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My winter break.

My winter break.

Happy 2012, everyone! I just started my final semester at Cornell, which promises to be exciting. Before I delve into current events, I thought I would take my first post back to recap my winter break in south east Asia. I spent one week in Hong Kong and another in Singapore. Here are my conclusions:

  • Both Hong Kong and Singapore are beautiful. Their size and wealth are testaments to the power of freedom. Sixty years ago, they were shadows of the cities they are today: HK’s GDP per capita was something like 20% of the UK’s and Singapore was still a manufacturing economy. In a short period of time, they’ve grown to compete with the businesses and industries that Western cities have historically cornered. This has brought implants from all over the world to their shores. There must be hundreds and thousands of people for whom these cities have meant a new lease on life or a new opportunity to thrive. This is something you can see in the diversity of faces and neighborhoods that each city offers and it strikes me as more awe-inspiring than any boulevard, painting or building I’ve ever seen. I’m happy it lives.
  • Both cities are clean. Really clean. Everyone seems to take pride in their space, which makes even the poorest regions pleasant to walk around. I always teased one of my Singaporean friends for scrubbing her cleats after each golf practice. Now I wonder why she didn’t do it after every shot…
  • Singapore still has a long way to go before it could be considered fully developed. That is, I assumed it would be more dense. There are a lot of underdeveloped areas right near the city center. I think I’ll consider this an opportunity.

I hope everyone had a great holiday season.

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Comments

Hong Kong is great, but it’s air quality is subpar. The new overlords are gradually sending in Han to populate the colony, just as in Tibet. HK natives say they don’t care for the newcomers. HK is how America used to be, bustling, thriving, hustling. Now we’re cribb’d, cabin’d, and confin’d by a mass of regulation there for the purpose of stifling us to death.

I hope you will enjoy your last semester. It is exciting to us to read your posts and to know there are great consrvatives like you coming up .

Please post more pics of both HK and Singapore when you can

I just finished a 6month assignment to Singapore… You are right about hat drives the city’s success… Their government is VERY pro business. One trip across the bridge into Malaysia is like day into night.

I look at Singapore and I know it’s not too late for America to return to prosperity. We just need a government which understands who it is that creates jobs without having to add to the federal budget.

DocWahala – three more days and he will be off to Korea.

During the portion of my working career that was spent as an expat, I transited these “city states” on a regular basis.

The “cleanliness” can be attributed to their roots as British colonies. I can even relate to one experience where I accompanied a Vietnam based RAAF unit on a trip to a Brit air base at Butterworth in Malaysia where dining experience in the mess hall a fly was nary to be found despite the fact that all the screenless windows were wide open.

I often remarked that in Singapore you would seldom encounter a cop and yet, you would feel completely safe at 2 am while bar hopping…

Great to see you back, Kathleen! Good luck in your last semester! I hope to live in Singapore in the future.

LukeHandCool (who is pro-business, pro-high standard of living, and very pro-tropical weather … L.A. is just too cold for him … it’s 77 here today).

I’m afraid I’ll be run out of Santa Monica by a pitchforks-and-torches wielding lefty mob if anybody in town figures out who LHC really is!

“•Singapore still has a long way to go before it could be considered fully developed. That is, I assumed it would be more dense.”

Wow, I find that very surprising, Kathleen. By the way, did you feast at the hawker stalls? I hear the food is amazing.

Welcome back.

I read somewhere that Hong Kong prosperity was driven by Shanghainese refugees who fled Mao and took advantage of John Cowperthwaite’s laissez faire HK environment. Supposedly An Wang, who settled in America, is an example of the breed.

Make of this what you will. I don’t remember the reference. However, a story of expatriates creating prosperity in their new country is not an unknown narrative in history.

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