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Michael Portillo: Great Asian Railway Journeys #20 – “Chinatown to Gardens by the Bay”


Michael Portillo is in the island city state of Singapore on the last leg of his 2,500-mile exploration of south east Asia. In Tai Seng, Michael goes underground to marvel at the world’s largest subterranean rail depot, where self-driving MRT trains are maintained. He takes a cable car to Fort Siloso on the island of Sentosa, where he learns about one of Britain’s worst military defeats and the brutal Japanese occupation which followed.

Downtown, over coffee with the regulator of the Singapore Stock Exchange, Michael marvels at the island’s astonishing success as a financial centre and, in the residential district of Ang Mo Kio, he visits an urban farm for the future – on a car park roof.

At Boat Quay, Michael finds out about Lee Kwan Yew, Singapore’s prime minister for 31 years, who was responsible for Singapore’s extraordinary 20th-century growth.

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