Soft power: Singapore can afford to be more ambitious

It was only a month ago that Singapore was at the centre of the diplomatic universe. When the President of the United States, Mr Donald Trump, and the leader of North Korea, Mr Kim Jong Un, brought a global media circus to the Lion City for their first face-to-face meeting, Singapore was gifted an estimated $700 million worth of free, favourable publicity. When was the last time Singapore enjoyed such uninterrupted positive attention on a global scale? Probably never.

The summit provided a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invite the world to take another look at Singapore. It is hard to overstate how important that opportunity is, as many international audiences - particularly those in the West - hold outdated views of Singapore often revolving around its strict laws and chewing gum bans. Singapore needs to grasp this opportunity with ambition.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2018, with the headline 'Soft power: S'pore can afford to be more ambitious'. Subscribe