by Fredrik Haren 04:45 AM May 14, 2012
I have lost count of the number of times I have been asked: "As an author of creativity books, how on earth can you live in Singapore?"
And when I reply, "Because I think it is the best place in the world to live for a creative person", most people think I am kidding and everyone asks me to explain.
But no, I am not kidding. And yes, let me explain.
I moved to Beijing from my native Sweden in 2005 because I wanted to be in Asia when Asian countries truly started to embrace creativity.
The defining moment for me was when Hu Jintao gave a speech to the Chinese people in which he said that "China should be an innovative country 15 years from now".
Since I write books on business creativity, I just had to move to Asia and see this shift happen.
After two years in Beijing, I learnt two things: Firstly, I wanted to leave Beijing, which is a fascinating city, but has too much traffic, too much pollution and too little water for a Swede brought up in the Stockholm archipelago; and secondly, I wanted to remain in Asia.
So I went on a grand journey. While doing research for my book The Developing World, I constantly travelled over a period of more than 10 months.
I went to 20 developing countries and when I came to each new city that I thought had potential to become my new home, I made sure my schedule allowed me to stay a few extra days to get a feel of life there.
I spent two weeks each in Seoul, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Shanghai, Mumbai, New Delhi, Istanbul and Singapore.
Then I made a list of positives and negatives about each city. Obviously, Singapore won in the end.