Singapore: From Rags to Rugged

In Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's view of Asian economics big fish eat little fish, and little fish eat smaller ones—but none are about to get his 225-sq.-mi. island nation. The reason is that, small as it may be, Singapore is more than strong enough to keep its economic independence.

Long a major Asian banking, insurance and warehousing center, Singapore last year moved ahead of London into fourth place among the world's ports. Its gross national product rose by 11% to an estimated $1 billion, making the tiny republic (pop. 2,000,000) the...