Ladies and Gentlemen,
With each day passing, Singaporeans are increasingly alienated from their government. In fact, a large section of its people viscerally hate their government and are only waiting its downfall.
This fact can be clearly seen throughout the Internet. Since the entire media, newspapers, television and radio are all state controlled, it is impossible for Singaporeans to show their angst against the regime in them. The only avenue available is the Internet which unlike the other totalitarian regimes in the world are still uncontrolled. It is here that you see the real anger of the people to this government.
Examples of this in the Internet are many. Take the well read TR Emeritus http://www.tremeritus.com/. Every single comment there is a visceral attack against the ruling PAP regime. It seems so widespread today that although the government could if they want discover their identities and bring upon the usual defamation lawsuits, it seems they have decided it is just too extensive and too common to control. And these insults and attacks against the government goes on everyday, ever increasing in their intensity, while the government simply does nothing. Another blog is the Online Citizen http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/ and The Real Singapore http://therealsingapore.com/node?page=2
The reasons for their alienation and distrust are obvious. Here we have a government that simply believes that the Constitution is irrelevant, the people are there simply there to enrich the rulers, they have no rights and have simply to obey the daily dictates that are enacted as laws by their rubber stamp Parliament. Singapore's rulers have decided long ago that the Constitution is simply of no use to them. The rights in them, free speech, expression and assembly are completely denied. The press is totally controlled and the courts are just Kangaroo.
This leaves the average citizen no recourse to redress injustice. A man who is denied a HDB flat has nowhere to turn; unless of course he takes the law into his own hands. A Malay or an Indian Singaporean denied a job because of his race simply has to take it lying down. A Chinese Singaporean renting a HDB flat is free to take advantage of his Indian Singaporean neighbor. The laws allow beating as an official punishment for crimes and many victims bear an intense hatred against their government for life.
Any other country with laws to allow grievances to be aired and redressed have people that trust and respect their government. In Singapore the average person feels that he is totally at their mercy. They have no control over their destinies, the government has. There is no accountability or transparency with the government. They simply tell you whatever they want or however they want to twist it in their state controlled press. As for their legal system, the average person has no respect whatsoever. Most of their work is involved in punishing criminals.
The situation in Soviet Union or former East Germany was not dissimilar, but with one difference. They were large countries with large populations and closed borders. Any attempt at political criticism was severely punished, and you could not leave if you wanted to. Even if many people were against their government, it could still manage as their populations were large and there are still millions who would obey. But in Singapore on the other hand, the population is tiny, perhaps just 2 million local citizens and a vast number of foreigners. Equally important is the fact that passports are readily available, the borders are not closed and anyone who cannot stand the system is free to leave.
Can you imagine what will happen if a large portion of the 2 million of that tiny population leave? It would cause unimaginable turmoil, instability, a run on the banks, massive outflow of capital and literally doom. Even the departure of a few large investors with their money will trigger a flood. A tiny island with a tiny population such as this simply cannot withstand this.
With the demise of the 91 year old dictator Lee Kuan Yew who has very cleverly not left any state or civic institutions worth its salt to see through a smooth transition, there will be total chaos. No one knows who will be the new Prime Minister or will it still be his son whom he placed on the throne. Sadly for him no one has any respect as most see him nothing more than his father's son.
Singapore today does not have the strong civil institutions that is needed for stability and political transition. If it has lasted this far, it is only because everyone feared his father. When he dies there will inevitably be a power struggle among the hopefuls with the people on their part not accepting anyone.
Remember every one of these government Ministers are mere handpicked bureaucrats, not real leaders. I predict the only way these oligarchs can remain in power would be to use increasingly repressive measures to subdue the tiny population.
Just like Saddam Hussein could remain in power, the Singaporean hopefuls would have to use massive arrests, torture and prosecutions as their only weapon. But unlike Saddam's Iraq, Singapore has a tiny population and everyone has passports, which they would surely use to get out the moment this government turns increasingly ruthless. And there would be no one left to subdue, since they would have all left with their money.
This situation in Singapore is not something that can last.
Attorney at Law
Fremont, California, USA
A Singaporean in Exile
Tel: 510 491 8525