Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Singapore Island. Education, better living, greater travel and computer literacy does not go hand in hand with dictatorships.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The ways of Singapore Island's Lee ruling family presently appears mysterious. In fact, it is simply self destructive. On the one hand, the Lee ruling Family who have monopolized the island for the last 52 years and whose head of the family, Lee Kuan Yew has demanded to be treated as if he was a God; for some unknown reason appears to be determined to self destruct given the completely changed social and economic climate in the island.  

And Lees ways up till now is this. One, controlling the media to allow only what they consider palatable to be read by anyone. Two, by abusing the legal system through corrupt judges to destroy any political critic. One such disgraceful woman is his judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean whom he used against his critic Chee Soon Juan not too long ago. Three, although he severely punishes anyone who is corrupt, he and his family have a monopoly on corruption which he legalizes in his case. An example of this is his paying himself millions of dollars of tax payers’ money which he calls his "salary" and if anyone dares to question this, he sues them through his willing judges. Four, he criminalizes free speech and expression and throws anyone who dares to criticize him openly in jail or through threats of defamation action by what is known in the island as "lawyer’s letters".

Through these clever dirty tricks  he has managed to subjugate and suppress his people for the last 52 yeas enabling his family members and his cronies to get very very rich.

But one would have thought that he would have known, to make such dirty tactics work, you have to have a helpless ignorant and miserable population who are imprisoned in the island, so that they would not know better thus effectively preventing them from any opposition. In North Korea the dictator continues on the throne because the people are poor ignorant and unable to get out of their country. The same in Cuba.

But what I cannot understand is why the Lee Ruling Family does not appear to understand this. Today almost everyone in Singapore both young and old are literate. Many are able to make trips aboard and see the freedoms that the rest of the world enjoy. Also the island has one of the world's highest computer literate populations.  

The Lee Ruling Family by continuing to provide an education to its people is literally shooting themselves in the foot. Young Singaporeans who travel abroad suddenly see the vastly superior lifestyles of their foreign friends; a life of liberty and freedom, something  they are denied at home.

And we all know that the human being naturally desires freedom over anything else.  

And what is even more threatening to the Lee Ruling Family who seem to appear to want to continue ruling the island in perpetuity is the fact that revolutions really do not needs thousands to succeed. Provided the ground is sufficiently unhappy with their lives, all it needs is a handful of young men and women to publicly demand change for the entire island to follow.

I believe Singapore is now on the threshold of a major upheaval and political change. The ground is not only unhappy they are outraged. Recently it was reported of a young student who yelled four letter words and abuse at Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean who had been making his rounds in the schools to ask support from students, because the Deputy was refusing to answer his questions. This sort of reaction from a student would be unthinkable in the past.

The young demand a life like the young have in Australia, not having to kowtow everyday to Lee and his family nor even their own parents.

The tiny island is a powder keg on a short fuse. It is not going to be long for that explosion. And the other good news is the Singapore strongman is no younger than 91, unable to walk himself and spending half the time in the hospital. As time goes on, he will be spending even more time there and after that permanently in the grave. Which will be another detonator going off for change in the island.

We have to thank the Lee ruling family for working at cross purposes to their own interests. And let us hope he continues that way. Frankly, since Singapore has modernized to the extent it has, I don't think the Lee Ruling Family have any choice in making any changes. Their cancer is simply terminal.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
Fremont, California
Tel 510 657 6107 or 510 491 4375


Anonymous said...

The family is not one bit interested should it lose the elections in 2016. If it wins it is bonus time but if it does not then they have billions to fall back on.

Gopalan Nair said...

to Anonymous,
I don't think it is as easy as that. Besides the real possibility of being held accountable for their actions, people in power also worry about their legacy. A man who has so skillfully managed to fool everyone into thingking he is God, would find it hard suddenly to be tarred as Satan.

Fed Up Singaporean said...

Very well written article. But I some how agrees with the first reply. The PAP and her conies are definitely not dumb. Look at the cases of foreigners beating up a cab driver and leaving the country even before the police know what's going on.

My point is PAP is too "entrenched" into anything that has to do with The Law in Singapore. Even if GE2016 they lose 90% of the seats, people who have supported PAP (lawyers,judges,civil servants etc) will continue to work wary of PAP.

It's like bringing a North Korean soldier whose undergo generation of brainwashing into the outside world and telling him, his so-called benevolent leader is a dictator and a mass-murder of his own people. And expecting him to believe you on the spot.

Anonymous said...

Singapore once again spoke about becoming a Law Centre for the AP region. But with its interest in attracting moneyed people, its track record of money laundering, I can see kangaroos hopping all over the place. (No offence to Australia - where the courts dare to go against their government and the billionnaires)

Anonymous said...

To Fed Up Singaporean,
Would like to point out that it is technically impossible for PAP to lose 90% of the seats as long as they are allowed to manipulate the elections with GRCs, changing electorial boundaries at the last moment and having the Election Dept come under the PM's office. If more opposition parties come forward, all they have to do is to
increase the number of GRCs like
what they had always done in the
past. This will result in lots of
walk over GRCs even if majority of Singaporeans vote for opposition parties. Hence PAP will always maintain their majority of seats
in the Parliament.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the common man has it good in Singapore compared to a whole lot of other countries. Efficient public goods, good education, low level of corruption at the ground level etc.
There is no true democracy anywhere in the world. Look at India, It is democracy in paper, but it is still ruled by the Nehru dynasty. And the freedom of press in India is a joke.
Singapore isn't all that bad.
I do agree that they could be a lot more transparent and accountable.

Gopalan Nair said...

To Anonymous Sun Jul 15, 0503,

You seem to miss the whole point. I have not said that life in Singapore, as far as daily necessities, are not better than those in the impoverished surrounding Asian countries. No dout it is better.

But what I am trying to say, which I think most other readers understand, is this. The need for democracy and freedom works in opposite directions with totalitarianism. In other words, the more education, the greater the need for human dignity (freedom).

Which is why, in spite of the better living conditions, Singapore suffers from record levels of brain drain. Almost every single young person would emigrate if given the chance.

A young man with a college degree is not only looking for a place to live and 3 meals a day, which he can get both in Melbourne Australia or in Singapore, he wants to openly condemn the corruption among the Lee Kuan Yew family who pay themselves 5 times the salary of the President of Obama, which he cannot do in Singapore. He can do it in Australia without being arrested.

Second, he wants to be treated with dignity and respect which he is not in Singapore. For instance publishing daily propoganda in Singapore's state controlled press is insulting to him as a human being. Whereas in Austraila he can read uncensored news.

Which is why Singapore is losing it's battle to remain in the front as a developing country. In fact the Lee Ruling Family's demand that they continue as they have been for the last 52 years is the reason why edcuated Singaporeans are all leaving only to be replaced by Mandarin speaking peasants from Mainland China. They are not in a position to advance the island. But other than them, no one else wants to come.

This degrades the class and sophistication of the remaining population, by bringing it down to the level of these Mandarin speaking peasants from the remote parts of China.

Of course the Indian and Malay population in Singapore has already disappeared or are in the process of total extinction.