SINGAPORE: Free to Stay Free

For 140 years the British had patiently and profitably toted the white man's burden at Asia's steaming crossroads. They built an uninhabited, swampy island into the Commonwealth's second largest port, complete with a stodgy Victorian city of velvet-lawned suburbs and restricted clubs, surrounded by a noisy Chinese city of more than a million. They governed well; free schools raised the literacy rate to 60%, thriving commerce made the Straits dollar the Swiss franc of the Orient and gave Singapore a per capita income of $400 a year, highest in all Asia.

Last week in London an all-party Singapore delegation and...

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