquire?

2. Given the type of park, what is the worldwide range of performance for that tier; i.e., what is the range of outcomes you can expect?  Generate a scenario analysis for your development around this range.

3. Finally, most importantly, what will it take to outperform within that range?  In terms of design, content, positioning, market availability, and competitive dynamics?  Does the local market support a ticket price tier of $30+?  $40+?  $50+?  $60-80+?

We can easily see that in each category, there is a performance range.  The question any motivated developer, investor, or government should be asking is what it would take to outperform and/or be more efficient within each range.  Viz.,

  • Indoor park: is it possible to spend $10m on a park and generate cash flow of more than $3m?  What would it take, in terms of an experience, for people to spend up to $40-$50 USD per person.  If you have to spend at least $30m for your vision, how do you increase throughput (attendance) or spending to above $50 USD per person?  Find more details for indoor parks in this post.
  • Waterpark: is it possible to spend $30m on a park and generate more than $8-$10m in cash flow?  What would it take, in terms of the experience, for that to happen?  How do you get people to stay as long as possible and spend more by disguising ancillaries as necessities?
  • Regional/superregional park: is it possible to build smaller, say, 100,000 to 150,000 sqm and deliver the same experience?  I.e., is it possible to achieve a throughput of 4-8m people within that space?  It is possible to build a regional park for less than $300 million?  Conversely, how do we achieve a cash flow of more than $50-$100m?  How do we get people to stay longer, and spend more?
  • Mega: what is the next government and market we can partner with?  Is it possible to spend less than $3b for the park and achieve DisneySea-like return numbers?  How do we increase spending in all of our parks to the $80-$100 USD range?

If you’re ready, develop your own models using the same template we use.  Or need only a reasonable range of assumptions for your own model?  Look no further.

Singapore and Hong Kong to open travel bubble

Cathay Pacific flight taking off in Hong Kong.

Singapore and Hong Kong have agreed to start quarantine-free travel between the two cities from 26 May.

The long delayed travel bubble was first slated to begin in November, but was suspended after a sudden spike of Covid infections in Hong Kong.

If it goes ahead, this travel bubble will be the second major air route in the region to open after Australia and New Zealand resumed flights last week.

It is expected to provide a boost to the tourism sectors of both cities.

“I am happy that Hong Kong got the Covid-19 situation under control. It has been a long few months, but the conditions are now ripe again to re-launch the ATB (Air Travel Bubble)” , Mr Ong Ye Kung, Singapore’s Minister for Transport said in an emailed statement.

How will it work?

The ATB will begin cautiously with just one flight a day in each direction carrying a maximum of 200 passengers for the first two weeks.

It’s a more restrained approach than Australia and New Zealand, which launched their bubble with hundreds of flights a week.

All passengers departing from Hong Kong are required to be vaccinated, and passengers from both cities are expected to take a test within three days of departure and again on arrival.

The bubble will be suspended for at least two weeks if the seven-day moving average of unlinked community cases in either city increases to more than five.

Travellers from both cities will be required to download each others contact-tracing app prior to their departure.

“Our goal remains striking a right balance between public health and travel convenience so that the public will feel assured while providing certainty,” Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau said.

Tourism downturn

The two cities are eager to kickstart their tourism sectors, which were highly dependent on foreign tourists before the pandemic.

Story continues

International arrivals to Singapore declined 81.2% in the third quarter of 2020 compared to the same quarter the previous year, according to the Singapore Tourist Board.

For the two cities’ major airlines, the pandemic has been particularly difficult.

Unlike Australia’s Qantas, which does much of its business domestically, Singapore Airlines and Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific lack a roster of internal routes.

Singapore Airlines lost $1.66bn (£1.19bn) in the nine months to December 2020 as its passenger base shrank 97.6%.

Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways reported a record annual loss of $2.8bn in 2020, while shedding about a quarter of its staff.

Bubble trouble

If the airlines are happy to have flights resume, their optimism might be tempered by the challenges presented by travel bubbles so far.

The air travel bubble was postponed from its initial launch date in November after a sudden spike in cases in Hong Kong.

The process has not been entirely smooth for Australia and New Zealand either.

Within a day of the travel bubble opening, a cleaner at Auckland airport who had been fully vaccinated tested positive for Covid-19 though officials said the case was not linked to the bubble.

And New Zealand paused quarantine-free flights from Western Australia just days after the trans-Tasman travel bubble reopened due to a traveller testing positive for Covid in Perth.

One Australian carrier, Virgin Australia, has opted to wait until October to join the Australia-New Zealand bubble over concerns that border restrictions could create additional complexity for its operations.

Singapore – a city of myths and fines

The most popular souvenir from Singapore is a T-shirt with the words “Singapore is fine city”. Fine translated from English means not only “beautiful”, but also “fine”. On the back of the shirt is a list of these same penalties. $ 1,000 for chewing gum, $ 1,000 for smoking in the wrong place, etc.

The laws in Singapore are actually tough. Several years ago, the son of an American consul, who had a little fun, staged a vandal.He was taken to jail, and as a punishment he was prescribed … 7 lashes. The State Department stood up for the poor boy. America has threatened to declare an economic boycott and even send special forces to rescue its citizen. Controversy flared up on television and in newspapers in Singapore: what to do? Give in to the Americans? After all, 85 percent of Singapore’s exports go to the United States. Or the law is the law for ALL. Even if you are George W. Bush himself. How do you think it ended?

The bully eventually got his 7 lashes …

Far beyond the borders of this tiny state, it is known that chewing gum is prohibited here, you can not spit and smoke on the streets, and these streets themselves are washed with powder.

In the early days, I constantly searched the streets for police officers. Someone has to catch those who litter. But I never saw it. It turned out that all police officers in Singapore wear civilian clothes. The government considered that the abundance of uniformed people would be bad for the country’s image. But security cameras are installed throughout the city. No offense will go unpunished.

Streets in Singapore are really washed with powder. But at the same time, the cigarette butts are thrown into the storm collectors. And the most famous street in the city – Orchard Road – turns into a dump on Friday evening.True, by morning everything is clean and tidy.

Regarding smoking … A pack of cigarettes in a store costs 11 local dollars, that is, about 7 American dollars. Not weak? But this is exactly how, with high duties on imported tobacco, the government weaned the local population from the addiction.

Strict regulations for cars. To get a license, you need to study for a year. Cars – all Mercedes and Opels, sparkling in the sun. Old and dirty cars are punishable by a fine.

In general, the Singaporeans were initially lucky with the government.Lucky to this day. Singapore has one of the highest living standards in the world. There are 45 thousand officially registered millionaires for 4 million inhabitants. Moreover, this list includes those who have at least $ 4 million. And if you count cars and apartments and a bank account, then almost everyone has a million.

Maybe that’s why Singapore is not on the news. Nothing explodes here, there are no political scandals and coups. And even the Asian financial crisis of 98 did no harm to the country’s economy.By the way, the father of the Singapore economic miracle – ex-president Lee Kwang Yew – did not retire after his resignation, but still works as a minister-mentor of Singapore …

History of the Republic of Singapore

For a complete history of Singapore before independence, starting with settlement, see History of Singapore.

History of modern Singapore

History The Republic of Singapore began when Singapore was expelled from Malaysia and became an independent republic on August 9, 1965.After the division, the young nation had to become self-sufficient and face challenges including massive unemployment, housing shortages and lack of housing. land and natural resources such as oil. During Lee Kuan Yew’s tenure as prime minister from 1959 to 1990, his administration curbed unemployment, raised living standards, and implemented a large-scale public housing program. The country’s economic infrastructure was developed, racial tensions were removed, and an independent national defense system was created.By the end of the 20th century, Singapore had gone from a dying nation to first world status.

In 1990, Go Chok Tong succeeded Lee as prime minister. During his tenure, the country struggled with the economic fallout from the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the 2003 SARS outbreak, as well as the terrorist threats posed by Jemaah Islamiya (JI) after 9/11 and the Bali bombings. In 2004, Li Hsien Loong, the eldest son of Li Kuan Yew, became the third prime minister.

Independence from Malaysia

Singapore became part of Malaysia on September 16, 1963 through a merger with Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak. The merger was believed to benefit the economy by creating a common free market and improve Singapore’s internal security. However, it was not an easy union. Disputes between the government of the state of Singapore and the federal government have arisen over various issues, especially the federal affirmative action policy, which granted the Malays special privileges guaranteed by section 153 of the Malaysian Constitution.Singapore’s Chief Minister Lee Kuan Yew and other political leaders have begun advocating for equal treatment of all races in Malaysia with the rallying cry of “Malaysia, Malaysia!”

Racial tensions between the Chinese and Malays increased sharply, leading to numerous racial riots. The most notorious riots were the 1964 race riots, which first occurred on Mawlida on July 21, when twenty-three people were killed and hundreds were injured.Food prices rose dramatically when the transport system was disrupted during the riots, causing further human suffering.

The state and federal governments have also had conflicts on the economic front. UMNO leaders feared that Singapore’s economic dominance would inevitably divert political power from Kuala Lumpur. Despite an earlier agreement to create a common market, Singapore continued to face trade restrictions with the rest of Malaysia.In response, Singapore refused to provide full loans to Sabah and Sarawak, previously agreed for the economic development of the two eastern states. The situation escalated to the point that negotiations were soon broken off and offensive speeches and letters began to circulate on both sides. UMNO extremists called for arrest at Li Kuan.

Seeing no alternative to prevent further bloodshed, Malaysian Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman decided to exclude Singapore from the federation.The Malaysian parliament voted 126–0, with all Singaporean MPs boycotting the August 9, 1965 exclusion vote. On that day, a crying Lee Kuan Yew announced at a televised press conference that Singapore was a sovereign, independent state. … In a well-known quote, he said: “It would be a moment of pain for me. I mean, this is a moment of pain for me, because all my life … you see my whole adult life … I believed in the fusion and unity of these two territories.You know that these are people connected by geography, economy and family ties … ” The Republic of Singapore has become a new state.

From 1965 to 1979

After its abrupt independence, Singapore felt the need for immediate international recognition of its sovereignty. Konfrontasi continues and some UMNO factions strongly oppose division; Singapore faces the risk of being attacked by the Indonesian military or forcibly invading Malaysia on unfavorable terms.With the help of the governments of Malaysia, the Republic of China and India, Singapore became a member of the United Nations on September 21, 1965, and the Commonwealth of Nations in October of that year.

A new Ministry of Foreign Affairs was created, headed by Sinnathambi Rajaratnam, which helped defend Singapore’s independence and established diplomatic relations with other countries. Participation in international organizations has also helped stimulate trade through cooperation.Singapore later co-founded ASEAN on August 8, 1967, joined the Non-Aligned Movement in 1970, and then the World Trade Organization.

As a tiny island, Singapore was considered an unviable nation state; Many international media outlets were skeptical about Singapore’s survival prospects. In addition to the issue of sovereignty, the pressing problems are unemployment, housing, education, lack of natural resources and land.

The unemployment rate ranged from 10 to 12%, and this threatened to provoke civil unrest. The loss of access to Malaysia’s domestic markets and the lack of natural resources meant that Singapore had no reliable traditional sources of income. A large portion of the population had no formal education, even if these statistics included Chinese schools, which the British did not recognize. Entrepot trade, the main use of the port of Singapore and the original reason for Singapore’s success in the 19th century, was no longer sufficient to support a large population.

Economic focus

Singapore has invested heavily in promoting economic growth. The Economic Development Council was established in 1961 by Go Ken Sui, and with the assistance of Dutch economic advisor Albert Winsemius, national economic strategies were formulated to develop Singapore’s manufacturing sector. Industrial zones were established, especially in the developed Jurong swamps, and government ministers toured the world to try to attract foreign investment.The government offered new investors tax holidays for 5-10 years.

The port of Singapore gave it an advantage over neighboring countries, being a favorable place for efficient export of refined goods and import of raw materials. This meant that Singapore’s industry could easily find international markets and the prices of raw materials were lower. The growing industrialization of Singapore meant that warehouse trade was expanded to the processing of imported raw materials into exportable finished goods, resulting in higher value-added products that brought more income to the island.It ultimately became a suitable alternative to the common market for hinterland Malaysia, although it was later shaped with the creation of ASEAN.

The service industry also grew during this time, fueled by the demand for the services of ships calling at the port and the growth of trade. This progress helped solve the problem of unemployment. With Winsemius’ help, Singapore attracted major oil companies such as Shell and Esso to establish refineries in Singapore, which by the mid-1970s had become the third largest refining center in the world.

Singapore’s new direction required a skilled workforce to fulfill its new role of processing raw materials, as opposed to the traditional mining industries of its neighbors. Its leaders decided early on that the population would need to be fluent in English as they would communicate and collaborate with foreign employers or business partners overseas, and English was adopted as a medium of instruction for all schools.

The education system was designed to be rigorous and intensive, with an emphasis on immediate practical rather than intellectual applications such as technical sciences rather than political debate or philosophy. Most, about one-fifth of Singapore’s budget, has been devoted to education to ensure a large and competent workforce is available after graduation. The Singapore government currently maintains it at this level.

New housing

Lack of good housing and growth of squatter settlements. Combined with high unemployment, this has led to social problems associated with crime, low living standards and unrest. Another detrimental effect of the squatter settlements was that many of them were built with flammable materials, were poorly constructed and thus posed a high fire hazard. A prime example of this is the Bukit Ho Swee Squatter fire in 1961.In addition, there were poor sanitary conditions, which led to the spread of infectious diseases.

The pre-independence Housing Council continued to operate largely successfully under Lim Kim San. Grandiose construction projects have sprung up to provide cheap and affordable public housing for the relocation of squatters, eliminating a major social problem. In the first two years, 25,000 apartments were built. It is noteworthy that for ten years, most of the population lived in HDB apartments.Possible explanations for the seemingly impossible success were government determination, large budget allocations, and efforts to eliminate bureaucracy and corruption. In 1968, the Central Reserve Fund (CPF) housing scheme was introduced, allowing residents to use their CPF savings to purchase HDB apartments, gradually increasing home ownership in Singapore.

Another problem faced by Singapore was the lack of national identity and unity among the majority of the population.Many people were born in foreign countries and still identified themselves in terms of their country of origin rather than Singaporeans. This created possible problems with loyalty, reliability, and the possibility of further racial unrest. To defuse racial tensions, a policy of creating national identity through education in schools and flag raising and lowering ceremonies was implemented. This is consistently emphasized in the curriculum and National Education, a compulsory curriculum whose main purpose is to instill in students a sense of “national brotherhood”.The Singapore National Pledge, written by Sinnathamby Rajaratnam, was introduced in 1966 to emphasize unity among people “regardless of race, language or religion.”

The justice and rights system in Singapore has been reformed and the government has implemented a number of measures to overcome labor conflicts and disputes. Strict labor laws have been enacted to provide better protection for workers, while also allowing productivity to be increased by increasing working hours and reducing vacations.The labor movement was further consolidated within the National Congress of Trade Unions under the close supervision of the government. By the late 1960s, the number of strikes had dropped significantly.

Singapore took the step of nationalizing companies that could not survive on their own or otherwise could harm Singapore if they were not in line with government policy because they were a public service. Good examples are Singapore Power, Utilities Board, SingTel, and Singapore Airlines (SIA).Such companies that were nationalized were often infrastructure or utilities that had to provide services such as electricity or transportation for the benefit of other companies. For example, the expansion of the energy infrastructure has led to an increase in the attraction of foreign investors. Recently, the government took steps to privatize these former monopolies – SingTel and Singapore Airlines are now listed as limited companies, although the government still owns large shares in them.

Independent Defense Force

Another important issue raised around that time was national defense. After independence, the British still defended Singapore, but announced that they would withdraw by 1971 due to domestic pressure and military commitments in other parts of the world. This caused serious alarm on the ground, especially among those who remembered the Japanese occupation during World War II.

In 1965, Go Keng Swee became Minister of the Interior and Defense and initiated the formation of a national defense force, called the Singapore Armed Forces, which was to be established at the time of the British withdrawal.The British agreed to postpone the withdrawal for six months, but not more.

Singapore consulted international experts from West Germany and Israel to train and equip its military forces. As a small country surrounded by larger neighbors, Singapore devoted most of its budget, about 19%, to defense, and this continues to this day, with the fourth largest military spending per capita in the world after Israel, the United States and Kuwait.

Singapore was particularly interested in the Israeli model of national service, which was a factor in its decisive victory in the Six Day War over its Arab neighbors in 1967. This led to the implementation of Singapore’s own national program, launched in 1967. All eighteen-year-olds will be required to participate in national service and study full-time for two and a half years, and then will have to return every year to maintain their skills in order to effectively mobilize at all times.

This policy meant that Singapore could quickly mobilize enough defense forces to deter any invasion, especially against Indonesia during the Confrontation when the British withdrew in September 1971. Women were excluded from national service – the explanation was that in times of war, they would have to support the economy while the men fought. This policy is sometimes questioned as sexist and has been repeatedly discussed in the media along with the length of the training.Establishing a national service policy is believed to help foster national and racial ties, as learning in adolescence with peers of other races creates a sense of unity.

1980s to 1990s

Further economic gains continued throughout the 1980s, when the unemployment rate fell to 3% and real GDP growth averaged about 8% during this period until 1999. In the 1980s, Singapore faced the challenge of upgrading its industries to more high-tech ones.industry to compete with its neighbors who export the same goods at a lower price. Singapore originally produced goods such as textiles. A skilled workforce with the ability to learn helped ease the transition, for example, to new jobs in the platemaking industry that was rapidly emerging in Singapore.

Singapore Changi Airport was opened in 1981. The development of air transport meant the further expansion of transshipment trade, as well as its direct goal of attracting investors through a convenient way of entering and leaving the country.For example, along with Singapore Airlines, the hospitality industry has grown dramatically, leading to the growth of the tourism industry.

The Housing Council continued to promote public housing. New cities such as Ang Mo Kio were designed and built. They have larger apartments and higher standards and are served with better amenities. Today 80–90% of the population lives in HDB apartments. Justifying the strengthening of national unity, “racial harmony” and loyalty, the government clearly planned to group the various races into one class in order to unify the races.This HDB policy has become an important contribution to Singaporean culture.

Top view of Western Bukit Batok. A large-scale program for the development of public housing has led to an increase in the number of home owners among the population.

Singapore also had to modernize its army, such as upgrading its army’s standard infantry weapons. It used to be an L1A1 self-loading rifle, then it was upgraded to a lighter American-made M16 model. Total Defense Policy was created in 1984 with the intention of the population preparing to defend Singapore on five metaphorical fronts: economic, civilian (including hospitals), social, psychological, and military.

Continuous sustainable economic growth has made Singapore one of the most prosperous countries in the world with strong international trade links. Its port is one of the busiest in the world, and its GDP per capita is higher than that of the leading countries of Western Europe.The education budget remains at one-fifth or more, and many of its practices, such as racial harmony, continue today.

A side effect of this is that traffic congestion was becoming more common and the first Mass Rapid Transit Line (MRT) was opened in 1987 and later became the famous epitome of what is often seen as well-integrated public transport. system. The network also improved the convenience of travel from one side of the island to the other – an advantage that did not exist in the 1960s.

Political system

The political situation in Singapore was stable. The PAP had a 15-year monopoly in parliament from 1966 to 1981, winning every seat before JB Jaretnam of the Workers’ Party of Singapore won the Anson constituency in the 1981 by-election. The PAP rule is called authoritarian by activists who view some of the rules of political activity and media activity as a violation of political rights, considering them authoritarian.This has been the biggest complaint against the PAP by opposition parties so far: the Workers’ Party of Singapore and the Singapore Democratic Party, two prominent opposition parties accusing the PAP of authoritarianism.

There have been several significant changes in the government of Singapore. A no-constituency MP was introduced in 1984 to allow up to three losing opposition candidates to be appointed as MPs. Group Representation Districts (GRCs) were introduced in the 1988 amendment to the Parliamentary Elections Act to create multi-member constituencies designed to ensure minority representation in parliament.An appointed MP was introduced in 1990 to allow elected non-partisan MPs.

In 1991, the Constitution was amended to provide that the president-elect has veto power over the use of national reserves and appointments to public office. Opposition parties complained that the GRC system prevented them from gaining a foothold in the parliamentary elections in Singapore, and the multiple voting system in Singapore’s constituencies, especially those with large group representation, tended to exclude minority parties.The system was protected by the PAP as the system encourages minority representation 90,035 races by requiring a minority candidate in the voter representation group.

However, this makes it difficult for the opposition parties to get a seat. Prior to the 2006 general elections, the PAP always managed to return to power on the day of its nomination, even before the elections began after the amendment to the Parliamentary Elections Law. The opposition accuses the constituency of being a deliberate obstacle to group representation, as it failed to nominate sufficiently qualified candidates between 1991 and 2001 to even challenge the PAP’s mandate.

The arrest of Chi Sung Huang and libel lawsuits against JB Jayaretnam, both opposition MPs, have been cited by opposition parties as examples of such authoritarianism. They were also charged with libel for political criticism. The lack of a separation of powers between the judiciary and the government has led to further accusations of miscarriages of justice against opposition parties. Part of the accusations of authoritarianism are the further arrests of those who were politically active against the PAP, such as Francis Seo, and even students who have recently enrolled in higher education.

In 1990, Lee Kuan Yew handed over the reins to his successor, Go Chok Tong, who displayed a more open and consultative leadership style as the country continued to modernize. In 1997, Singapore was hit by the Asian financial crisis and harsh measures were taken, such as a reduction in the ATP contribution.

2000 to represent

In the first few years of the 21st century, Singapore experienced some of the most severe post-war crises, including the 2003 SARS outbreak and the threat of terrorism.In December 2001, a conspiracy to blow up embassies and other infrastructure in Singapore was uncovered and 15 members of Jemaah Islamiyah were arrested under the Internal Security Act. Serious counter-terrorism measures have been taken to identify and prevent potential terrorist attacks and to minimize damage should they occur. In the meantime, the economy suffered only slightly during the crisis, and in 2003 the average monthly household income was S $ 4,870.

In 2004, Lee Hsien Lung, the eldest son of Lee Kuan Yew, became the third prime minister of Singapore. Since then, a number of national policy changes have been proposed and implemented. One of these changes was the reduction in training requirements for the national service from two and a half years to two during 2005. The government has also introduced the Red Ribbon Cut program, which allows citizens to share their views on law, punishment, social and global issues.questions.

The 2006 General Election was considered by analysts to be an election milestone in Singapore’s history, due to heavy use of the Internet and blog posts that covered elections that escaped government regulation. Shortly before the elections, on May 1, 2006, the government awarded all adult citizens a cash prize called a “progress package” of S $ 2.6 billion. The PAP returned to power in the elections, receiving 82 out of 84 seats and 66% of the vote.During the campaign period, many opposition rallies saw large turnouts: Malaysian newspaper The Star estimated that the rally, held on April 30, 2006, was attended by more than ten thousand people.

Singapore’s bilateral relations with Malaysia since independence have been difficult and volatile at times. Despite their differences, Malaysia remains an important, albeit partial, economic region and regional ally, especially thanks to their ASEAN membership.This significance becomes especially evident when you consider that most of the water in Singapore comes from Malaysia. Both countries are known to reproach or even threaten each other because of the differences in paths taken after independence, but fortunately this never got serious enough to escalate into embargo or hostility.

More and more reforms are being carried out in the education system. Primary education became compulsory in 2003. This style of educational policy continued to be extremely competitive and favored those who initially excelled and tended to ignore suffering students while streaming.This remains a controversial issue even today. It was the theme of the successful local film I Am Not a Fool, which also tells about the culture of competition caused by post-independence education policies in . While educational policies have evolved over the years to address such issues, the streaming issue is still relevant.

2013 Population White Paper was officially released by the government proposing a future national population of 6.9 million due to growing concerns about rising life expectancy, declining fertility and population aging envisaged in Singapore in 2030.This came after the official launch of two integrated resorts, which in the same year became the most profitable in the world.

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90,000 Singapore in 7 days. Day 1. Initially, I just wanted to write down … | by Oleg Lukinov

It turns out that we do not have the apartment number, in which of the towers our friends live, we do not know. After several minutes of confusion and interviews with the local inhabitants of the house, we find a “guest house” in which a girl in a hijab is sitting. We ask her about wifi.Weifai is not present, but she graciously allows her to use her computer. We write to a friend in Telegram, and we are met. The apartment turns out to be a three-room apartment with a balcony and stunning views. An interesting fact: the houses are arranged in such a way that the air conditioners are hidden in the inner “well” and do not spoil the facades of the houses with their appearance.

Now that we have such a beautiful roof over our heads (and even with a swimming pool), we can go to explore the city.

What a beginner tourist needs to know in Singapore.

1. Dress lightly, but take with you a light jacket or a scarf that you can put on in the subway – from habit it is very cold there, but after a few days you get used to it.

2. ATM machines can be found near the metro. You will need cash to buy a metro pass (cards are not accepted there). Some food courts serve only cash, and there is also a topic with payment by card, starting from a certain amount (for example, from $ 10)

3. If you are not lazy, you can grab an umbrella.It was not useful to us, but the locals sometimes take them with them (from the rain and from the sun at the same time)

4. On the first outing, take your passport with you. In shops near the metro, you can get a local SIM card with unlimited internet. But they won’t do it without a passport.

5. Have sunglasses? Then this is their finest hour. Here they are really in the subject.

On the street you can meet locals in jeans or even boots. We are hot even in shorts. But this heat is pleasant. It seems that the harsh Moscow cold is still resisting the unexpected summer inside.

Suddenly, the picture of the world begins to crack at the seams – garbage is scattered along the path: bags, a plastic bottle and even a pack of cigarettes!

An excellent occasion to joke and an opportunity to gloat: “So much for the vaunted Singapore! But what about the gigantic fines? And where are the wipers? ” But as you know, the exception proves the rule. Trash looks like a random pimple on the city’s perfect body.

Streets are striking in their bright colors. Probably, if you come here when it is summer in the middle lane, the effect will not be so strong.But after the gray April Moscow, the eyes greedily absorb color, just as the body absorbs heat. It is impossible to see enough, and no photograph will convey this feeling. For a second, we think about the fact that for the locals it is self-evident: they do not wait for summer nine months a year. The air is filled with aromas: flowers bloom all around. And it seems that these are not trees in the city, but a city in a blossoming forest.

At first we have paranoia: we will definitely do something wrong and we will be fined “for crazy thousands.”But after a while we calm down: no excesses in terms of rights and freedoms are visible. Be polite, don’t litter or break the law – it’s simple!

Metro

We go down into the metro. Our first destination is the Botanical Garden. After a long flight, this is the best way to adapt and the best place to start exploring Singapore (especially for nerds).

On escalators, everyone stands on the left and passes on the right. But you quickly get used to it.

We buy passes for 7 dollars and top up them with another 20 dollars.This is enough for 4 days of active trips. Then you have to top up again. But they work on buses and on the monorail that carries Sentosa to the entertainment island.

These are the funny ones:

The travel card is applied here twice: at the entrance (the turnstiles show how much money you have) and at the exit (the money is withdrawn depending on where and how much you drove). On average, the cost of the trip varies from 70 cents to 2 dollars.

The metro has good navigation.The platforms are equipped with glass walls with automatic doors. Therefore, accidentally falling onto the rails will not work.

The trains are wide and very spacious inside. The train does not have the usual carriages: in fact, it is a long sausage that you can walk through. Sometimes there are trains without a driver – you can go ahead and take a picture “like I’m a driver”. Special luminous boards show from which side the doors will open at the next station. The stops are announced in 4 languages: 4: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil (Indian).All outer seats are intended for the elderly, women with children, pregnant women and are often painted in a different color. Everyone is very polite and gives way to local grannies.

I look around. For a second, it seems that you are in the Star Wars universe with its variety of sentient beings. Here you can meet people of any race, nationality, skin color and religion. It’s very interesting to look at faces: everyone is so different. Some are pretty, some are not. Hindus, Buddhist monks, Chinese, Malays, Africans, Koreans, Japanese, Arabs, Australians, Europeans …

Suddenly I realize that white people here look the same as black people in Moscow.An interesting feeling.

We leave at the Botanic Gardens station.

Botanical Garden

Secrets of Prosperity – Rossiyskaya Gazeta

Among a couple of hundreds of states existing in the modern world, perhaps only Singapore bears such a clear imprint of the personality of its creator, embodies the essence of its policy, which has led more than one country to prosperity Asia, receiving the name “enlightened authoritarianism”.

Lee Kuan Yew’s biography almost entirely coincides with the success story of the city-state he founded, which surpassed the glory of its medieval counterpart – Venice.The republic is one third smaller than Moscow (640 square kilometers), which has neither a rural population nor any natural resources, and is forced to import even water, and annually exports almost twice as much goods as Russia with its oil and gas.

Over the forty years of Singapore’s independence, its gross domestic product per capita has increased fifty times and exceeded 25 thousand dollars. According to this indicator, “modern Venice” is second only to the United States, Japan and Germany.It is also famous for its low taxes, full employment and large foreign exchange reserves ($ 20,000 for every Singaporean).

When talking about the economic miracle that the “four small Asian dragons” performed after Japan, this metaphor is most relevant to Singapore. After all, it was much more difficult for him to start than South Korea, Taiwan and even Hong Kong.

The impressive history of the Asian city-state dominates the biography of Lee Kuan Yew. He studied law at Cambridge and began his career as a lawyer.In the mid-1950s, on the crest of the struggle against British colonialism, Lee Kuan Yew founded the People’s Action Party, of which he remains the honorary head to this day.

When Singapore became an independent state in 1965, its first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, faced the daunting task of choosing a path. Singapore originated as “Asian Gibraltar”. It was a typical colonial port, supplemented by revenues from a British naval base, and also served as a transshipment point and commodity exchange for raw materials that were exported from Asia to Europe.

However, the traditional role of an outpost of the empire exhausted itself just in the years of gaining independence. The British withdrew their military presence “east of Suez.” A mini-state, endowed with nothing by nature, except for a favorable geographical position at the junction of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, had to determine its own development strategy.

Leading the government from 1965 to 1990 without fail, Lee Kuan Yew ensured not only survival, but also prosperity for Singapore.Two points can be distinguished in his economic strategy. First, he started talking about globalization long before this term entered the fashion world. Unlike many Asian neighbors such as India, Singapore has not been afraid to open its doors wide for leading multinationals. This made it possible to quickly raise the technological level of production, use well-established sales channels.

The second component of success was the formation of a competent and incorruptible administration for strict state regulation of the economy (which many in the West criticize as excessive).At the same time, he developed and successfully applied a unique mechanism for mobilizing internal savings.

Singapore has become a city of skyscrapers. They crowd along the coast, forcing the sea to retreat. What is striking is the fact that you will hardly ever see either in the United States or in Japan – new housing estates. Even a Muscovite who knows Krylatskoye and Strogino is amazed in Singapore by the comprehensively planned multi-storey housing estates.

The sheer scale of the government’s housing program and its reliable source of funding such as DFS have made the construction industry a powerful engine of Singapore’s economic development.

The Singapore economic miracle is the result of the successful implementation of a unique model of housing and communal reform. In four decades of independence, more than 90 percent of Singaporeans have moved to government-built apartment buildings. Moreover, 80 percent of families have already bought this housing as personal property. It was the construction boom generated by the housing and communal reform that became the locomotive that allowed the Singaporean economy to pick up a rapid pace of development and repeat the Japanese post-war economic miracle.

As soon as Singapore became independent, a state institution appeared there, which radically changed the appearance of the Asian port, the living conditions of its inhabitants. This is the Department of Housing and Communal Services (UHKH). Today, a Singaporean home is a spacious modern apartment with all the amenities in a residential area that was built by the state on state land.

The population density in the city-state is approaching 5000 people per square kilometer. Therefore, when solving the housing problem, Lee Kuan Yew focused on high-rise buildings, on complex microdistricts of 20-25 floors.Since 1965, UZHKH has built about 800 thousand apartments. How does the Singapore government manage to fund such an impressive construction program? And how could state apartments be made so affordable that more than 80 percent of families bought them out as their own property?

The key to solving both of these problems is Lee Kuan Yew’s favorite brainchild, the Central Savings Fund (CFS). Every Singaporean is obliged to donate there 20 percent of his earnings every month. The employer transfers the same amount every month to his account.Together, these contributions represent a significant amount equal to 40 percent of the payroll.

Savings in the FSC are not taxed, and interest is charged on them annually in an investment bank. Having reached the age of 55, the Singaporean receives all this amount in his hands. But even before retirement, he has the right to use three-quarters of the savings in the FSC in order to buy an apartment, and a quarter – to pay for hospital treatment, if necessary.

Only citizens of Singapore are eligible for benefits of the state housing program, and people with incomes not exceeding a certain level, who do not have real estate.To get an apartment, it is enough to accumulate 20 percent of its cost in the FSC, and pay the rest in installments. In order to speed up the purchase of an apartment, parents and children, brothers and sisters can pool the funds that they have accumulated in the FSC. If, five years after the move in, the state-built apartment is fully paid for, it can be sold at market price without any restrictions.

With a staff of only 12 thousand people, the Department of Housing and Utilities manages a huge amount of construction and operation work because it distributes contracts for all types of public services at open tenders, including water supply, sewage, garbage disposal, lawn mowing, parking lot maintenance …It retains in its hands only the operation of 12 thousand elevators to ensure their uninterrupted operation in multi-storey buildings and prevent accidents.

DFS has made Singapore the country with the highest savings rate in the world at 48 percent of gross domestic product. More than $ 60 billion has been accumulated in the Central Savings Fund. This makes it possible not only to conduct housing construction, but also to develop health care and pay for pension programs. This method is in many respects better than financing social items from the budget, that is, through taxes.After all, it is difficult for a taxpayer to track what happens next with his money. And the CSF client always knows the amount of his deposit and can use it at his own discretion.

The sheer scale of the government’s housing program, and its reliable source of funding such as DFS, have made the construction industry a powerful engine of Singapore’s economic development. Lee Kuan Yew’s plan came true. It is the experience of building multi-storey residential areas that has now allowed private construction firms to join the “hotel boom”, thanks to which Singapore can comfortably receive up to six million tourists a year (a number that is twice the population of the city-state).

The city-state, located at the junction of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, 136 kilometers from the equator, is sometimes called “the western gate of the East and the eastern gate of the West”. He is blown through by drafts of various influences, which has always worried founding father Lee Kuan Yew. Perhaps it is precisely in the spiritual, or, in our usual language, in the ideological sphere, that his “enlightened authoritarianism” is especially often criticized in the West. They complain that Singaporeans live in a golden cage, that by Western standards they are prohibited too much, even violating human rights.

Singapore is indeed a one-and-a-half-party system, where the Popular Action Party invariably dominates political life, and a few opposition MPs do not change the essence of the picture. But Western capitals criticize not so much the Singaporean political system as the tough measures by which Lee Kuan Yew maintains high moral and social discipline, seeks to protect his compatriots, especially young people, from alien overseas influences.

“Enlightened authoritarianism”, that is, the firm hand of the state in the period of modernization and restructuring of the economy, adaptation of society to market relations, manifested itself in post-war Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and in China during the reform era.As you can see, “enlightened authoritarianism” has brought prosperity to more than one people of East Asia.

Singapore: A Land of Opportunities

Singapore has achieved a lot in its nearly two-hundred-year history of the state. Thanks to the radical modernization that began in the 50s of the last century, from a small poor country, which even had to import fresh water and building sand, it managed to turn into an ultramodern, economically impeccable center not only of the whole of Southeast Asia, but also of the planet, occupying now the 4th line in the world ranking of GDP per capita.

But among the many achievements of Singapore, there is one social formation in which this tiny Asian state still has many difficult roads to go through. It’s about sports.

At the Games opening today in Pyeongchang, Singapore is taking part in the Winter Olympics for the first time in history. Singapore’s path to the Olympics began in 1948 in London, when only one athlete competed under the white and red flag of Singapore – the high jumper Lloyd Walberg.In 2016, at the Games in Rio, Singaporean swimmer Joseph Skooling became an Olympic champion for the first time in the history of the state. Curiously, now, like 70 years ago, one athlete is also sent to Korea – 19-year-old speed skater Cheyenne Goh. The first in the history of the country a ticket to the Winter Olympics went to her in the short track at 1500 meters. There is still a week before the final – we will be ill.

By the way, it is the integrated approach to youth sports that has come to the fore in Singapore now. In 2010, the first Youth Olympic Games were held here and, despite the highest (2nd in the world) population density, stadiums, several universal sports complexes, swimming pools and a racing circuit have already been built here.But Singapore would not have been such a place for self-realization if it had not developed not the most popular sports, taking advantage of the extreme developments in cutting-edge technologies, which undoubtedly attract young people.

Meet Kira Poe, 15-year-old skydiver, world record holder and student at the Singapore School of Art and Design. She may seem to someone a small fragile bird, but in her years Kira already managed to become famous thanks to her triumph at the Wind Games 2017 championship, where she received two gold medals.Thanks to her perseverance, determination and hard work, Kira won first place at the 2016 Wind Tunnel World Cup for the first time. In addition, she is also the holder of the world record for the number of flips during flight. This extreme form of entertainment was born in 2010 and received the official name “indoor-skydiving” (English – indoor vaping).

Kira got into this sport quite by accident. When she was 8 years old, her advertising mom was tasked with creating videos for Singapore’s iFly hub.

“My mom asked if I wanted to try it? I said yes, because I really really wanted to fly, ”says Kira.

Almost immediately Kira’s half-childish fun grew into an extremely serious hobby. The coaches drew attention to the talented girl, believed in her and brought her to perfection. “I really love it and I feel like skydiving allows me not only to express my creativity, but also to literally feel the wind itself and fly in it like a bird.”

At least three times a week after school, Kira rushes to train at the sports center. Each session lasts several hours, but only grueling exercises can bring you to success. Skydiving is a relatively new sport, but Kira sees her passion for life in it and hopes to become a professional athlete: “When I was younger, I drew pictures of me flying over Singapore. People are not birds, they cannot fly, but this has always been my dream. Now that I can fly in a wind tunnel, I already want to be an astronaut and soar in zero gravity. “Recently, experts and fans “crowned” the girl, giving her the unofficial title of “the fastest flyer in the world.”

During skydiving in a giant vertical wind tunnel, the wind speed reaches 230 km / h. Turning over in the air and effortlessly performing the most difficult acrobatic stunts, this Singaporean teenage girl creates an amazing symbiosis of dancing and swimming in the air, behind which is the hardest work.

“For this sport, you use all your muscles, even those muscles you never knew about start to ache too,” says Kira, who combines well the many factors that characterize Singapore’s ability to fully develop youth. …Certain complex adaptability of the kind of sport that Kira is engaged in certainly emphasizes the level of modern development of the state. A young athlete’s combination of studies and quite mature performances at competitions is the most vivid example of the realization of children’s fantasies, which, with the proper approach, turn into a completely meaningful hobby, despite even the desperately young age of the little flying bird Kira Po.

Coronavirus in the world: an outbreak on a cruise ship, a new lockdown in Ukraine and 100 million Biden vaccinations

Photo author, Getty Images

Photo caption,

Ukraine will be quarantined again in January, but public transport will operate

In the United States, Biden wants to vaccinate 100 million people in 100 days, Ukraine will introduce a lockdown after the New Year holidays, the first batch of Pfizer vaccine for the national vaccination program arrived in Israel, final school exams were canceled in Scotland, and in Singapore the coronavirus made its way to the cruise ship where it was immediately discovered.

We continue to regularly review global coronavirus-related events.

Lockdown in Ukraine in January

Ukrainian authorities are going to reintroduce tough measures to combat coronavirus in the country after the New Year holidays.

“From January 8 to January 24, inclusive, quarantine restrictions will be strengthened in Ukraine. Let’s call them” Winter holidays for the sake of safety … Until the end of the year, the government decided not to introduce strict quarantine, since the medical system can withstand the number of patients that is today, ” – Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmygal said on Wednesday.

During the lockdown, cafes and restaurants will be open only for delivery and take-away orders, gyms, cinemas, and non-food stores will be closed. At the same time, public transport will continue to work, grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, hotels and a post office will also be opened.

USA: 100 million vaccines in 100 days

According to the latest data, there are more than 68.3 million cases of coronavirus infection in the world, more than 1.5 million infected have died, the map of Johns Hopkins University shows.

Photo author, Reuters

Photo caption,

“Science will win” says a poster near Pfizer’s US office

A significant proportion of infections occur in the United States, where more than 15 million cases of Covid-19 have been registered and more than 286 thousand people have already died.

US President-elect Joe Biden unveiled a new coronavirus team and pledged a bold, systematic approach to vaccinate 100 million people in the first 100 days of his presidency.Biden said last week that he would also ask Americans to wear masks during the same period.

Poor countries at the end of the vaccine queue

Rich countries are avidly stockpiling the most promising coronavirus vaccines to the detriment of the developing world. This is warned by the People’s Vaccine Alliance, a global coalition of charities and activists who advocate widespread access to coronavirus vaccines and medicines in all corners of the world through patent-free production.

In the current situation, only one in 10 people in low-income countries will be able to receive the vaccine, the organization says. Her analysis showed that wealthy nations, representing 14 percent of the world’s population, have already purchased 53 percent of essential vaccines – many with multiple doses per inhabitant.

The Prime Minister of Moldova fell ill

The Prime Minister of Moldova became another world leader infected with the coronavirus. 48-year-old Ion Chicu will continue to work from self-isolation, his assistant wrote on Facebook.

Photo author, Reuters

Photo caption,

Ion Chicu will continue to work from self-isolation

Among other heads of state suffering from Covid-19, US President Donald Trump, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

In Moldova, where about 3.5 million people live, 119,204 cases of infection were registered and almost 2.5 thousand people died.

First shipment of vaccine arrived in Israel

A plane from Brussels brought the first several thousand doses of Pfizer vaccine to Israel for mass vaccination.After the first test flight on Thursday, several hundred thousand doses are expected to arrive in the country.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he wants to be the first to be vaccinated to set an example for other citizens. Vaccinations in Israel are due to begin in the next two weeks. The government did not say whether the program would extend to Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Scotland cancels final exams

Scottish authorities are canceling high school final exams in 2021.The teachers themselves will assess, based on the achievements of the students during the academic year, what their final grade will be.

Photo author, PA Media

Photo caption,

In 2020, many high school students considered their results to be underestimated.

We are talking about exams, according to the results of which students can apply for places in certain universities.

Education Minister John Swinney explained that the decision was made in the best interests of the students – due to the disruption to the normal work of schools and the learning process that caused the coronavirus.

Final exams were canceled throughout the UK in 2020. The final results were calculated using a computer model, taking into account the average statistical indicators of schools of previous years, which did not suit all students – for many of them, such average marks turned out to be greatly underestimated in comparison with the teacher’s assessment. As a result, the authorities abandoned the average statistical calculation and awarded the students with the marks given by the teachers.

A special cruise was invented in Singapore, but the coronavirus made its way there and there

A Royal Caribbean cruise ship returned to the port of Singapore without completing a four-day cruise to nowhere.After three days of sailing, one of the passengers was diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Author of the photo, Royal Caribbean

Caption,

The coronavirus pandemic has practically frozen the cruise industry

Singapore started short “cruises to nowhere” in November. It was assumed that they are safe enough in terms of the spread of the coronavirus. The liner leaves the port, stays at sea for several days and returns to the same port, and tickets are sold only to residents of Singapore.Before boarding, passengers are tested for coronavirus and must show negative results.

“Cruises to Nowhere” was an attempt to somehow revive the cruise industry, which almost completely ceased to function amid large outbreaks of coronavirus on board several ships at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Quantum of the Seas sailed off the coast of Singapore on Monday, but the company decided to deploy it after an 83-year-old passenger reported symptoms of diarrhea to doctors on board.In accordance with the protocol, he was tested for coronavirus, which turned out to be positive.

The rest of the passengers were informed about the incident on Wednesday morning, and in the afternoon a sick person in a white protective suit was taken off the ship and taken away in an ambulance.

Passengers were asked to remain in their cabins while management traced the infected person’s contacts.

“We found and isolated those guests and crew members who were in close contact with this passenger, they were all tested for coronavirus, which showed a negative result,” the company said in a statement.

There were about 1,700 passengers and almost 1,500 crew members on board. This is half of the normal ship occupancy for reasons of social distancing.

Are the security measures sufficient?

All passengers and crew will be able to disembark shortly after management is satisfied that contact tracing has been followed carefully.

Photo author, Getty Images

Photo caption,

The first cruise to nowhere started in November with a lot of safety measures

sorry, “the ship’s captain told Reuters for stuck passengers.

The cruise industry fell into decay in 2020 after hundreds of passengers were infected on several ships at the start of the pandemic, and the cruise was placed in the high-risk category. The first known surge in late January occurred on the Diamond Princess, which remained in quarantine off the coast of Japan for a month. Then about 700 passengers fell ill.

For Singaporeans, “nowhere cruises” are the first opportunity to leave the island city in months, BBC correspondent Andreas Illmer writes.

“Once this scheme was launched, all the first trips sold out at lightning speed. Passengers returning from them were enthusiastic and praised both the experience itself and the safety measures. the future of the industry is in question, “adds a Singaporean correspondent for the BBC.

However, Royal Caribbean officials believe they have successfully dealt with the situation at Quantum of the Seas in accordance with their safety protocols, and the next “cruise to nowhere”, scheduled for Thursday, kicks off as planned.

Business Organization »Global Green Path

Our team of experienced lawyers and financial experts is well placed to provide practical and cost-effective solutions for your business.

In addition to legal and tax services, our team can help with the following business organization issues:

  • Optimal advice on choosing a corporate structure;
  • Company registration in Singapore;
  • Opening a corporate bank account;
  • Search and appointment of a director of the company in Singapore;
  • Search and appointment of a company secretary in Singapore;
  • Accounting and tax outsourcing;
  • Organization of obtaining visas and permits for you and your employees
  • Concierge services during the first days of your stay in Singapore.

Business registration in Singapore

Our team of professionals provides services in a number of countries. The most popular destination among our clients today is Singapore. They choose this country in the following cases:

  • Centralize its international operations into a jurisdiction with a friendly business environment;
  • Desire to improve their existing tax burden for international business;
  • Striving to expand your business in Asia and get the opportunity to conveniently move around the region.
  • Why Singapore is the right place for them in these cases and can be the main center of your business?

    • Singapore, according to the World Bank, is in second place in terms of ease of doing business.
    • Corporate tax on income up to 17% * received only from Singapore (income received outside Singapore is subject to 0% rate), Dividend tax 0%, VAT 7%.
    • Singapore is the seat of the distinguished Singapore Arbitration Court (SAIC).
    • A stable currency with high liquidity backed by Singapore’s AAA credit rating. Singapore is home to the Singapore International Arbitration Center (SAIC).
    • Global Transport Hub: Changi Airport connects you to 200 destinations around the world. The port of Singapore is one of the largest in the world in terms of turnover (top 5).

    * In addition, the Singapore government is constantly developing attractive tax incentives in industries such as commodity trading, aerospace, information technology and many others.For example, trading companies may receive a 5-10% corporate tax relief in the first few years after relocating a business to Singapore.


    We can also help you create a new and develop an existing business in the following countries:

    Asia

    • Singapore
    • Malaysia
    • China
    • Hong Kong, China Region

    Europe

    • Latvia
    • Lithuania
    • Estonia

    Contact us for a free consultation.

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