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08/01/2013 23:44:57 PST
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The Tyler Group Wealth Management: Booming years for Singapore but a lost decade for 05/01/2014 23:44:34
    Once considered one of the world's great metropolises, we seem to have been eclipsed by city state's grand projects, dynamism and quality of life

Singapore is no stranger to either Shanghai or Hong Kong. When Deng Xiaoping, the late paramount leader, decided in the early 1990s to completely transform the Pudong New Area in Shanghai and open it up to foreign investors, Singapore had the chance to partner with Shanghai to develop Pudong.

Singapore eventually decided to team up with Suzhou, a smaller city near Shanghai, but developments in Singapore are still often covered by the Shanghai press and closely monitored by the municipal government, which frequently sends mid-ranking officials or senior executives at state-owned enterprises to the city state for management training.

In Hong Kong, feelings about Singapore are mixed.

Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan were known as the "Four Asian Tigers" for their economic booms in the 1970s and '80s.

At that time, Hong Kong was often considered the leader of the pack. The city was considered as one of the world's truly global metropolises, while Singapore in the '70s and '80s, or even in the early 21st century, was more or less thought of as a regional center for Southeast Asia.

I was in Singapore for a few days last week and I hadn't been to the city for a while. My first trip to Singapore was on a two-week training programmed in 2004.

My colleagues and I stayed at a hotel near Orchard Road. At that time, the high-rises in Marina Bay didn't exist.

Today the Marina Bay Sands resort is Singapore's new landmark.

The development of the area was initiated about a decade ago. At more or less the same time, the Hong Kong government began serious work on its ambitious West Kowloon Cultural District plan.

Now Marina Bay is often featured on international television. The National Geographic channel even shot a documentary film about it.

Meanwhile, for the rest of the world, Hong Kong's project seems somehow like a forgotten child.

During my trip to Singapore last week, I met Mark Newman, the chief executive of Dutch bank ING's commercial banking arm in Asia. Newman worked in Hong Kong for about a decade and then moved to Singapore, where he has lived and worked for a decade, too.

I asked Newman to compare Hong Kong and Singapore. He said frankly that when ING tried to relocate him to Singapore, he was reluctant to move there. But now he loves Singapore and Hong Kong equally.

"About 10 years ago, I think Singapore was not very dynamic. But it has changed dramatically in the past 10 years," Newman said.

He said he finds Singapore a good fit for those who care about family life and education for their children, while pollution in Hong Kong has worsened rapidly since he left.

ING has since moved its regional headquarters to Singapore from Hong Kong.

I'm not sure if the past 10 years for Hong Kong has been a sort of lost decade, but Singapore has made a lot of progress during that time and has stood out in rankings of international cities.

Time is the best judge, isn't it?

The Tyler Group Wealth Management: Booming years for Singapore but a lost decade for Hong Kong?
The Tyler Group Article Code 34933807437, Warning over misuse of passports 08/01/2013 10:42:21

The Tyler Group Article Code 34933807437, Warning over misuse of passports
Misuses of passports, with some being used as beermats and othersbeing put through the wash, has led to a big increase in Britons forced to forkout for emergency travel documents (ETDs). The number of ETDs, issued whenpassports are lost, stolen or damaged while abroad, was 28,783 in 2012/13, upjust 234 (0.8%) on the 28,549 issued in 2011/12. But there was an increase of300% in 'avoidable' cases - from 2254 in 2011/12 to 9,614 last year, theForeign Office (FO) said.The FO said cases includedpassports being damaged after being hidden in the freezer and being used as notebooks. It added that more than a fifth(6,005), of the ETDs in 2012/13 were issued in Spain, while 3,180 were issuedin the USA and 1,618 in Australia where a number of Britons have foundtheir passport was no longer valid. Of individualdestinations, Barcelona was the top town for ETDs with 1,291issued last year, mainly due to bags being stolen, distraction thefts orpickpocketing. The FO's Southern Europeconsular director Will Middleton said: "Our staff deal with people everyday who require ETDs for a range of reasons. Some are victims of crime, but wealso hear of passports being damaged carelessly, like becoming damaged afterbeing hidden in the freezer. "These are situationsthat could have been avoided and end up costing holidaymakers valuable time andmoney. We strongly advise people to look after their passport, keep it safe andcheck its validity well in advanceof travel."

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