Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Singaporeans and the Lee Kuan Yew Family; a one big happy family

Ladies and Gentlemen,

If you were to have been a native born Singaporean like me, and have lived in the West as well, you will know that Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore is a unique place with its own set of societal norms, completely different from what you would expect in any other democracy.

And the architect of this was none other than Singapore’s dictator Lee Kuan Yew who wanted to create a system which would ensure his rule over his people in perpetuity.

As for the local people, they don't realize that they are being denied a system of government which the Constitution has given them which enshrine their rights and instead they are living merely at the discretion whim or fancy of the Lee family. In the Singaporean system, you don't particularly have any rights. If you feel aggrieved, you can approach the Lee Family through their agents for help, which they may or may not give.

Let me explain. In any democracy with laws and independent judiciary, grievances are solved through lawyers and the courts which have a set of laws dealing which each type and category. For instance, in the US, if you have a grievance dealing with social security, you have special courts set up with independent judges to hear them. Similarly with landlord and tenant, motor vehicles and other administrate courts which are dealt with through lawyers.

It is not like that in Lee's Singapore. There you have a system which is created to make the citizen subservient and submissive to the rulers, where you go to the Lee's when you need help, and hopefully, like benevolent parents, they will help you as they would help their children (at least that is the hope that people have when they approach the Lee Ruling Family).

This is how it is done. There is such a thing called a Resident's Committee and Citizens Consultative Committees which have offices in the crowded government housing estates where they live packed like sardines in multi story housing blocks.

A Singaporean who has lost his job and suddenly finds himself unable to feed his family will stand in line at these offices on certain designated days a week when Lee's representative, the Member of Parliament will be present and he will literally beg for help. He might weep sob or cry or go on all fours being watched by Lee's representative who will then decide whether to give the man any money or none at all after which he goes home, either happy that he got some money or miserable because he didn't get any.

This disgraceful procedure, no different from begging is adopted in almost all problems that people have. You would stand in line here and ask for help if you neighbor in your housing block is bothering you with too much noise, if you wanted to change your apartment for somewhere else, or if you need a job because you have none. The government representative becomes something like a lord, to whom a peasant would go to beg for help in rural China.

The immediate reaction among Singaporeans, which Lee Kuan Yew has successfully created over the years, is for people to turn to the government (or their masters, Lee and Company) for any problem they have, while the Lee Ruling Family try to portray themselves as some sort of all powerful emperors who have the power and will over their subjects.

Since the people have to turn to the government for help, it would make no sense for you to oppose your rulers because this will obviously hurt your chances of being helped. Indeed at these lineups at the Resident's Committees are lurking large numbers of government spies and informers who report on those who seem loyal and supportive and those who are seen as trouble makers. Since once information is passed on that so and so is a trouble maker, you are going to see trouble; therefore understandably people take great pains to appear obedient, submissive and pleasing to their government officials.

This practice of making the people look to their government to solve their problems, which the Lees have cultivated over the years, creates a society which has no choice but to conform and obey since any other behavior will only mean misery.

What they are trying to do is to create blind total conformity among its people and the more the people are so, the easier to rule over them and the result is a sure guarantee that the Lee Ruling Family will rule forever.

In the US, if one needs help one doesn't stand in line outside the office of a Senator or Congressman although this can be done, but they consult a lawyer who will try to seek redress for his client through the courts. Although in Singapore it is still possible to go to the courts, the courts are literally empty except for criminal cases. This is because, in their determination to make the society subservient to the government, they have made access to the courts almost impossible through astronomical fees. I understand that to sue someone, you would have to pay several thousands dollars in court fees which makes litigation deliberately out of reach of the ordinary man.

The Lees seem to think that Singaporeans are all fools and wouldn’t realize that they are being treated like children begging for handouts at these Member of Parliament housing block session line ups. It destroys human dignity and reduces a man to no more than a beggar at these housing block sessions with the government official.

It is only the ordinary man who has no understating of anything else except Lee Kuan Yew style of government who is so helpless as to stand in these lines and beg for help. People, who have the means to avoid this sort of paternalistic nonsense, do the next best thing. They simply pack up and leave for the West for settlement, where they know they don't have to stand in line and beg and be treated like a child.

Gopalan Nair
A Singaporean by birth in exile
Attorney at Law
Fremont, California, USA
Tel: 510 491 4375

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