Writing in his new book “Selalu Ada Pilihan” (There Is Always A Choice), President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono recalls the shock of being told he could only achieve one third of what he set out to do for his country. “When I heard this, I was taken aback. I momentarily thought: Why is this friend of Indonesia inclined to think less of his abilities and of the government I lead?”

True to character, it was Lee Kuan Yew who volunteered his unsolicited opinion, “But remember, the problems that need to be overcome are very complex. Even if you put in your best effort, in these five years, you will probably be able to resolve about 30 to 40 per cent only.” Makes you wonder what advice he gave his own son when the Dragon Prince ascended the throne in 2004. He has had double the time afforded to Dr Yudhoyono, and has the cheek to want to be around for another 20 years. Thanks to his cultivation of the high net worth individuals, we have the Anton problem.

“In fact, if I can get another 10 billionaires to move to Singapore and set up their base here, my Gini coefficient will get worse but I think Singaporeans will be better off, because they will bring in business, bring in opportunities, open new doors and create new jobs, and I think that is the attitude with which we must approach this problem.” (Lee Hsien Loong at the inaugural DBS Asia Leadership Dialogue, 5 July 2013).

Singapore has one of the world’s highest annual GDP per capita incomes with official data showing it stood at $65,048 in 2012. And Anton Casey is merely fulfilling the prime minister’s master plans to pack in the billionaires. So what if “my Gini coefficient will get worse”? There’s always the ioniser in the Porsche to neutralise the stench from the public transportation system.

Instead of blowing $387 million on the Youth Olympic Games – which Vivian Balakrishnan threatened to do all over again – to put Singapore on the world map, Casey achieved much more with less expenditure. The publicity generated exceed even the F-1 night race fever, with free coverage in:

Daily Mail
The Independent
London Evening Standard
The Times
The Telegraph
The Australian
AU News
Gulf Times
Arab News
The UAE National
South Africa Independent Online
The Times of India
South China Morning Post
HK Standard

Don’t be surprised if a National Day Award is already lined up, and wife and kid will be featured at the National Day Rally speech. Then again, you may beg to differ with the PM’s attitude with which we must approach the Anton contribution. In that case, remember the Indonesian president’s book title – “Selalu Ada Pilihan”.

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