How to remake Singapore into the next Silicon Valley of Asia?

February 22, 2017

Today a man remarked that more Singaporeans working in Silicon Valley should return home and remake Singapore into the next Silicon Valley of Asia.

After saying this – the man looked expectantly at me.

I asked of this man. Tell me if you construct a replica of the Eiffel Tower complete right down to the last nut and bolt in let’s say Sengkang. Do you think for one moment that you will be able to recreate Parisian life in Singapore?

The man turned to me with a scolding look and demanded there and then to know what has my reply got to do with his opinion.

I told him – Nothing……. absolutely nothing.

And that is the whole point of my argument….nothing….absolutely nothing.


‘To me it is not how many will return back from the knowledge centers thru out the world for them to sensibly remake the economy of Singapore from what it is today. That question can only be intelligently posed if there is already a critical mass to leverage on intellectual capital to produce something meaningful.

For the moment. In the absence of such a strategic precondition.

The cogent question is: why are so few Singaporeans willing to go abroad to learn and broaden their scope of experience in these knowledge Centers located outside Singapore?

Hence for the time being. For me at least – it can really only be the case of more Singaporeans will have to go to these knowledge centers.

Only when more are prepared to go till the tipping of point where one can say…enough. Can we then sensibly pose the question – how can they return back to remake Singapore?

In life one cannot possibly put the cart before the horse and hope to make meaningful progress.’

*If you impersonate a fly on the wall in one of those forums where young people bitch about their bosses and lousy pay in Zhongguancun, China. It wouldn’t take you very long to figure after you’ve winnowed out all the noise – how everyone seems to share the same dream. I wouldn’t exactly call an aspiration. No that word lacks verve – solidarity would be a much more accurate description.

It begins like this. Take night classes to learn English. Watch as many American movies as one can on YouTube to practice how speak with a pleasant Bostonian twang. Save up enough to further a master ‘s degree in the US. Get an internship in a software company where everyone dresses as if they all live in rooms where clothes or overnight pizza goes to die. Get hold of a green card. Or find a firm to act as a sponsor and eventually it ends with this common white picket dream….work in Silicon Valley.

You know it’s scary. As you can tell alot about people from just being a humble fly on the wall.

And even if they don’t manage to get into first base – they try very hard to work in a Chinese software firm where everyone has a pot cactus on their table just like America. They go around in sneakers and hoodies just like they do in America. They even have kistch Americana pantries where everyone seems to make the effort to drink as much coffee as they can without getting the shakes.

They do all these things…..and as a fly on wall one can even feel the weight of this atmosphere. They do all this. Even when everyone knows – they much prefer pur er to cappuccino. Noodles to Subway sandwiches. That’s how powerful dreams and aspirations can be when they are clarified where all the colors pop right out and the lines are razor sharp – it’s mesmerizing – as if they’re all driven by the same indestructible idea – a collective consciousness that is like some vapour in the very air they all breathe. Even if it’s just car smog from the Beijing highway.

Yes, watching them like a fly on a wall can really be so scary. As it is so hard not to believe one is in Silicon Valley even when it’s all taking place in China.’

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: