Ladies and Gentlemen,
The news of the fall of Egypt's dictator for 30 years, Hosni Mubarak has certainly taken everyone by surprise. Who would have ever dreamed of this even a month ago. Mubarak thought he can rule forever. After all he had the Americans backing him and we all know that up till now at least America was very willing to support all sorts of tyrants, as long as their interests were protected. Some American supported dictators come to mind, the Shah of Iran, General Pinochet and Ferdinand Marcos. But after today, if any dictator ever thought that it was business as usual, they have something else coming.
Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore and Hosni Mubarak's Egypt had striking similarities. In Singapore Lee Kuan Yew continues to rule, even though he denies it, since last 50 years. In Egypt's case, it was 30 years. Mubarak amended the constitution to retain emergency powers to overcome the courts. Lee Kuan Yew has the Internal Security Act for detention without trial. Mubarak systematically neutralized civil society and opposition parties leaving only the Muslim Brotherhood and himself with nothing in between. In Singapore the opposition has been relentlessly harassed and intimidated so as to completely weaken them, so much so that there is not a single opposition party with either the organization nor the establishment to replace Lee's PAP.
If anyone thought that revolutions need masses of hungry people to reach a point at which they will explode and storm the palace and without this element dictators are safe, they could not have been more wrong. Egypt's revolution did not comprise only of the poor, but it had also had students, young graduates, professors and businessmen. If we have learnt one thing from Cairo, it is this; man does not live by bread alone. He also needs freedom. And sooner or later the people demanding their freedom will either explode and storm Number 8, Oxley Rise, Singapore 9, the Singaporean dictator's residence or they will leave the country permanently.
You have seen today, the massive brain drain out of the Singapore, the almost non existent childbirth and almost noone wanting to get married. This is indeed a form of protest, Singaporean style. The mass exodus of people leaving the island for settlement abroad are sending a message to Lee Kuan Yew, which is, if this is how your run your place, we want no part of it.
And those refusing to have any babies in Singapore are sending the same message to the dictator, which is, that Singapore is not a suitable place to bring up a family; and children do not grow up well in dictatorships.
I can tell you that Gopalan Nair is not an aberration. There are thousands of Gopalan Nairs in Singapore because anyone who can think is capable of questioning Lee Kuan yew's style of government. Why should a tax payer simply allow Lee Kuan Yew to do anything he wants? Why should anyone stand aside and allow him to pay himself 3.7 million dollars a year? Why should not anyone who can think question such laws as the prohibition against free speech and expression, violations of the Constitution? Why should anyone have to register a society before it can function?
All these laws are put in place for one reason alone, which is to permit Lee Kuan Yew and his family to continue in power. If Gopalan Nair can see that, any other Singaporean capable of thinking can see that too.
But until now, the fear of what Lee Kuan Yew can do to you if you question him prevents almost anyone from open criticism. If there is discontent, it is either in private or anonymously. So instead of standing up to him, they just leave the island for good and settle in the West.
Just look at the comments which are posted in this blog. Almost all are anonymous, which explains the tremendous chill that runs down the spine to even contemplate such an act.
But the question is, will there come a time in Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore, when the educated professors, teachers, businessmen and students, as well as the poor and the rich, in fact every segment of society, just as in Egypt, rally together in public protests and demand "Down with the Dictator, Down with Lee Kuan Yew". I am not sure but you can never tell, can you? After all who would have thought this will happen in Egypt. If it can happen in Egypt, why not in Singapore?
America has also shifted it's geopolitical thinking, it appears, since now it is surprisingly backing Egypt's protesters which only yesterday was unthinkable. The thinking perhaps in Washington now is that it serves American interests better by siding with democracy and not just American business interests. If that is true, if ever the people of Singapore decided to give Lee Kuan Yew the boot, I think you can look to America as a friend. To me, if this change in American policy, if indeed it is one, is certainly a step in the right direction.
So my message to Lee Kuan Yew and his son Gamal Mubarak, no, Lee Hsien Loong, is this. Try to arrange your billions stacked in Switzerland and elsewhere securely. You never know, they may be seized or frozen if there ever was another uprising in Singapore like Cairo. And good luck to you.
Attorney at Law
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Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914
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