Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi cemented Singapore's role as a major economic partner and model for her country on a five-day trip to the island, taking home what she said were valuable lessons on education policy and anti-graft measures.
But her endorsement of the wealthy city-state came with a caveat Myanmar could do without the materialistic and high-pressure society that has accompanied Singapore's decades-long transformation from tropical backwater to economic powerhouse.
"I want to learn a lot from the standards that Singapore has been able to achieve, but I wonder whether we don't want something more for our country," the Nobel Peace laureate told reporters on Monday evening as she prepared to return home.
She added: "Perhaps Singapore could learn from us a more relaxed way of life."
Despite that reservation, Suu Kyi's first visit to Singapore is seen as affirming Myanmar's close ties with the city-state as it seeks investments and aims to tap technocratic expertise to help its transformation to democracy from dictactorship.
Suu Kyi, 68, met Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, chief executives from some of the world's biggest companies, and visited Singapore's successful anti-corruption bureau.
She said many of her country's people believe Singapore could provide them with the key planks of their development model as it grapples with huge challenges, ranging from decrepit infrastructure to ethnic violence.