Saturday, August 11, 2007

Singapore. The widening income gap and the consequences.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The World Politics Review, a magazine on international politics in its August 10, 2007 report by Fabio Scarpello "Uneasy Birthdays for Singapore Indonesia and Malaysia" has some startling facts.

It says although Singapore has continued to enjoy 7.6% annual growth, the majority of Singaporeans have not benefited. The wealthiest 10% have continued to enjoy annual rise in incomes of 2.3% whereas the poorest 10% have actually suffered 4.3% drop in income yearly.

It goes on to say that although the number of millionaires in Singapore has increased by 21% to some 67,000 people, more than 60 % of Singaporeans do not have to pay tax! Their incomes are too low and therefore are not liable for tax!

As for the millionaires, keep in mind that a large number of them are Indonesian money launderers and fugitive criminals who have parked their ill gotten gains in Singapore with the permission of Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, tax free.

What this tells us is simply that Singapore is no more than a low cost country where people work for peanuts (to borrow that word made famous by Mrs. Goh Chok Tong when she referred to TT Durai's salary of several thousand dollars as peanuts) only to support the high incomes of company owners to support their lavish lifestyles.

And the future for these poorly paid workers appears to become progressively bleak, as the government appears determined to bring down their wages even further by permitting unlimited numbers of workers from even poorer countries to flood the labor market in Singapore, thus taking jobs away from Singaporeans and depressing wages even further.

In my previous post, I had said that this government appears determined to bring Singaporeans wages at par with the wages in Bangladesh and it appears this government is succeeding comfortably. Yes, the Singapore government is succeeding very well in depressing low income wages even further.

What you have in Singapore is this. You have the government cronies and ministers and their friends and family, I think the word is nepotism and corruption, who take or rather steal from the people several millions of dollars each year which they call salary, but in fact it is no more than just plain and simple theft. This goes on in broad daylight, with government approval, which they themselves are.

Then you have the masses, as I mentioned those who do not have to pay taxes because their income is too little, who toil away at Bangladesh wage levels only to support the lavish lifestyles of Lee Kuan Yew, his family and friends and faithfuls, not forgetting his good friend, the President of Singapore SR Nathan.

By and large these masses are deliberately kept half educated because they were deliberately kept out of higher education on the lame excuse that there are not enough places in tertiary education. I say deliberately half educated because without an education these lower wage people are unable to realize that they are in fact no more than slaves.

All that matters for them is a decent job and 3 meals a day for themselves and their family. Things such as fundamental freedoms such as the need for a free press, right of assembly and speech and other such rights which people in other more developed countries cherish more than anything else, does not enter the equation. Simply because they have not been made aware that such rights are important. Simply put, they are ignorant, though a lack of education. And the PAP government is determined to keep them ignorant. An empty head is much easier to control than a full one.

In between these masses with little or no education, unaware of their democratic rights and the filthy rich top 10%, you have the educated who are aware of their rights and are fully realized of their plight. They are aware that Singapore is no more than a fascist state which deliberately keeps their citizens poorly educated, they are aware that Singaporeans hardly have any rights, and every organ of civil society is firmly in the hands of one man, Lee Kuan Yew.

Among these educated, there are a few such as Dr. Chee who dares to deliberately and openly challenge Lee Kuan Yew's authority and thereby willingly suffer great hardship and punishment therefore. But such courageous men and women like Dr. Chee and Chee Siok Chin, Gandhi Ambalam and Monica Kumar are few.

The large majority among the educated, who really understand that the average Singaporean is no better than a slave, decide to have no part of it. They either withdraw from any participation with this government or they decide to emigrate.

This is where the government appears to be suffering. In order to run the administration of a country like Singapore and to staff the administrative and executorial positions of large companies, the country has to have highly educated professionals dedicated to their jobs and to their country. But because it is well known that the Singapore government and their politicians are no better than gangsters, who abuse the legal system, the civil service and punish and bankrupt political opponents, the educated either leave the country or refuse to cooperate with this administration.

Without sufficient numbers of highly trained and experienced executive officers, Singapore will not be able to continue much longer. Singapore has shot itself in the foot. The fact that it is a corrupt regime is known throughout out world. It has lost its reputation. It cannot persuade sufficient local talent to remain in the country and neither can it attract foreign talent to work and settle in Singapore.

In fact it is very clear form the reports that of the 670,000 foreigners who hold permits to work in Singapore, 60% are comprised of Filipina maids, construction workers from Bangladesh India and Burma and other unskilled workers from nearby countries.

There is a ongoing massive brain drain of the educated out of Singapore. These people who are the very ones needed in Singapore are not being replaced through immigration, because despite all the effort of the Singapore government in recruitment in countries such as Australia and the UK, the impression that is entrenched in the minds of the people in the West is that Singapore is a country that metes out corporal punishment to it's people, it has the highest execution rate in the world and anyone who criticized Lee Kuan Yew is liable to be made bankrupt. Such is not a country that a UK citizen would want to live in.

Among the lower working classes there has to be some support for the PAP and his Lee Kuan Yew. These people, not knowing that they are entitled to any better, join the PAP organized Residents Committees and join the PAP in the hope that such support will result in their benefiting though Lee's patronage. One really cannot fault them, since after all they are ignorant. It would be impossible to have a debate with them on the need for freedom of speech for instance.

But sadly for Lee Kuan Yew and his family, they are going to find that as time goes on, the only ones remaining in Singapore would be these half educated lot who would be content to live under the yoke of Lee Kuan Yew because they know no better. But these lower educated people are not the ones needed in the Singapore of the future.

And without sufficient numbers of discerning and demanding citizens, not just yes sir yes sir men, Singapore will not be able to compete. And not being able to compete, it will fall.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If the Lee family and the ruling elite are really sincere about justice and equality they should share some of their wealth with the poorest of the poor of Singapore. Imagine old Lee and his wife having to wash Changi airport's toilets or waiting on tables in the hawker centre. The old people of Singapore have dignity too. They should be accorded some welfare for all their contribution in their earlier days. If I have $3million a year salary, I will be happy to share them with some of the poor fellow countrymen