Demonetized currency, re-examine our ports, winds is changing


I sometimes write about wider topics before the weekend.

I travelled to India in late 2016 amid the aftermath of the Indian government sudden announcement that the 500 and 1,000 rupee notes are obsolete within a short period of a month or so. I was only able to exchange limited (government directed restriction and limited supply) new notes at the money changer at the Bangalore airport and barely enough to last for the three days I was there to conduct training and I had to find places that accept credit card to preserve whatever amount of rupees I had on me. When I travel to Philippines, the same happened for older peso notes but fortunately the timeframe to demonetize them was longer and so there was not much impact except those old pesos that my wife kept cannot be used anymore. There are good reasons to ban the old notes and I shan’t go into them here. It is the inconvenience and pain that the law abiding citizens and we tourists had suffered.

Analog modems, com ports are gone from the computers. Ok, pun intended.

I think we need to also look at shipyards and dry docks in Singapore.

Singapore in the 60s and 70s needed all the infrastructure it had inherited from the British to keep everyone at work. The ports are the bedrock on which a world leading ranked Singapore shipping hub is born from, and the shipyards and dry docks created two world leading oilrig builders – Sembawang Shipyard and Keppel Offshore and Marine.

There was this story regarding the Saudi government seeking advice from then PM Lee Kuan Yew (LKY) about the new economic city of King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) and LKY was told that top foreign advisors had advised the Saudi government to line the coast line with industries and build high class residences on the hills further inland. LKY told them this advice from those advisors are rubbish, instead the coast line should be lined with high class residences. Background is the oil producing facilities are on the east coast of the Saudi peninsula and KAEC is on the west coast and it will not have oil refinery nor lots of heavy industries. So LKY’s advice was adopted and appreciated given that he had the interest of the Saudis at heart and he is viewed as a dear friend ever since.

Our Singapore coast line, in the east side is lined by the East Coast Park. However, the western end is dominated by port, docks, and dry docks. There are some high end condominiums in around the famous Sentosa area but majority of the southern to western coast line are industrial.

There were good reasons when we began with what we had, i.e. shipyards left by the British armed forces, but the Singapore economy has been less reliant on manpower intensive industries and large scale manufacturing has nearly all but shifted out while Singapore embarked to re-positioned our economy to more brain-driven sectors in services, pharmaceuticals and so forth.

It is also strange that two Temasek (i.e. state) owned oilrig builders duke it out in our tiny island state. I mean we don’t build two national airlines to compete against one another, why we need two oilrig builder giants compete against each other and the world which are cheaper and faster?

A shift of thinking on the big picture level is needed, nothing is sacrosanct to refit our economy’s engine, and this creates opportunity to re-draw the Singapore coastline and bring greater value and enhance our position in the new economy winds.

Lastly, to steer this post towards my favorite topic of data center, some of those land are prime and close to one of the subsea cable landing station and thus will give more choices to data center site selection! Ok, it is not totally related but this is my article. 😉

Have a good weekend ahead.

Demonetized currency, re-examine our ports, winds is changing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s