Ladies and Gentlemen,
Only yesterday did I find out that 2 more of my old acquaintances, Singapore Indian lawyers, have given up practice and retired, not because they have made enough money but because there is simply no more work for them. In fact it has not been good news for Singapore Indian lawyers for the last 2 decades except that recently it has gotten much worse.
A little background. The legal profession has always been attractive to Singapore Indians.
It is generally accepted among the Singapore Chinese and Malay population that Indians are good in English, more articulate, speak better English than the Chinese who with their well known difficulty in pronunciation, the best comical example, no offense intended, being "Fly lice" instead of "fried rice".
So naturally in the past, Singapore Indians were attracted in large numbers to the Singapore legal profession, in disproportionately large numbers making up about half of the lawyers, although Indians were only about 12% of the total population.
But this situation could not last and was completely artificial and unsustainable for the following reasons. First the vast majority of businesses were in Chinese hands since they formed the largest mercantile community in Singapore. So naturally when disputes arose the natural tendency for them, and understandably so, was to seek out a Chinese lawyer with whom they naturally would be more comfortable. This resulted in more and more civil work going to Chinese lawyers and when they realized that there was work in this field, more Chinese went into the legal profession especially for civil work.
For criminal work too, since the Chinese formed at least 75% of the population, there was extensive criminal work which ordinarily went to Chinese lawyers. However the general belief among some, either factually or imaginary, it does not matter one way or another, that Indian lawyers are good, did send some criminal work their way, but the small volume of this could not really sustain the large number of Indian lawyers in Singapore.
There are however a handful of Singapore Indian criminal lawyers who manage to do very well but this is not because of their ability in any real sense but because they are connected to the establishment, as Singapore's best criminal lawyer, Subhas Anandan, according to the Lee Kuan Yew dictatorship is.
You can see many of videos of him on the Internet, which generally don't look all that impressive.
Not suprisingly, being a de facto government spokesman, you will actually see him arguing for his master Lee Kuan Yew as to why he thinks that criminal defendants should be brutally beaten (caned), which is part of Singapore's official punishment for some criminals, regardless of what the UN says on this type of cruelty.
But other than a handful of government bootlickers like him, most other Indian criminal lawyers find their practices greatly and progressively diminishing.
As this unfortunate trend continues, more and more Singapore Indian lawyers will close shop as Lee Kuan Yew continues to bring in disproportionate numbers of Chinese immigrants from Communist China who see no reason to go to any Indian lawyer.
It is bad news for Indian lawyers in Singapore as is the same for Indians generally in Singapore. You are already drowning in a sea of Chinese faces and very soon, you will become a curiosity, if you are not already one.
Comparing myself to the Singapore Indian lawyers among who I practiced in Singapore in the past, I have to count myself a very lucky man.
I am lucky to have left for California where I continue in very active practice which has continued to grow over the years to where I am now a very very busy man; which is what happens to lawyers around the world, minus Singapore Indian lawyers.
As time goes on, I expect to be even more busy. So in my career as a lawyer, I have done pretty well by leaving Singapore. Had I remained, I suppose I too would be closing shop, since I have no desire to lick any one's boots like Singapore's best lawyer, Subhas Anandan, and surely not those of Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew.
Attorney at Law
Disbarred from practicing law in Lee's Singapore, imprisoned and refused entry to the island for criticizing Singapore's judiciary in this blog (see blogpost May 29, 2008 Singapore. Judge Belinda Ang's Kangaroo Court)
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).
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Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914
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