Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Lee Kuan Yew's son, looking for niches

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A few days ago, there was a report in Singapore's state Controlled press the Straits Times where Lee's son, the Prime Minister was calling on Singapore islanders to look for niches; industries where the island can profit from. Traditionally the niches were the sea port, the airport, tourism and more recently biotechnology; all areas where the island economy has taken a tailspin. Singapore Airlines, the other niche has posted losses of millions and laid off half of their aircraft.

But what is surprising in this tiny island state of Singapore where chewing gum is banned, where the Ministers pay themselves several million of dollars a year as salary with no complaint whatsoever from their people and where you can be jailed for peaceful protests is this; why should the Prime Minster be urging them to come up with niches! Could they not think for themselves?

If you have lived in Singapore as long as I have, you will know the answer. For over 50 years the people have been told the government would do all the thinking for them, they will build flats for them, they will provide jobs, they will build hospitals and all the locals have to do is just accept their lives, jobs, the apartments, everything the government provides, and more importantly, submit to their rulers as obedient children.

With this long standing obedience, the people have literally lost their independence of thought. Lee provides the houses, jobs and ever possible thing you can think of. Well, this was in the past, where the world order was different. Where the small island could sell itself as a cheap assembly line workforce for foreign multi nationals. Those days have gone, the money laundering business has been exposed, the world now knows the judges are used as as Lee's political tool, foreign airlines have shown they are both better and cheaper than the Singapore carrier and worst of all, Singapore has outpriced itself from competition. The small island's niche has gone and the ministers who are paid 5 times the salary of the US President have run out of ideas.

And now finally they have no choice but to ask their citizens to think, but sadly for them, they have lost that ability a long time ago.

Asking them to find niches for Singapore is not going to work. Singaporeans now, believe it or not, are unable to think for themselves. 50 years of fear and obedience to this government has finally killed it.

And that I think is the greatest reason this island will fail. The people, even though they are by and large literate in the English language, are not part of the equation in government.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914

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blankmind said...


You look at me for answers
I look at you blankly.

You say you attract the best brains the country has to offer.

You say they deserve the million dollars salaries.

Your Mrs received an award for losing billions of dollars.

You decide how to run our lives, including how to spend our CPF money after retirement.

Now you think of a solution for us. Maybe you can ask your father who founded today's Singapore.

He has chosen to "cleanse" Singapore into a nation of yes-men followers and obedient servants, and made himself a mega-sultan of the island state.

Last heard, the Iranians are standing up for themselves.

But to the Singaporean brains, Iranians are probably poor backward people suffering and causing a lot of inconvenience and losses. The Iranians should obey their Supreme master like the Singaporean, and maintain peace and harmony, the Singaporean will be chicken-fed well in return for reward - every 4 years. At least the life will be STABLE.


Why you still look at me. The niches I know are the niches your best brains ministers tell us.

Anonymous said...

Israel has five million people, six million entrepreneurs, and fifteen million opinions.

Singapore has five million people, six entrepreneurs, and one opinion.

mycroft said...

And what sort of response will Lee Junior get to his clarion call? Silence. The kind of embarrassing silence you always get and cringe at whenever some speaker at the end of his talk turns to his audience of Singaporeans and smilingly asks, "Any questions"? Only to be greeted by nothing. Sweet bugger-all curiosity. No questions spring to mind. Trained never to question, trained to be brain-dead.

The free thinkers, the non-comformists, the mavericks, the small handful of sheer bloody-minded people who will always take the left-hand path because it looks interesting - in short, all the off-the-wall dreamers, creators of future S'porean Amazons and Googles - all have been victims of his daddy's scorched earth intolerance since by definition such spirit posed a threat to his hegemony. They're either in jail, driven away or have fled the country. Only the department store dummies remain.

All that Little Lee will get is regurgitated text-book answers from those who owe him their fealty, not the groundbreaking innovation required of a modern nation to survive well and prosper into the 21st century. Me-too thinking is exactly what his peasants have been programmed to deliver.

Unfortunately for him creativity cannot be engineered, much less turned on and off like a switch. One would have thought the bleeding obvious would be self-evident to an elite Cambridge graduate, eh?

jamestan said...

What mycroft said is right. I think Singaporeans are simpletons. Their analysis do not go deep enough. Singaporeans cannot really accept that things are relative in nature and that we do not really have all the answers. Past theories are cast in stones and cannot be disputed.

Singaporeans are afraid of troubles, like things to be smooth sailing.

Singaporeans attain an achievements and expect those results to be permanent mark of pride that cannot be removed from them. In Australia, even Nobel award winners do not rest on their laurels, but continue to do research or cultivate the next generation of scientists.

I remember how Singaporeans do their academic research projects - they write the conclusions first before filling the contents and adapting the analysis to it.

Singaporeans cannot accept complex ideas but have to simple the ideas ito simple crude meanings they can associate with.

I am suffering the consequences of this in my work where I find my fellow Aussies more creative in coming out with more effective solutions.

Yankee Doodle said...

The Singapore Gov knows that it has prohibited creativity in the culture, hence the influx of "foreign talent." A large problem for human rights workers is how to educate the foreign talent of Singapore. They ignore the politics, they get paid well, they can afford to travel elsewhere and have maids and good quality of life, etc.

I'd love you to write about them sometimes as they are a large part of the equation, too.

Anonymous said...

I remember chatting with my friends when I was studying in NTU, we came to agreement that Singapore would lose its niche in an immediate future.

Singapore has become what it is now due to complacency on the sides of its nearest neighbor such as Malaysia and Indonesia.

The way we put it was a small step for Malaysia and Indonesia would require a a giant leap for Singapore to maintain its niche. They were ahead but its neighbor is catching up fast and if managed correctly would overstep Singapore quite easily.

But we were not experts. That was just our personal opinion. One which I still believe relevant to this day.