Fifty years ago, Singapore, the tiny city-state in southeast Asia, was only a swamp where half a million people lived. Now, five decades later, Singapore has become one of the most successful economies in the world with one of the largest currency reserves and a per capita income that exceeds those of most European countries. What is the secret behind this succes?

Singapore therefore serves as a role model to many emerging economies, including China and Vietnam. ‘We have created a first world oasis in a third world region’, says Singapore long time political ruler and autocratic leader Lee Kuan Yew.
In this fifty minutes profile on Singapore, Backlight takes an in-depth look at the city state and has an exclusive interview with its founding father Lee Kuan Yew.
Now that our Western economic model has proved its vulnerability, Backlight reconsiders its orientation and investigates how we as Westerners can learn from other economic models. Taking Singapore as an example: what is the secret behind its success?

In search for the answers to these questions a Backlight crew visited a number of political, financial and business leaders. Among them American super investor Jim Rogers, former CEO Kees van Lede, Lee Kuan Yew and Kishore Mahbubani.

Director: Shuchen Tan
Research: William de Bruijn
Production: Judith van den Berg, Nellie Kamer
Editors in chief: Doke Romeijn, Jos de Putter, Henneke Hage