I was working as an expatriate in Singapore 15 years ago. During that period, I once made a car trip to visit relatives in Malaysia, and absent-mindedly left my CashCard in the card reader at the Tuas Checkpoint.
However, I had confidence in the honesty of people in a civil society, and told my children that there was a 99 per cent chance of my getting the CashCard back with the residual value intact.
The Singapore immigration department did not disappoint. When I returned, the officers asked a few quick questions to verify that I was the rightful owner of the card and then returned it to me.
Last Friday, I went to watch The LKY Musical at Marina Bay Sands with my children.
Minutes before the show started, I noticed a man with white hair enter through the left front door.
Spontaneously and without fuss, the audience stood up. It was President Tony Tan Keng Yam, arriving unannounced. The audience remained standing in respect until the President sat down.
It was another lesson on civil society in Singapore.
These two experiences, from the perspective of a foreigner, would not have been possible if not for former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew and his mighty team.
While my spouse and I remain non-Singaporean, I am happy to say that our three children, on their own volition, call Singapore home.
Teh Choong Eng