From Straits Times, 23 Feb 09:
Speaking to a crowd of over 500 at the Singapore Tripartism Forum, he told of a conversation he had with a Latin American leader, whom he did not name, over a recent lunch.
Recalled Mr Lee: ‘He was interested to know how we do it in Singapore: What is the secret to Singapore’s success?’
To answer the question, Mr Lee pointed to labour chief Lim Swee Say, who was seated at the same table.
‘I told him, this is Lim Swee Say, the secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress, elected by the unions. He is also a minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, appointed by me. Same person.
‘He looked at Swee Say, and looked at me. He said: ‘Is that really true?’ He could not imagine it,’ said Mr Lee.
The Prime Minister’s point: Singapore’s longstanding tripartite partnership, while not a secret, was a strength that could not be easily copied by other countries.