I can still remember, more than a decade ago, when Changi was just a strange name for a strange neighbour country: Singapore.
From elders and teachers, one only hears of how it is a land of strict living. It seemed to a young boy as a harsh place to live.
Love it or hate it, I regret being taught and led to believe that an ex-British colony in a tropical country (whose recent history was led by someone who can be considered to be as close to what a benevolent ruler can be defined) is a bad thing.
It is not.
In fact, contrast that to being a citizen of a developing nation, whose history is marred with exploitation by the foreign rule of Spaniards, Japanese, American, and others, I envy Singaporeans.
As a student of Singapore’s history, I truly hoped to speak with Mr. Lee. He would have put more sense to us than all advisors, accelerators, mentors, and investors we deal with daily. He would mirror the true nature of what it takes to truly build for the ages.
We started this feature as a general celebration of Singapore’s 50 years as a nation. We finished it as a personal tribute.
We are an upstart company in Singapore, barely able to pay the bills and barely getting our team’s visas approved. Just over a year operating, we encounter challenges to costs, legitimacy, status, economics, and livelihood every minute of every day.
But I endure and relish this fact.
Forward to today, I find myself at Changi just like several times I pass through it to go to Singapore or in transit to somewhere else. Changi has become the distillation of Singapore’s history and status in the affairs of the world in one fell swoop.
From prison district to consistently redefining what an amazing airport can be along with its contribution to national pride and economics, it reflects Singapore’s journey in the last 50 years.
Naive to most as it sounds, it proves that good values and principles, when forged with determined action, can truly lead to a better future.
Happy SG50! We’ve Only Just Begun.