Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Singapore treading on thin ice

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A casual first time visitor will no doubt be amazed to see the opulence of the city state with skyscrapers and the works. But how has all these things happened and will the immediate future, let alone the distant, continue glittering?

Singapore today is the product of one man's plan. Lee Kuan Yew, the 90 year old strongman who has run the island his way, iron fist style, decided that relying on established theories of government, such as a Constitutional Parliamentary democracy based on Constitutions and rules guaranteeing human rights was not the best way to run Singapore.

Instead he completely ignored the rule of law, human rights only in so far as you obey him, and employing scholars with University degrees and given titles as Ministers to help him run the place. Singapore was built according to what he and his university graduates thought best, not according to anything the people wanted.

And then you have elections every 5 years which are rigged to ensure only his candidates win, anyone else loses.

As there was no opposition to anything he did, since the perpetrator would promptly be arrested or charged with income tax evasion, he was able to built the island in quick time, no questions asked.

But the problem is what happens tomorrow. Today you have properties valued in the millions which have appreciated at lightning speed because everyone thinks the island is an economic miracle. True, it may be now but what next?

The entire island is run by one man alone, Lee Kuan Yew and his son, because he is the son of his father. Unfortunately now, the elder Lee Kuan Yew is 90 years old and in bad health. When he dies the entire island will likely end up in instability confusion and chaos simply because it has no established method of transition from one government to another.

Singaporeans are accustomed only to be governed by someone or other, one person. The average Singaporean wanting a career in politics does not form his own party or group of like minded people but only joins Lee's Peoples Action Party, since joining any other opposition party is not likely to get him anywhere, it will also no doubt result in his victimization and persecution by Lee Kuan Yew and his son. In Singapore a good citizen is a Peoples Action Party supporter (Lee's party).

Since joining the Peoples Action Party, means job security, promotion in career and peace of mind, while associating with the opposition means victimization, discrimination and persecution, only a fool would choose the opposition.

The Singaporean political system today is no different from the Cuban system or even the Russian system of today. Supporting Russia's Putin is a far more attractive proposition than joining the opposition and spending time in a Moscow jail.

With a population incapable of standing and thinking on their own, who are capable only of supporting whoever happens to be the strongman at any one time, the prospect of 90 year old Lee Kuan Yew's passing is alarming. No one knows if the support that Singaporeans give to the 90 year old Lee Kuan Yew would be given to the son. Many report that the son does not even instill confidence among his own party members.

Since there is no established and accepted method of political transition, and if the son is unable to garner Singaporeans support, what happens then? Will other of these scholar Ministers handpicked by Lee Kuan Yew jockey for power? Or even worse, will the entire island sink into total chaos,  instability and mayhem?

Remember that the vast majority of the island's economy is in the hands of foreigners. Will a few foreigner investors unsure of the future stability of the island decide to pull their assets? And if a few do so, will it encourage others? Will there be a massive outflow of capital? Will there be a run on the banks? And will the very same Lee Kuan Yew Ministers who have been so comfortable so far decide it is too risky to stay and pull out like the others? Will the cubicle of a house which has appreciated to $4 million at 6 Jalan Kathi Singapore be worth no more than $4,000.00 once Lee is gone and the instability and riots have set in?

I think the island is treading on thin ice. The clearly misguided policy of building a city without any thought of the future will be the damning legacy of the 90 year old dictator Lee Kuan Yew. If you run a country, you must also lay the foundation and rules for the future. You cannot simply build up an island without any thought of how the people will organize their future governments.

I am very sure that this outward sense of stability security and prosperity is not going to last with the demise of Lee Kuan Yew, simply because there are no other leaders whom the people can choose. Lee's son is simply not a leader to anyone. We all know that he is there simply by reason of his father. As for the other ministers, no one has any respect for any of them either. We all know that the primary reason why anyone bothers is because of the millions they are paid. We wonder if they are paid any less, would any of these scholar ministers be around.

As each day passes for me, the excitement increases. I am waiting for Lee Kuan Yew to die and see what is going to happen to his miracle island. I am particularly keen on knowing if the $4million cubicle of a house in 6 Jalan Kathi Singapore, owned by Anthony Patrick Nathan (a Tamil), a Singapore government lawyer, who has recently divorced his Chinese wife be even worth $4,000.00? According to the court judgment, it appears he has bought a house in Malaysia which he intends to use as his retirement home. Interesting. Does he also see the writing on the wall and has decided to abandon the badly listing SS Singapore. For those interested in this gentleman , you can read the judgement here

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont, California, USA
Tel: 510 491 8525


Anonymous said...

A former operative with the government's overseas spy agency the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS), Warren Reed, said Singapore is regarded as the industrial espionage capital of Asia and many Australian officials and business people will only travel there "clean'' and will not carry any phones or laptops to the island state.

"Of course Singapore is very close to Indonesia and is actually Indonesia's banker" Mr Reed said.

"The best advice is that if your phone goes missing and then shows up later - throw it away and get a new one" Mr Reed said.

Unknown said...

The quotations from Lee Kuan Yew about getting up if he senses anything going wrong, the knuckle-dusters to meet opponents in the cul-de-sac, evaporate in strength as do the promises of a Swiss standard of living and more good years. The disconnect from reality rivals that of the disconnect from the rulers to the sufferings of the masses.

These are dark times indeed. Yet there is hope. Less and less buy the blatant lies told by the whiter than white rulers, and the desperate damage control on online dissent by the Prime Minister reflect that.