I thought then that wealth depended mainly on the possession of territory and natural resources, whether fertile land with abundant rainfall for agriculture or forestry, or valuable minerals, or oil and gas. It was only after I had been in office for some years that I recognised that performance varied substantially between the different races in Singapore, and among different categories within the same race. After trying out a number of ways to reduce inequalities and failing, I was gradually forced to conclude that the decisive factors were the people, their natural abilities, education and training. Knowledge and the possession of technology were vital for the creation of wealth.
Ask you about Singapore’s experience with Suzhou. You called it a chastening experience in your memoirs. You would reflect on that of the attempt to transfer Singapore’s experience to a very different culture and how would you have done differently, or would you even consider?