Europe is too featherbedded. They took the wrong path. The more you mollycoddle and cosset a society, the less capable they are of adjusting to changes of life. After a while they become soft and a burden to themselves. This idea of your entitlement. Where can you cash this entitlement? Is there a counter up in heaven where you can say, ” Look, this chap’s not honoring it, now you honor it” ?
The one striking difference I find between Central Europe coming out from communism and East Asia is that Central Europe is resentful and bewildered that the Russians have brought this darkness, this blight upon them. They say, “America, Europe, help us.” They want to be helped out of this hole.
But in Guangzhou they don’t look for a free lift. They say, “These Hong Kongers are doing well, how did they do it? Better find out, catch up with them.” Xianmen’s the same. They want to catch up with the Taiwanese. There’s none of this “Please help me.” Instead it’s “Please come and do business with me.” They do not believe that somebody owes them a living or that they have to be bailed out.
Asians know they’ve got to make it their own. Their willingness to endure hardship and to learn to do new things, whatever that may require, is the biggest single advantage that’s driving East Asia forward.
——Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s former prime-minister (1993-1994)
Passion for discipline, for change, and for the future.