Saturday, December 10, 2011

Singapore. Lee Kuan Yew's one party state and groupthink.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I suppose, a summary of Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore government politics can be summarized this way. It is perfectly all right for Lee and his family members and those of his government to pay themselves $3.7 million a year or 5 times the salary of the President of the United States. In Singapore government thinking, this is not corruption but a lawful salary.

Singapore has no independent press or media, which is controlled by the government. In Singaporean thinking, even though the state Constitution mandates a free press, it is not wrong to control the entire media.

Singaporeans have no right to peacefully criticize, protest or challenge government policies. If you do any of this in Singapore, you will be arrested, sued and/or imprisoned. You will suffer any one or more of these punishments as the government decides.

Although the state constitution mandates an independent judiciary and the rule of law, Singapore judges are not independent and take and comply with orders from Lee and his government to destroy political opposition, as and when they are so ordered.

Lee's police arrest suspected individuals and deny them legal representation until a confession is obtained under duress and coercion and thereafter releasing him to engage counsel which effectively prevents him any real ability to defend himself. This is despite the fact that the state Constitution mandates due process of law.

With the police, the law courts and the media all effectively state controlled, any real political opposition is impossible since anyone contemplating it may suffer imprisonment, legal defamation actions and bankruptcy, thereby leaving Lee Kuan Yew, his family and his political party as the only political party that can govern Singapore as they have done without interruption since 1959 while Lee Kuan Yew's political philosophy is the only philosophy that is permitted and all other ideas are promptly stuffed out.

There are those such as Chee Soon Juan and a handful of his colleagues, brave men and women, who work for the furtherance of freedom and democracy in Singapore but they are doing this unfortunately with almost unimaginable suffering and sacrifice, which almost no other ordinary human being, unless you are a Mahatma Gandhi or a Nelson Mandela would be prepared to endure.

Chee Soon Juan who is a highly qualified neuropsychologist with an American PhD was fired from his professor position in the Singapore University and is now reduced to eking out a living with very little money. John Tan, his number 2 at the party was similarly fired from his teaching job at Singapore James Cook University, undoubtedly at the orders of Lee government, and is now, as far as I understand jobless. James Gomez, who I understand was until lately teaching at an Australian University appears to have returned to Singapore but as to how he manages to survive, I cannot tell. Mr. Jufrie Mahmood who is an excellent man and a Singapore patriot had been a Malay interpreter in the government when he was wrongly imprisoned after being being wrongly accused as a Malay chauvinist. Ever since then, he has changed his line of work and become a building contractor who struggles with intermittent work.

Every single one of these aforementioned individuals are highly talented and highly skilled who would have in any other circumstances been in top positions, and earning ten times what they do now, if not more. But because Lee Kuan Yew's political philosophy, which we can can call downright cowardly, is that he feels he and his party can manage to remain in power and continue taking the $3.7 million annually each as he does, only by unjustly punishing and persecuting his political opponents by every means possible.

You can see the loss to Singapore in the long run by such a completely unwise ridiculous political doctrine. For one thing it silences a large section of Singapore population who are educated and talented with a sense of civic duty and loyalty. As any contrary viewpoint is immediately suppressed and the owner of it promptly punished and persecuted, it makes no sense to put forward publicly any political ideology which does not comport with Lee Kuan Yew's ideas. As any society advances and progresses through divergent views and ideas, effectively denying human beings of fighting for independent views is highly damaging to Singapore's well being.

Take my own case for instance. Among other democratic ideas which I hold, in 2008, while in Singapore on an intended short visit which turned out to be 6 months due to Lee Kuan Yew's government confiscating my passport, and thereafter sending me to prison all for writing a blog post in this blog criticising the disgraceful spectacle of Judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean prostituting her position as a judge in open court to please lee Kuan Yew and his government by abusing the law to award a huge damages award against Chee Soon Juan.

The Singapore state controlled media has never published anything that I have ever said or done and they never will, while it is being used as a smear sheet to tell lies about my character and blacked my reputation. I had left Singapore in 1991 due to the persecution I suffered and had I remained and not left, I would have had to endure repeated defamation lawsuits, repeated imprisonment and bankruptcy and denied any meaningful way to make a living.

Singapore does not have a free and fair election system as we would expect in other free countries. Politicians and persons in high office in Lee's government, are either invited to assume such positions because of their academic or business success or through accepting applications from those who appy.

Also, scholarships are awarded to bright students who are then sent to overseas universities, presumably to improve their social skills as well as their academic studies, who are then required on their return to sign long employment contracts with the government to serve as Ministers politicians and civil servants.

Then there are others who volunteer themselves to become Ministers, civil servants and also in a new recently created position of Non Constituency members of Parliament, a thoroughly unique arrangement which allows them to speak in Lee's Parliament even though no one had ever voted for them.

If you really thought about it, this type of creating and securing politicians is the worst possible system imaginable which can only result in Singapore descending further and further into a complete dysfunctional government. Keeping in mind that anyone who aspires to be a Singapore government politician must have views that are those of Lee Kuan Yew, and if not, must change his views to conform to that of Lee Kuan Yew's. And what are they? They are the belief that earning $3.7 million dollars a year as a Singapore politician is perfectly OK, that it is perfectly all right to completely control the Media, that it is perfectly OK to interfere in judicial functions and use the law as a political tool to silence dissidents, that it is perfectly all right to deny an arrestee the right to counsel until he confesses under duress, and that it is perfectly OK to arrest even a peaceful protester even though the Constitution guarantees the freedom of speech.

So if you look at the entire bunch of Singaporean ministers and their judges and journalists, what do you see. You see a bunch of opportunists who would be prepared to say that all these abuses of government are perfectly acceptable, because if you could not say this in your conscience, then you will not be able to join Lee Kuan Yew and his government and live the good life which comes with it.

And what is worse is the unfortunate fact that there are large numbers of Singaporeans eager and willing to say anything that the government puts out for the opportunity that comes with it, a good job, a secure future and no trouble whatsoever.

Singapore's governance today is no different from that of Communist China, Franco's Spain or Cuba or the former Soviet Union. In all those countries too the passport to success was recognition by the government, the willingness to say or do anything that was pleasing to the ears of those at the top and the marginalization and ostracization of those who had contrary views.

Today every Singaporean knows that you cannot rely on any Singapore government minister because he is not concerned with your welfare; he is primarily concerned with his own. He has no independent views about anything; any view he has is that of Lee and his government. There is no need to read philosophy, the principles of democracy and the values of such things as freedom; as far as Lee Kuan Yew is concerned, such things are unsuitable for Singaporean society as they are a European concept and you have to accept this as correct.

What you end up with in Singapore is groupthink. Think the way you are supposed to think and your life would be fine. Think any other way and you are looking for trouble. 2 plus 2 may be 5 or 10 or whatever Big Brother tells you it is. And believe you me, it is good for you to accept it; that is, if you want to live in Lee's Orwellian Singapore.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
Disbarred from practicing law in Lee's Singapore and refused entry to the island for criticizing Singapore's judiciary.
Actively practicing law in California and in good standing at the California Bar.
Member in good standing as a lawyer in England and Wales (Barrister).
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914

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Anonymous said...

Thanks Gopalan. This is Singapore, in a nutshell.

Anonymous said...

LKY spotted in hospital, admitted. very sick.

It will be an end to an era for Singapore.

Once the LKY dust settle, Singaporeans will see a post-LKY PAP as a greedy second rated party.

Hope for fresh air, after suffocating in the Old Fart.

Anonymous said...

Hope it's not a rumour. Been waiting too far too long.