SINGAPORE: South East Asia Review - Poor little rich country.

SINGAPORE: South East Asia Review - Poor little rich country. - Singaporeans are legendary worriers. Their current concern is prosperity, reports Sid Astbury.

Singaporeans are legendary worriers. Their current concern is prosperity, reports Sid Astbury.

Pity Singapore, where gloom and doom scenarios abound. A quarter century of stability is threatened, as voters defy new leader Goh Chok Tong and in a snap election pick four opposition MPs to face 77 on the government benches. Workers fear for their jobs, as the numbers of unemployed balloon to nearly 2% of the labour force. The integrity of Treasury officials is questioned, as foreign exchange reserves fall to less than US$60 billion. Inflation races out of control to 4%.

Yes, Singaporeans are now fretting that the rising standard of living is bringing growing pains. Explains Goh, "Ours are the problems of affluence - obesity, controlling the number of cars, and meeting the aspirations of a population accustomed to rapid progress and high standards."

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