Ladies and Gentlemen,
I wonder whether Lee Kuan Yew's son, the Prime Minster of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong sleeps well these days. His father is now 84 years old. He has been described by one of our readers as a "frail old man". And while time passes, day by day, Lee Kuan Yew is one day at a time, nearer death. Like a ticking time bomb, the day of reckoning inexorably approaches for Lee's Prime Minster son. And that day of reckoning is his father's death.
Realizing that he has no political qualifications whatsoever, does he fear for the future, when his father dies? What is to happen to him?
If he takes stock of himself, this is what he sees. He is his father's son. That is his only qualification in politics. His birthright made him a brigadier in the Army; made him a deputy prime minister for many years, and now made him the Prime Minister. He has been a good student. He has been to Cambridge. He has paper qualifications. He is obedient to his father. He obeys his father. But if you take away his only qualification for politics in Singapore; being Lee Kuan Yew's son; he will probably be working in some bank now, with a good pay. After all he has good paper qualifications. But he cannot be a political leader. Certainly not Prime Minster of Singapore. He knows this very well.
And while he knows this, the people know this too. And they don't like it.
You see dynasties all over the world. It is common. But their situations are completely different from ours. Take Syria. Haffez al Assad died. His son Bashar became president. Nothing out of the ordinary in Syria. Syria does not have a parliamentary system based on the English model. Syria has tribes. The ruling tribe form the government and their sons take over when father dies. That is how they are. And that is how they will be.
Had Saddam Hussein not been murdered by the Americans for oil, he would have carried on comfortably and died a natural death in bed. And when he died, either Udey or Qsay, his sons, would have naturally become president. These Arab countries are run traditionally this way. No problems at all.
But Singapore is different. Very different. With the British colonizing the country, the basis was meant to be the British parliamentary style of government. On top of that, to make things even more difficult, there were 3 different races of people. In such conditions, the only system that can work has to be a fair electoral system, with one man one vote, with people being given a chance to elect their chosen representatives into parliament. That was what the people always wanted. And expected.
What Lee Kuan Yew has done is to change the entire basis of government. And introduce a completely foreign unacceptable practice of dynasty. Like the dynasty in North Korea where father Kim Il Sung dies and his son Kim Jong Il assumes the throne. Lee Kuan Yew fails to understand that Singapore is not North Korea, not the Islamic Republic of Syria nor is it Saddam Hussein's Iraq. He should have realized that this cannot work for Singapore; but obviously the greed for money and power got the better of his judgement.
And Lee's son blindly went along with it. Question is whether he is also blindly heading into a lot of trouble. Sooner than later.
The ground now is totally against this Lee Administration. With the payment to themselves of unacceptably huge salaries; with nearly a third of the population living at or below the poverty line while the Ministers wallow in their $3.7 million per year salaries; with the people not being given their retirement and told to wait until they are 85; with the law being abused daily to punish political opponents; with prices up and wages down; with almost universal hatred over the island against them; life now must seem a little worrying for Lee Junior in his Prime Minister's job. And if not, it should be.
He has to wonder, as his father goes one step nearer the grave every minute, as to what is going to happen to him on the day of reckoning? When his father kicks the bucket.
I am sure Lee Kuan Yew must have ordered all his ministers and government men to take an oath of unconditional eternal loyalty to his son on his demise. Question is, will they keep their word? And even if they kept their word, will events overtake them.
From the observations so far, certain things are certain. The people will not accept Lee's son. If they do now, it is only because Lee Kuan Yew is around, as he has been for the last 40 years. And not being accepted, the people will jostle for power. Others who have been waiting in wings will emerge as challengers and contenders.
And while all this contention and challenging goes on, international confidence in the island, upon which the country relies the most, may begin to wane. Cash may begin to flow abroad. The island being so small and the reliance for survival being so concentrated in a few areas, oil refining, tourism and banking; all areas which depend heavily on international confidence, you may have a sudden weakening of the Singapore dollar. The million dollar ministers may be the first to leave Singapore with their money, while the Sing dollar still has some value.
And our poor Lee Hsien Loong will alas be left in the lurch. Or even worse, I do not know what.
Although worrying does not help in any case, perhaps he should begin to think about his future. He can try to prolong his father's death with strong medicine, but we know that it only postpones the inevitable.
It is impossible for Lee Kuan Yew to cheat the Prince of Death. Each time Lee Kuan Yew looks back, the Prince is a step closer.
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