Ladies and Gentlemen,
During the spate of lawsuits against the foreign media a few years ago for defamation of character and contempt of court for having criticized Lee Kuan Yew or his son, a prominent American journalist whose name I forget had gone to Singapore to interview Lee Kuan Yew.
This is what he said Lee told him "We have changed the hardware, now we have to change the software" pointing to his head.
I think Lee has succeeded very well in changing the software. By hardware he meant the skyscrapers and the infra-structure. By software he meant how people think.
There are two kinds of people in Singapore. Those who are aware that one should not be living , simply blindly obeying a government and others who think that it is far better to do as you are told and go about your life without much fuss.
The former would find life distasteful in the island and emigrate to free societies in the West.
But increasing numbers in the latter category simply are not aware at all that life should not be just obeying orders. In fact many in the island genuinely believe that it is a good life in Singapore regardless of the fact that they have no say at all in how things are run. As long as they have food, a job and the normal pleasures of life, it is all that is necessary. Of course, more money the better.
Frankly I know many in Singapore who consider me insane to have challenged the government, resulting in all my trouble, my imprisonment, disbarment and deportation.
They find it strange that I having left to the United States and made a life for myself there, would want to waste my time to come to Singapore, provoke the Singapore government and causing all these problems for myself.
Far batter, according to them, if I could just come to Singapore periodically on holiday as I used to do before, enjoy a few days there, and go home. No trouble whatsoever.
In fact I am aware that many of the people I knew have distanced themselves from me, as a person they consider to be against their country! They equate Lee Kuan Yew's government as the island of Singapore. And therefor my writing these blogs, criticizing their judges and causing all these problems is as if I have gone against the country itself!
They would rather have friends who go to work quietly, have a beer with friends, go for a picnic and just enjoy yourself. According to them that is who friends should be. And had I been like them I would today have many Singaporeans friends. Somehow I don't understand the logic.
Singaporeans of this mindset, very successfully created by Lee Kuan Yew over the years would for instance consider people such as Arabs who court danger by demonstrating for freedom in the
West Bank, Greenpeace protestors who risk life and limb to save the environment, Chee Soon Juan who has gone to jail repeatedly in the name of freedom, the American who ties himself to the tree in Seattle to save the spotted owl from loggers would all be considered stupid for wasting their time instead of just enjoying life like he does and making money the Singaporean way.
Lee Kuan Yew has very successfully created a society which has no aspirations beyond just living and who truly believe that all that matters in life is just normal uneventful and a boring life. Singaporeans have been successfully brought up not to be passionate about anything unless it has anything to do with money.
But because of the openness of the society with foreign travel increasing, more Singaporeans may see the other side of the life but not being able to live such a life, their only option left is to leave for settlement abroad.
Frankly I am not sure brainwashed Singaporeans are going to see the light anytime soon. Whether the increased exposure to the West would cause people to think or whether the long years of brainwashing has created an obedient people in blinkers who have suffered irreparable mind-change, I do not know.
But I do know that there are many in Singapore who sincerely believe that going about challenging the government is silly and the smart man in the Singaporean sense is one who just minds his own business and makes as much money in Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore, if it is possible.
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Tel: 510 491 8525