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James Chrisholm, lives in Singapore
Yes, very true, the demographics make-up of the country made a huge difference to Singapore as compared to surrounding countries, as defined by the question with economic success as the preferred outcome.Whilst too many answers are trying to be politically correct but it is important to correctly attribute the credit where it is due. Whilst the minority may have contributed, a quick survey will quickly tell us that indeed the majority made the greater contribution. The contribution of that majority group led to the economic success of the nation. Would a majority of Malays or Indians have made a difference well? Or a continued servitude under colonialism have yielded any progress? We can speculate about it, but it’s not the question and neither was it ever a historical truth.


Singapore was one of the four little dragons of Asia due its phase of rapid development. They were Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore. The common trait between them, at least amongst 3 of them, is that they are Chinese dominated. Given the right environment, the community-mindedness, entrepreneurship, work ethics, emphasis on scholarship and keenness to learn, propelled these nations to what they are today. The pattern of this success was again replicated by China. Collaborative evidence will include the success of other societies in the Sinosphere including Japan and South Korea where their cultures have similar but not the same emphasises. Prospectively, I suspect this success will be seen in another culture which shares many similar traits I.e. the Vietnamese. So the evidence is very strong that ethnicity or sinospheric culture is a very strong determinant of economic success I.e. societal prosperity.


The education of the workforce as a tool to attract FDI and emphasis on corruption-free helps. A Chinese run government did help because it emphasized equal opportunities for race, class equality and kept religion out of politics. The Confucian ethics of honouring authorities has made this country easier to run.
So yes, evidently the historical demographic and profile of Singapore is a very crucial determinant in its success story as we define it today. The success of this trait can be traced back to developmentally successful nations of the same period and also in up and coming nations with similar ethnic and/or cultural background. An alternative dominant race would have expressed a different outcome and a redefinition of success would be necessary to match the ethnic/cultural/religious expectations of the said race.


Philip Chua
I don’t think race is the determinant for success - I think it is more the culture of the society as a whole that determines the economic success. As an example, India on the whole is lagging behind China, but put a native born Indian in the right environment, and they become top honchos in many US banks (& S’pore’s DBS too!).


Derek Cottrell, lives in The United Kingdom
I lived in Singapore when I was a child and I’ve lived in Hong Kong.
Even when I was young, shortly after Singapore gained independence from the UK, Singapore was streets ahead of other South East Asian countries in terms of development, so was Hong Kong. I have seen some on Quora state that Lee kuan Yew transformed Singapore from a primitive backwater into a modern state. If I remember correctly Singapore ceased being a primitive backwater long before independence!
I’m sorry, a lot of people may not wish to concede it but I think a great deal of the initial success of HK and Singapore can be put down to a historical confluence of two cultures, the Chinese and the British.


Zhang Le
Indians don't dominate IT industry.
Top 20 IT companies, 11 from US, 9 from China. None from india.
Really don't know where the myth came from.