Ladies and Gentlemen,
Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew has an extremely well designed repression system, which other dictators should do well to learn.
Unlike Burma or the former South Africa, where political dissidents are jailed for years, in Lee's Singapore, dissidents are only given jails sentences of a week or so at a time. Why, because Lee Kuan Yew's thinking is; long prison sentences for political opposition would tend to alienate the entire population for being patently unjust, whereas sending Dr. Chee Soon Juan to jail a week at a time would only hurt him; the hope being that he would eventually give up the struggle, without having to alienate everybody else.
Lee does not want a revolution in his hands, at the same time, he wants to silence political troublemakers. Therefore what better way to do it than this soft approach which nevertheless is as hurting if not more than any long prison sentence.
In other countries the trials take only a couple of days while prison time would be years. In Singapore it is the reverse. The trials take a very long time, stretching over several months, sometimes even years, while prison itself at the end of it all, is very short, perhaps just a week. Lee's thinking is this. He hurts the individual political dissidents as much as possible by taking their time almost daily to attend court, disrupting their lives and causing them financial hardships in the hope that they would eventually give up. At the same time, the public at large are not aware of the daily inconvenience, loss of jobs and income that Lee's victims have to endure, thus not making martyrs out of them.
Lee makes sure that his political opponents are not openly seen to suffer, whereas the intention is completely opposite. For example, Dr. Chee Soon Juan and his family, Lee Kuan Yew's arch enemies, are allowed to continue living in government housing and not thrown onto the street. If he did that, the public would be made aware of the extreme suffering he endures, which may become intolerable for the people. On the other hand, he is made jobless, and denied any means of earning a living. This way only Dr. Chee is hurt while the public at large are unable to see his misery, thereby preventing an outright revolution.
Recently members of the organization belonging to James Gomez, the Australian Singaporean, have been asked to report to police stations in Singapore for questioning over the sale of Alan Shadrake's book which has been officially declared defamatory of Lee Kuan Yew. The 3 involved have been told to report almost every day at Singapore police stations for long hours for interrogation. The plan of course is to intimidate these individuals into giving up their democracy activism while publishing their case in the state controlled papers as a warning to others. Except for this mild form of harassment, they are not tortured in jail as they would have been done in Burma, thereby not angering the people beyond their tolerance.
Every time Lee's political opponents are punished, the state controlled newspapers publish the arrests in the hope that others would not follow suit. This is a clever practice since the intent is to continue pressure on only those who engage in anti government activism while at the same time, not making them martyrs and turning them into heroes, because if that happened, Lee would have a revolution, which he does not want.
Lee Kuan Yew has fine tuned his repression style which has continued to work only too well. The plan is to keep the pressure against political opponents, deny them jobs, deny them any chance of succeeding in life or career, while at the same time ensuring that the people at large are not made to feel such pity on Lee's victims so as to drive then to the wall.
The message that is very clearly sent to the public is this. Don't worry your heads about such things as human rights and human dignity and life would be fine for you. But the moment you become troublesome, you become another Dr. Chee Soon Juan, with no job, no career and no prospects.
So Lee Kuan Yew's tells his people in his excellent well tuned repressive style, choose; do you want a peaceful and quite life with no trouble, or do you want to be another Dr. Chee Soon Juan with a life of misery and doom?
He is on a balancing act, of on the one hand trying to suppress dissent but at the same time, making sure that he is is not too violent about it.
That is why they have correctly called it Uniquely Singapore, and Uniquely Lee Kuan Yew.
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