In a simple manner, I thought about the Arab St, Haji Lane area and the Arab fabric trade:
What are they doing here? Why do they last so long? They are experts on the subject matter and it most certainly has something to do with their culture spanning centuries.
I can’t help but compare Arabs with Singaporeans whose young culture is quite deeply rooted in bureaucracy, rules and regulations. We make the best bureaucrats and we best serve the function of plugging bureaucracy (not bureaucratic) problems. Now think Multi-National Corporations. They boom everywhere outside of Singapore while there is only so much prospect in Singapore itself. Therefore, it is not surprising when Singaporeans fulfill their “destinies” and solve their own (economic) problems by solving bureaucracy (not bureaucratic) problems outside their country.
Singapore faces a brain drain problem because Singaporeans can do best what others outside of Singapore can’t do, just as how Singaporeans can’t do what the Arabs best do.