SOUTHEAST ASIA: A Modest Insurance Premium

Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, who paid $5,000 for the right to found an English settlement on Singapore in 1819, cherished a lofty vision of its future. "Let it still be the boast of Britain to write her name in characters of light," he said. "Let her not be remembered as the tempest whose course was desolate, but as the gale of spring reviving the slumbering seeds of mind ... If the time shall come when her empire shall have passed away, these monuments will endure."

Last week that time came. In a farewell sea parade, 16 warships of the Royal Navy,...

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