Booms and busts have been the lifeblood of Singapore since Sir Thomas Raffles hacked back the jungle in the 19th Century to found a successful trading post of the British Empire. The island would later become an iconic battlefront of WWII and a paragon for Asia's emerging economies. In-between the soaring constructions and dusty demolitions remain the ethnic enclaves founded by Raffles centuries before; island microcosms of south-east Asian culture and cuisine. In the city, the town planners have been hard at work ever since a Georgian-style multi-ethnic community was outlined in the original Jackson Pan. In the country, only the shady rural fields and tracks of Pulau Ubin recall more bucolic times of just 60 years ago. Like the state's monuments, her beaches and lush backwaters are unusually pristine. Walk the streets of this metamorphosing country and wonder at its fortune.