Monday, December 5, 2016

As tiny Singapore island slides headlong into economic collpase, what it needs is some democracy, some kindness and compassion

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The economic bad news has been on the wall for a long time now. This tiny island's economy is heading to a total collapse. Every single economic sector of activity looks hopeless. The oil rig manufacture and supply is dead for obvious reasons. The days of fossil fuels are over, so the oil refining sector is dead. Pharmaceutical sector is dead. They are manufacturing it in cheaper countries. Casinos are dead. The Chinese don't have money to spare. Banking is collapsing because the idea of offshore banks supporting money launderers is failing.

Unless and until the rulers of Singapore realize that they need Singaporeans as their partners, and not their enemies, it is simply not going to work. What you have in Singapore is unadulterated merciless capitalism. You work for multi national companies and if you lose your job, you are destitute. There is no real safety net to speak of. This creates an atmosphere of fear, constant fear of losing one's job. This results in a sort of mental paralysis, lack of productivity and creativity since no one dares to venture into new enterprises for fear that you may fail and end up destitute.

And then you have a leadership that is seen by the average Singaporean as simply corrupt. The leaders pay themselves millions regardless of how anyone else lives. If you complain you are liable to be sued for defamation of character and hauled before their Kangaroo courts and made destitute.

The island has no basic freedoms. No freedom of speech, expression, assembly or freedom of the press. The citizens are required to simply obey and do as they are told.

And those who criticize, are treated very harshly. They are a very vindictive government. Many Singaporeans who have criticized the government have been driven into exile and either cannot return or are afraid to return. I was imprisoned in Singapore in 2008 for criticizing a judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean who unashamedly abused the law to punish an opposition politician Chee Soon Juan. Today he is completely marginalized. He was thrown out of his job and has no means of livelihood. I had to leave Singapore in 1991 because it was impossible for me to earn a living for criticizing the government. Today even though I am an American citizen, I fear returning to the island for fear of being imprisoned again on trumped up charges. There is no rule of law in the island. This sort of thing does not happen in any other country except in totalitarian dictatorships.

This sort of life results in deep dissatisfaction and unhappiness. The state is not seen as the partner of the citizens, but rather as their enemy about which there is nothing they can do.

If it has worked so far, it is only because in the 60s and 70s, there was no Internet. There was no instant news throughout the world. Today Singaporeans look at other countries where people live normal fruitful lives and ask why they have to live the way they do.

One country to take an example from is Finland. It is similarly sized in population of 5 million but has a much larger area. It is cold and a difficult country to live in. Yet they do exceptionally well despite their harsh climate.

1. It has real freedom, freedom of speech and every other freedom. It is truly a democratic society. Finns appreciate this and respect their government.

2. It has very generous unemployment benefits. This means that unlike Singaporeans they don't have to live in fear every minute of losing their job and becoming destitute. This enables Finns to experiment with new ventures and new enterprises. This promotes creativity and hence greater productivity.

3. They have free health care for all.

4. They have free education up to and through university. It does not matter what you study, it is free.

5. They have generous child care benefits. Mothers who have a child are given 3 months at full pay and another 7 months at 70% pay. You can if you want take more time off without pay. This encourages mothers to have children since they know that they don't have to be separated from a new born baby or lose their job if they took leave.

6. Child care centers are all over the country to cater for every Finnish child. And this too is free.

7. Finnish education system has been repeatedly declared the best in the world. Teachers are the most respected of professions and they are given great leeway on how or what they teach. Fin students constantly come up tops in mathematics and science in world ranking.

Understandably with this sort of welfare state, Finns are taxed higher than in Singapore, something which they willingly accept. This is because for the tax they pay, they get security in their lives and an opportunity to excel.

Finns despite their harsh climate are happy to live in their country. Unlike Singapore island which has one of the world's highest brain drain figures, Finns do not leave Finland.

The reader will be able to see why Finland is such a successful country. Their birth rate is much higher than in Singapore and some of the world's greatest companies are from Finland.

Unless and until Singapore realizes that they have to create a climate where their citizens can respect and trust their government, the economic decline will continue for the simple reason that the people dislike and distrust their government. The only question is whether the slide to economic collapse will be a gradual one or a sudden precipitous  one.

In spite of all this, I am certain of one thing. These corrupt millionaire rulers of Singapore island are not going to make any changes. It is going to be the same. And if that is so, no one can help Singapore.

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

Friday, November 25, 2016

As a society, citizens of Singapore island are fundamentally inferior, not creative, obsequious, opportunistic and fairly stupid.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is how Brzezinski Zbigniew, the former US National Security Advisor described the Russians living under Stalin. He said, to paraphrase, they are "fundamentally inferior, not creative, obsequious, opportunistic and fairly stupid". These words, in my opinion, are equally applicable to today's citizens of Singapore island. The similarities of those who lived in Russia under Stalin to present day Singaporeans are in fact similar. If they differ, it is only to an extent of degree.

Stalin systematically destroyed any opposition to him to create an entire population of grovelers who achieved high office in this despicable manner.

It is the same in Singapore today. Opportunists and boot-lickers who sing praises to this regime which has no rule of law, denies the basic civic rights such as freedom of speech, expression and assembly are promoted to high office, while those who think and disagree with this totalitarian authoritarian administration are punished and removed from their jobs.

As a result the dumb followers of this authoritarian regime is promoted while anyone else showing even a modicum of independent thinking is destroyed and denied any success.

This is how it is done in Singapore. Firstly the government has a litany of grassroots organizations in the island. One of them is the Peoples Association. Cabinet Ministers and other high ranking party members of the ruling party the people Action Party run this organization including many others.

Opportunists who want to advance in their careers will join and volunteer their services to this organization. If you are a lawyer, a doctor or in any other profession or vocation, your volunteering at these organizations are noted. It is also noted that because you volunteer at these organizations, you are also a supporter of Lee Kuan Yew's son who is the Prime Minister and his Peoples Action Party. It is taken that they can count on you for your support, during conferences and speeches given by the government, they can count on you to attend to make up the numbers for photo ops. You will be considered part of the PAP ruling party family. And since the government controls everything and everyone on Singapore island, no matter where you work, a wink and a nod from the top will advance your career and you will have a glorious future.

For those who do not do this, you are not seen as one of them. As a result your career is not guaranteed, your promotions are not guaranteed and your future is not guaranteed.

For about 40   years since the creation of modern Singapore, this arrangement was fine. The government selected certain sectors for job growth, such as offshore oil rigs manufacture, oil refining, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and electronics. and tourism and money laundering. Although this worked well for some 40 years, since there was little competition in third world South East Asia, things suddenly took a compete turn with the advent of the Internet. Every other country began competing and oil continues at rock bottom. So the economy of the island literally collapses. And the people are no help since they are dumb waiting to be told what to do next and obsequiously  licking the boots of Lee Kuan Yew's son.

Singapore simply cannot recover,. Their people are basically stupid and incapable of thinking for themselves. A tiny island such as this with a tiny population can survive only if each and every citizen is an entrepreneur who can create a job for himself as well as 10 jobs for others. This these obsequiousness  boot lickers who hang around to please Lee Kuan Yew's son simply cannot do. They must collapse.

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Singapore island society where being hypocritical, submissive and boring is good while taking risk, failing, independent thinking and creativity is bad

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Singapore is a small tiny island with about 5 million people, about 2 million of them are locals while the rest are foreigners especially recent immigrants from China. It has no natural resources whatsoever and it survives mainly of trading.

If a foreigner were to spend a few days in the island, he may not realize that the Singaporean is a very strange specimen of a human being. He is more similar to someone who has lived in the former Soviet Union, East Germany, North Korea or Cuba and has less in common with people who live in free countries such as the West.

For instance, in the West, one would admire courage on the part of an individual. The courage to stand up to one's convictions and beliefs or to fighting against tyrants and dictators is appreciated and admired. This is not so in Singapore island. There it is the other way round. If someone were to stand up against this Singaporean regime which is actually a dictatorship, he is not only not appreciated, he is treated as a fool and a clown who does not knw what is good for him. Someone who toes the line, sings praises to the regime's rulers, supports them in their various grassroots organizations and achieves high office through this support is seen as smart, intelligent and someone who knows what's good for him. Parents and teachers encourage their children not to criticize the regime, instead to openly support the regime because this will result in great reward and lifelong success and security.

But then how does one support a regime such as this? You see, it is a regime which is openly corrupt, whose rulers pay themselves five times the salary of what President Obama gets,  and in addition siphon off millions in addition. It is a system of government whose constitution is misused where it is illegal to make a speech in public, demonstrate in public and any criticism will attract imprisonment and financial ruin. In spite of being so, which everyone knows, the vast majority of citizens actually openly support this regime and hope to profit from their support.

What sort of man is this who is willing, not only to live a life such as this in bondage but in fact openly proclaim that that he supports this miserable form of life? It takes a hypocrite to say one thing and actually believe another. And therefore one could safely say that the Singaporean society is made up entirely of hypocrites or people who would be prepared to do or say anything if that is what it takes to succeed.

I can challenge any visitor to the island to prove me wrong. Just ask any ordinary citizen in Singapore whether he likes living the way he does. In private he may very well tell you that he is very unhappy but officially he would either say nothing or proudly proclaim that he is quite happy to live in a society which has no rule of law, no freedom of speech or expression and no liberty whatsoever.

His life is the most predictable one can imagine. The philosophy is for a student to work hard, be obedient, don't do anything wrong, obey your teachers and parents and do as you are told, support the ruling party and work hard in their grassroots organizations, get a scholarship and a university degree, then secure a job with the government or a government linked company, make a lot of money and retire. Such a man is considered very successful.

Whereas on the other hand, if you had other ideas, if you publicly stated that the regime is oppressive and you wish to have it changed, that you are going to fight them, that you want a society where people are free to have their own ideas, if you worked to bring down this regime, you would be labelled a bad man, a thug, a criminal. And the rest of society would shun you, not give you a job, not associate with you or have anything to do with you. You will be forgotten with no hope whatsoever. You would not be treated a hero. Instead you would be considered a clown and a buffoon. Someone who does not know what is good for him.

As a result of an entire population thinking this way, you have very little creativity, new innovations, or ideas since the whole population have stopped thinking and leaves it to the rulers to do it. The people on their part merely obey what the rulers have decided for them.

You can see that in numbers, this is a very bad arrangement. In a small society like Singapore, if only the rulers are allowed to think and formulate ideas, you are losing out on the creativity of an entire population, because they on their part have decided that it is not their job to think but just obey. This as you know is not the case in the West. In free societies everyone is allowed to think and be creative. Those who have the courage to stand up to injustice are treated as heroes like Martin Luther King or Gandhi. One looks up to those who have conviction and courage to stand up to their conviction, whereas in Singapore such men are treated as fools who do not know what is good for them.

You have been following the recent Singapore news where the economy has been steadily failing for the last 4 years with no recovery in sight. It has been clear to anyone who knows Singapore that the reason for this is the lack of democracy in the island. For an island such as this, you need human ingenuity to progress, you need ideas, you need political discussion, you need real news, not propaganda, you need gusto. It is not enough for the Singapore government to sit at their lofty tables to formulate their 5 year plan as to what to do. This is not enough. You need the participation of the people and without that you are doomed.

I think the Lee government realizes this but it is too late. Firstly the government is not prepared to allow democracy. If they did, they would be toppled. And secondly, even if they did, the people have become so behavior trained into submission that no amount of persuasion can make them think independently. You have seen this phenomenon in Russia. True, the Soviet Union collapsed and Boris Yeltsin became president of a democratic Russia. Did anything change? No . It didn't. The Russians did not know what to do next.

The Russians are not like Americans who can come up with some weird ideas. But weird ideas are good, like electing Trump. Trump or no Trump the USA will go on. Because it is the people who have ultimate power because they are free. And this creates change and change always creates progress. The Russians don't know this.

Singapore is like the former Soviet Union. Singapore will economically collapse. And the reason is the inability of the people to think. They are only capable of following. And following is not enough.

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

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Singapore island's economic decline caused by submissive conformist society

Ladies and Gentlemen,

When writing anything about Singapore island, it is first necessary to describe how tiny it is. Although a country by itself, it's entire size is just 26 miles east to west and 16 miles north to south at the tip of the Malay peninsula. In this tiny place is crammed about 5 million people, most of them foreigners. Without traffic you could drive within 30 minutes to the ends of the island, both lateral and longitudinal. The real Singapore population is a mere 2 million at the most. It has no natural resources and relies almost entirely on import export trade.

In such a country which has nothing, except its people, it therefore means that it's principle asset is the people. If the people have nothing to offer the world, the tiny island simply collapses. And that's that.

Unfortunately despite all the praise heaped on the late Lee Kuan Yew Prime Minister for creating a miracle economy from nothing (which is by the way, false) he seems to have completely lost the most important fundamental purpose in nation building, building its people.

For 50 years Singapore has had a centrally planned economy like the Soviet Union. Certain sectors were created by the state as economic sectors such as the sea port, oil and gas refining, commodities trading, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, casinos, banking  and tourism. And the people were directed to these jobs.

But the very lives of everyone was controlled, not just in jobs. In the Soviet Union, you had to be a member and supporter of the Communist Party, in China you had to be a member and supporter of the Communist Party and in Singapore you had to be a member and supporter of Lee Kuan Yew, now his son, and his ruling Peoples Action Party. Just as in the Soviet Union and China, Singapore has been ruled throughout it's history by this party. Without proof of such support you could not find a job in the Soviet Union, in Communist China or in Singapore.

This is mind control and mind control is bad for economic advancement, especially for a tiny island without any natural resources.

And even if you wanted to, it is very difficult for any honest man to support the Lee Kuan Yew type of government. What is it? It is a place where there is no freedom of speech, no freedom of expression, no right to assemble, no rule of law as the judges are all stooges of the Lee administration and an island with a defamation regime where you are sued for the slightest criticism.

So honest Singaporeans  who have some self respect have all left the island. They now live in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, England and other free countries of the world. I live in the USA.

Those who decide to stay behind in this island are those who are incapable of leaving or the opportunists who are hypocrites who will support anything and anybody if profitable. At the same time despite the great shortage of skilled people in the island, the only ones who are coming are those with no skills or who cannot speak any English from China.

So what you have is a submissive society. A society which is waiting for the state to give them jobs, to create jobs, to advice them where to go and what to do. And in this sort of society, those who are seen to be strong supporters of the state are given preferential treatment while those who do not show it are denied jobs and ways found to fire them.

As a result of the fear of not being seen to be supportive, the vast majority of the society make a bee line to the ruling party's organizations such as the Peoples Association, the Citizens Residents Committees, Consultative Committees and a litany of organizations which are all run and organized by the ruling party with government ministers and members of parliament running them.

As a result the lines dividing the ruling party and the country are blurred. Just as in Nazi Germany where Germany was Nazi and Nazi was Germany, in Singapore the Peoples Action Party (Lee's party) is Singapore and Singapore is Peoples Action party.

As a result just as in the Soviet Union, mediocre workers are in fact promoted to high office because of their support, whereas in a meritocracy they would have been left far behind. Their only qualification is official party support, not any real competence in anything. As a result of these mediocre workers, quality falls and productivity falls and the economy stagnates. This is what happened to the late Soviet Union and this is what happens today in authoritarian one party state Singapore.

For any tiny unusual island city state such as this, in order to succeed, the people have to be far better than their competition. They have to be better in the things they do. But Singaporeans are not only no better than anyone else, in fact they are one of the least productive societies in the world. In fact in several impartial international surveys held, they are the most unhappy people in the world and 2/3 said that if given a chance they would emigrate. Such an unhappy society engenders poor productivity, the lack of marriages and the world's lowest birthrate.

What the government should realize is that jobs are not created by the state but by the people themselves. But in order for the people to be creative, enterprising, daring to take chances, they first of all need democracy. They need to be sure that their government is honest and not a bunch of crooks. They should be able to read real news not propaganda. They have to know their judges are real, not Kangaroos.

But the people of Singapore are not secure in their island. They live in a dictatorship where to succeed, you first need to accept the authority of this corrupt state. And if you do succeed, it will be entirely because the state supports you, not because of who you are or what you are. And if you have to live in fear constantly, how can you ever do anything according to your own ideas.

Every single newspaper reports the constant descent of the economy of the island. More and more people are being thrown out of their jobs. There is a flight of capital as investors see no hope in the foreseeable future. And it also appears that the government has no intention of giving their people freedom. They are determined to subjugate their minds because otherwise they fear being thrown out.

In a few more years, the decline will hit rock bottom, massive numbers will be unemployed and there will be a revolution. But is seems that is what this government wants.

Even for the sake of argument, even if the government decides to give the people their freedom, can Singapore suddenly become creative and entrepreneurs on their own? I think, sadly not. A people who have for 50 years been told to merely obey and not think, cannot suddenly become creative and entrepreneurs. It did not happen in the Soviet Union after Boris Yeltsin. It will not happen in Singapore.

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

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Singapore's submissive docile and obedient society the principle obstacle for progress

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Everyday one reads in the news of Singapore island's failing economy. It's oil and gas industry is failing due to falling gas prices. The biotech industry is failing through competition. Casinos are losing money as the Chinese have no money. Singapore Airlines is losing traffic and is flying half empty running losses of several billions. The money laundering business is failing as developed countries are clamping down on tax cheats. The commodities market is lost because technology no longer needs a hub as a conduit and sellers are sending their goods direct to the consumer countries. The bad news continues to flow with no end in sight.

Why is Singapore island not able to extricate itself from these failures. The global events are of course one factor. But far more important is the mentality of the average Singaporean, someone who throughput his entire life has been conditioned to just follow orders from above, unable to think for himself and be independent. And this brain washing and behavior training has been assiduously, systematically trained them like dogs to merely obey, incapable of fending for themselves.

Lee Kuan Yew since the beginning of his rule in the 1950s had determined that the best society for him to rule over is one that simply obeys and does what he is told. He totally discounted the most important aspect of any society, that is, the ability to think and progress oneself through ideas and innovation.

In order to achieve his model citizen, a person who will work hard, do as he is told and simply obey, he put a system in place to achieve this. Through the decades, anyone who showed the slightest inclination to have ideas of his own was immediately destroyed and punished. Although there were only a handful of people in the tiny society which was Singapore who showed any spine, every single one of them was mowed down and destroyed, firstly to remove them as a threat to his power and secondly to send a strong signal to everyone else that it is suicidal to try to have views in opposition to the state.

First we had Chia Thye Poh, a critic of the Lee Kuan Yew Administration. He was conveniently branded a Communist and jailed for 31 years, even longer than Nelson Mandela, to remove him as a threat and to teach a lesson to everyone in the island on the futility of any opposition. He was finally released and today lives out the reminder of his life in obscurity.

Then we had JB Jeyaretnam, a lawyer and opposition politician. He too was repeatedly sued for defamation of character, jailed and bankrupted. He was effectively removed from politics. He has since died.

Then we have Chee Soon Juan, a former professor at the University of Singapore. For his temerity to criticize the leadership, he was sacked form his job, repeatedly sued for defamation and bankrupted. He has since tried to stand for political office but has failed miserably because the majority of Singaporeans refused to vote for him out of fear. He has been effectively removed from politics.

In my case since 1984 I had been a critic of the regime. For that, while a lawyer in Singapore I had been repeatedly charged with trumped up lawyer disciplinary charges. In 1981 I was suspended from practicing law in the island for 2 years although it didn't effect me personally since I had already left for the United States. In 2008, being an American citizen, I returned to Singapore and while there I wrote a blog post criticizing his corrupt judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean for abusing the law to punish Chee Soon Juan. I was arrested and sent to prison for 3 months. I had said that "Judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean had prostituted herself in being nothing but an employee of the government and the ruling party". After I returned to the US, I had written another blog in similar terms to describe the judge Judith Prakash for sending 3 young men to jail merely for wearing T Shirts with a picture of a Kangaroo in judge's robes. After that the Singapore Law Society began disciplinary proceeding against me in Singapore. They disbarred me from practicing law in Singapore in absentia. Not that it bothers me since I live and practise law in California.

Every single action aforementioned by the Singapore authorities was done for one purpose and one purpose alone, which is to intimidate every single Singaporean not to criticize the administration and as a warning as to what will happen to you if you did.

Today looking at the Singaporean society, they have achieved their purpose beyond their wildest dreams. What then is Singapore today. It is an island literally without a Constitution. Every single constitutional human right is denied giving the rulers absolute power over their citizens. The right of free speech is denied. Anyone wishing to make a speech in public is required to have a police permit. There is no right o to peaceful assembly. Anyone wanting to organize a peaceful assembly in public requires a police permit. And by the way, even if you applied for a permit you will not get it. No police permits have every been issued to anyone to criticize the regime.

There is no free press. Every single newspaper or news media has to be licensed by the government under the Newspapers and Printing Presses Act. In fact even the possession of a printing press is illegal without a government permit. The judges are all minions serving the state. Any case where the litigant challenges the power of the state is immediately struck down and the litigant harassed and victimized. In other words the people have to live as slaves, nothing but slaves.

And what today is a Singaporean? He is one who out of fear is incapable of forming any independent opinion over the way he lives. He is resigned to live in total fear of the state in total submission.

Especially in a tiny society such as this, without any natural resources, the only asset is the people. And especially in a tiny society such as this, the only way to advance and succeed has to be through the ingenuity of the people, to form opinions and ideas, to be able to fend for themselves, to create new enterprises through ideas, to form a niche in a certain area and to compete and advance in this global society through one's ability. That unfortunately is not possible by such a society who are trained to believe that the only way to survive is to not rock the boat, to be another number in society waiting to be told what to do and waiting to be given a job by the state.

For anyone with an mind of his own, such a life is distasteful. You live a life realizing that you are powerless and only survive because of the kindness and generosity of the state. And when the state has run out of ideas as it is now, the people are powerless to do anything about it, waiting for the next order from above.

When I was living and practicing law in Singapore, I was told a joke about Singaporeans by a former judge Mr. Rajendarn who was very quickly removed from his post, very probably because he had shown some independence of spirit. The joke went this way. Once they wanted to know how Americans behaved. So they put 2 Americans and one girl in a lonely island. When they went to check on them 3 months later, they found that one American had killed the other and ravished the girl. On another occasion they put 2 Englishmen and a girl in that lonely island. When they went to check 3 months later they found both men had killed the girl and ravished each other. Subsequently they had placed 2 Singaporeans and a girl in that lonely island. When they went to check after 3 months they found nothing had happened. When asked why they didn't do anything, they said they were waiting for further orders!

It is simply not possible in this day and age for any society, especially a tiny one such as in Singapore to be governed through central planning. The Singaporean leaders today simply cannot sit in their cozy offices planning what industries to create, what jobs to be dished out. It no longer works that way. No matter what the Singaporean leaders plan and execute, global conditions change so fast that you simply cannot stay ahead. The only way for a tiny society such as this to advance is through each individual thinking for himself how he wants to live, and how he should make opportunities to survive for himself and his community. The engine for growth is the individual himself, not some government bureaucrat sitting behind closed doors and planning what is best for you. Besides being a very distasteful way to live, it is impossible for human beings to advance through their own ingenuity and ideas in this sort of existence.

You can compare Singapore with bustling cities such as London San Francisco and New York. Every day its citizens throw up new ideas and new enterprises, not because their governments had done this for them, but because they themselves have come up with these ideas. London is full of all sorts of businesses and activities. They have world reputed banks, restaurants, businesses, new ideas that is the marvel and envy of the world. And the reason for this is that an Englishman is free to do as he wants, without his government punishing him for ideas not in conformity with officialdom. Like a river flowing down from a mountain, no matter what the obstacles are in its way, it will still find a way around and continue to progress. This is not possible for Singaporeans, since they can only sit back and wait for the their government to tell them what they should do next.

Unfortunately for Singapore, the rulers have no intention of giving their citizens any freedom for obvious reasons, because if they did, their grip over them will loosen. And if that happens, they would be overthrown. So the only way for them to remain in power is to make sure their citizens continue to live as slaves under their complete grip.

And unfortunately for Singaporeans, even for the sake of argument, that the government does decide to loosen their grip, the citizens simply cannot escape from their mentality cultivated over decades where they simply are told to obey. So whether one likes it or not, no matter what, the island will continue to decline economically only because you have a society which is incapable of deciding for themselves.

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

Monday, October 24, 2016

More depressing news for Singapore economy, heading towards total collapse.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Just as a reminder, Singapore island is so small, sometimes you don't see it on the map. It is just 277 square miles. An island 26 miles East to West and 16 miles north to south. It has no natural resources and most of it is just a few feet above sea level. If there is no traffic, you could drive from north to south or east to west in just 30 minutes! In this tiny place about 5 million people are packed, one on top of the other in high rise government owned pigeon hole like apartments which it rents to the people on 99 year leases. I mentioned these facts to point out how precarious the dire economic situation is on the very existence of the island. If a mere 5 large companies were to close, the island government and economy will completely collapse, that's how small it is. And by the signs we see now, it appears that it is indeed going to happen very soon. For a tiny place like this, even a small downturn in the economy, will instantly result in total shutdown of the island.

In todays Reuter report " Outlook dims for Singapore Inc as economy moonwalks", a very dim picture is shown on the island's future survival. Please see report here

The reference to "Moonwalk" is a pun on local Chinese custom of eating cakes known as mooncakes during this time of year. A local Singapore employer John Kong a building material supplier was unable to send mooncakes to his workers because he was not making any money and couldn't give any pay rise to his workers because his business is hitting rock bottom and worries on whether he could stay in business. He says his business friends are wondering what will happen to them in 3 months. Businesses are cutting marketing expenses and laying off workers.

China's slowdown, a country upon which the one party state centralized planning rulers of Singapore  have decided to depend upon almost entirely, has given a body blow to Singapore's economic survival. Singapore's business for manufactures and shippers down, commodity markets business down, oil and gas sector down, companies bad debts rise, island's money laundering business down, financial services down.

"Earning forecasts for Singapore's listed companies are falling at among fastest in the world".

"Companies are also struggling with debt burdens that have ballooned since the financial crises, even as bottom lines have shrunk"

According to Thomson Reuters "Net incomes are down almost 40% since Jan 2008, net debt has more than doubled"!

Singapore banks DBS Group Holdings and Overseas Chinese Banking Corp are suffering from losses as a result of their loans to these troubled businesses.

Singapore's money laundering scandal the 1IMDB has resulted in banks having to spend more in compliance thereby losing money with no money coming in. Indonesia's tax amnesty has resulted in almost 11 billion dollars flowing out of the island, causing a dent in the offshore banking industry. Especially since the majority of the clients of these banks were Indonesian bank fraudsters, their departure may even put an end to the money laundering business, for which these off shore banks are primarily used.

Entire floors at central shopping malls are empty and tourists are cutting spending.

Singaporeans it appears are losing hope and worried. Key factors were quality of life, regular income and employment because there is no unemployment benefits or social security. If you lose your job, you and your family starve. A person with no money cannot live off the land because there isn't any. It is a small tiny island concrete jungle.

Although Singapore has one of the world's lowest birth rate's in the world, now with these bad tidings, women are not choosing to be pregnant and no babies are born in their maternity hospital. This creates even more pressure to import foreign workers, something the government is trying to slow down since foreigners, mainly from Communist China, already outnumber locals in that tiny island.

Jessica a 39 year old said she lost her job as an audit supervisor, has cut down on her spending, and told her kids she can no longer buy things as often as before.

I mentioned the small size of the island and its tiny population without any natural resources. A large country with an independent minded people living in a democracy may find ways to save themselves. Singapore however is doomed. The collapse in such a small place would be almost instant. Once the bad news takes hold, businesses would leave, people would leave, massive unemployment, there would a run on the banks and the Singapore dollar would become worthless.

If there is any hope of survival, perhaps they should stay. But there is none. And the fault is entirely the making of the former prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. And his son who has taken over is only capable of following his father. Lee carefully created over 50 years a citizenry that is totally reliant on the state. A model citizen is one who obeys the state and merely does what he is told. No need to think. The jobs that are created so far is the result of central planning in certain economic sectors. Jobs are not created by its people as is the case in democracies around the world. In Singapore anyone who has ideas of his own is punished and persecuted against. Only those who are mindless conformists can expect to survive. Unless the government can now think of new ideas to employ their citizens in the nanny state, I think the game is lost.

Especially in a small island such as this, Lee Kuan Yew's main concentration of his efforts should be to develop a democracy, where the people have their human rights, where there is rule of law and where everyone is given an opportunity to think independently and come up with new ideas. This is not so in Singapore. What he has done is to create a citizenry that lives in fear of the government and where the best way to survive is to kow tow and blindly obey their rulers. Such a citizenry is incapable of saving themselves in this situation.

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

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