Exactly one hundred and ninety nine years ago, Sir Stamford Raffles arrived onto the island of Singapore. Appointed the Governor General of Bencoolen just a few months before, he had recently convinced his superior in India to fund a new British base in the region.

Singapore had a lot of things in her favour. There was an excellent harbour that could provide shelter for merchant ships and an abundance of fresh water and timber for ship repairs. Most importantly, the Dutch have yet to establish a presence in Singapore.

Raffles wasted no time. Within a week of his arrival, he signed an agreement with the newly installed Sultan and appointed William Farquhar as the Governor. He also laid out the premises for Singapore’s survival – the port is to be unfunded lest it be seen as a burden by India and that no port duties were to be imposed.

He …