Friday, September 13, 2013

Singapore, the looming unknown

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Never in history has any country so transformed itself in such a short time, for anyone able to reasonably predict the outcome. It is anybody's guess.

In a tiny island with a tiny population a few years ago of just 3 million made up of Chinese Malays and Indians, suddenly, we have seen the deluge of immigration into Singapore of millions of foreigners from disparate countries with their foreign tongues customs, mannerisms practices, and traditions of their own, forced to live side by side with Singaporeans in the overcrowded island.

And then you have the government policy of permitting foreigners to take any job they want displacing the locals which is already causing intense animosity, a policy so wrong it would be unthinkable anywhere else.

And then you have Indians and Malays who although citizens by birth against whom the government lawfully permits the majority Chinese to racially discriminate in jobs, services and housing. Let me repeat this lest you disbelieve your ears; it is lawful under Singapore law to racially discriminate.

Besides the government officially allowing recently arrived foreign immigrants to simply take jobs from locals and leaving them unemployed in their own country, there are no minimum wage laws which naturally favors foreign immigrants over locals.

The government justifies this injustice by arguing the need to keep wages low to be competitive in the world markets regardless of how much it hurts local citizens in their own country. This creates a totally bizarre situation where it is in fact more advantageous to be a foreigner in Singapore than to be a Singaporean!

And to make matters worse, with all these totally unacceptable policies in the island, because it is so tiny, every one of these polyglot of people who are literally at the throats of each other are forced to live in such close proximity in their pigeonhole government high rise apartments to almost be able to smell each other's breath.

And then you have the authoritarian laws of Singapore which criminalizes free speech expression or peaceful protest leaving every single local citizen aggrieved by these totally unfair policies with no recourse to redress the injustice, since racial discrimination is legal and employers are allowed to pay as little as they want.

It appears that the government of this tiny island never considered the dangerous consequences of totally changing the makeup of the island almost at an instant.

As you can see, the island is a bomb ready to explode. The situation is incendiary.

All you need if for one Malay Singaporean who has been given the butt end of the stick by a Chinese to come out and slash him with a machete; only for other Malays to join in the fracas in the overcrowded island and you are going to see an island wide conflagration which I am sure the government never expected.

This sort of thing would not have happened among Singaporeans who understand each other having lived in harmony for half a century. But the equation is completely changed with recently arrived foreigners who do not know this is how Singaporean's live.

And it is easy for someone intent to cause trouble for whatever reason to accomplish it. All it takes is for a Malay or a Chinese to go either to Geylang where you find more Malays or to Singapore Chinatown to hurl insults at the other person to have a real breakout of violence. It is like yelling fire in a crowded theater, and you have pandemonium.

It is delusionary for the government to assume that despite Singaporeans renowned capacity for tolerance, they will forever remain as Mahatma Gandhis under these trying circumstances.

I am not sure how long a crowded tiny island such as this can continue without a total breakdown. I have no doubt the government is thanking their stars as each day passes without incident, but common sense tells us that surely it is not a question of if, but when, does the peace and tranquil turns into one big catastrophe.

From Fremont in California, USA, I am eagerly waiting to see how this arrangement will unravel.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont, California, USA
Tel: 510 491 8525


Anonymous said...

Happy 90 birthday Mr Lee. May you continue to live long and happy......

Anonymous said...

To the one who wished LKY a long and happy life, I can only say, that to even call you an idiot entirely devoid of the most basic human sense is a severe understatement.

Linda Kosmanto said...

Every September, the silly season descends upon Singapore. For 50 weeks every year, we are told that space on Singapore roads is already limited and, therefore, that car ownership has to be restrictively expensive. Yet, come September, our government under the Lee clan suddenly finds it expedient to close a considerable stretch of roads and let imported boy racers whizz around prime Singaporean real estate, in the process proving that we obviously have more than enough road space to go around and that all the various charges levied on car owners is pure extortion. One can only assume that the Lee family is benefiting from both the extortionate car ownership charges and from bringing F1 to Singapore. As the say in criminal cases (and, after all, LKY is a criminal lawyer): follow the money.

Irene Puah Siew Hoon said...

To the PAP supporter who posted the congratulatory message on Harry Lee's 90th birthday: ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG.

Anonymous said...

Institutionalised evil racial discrimination against minority citizens is rife in singapore.The UN Special Rpporteur on racism visited singapore over 3 years ago and urged the s'pore govt to enact law to prohibit racial discrimination in all areas of life( see report A/HRC/17/40/Add.2 at Take for instance children's education which is dear to people's hearts. This what the Special Rapporteur found.Since 1979 the s'pore govt has been operating special assistance plan (SAP) schools but these are only for mandarin speakers. These schools are specially geared resources, teachers etc for the upbringing of academically gifted mandarin speaking children. Apparently SAPs exist because of economic ties and superior culture(?) of China which they want to keep for themselves. On the other hand non mandarin speaking academically gifted minority children are expected to go to normal main stream schools not as well resourced as the SAPs and of course these children are not going excel as well as the SAP children. The s'pore govt conveniently ignores that these children are 3rd or 4th generation minority citizens and that their great grandparents, grandparents and parents worked hard, paid taxes and helped to build s'pore and probably still doing it.To add to this racial discrimination, by SAP schools,if minority children wanted to participate in the superior culture(?) and economic advantage or just want equal opportunity and wanted to study mandarin in schools, they are not allowed. They are compelled to take their own language and special permission is required to study mandarin. The Special Rapporteur urged the s'pore govt that SAPs should be available to all the most deserving students and to be more flexible as to allow children to choose the language to take with english as the primary language.The s'pore govt has created social conditions under which it is easy to continue racial sterotyping of minorities whilst ignoring the fact that for decades they have not allowed minority children to excel. After denying minority children of equal opportunity for decades they use meritocracy as a tool for racial discrimination to justify inequality. People of minority children, if your children are not receiving equal oppotunity in any way then write with details of time, date, place,name of staff, school, govt dept etc to:Committee on the rights of Child, UNOG-OHCHR,CH-1211 Geneva, .Send copy of letter to ; Mr Mutuma Ruteere, UN Special Rapporteur on racism, Palais des Nations,CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland. e-mail: . If you fear victimisation then say so in your letter and ask for your details to be kept confidential.