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An Extraordinary Journey

BBC presenter Sharanjit Leyl’s SG50 documentary zooms in on matters closer to the heart to truly understand how Singapore transformed in under fifty years

3/17/2015 11:38:29 AM
written By : Maya Tsering Bhalla Print

Singapore is celebrating its golden jubilee this year, and thoughthereare many documentaries celebrating the success of this sunny island, BBC’s SG50 Documentary explores the underlying theme of immigration. What makes it different is that BBC presenter Sharanjit Leyl adds a personal touch by talking about her grandfather’s life journey. A third generation Singaporean, Leyl’s family has witnessed first hand, the transformation of this country – from a swamp to a swanky first world economy.

The documentary features important newsmakers such as Emeritus Senior Minister, Goh Chok Tong who would study by kerosene light and cycle 12 kilometres to school everyday, Housing Development Board chief Liu Thai Kher and others who have headed important organisations in Singapore. The progress of Singapore lifted all boats, and in this interview Leyl talks to India Se about the incredible journey of the country and her family. 

India Se: What makes BBC’s SG50 documentary different from the several others made this year?

Sharanjit Leyl: The BBC documentary is the only one that has been commissioned for the Richer World Series - about how Singapore has gone from third world to first world in basically, under 50 years. It is 45 minutes long, so we have got lots of interviews with newsmakers like ESM Goh Chok Tong, Liu Thai Kher - HDB’s master planner, the Chairman from PUB, EDB etc - all these very imporant organisations that played a very crucial role in developing Singapore. 

We even spoke to people who have recently arrived in Singapore and love it. Some families and some socialites who exemplify the lifestyle of the wealthy, after all Singapore’s per capita income is amongst the highest in the world. So it’s about how Singapore did it – we have tried to show how people live now and contrast it to how people lived then. 

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