Ladies and Gentlemen,
There was a joke in the former Soviet Union which goes like this. In Pravda, there is no "truth" and in Isvestia there is no "news", which by the way were the 2 main newspapers in Soviet Russia. In Russian, Pravda meant "truth" and Izvestia meant "news". Both, of course, were state owned and controlled newspapers in the former Soviet Union. But what you got was neither truth nor news, just plain propaganda. That the Soviet Union is doing well. Grain production has gone up ten fold. The country cannot be in a better shape. Everything is just perfect. Except that the Soviet Union in truth was crumbling.
Which reminds me of the state owned and controlled Singapore newspapers such as the Straits Times. And by the way, the entire Singapore press and media is both owned and controlled by Lee Kuan Yew and his government. No one is allowed to print and publish any newspaper in Singapore without a permit from Lee Kuan Yew's government under the Newspapers and Printing Presses Act. And you guessed it. If you were going to write anything critical of him, you not only would be denied that permit, but you will be sued for defamation, crippling damages will be awarded and you will be promptly bankrupted.
I have not been able to get any real news in the state controlled Straits Times. For instance today's Straits Times carried an article about a teenage boy who had sex with another teenager; a prostitute was found precariously hanging from a high rise HDB flat and Walter Woon, Singapore's Attorney General counters an argument of a lawyer who says there is one law for the rich and another for the poor. But what news is there about the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Trade, the Ministry of Manpower, the Foreign Ministry? Nothing.
And no one can contradict anything put out by this state controlled press one way or the other, for the simple reason that no one knows what is really happening.
Which leaves me to guess as best I can, reading what is out there in the foreign media. They tell us that Singapore has turned into a tax haven for the rich from other countries, as a money laundering center, like Vanuatu, a Pacific atoll. A place where the poor are no longer able to live due to unbearable costs. A place where one person takes his life everyday mainly by jumping off high rise HDB flats and where the government uses the law courts to punish dissenters by throwing them in jail, one of the victims being myself.
On the whole, one thing is clear. The reputation of Singapore has been irreparably tarnished. There is no doubt about it. The Washington Post is the foremost and most highly respected newspaper in the United States together with the New York Times. And if the Washington Post reports that Singapore is a country which uses its laws to suppress legitimate criticism, then this must be the end for Singapore. And this is exactly what they did in their report titled "Public enemy in Singapore" dated Dec 9, 2008 when they described the shameful use of the law courts to silence Dr. Chee Soon Juan.
Singapore is not a self sufficient agricultural country that can ignore international opinion. It is not Burma. Every aspect of Singapore's existence depends on the goodwill of the world. Trade, education, investment, banking and commerce. Once it's reputation is sullied, it can no longer pretend to be a place that one chooses to invest in, a place where one gets educated in, a place where one does honest banking.
And in the end, the truth always has a habit of surfacing. Tyrants and dictators around the world will try to put up a good face in public, but their lies and deceit must eventually begin to take a toll. As is the case with Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew.
Another report of significance is the Asian Wall Street Journal's article titled "Democracy in Singapore" of June 26 2008 and the article titled "Singapore maneuvers in response to Chee" in the Far Easter Economic Review of Dec 9, 2008. These are not papers that one can easily dismiss. They are read by people of importance all over the world. And what they say is the same thing. That Singapore's attempt to show themselves as a democracy with the rule of law is nothing but a front. That it is in fact plain and simply a dictatorship with Lee Kuan Yew the dictator since 1959, as long a Fidel Castro of Cuba.
Dr. Chee Soon Juan is undoubtedly winning in this battle between democracy and tyranny, between truth and falsity and between the rule of law and rule by dictate. And with the Godsend, the Internet, Lee Kuan Yew cannot win in his desperate attempt to continue to keep criticism under wraps.
The effect of this bad publicity will undoubtedly take a toll on the Singapore dictator's ability to continue with business as usual. The rot has already begun to spread. The edifice has to fall in due course. This is the time for everyone who cares for Singapore to weigh in with the truth and help to turn this place into a real democracy. Agitate, write, protest, go to jail, do whatever you can. It cleanses the soul. And you can look at yourself tomorrow and tell yourself, there was a man. Not a dictator's lackey.
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