Thursday, December 13, 2007

Singapore. An eerie silence.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Singapore is indeed a strange country. For 40 years Lee Kuan Yew has been the ruler. And now he has appointed his son as Prime Minister whom he advises. During this entire period there has not been a single instance of civil unrest! A remarkable achievement for any country in the world. Either the people have found nothing at all to protest about, or it is because they are afraid to protest. And this is in spite of there being so many serious grievances that would have enraged any other human in any other place.

Look at it.

You have a government that refuses to pay their citizens their retirement savings when they reach 55 as promised! You have a government who presently pay themselves salaries equivalent to 5 times the salary of George Bush, and even this being not enough, only yesterday they decided to pay themselves 6 times the salary of George Bush, the President of the United States! They have recently threatened that unless citizens live until 85 years of age, they will not be paid any retirement payments at all! They routinely abuse the law through complaint judges to silence the opposition, they repeatedly jail opposition politicians for exercising their civil rights, they steal as much money as they want from government coffers without any accountability, they sue political opponents with defamation of character law suits and bankrupt them! The list of abuses goes on!

And in spite of all these blatant abuses against the people of Singapore, whose taxes pay the salaries of these government people; the people of Singapore do not protest about anything! There has not been a single instance of protest for the last 40 years!

Aldous Huxley, the author of the novel Brave New World had once said that governments of future generations from his time would not need to resort to clubs and prison cells to ensure a submissive citizenry. He predicted that governments will use drugs to change people's behaviour into a permanent state of submission and compliance.

In Singapore's case, Lee Kuan Yew has managed to turn the country into being this eerie, silent, quiet and frightening graveyard where people quietly go along with their lives, doing their work and quietly accepting anything that Lee Kuan Yew does to them without complaint. The people of Singapore have literally decided, once and for all, that they accept the reality of the situation. And the situation being that they fully accept the fact that they cannot change this government; that it is here to stay; that the government will be the one's who decide their lives and not them; it is futile to challenge them; therefore it is best to forget about your misery; and just get on with your lives as best you can. In other words, the people of Singapore have given the Lee Kuan Yew's PAP government complete permission and consent to do whatever they want and whenever they want!

This sad and depressing observation has to be so. Otherwise, why are they not protesting about anything! In fact I will go so far as to say that even though the present salaries that these government people pay themselves is just plain daylight robbery, I bet that even if they decide tomorrow that they will take instead of the $4 million each per annum to $10 million, these unique human beings that inhabit that island will have nothing to say!

The question is how long will this go on, or will it forever? I have no idea. But this much I can say. Singaporeans are indeed a unique set of people. Anyone human with blood in their veins in any other country would have cried out murder, if this had gone on in their country.

I find it odd that Singaporeans do not feel that Singapore is as much theirs as it is Lee Kuan Yew's. Odd that they fail to realize that they are endowed with a constitution. That constitution belongs to them. It gives them rights. And these rights say that the government is accountable to them. That they are the bosses. The boss is not Lee Kuan Yew. That if they feel Lee is stealing their money, they have a right to put a stop to it. They can tell Lee to stop stealing their money. They can go to the streets and assemble and voice their complaints publicly. It is their country. They can go to the streets to tell Lee that he should pay them their retirement savings as promised. Surely these rights belong to the citizens. To Singaporeans.

And yet they do nothing. Yes Singaporeans are indeed very odd. And a very sad people. A boring and uneventful country, where the standard answer from any Singaporean to any political question is "I have no comment".

Where Lee Kuan Yew rules. And the people obey.

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


Anonymous said...

I think we don't have the balls to do it. I don't have the balls to do it. I am afraid I will get arrested and get myself and my family into lots of trouble.

My solution = emigrate as soon as possible. Too much to lose and too little to gain if I tried to protest publicly. Life is short and the grass is greener on the other side. I am impatient. I want FREEDOM now but that does not mean it has to be freedom in Singapore right now.

I am young and would like to experience what life is like in a real 1st world country that respects its citizens' rights. I cannot wait till the day Singapore develops its democracy to a mature level like that of USA, Canada, Australia, UK and New Zealand because I might be dead before that happens.

If all goes well, my application for my Australian PR should be completed by October 2008. I shall leave with a clear conscience as I have served in the army and I paid my taxes.

However, I do leave with some sadness because I feel sad because I cannot live like a free man in my own place of birth.

Gopalan Nair said...

Hello Vincent,

Thanks for your comment. It is sad that this insensitive and dictatorial government continues to push good people like yourself out of Singapore. I completely understand your position as well as your thinking on this. There is nothing wrong in wanting a good life now and life being short and should be enjoyed is also completely understandable.

I hope the government of Singapore reads your your comment and realize their policies are contiunuing to hurt Singapore. It's greatest asset are people such as yourselves who are leaving Singapore's shores.

Gopalan Nair

Anonymous said...

"I shall leave with a clear conscience as I have served in the army and I paid my taxes."

Serving in the army and paying your taxes should in fact trouble your conscience. Conscription is involuntary servitude--by what right does the government stake a claim on you and your life? Paying your taxes willingly is giving sanction to the how the government spends your taxpayer money, and by logical extension, the government.

"The grass is greener on the other side" is a trite and vapid saying; it's an illusion. Just as the horizon will recede as you ever approach it, the grass will grow grayer beneath your feet, as you walk towards the other side. No country is perfect--you'd leave one country and its problems only to be met by another and its own. Singapore is ours, not the government's. When dissidents leave, the PAP profits, for only their dumb, unquestioning cattle are left behind. We shouldn't throw in the towel; we should throw down the gaunlet.

Gopalan Nair said...


You have said it very well. Very well indeed.


Gopalan Nair

Gopalan Nair said...

I cannot help it, but say it again. What you have said is brilliant. Brilliant.
You said it much better than I could ever have.
Gopalan Nair

Anonymous said...

Mr Nair,

Whatever happened to your superhero American attitude? Whatever happened to, "I am Gopalan Nair. I will fight on."? You bowed to Mr. Lee in the end, You stupid irresponsible fucker. It's one thing to be chicken shit - I agree with you most Singaporeans are - it's another thing to be stupid chicken shit. After making all those explosive comments, you still, in true Singaporean spirit, bowed to the state's dictator - apologised and deleted your posts. What was that you said about the right to speak again? And worse still, after you kissed Lee's ass, here you are licking your wounds, pretending it didn't happen and attacking the Government and THE PEOPLE from another random unrelated angle. True Singaporean spirit indeed mate. Great job.