One of the things that was used as an example, was the TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study). It was cited, that we're one of the top few countries who answer all the questions, and that is supposed to say something about our perseverance. Um, actually, it's because we were taught to answer all questions (or lose marks), so the students probably finished everything due to the kaisu-ness inherent in us. ("If I don't answer, but the guy next to me does, I may lose marks!)
Minor Quibbles with the book:
Singapore does not have a "culture shaped by the tradition of wet-rice agriculture and meaningful work". Yes, we are mostly descended from the South China immigrants who did engage in wet-rice work before they came to Singapore, but most of our forefounders were coolies. If we have a very advanced country now, it's probably due to the good leadership we have.
William Thistlewood, the guy who kept a diary of his Jamaican exploits, is actually called Thomas Thistlewood, at least according to all the Internet sources I could see.