I believed many like myself, perplexed and curious by how a great nation like Greece could end up in today's predicament. I did a little browsing to see what interesting facts I can find out about descendants of Alexandra the Great.
There are many similarities between Singapore and Greece, of which the most outstanding is we both share a relatively long period of "economic miracle" in very recent times.
Like Greece, our main export is petroleum products produced with imported crude. Pharmaceutical, port and shipping services, and tourism being the others.
Their education system too is somewhat similar with 6 years of primary education starting at about the same age, followed by secondary education with added vocational training, then tertiary.
What we do not have and they do are natural resources. They have mines of minerals and metals, large swathe of land mass for agriculture and forestry products.
A developed nation, Greece has backslided to a point where they are begging for money, though in the most dignified way. What cause the famously known "cradle of democracy" and founding member of OECD to come to such a desperate state? Some blamed it on its entry to Euro Zone. Few people except for Lee Kuan Yew saw the deep disparity between many governments one currency and seriously doubted the sustainability of such a system. Learning from this, I believed the Euro Zone was less about economics than of European pride.
Nonetheless, there are more dissimilarities we have with Greece than otherwise. But recent political developments do indicate we may potentially fall into the same trap as the Greeks.
We had for a long time stressed intensive and extensive economic developments, striving for higher GDP if possible. We encourage the prudence of savings. We had reformed our tax system from that of taxing on earnings to taxing on spending. We have no qualms about spending on infrastructures. We paid special attention to healthcare in a holistic way. We do not tolerate corruption. We stood firm to avoid straying towards being populist.
These has thus far help Singapore avoid the state of affairs Greece is experiencing now. Our prudence in governing has kept us debt free.
It is noteworthy that no big country can tell us what to do and what not to do because we owe them nothing. Well, they are still trying very hard via alternative means. See how they have meddled in Hong Kong.
We are thankful for many years of stability, and we continue to be a proud "Economic Miracle", a prestigious title that has since eluded the Greeks since.
The global finnancial meltdown hit Greece and Singapore at the same time, as also other countries big and small. Singapore ride through that storm hardly scathed whereas Greece could not withstand the impact of fallout and began its downsliding path. The fundamental between the two is governance.