Singapore as an independent nation will be fifty years old this August 9. In the comments, a number of you have asked me why I find Singapore so special.
I would cite three features of the country above all else:
1. It is a place where large numbers of people are obsessed with both food and economics.
2. The citizens and leadership of Singapore have an unparalleled knowledge and understanding of economics, engineering, and public policy. In this regard the polity is distinguished in world-historic terms, and anyone who visits is enjoying a remarkable privilege to see this in action. In my admittedly idiosyncratic view, this is one of the best and most important sights of the contemporary world, more interesting than most natural wonders.
3. Singapore has created what is possibly the highest quality bureaucracy the world has seen, ever. Imagine a country where you can have a serious debate as to whether there is a brain drain into the government rather than out of it!
Singapore of course, like all places, has various problems and imperfections, but I believe its significance does not receive enough recognition from outside commentators.
Here is a good article about how Singapore is seeking to export its own expertise.