Speaking Of Asia

Singapore's diplomacy and the little guy

What the ‘war stories’ from the polished world of diplomacy tell us about the culture and spirit of the Singapore Foreign Service

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In the annals of South-east Asian diplomacy, a tale exchanged between veterans and newbies involves the presence of mind shown by a foreign service officer assigned as an informal minder to a senior minister who had travelled to London in the mid-1980s for heart surgery.

Days after the successful operation, the surgeon and the minister's family were worried over his disinterest in food. Divining the real reason, the officer slipped out of the hospital, drove to the Aldwych end of The Strand and climbed the stairs to India Club.

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