Hong Kong, Singapore's shared challenges

Hong Kong, Singapore's shared challenges
Hong Kong magnate Li Ka-shing, center, pays his last respects to Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore on March 23.

HONG KONG - When Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing heard of Lee Kuan Yew's passing on March 23, he and his two sons flew to Singapore to pay their final respects to the city-state's founding father at the prime minister's official residence.

Li also sent a letter to Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong -- the late leader's son -- praising the premier's father for his dignity, bold vision and common sense.

Both Hong Kong and Singapore are cities that used to be under British rule and where ethnic Chinese constitute a majority of the population.

Lee, a Han Chinese with roots in Guangdong Province, visited Hong Kong almost every year. When Lee visited Hong Kong for the first time in 1958, he was measured for a suit in the morning and received it that evening. He was impressed, saying no tailor in Singapore could work that fast.

To Lee, Hong Kong was both a model and rival for Singapore.

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