he first episode chronicles the arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles, and tells the story of Singapore's birth and growing pains through to the high noon of Empire. With a vision of Singapore as a trading port in its own right, Raffles attempted to shift the centre of the trading network to Singapore with the promise of free trade. But money-making schemes, monopoly of opium and alcohol supplies, secret societies and other vices plagued the tiny nation, and the city grew more squalid and violent as there was no government to speak of. However, with the opening of the Suez Canal, Singapore became a truly international port, no longer having to rely on regional trade. With this transformation, Britain began to be more concerned about Singapore and granted it colonial status. By applying some governance and sorting out the social problems, Singapore became more stable and Raffles' vision was becoming reality. But the seeds of Singapore's downfall were also being sown as the arrival of new goods and people also brought new ideas which would convulse Singapore in the 20th century.