Sunday, October 16, 2016

Singapore's economy collapsing, unemployment and layoffs hitting the roof, currency losing value. Singaporeans should leave the island before it is too late.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The truth has finally come to roost. Singapore's economy is steadily heading to a total collapse. Unemployment and layoffs are increasing daily. The Singapore dollar is steadily losing value, to a 7 month low and still dropping. Very soon it will be worthless like the Venezuelan Bolivar. The vast majority of Singaporeans can leave the island if they want. They can sell their government apartments now and make some money before it's value hits rock bottom. My advice to Singaporeans is to leave Singapore now. Try to reach Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA or any other European country which will take you. Don't wait until it is too late when you will have nothing left. There are no prospects anymore in Singapore. This is my advice to you.

First the economy is on it's final descent to a crash landing.
According to this Singapore government state controlled newspaper Singapore Straits Times Business, it reads "Poor GDP figures point to long slow down for Singapore". The third quarter GDP growth has just been 0.6 percent, the lowest in 4 years, and dropping.

The office crowd in the Central Business District (CBD) of Singapore.
It is OK if it is just one off decline due to volatilities of business. But this is certainly not a one-off thing. This is like the barometer of a vessel at sea which has been dropping at a steady rate over the last 4 years. If this was the Titanic, the captain would have told you that they are heading into the eye of the storm. This is exactly true in the case of Singapore, with it's economic barometer. It's economy is indeed heading into the eye of an economic storm.

If Singapore has economic potential to recover, there could be hope. Unfortunately the Singapore which Lee Kuan Yew created has serious structural issues. He created a system which is simply doomed to failure. Although it had worked short term, on a long term trajectory, it is simply hopeless. It really has nothing to offer and simply is no longer competitive with the rest of the world.

Let's look at what Singapore has. It has an airport and Singapore Airlines. Gone are the days when Singapore Airlines did any better or cheaper than anyone else. Every other country in the region including Australia have excellent airlines. And with several Singapore crashes including the one in Taipei which killed hundreds in a 747 due to the pilot taking off on disused runway, its reputation is rather suspect. Any passenger would rather fly Qantas, which has a perfect safety record. Singapore airlines no longer has the edge which it once had. It is simply just another airline, no better no worse.

And then you have Singapore Airport. Today the hub and spoke concept which favored airports such as Singapore is non existent. Previously wide bodied aircraft needed to use airport such as Singapore because of longer runways and better facilities. Today this is no longer the case. An A380 can land in Kuala Lumpur Jakarta or Ho Chi Minh City . Every other neighboring country have been busy extending runways and improving airports. So the days of Singapore's advantage are simply over.

And then you have the oil and gas industry as well as the oil rig manufacture. These are not something that is special to Singapore. Any country from Albania to AndalucĂ­a can make oil rigs if they want. No need for Singapore rigs. As for the oil refining and storage business other countries have already begun overtaking Singapore. Qatar has already stated publicly that they are building facilities specifically to overtake Singapore and they have the advantage of being next to the source. So you really don't have any advantage here either.

Then there is tourism and shopping, both in steady decline for obvious reasons. In the past Singapore had an advantage in duty free cheap goods. Today the prices in Singapore are 3 times that in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or Jakarta thanks to the steadily rising office and store rental costs, which is why Singapore is the most expensive country in the world. As most shoppers and tourists come from nearby third world countries and do not have deep pockets, they are not going to shop in Singapore because it is simply too expensive. And there goes your tourism and shopping trade.

And then you have some biotech and manufacturing industry which both suffer from the same problems of high costs and no special advantage. Today at the costs prevailing in the island, you can manufacture the product in Dusseldorf at not much difference in price. So what is the need to place your plant in Singapore when it costs nothing more to have it in your own country.

In the past due to lower tax benefits, advanced countries still found it beneficial to locate their industry in third countries. Today this loophole is literally gone for American companies. The US government is bringing out all sorts of disincentives, very soon you would hardly find US firms in Singapore since you can produce them back home at same costs and tax. Perhaps other Western countries may continue but for how long is pretty uncertain.

Another Singapore state controlled newspaper "Business Review" has this report "Unemployment and Redundancies in services sector loom amid weak economy" See

This is an alarming report because 72% of Singapore's workforce is employed in the services industry. This includes retail stores, bank clerks, office workers, government employees and so on. If there is unemployment in the services sector this means thousands of Singaporeans, the vast majority, being unemployed with no work and no money. As Singapore provides no social welfare or unemployment benefits, what this means is starvation on a mass scale.

The obvious reason for the downturn in the services sector is because every sector of the economy is connected to each other. If the manufacturing and export industry is impacted, so will the services sector.

And then the Singapore dollar is steadily losing value. According to the state owned Channel News Asia report of October 14, 2016, "Singapore Dollar hits 7 month low on lackluster growth outlook" The report states that the  Singapore currency has hit a 7 month low and continuing to steadily depreciate. It is simply  losing all it's  value .

If it was any other country with these figures, one would not have worried too much. Most countries have an in built ability to right itself and rebound when things go wrong. This is because they are democratic countries where the citizens have the ability to think of new ideas and new enterprises and create wealth. Not in Singapore. You have there a docile timid obedient society which lives in fear of their  rulers and therefore are incapable of thinking or doing anything by themselves. They are waiting for the government to create jobs for them. But since the government itself have simply run out of ideas, waiting for the  government to do things for them is simply not going to happen. For Singapore to succeed it constantly has to have something others do not have. It needs to have an edge. Today this island has nothing to offer that anyone else does not have. This decline is going to continue until final collapse.

And finally Singapore is an obnoxious place to live. There are no freedoms and the political leaders are corrupt and pay themselves millions while as much as half the population live at or below the poverty line. You couldn't even call this island a banana republic because there are no bananas.

My advice for Singaporeans is not to wait until it is too late. The writing is already on the wall. Pack up, liquidate your properties and leave for the west. It is good for you and for your children. There is no hope in Singapore island. There is hope overseas.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in exile
Fremont (San Francisco)  USA
Tel: 510 491 8525
Email: nair.gopalan

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Singapore Parliament by Minister Lim Hng Khiang says "Government stands ready to act in the event of economic downturn" Really? How?

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Singapore one party state's newspaper agency propaganda sheet Straits Times of October 10, 2016 has the report "Government stands ready to act in the event of an economic downturn: Lim Hng Khiang". See report here

How very gallant of him. Like a knight in shining armor, this man Lim Hng Khiang, Minister for Trade an Industry has offered to come to the rescue of all Singaporeans in distress and save them from certain economic calamity. How very reassuring. Thanks again. But isn't it rather silly to say this, not to mention condescending.

As you already know, this statement by him is made under the present dire circumstances where Singapore is facing an total economic collapse. Trade down, business down, unemployment up, shipping down. In fact everything is down and the island's economy is now in a freefall.

But his statement is so silly if you thought about it. If in fact he can do anything about it, why isn't he doing it right now, when things are already bad, instead of telling us that he will act only if there is an economic downturn? In other words he is determined to let the island go to the dogs but will intervene only if matters get even worse than that! Does he not realize that matters are already bad enough? That it has hit rock bottom and it can't get any worse!

And if he has any tricks in his hat, why doesn't he say what they are now. And what is more important, why doesn't do anything now. In his statement, he does not mention anything about how he is going to save us.

You don't have to be a crack economist to know that neither he nor anyone in his totalitarian government has any answers. You have an island principally  run through centralized state planning and where its poor citizens are told not to think but just obey so that the rulers can continue to be corrupt to the tune of millions. They have chosen sectors like shipping, oil refining, oil storage, tourism, money laundering, biotech industry and so on. Unfortunately  in every single sector the rest of the world have outpaced the island. The Chinese communists are no longer coming to the island to squander their ill gotten gains stolen through Peoples Liberation Army connections, the oil industry is dead, tourism is dead and the hotels are empty. In these circumstances, it is not enough for this man to wave a magic wand to make things right.

We should tell Mr. Lim Hng Khing that we are not 10 year old babies and thanks but no thanks.

Only in Singapore where you have a totally helpless society will anyone such as this man Lim Hng Khiang have the nerve to utter such nonsense.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
Fremont (San Francisco) USA
Tel: 510 491 8525

Monday, October 10, 2016

Singapore government's offer to help the island's failing economy is like sticking band aids on a dying man

Ladies and Gentlemen,

With the news very bad on all economic sectors for that embattled island under Lee Kuan Yew's son's one party rule, Singapore, is it time perhaps for him to make that great speech that Churchill gave in 1939 at the British Parliament to the brave English people; but in Singapore's case, to Lee Kuan Yew's son's helpless clueless Singaporean public ?

"I have nothing to offer but blood toil tears and sweat".

At least in the case of Britain, there was still hope left. In Lee Kuan Yew's one part authoritarian Singapore island with the timid cowed docile people, none at all!

More will follow

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
Fremont (San Francisco) USA

Singapore Island gives up on failing economy, declining GDP, zero birth rate, zero productivity and mounting brain drain.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The bad news for Singapore now doesn't stop coming. And they are all the result of an authoritarian government who thinks they know everything and the job of the citizens are to just obey. They have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams of creating the most docile submissive society in the world. Which society in the world would simply accept a life where there is no right to free speech, no free press, no independent judiciary and no right of peaceful protest?

As far as the locals are concerned, this is a very centrally planned economy not much different from those in Communist countries. The orders are that people should not complain, if they do they will be thrown in jail by their Kangaroo judges. The thinking is only done by a handful of people; by Lee Kuan Yew's son, the Prime Minister and his carefully selected minions.

And the thinking was that Communist China will have millions of millionaires who will come to gamble in the island's Casinos, will park their ill gotten millions in the island's offshore banks, will stay at the island's hotels and will shop at the luxury stores along Orchard Road. In this way, Lee Kuan Yew's son and his minions can reap millions in taxes and other charges, while employment will be provided for the poor locals to work in the hotels housing the rich Chinese, will work in the Casinos where the Chinese squander their money and will work in the banks where the Chinese park their stolen wealth.

Good plan but like all good things it cannot last. Today the Chinese are no longer their guardian angels or saviors. The Chinese economy is failing and they no longer want to come to Singapore, live in the hotels or gamble in their Casinos. Simply bad luck for the poor Singaporeans who are looking to Lee Kuan Yew's son, as to what to do next. Remember they are incapable of thinking themselves and like the dog waiting for the next trick, they have no idea what to do.

I suppose it was the present Prime Minster's father (who by the way gave him the job) who decided on these policies while the son is incapable of doing anything on his own except following his late father.

If you look at Singapore island today, there are a few sectors which the state decided should provide jobs. One was shipping, mainly container transshipment. Well that is gone too. World shipping has dropped and ships are hardly calling at Singapore. Thousands of jobs laid off there.

And then there was the oil refining and storage business. Only yesterday I read a report that Qatar is building the largest port that can take even the largest tanker in the world. They are also building huge storage and refining facilities and have openly declared that they want to take the business away from Singapore. They have the added advantage of being located next to the source. They have deep pockets and they can do it. There goes the shipping and oil refining and storage business. Thousands of jobs gone there.

And then you have the tourist industry with hotels and retail. Sorry that's gone too. With the deepening recession in China, they are no longer coming. As for others, the shopping is non existent since prices for products in Singapore are 3 times the price anywhere else. Why would anyone want to shop in Singapore when they can get the same item at a fraction of its price in Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur. And as for tourism, there is nothing to see in the concrete jungle. Unless you want to see glass multi storey buildings, there is no reason to come to Singapore.

And then you had manufacturing but that too is dead, due entirely to the fault of this government who think they know everything. When they increased apartment rent which the islanders pay to the government to a point where the poor citizen can hardly afford, wages have to shoot up sky high. At these rates no foreign investor would want to set up in Singapore and use Singaporean labor. It is simply too high. So what do they do, they employ wetback foreign cheap labor as a result of which locals are unemployed but yet have to pay the astronomical apartment rents.

Which is no wonder that the locals have taken to killing themselves in large numbers. When you have no job, no money and a family to support with no state welfare support whatsoever, what else can you do? The suicide rate is one of the highest in the world.

The problem is unique in the island because of the sort of people they are, carefully programmed into a docile and submissive people who live in fear of their government. A people who have been told that they do not have to think, but leave the thinking to the state and the rulers.

The difference between the Australian or New Zealand population and that of Singapore is this. In Australia and New Zealand, you have and entire population of the country thinking and creating new ideas. Whereas in Singapore, the thinking is done only by a handful of people who rule. The rest are told not to think but await instructions from the handful who do. This is why an island like Singapore is hardly getting anywhere. Because you have a dearth of thinkers and too many followers. You have far too few people thinking. Whereas in a country like Australia, despite economic problems the people pull through with their imagination and innovation and the human spirit always manages to ride any storm.

Of course a people who are free tend to respect their government. That is why Australians and New Zealand are proud of their countries and stay behind to make it work. In Singapore on the other hand most people have total disrespect for their government and their judiciary whom they consider corrupt (the ministers pay themselves several million dollars ) and the judges Kangaroos. In a recent poll taken in Singapore, two thirds said if given a choice they would emigrate to the West.

But unfortunately  for the island, it is too late now to tell them to think. Independent thinking is impossible in the island anymore as things stand. What if you thought that a better system of government should be introduced? You would be immediately arrested and jailed by their Kangaroo judges. As you can see the only ones who succeed are those who simply go along with the government, never mind what they thought privately. If you have to be a hypocrite to succeed, what sort of ideas do you expect from such people?

The birth rate is now almost zero, thanks to the Zika virus. In the past the Prime Minister used to tell his subjects in their state controlled media to procreate. Now since he knows it is futile, he has  stopped doing it. As for the mounting brain drain, in the past he had gone to the capitals of the world to plead with Singaporeans and the majority who have given up their Singapore nationality to return home. Since no one wants to return, he has given up that too. He used to have news articles with pictures in his paper, of cities like San Francisco meeting former Singaporeans. Since these news articles tend to encourage more Singaporeans to leave like those abroad rather than persuading anyone to return, he has stopped reporting on overseas Singaporeans.

Lets face it, Singapore has simply nothing to offer the foreign investor anymore. There is no cheap labor, there is no shopping since prices are too high, the casinos are empty since the Chinese have no money, and there is nothing to see in the island for tourists.

Lastly the money laundering business in Singapore is slowly coming to an end. The Americans came down like a ton of bricks against Swiss banks demanding the name of American citizen account holders and threatened to ruin the Swiss economy unless they complied. To make sure they mean business, the US government commenced action in Miami federal court against UBS. As expected the Swiss complied. And what is more they began discouraging American account holders from investing in Swiss banks because it was too much trouble.

Many of them fled to Singapore. Now the US government is coming down hard on Singapore to stop money laundering. American investors no longer find Singapore a safe haven either. Today I read the news that India is demanding a revision of their double taxation treaty with Singapore. Mauritius had already agreed to tax the income at the source which will come into effect early next year. India has demanded the same of Singapore which has requested more time. Knowing India I am sure they would not tolerate any hanky- panky from this little pipsqueak of an island. Take my word, Singapore will submit to India and if they don't, you can expect fireworks. If Lee Kuan Yew's son thinks he can get away with it, he simply does not understand India. Remember India does not need tiny Singapore. It is Singapore that needs India.

Following the US and India I expect other countries whose citizens launder their money in Singapore to demand their share of it. Once that happens, you can see the end of one more sector of the island economy collapsing, the money laundering business.

And then you have sea level rise from which there is no escape. The entire island is a mere few inches above sea level and down town Singapore where all the businesses are is no different. Today the island suffers from flash floods almost every other day. Progressively as the island gets hotter, the flooding can only be higher and more frequent. The government has no answer to the problem for obvious reasons, because there are none.

If Australia or New Zealand faces these problems that Singapore does, no one would be unduly worried. Why, because the Australians are a thinking people, an independent people who can think of new ideas. Singaporeans under 50 years of dictatorship have become so docile, so timid, so afraid that they simply cannot think anymore. Unless the state can come up with some ideas the island will collapse. And from what we can see, Lee Kuan Yew's son and his dictatorship have run out of ideas.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont (San Francisco) USA
Tel: 510 491 8525

Friday, September 30, 2016

Is the massive brain drain from Singapore Island sliding it down to irrelevance.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the latest Reuters report on Singapore of Sept 28, 2016 it reads "Singapore deputy premier sees tough period for economy- report"

It says, although there was some progress earlier, the future will be only between 0.5 to 2 percent. But even so, it is all right if it continues to grow but will it?

There are several problems with the island causing even slight volatility to cause devastating consequences.

One is its size. Because it is so small in both geographical area and population, any negative economic impact will have a catastrophic universal effect across the island almost immediately. This is not the case with large countries with large populations, which can go one for very long even with negative economic volatility.

The second problem is the nature of its economy. It is completely reliant on foreign countries. Locally Singapore has nothing. The jobs are created by foreign companies and if foreign companies close down and leave as they are doing now, Singaporeans will simply have no work. The economic slowdown in the rest of the world now is causing just that; foreign companies in the island are shutting down and laying off thousands.

And with this happening now, many others join the bandwagon and leave. Foreign companies are not there because they owe a duty to Singapore. They are there for a profit. And when there is none, they leave.

The other problem is the wages offered. Lee Kuan Yew's plan, which by the way, every other country has not only copied but are much better at it, was to provide cheap labor for foreign companies. In addition, foreign companies are given tax breaks and perks to locate in the island rather than in their own countries which do not provide them. In the early days when Singapore was the pioneer in such tactics, of course they did well. Wages were low, you had a docile work force and you had the perks. But then everyone else began doing just that from Mexico to Botswana. So where is the advantage for Singapore, none. The wages in Singapore are simply too high now for any foreign company to locate in the island. With automation and increased productivity, you might as well manufacture it in America. Moreover it is well known that just the fact that it is made in the USA improves sales.

Then the problem is the mentality of a docile subjugated timid society. Singaporeans are taught to obey, not to think independently. So with the limited ability of the government to think of any new ideas except doing the same thing again and again, there is no ability to even stay afloat, let alone advancing. In every single area, the competition has overtaken Singapore. It is cheaper to manufacture in Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia. There is no need to locate in Singapore. If Singapore has a helpless workforce who will simply shut up and not complain, so are the workers of Vietnam. If Singapore had the advantage of the English language, Vietnam is making steady progress to ensure everyone speaks English.

And then you have a Singapore local population who disrespects their government and public institutions. Simply by repeating ad nauseam that you have the rule of law, does not mean the people will believe it. No one in their right mind in the island would believe that the Singapore judges are independent when they repeatedly jail and sue political opponents for criticism. You have an island wide state controlled media and press where every single news organ is state controlled as in China. Where you have no freedoms at all, when even a single peaceful protester is jailed and caned just for graffiti.

The consequence of this is that every single self respecting individual is opting to leave the island for settlement in the West. The newspaper ASEAN Today of Sept 19, 2016 has an interesting article about the brain drain from Singapore and Malaysia titled "Can Singapore and Malaysia keep their talents home?"

This report should be alarming for the island's rulers, not so much as to what will happen to their people but more on whether they will continue to take home, or steal, millions of dollars a year which they call salaries when their economy collapses!

I quote extensively from this report. It says "Singapore and Malaysia are facing the serious problem of Brain Drain. Many well educated and highly skilled individuals are looking to relocate abroad for various reasons and this is worrying for both countries. While the governments are determined to attract these people home, the issue at hand is whether will they be moved by the determination?"

It says "The number of people moving out of Singapore has increased by more than one third in the last 10 years. In 2014, 212 000 Singaporeans were living overseas, whereas in 2004 the number was 157,000.00". Actually the figures are much larger than this. These figures only take into account Singaporeans overseas who still retain their citizenship. In fact the larger number give up their citizenship so as to redeem their CPF ( state retirement savings) which require this as a condition. So if you actually include those who retain their citizenship as well as the larger number of former citizens, the total number would in fact be closer to 2 million.

For instance I am not in this number as I have given up Singapore citizenship. In fact the vast number of Singaporean's who live in the San Francisco Bay Area where I live are like me, Singaporeans who are now American citizens.

Secondly if you look at the island's citizen population from a realistic point of view and count only those who were not only born in Singapore but whose parents were also born in Singapore, the island population would in fact be no more than 2 million. When Singapore government says that they have about 3.5 million citizens, they are including not only native Singapore citizens but also the hundreds of thousands of recent mainland Chinese immigrants who were given instant citizenship to make up for the falling numbers.

Going by these figures, it is therefore possible that there are as many true Singaporeans abroad as there are in Singapore and the tide is in fact turning to make the foreign Singaporean numbers greater than in Singapore. This has actually happened in Lebanon understandably with all its wars and violence but strangely even without such violence and calamity, Singapore population is steadily showing signs of another Lebanon!

And this increasing brain drain from the island should be even more alarming to the island's rulers  since the island's unemployment rate is actually lower than that in the West! Singapore it seems has only between 2 to 3 % unemployment while the figures for Western countries are far higher. So why should someone from a high employment country like Singapore go to one with greater unemployment! The answer is simple. It is because the people who can think detest living in bondage under a dictatorship with no rule of law, as is Singapore.  And the government should finally understand that unless and until you give your people freedom to live as proud citizens, the brain drain will not only continue but will increase with time and your miracle island will be no better than a backwater.

In a recent speech by the Prime Minister which sounds like sour grapes, he is quoted to have said this of the mounting brain drain at the Research Innovation and Enterprise Council (RIEC), "Singapore is part of the global community and we have to accept that". "It is not a bad thing at all for Singaporeans to be in demand all over the world and to be distributed in the many cities and research centers. (They can) gain experience learn what the world is like pick up ideas and perhaps one day come back to Singapore". Unfortunately for the Singaporean Prime Minister, where he got it wrong was about the part of Singaporeans coming back to Singapore. They are not.

I am not returning to Singapore. I don't wish to live as a slave. And neither is every single Singaporean in the San Francisco Bay Area who has given up Singapore citizenship like me.

The report says " But it is uncertain whether these people are ever going to return to Singapore. A recent news report mentions that the government has deep fears regarding a potential permanent outflow of talents. Many talents are enticed to stay overseas due to the abundance of opportunities and choices. However they would be much helpful if they were to stay and help to further develop Singapore's economy"

There is no doubt that Singapore's Prime Minister is fully aware of his brain drain problem at his interview with TIME MAGAZINE when he said "With Singaporeans you speak English, your are well educated, the doors open everywhere. You can go to Silicon Valley, you can go to Sydney, you can go to Perth, you can go to London Frankfurt, you are welcomed and it is not just talking about 5 , 10 percent at the top who are like that but 30, 40, maybe even 50% who are welcomed."

And now there can be no doubt that he not only understands that this problem will finish him, it is also clear that he has no clue how to avoid it. He says "If the successful ones mostly leave, we are going to be depleted. And if it goes beyond the successful ones, we will be shrunken"

"Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean speaking in front of the Parliament in 2012 said that about 1200 Singaporeans give up their citizenship on a yearly basis. The reasons for emigration vary. Some emigrants leave for family reasons,. because of marriage or to re-unite the family members overseas while others do it for a different environment". The words "for a different living environment" is an euphemism to saying " because they want their freedom".

"Other reasons include the lack of space in the small territory of Singapore, too much stress, long working hours that compromise quality living, low wages and the current political situation" . Of course the "current political situation" is of course referring to the lack for democracy, freedom and the rule of law.

This massive and growing brain drain is destroying the quality of the Singapore population, thereby lowering its performance and competitiveness. The only ones who want to come to Singapore to replace those leaving are from Communist China who are much less skilled and have no knowledge of English. And then you have others from other neighboring countries such as India and Burma who similarly are no match for those who leave the island. Also these recent arrivals have no real connection, loyalty or stake in the island and are mere economic migrants, of far lesser quality than the local born citizens who leave.

With the present authoritarian corrupt government comfortable earning their millions, and refusing to face the real issues behind this massive and growing problem, there is really no way to stop the decline and eventual destruction of the Singaporean economy and the island's way of life. And the cause can only be the avarice, greed and corruption of the leaders of Singapore who pay themselves millions a year which they conveniently call salaries.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont (San Francisco) USA
Tel: 510 491 8525

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Economy on a freefall, birth rate zero, tourism down, real estate down, now ZIKA. Whats wrong with Singapore island, the nanny state?

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There appears no let up for bad news in Singapore island, once touted to be the miracle of the world. Economy is down, businesses are down, real estate prices down, tourism arrivals down and now the Zika virus which has infected nearly 500 people! What's wrong with that island anyway.

The problem is not caused just because of the slowdown in world trade. The problem is the mentality of the people. It is a nanny state, where the society is incapable of thinking independently but looks to the state to tell what to do next.

It all started with Lee Kuan Yew the father of the present island Prime Minister. He placed his son on the job. In 1959 when Lee senior took hold of the island, he had ideas of his own. It was to create principally a planned state economy, just as in Communist countries. The government will create jobs, the government will build the infra structure. The government will build schools, the government will do everything.

As for the individual, he has to do nothing. First he should not criticize the government. He should accept that they are the masters. He should look for jobs created by his masters. He should do good work and expect to be promoted and succeed. His success depends on showing his support for his masters. A low level clerk obeys his superior, to look for advancement. His superior looks to his superior for advancement and so on along the totem pole.

No one needs to think on his own. Your ability and acumen don't count much. What counts is your obedience and loyalty to your superiors and up the chain of hierarchy.

Government's plan so far is targeted to certain industries. But since they are all dependent upon the world economy, when that falls, they too fall. You have the sectors of tourism, the shipping trade, some biotechnology, and you have the financial sector where the crooks of the world are invited there to launder money. So for a Singaporean you can find jobs in these sectors, and if there are none, you are in trouble. If you tell a Singaporean that he should do it this way, he promptly obeys. But if your were tell that to an Australian, he would probably respond by saying "Why?" So since the average citizen in Lee Kuan Yew's nanny state is unable to think on his own, when the situation get tough, he is doomed.

I was born in Singapore, spent my schooling there and practiced law there for 10 years. Let me tell you how bad the law is. First you have judges in Kangaroo courts. The judges are required to deliver judgments favorable to the government and their cronies. Although there is a wealth of law in the law of defamation, whenever you are sued by Lee Kuan Yew's son or his cronies, you know you lost even before you stepped into the courtroom. If you thought as a lawyer, you could develop a certain area of law and be expert at it to advance your career, you couldn't be more wrong. It is not how much you know but who are. If you are a lawyer from one of the government connected law firms and you are know to be a sympathizer, you can win even a bad case. On the other hand if you are a lawyer known to be a political opponent, forget any success at the Singapore courts. Once the judge looks at you, you are as good as history, and so is your client. I have had many occasions when I had good cases but one look at me, and I lost the case. After a while no one wanted to give me any cases since they knew their cause is as good as lost. As a result the law never progresses. Everyone is trying to impress their rulers and the law is not only abused, it deteriorates.

It is the same with every other occupation. As children of a nanny state, everyone is trying to impress their nanny, because if you are recognized, you stand to benefit immensely.

Lee Kuan Yew's son is greatly admired by the locals, not so much of how good he is, but more because of how much money he makes. The local mentality is to look to profit, even if the object of your envy might be a bloody fool.

And this sort of mentality brings to mind a book I read and re-reading " First you have to row a little boat" by Richard Bode. It is about a boy who wanted a sailboat but was told by a salty sailor that first he has to row a little boat. And the advice to any local Singaporean in that island is first you have to support Lee Kuan Yew's son and the ruling party before anything else.

This sort of mentality in a society makes it doomed to failure. Especially in a small island such as this without any natural resources. The human mind is capable of great things and great things come from individuals, not through state planning. When Lee Kuan Yew embarked on his nanny state, he forgot the most important component to the equation, which is the people. For him, Singaporeans were merely widgets or digits who can be pushed around any which way and they will merely curl and roll over. So far that is exactly what they have been doing and a people who will willingly curl and roll over at the slightest order are not a robust people who can stand on their own and create opportunities for themselves.

Let me give you an anecdote. In Singapore almost every taxi driver is someone who has lost his other job. It is as if they are incapable of thinking of any other job. If you lose your job as a clerk, apply for a taxi license, as simple as that. If you cannot drive, apply to become a security guard. Almost everyone who has lost his job is either a taxi drive or a security guard! Why, firstly because they incapable of thinking of anything else and more importantly they don't have any self esteem. And more importantly they are helpless because they are afraid of the government. The by product of fear is the inability to think independently. And what is worse, they have no respect for their government institutions. They know the courts are Kangaroo courts. They know the law is being misused to punish any detractors. But they appear resigned to that fact.

Let me give you an example. A few days ago I had called a Singapore lawyer called Sujatha Bhargawan with her firm Gavan Law Practice in the island. Her Email is and her phone is 63331323. She has been in practice for at least more than 30 years. I asked her if she finds practicing in the island distasteful because the Constitution was being abused. She said she didn't think so. When I asked her if the law had been abused to destroy Lee's opponent such as the late JB Jeyaretnam, she said that happens in only some cases and does that happen in other non-political cases. I asked her since she was a lawyer does she know the Singapore constitution, to which she said she is ignorant. To justify her continued practice in that jurisdiction, she said her roots and all her friends are there. End of conversation. And she is just like every single lawyer who practices in that island.

I know she has no respect for the legal system in Singapore. But because it is too hard to say so, she just lives.

Australia and New Zeeland are good comparisons to the island. Their population size is not too dissimilar compared to Australia's geographical size. Opposite to Singapore, the average Australian is proud of his country. It has rule of law, a free press and the people are able to think and act as they want. Which is why Australian law is far advanced, their scientists are far advanced, each Australian individual has a mind of his own. Why because they don't have to live in fear and submit to any master. Which is why despite anything Australians will ride the storm. If it was hard to find jobs, they would create one of their own. Which is why they have sportsmen who make millions, independent businesses of all sorts and burgeoning ideas all over the country. If an Australian loses his job, he does not automatically drive a taxi in Sydney. Instead he might think of creating a business exporting shoes to Gaborone, Botswana! Which is why he will survive good times or bad. Because he does not live in a nanny state, telling him what he should and should not do.

Singapore's business is heading down. I am monitoring the news to see how bad it will get in 3 months.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont, California USA
Tel: 510 491 8525

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Singapore Island government running it like the Middle Ages

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Singapore is being run is if it were the Middle Ages.

Even though it is on paper a Constitutional democracy, it is in fact a kingdom. And the King is Lee Kuan Yew's son, the Prime Minister. And because of the way it is run, now in the 21 century, it is a sure way to run into oblivion.

For those who are not familiar with the goings on, let me explain. Firstly you have a thoroughly corrupt government. The official salaries of the Prime Minister and every single minister is not in the thousands of dollars but millions. I understand the official salary of the Prime Minister which was until recently $3.7 million a year, out of embarrassment, they themselves recently reduced to $2.7 million a year. But that is only the official salary. Unofficially they take much more in bonuses of several months a year, directorships and dividends from all major companies in Singapore. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that Lee Kuan Yew's son, Lee Hsien Loong who his late dictator father Lee Kuan Yew placed in power practically owns the island. In order to make his cronies continue to support him, he pays them each millions too so they ensure his retention of power.

It is quite often we hear that there is no corruption in Singapore. This statement is only partially true. None one else in the island is allowed to be corrupt. The only ones entitled are Lee Kuan Yew's son and his chosen lieutenants. Which brings to mind Reza Pahlevi, the father of the Shah of Iran who ruled Persia from 1925 to 1941. Subsequently the name was changed from Persia to Iran. He is attributed to totally eradicating corruption in Persia. It is said that he was so ruthless against corruption that once he threw some bakers into their own oven and burned them alive when he discovered corruption. But then there was only one man who was corrupt in Persia, Reza Pahlevi himself! He owned almost everything in his kingdom!

And then you have the state controlled news media repeatedly repeating that there is rule of law. But then JB Jeyaretnam a former opposition politician was repeatedly sued jailed and bankrupted, not for any crimes he committed but because he was openly against this regime. We have Chia Thye Poh who was jailed for 31 years, even longer than Nelson Mandela's 27 years for criticism. We have subsequently Chee Soon Juan a former professor at the Singapore University who was dismissed from his job, jailed and bankrupted for the same reason. When the Singapore judiciary are paid millions of dollars to openly abuse the law to punish dissidents, how can you say you have the rule of law?

I was and am a thorn on the side of this administration. While I was a lawyer, through trumped up disciplinary proceedings I was repeatedly disciplined and jailed. They even took away my law license in Singapore, all geared to silence me. But since I now live in California, I need not silence myself. Another case of judicial abuse to silence dissent.

I can go on. There was only recently Roy Ngerng who was fined $ 150,000 because of a blog he wrote about Lee Kuan Yew's son. There were 2 men in 2008 who wore T shirts with Kangaroos  in judicial robes found near the courts. They were sentenced to prison for doing that. There was a man who wrote the words "Democracy" on a monument near the Padang. He too was jailed.

And the entire news media including all blogs and social media are state controlled. There is not a single international newspaper that has not yet been sued for defamation, from Newsweek to the Wall Street Journal.

There are small minorities of Malays and Indians. They are all discriminated by the majority ethnic Chinese who are also the Prime Minister and his government. The Constitution talks of equality before the law. But the Constitution of Singapore is no better than a piece of scrap paper. None of the articles are obeyed.

And then you have the Communist Chia style shaming of political opponents. Each time a political opponent is arrested and punished, his image is prominently  displayed in the newspapers. The idea is course is to persecute the individual for the rest of his life. No one will give him a job, he will get the worst housing and he will be impoverished.

Chee Soon Juan, the earlier mentioned professor has been reduced to selling books which he himself authored along the streets of the island. So was the plight of JB Jeyaretnam before he died.

And then you have some weird Middle Ages punishments under the legal codes. A large number of offenses carry not only imprisonment but also caning, where trained prison officers beat the backsides of offenders until they are bloodied and their backsides permanently marred and deformed. The plan is to inflict as much pain as possible. And a man who has been caned is demoralized, humiliated and broken in spirit for life.

So what does this island government think it is doing? Do they think they are in the Middle Ages where the people were terrified into submission. For Heavens Sakes, we now live in the 21 century. People are educated and they are connected globally. We don't have to take this nonsense lying down. And that is exactly what is happening.

Even if they themselves are not beaten and tortured in this way, many Singaporeans feel uncomfortable living in an island where their fellow citizens are treated this way. They don't want to live in a country where they cannot read real news but state controlled Goebbels style propaganda. They don't want to live in an island where their fellow Indian and Malay citizens are discriminated. They don't want to live in country where you have to fear for your life and liberty because there is no rule of law.

So they leave in huge numbers to the West. Any right thinking person who is able to leave, leaves. They and their children choose to settle in the West. In this way the best and the brightest are lost forever. And especially for a tiny island like this, without natural resources, their only asset is their people which they are losing en masse.

Lee Kuan Yew's son and his government are simply following what his father did, ruling with an iron fist. The style of government is "You listen to me or else". But today the best and the brightest are saying to him "Else what?" And packing up and leaving.

This government does not realize that repression today has its reactions. The people are not so stupid or helpless as they were in the 1950s. Today in 2016 one does not have to live this way.

This King of Singapore governs entirely for self interest. He wants to continue to line his pockets with gold and like his father he thinks the only answer is to silence all dissent. He fails to realize that ultimately power lies not from his throne but from the people. Without the people he is as good as the proverbial emperor with no clothes.

And because the way the island is run, Singapore island under Lee Kuan Yew's son continues to suffer from numerous difficulties, while the government has no clue how to redress them. First you have the lowest birth rate in the world. For a small tiny city this is bad enough. Now with Zika virus, it has become zero, no births at all. Today the government has stopped asking people to have more babies since with Zika, such a request would be embarrassing. The government has stopped reporting the numbers who are emigrating, also I suppose to avoid embarrassment. The government has stopped going to all the Western capitals of the world, which they used to do every year to persuade Singaporeans who had left to return. No one appears to want to return.

Personally I don't think there need be a revolution in the island to overthrow this regime. I think they are doing it to themselves.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Tel: 510 491 8525