Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Straits Times, the Singapore state controlled newspaper in a story dated March 30, 2008 "Loss to law profession, but gain for Singapore" is all praise for Mr. K Shanmugam, Lee Kuan Yew's Member of Parliament on his promotion as Minister for Law. Is this really, all glory for this man, or is it in truth, misery?
Just look at him. He is an Indian lawyer selected many years ago by Lee Kuan Yew to join his party and become a Member of Parliament. Knowing Singapore as a one party state under Lee Kuan Yew, you know how this works.
His main qualification from the beginning is complete loyalty to one man, Lee Kuan Yew. Meaning exactly that. A complete and utter subservience to him. And the willingness to carry out his any command, just as a dog will faithfully carry out his master's orders. His principle ambition being all along to catch Mr. Lee Kuan Yew's eye which he succeeded. Never mind what sort of a tyrant he may be.
Well he succeeded in his ambition to serve his master. He was chosen by Lee, lucky for him; or is it really? And all these years he does Lee’s bidding. Saying anything he wants said. Doing anything he wants done.
All because it is highly profitable.
And during all these years as Member of Parliament, no Singaporeans has any respect for him. None at all. Indeed they don’t even care who or what he is. He merely goes about doing his job. His job includes sitting at resident committee meetings and the monthly meet the people sessions, which he does mechanically. He always contests elections in Group Representation Constituencies because there is a doubt whether he will win a single seat constituency, because he is an Indian in a majority Chinese country.
But he always wins elections because his master, Lee Kuan Yew sees to it. Any opposition contender is defamed derided sued and sent to jail if they challenge him. With Lee Kuan Yew's blessing and protection, this man survives as a Member of Parliament and now as a Minister.
If the next moment, Lee withdraws his support, Mr. K Shannmugam will no longer be Member of Parliament, let alone Minister. He will be selling "thosai", the Indian pancake along Serangoon Road next to Norris Road. He won’t be wearing fancy suits anymore but instead the Indian lungi, and chewing betel nut! He is not master of his destiny, Lee Kuan Yew is.
Within Singapore, in reality he represents no one. No one is bothered about him, or even knows anything about him. In fact no body cares two hoots, whether he is dead or alive.
The state controlled newspaper the Straits Times will of course put out the standard propaganda that he is brilliant, that he is smart and that he is none other than superman. But just like everything else the state controlled paper will say; the people just ignore it.
This man may go abroad, meet foreign governments and politicians. But foreign politicians are not like him. They, being true politicians, truly representative of their people, look upon this man as nothing more than Lee Kuan Yew's page boy. They have no respect for him. They know he is not truly a politician. He is a mere employee selected by Lee Kuan Yew to play the part of a politician. Like me, they also know that the moment Lee tires of him, he will very probably, end up selling the Indian pancake at the aforementioned location at Serangoon Road.
If this man's life is a happy one; or a shameful disgraceful and miserable one, I leave it to you to decide.
Let’s look at someone else. Let’s look at Dr. Chee Soon Juan of the Singapore Democratic Party. Dr. Chee is not a Member of Parliament. In fact he is a bankrupt. He was bankrupted by Lee Kuan Yew because he crossed his path. He is not rich as Mr. K Shanmugam. He is defamed and demonized in Singapore’s state controlled paper by Lee Kuan Kew. Lee calls him a liar, a cheat and a rascal.
But despite all that Lee says, the situation is quite the opposite. The people respect him. The people know him as a true leader. He is not beholden to anyone. He speaks his mind; unlike Shanmugam who says what he is told to say. A great number of Singaporeans read what he has to say. They listen to his speeches and they are interested in his actions. Not only in Singapore, but throughout the world, Dr. Chee is respected. In reality, Dr. Chee stands as a giant, next to this man Shanmugam; no better than Lee’s poodle.
The European Parliament has honored Dr. Chee. He has won many world leadership awards. World leaders respect him as a force for freedom and democracy. He is unable to travel because Lee refuses to let him. He is in effect a prisoner within Singapore. But world leaders are constantly monitoring his circumstances. They care for him. They worry about him. They know him. They respect him. They continue to lodge protests against Singapore for denying his human rights. Dr. Chee is seen as a true leader, a true fighter for democracy and human rights. He is not a Minister in Lee Kuan Yew's cabinet but he remains a giant before this Mr. Shanmugam.
World leaders on the other hand have never heard of Mr. Shanmugam. Had it not been for the state controlled newspaper the Straits Times, Singaporeans would not have known him either!
Mr. Shanmugam lives his life at the mercy and pleasure of Lee Kuan Yew, the authoritarian ruler of Singapore because it is profitable. Dr. Chee lives as a free man with a conviction and a purpose in life.
Despite all the worldly pleasures, it can only be said that Mr. K Shanmugam lives a miserable life. He is not a free man. He is on Lee Kuan Yew's short leash. Dr. Chee Soon Juan on the other hand, is a giant, lives as a free and happy man; a man respected not only by Singaporeans but by politicians and people all over the world.
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