I came across the above table in a Special Report on India in the Economist. Tharoor was using this data to show that India was shortchanging itself diplomatically because it had about the same number of diplomats as S’pore. From my perspective, it is not productive that S’pore, a little red speck, has one diplomat for 6,000 S’poreans. Even the hegemon makes do with only one diplomat for every 16,000. people. It isn’t only SMEs that contribute to the productivity gap. And the British, supposedly overstaffed, have one fat toff per 10,000 people.
No wonder the photo in ST of one George Yeo shows a rather thin man. No more living off the fat like his diplomats?
Wonder what our Asean neighbours’ per capita numbers are? I’m sure that they have numbers closer to that of China or India than to the US.
Yes, yes, I left out the fact that the population of S’pore is “peanuts” compared to the US etc, and that there is likely to be an absolute minimum number of diplomats needed for efficiency, but if ministers and the local media regularly boast about S’pore’s per capita numbers, I’m juz using the same stick: to beat the BSers.
Finally, I wonder if our NS men are given the same line I waz given yrs ago. When I waz doing NS in the mid 70s, I waz told that we, had to fight, to buy time for our diplomats, to get the UN, USA etc to intervene. In the early 80s, I attended a course with some senior diplomats. I told them what I was tot. They rolled their eyes and said if the SAF had to go to war, MFA had already failed. No point asking US, UN for help.
Given one LKY liked to annoy the neighbours regularly, maybe MFA was doing a good job?