Computers monitor everything in Singapore from soil composition to location of manholes. At the airport, it took just 15 seconds for the computerized immigration system to scan and approve my passport. It takes only one minute to be checked into a public hospital.
By 1998, almost every household will be wired for interactive cable TV and the Internet, the global computer network. Shoppers will be able to view and pay for products electronically. A 24-hour community telecomputing network will allow users to communicate with elected representatives and retrieve information about government services. It is all part of the government’s plan to transform the nation into what it calls the “Intelligent Island”.
In so many ways, Singapore has elevated the concept of efficiency to a kind of national ideology. For the past ten years, Singapore’s work force was rated the best in the world-ahead of Japan and the U.S.-in terms of productivity, skill and attitude by the Business Environment Risk Intelligence service.
Behind the “Singapore miracle” is a man Richard Nixon described as one of “the ablest leaders I have met,” one who, “in other times and other places, might have attained the world stature of a Churchill.” Lee Kuan Yew led Singapore’s struggle for independence in the 1950s, serving as Prime Minister from 1959 until 1990. Today (1995), at 71, he has nominally retired to the office of Senior Minister, where he continues to influence his country’s future. Lee offered companies tax breaks, political stability, cheap labor and strike-free environment.
Nearly 90 percent of Singaporean adults now own their own homes and thanks to strict adherence to the principle of merit, personal opportunities abound. “If you’ve got talent and work hard, you can be anything here,” says a Malaysian-born woman who holds a high-level civil-service position.
Lee likes to boast that Singapore has avoided the “moral breakdown” of Western countries. He attributes his nation’s success to strong family ties, a reliance on education as the engine of advancement and social philosophy that he claims is superior to America’s.
In an interview with Reader’s Digest, he said that the United States has “lost its bearings” by emphasizing individual rights at the expense of society. “An ethical society,” he said, “is one which matches human rights with responsibilities.”
1.What characterizes Singapore’s advancement is its___.
D.value on ethics.
2.From Nixon’s perspective, Lee is___.
A.almost as great as Churchill.
B.not as great as Churchill.
C.only second to Churchill in being a leader.
D.just as great as Churchill.
3.In the last paragraph, “lost its bearings” may mean___.
B.failed to find the right position.
C.lost its foundation.
4.“You can be anything here”(Paragraph 5) may be paraphrased as___.
A.You can hope for a very bright prospect.
B.You may be able to do anything needed.
C.You can choose any job as you like.
D.You will become an outstanding worker.
5.In Singapore, the concept of efficiency___.
A.has been emphasized throughout the country.
B.has become an essential quality for citizens to aim at.
C.is brought forward by the government in order to compete with America.
D.is known as the basis for building the “Intelligent Island.”
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