Friday, July 24, 2009

Singapore. Easier entry for lawyers. Clutching at straws?

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Remember Lee Kuan Yew himself and his minion Goh Chock Tong in the recent past, making passionate pleas to students in Western cities like Melbourne and London begging them to return home in the face of the unbearable flood of talented Singaporeans permanently leaving the island for settlement abroad?

Remember only last week Goh Chock Tong tearfully lamenting the fact that 2 out of 3 students who go abroad never return.

With the cat out of the bag, Singapore being a first class dictatorship plain and simple, everyone wants to leave and no one wants to return. Finally it seems Lee and Company have realized there is nothing they can do but just accept the sad fact that no one in his right mind would want to stay in his Island of Dr. Moreau. The steadily increasing brain drain out of Singapore has now become an undeniable fact.

Take another fact. You know that Singapore has a population of 4.5 million. With this figure in mind, do you realise that Singapore has no more than 3,000 practicing lawyers! Yes, this is true. No more than 3,000 lawyers! Recently in my blog post of Tuesday June 30, 2009 titled "Law Society of Singapore Island refuses to disclose the number of lawyers!", I had written about the Singapore Law Society refusing to state how many lawyers are there; an obvious sign that because the number has declined even further, they are embarrassed even to state the figure!

What this means is this. Singapore lawyers shamefully aware of the political interference of the judiciary and the legal profession by Lee Kuan Yew, have become so disgusted, they simply want out and high school graduates are refusing to study the subject. As a result the Singapore legal profession is dying and the dictatorship is finding it increasingly difficult to run the island without them.

So about a week ago, K Shanmugam, the recently hand picked Lee Kuan Yew's Minister for Law, had prominently publicized in his state controlled press another harebrained plan to increase the number of lawyers by attracting foreign lawyers, the carrot being a shorter training regimen; a plan doomed to fail from the start.

Everyone knows, except it seems for K Shanmugam, that lawyers training is long and arduous anyway, and lawyers willingly accept this. Otherwise they would not have become lawyers in the first place. Shortening the training period by 6 months or a year will not change anything. Lawyers, as the name itself suggests, are people who have a heightened sense of justice, integrity and truth, which is why they chose the profession. And regardless of how long it takes to train as a lawyer, they will choose a country which upholds the integrity of the rule of law, as a place to spend their career in it. For a good lawyer, the length of time it takes to become one is usually completely irrelevant.

What honest lawyers all over the world find repulsive, if Lee Kuan Yew's favorite boy K Shanmugam did not know, are dictatorships and totalitarian regimes where the law is the dictator itself. And that is why there isn't a long line of lawyer aspirants waiting outside Rangoon, Burma, or Pyongyang North Korea and Singapore waiting to be lawyers there. And he should also realize that even if Burma, North Korea and Singapore, all totalitarian dictatorships who abuse the rule of law and silence dissent, were to allow admission without any training at all, they would still not be able to find anyone!

Yet we have this article in the state controlled online edition of the newspaper of the island , the Straits Times of July 25, 2009, "Easier entry for lawyers. 320 applicants for course that speeds up entry to practice law in Singapore". It has a large picture of the face of a man, beaming and grinning from ear to ear, who claims to have recently graduated from University College London and intends to practice law in the island. It is obvious that this happy man and the other 320 hopefuls do not know what they are getting into.

They will all very soon see the Singapore reality in it's ugly face. The reality that every single judge and lawyer practices there in fear and obedience to Lee Kuan Yew, the Singapore strongman, not the rule of law as we know it. They will soon realize the law is systematically abused for Lee Kuan Yew's political ends. They will soon realize that the only way to survive is to join Lee's bandwagon and sing the tune that pleases him.

And of the 100 or so lawyers who manage to obtain admission, if they had any moral integrity, will leave the country as soon as they find out the Singapore legal system is no different from that of Burma or North Korea. And these lawyers who came and left would be doing a tremendous amount of good by becoming unpaid ambassadors of the truth to the rest of the world, telling even more people abroad that Singapore is in reality another Burma.

You can see the desperation in these acts of Singapore's Minister for Law. The number of lawyers there has become so low that it is becoming difficult even to govern the place. This is another useless exercise by this administration which is now clutching at straws. Even the figures are hopeless. 320 applicants to a profession standing at no more than 3,000 in a country with 4.5 million people! No one can really know what the real number of lawyers or how much further it has declined since the Singapore professional body is unwilling to reveal the figure!

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

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Anonymous said...

I was at one time practising law in Singapore. Any lawyer would know that there is no rule of law in Singapore. Disclousre is almost unheard of. Right to a lawyer or to silence is non existent. A person can be held in confinement as per the wishes of the prosecutor. The judges are all inclined to view an accused as guilty until proven innocent. The list just goes on.
Fortunately, I left at the appropriate time and thank God each day that I made an excellent decision to do so.

Anonymous said...

I thought laywers only work for their profession where winning & money is their only concern.
But somehow,I hope u were right about the moral part.

Anonymous said...

I also used to practice law and eventually decided to leave the profession and the country for good.

I remember one criminal trial when the trial started at 10am and went on to about 7.30pm. I did by best to break the prosecution's case and was told off by the judge several times when I apparently took too much time to frame my questions. "Counsel, could you please hurry up".

Toward the end of the day (around 6pm),I was mentally exhausted and suggested to the judge that we reconvene on another day. She refused and asked me to proceed on.

I knew that I was unable to provide the best service to my client due to fatigue. But I soldiered on as best as I could.

After the closing submissions, it took the judge about 30 seconds to find my client guilty.

I met the judge's secretary a couple of weeks later and she told me that the reason why the judge wanted to complete the trial on that day was because she was going on vacation the following day (and for those of you who don't know, judges in Singapore are appraised by how efficiently they can complete the cases assigned to them)!!!

That's justice, Singapore style!!

Anonymous said...

5 similar cases. Yet, one of them was given a much lighter sentence. Why? Watch this video for answer. That's the standard of our court!