Are extraordinary, or are we first world?
We have been looking at economic numbers to support our claim that we have arrived at the corridor of first world nations. If the qualifications are limited to just money, we are quite comfortably in the safe zone of being first world. No one can deny that what we have, and what the people have, generally, is money and material wealth. We are rich, real or on paper, but we are rich. We can afford many creature comfort and have taken them as basic needs, for granted. Let's look at another aspect of whether we are there. One area to look at is the viability and acceptance of the political system and the fate of the political leaders when they step down from office. Would the new govt and leaders continue with the system that they have inherited or would they do a house cleaning and throw out the old and in with the new? And would the political leaders exit the political arena without any hiccups, not charge in courts and thrown into jail or have to escape from paradise? We have seen many countries where there were regime change and new systems were brought in to replace the old system. And political leaders have been thrown into jails or threatened with all kinds of charges, corruption, nepotism, abuse of power etc. All these had happened within the ASEAN countries, in the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam etc. The three relatively more settled countries in terms of political system and the fate of their political leaders are Brunei, Malaysia and ourselves. Brunei's ruling royalties are very well regarded and they treat their people very well. That system looks like going to be there forever. Malaysia has proven to be quite stable until Anwar was thrown into jail. But he has been rehabilitated. A small blemish. And Mahathir is still around, happily shooting at anyone at his convenience. In the case of Singapore, we have not have a regime change as yet and things look quite good. The way it goes, our top political leaders would be able to enjoy their retirement from politics gracefully and enjoy their fruits of labour. And the political system will endure and continue in perpetuity. In this sense, we are extraordinary and deserve the first world label. I cannot forsee a new govt coming into power and tear away at all the systems that have been entrenched and legally protected by the Constitution. And neither would our leaders have to flee once they step down from power, like Marcos. And this is first world standard that we can expect.