Readers of this blog who are unfamiliar with the goings on in Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore, may think reading the comments that there are many who think Singapore is a democracy based on the rule of law. The reader is warned that they may be Singapore government employees whose job is to discredit those who criticize Lee Kuan Yew's authoritarian rule. Please use your discretion as to how much weight you will give these comments.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The grim forecast on the Singapore's economy keeps coming in. Worst recession in Asia. 300,000 jobs to be lost in 2009. The population to shrink by a certain percentage. The foreign population of Singapore will leave almost to the last man. Singapore Airlines losing traffic, cargo and pilots. Ships leaving Singapore port for Tanjong Pelapas.
Really it looks very bad. Yet the 86 year old Minister Mentor who used to carry a hatchet in his bag to kill off his enemies, either metaphorically or otherwise I could not tell; his minion Tharman Shanmugaratnam, the Finance Minister and his son whom he placed as Prime Minister; all claim that all this will pass, it is all normal economic fluctuations, nothing to worry about, get yourself a glass of soda, ice cream, relax and everything is going to be fine! Really?
I don't think so. The Singapore model is broken. Incongruous. The parts do not fit. It cannot work.
In the 1960s Singapore was a place for cheap labor. This was its niche. A disciplined willing and ignorant work force working for peanuts was excellent for foreign companies. Quiet submissive obedient workers who will take anything and never go on strike. But this was not the people's idea. In fact the people had no part to play in the entire economy of Singapore since its inception. It was Lee Kuan Yew and his minions who decided everything. It is this lack of the people's output that will see the downfall of this economy.
Then it was banking. Foreign banks were persuaded to set up office here. The money they were particularly after was the illegal money from cheats all over the world. Now you have Burmese drug lords, thieves and cheats from India who avoided Indian taxation, Indonesian cheats who robbed banks, Robert Mugabe who banks his ill gotten gains in Singapore because no one else will accept it, and every other crook in the world finds sanctuary in Singapore. This dirty money is what keeps Lee Kuan Yew and his government going.
And then we have bio tech industry. Several millions of very good money is invested into this industry. Question is will it succeed? I think not. This high technology science involves the presence in Singapore of highly educated people. These people are the first to be informed of the sad state of human rights in Singapore where decent people are sent to jail merely because they wrote a blog post, merely because they carried out a peaceful protest! This intolerance for normal human rights destroys the reputation of any country, just as that of Burma which is completely destroyed. With the bad reputation that Singapore has, being a dictatorship which rules through fear, you are not going to get educated honest scientists to associate with a disgraced state like Singapore.
Where the law is daily abused by corrupt judges, such as Judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean of the Singapore High Court, to punish and imprison Lee’s critics. There are a few scientists who might be willing to associate with a disgraced state like Singapore for very high salaries but how many are they? Not a single self respecting scientist will be willing to be seen within a mile of a country like this, let alone be associated with it. Of course, no one can really know the truth, since Singapore’s media is state controlled, and just like other state controlled media, you never hear the bad news. What else do you expect from propaganda?
And then you have tourism. But Singapore has overpriced itself so much and it has got such a bad name for denying human rights, for having the highest execution rate in the world, for torturing their people and foreigners by beating them on their buttocks, for denying lawyers for political opponents of Lee, by denying free speech, expression and assembly, Singapore is now equated with the intolerant dictatorships of the Middle East and Africa. With this bad publicity, a place of tyrannical rule, where people are afraid to speak their minds, honest educated tourists shun the country and go elsewhere such as Thailand, which respect democracy.
Having realized that they have lost all, they have no choice but to turn to gambling. But the success of gambling is not a guarantee. With Taiwan building casinos and even Macao losing money, why should the Chinese rich have any reason to come all the way to Singapore?
The desire to for gambling, in a country which all along considered it taboo, is indication enough. It is desperate. Singapore has lost its niche. Through the greed of Lee Kuan Yew, he has throughout kept the people away from the decision making process. All these years, a few sycophants and yes men who have passed their exams were given carte blanch to do anything they want. And usually when decisions are made without consulting the people, they are usually wrong. Democracies rely on the opinions of everyone, which taken as a whole, guide national policy. That is why democracies may be slow but they remain sound. They don't fall like a house of cards, which is exactly what is going to happen to Singapore; fall like a house of cards.
Singapore has nothing to offer the foreigner. The money laundering part of Singapore banking is coming to an end. President Obama has already made it clear $50 billion is lost to the American Treasury through unpaid taxes, money that is running to tax havens such as Nauru, a pacific atoll and Singapore. This cannot be. He is going to demand Singapore open its books to revel the identity of these crooks, which means the dirty money business will come to an end.
Biotech industry too will end. Foreign western countries are aware they are losing their talent to Singapore because some unscrupulous scientists are willing to forget their duty to mankind and be associated with a dictatorship like Singapore. In any case, none of these scientists are actually stationed here permanently. They spend no more than 1 month a year in Singapore, spending most of their time in laboratories in US Universities. For the Singapore government to say these scientists are in Singapore is stretching imagination to breaking point.
Airlines are losing to Emirates. Foreigners have no desire to dig roots in a country that has the highest rate of executing human beings, torturing human beings and one that denies basic human rights to their citizens as well as foreigners. They use Singapore as a revolving door. Make money and leave.
Since the average man's ideas are irrelevant, the government has been planning what is best. And as usual they get it wrong. And there is no way these mistakes can be corrected.
Today the country has effectively priced itself out of competition. Assembly line work has moved to the neighboring cheaper countries. Illegal banking is coming to an end. Regional airlines are taking the business out of the expensive Singapore air carrier. Biotech and other manufacturing are no longer coming to Singapore. It is as expensive to operate there as in their home countries. Shipping traffic is moving to cheaper and equally efficient Malaysia.
And to top it all, Singapore has the lowest reproduction rate in the world. It also leads the world in the numbers fleeing from the country.
The state controlled Singapore media talks of figures that Singapore claims to have, 400 billion dollars or some such figure. Yet Lee Kuan Yew has never been willing to state the exact figure or where these moneys are invested. I suspect, since it is reasonable to suspect in these secretive circumstances, that in fact Singapore may have a fraction of that money or no money at all! It could be even in a more desperate position than Mugabe's Zimbabwe! We never know, and we can never know because the Lee Kuan Yew remains adamant in not revealing the requested information. As far as I am concerned, it does not matter whether Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore has 400 billion dollars or ten times that. All that money will go in 2 weeks because Singapore really has lost its edge in the market place.
With the present deepest recession ever in history of this island nation without natural recourse, and with a very bad name as a place which denies it’s people their human rights, what can it do now to compete with the world? What does it have to offer? With the much higher wages that people need to live in expensive Singapore, and with the very large public sector, I am not sure if there is anything that Singapore can sell. I know there is oil refining, the air carrier and banking. All areas which are logically going to lose out either to cheaper neighboring countries or because western countries no longer find it profitable to be in a high cost country like Singapore or a country disgraced.
More suicides, more poverty and more hot air from Lee Kuan Yew and his minions published in the state controlled press. I don’t see anything else.
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