Ladies and Gentlemen,
James Tan had written a comment to my following blog post. As it explains the situation better than anyone, I am posting his comment below as a blog post.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
An excellent question from Edwin Soh which requires a full answer.
james tan said...
When Edwin Soh use words like modern and global city, followed by the word success, I wonder where he get these words from ... the political propaganda machinery?(No offence to Edwin, just that I was once like him)Because I believed the similar lies told to me, I have an Aussie lecturer who taught me to think independently to solve problems within an organisation. I use the same set of thinking to Singapore as an organisation and I came to realise that a lot of things do not add up.
Trust the Aussies who teach Marketing, they will sell you a dead horse. But nothing beats the marketing LKY put up. The outward first world facade of Singapore is too perfect, everything is too efficient. There are a lot of energy, but the energy seems to move in one direction. Singapore is like a perfect factory, with a first-class production line. And success is narrowly defined in financial and economic numbers.
But if we are living in a truly modern and global city, I would first expect a melting pot of people who arrive from all over the world, I would expect a totally imperfect organic living city, where tradition stand side by side with innovation, successful buildings alongside decaying buildings, but always with spots of urban renewal, where there are creative energy, and destructive energy. There are conformists and there are rebels. Alternative views are tolerated because no one has the answer on what the correct way to the future. I expect a lot of debate, people who contribute diverse ideas out of good intention. There are the odd or weird people who decided to do things differently. There are people who are passionate about their beliefs and want to change the world. But there are also failures who are given the dignity to live within the society and not as outcasts.
But for all these to happen, you have mentioned about the basic criterias
- the rule of law - no one is above the law, especially human beings
- an honest government whose politicians are open to public scrutiny and who are not afraid to apologise for past mistakes, even if the intentions of the policies at that time are for the good of the people.
- an independent judiciary
- an independent central bank
- respect for human rights and institution to uphold human rights
- a free and independent press, whose reporters are empowered to investigate without fear of reprisals from the investigated. At the same time, there are independent institutions to check on the power of the press.
- freedom of speech and expression where whistleblowers are protected by law, alternative views are valued.
But these are the very things which I was taught are dirty and only for barbaric countries. These things will disrupt the comfortable life I had in Singapore. I feel like I am betraying the countryman by quitting the place.
Finally, I realise how blissful ignorance is. Lies were so sweet.
And now, I am writing this comment, and think, what took me so long to regain my life. I should have left long ago. I am no difference from a North Korean escapee, esp it is my mind which is imprisoned.
February 24, 2008 5:25 AM