Cherish Singapore's freedom to determine own future

Professor Tommy Koh painted a comprehensive picture of Singapore in his commentary (Is Singapore a small country?; Aug 5).

He wrote that Singapore's status depends on the yardsticks used to measure it.

By physical or population size, it is small. But in many other respects, it is big.

For example, Singapore is the world's fourth richest country by gross domestic product per capita based on purchasing power parity; as a financial centre, Singapore is ranked No. 3, after London and New York; and its foreign exchange reserves are the 11th largest in the world.

Singapore has also shown its diplomatic power by administering the Singapore Cooperation Programme to help developing countries.

At the United Nations, it set up the Forum of Small States. It also took the initiative to establish the Global Governance Group.

Indeed, this little red dot has established itself as a big player on the world stage, and dares to speak up when the need arises.

It has been successful in nation-building not only because of the quality of its leadership and its people, but also because of the sine qua non that we are a free people.

It has been successful in nation-building in the past 52 years not only because of the quality of its leadership and its people, but also because of the sine qua non that we are a free people, with the freedom to determine our own future.

As we celebrate our 52 years of success, let us remember to value the freedom we are blessed with, for without it, we would not have achieved anything. It is an asset we must continue to preserve.

Anthony Oei

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2017, with the headline 'Cherish Singapore's freedom to determine own future'. Print Edition | Subscribe