Saturday, September 8, 2007

Singapore. The real version. Not the Straits Times version.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

If a Singaporean were just to read the Straits Times, and nothing else; which would show a lack of common sense on his part anyway; he will no doubt believe that Singapore is the best place to live in the world, not only that, very soon, it would be nothing less than Heaven! That is what the Russians thought under Stalin reading Pravda news.

If Singapore's one major asset is it's workforce, since it does not have any natural resources, then it does look like Singapore is in trouble because the workforce is progressively weakening in skills and ability; an absolute necessity for any nation trying to move from a third world status to that of first world. This weakening of the work force is because the people have lost respect for their government, lost respect for their politicians, lost respect for their public institutions, lost respect for their judiciary and the administration of justice.

This general distrust in their government and its politicians is the major reason why the well known efficiency of Singapore will slowly begin to disappear and Singapore will slowly find itself relegated to the league of less advanced countries like the Philippines.

If any parent in Singapore will for a moment consider and contemplate their children's future, they will begin to worry about what sort of adults they will turn out to be; honest parents, that is.

We all know that real success in Singapore is that of Lee Kuan Yew PAP politicians, whom we are told are paid $3 million per year, just as all the other top level Civil Servants and Judges. So any parent who continues to live and educate their young children in Singapore, being naturally ambitious, would also want their children to achieve success, to be paid $3 million like Lee Kuan Yew and his selected lieutenants. I am here of course, talking of the few parents, thank God, who do not have a sense of integrity about them.

Therefore in the Singapore philosophy of success, it should be greed and not public service; or the need to excel in one’s chosen profession; that should be the eventual goal for any Singapore parent or child; whereas true success, according to the thinking in first world countries, is to be able to serve one’s community, one's country, and the wider world though hard work and dedication, and if a professional, through excellence achieved from a lifetime of hard work. Of course, highly successful politicians, public employees and professionals in advanced countries in the world are also paid well, but unlike Singapore, they do not get into politics and government principally to enrich themselves; like they do in Singapore.

This depressing realization among Singapore parents and their children; that to achieve success, they have to compromise their conscience and pursue money at all costs; is the major reason for the educated and able in Singapore to pack up and leave for countries such as Australia. They prefer their children to be educated in Australia or New Zealand over Singapore, knowing that education is not merely learning a set of rules but it is also an education in morality, good principles and the desire to become honorable men and women; which the Singapore system does not encourage or even permit.

And for Singapore to become a first world country and to succeed in industry, finance and trade, it has to have really educated men and women; not what Lee Kuan Yew has produced so far, among the ruling class, or will be able to produce in the future. This will eventually become an impediment to continued growth and will eventually bring Singapore down to the third world status of it's neighbors.

Emigration of the highly educated professionals is the one greatest problem that Singapore faces. These highly educated Singaporeans; which is not such a large number to start with; given Singapore’s small population of 4 million, are leaving almost en masse. Anther important reason for these educated to leave in ever increasing numbers recently is because of the government's new policies of retaining their CPF earnings until they reach 65, and even then, further retain about $100,000.00 as minimum deposits. This policy effectively denies them access to their money in their lifetime if they remain Singaporeans; so what else to do but to leave Singapore, renounce their Singapore citizenship and take their money which is rightfully theirs to enjoy.

Among Singaporeans, those who remain are the uneducated or partially educated; those who work at the malls, as security guards and as clerks at the Ministry of Environment. They are just employees who take and carry out instructions for a living. All they are concerned is to be able to survive, and they can do that in Singapore. Not much ambition because not much education. Although essential for any country, these workers are not the one's necessary to manage and administer Singapore.

The vacuum of the highly educated and able Singaporeans who have left; due to lack of foresight and understanding of the highly paid Singapore ministers, has to be filled somehow. So recruitment of skilled and educated professionals is conducted in countries such as Philippines, India, China and so on. These people who are selected for work in Singapore to replace those highly talented Singaporeans are never the best even in their own countries, and in no way comparable to the Singaporeans who left, either in their education, their way of thinking or their work ethic.

As you can see, most of these immigrants to Singapore come from poorer countries like Philippines, China and India. And they come with a baggage, literally and metaphorically. All these countries have a culture of corruption among their people. This is how they lived in their countries and this is how they think; the vast majority of them.

A Filipino, a mainlander Chinese or Indian may think while in Singapore that if he did not get a government license for this or that, perhaps he could get one with a bribe? Second, they will never work as hard as a Singaporeans would in Singapore, since after all it is not their country. They come for a few years, make some money and go home. No need to be over enthusiastic in a foreign country, surely.

Eventually with the continued loss of educated and professional Singaporeans, more and more foreigners take their places. And as the number of foreigners increase in proportion to Singaporeans, the entire psyche and mindset of the Singaporean population begin to shift, to that of the mindset of the Filipino in Quezon City; thus eventually bringing Singapore to where Philippines is at present.

It is quite obvious that the Singapore government has lost it's reliability, credibility and dependability which is a major reason why the able and educated leave. Although the Lee Kuan yew government has always abused the law and denied it's citizens their rights, in the recent past, they have brazenly flouted the fact that they care nothing about the laws and they will do whatever they want. Examples of this high handedness are too numerous to mention; but the recent excesses are the upping of ministerial salaries to $3 million a year and the clear refusal of the government to pay their citizens, their CPF monies on retirement. By these actions, repeated over the years, has resulted in the people losing all hope that anything will be certain, reliable or dependable in Singapore and that it is nothing more than a government run by Lee Kuan Yew's dictates. This has created an uncertainly to the level that it is no longer safe to live in Singapore permanently, since what you see today may not be what you see tomorrow, if Lee Kuan Yew so decided.

The other reason is the terminal age of Lee Kuan Yew at 84. He will die very soon. If it is already this bad under his iron grip, how much worse will it become under that of his son, whom he has appointed Prime Minister, who is generally seen to have neither ability nor experience and who appears to require the constant mentoring by his father the Minister Mentor.

All these factors tend to drive Singaporeans away in ever larger numbers and it is being replaced by the foreign Filipino, Chinese and Indian mentality.

And not only that, these foreigners from third world countries are lowering the wages in Singapore to become at par with wages in their countries; since Lee Kuan Yew refuses to enact a minimum wage law.

And the truth is that every Filipino, every Chinese from China or Indian from India, coming to Singapore, is also not the best qualified available, since we all know that they had tried to immigrate to the popular destinations of USA, Canada, Australia or New Zealand but had failed and therefore have to make do with Singapore; since they reckon, half a loaf is better than none.

Until these Singapore politicians realize that the most important thing to be done is to instill faith in the Administration among the people, despite the daily dose of good news put out by the state controlled Straits Times, Singapore will continue on it's decline, which is gaining momentum at an alarming rate.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914


Anonymous said...

Thanks for all your writings online. You certainly do a good job of keeping your readers informed with up to date information on Singapore. Sad to say other dissidents who left the country have either slowed down, licked their wounds and have not used their political freedom to the same measure that you have. Some chose to write academic while giving a good insight but would also be useful to post up to date articles. Bravo Mr Nair!

Anonymous said...

Someone should post in the Singapore tourism sites, the nature of the government. Reading this other online blogs dissuaded me from taking Singapore Airlines and visiting Singapore.

Anonymous said...

I almost agree with your writing, that survivalism (was it this post or another one?) is outdated and certainly new justification (and a valid one) has to be presented by the government. I don't see that happening. If they keep arguing on economic grounds, it sounds pretty third world to me. I for one am envious of ex-classmates who have emigrated. I wish they brought me along outta here.

Anonymous said...

"A nation of sheep begets a government of wolves." - Edward R. Murrow