Ladies and Gentlemen,
Since 1959, since the very birth of modern Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew who thought very highly of himself, decided, it seems, the best way to build the island was first to ensure correct behavior and thinking. Or brainwash them first and make them build the city.
Ever since then he has doggedly and single mindedly proceeded to create his Singapore person which we find today.
And what is he? He is very obedient, very law abiding, very quiet, very submissive, very polite and very hard working. You would have thought that this was a great specimen of a human being. But the problem is, they are incapable of forming any opinions of their own. Whatever they think they were told which they always unconditionally accept. Unfortunately, you can see that a man such as this, is not only submissive, he is also very boring.
Let me give you the examples.
Every parent wants her child to get a good job and have a secure life. This is how it is done in Singapore.
Child goes to school, works very hard and passes all his exams. Child is told in no uncertain terms that it is important to support the government and never say anything derogatory of it. Better for child to keep as quiet as possible and totally obedient. The more obedient and quiet the better. In Lee's Singapore obedience and silence are the greatest of virtues.
As a result child is very quiet. Always does his homework. Always takes part in the required extra curricular activities. Child goes on to do national service and is totally obedient and follows orders.
This quiet obedient child is the best candidate for a good government job. His parents are very happy. Child works for the government. Child is promoted. Child lives a comfortable life thanks to Lee Kuan Yew.
Child wants to be a lawyer in Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore. He passes all exams. Very quiet and obedient. He is selected to join the Legal Service. He quietly obeys the government. He praises the government. He completes all his work on time. Lee's government is pleased.
He is promoted judge. He is told to abuse the law and send opposition critics to jail . He willingly does it. He pretends to be a judge but actually he is quite aware that he is an dishonest opportunist and a hypocrite. He doesn't mind as long as it pays well.
Lee's government makes sure to constantly remind the public that it pays to support the government. He pays his ministers $3.7 million a year, the highest political salaries in the world for such a tiny island.
And he constantly makes this fact known in his state controlled newspapers. So every parent's dream is that one day their child would be noticed by Lee Kuan Yew's son and made minister, to be ever after wallowing in millions in unimaginable lives of luxury.
And the parents do everything possible to try to achieve the jackpot, a Singapore minister under Lee Kuan Yew or his son. At a young age, the child is sent to a government run kindergarten, made to join government political organizations, volunteer in them, pass their exams at school and make sure they never utter one syllable that may annoy the great dictator or his son.
Some of these children would grow up to eventually attain the jackpot and the millions under the Lee family and made Ministers in his government. Even if they didn't they are sure to be given jobs at astronomical salaries in government departments. It is almost impossible to fail in Singapore island if you are a staunch government supporter.
Unfortunately Lee Kuan Yew never realized that to achieve a sustainable state, you first have to have independent thinking individuals, because it is the diversity of opinion which you find in the West that propels the society to surge ahead. Simply having the handful of high ranking government ministers doing all the thinking and expecting everyone else to just obey, vastly restricts the opportunities of any state to advance.
In the West, government is a collaboration between the people and their politicians. In Singapore there is no such collaboration. The thinking is done by Lee Kuan Yew, his son and his chosen minions. The people have to simply obey.
The quiet obedient hardworking Singaporean may be the model citizen under the Ming Emperor. But we are not living in medieval times. Today, the world is competitive and you need independent thinking citizens to come up with new ideas, especially ideas which are contrary to those of the government, to change improve and advance. Otherwise we would continue to think the way Lee Kuan Yew thinks, which is, he is always right and everyone should listen.
Singapore is not the only state which has advanced under a dictatorship. Nazi Germany was the most economically powerful state in Western Europe between 1933 to 1939. So was Italy under Mussolini which managed great economic strides. So was Spain under Franco. Not to mention the Soviet Union under Stalin which saw economic development far greater than even the USA.
But you have seen eventually where all these countries have ended. They all failed. It is true that coercion and force can in the short run produce results. But in the long run they all run out of steam. What good is a worker today, like a Singaporean, who is always quiet and obedient and incapable of any independent thought. These are not the people who will have ideas and the courage to pursue them, firstly because Lee may not approve or secondly it is too risky compared to just getting a steady job under the Lee government, while keeping your mouth shut.
This is why you see Western democracies have achieved sustained and continued progress. Their governments understand that the first requirement for any progress is the right to think independently without fear. Of course such societies have dissension but it the very fact of dissension that gives every citizen the knowledge that he is free to think how he wants and his future is not dependent on submitting to some dictator. In such societies citizens have a sense of belonging to their countries, they have a stake in it, and it is rewarding to stay behind and improve it.
Singapore on the other hand produces an entire island of hypocrites. Judges pretend to uphold the law but are in fact Lee's PAP politicians in judicial robes using the law to destroy the opposition. Teachers claim to be teachers but they teach not an independence of thinking but submission to authority. A civil servant claims to be impartial but rewards government supporters and denies opponents.
A Singaporean today is a boring individual. He has no independent opinion of anything. He is not articulate. If you ask him a question, it will take him a few minutes to respond, to formulate his thoughts to produce the best politically correct answer.
There are a few Singaporeans in the bay area of San Francisco where I live, but no one hears about them. They are inconspicuous and live their quiet lives in obscurity.
They get around, a few of them on occasion, with the other Singaporeans who live here, arranging to eat Singapore chicken rice in quiet parties and mind their own business. Being ethnic Chinese you cannot tell them apart from PRC Chinese, Taiwanese or even Filipinos with much larger populations here. They are not extrovert, outspoken or even visible in any real sense. Since they live no different from how they lived under Lee Kuan Yew, sometimes you wonder what they ever came here. One Singaporean Chinese I met in San Francisco told me that they are a people who "don't want to make waves".
It is not healthy for any human being to live in such hypocrisy as they live their lives there. It is not healthy for a people to live in such helplessness because the Lee government would be displeased if they became their own selves.
Lee Kuan Yew and his son are not going to lead Singapore anywhere better with the quality of the people they have. They have to realize that the first requirement for any country to advance is for their people to live as human beings, able to form their own opinions, and even promote them if they see fit without the fear of being punished.
In the end the average Singaporean is far inferior to an average Australian, average Englishman or average American. The Australian can say and do what he wants without fear, the Singaporean cannot. That is why the average Australian remains in Australia, has more children than the Singaporean, reaches far more greatness than the Singaporean.
For a small population for its size, Australians have excelled in the world stage. Australians have become some of the world's best actors in Hollywood, they have some of the best word's scientists, the world's great adventurers and sportsmen.
All Singaporeans can produce are yes-men, sycophants and bootlickers only capable of getting steady job under the Lee Kuan Yew government in return for keeping their mouths shut.
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont, California, USA
Tel: 510 491 8525