Ladies and Gentlemen,
A few days ago, Singapore's state controlled online edition of the newspaper Straits Times, had reported the Singapore Academy of Law showing college students around the courts and a glimpse of what being a lawyer was. It appears many young lawyers leave the profession altogether after a short time. The propose of the tour was to educate them in advance that it was not "all glamour" as some thought, a means to avoid going into the wrong profession for some.
Rather at cross purposes, I thought, was their advice on how they could aspire to be "international lawyers".
I immediately said to myself again, this story was an utter waste of newsprint.
After having told us earlier that Singapore, a city state with no less than 5 million people, with banking insurance international trade and what not, has just 3,000 miserable lawyers! This was after Lee Kuan Yew's handpicked Minister for Law had told us that it was another London of the East! I am not sure exactly how many lawyers there are in London, but I can tell you there a lot more there than 3,000!
Let me tell this Minister for Law just this. It helps to be honest for once. Singapore has this huge shortage of lawyers simply because there is no rule of law. It is as plain as daylight.
And all your persuasion and cajoling and field trips for school children to courtrooms is not going to help you one bit to solve the problem.
What you should do, if you were honest, which you are not, is this. Tell them right away the truth. Tell them, Singapore is not a democracy. Tell them that your Singapore Constitution is just a whole load of waste paper. It is not worth the paper it is written on. That Singaporeans have no rights whatsoever. And a lawyer leads a shameful existence, pretending to be a lawyer while at the same time living in mortal fear of Lee Kuan Yew.
Tell them there is no freedom of speech expression and every other freedom. They simply do not exist. Tell them it is a police state. And tell them that if that is how they want to live as a so-called lawyer, they would be fine. Otherwise they are going to be miserable.
When I passed the English Bar and returned to Singapore, I was not aware of the pretence that was there. I did not know that it was not the rule of law that existed there, but Lee Kuan Yew's law. Had I known I would never even have practiced law there.
But in the end, it turned out for the best. Living there gave me an insight into the dictatorship that it really was. And my lifetime opportunity to expose it, which I do here.
My advice to Mr. K Shanmugam is to tell young students in Singapore what the Singapore legal system actually is. That way, they will not enter it and end up wasting part of their precious lives in Lee Kuan Yew's courts. And live to regret the wasted years.
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