I believe that one of the most profound and abstract contradiction that Singapore experiences is its dual existence as a city and as a country. The city is the basis for economic existence, but the country is the basis for national survival. The city is about being open to flows of ideas, people and capital; a country is about security, community and stability. The two of them have counter-acting tendencies, and they will always be in tension.
In Singapore, one cannot do without the other; the city provides the economic basis for funding the programmes for the country; the country provides the security for the city to carry out its business. Yet the city’s tendencies affect the ability to form communities will be challenged as it constantly adapts to the inflows of capital, people and ideas. Communities could also do with new ideas, and people, but there will always be a time period required for assimilation. Too many people and too many ideas can challenge existing community norms too much. Capital also has its dangers, as it pushes up the costs of living for the rest of the inhabitants.
Yet there is also no other way about this. Again, we need to the city to prosper, but the country to survive.