Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Singapore was better off under British Colonial rule

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is interesting to note that in 1851, at the height of the British Empire across the world, Britain's population was only 20 million, in 1901 it had 40 million and in 1951 at the beginning of it's sunset, it had a mere 50 million. And yet with this comparatively tiny population, it had managed to rule India with hundreds of millions and across the world with several more hundreds of millions, a feat unimaginable.

The question is how did they do it. To assume that they managed not only to conquer but to hold these huge swathes of the globe for centuries by brute force alone is to completely miss the point. The Moors did not manage to subjugate and rule Andalusia and Spain for 400 years merely by brute force and neither did the Ottoman Turks rule the then known world from 1452 to the end of the First War by force alone either.

On the other hand we have seen the Tartars and Mongols capture and plunder distant lands but they unlike the British or the Ottomans nor the Moors never lasted. In a flash they came and in a flash they also went.

What then makes such empires as that of the British last centuries and others not. The answer has to be that power and strength alone never managed to sustain empires. What sustained them was the respect they managed to attract from their subjects, the justice and the just and fair administration of their territories which made their subjects not only respect them but willingly serve under them.

Just speak to any older person who had been living in Singapore during British colonial rule and they will tell you that they had the rule of law. The British made sure that the law was not only just but was also seen to be just. Criminal trials had juries who decided guilt or innocence, not some judge who is beholden to the Lee Kuan Yew family as we have today.

The press was independent and free and a citizen could expect to read real news, not the propaganda which is churned out today by the state controlled press.

Workers under British rule had rights, and were protected by real independent unions. A worker then could not be dismissed just like that as he can be today under Lee Kuan Yew's rule. One had security of employment, unemployment social security for those without work and a school system where every child was given an equal opportunity.

Today with independence under the Lee Kuan Yew family, Singaporeans do not enjoy any of this. True, you have better roads, and modern buildings but what good is it to have these things without the rule of law, and independent press and a free and fair administration.

I have no hesitation to say that Singapore was a far better place to live under British administration than it is today under the Lee Kuan Yew family. The British all along knew that if you lose respect you lose everything, which is why they made sure they never lost the respect of their subjects. Singapore under Lee Kuan Yew has lost it's respect. The people no longer consider the courts as independent institutions dispensing the rule of law, they no longer believe that what they read in Singapore's state controlled press is in fact news, which leaves the people to simply withdraw into to their own cocoons as far away from the government as they can, a government with whom they want nothing to do.

Can there be any doubt then as to why Singapore has the lowest reproduction rate in the world, the highest emigration rate in the world and it's population is almost entirely made up of recent immigrants because every single native Singaporean has either died or emigrated.

Just as it was under Franco's Spain, Singapore under Lee Kuan Yew for 52 years has lost it's talent, it's writers, it's thinkers and it has lost the very best of it's citizens who either went abroad or simply withdrew their co-operation. For all intents and purposes in Singapore of today, there is only one political party, Lee's PAP, there is only one newspaper, the state controlled Singapore Press Holdings and there is only one trade union, the state controlled NTUC. Nothing else exists and nothing else will be allowed to exist.

In Singapore there is only one voice, that of the Lee Kuan Yew family, no other voice will be tolerated.

Momentarily such a hopeless situation may go on for a while, but I don't think it has what it takes to last or compete with the rest of the world. Politically speaking, Singapore is a basket case. It simply does not have solid foundations.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914
Email: nair.gopalan@yahoo.com
Blog: http://singaporedissident.blogspot.com/

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Singapore Cowboy said...

A Singapore political refugee passed away.

LAWYER Francis Khoo Kah Siang, who was wanted by the Internal Security Department for questioning in the 1970s, died in his London home on Sunday. He was 62.

Mr Khoo fled Singapore for London in 1977 as the government launched an extensive security operation against alleged Euro-communists.
He left behind his wife Ang Swee Chai, an orthopaedic surgeon and a prominent activist for the Palestinian cause in the 1980s.
Dr Ang wrote about her time with the Palestinian refugee camps in a book, From Beirut To Jerusalem, published in 1989.
Friends close to the family said Mr Khoo had had a kidney transplant some months ago.
His wife, returning to London from an overseas trip, found him dead. It is believed he died of a heart attack.
Mr Khoo came from a big family. His brothers include the ventriloquist Victor Khoo and Senior Counsel Michael Khoo.


Anonymous said...

New suicide point. Pandan Reservoir.

Anonymous said...

A well written commentary.
I tend to agree with you.
But you also pointed out that under the Lees we have better roads and other facilities.
You know lets assume the British had continued ruling Singapore. I am sure Singapore would have progressed just as much maybe even more.
After all Hong Kong also did well before China took over the administration from the British.

Anonymous said...

The Khoo family are true Singaporeans.

Active in social issues, broad-minded and a penchant for fairness.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

I feel sad every time I read about Singapore exiles and Lee Kuan Yew prisoners. No stories more so than knowing them having to pass away overseas.

It is purely the vanity of that Old Fart that he arrests those who are against his ideas and subject them to the cruelest detention without trial. Yet this wicked man expect the rights of reply, when he is "wronged".

Before Lee Kuan Yew meets his maker, I hope he will suffer the same pains of those he inflicts pain on.

Anonymous said...

singapore to quote my eccentric uncle HONG KAN LIAO LA.

Anonymous said...

When the British colonial leaders came out with CPF, it was with good intention, to provide for the retirement of Singpore workers.

See what Lee Kuan Yew has turned the CPF into?

An indirect kitty for the SIngapore govt to "borrow" from,

an excuse for Medical fund (strange that they do not use a separate insurance)

a way to prop up high property price by usng it as ready cash for public housing downpayment.

I am sure Mr Nair has more to add.

In Australia, despite numerous pressure to lobby the govt to open up the Super (a kind of CPF/401K) to property payment, the govt (from both sides of politics) has been reluctant to do so. They know the abuse from such policy is no good and will stress the aged pension scheme.

In Singapore, there is no aged pension. Yahooo!