( dpa )- Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew said that he hopes the city-state will aim for a cultural renaissance like Italy's.
"If you go to Florence or you go to Venice or you go to Rome and you see their churches, their museums, and you see the number of sculptors, painters sitting outside trying to copy Leonardo da Vinci, you know that was the beginning of the renaissance," the first prime minister said at a dialogue Friday.
Turning to Austria, he focused on how the nation was the centre of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
"These are things which take a long time to nurture," said Lee, 84, currently minister mentor.
He said it would take 10 to 15 years.
Lee cited troupes in the city-state that have performances featuring traditional Indonesian and Chinese musical instruments.
The push for a cultivated society must be buttressed by economic growth, he stressed.
"You cannot have a cultivated society if you have an underclass sleeping under your bridges, in the (street) corners or in the parks, nor can you have your old (people) abandoned. So these are problems that every society faces," Lee said.