Ladies and Gentlemen,
This is the 2nd part of "Singaporean's Lack of Conviction Must damage Singapore's advancement" which appeared December 24, 2006. Right thinking, dedicated people, are needed for advancement of any country. Lawyers who love the the law, wanting to leave it a little better for their efforts. Sociologists working for a kinder society. Prison officers wanting to improve prison conditions. Policemen wanting to improve the enforcement of law. Honest passionate people are needed in all spheres of life. Dedication, courage and passion to change their country for the better. A people who love their country, their community. Such people are necessary for advancement of any society. Singapore lacks such people. Therefore Singapore cannot expect to advance like other free societies, like New Zealand, like Israel or Australia. And if it did, it must be limited.
This is the problem with Singapore. Every individual knows that Lee Kuan Yew and Son rule the country with their family members and selected few. That it is their word that matters. Not yours. That the media is owned and controlled by the Singapore government which is Lee Kuan Yew, his son and his friends. Therefore what you read is government information. Not necessarily news.
The lawyer knows that Singapore judges will decide cases to please Lee and Son. Any attempt by him to question the law will not succeed. It will also result in his not getting legal work, possible suspension and disbarment. There is no incentive for him to challenge any aspect of the legal system, if he wants to make a living. He therefore does not question. He goes through the law mechanically. He just does the work. If there ever was going to be changes in the law, it will be because Lee Kuan Yew, his son, or their chosen few have decided to do have it. This dampens any enthusiasm on the part of lawyers to do any better. The law stagnates. Lawyers have thrown away their thinking caps. There is no longer any burning desire in lawyers to want changes . There will never be an earth shattering "Brown vs Board of Education", as an example, in Singapore unless Mr. Lee Kuan Yew and his Son want it. Singapore does not have any real lawyers. They have people who plead cases for their clients as long as it is permitted by Lee Kuan Yew and family. Otherwise they will refuse the case.
The evidence of this is very clear from just one fact. There are 3,000 lawyers in Singapore. JB Jeyaretnam and Dr. Chee could not find any lawyer to represent them, except in the case of Dr. Chee. Only one lawyer Mr. M Ravi represented Dr. Chee. He has since been suspended from practicing law. Others will not represent Dr. Chee because of fear. They fear reprisals from the Lee Kuan Yew and his son for representing an opposition politician. A prominent criminal lawyer has said that he will take on any case but "please not a political dissident". What kind of lawyers are these, with so much fear, you may ask? Yes, this is the pathetic situation of the law.
Take journalism. A true journalist is duty bound to the people for the truth. Sorry, not in Singapore. In Singapore the entire media is owned and controlled by Lee Kuan Yew, his son and their collegues. All articles written are vetted and cleared before publication. You will never know that Lee Kuan Yew has corruptly stolen millions of dollars of public money, if he did it. We will not know whether this is true. But journalists cannot publish it even if they happened to know it. It will be censored and the journalist promptly fired from his position and thrown out to the streets. What kind of journalists are these, you may ask? But this is the sad state of journalists in Singapore.
Take teachers. Should not teachers be telling their students to seek the truth and to pursue it fearlessly. Should not teachers extol the virtues of honesty and pursuit of knowledge and wisdom? Not in Singapore. The teacher will not tell her students to pursue the truth. Since the truth is that Lee Kuan Yew and Son are despots and fascists, the truth may encourage the students to rebel against their rulers. This will not go down kindly by Lee Kuan Yew and Son. This rebellious teacher would be terminated, she would be charged with trumped up charges, sent to prison and be thrown on the streets. For self preservation, she will not teach the importance of honesty, integrity and the truth. She will merely go through the motions of her syllabus. What sort of a teacher is that? Well, you could say, she is a Singapore style teacher. And she will produce Singapore style conformists. A sad state of education there.
It is possible to achieve monetary success in Singapore in the professions, business and all walks of life. One does it by forgetting their principles and towing the line. The Lee Kuan Yew line. A lawyer achieves success by being a member of the People's Action Party and actively publicly supporting Lee's said party. Once recognized by Lee Kuan Yew, the lawyer will be employed by a Singapore government connected large law firm, paid large sums of money and be required to do any and all kinds of work given to him. Including dirty work like suing innocent people for defamation at Lee Kuan Yew's orders. One can get very rich doing such dirty work. But surely it is dishonorable and despicable. A good lawyer with a conscience cannot get the job or the work. Therefore he will remain poor. The unprincipled lawyer becomes rich.
The same with the journalist. Dishonest journalists will continue in employment and achieve high status. In return they abdicate their responsibility to journalism. The same with every other line of work. The businessman contractor connected to the Singapore government gets all the government contracts. In a small country like Singapore, without government contracts, you cannot get much work. The one who refuses to suck up to Lee Kuan yew and his son, gets what little contracting work that is left. He remains poor. The civil servant who sees the injustice that goes on against government opponents and wants to stop it, is himself stopped. Therefore civil servants continue punishing political opponents and reward PAP supporters, even though they dislike what they do.
What you have is this. An entire country where everyone does only what he is supposed to do without question. Lacking courage to demand change. To question. To think. To want to improve society for the better. To want to advance their body of science or profession for the better. Thinking is left to Lee Kuan Yew and his son and their selected few. The entire country then just comply and do what they have to for their salaries. No one cares. Since if you care too much, you may land in trouble.
With a society like this, I cannot see how it can achieve greatness. It will always be mediocre, since it lacks men of courage, with passion, wanting a better Singapore.
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