Ladies and Gentlemen,
When writing anything about Singapore island, it is first necessary to describe how tiny it is. Although a country by itself, it's entire size is just 26 miles east to west and 16 miles north to south at the tip of the Malay peninsula. In this tiny place is crammed about 5 million people, most of them foreigners. Without traffic you could drive within 30 minutes to the ends of the island, both lateral and longitudinal. The real Singapore population is a mere 2 million at the most. It has no natural resources and relies almost entirely on import export trade.
In such a country which has nothing, except its people, it therefore means that it's principle asset is the people. If the people have nothing to offer the world, the tiny island simply collapses. And that's that.
Unfortunately despite all the praise heaped on the late Lee Kuan Yew Prime Minister for creating a miracle economy from nothing (which is by the way, false) he seems to have completely lost the most important fundamental purpose in nation building, building its people.
For 50 years Singapore has had a centrally planned economy like the Soviet Union. Certain sectors were created by the state as economic sectors such as the sea port, oil and gas refining, commodities trading, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, casinos, banking and tourism. And the people were directed to these jobs.
But the very lives of everyone was controlled, not just in jobs. In the Soviet Union, you had to be a member and supporter of the Communist Party, in China you had to be a member and supporter of the Communist Party and in Singapore you had to be a member and supporter of Lee Kuan Yew, now his son, and his ruling Peoples Action Party. Just as in the Soviet Union and China, Singapore has been ruled throughout it's history by this party. Without proof of such support you could not find a job in the Soviet Union, in Communist China or in Singapore.
This is mind control and mind control is bad for economic advancement, especially for a tiny island without any natural resources.
And even if you wanted to, it is very difficult for any honest man to support the Lee Kuan Yew type of government. What is it? It is a place where there is no freedom of speech, no freedom of expression, no right to assemble, no rule of law as the judges are all stooges of the Lee administration and an island with a defamation regime where you are sued for the slightest criticism.
So honest Singaporeans who have some self respect have all left the island. They now live in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, England and other free countries of the world. I live in the USA.
Those who decide to stay behind in this island are those who are incapable of leaving or the opportunists who are hypocrites who will support anything and anybody if profitable. At the same time despite the great shortage of skilled people in the island, the only ones who are coming are those with no skills or who cannot speak any English from China.
So what you have is a submissive society. A society which is waiting for the state to give them jobs, to create jobs, to advice them where to go and what to do. And in this sort of society, those who are seen to be strong supporters of the state are given preferential treatment while those who do not show it are denied jobs and ways found to fire them.
As a result of the fear of not being seen to be supportive, the vast majority of the society make a bee line to the ruling party's organizations such as the Peoples Association, the Citizens Residents Committees, Consultative Committees and a litany of organizations which are all run and organized by the ruling party with government ministers and members of parliament running them.
As a result the lines dividing the ruling party and the country are blurred. Just as in Nazi Germany where Germany was Nazi and Nazi was Germany, in Singapore the Peoples Action Party (Lee's party) is Singapore and Singapore is Peoples Action party.
As a result just as in the Soviet Union, mediocre workers are in fact promoted to high office because of their support, whereas in a meritocracy they would have been left far behind. Their only qualification is official party support, not any real competence in anything. As a result of these mediocre workers, quality falls and productivity falls and the economy stagnates. This is what happened to the late Soviet Union and this is what happens today in authoritarian one party state Singapore.
For any tiny unusual island city state such as this, in order to succeed, the people have to be far better than their competition. They have to be better in the things they do. But Singaporeans are not only no better than anyone else, in fact they are one of the least productive societies in the world. In fact in several impartial international surveys held, they are the most unhappy people in the world and 2/3 said that if given a chance they would emigrate. Such an unhappy society engenders poor productivity, the lack of marriages and the world's lowest birthrate.
What the government should realize is that jobs are not created by the state but by the people themselves. But in order for the people to be creative, enterprising, daring to take chances, they first of all need democracy. They need to be sure that their government is honest and not a bunch of crooks. They should be able to read real news not propaganda. They have to know their judges are real, not Kangaroos.
But the people of Singapore are not secure in their island. They live in a dictatorship where to succeed, you first need to accept the authority of this corrupt state. And if you do succeed, it will be entirely because the state supports you, not because of who you are or what you are. And if you have to live in fear constantly, how can you ever do anything according to your own ideas.
Every single newspaper reports the constant descent of the economy of the island. More and more people are being thrown out of their jobs. There is a flight of capital as investors see no hope in the foreseeable future. And it also appears that the government has no intention of giving their people freedom. They are determined to subjugate their minds because otherwise they fear being thrown out.
In a few more years, the decline will hit rock bottom, massive numbers will be unemployed and there will be a revolution. But is seems that is what this government wants.
Even for the sake of argument, even if the government decides to give the people their freedom, can Singapore suddenly become creative and entrepreneurs on their own? I think, sadly not. A people who have for 50 years been told to merely obey and not think, cannot suddenly become creative and entrepreneurs. It did not happen in the Soviet Union after Boris Yeltsin. It will not happen in Singapore.
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont (San Francisco) USA
Tel: 510 491 8525