Ladies and Gentlemen,
Singapore is today, clearly on the decline. It is facing problems from every side, which it simply cannot solve. It has a declining population, from an already small population of about 3 million it is suffering a massive brain drain and it's wages have risen above those of other countries and is now no longer competitive.
The reason for all these problems is Lee Kuan Yew himself. Over several decades he has painstakingly and deliberately ruined the reputation and credibility of the island city state. By his routine abuse of the law to destroy political opposition, both Singaporeans and foreigners have lost all trust in the Singaporean legal system. By Lee Kuan Yew hijacking the press and media, people realize they can no longer expect the truth from this government. When Lee Kuan Yew and his family and their friends and relatives siphon off state assets with impunity (multi million dollar salaries) the people feel cheated. When Lee Kuan Yew has you arrested for criticizing him, the people feel themselves no better than slaves.
Without Singaporeans respecting the government and while foreigners laugh at it when you mention for instance it's chewing gum ban, Singapore simply cannot expect to get anywhere. Lee Kuan Yew has himself shot Singapore in the foot, not once but repeatedly over decades. It is now crippled and the only way for it is down.
Take the problem of the brain drain. Teo Chee Hean (I hope I have spelt it right), is Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister. In March this year he said this in Parliament, "Our overall (Civil Service) resignation rate has increased from 4.8% in 2005 to 5.7% in 2006. We are losing lawyers, accountants and management executives. The resignation rate of the Management Executive Scheme (which employs graduate officers across the ministries) was 10.6% up from 7.4% in 2005. At some of the entry grades, the situation is quite serious, with resignation rate as high as 25%. Members of the House would also have read from newspapers that for our Home Team (Police Force), there has been a 40% increase in the resignation of junior officers in January and February this year, compared to the same period last year".
Someone from the outside would be surprised why almost everyone wants to leave the Singapore government. After all there are no calamities, no wars, no murders, no earthquakes except for the occasional flood. Why then do so many highly skilled and qualified people want to get out of the government and eventually out of the island altogether. The answer is simple. Educated capable people demand not only a salary, they also demand freedom, democracy, fundamental rights of free speech and expression, an independent judiciary, the rule of law and a country where you don't have thieves as your rulers.
Consider the fact that Singapore has the lowest birth rate in the world. Why? The answer lies in the same problems, an unhappy people who fear having a family in the fear ridden island.
Then you have the brain drain, a very serious problem for an island with an already pre-existing small population of only 3 million. Even from this small society, as many as 1,000 people a year leave for permanent settlement abroad mainly to Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The number of a thousand only counts the head of the household. If you count the family and children as well, the number is more like 5,000 a year. And this rate of attrition has been going on for several decades now, only to have increased in recent times.
And then you have problems with nature and climate change. Most parts of Singapore are only a few feet above water. With air temperatures, and sea water temperatures constantly rising, the sea level rises. With increase air temperature, you have much more intense thunderstorms and deluges of rain, which causes floods. Last moth alone you have 2 severe floods that caused Orchard Road, Singapore's prime shopping district to be underwater. It resulted in several millions in loss. Unlike Pakistan where floods are seasonal, Singapore's flooding is year round, from which there is no escape.
Not satisfied that the situation is already bad enough and they should back off, Lee Kuan Yew has no such intention. He is determined to make the situation worse. Periodically he will charge or sue someone for defamation of character or send someone to prison on the claim that his sensitivities have been offended. Each time he does it, Singapore's reputation or the lack of it, falls even further both locally and internationally. And this in turn causes all the other problems that I mentioned.
For instance, when they charged me with "insulting" a judge for criticizing Lee's judge, there was overwhelming sympathy for me both in Singapore and overseas. Just for that Singapore's reputation may have gone down one notch. Then you have opposition politician Dr. Chee Soon Juan who has been repeatedly sued and bankrupted for no rime or reason. Whenever Lee does that, it's reputation drops one notch down. Now you have Alan Shadrake who wrote a book that Lee did not like. His arrest too has been internationally and locally condemned. Again one notch down. In a few months I will be disbarred from practicing law there because I have offended Lee Kuan Yew. When that happens Singapore goes down another notch.
As you can see, my job has been all these years to expose this tyranny in Singapore and bring about democratic change. You can see that I have been pretty successful when Lee Kuan Yew finds himself in this quandary from which he cannot escape. He has in fact helped the cause of the Singapore freedom brigade, by bringing these charges against me, by charging Alan Shadrake and persecuting all the other victims of his in Singapore's shameful history.
Abusing power comes with a price and Lee Kuan Yew is now paying it.
I reckon, Singapore will be in complete chaos and turmoil within a year. First when Lee Kuan Yew dies there will be chaos. As more and more capable Singaporeans leave, the new immigrants mainly from Malaysia and China would have neither the skills or the dedication of native born Singaporeans. In no time they too will leave. Very soon foreign born citizens would outnumber local born. These foreign born will come with their customs and idiosyncrasies that are alien to native born. Out of this you will have all sorts of problems. And when you have more problems, more will leave.
As Churchill said, "this is not the end, this is not even the beginning of the end, but you can say, it is the end of the beginning". He was of course referring to the impending Battle of Britain, the onslaught of the Luftwaffe over London. But the words are equally apt to describe the desperate situation Singapore finds itself in.
You see, a dictator could have got away with this sort of arrogance in larger countries like China and Russia. But when Lee behaves this way in a tiny island city state with a tiny population, you simply destroy yourself. There is no recovery.
You can see how badly the local Singaporeans consider their plight. Every other country, such as the US, Australia and even comparable New Zealand does not have the unbearably low birth rate and the huge brain drain that Singapore has. New Zealanders love their country and they live there, not try to flee from it. And they marry and have many more children than Singapore. Anyone can see that there is something terribly wrong with Singapore. And Lee Kuan Yew is to balme for it.
Is there any hope? I think not. Most of you know that Lee Kuan Yew has banned me from entering Singapore for criticizing his judiciary. At the rate things are going, I think I will be able to visit Singapore next year, 2011. I am quite sure of it.
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