"Singapore marks 50 years as city-state; As it turns 50, Singapore celebrates success amid challenges" Associated Press August 10, 2015
SINGAPORE — Singapore threw a big party Sunday to mark the 50th anniversary of its independence and unrivaled economic success in a region struggling with poverty and political instability.
But the city-state has begun feeling the effects of a midlife crisis.
Just as they are being reborn.
As fighter jets screamed through the sky and nationalist songs blared, leaders made speeches and people took advantage of free rides on trains and buses. While marveling at the island’s leap from a poor colonial port to a wealthy metropolis, Singaporeans are also grappling with a growing resentment over political restrictions, an influx of foreign labor, and a rising cost of living.
‘‘This is a milestone. Coming from an older generation that has seen Singapore through the early years of independence, I know it took hard work by our leaders to get here,’’ said William Nathan, 70.
The weekend of celebrations culminated Sunday with a military parade and a fireworks display. The sense of unity and pride in Singapore’s achievements was reinforced with a tribute video dedicated to its founder and longest-serving leader, Lee Kuan Yew, who died in March at age 91, after running a virtually one-party state.
See: Singapore Sling
To Lee and his subordinates, setting Singapore on the path to economic success meant putting in place tough policies to try to harmonize a racial mix of majority Chinese and minority Malays and Indians.
Lee, who was prime minister for more than three decades, had no tolerance for political dissent.
And yet world leaders still paid tribute.