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Asian Economic Development - Essay Example

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Originally established as a trading post under the British in 19819, Singapore eventually joined the Federation of Malaya after World War II, and emerged as among the Tiger economies of Asia. Its long tradition of international trading, from a simple trading port to a cosmopolitan hub for trade, is one of the reasons why it ranks as one of the world's most prosperous nations equal to the leading countries of Europe (The World Factbook 2006).
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Download file to see previous pages To understand these would bring clarity to the phenomenal success of this unique and dazzling city-state.
The early 19th century saw the British expanding their dominions in India. It was also the time of growing trade with China, primarily for the precious tea sought by the British market. The extensive route that British merchantmen had to follow led them into territorial waters dominated by the Dutch and their East Indies colonies in Malaya. Malay pirates also roamed the route which made the British feel isolated and their position precarious in the region. It was important for Britain to open a port that could refit, revitalize, and protect its merchant vessels. Aside from the need to secure their mercantile fleets and their cargo, Britain was also looking for ways to check Dutch expansion in Southeast Asia. Thus, The Governor-General of India, Lord Hastings, instructed Sir Stamford Raffles to establish a trading station on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. Raffles chose the island of Singapore (Flower 1984).
Raffles thought of ways to establish British hold and attr...
Thus, Singapore was snatched by the British from right under their noses. To attract traders which were already engaged in Dutch ports, he made Singapore into a free port. Traders could come and sell their goods without paying tariffs or taxes. This attracted Malay and Chinese tradesmen and all sorts of goods flooded into the island. Settlements grew and soon, free trade and strategic location transformed Singapore into a major centre for commerce in the region.
Trade continued to flourish and what used to be a simple fishing grew as a free port espousing free trade, welcoming traders from all over the region. Singapore became a Crown colony after the Second World War in 1945. In 1959, it was granted self-government and joined Malaysia in September 1963. However, differences between leaders brought about separation and Singapore became an independent nation in 1965 (History of Singapore 2006).
To date, Singapore's location, harbour and free port remain as its strong geographic advantages. With a small land area and population, the country is dependent on international trade which is much lager than its domestic market. In fact, as it recovered from the Asian financial crisis in 1988, its international trade was thrice its domestic earnings. This strength also proves to be its vulnerability, since its dependence on international trade also makes it sensitive to the fluctuations in the international market. As the country responds well to periods of growth and prosperity, minor negative developments in international trade can also result to major recessions in the Singaporean economy. Although domestic leadership and policies try to mitigate the effects of a constantly ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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