Ladies and Gentlemen,
If an education system is intended to produce thinking individuals, Singapore fails miserably. It simply produces robots trained only to obey orders.
The underlying reason for this miserable education system is Lee Kuan Yew's master plan, the man who created Singapore according to his idea, which is, to ensure he alone, and his proxies thereafter, will govern the island in perpetuity.
And to enable his plan, it wasn't a good idea for his subjects to be going around having ideas of their own, which would threaten his hold on power.
To achieve his purpose, the first thing he does is to systematically instill a sense of fear in the island.
Every citizen, no matter whether in government or in private business was made to understand that criticizing the government would result in consequences.
Every civil servant wanting to keep his job or his career was expected to support government policies and never to publicly proclaim his own views.
Every school teacher, every businessman, every worker was made to feel that the only way to be safe was to toe the government line.
This fear was real, not imaginary.
The citizens were aware of numerous instances where civil servants were demoted, fired from their jobs for having dared to publicly criticize the government.
There was a real fear among the people that the fifth column of spies and informers were spread out throughout the island, watching your every move and reporting on you.
At any one time, you never knew who was your friend and who was an informer.
In an island where there is no rural hinterland, where the entire island in one big concrete jungle, where your existence depends on government housing, where nearly 99% of Singaporeans live, where according to the terms of the leases, you could be thrown out of your apartment for any reason, where your jobs depended on your political opinion, it is simply not safe to have views contrary to that of Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore.
And what is Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore? It is an island where the entire media and newspapers are all controlled and owned by the government. Free speech and expression is illegal. Where the state is a defamation regime where critics are sued in the Kangaroo courts and crippled with humongous court awards and either bankrupted or jailed.
Where there is the stick for opposition and carrot for support. Where the only means to success and glory was through being a sycophant and a bootlicker, there is no avenue to think and form any independent ideas even if you wanted to.
In any case curiosity and a desire to think and formulate ideas of how one lives in society or how to better it, is simply of no use in the island, as it brings you no good.
Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore has no objection if you became a skilled carpenter and excelled in it. Lee would be very happy if you spent your time learning motor mechanics and became expert at it.
Singapore would be very happy if you spent your time being a good mechanic, a good carpenter, a good painter, a good doctor or whatever other profession you may be in. But what they do not want you to do is to question them, question whether it is right to deny a free press, to deny free speech, free expression, assembly, or when you question how people should live as free men and not slaves.
But such things is exactly what an education is intended to do, to question; which in Singapore under Lee Kuan Yew's ideology, happens to be taboo.
Lee's plan was to create a person who will not question things that govern the way they live, and simply accept what is planned for them.
Instead they should simply go about their jobs and accept that these things planned for them are actually good for them. Simply put, Lee is telling his people that he knows best how they live, while their duty is simply to go about their own business.
In fact today Lee has absolutely succeeded in brainwashing his people into total obedience. Like a well trained dog, Singaporeans have accepted their fate in life, which is to simply to mind their business and go about their lives.
And it is in this atmosphere that young children grow up and are educated. Singapore's teachers are warned that they should never encourage individual thinking. Their job is simply to ensure that the students are taught literacy and a trade thereafter. They should ensure that their students should not be allowed to develop radical ideas opposed to that of the regime.
As a result Singapore students go through the motions of book learning. The purpose is simply to pass exams and get the right answers about mathematics, biology and physics. They are almost entirely devoid of curiosity. They also generally lack courage. There is not a single young person in the island who believes that men should be able to challenge authority, or the belief that free speech is a right, or the right to protest is a right; let alone anyone daring to actually break the law and actually do it.
Western teachers unlike the Singaporean ones go out of their way to encourage individual thinking.
They tell their students that it is good to form individual opinions, it is good to be creative and good to push your agenda, whatever it may be, if you believe in it.
An American teacher would encourage her students to protest outside the White House for whatever cause they may have, even if it was contrary to the prevailing line.
It is this encouragement to develop one's individual beliefs that produces greatness in America and Europe. It is this philosophy that produces Bill Gates, the Noam Chomsky's and Bertrand Russell's of the developed world.
Because of the years of mental repression that Singapore students undergo, they end only as followers, never leaders.
A Singapore student can be very good at book learning and will pass all his exams. But he will never be able to be a leader of anything. He is always looking for someone else to lead so that he can dutifully follow and be rewarded for it.
A look at Singapore society amply demonstrates this. A student passes his exams and looks for a job in which he hopes to please his boss who will reward him for his loyalty and diligence.
He simply cannot and will not do anything different from what his boss expects of him since in his mind, this is not the way to succeed.
This way of thinking stifles ingenuity, creativity and invention. On the other hand an American worker might think there is another way to do things, tell his boss to change and if that doesn't happen to walk out and find another job if need be, something that a Singaporean would never even imagine.
There are a few Singaporeans who have emigrated to the Bay Area of San Francisco, California where I live. But you never hear of them.
None of them have ever succeeded in becoming leaders in this society. You can see why this is so.
Unlike an American young man or woman, a Singapore individual is afraid, lacks confidence and has no capacity to think outside the box.
He sees no reason to question the way one lives, no concern whether he lives as a slave or a free man, no opinion whatsoever on whether the Gazans are right or the Israelis are right, and even if he knew he doesn't care.
Lee Kuan Yew's society and education system produces boring, half-dead, half-witted, mindless conformists only capable of following but never leading. An individual with no views of his own but only that of a regime which tells him that state controlled newspapers are good, restricting free speech is good, denying the right to protest and assemble is good, and obeying the government at all times is very good.
If Gorge Orwell was alive and visited Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore today, he must have said "I told you so"
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont, California USA
Tel: 510 491 8525