If you want to train a dog, you reward him with food when he obeys and punish him if he does not. Lee Kuan Yew has been using the same technique on his people throughout his one party rule since he came to power in 1959. His unwavering purpose was to achieve total submission throughout his island as it is easier to govern an obedient submissive population than a questioning thinking one.
There can be no doubt whatsoever that he has achieved total and compete success, a feat even more remarkable given the fact that in this day and age, he had to contend with the Internet,
Today he has the dubious distinction of being able to say unequivocally that even in the 21 century, even in the day of the Internet, at a time when such a feat is almost impossible to achieve; he alone, unlike all the other dictators of the world, has managed to train an entire island of people, like well trained dogs, to jump when told without question. There is no living Singaporean today in that island who would dare to publicly disobey him.
This is how it is done. The principle applied is always the same. Reward for obedience, punishment for disobedience. Like a dog, a bone for obedience, a stick for disobedience.
The victims in the past were such people as JB Jeyaretnam, an opposition politician. He not only refused to obey Lee Kuan Yew, he made it known that he intends to topple him. So out comes the dog training. He was repeatedly sued for defamation of character in Lees' Kangaroo Courts ordered to pay millions of dollars in damages, bankrupted and jailed. These facts were daily publicized in headlines in Lees' state controlled press. The effect of this naturally was to frighten every single person in his island from ever disobeying Lee Kuan Yew his family and friends.
The same well tuned and well tested procedure of reward for obedience and punishment for disobedience goes on even today. After JB Jeyaretnam, there was Chee Soon Juan, another citizen who refused to jump when told. He too went through the same obedience training. He too was repeatedly sued, impoverished bankrupted and jailed. His punishment too was prominently displayed each day in Lee's newspapers. And the people reading of the punishment naturally decided that the best way to live in Lee's island is to shut up or better still, join him.
Fearing the Internet may embolden the islanders, Lee has accelerated the obedience training. In the last few months we have seen increasing well publicized incidents of the Attorney General threatening bloggers, graffiti artists and cartoonists with jail and contempt of court actions if they continued to criticize. Naturally it sends a chill down the spine of every citizen even remotely contemplating challenging Lee Kuan Yew reminding them that they better think twice.
In my last blog post yesterday, I wrote of a Singaporean woman Lee Seng Lynn who prefers to be called Lynn Lee (although Lee Seng Lynn seems pretty all right too) who was threatened by the Attorney General with contempt of court for publishing 2 videos she made of Chinese national bus drivers who were arrested for going on strike.
The bus drivers claimed in the videos they were beaten and threatened in custody to plead guilty to the charges. On getting wind of these videos, the Attorney General claimed that because there was an ongoing investigation, the videos were sub judice and she is liable for contempt, which by the way was a completely baseless excuse, without any grounding either in law or fact.
The Attorney Generals purpose was very plain. He was not prepared to allow anyone, not even a person who claimed to have been beaten while in custody to complain. In Lee’s
Lynn Lee was subjected to several hours of interrogation at police headquaters, her government owned apartment was raided and her computers seized and investigated and she was finally only released after stern warnings that she is not to mess with Lee Kuan Yew's government and that next time was not going to be as easy as this one.
Lynn Lee's predicament was naturally widely and prominently published in the state controlled newspapers and also carried over the state run TV and radio, giving the message that if you try to expose the wrong doings of Lee's government, you will be punished.
The Attorney General had made it known that in this case, he is not going charge Lynn Lee with contempt of court as in his view, a warning is sufficient. As for Lynn Lee, I suppose she will count herself lucky to have escaped the jaws of the tiger this time and would very probably go away making sure she never again crosses the mighty and all powerful Lee Kuan Yew and his Attorney General. As for the rest of the Singaporeans, I suppose they count themselves lucky not to be in Lynn Lees' shoes and would I suppose be even more careful not to offend Lee Kuan Yew and his powerful friends.
But then there is another side to this story. This total submission to Lee Kuan Yew must be unpleasant to anyone who knows that he has any human rights. Many such people have the means to leave the island for settlement abroad. So as Lee Kuan Yew continues on his obedience training of his people, many simply emigrate to the West. These who do are the best qualified, people who have confidence in themselves and the belief that they can succeed abroad.
This emigration, which continues to increase over the years is hurting Lee Kuan Yew very badly. He needs highly qualified people but they simply refuse to live in his island of mindless conformism. With each passing day, he finds those remaining in his island to be a weak spirited society lacking in passion about anything. All his Singaporeans are capable of doing is to simply to follow orders, as any independent thinking can land them in serious trouble before his Attorney General and his attack dogs, the island police.
I am not sure how successful Singapore can ever be if all their capable people are leaving Lee Kuan Yew’s island in disgust at this brainwashing, while the only ones remaining are a spiritless weak minded dull bunch of sheep, lacking in imagination or spontaneity. It is one thing for a country the size of
I certainly would not have been able to live a single day in Lee Kuan Yew's paradise, that much I am sure. Given my refusal to obey any dictator’s orders, I suppose I would be spending most of my time in his jails while every instance of my disobedience would have been carefully reported in his state controlled media with a stern warning to all that they should never ever try to be like Gopalan Nair.
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Tel: 510 491 4375