Ladies and Gentlemen,
President of Singapore's society of lame duck lawyers, Sydney Michael Hwang, himself completely intimidated by the Singapore strongman Lee Kuan Yew; now says he is going to help them "spread their wings abroad"!
As it is, Singapore with a population of 4.8 million which their state controlled newspapers claim to be an international business center has no more than about 3,000 lawyers!
Such a number would not be sufficient even for a small time peasant society in the middle of nowhere! Yet this number is all Singapore has, a city that claims to be in business all over the world!
Hwang was making this speech at the opening of the legal year in the island as reported in their state controlled press, the Straits Times on Jan 12, 2010 in it's article "Help for legal eagles spreading their wings abroad"
You can sense a touch of desperation in him, Lee Kuan Yew's handpicked lapdog president of the Singapore law society.
Just to show you how unattractive the legal profession has become in Singapore, with only 3,000 lawyers in a city of 4.8 million, London another city which also has an international character has no less than 10 times that number and so does New York and Paris.
Even Kuala Lumpur has much more lawyers relative to it's population.
Singapore's legal profession has been living with such an inadequacy in their numbers that they now realize there is nothing they can be do to increase it. Over the years the government in desperation began giving various perks and incentives to young students to enter the law, including the lowering of standards to even admit mediocre students but in spite of all, no one wants to be a lawyer!
The Singapore legal profession today is so thoroughly disgraced with their judges seen as no more than a political tool of Lee Kuan Yew to destroy his opposition.
Can anyone blame us for having such a view? After the International Bar Association had come out with their 72 page report, not mincing words, that the Singapore legal system was corrupt, the Singapore judiciary was corrupt and beholden to the government and that it is unlikely for one to expect Singaporean judges to mete out impartial justice, would any young man want to enter such a disgraced profession?
In so many words, in all 72 pages of it, the International Bar Association had made it clear that Singapore does not have an impartial judiciary, there is no rule of law and the Singapore courts are beholden to Lee Kuan Yew and his government.
What do you expect when Singaporeans see the repeated abuse of the law by Singapore judges to silence and destroy the late JB Jeyaretnam, Tang Liang Hong, Francis Seow, Chia Thye Poh and Dr. Chee Soon Juan? What do you expect Singaporeans to think of their judiciary in these circumstances? Surely respect is the last thing that will come to their minds.
What do you think Singaporeans opinion is of a judge like Belinda Ang Saw Ean who refuses even to give a trial to Dr. Chee Soon Juan, when sued by her master Lee Kuan Yew for defamation, instead deciding the case in private in her chambers to give the predictable judgement to her master, which predictably ran into several hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Tell me which self respecting Singaporean young man would want to appear as a lawyer before a woman such as this in court?
Now are you surprised why it is getting increasingly difficult to attract young students to the Singapore legal profession?
Yet in spite of this, without even enough lawyers to deal with local Singapore business, let alone international, Sydney Michael Hwang, is now arranging to turn his poor miserable intimidated colleagues, into international lawyers!
You know, it is true what was said about state controlled newspapers around the world. When you control the media, such as the local Singapore newspaper the Straits Times, you can get away with any nonsense you want, such as the internationalizing of the Singapore legal profession when you don't have enough even to do the local work!
What else are you going to tell us next, Hwang? That Singapore has the best legal system in the world! Go on, make our day!
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