Peter Frankopan's excellent book The Silk Roads: A New History Of The World reminds us that through much of history, Europe was a relatively backward region on the western periphery of the Eurasian continent. Most of the "action" - economic, political, cultural, scientific, military, etc - occurred in major centres of "Asia". By Asia, I mean the huge eastern chunk of the Eurasian continent: Mongolia, China, South Asia, Central Asia, Persia, the Arab world.
A sense of social insecurity and ambivalence about immigration shaped the vote in the Brexit referendum. Many developed countries including Singapore are not immune from rising disillusionment with globalisation, compounded by periodic economic crises. As Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam put it in a Facebook post responding to the Brexit outcome, there is a growing disaffection worldwide with the Establishment. Leaders must address peoples' "needs for jobs and security, and a balance in immigration that preserves a sense of identity". How can Singapore pay heed to, and address, some of these trends?
As the world struggles to make sense of Brexit, there has been renewed public interest in the future of Britain and the European Union(EU). One Singaporean who had tracked Europe's great effort at integration over many decades was the late Lee Kuan Yew.