Ladies and Gentlemen,
Singapore today like many former Stalinist regimes is principally driven through fear and the less desirable aspects of human nature. This sort of government is by it's very nature inherently weak and unstable and is not suited for real long term success.
Take my last blog post on the Minster for Law K Shanmugam. You will notice from that how powerful the fear factor is. The moment someone had written about his extra marital affair in a blog, the next minute came the lawyer's letter demanding a retraction which order was promptly followed because people in Singapore can no longer rely on their court's impartiality. As everyone knows, when a man such as this sues someone, a Singaporean would know the verdict even before he steps into the courtroom. Why then can I write all this? It is because he is not very sure either of the merit of his case or as to how much he can rely on foreign judges.
The problem is this. The island nation is almost entirely dependent on one man, Lee Kuan Yew, an iconic stature which he has managed to cultivate by himself through self praise in his state controlled press. This is the case with every other dictatorship in the past. Libya was Gadaffi and Gadaffi was Libya. And so was Mubarak, and every other dictator both in power as well as overthrown. This sort of thing tends to alienate the population from him leaving only those few cronies at the top left supporting him for the money.
Then if you add on the other things such as a state controlled press, a government manipulated judiciary absent the rule of law, nepotism, abuse of power and all manner of political abuse, you find that the entire population begin to hate the government for what they are; resulting in good people leaving the country or withdrawing support and co-operation entirely.
Of course one of the most debilitating and serious consequence of this sort of an administration is that they eventually lose the moral authority to rule entirely and if they are still in power, it is only because of the fear in the people's minds of their government and what they will do to them if they disobey.
Finally the only people left in the city state are those who only possess the less desirable traits of human nature. The cronies at the top earning million dollar salaries do it for the money. They would have sold their mothers if the price was right.
The same for the higher and middle echelon of workers, everyone seen to tow the line and comply, as if Singaporeans had only one opinion, which is the same as that of the government. I am not sure what you call people such as this who through fear hide their real opinions for a living, perhaps they are pretenders. But whatever you may want to call them, surely these are not people whom one would look up to.
The best people, those Singapore needs the most are also the most qualified. They also happen to have the qualities that one would aspire in any other situation, such as courage, loyalty and altruism. But these qualities are in fact an impediment in Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore. So after thinking it over a little most of them leave Singapore permanently taking their wives and children with them to start a new life in the West.
The consequences of such unwise actions by this government are far reaching. One such consequence is the falling birth rate which is the lowest in the world. People are not marrying and the native population as a result is completely dying off.
To remedy this, the government brings in populations from overseas whose main purpose of coming is to make a buck just as any other person would go to Malawi or Nigeria to work for a few years. There is no intention in any of them to sink roots and stay.
Lacking dedicated men an women works against these countries in times of crises. You would recall some years ago that the population of the Emirate of Dubai almost emptied out during the recent recession. People were driving their cars to the airport and leaving it there with the keys in the ignition to take the next flight out. Of course when things got better, they came back.
Singapore now is in the same situation as Dubai except that the consequences of crises would be multi fold that of Dubai. At least Dubai has an unlimited amount of oil money. Singapore has nought.
I think the problem is that Lee Kuan Yew with all his claim of over the radar vision and so on, got it completely wrong. Fear driven regimes may have worked in the past minus worldwide mass instant communication. I suppose he could have never even dreamt that in 2012, Gopalan Nair could sit in Fremont California, thousands of miles away and yet involve himself in Singapore's domestic politics.
The Internet has become a far too powerful tool that cuts down these tin pot tyrants who in the past could have got away with murder. It is no longer possible today.
This is a very bad time for Lee Kuan Yew to die now. Having very successfully created that iconic figure for himself where everything depends on him alone, dying now, (he is going to be 90), would completely throw Singapore into the greatest unimaginable disorder. Since worshipping the leader has been the way in Singapore, it is difficult to know who is going to be the new iconic figure because there is no one yet.
As if these problems are not enough, Mother Nature has also come into the attack with increasingly ferocity with knee high flooding in the business district. Surely banks would not want to operate there if it means constantly mopping up the floors and replacing drenched files after the floods. It's like having to deal with Hurricane Katrina every other day. Businesses are probably going to leave the island irregardless of whether or not Lee Kuan Yew dies.
As for really dedicated Singaporeans it is not true to say there are none. There are a handful like Chee Soon Juan, whom you can count on the fingers of one hand. But under Singapore's Orwellian Groupthink, he is a criminal who has been repeatedly bankrupted and sent to jail. Therefore the people, those that stay behind, are told to shun him and keep him out of the public eye. Instead these bootlicking womanizers like K Shanmugam are touted as model citizens.
These sort of problems do not exist in the West because in spite of the vagaries every country faces, at least their citizens respect their government and their legal system. They do not have to tailor their thought process to appear pleasing to the government, to survive. They have constitutions and the government and the people respect it. It is not the garbage document that Singapore has.
In the end, respect begets respect. People stay behind through ups and downs progressing steadily in their professions and their duties to the country. Singapore does not have people such as these because Singapore is based on wrong principles. Being a coward and kowtowing to authority, doing unconscionable work because it is profitable are some of the traits that one needs to succeed in Singapore. Since Singaporeans know this, this means ever more people leaving the island leaving behind only those who are temporarily there to make a buck.
A very unstable foundation for any country large or small.
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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