Ladies and Gentlemen,
There were moments of uncertainty in my mind over the Singapore political scene. Was the island destined ever to remain under the despotic rule of Lee Kuan Yew and his descendants? A look at North Korea gave me a certitude of confidence. There is not only hope, change is really offing in the horizon.
The Discovery Channel program on North Korea, which is available in the Internet, confirmed the grim picture that we all knew. A few well fed elites of Kim Jung Il, his public face of his people, sang their required praises, and lived very well indeed. But the rest of North Korea were kept away from international gaze, starved, brainwashed, uninformed about the rest of the world, uneducated and forgotten. The dictator made sure that foreign news and information never reached his obscure country and the people really believed that theirs was the best country in the world.
Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's equivalent of Kim Jung Il, is unable to act just like his North Korean counterpart even if he wants. For one, unlike North Korea, Singaporeans are English educated. Second, they are internationally mobile, it's borders being open whereas North Korea is not. Third, it is impossible for Lee to keep out the Internet given the nature of Singapore's mainstay, commerce. Fourth, Lee can try to use his agents to discredit his opponents like Dr. Chee or myself in Singapore's official newspapers or under false pretences in the Internet, but it has little effect, since the people are open to outside information sources. And fifth, the greatest of Lee's enemies is education itself. He does try to educate the kids in only technical aspects but however much he tries, many would realise the lack of important intangibles such as fundamental freedoms, and begin to clamour for them. This is especially so with the Asian quality of hard work and a desire for learning.
And finally Lee's punishments meted to his opponents is clearly ineffective in producing the desired effect. Kim Jung Il's prisoners are tortured starved and executed thus effectively preventing any form of dissent. In Singapore, Dr. Chee only gets a single week or a couple of weeks of jail each time, and jail is not all that uncomfortable either. I was in a Singapore jail for full 2 months for criticizing his corrupt judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean, in which time I had 3 meals a day. I was never tortured and can vouch that to be the case for all inmates of his jails. If Lee really wants to silence dissent in Singapore perhaps he should learn from Kim Jung Il and starve and torture Dr. Chee Soon Juan next time around, since we know that he is, after all, going to jail again.
If Lee Kuan Yew does not starve and torture his prisoners, it is not that he doesn't want to; he simply cannot. If he did, the world's Media would pick that up the next minute, and this time relegate Singapore to the ranks of North Korea once and for all. They are boiling with rage as it is, having been repeatedly sued for no reason at all.
Singaporeans just like any other human species are made of different sorts. There are the usual Ah Bengs who obediently lick Lee's boots at his every command and quite happily live in fear. There are other Singaporeans like me, who are educated enough to understand that there is another way to live. The young Singaporeans now make up the third generation. The first generation is or was understandably docile and timid. They came as peasants from China and India and the local Malays. They had no education and no aspirations other than to survive.
The second generation were born and educated in Singapore, during a time when there was much more freedom than now. Now the younger generation is better educated, with eyes open to the wide world where people live very differently from Singapore. And this is the generation that would usher the end of Lee and his bullying ways.
Truly you do not need an army of thousands to bring about change. What you need first is the knowledge that something is wrong. This I think has already been established on the ground. Second you need a handful to openly agitate. Once that happens, the truth that has already been achieved would bring out the masses and Lee Kuan Yew and his sycophants would be relegated to history.
In fact I am so confident of it as to say, even if Dr. Chee and his good people did nothing, change will come about and very soon as well.
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