Strife Feature, Abstract – Small but Mighty: The critical importance of Singapore in contemporary geo-political, technological and international security landscape

By: Cheng Lai Ki; Full-Lieutenant (Reserve), Singapore Armed Forces

‘…don’t you see that the lion is silent and yet feared…’ – Iman Shafi’i
‘…don’t you see that the lion is silent and yet feared…’ – Iman Shafi’i


In Strife’s long-form feature piece for January, Cheng Lai Ki examines the importance of Singapore in the emerging geopolitical landscape.

The ‘Little Red Dot’, the ‘Lion City’, the ‘Garden City’, the ‘Smart City’ – over the last 50 years, the small nation-state of Singapore has been given several names reflecting its status or national characteristics. In 2015, Singapore marked its 50th anniversary since its independence on 9th August 1965 through showcasing its advanced military capabilities, cohesion amongst its large ethnic diversity, and strong national pride. Consistently mentioned and revered for its financial and technological prowess, the tiny city-state has sailed by several of its last 50 years without becoming significantly involved in any major conflicts or incidents – until recently. Primarily known as an economic powerhouse and financial hub within the region, the small city-state has slowly increased its presence within the realms of intelligence, international security, geopolitics, and technology. Today, the ‘Lion City’ has become a key player for diplomatic, security and commercial developments within the region – and the world. Singapore maybe a small nation-state with a population of 5.61 million people, but it carries a mighty roar that rumbles throughout the Asian region. With the global status-quo in flux, Cheng argues that Singapore is fast emerging as a critical component of an otherwise global machine.

Cheng Lai Ki is a reservist military officer with the Singapore Armed Forces. He possesses degrees in Criminology, Intelligence and International Security respectively from the University of Leicester and King’s College London. Formerly the Managing Editor for Strife Blog and Journal, his work has also been featured by IHSJane’s Intelligence Review and Cyber World. His feature article will be published on 26th January 2017.

Image Source:

‘A soldier in a Singapore Army uniform and integrated load bearing vest (iLBV)’, Flickr, 12 October 2012, Available from:, (Accessed January 2017)

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