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Mr. Stephen A. Schwarzman
So, I know everyone is just dying for another speech. That’s why I’m so happy to get up here. I’m going to talk briefly about the Prime Minister and then introduce Henry. It’s a real honor to do this. In 1986 my partner, Pete Peterson, and I were invited to Singapore because Pete was giving the Singapore lecture at the request of the then Prime Minister, and we went first to London where we had lunch with DavidScholey who was the chairman of Warburgs, perhaps the most eminent investment banking firm of its time.

At lunch we asked, “What’s new with you?” He said, “Well, we just did an underwriting for Singapore Airlines, and it’s very interesting because it’s a great airline, but after we priced the deal, there’s a secondary banking crisis in Singapore, so we don’t know whether we should deliver the funds or not,” and I had never been in a situation where there was in effect what’s called a market out. So, we said, “Well, jeez, we’re on our way to Singapore,” and he said, “Well, good luck.” So, we got to Singapore, and we had a breakfast at this Singapore monetary authority.

For those of you who are familiar with financial crises, which now is everyone after the global financial crisis, it’s a real strain on people, and I thought they were going to cancel the breakfast like I would have canceled the breakfast, and they didn’t, and we were waiting for the head of the monetary authority to come in. It was a roundtable, and I was talking to the person to my right, and I said, “What do you do?” He said, “I’m a government bond trader.”

I said, “Well ...” That’s sort of like a conversational crasher. What do you say next? So, I said something like, “Well, where did you go to school?” He said, “Cambridge,” and I said, “What degree did you get?” He said, “A PhD.” I said, “In what?” He said, “In physics.” I said, “You’ve got a PhD in physics and you’re a government bond trader?” At that point in the States you had a brown suit, and you patted somebody on the back, and you were a government bond trader.

I said, “Well, how did this happen?” He said, “Well, in Singapore they identify people who are capable, and we go, and we get educated, and then we have to give a certain number of years to the country in service.” So, I said, “Okay,” and then the person on my left was sort of like a carbon copy. He was trading something else, and he had gone to Oxford, and he had a PhD in mathematics.

Now if you were raised in the U.S. securities business, this was like incomprehensible that people who should be doing moon shots were playing around with financial instruments, and this was the introduction to the remarkable nature of Singapore. The head of the Central Bank came in. If you’ve ever seen a rabbit with those red eyes, this guy hadn’t slept for two days, and I said, “You really don’t have to do this.” He said, “No, no. We committed to have the breakfast.” I said, “Well, don’t you like have a fire to put out someplace?” He said, “Yes, but we will take care of it.”

So, we finished breakfast, and I think they didn’t know what to do with us. So, we were introduced to what I thought was young because he was younger than me, a defense minister to take us on a tour of the island, and that person is sitting two away from me right now which is the first time I met the Prime Minister. He must have been 32, and we had a guided tour around the entire island, and I have watched his career and the development of Singapore ever since. It is simply one of the most remarkable places in the world. I have never met so many smart people.

They basically benchmark government service, so unlike our country where I think senior people get 125, $150,000, they take the top three or four people for every function and benchmark it against the compensation in the private sector.

So, what do you think happens? They get remarkable people like Prime Minister Lee to do the kind of work that any great corporation would do.

Singapore – if you hadn’t been there and that was quite some time ago, I guess 33, 34 years ago – is like a little island, and it’s flat as a pancake, and you sort of wonder how is it possible that this country – which I guess now has roughly five million people – has become the most profitable GDP per capita? They started with almost nothing in I guess, what, 1960, something like that, and everything they do is strategic. Everything is thoughtful. The people are lovely, but they are so smart, so directed and Prime Minister Lee is a remarkable person who’s held almost every major job in his country, which is also normal where people in effect apprentice.

To be a country of that size with the kind of global influence is a function of a great system and great human being. They have a wonderful sovereign wealth fund called Temasek which they took different businesses and then liquidated some of them and expanded others. They have the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, which is about the mostinnovative financial institution in the world. Those of us who have the privilege of dealing with them are like constantly amazed that they have the world’s best strategic sense. They always know where to be, where to go, and Prime Minister Lee is an example.

I just want to end by saying that his wife, Ho Ching, who is sitting two over, is a similar extraordinary person. She ran the sovereign wealth fund. She is one of the most intelligent, perceptive, cognitive person with great judgment, and the two of them together are more than sort of a glamour couple. They are humble. They are modest. They are astonishing. They are a pleasure to spend time around. They are generous with their time. They are both curious, and if you need a great judgment, you can ask either one of them.

So, it is my pleasure to now introduce Henry Kissinger who apparently comes to all these things the way I do who will talk about the Prime Minister, but you are in the presence of representatives of a great society, highly, highly unusual, perhaps the most capable in the world. So, with that I give you one of the most famous people in the world, and if you can do what Henry Kissinger is doing at 95, I wish you well. Henry.
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