It has been 5 years since I visited Singapore.  Last time I worked one month as a clinical observer at KK Women's and Children's Hospital and this year a month with an internet healthcare company.  My impression is that Singapore is a model of what a modern China will someday look like on a much larger scale, Singapore being a city state and China being a civilization nation, not a nation state by western definition.  Certainly Singapore has remained very Chinese despite it modernization.  Unlike China is was colonized by the British and this has affect it development.  

   According to Jacques there are 8 key characteristics that will characterize Chinese modernity.
1.  China is a civilization-state
2.  China's legacy of the tributary-state with East Asia, including Singapore, being part of that.
3.  Distinctive Chinese attitude towards race and ethnicity (Middle Kingdom mentality).
4.  China is a continental sized state.
5.  China's politics are unique with no organized religion to share power with the imperial bureaucracy.  Chinese statecraft had no peers in terms of efficiency, competence, or ability  to undertake enormous public projects and its authority coming from the mandate of Heaven which is conditional.  
6.  Like Singapore the speed of China's modernization/transformation is unparalleled in human history.
7.  1989 collapse of European Communism and demise of Soviet block and 1978 the beginning of the transformation of the of China under the rule of Chinese Communism.  Although not Communistic Singapore's government is basically a one party government.
8.  China has and will continue to have for several decade the characteristic of both a developed and a developing country.  Here it is different from Singapore.

   There is a concept in the West that modernization mean westernization and the acceptance of western forms of government and western 'universal values'.  I strongly disagree,  I do not think the western values are necessarily western.  The best example is the value of individual autonomy.  Even in Singapore the Chinese/Asia value of harmony often trump autonomy in decision making.  The one party ruling Singapore since 1959, the People's Action Party (PAP,人民行动党) in fact has been criticized by the west for passing laws limiting individual autonomy.  In the fact the Chinese Communist Party is looking more an more like the PAP in is approach to government leadership.

   So Singapore has successfully explored edges of harmony and searched for center.... symbol of which is the horse of the sun, this lion of the sea to paraphrase Singapore's poet laureate Edwin Thumboo. This is the image Singapore today and  perhaps China tomorrow!

Alan Mease, MD