Thirty years ago, I celebrated for the first time, the birth of Singapore as a sovereign
country. As I have mentioned in a past article, I spent the 1990s in this South East Asian Island. It
changed my life, in many ways, pretty much. I got married here and have a beautiful and intelligent
Singaporean daughter, very proud of both of her ancestral roots.
I call myself a citizen of the world, but am mostly Panamanian, Singaporean and South African. The
multicultural factor of these three nations is their common denominator. In Singapore I started my
own family and new friendships that have lasted until this day.
In 1965, visionary Chinese attorney, Lee Kuan Yew, took a daring, though important life decision.
This decision affected and changed for the better, those of generations of Singaporeans. This City-
State is one of the most modern and prosperous countries, not only in the Asian continent but in the
world. The success key is discipline. Accountability and transparency go hand by hand and its civil
service is an example that should be followed by the rest of international community. It is not only a
responsible of the government authorities but of the private sector and every common citizen to
follow the rules that make Singapore work, almost like a Swiss clock.
And then, there is its food, that I learned to love with passion. From its chicken rice to its chilli crab.
Nobody does it better. Luckily, I can enjoy it at home and taste one of its cuisine’s treasures.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate, on behalf of Embassy Direct and its team, Prime
Minister Lee and his Cabinet, High Commissioner Zainal and his wife and the excellent staff at their
Pretoria diplomatic mission, the people of Singapore, especially my family and friends, on this
important date. Singapore, you are doing it fantastically. Show the world, why every single
Singaporean is proud, not only of their small territory, but of their immense hearts and brains.
By Rodrigo Chiari