Friday, August 2, 2013

The 92 year old Lee Kuan Yew and the Singaporean's dilemna. To stay or to go

Ladies and Gentlemen,

For citizens of the tiny tropical island of Singapore with a mere 2 million local born citizens, run on almost military precision by the no-nonsense dictator Lee Kuan Yew, these must be worrying times.

Lee Kuan Yew, the man who has ruled Singapore with an iron grip since 1959, is already 92 years old, either older by a few years or younger, depending on who you ask. Asking him is no use because he is not going to tell exactly. Any way, in the order of Nature, a 92 year old man hasn't long to live, and that is certain. He will either go next week or next month. His batteries will not last till 2050!

In any democracy, the death of the leader shouldn't worry anyone as there is a universally accepted peaceful method to transfer power from one government to another. However in places such as Singapore, where one individual has developed a sort of cult personality where he alone is the reason for the very existence of the place, his passing results usually in a state of total instability and disorder. Lee Kuan Yew, as he has made himself to be is Singapore and Singapore is Lee Kuan Yew. It is as if, the Singaporean birds sing because of Lee Kuan Yew, the Singaporean sun rises because of him and at the flick of his finger you can disappear or appear.

The parliament of Singapore is nothing but a rubber stamp, his son whom he has appointed Prime Minister is nothing because he doesn't instill any confidence in anyone but everything still functions because they do in his name alone.

As in every other one party police states around the world, Singapore will collapse entirely when Lee Kuan Yew dies simply because there is no established civil system of government where power can evolve from one authority to another.

It is impossible to believe that with Lee senior's passing, the island will rally behind the son because the son really has no real power since his government rules through the perceived authority of his father. It is very likely that there will be a total state of disorder, with all sorts of political aspirants both in the ruling party and those yearning for democratic change to clash for power.

With the uncertainty,  and possible street demonstrations, protests, strikes and total chaos it is almost certain that foreign investor's upon whom the tiny island relies almost entirely would in all probability head straight to the airport for the next flight out. And like the domino, the damage will spread. Singaporeans will leave with their money and their families. Foreigners will leave.

I am not sure with such a tiny island and a tiny almost totally foreign population, whether it has the means to recover from such a calamity. Sure a country like Russia with hundreds of millions of people has the buffer to withstand a total tsunami of change. I am not sure tiny Singapore island can.

Should the prudent citizen see the writing on the wall and pack up and leave now, or should he stay and ride out the storm. I am not sure. I cannot advice. It's your life not mine.

I left the island more than twenty years ago. I refused to live under a dictatorship, just as millions of Germans left refusing to live under Adolf Hitler. Of course many Germans stayed arguing that good or bad Germany is my country. As for me, it was the right choice. It is like a breath of fresh air to step into a free society like America.

But you are now at the cross roads. Should you stay or should you go. You can still go to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Europe or even America. They are all still accepting immigrants. Or you could send your children abroad for an education and then join them at a later date. There is simply no need for you to tolerate a dictatorship or worse, descend into calamity and chaos with the 92 year old man gone.

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


Anonymous said...

LKY and his regime have removed all incentives for smart, independent folks to remain in Singapore.

None of us want our children's future to be determined by the whims of this tyrant.

And for us adults, we don't want him to keep his filthy paws on our CPF money.

So, we emigrated. Better schools for our children that offer good all round education.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone believe that if many Singaporeans asked to withdraw their CPF (for example during a war situation) that the money would be there? Why would the government want to help people leave by giving them their life savings? If you want to withdraw your CPF, make sure you do it BEFORE the crisis happens.