Sunday, February 22, 2015

Singapore "strongman" Lee Kuan Yew hospitalized in ICU, severe pneumonia, on mechanical ventilation, unable to breath. Will the island survive after him

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The news everywhere now is about 91 year old Lee Kuan Yew, the "strongman", hardly strong now, physically I mean, autocrat dictator of Singapore island since 1959, who has been hospitalized since Feb 5, 2015 for severe pneumonia but we were never told till yesterday.

This sort of secrecy only happens in dictatorships around the world. For instance in North Korea, although Kim Jong Il had died quite some time ago, the people were only told much later, a phenomenon where news is state controlled like Singapore and North Korea.

According to the Singapore's state news agency, Straits Times, he is unable to breath anymore and is on Mechanical Ventilation, which means air is forced into his body through mechanical means, without which he will die obviously a painful procedure.

Personally I don't think he will last beyond a few more days. This is my personal opinion and not based on any scientific or medical evidence. The ability to live long depends not only on one's health but equally important is his personal convictions and conscience. Or put in another way, is he at peace with his Conscience. Here we have an old man whose hands are clearly bloody, who has for his own personal interest kept an innocent man in prison for more than 26 years, Chia Thye Poh, one of a litany of his political victims.

Many others have suffered greatly under his tyrannical rule, not least Lim Chin Siong, JB Jeyaretnam and Dr. Chee Soon Juan of the SDP. He and his family who run the island as his fiefdom are also the most corrupt politicians in the world paying themselves each $3.7 million a year of citizen's tax payers money. He simply takes it because no one has the courage to stand outside Parliament House and complain.

Conscience can be as punishing as the most life threatening of deceases. When a 91 year old physically feeble man such as this having to endure the constant reminder of all the terrible evil that he has done, it is usually too much for any man.  Hitler would not have lasted much beyond  taking his own life if he had not committed suicide, and neither would Lee Kuan Yew.

When he dies, I think you could safely say that it was no less his Conscience as much as his poor health that killed this ruthless, merciless dictator of Singapore and a curse upon the short history of the island.

Next question, what happens to Singapore when Lee Kuan Yew is gone? This is the problem with that tiny island. Lee Kuan Yew and his political party PAP has run the island since 1959. They have made it clear that only they are capable of this task and no other. As a result, they single-mindedly have destroyed any real opposition. Any opposition politician worth his salt has been systematically eliminated in the Kangaroo courts through defamation actions and criminal charges. Today except for Chee Soon Juan of the SDP who has himself been repeatedly jailed and bankrupted and impoverished, but still standing, there is no one else willing to claim opposition politics.

Today you have an completely surveilled  Stalinist island where the Singapore police, the Internal Security Department (state intelligence apparatus), grassroots organizations and both paid and unpaid informers keep an eye on every single resident in the island, their photos kept in files as the East German Agency STASI did, and where any oppositionist is monitored, harassed, victimized and persecuted. In this manner, every single resident is forced to vote for Lee's party under pain of reprisals.

The consequence of this is the dearth of political leaders, let alone anyone with any independent ideology to speak of. No one dares enter the arena because it is a sure path to defamation actions, criminal charges and bankruptcy for you and your entire extended family. Unless you are suicidal, it makes no sense to worry about opposition politics.

As a result of this sterile political atmosphere where only the ruling party holds a monopoly on politics, while the dissenting voices are not heard and not allowed to organize, there is in effect no real opposition capable of forming a government for a lack of opportunity and lack of expertise.

On the other hand we have the Internet. One look at it would convince you that  almost 99% of Singaporeans are anti establishment, anti Lee Kuan Yew and anti Lee Kuan Yew's son the Prime Minister and their political party.

Singaporeans all know that Lee Kuan Yew's son is just a clueless dummy who was placed there by his father. If you look at his tenure in the last 10 years, you see nothing original, the policies are exactly those of his father, meaning repression, repression and more repression. That is all he is  capable of. Nothing original.

Therefore I don't think I am wrong in saying that the average Singaporean to the last man has no respect at all for the son.

If they are still quiet, it is only because they are afraid of his father who is still alive, a person who they know wields great power, is capable of doing great harm even though he may be half dead.

When Lee Kuan Yew dies there becomes a vacuum. The question is who will fill that vacuum. It is quite clear that the Prime Minister does not instill any confidence in his people and is clearly  incapable of that role. If he cannot do it, who then?

In most democratic countries with the rule of law, you don't face this problem. There are many leaders of men, respected by their people with different political ideologies who can easily stand in any election and be lawfully voted into government.

This is not possible in Singapore for several reasons. Firstly there are no leaders in the real sense, because Lee Kuan Yew and his PAP have disallowed any real leadership to sprout in the island. For instance JB Jeyaretanm was a political leader but he was promptly destroyed the moment he became a threat to Lee. So has every other leader in the history of the island, all sued for defamation and charged in the Kangaroo Courts and promptly destroyed.

Of course Lee Kuan Yew's political party have politicians who have been running the island for many years as Lee's minions. But are any of them real leaders? No, none of them are leaders in the real sense. Singapore's PAP politicians are not leaders of men, but mere handpicked scholars who have been given political positions and told to govern the country. These political appointments are then published in the state controlled newspapers with orders that the people should henceforth obey these new "instant" politicians. I don't think this manner of selecting political leaders is much different from what it was in Stalinist East Germany or Communist China of today.

But there is one problem with this arrangement which China and Stalinist East Germany did not face. In china today there are no elections. Under the law, the Chinese Communist Party is the eternal  party to rule China and so it was in East Germany. Therefore in both these countries, one could not legally argue that there are no free and fair elections because there are supposed to be none.

It is different in Singapore. Singapore has a Constitution based on the British model. In it is required free and fair elections and the rule of law. So when Lee Kuan Yew denies the opposition a role in politics, it is constitutionally wrong. It is wrong in law. Singaporeans can therefore cry foul when they do this, which they cannot in East Germany or China. Unless Singapore officially abrogates the Constitution, which they cannot politically do, they have to continue this hypocrisy where they claim to act constitutionally but they are not, where they claim to have rule of law but they don't and where they claim to have human rights but they do not.

And this is the very reason why more and more Singaporeans are protesting against the denial of their rights to speak freely, to assembly freely, to have freedom of thought and the rule of law which the government finds more and more difficult to suppress.

If the political vacuum cannot be filled by Lee's son, then by whom? We have several other people in today's government who have all been placed in their positions of authority by Lee Kuan Yew and his son, none of whom can claim any worth on their own for leadership. We have the sleepy eyed sycophant and minion Teo Chee Hean made Deputy Prime Minister by Lee's son and several others who run around crawling and fawning at his feet. But if they are able to force their power over the people, it is only because of the fact of Lee Kuan Yew himself. It is as if their power is acquired vicariously through delegation from above. Without Lee Kuan Yew around, I don't think anyone is going to give any of these crawlers a second look.

Inevitably I think there will be a power struggle among Lee PAP members. As for the opposition there won't be any, since they don't have any power anyway. What this means is instability, with a situation where no one knows who is who and what is what. Somewhat like Libya or Iraq on a lesser scale without the fighting and the murders.

And the bad news is that Singapore relies almost entirely on foreign investment and foreign enterprises. And we all know that the moment there is instability, the first to abandon the island are the foreigners and their capital. With a run on foreign capital, there will be a run on the banks with Singaporeans taking their money and leaving on the first flight out. Among the Singaporeans to leave, I bet the first to leave would be Lee's bootlickers with their money, tons of it.

I checked the latest Singapore stock exchange results. It does not appear that stocks have fallen on the news of Lee Kuan Yew's hospitalization. I am sure that if the man is going to remain in hospital much longer in a semi-coma state as he is now, you can expect the stock exchange to dip and if his condition persists, to collapse entirely.

What is my advice to Singaporeans now? I seriously don't believe Lee Kuan Yew will last much longer. I think it will only be a few more days. He himself has said he does not not want to live too long as an invalid and has  asked the doctors to pull the plug if necessary. At his age, if he is himself determined to die, what hope does he have to live?

Singaporeans should take their money out now and make arrangements to emigrate before it is too late. Foreign companies in Singapore should do the same. You don't want to wait until you have lost everything and the Singapore dollar is worth no more than Monopoly Money.

Am I surprised with all this? None at all. History has shown that dictatorships have never lasted and never had a happy ending. Lee Kuan Yew may have built glass towers along the island's waterfront and made many foreigners and his personal entourage very rich. But for the vast majority of the average local Singaporean he has been a disaster and a nightmare. He has turned them into modern day slaves to enrich him and his family which is literally Singapore Inc. Rather than having built the island as the not-too-enlightened foreigners would like to say, he has in fact destroyed it. He has deliberately failed to leave behind a civil society and civil institutions that can enable the country to last beyond a government like the Western democracies have.

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


Unknown said...

Welcome change

Anonymous said...

When King Harry dies, there will be fight among the PAP for the "Iron Throne". Singapore will be chaotic for a while. This is the age of the Internet. I don't think those white collar crooks can get away. Look at China, assets stolen by corrupted officers and business people are being arrested and executed swiftly thanks to the Internet network. Not even those who flee to countries like Australia or USA could get away from their crimes.

Anonymous said...

If LKY is gone, I would want to see real protests and free speeches in public when even I would participate. That day is near and that day will be the day when PAP will fear the people.

Anonymous said...

Good Riddance.

I hope he fries like a goddamn banana fritter.

-Nigel Lai

Anonymous said...

"He simply takes it because no one has the courage to stand outside Parliament House and complain. "

YOU so brave why not you take the lead and go stand outside the Parliament house?

Anonymous said...

Will wager ten bucks he lives till next year.

Tony said...

Gopalan you don't make sense .. If LKY dies and the dictatorship collapses shouldn't singaporeans stay instead of moving out since true democracy will return and people will have their freedom?

Gopalan Nair said...

To Anonymous who said

"YOU so brave why not you take the lead and go stand outside the Parliament house?"

Most people who have been reading this blog already know why I cannot do as you suggest, but apparently you don't.

When I was deported in 2008 from Singapore for writing a blog, the conditions were that I cannot re-enter the island without permission. Even if I apply and get permission, I am sure I will be arrested and put away for a long time. Although I don't mind that, because I have an active legal practice here in California, my clients would suffer as a result. Therefore I cannot take that risk. Although I cannot do what you suggest, I can surely persuade others to do just that.

By writing this more often thanks to your query, more will understand why I cannot enter Singapore and protest. Thanks

Craig Stewart said...

So Gopalan, you cannot do it for the reasons you outlined, fair enough. Are your reasons more valid than the average Singaporean who has his livelihood and family to lose by following your advice and engaging in a public protest? Is the desire to avoid jail, lawsuits and bankruptcy and loss of income and making one's family suffer-- is that not a good enough reason in your book?

If you have a solution to ease their burden (after all, they will be suffering ONLY AFTER listening to you), please feel free to provide one.

Anonymous said...

I wish to clear some things up:

I would like to apologize to all banana fritters everywhere.

At least banana fritters are tasty, whereas all despots like Lee Kuan Yew taste like absolute shit.

Gopalan Nair said...

To Craig Stewart,
It is not the intention of this blog to enter into a debate with you. The purpose is to write and for the reader to comment. Having said that I will write this rebuttal which be final on your question.

You are comparing me to the Singapore citizen and suggesting that I should do what I say to the Singaporean. This is not only impossible, it is nonsensical.

I am not the ordinary Singapore citizen. For obvious reasons.

Although born in Singapore, as it does not allow dual nationality and as my loyalty and gratitude now is to the USA, not Singapore anymore, a place that has given me refuge and treated me as a human being, the right thing to do was to become a citizen, which required my giving up Singapore nationality.

Which means unlike the average Singaporean I cannot even live in Singapore without their permission.

However I intend fully to interfere in Singapore's domestic politics from outside and influence their political future. Nothing wrong in that.

The ordinary Singaporean lives in that island. He owes his loyalty to it. He is entitled to demand his rights in his island. For this purpose, he can protest, engage in civil disobedience and demand a change in the island.

Of course, as you say, he runs the risk of bankruptcy, defamation lawsuits and ruination. Of course there is great risk involved.

But there is great risk in Tahrir Square, Egypt for a protestor. In his case, he is not facing a defamation lawsuit, but a bullet in his head. But yet the young brave Egyptian does it. Why? because he loves his country and is willing to pay even the ultimate price.

So there is no great danger to the average Singaporean for taking on the government; that is compared to the Egyptian. And it is may job to point this out to him and egg his on to do it from the USA.

As for me, my life is in the USA. I cannot aspire for public office in Singapore and can hold no official position. I am officially a foreigner. But I am also a foreigner who has an interest in that island and a desire to see the fall of that dictatorship. All I can be capable of doing is to urge the Singaporean to do something which I for obvious reasons both legal and practical is not capable of doing.

So I trust comparing me to the Singaporean and expecting me to return to Singapore and hold a placard outside Lee Kuan Yew's funeral is not only impossible, it is also legally impermissible.

Jasmine said...

I don't like pap or lee either but some of what you say is just nonsense, just cos you're angry at them!

Puleassse when Lee passes, Singapore will function just fine, cos Singapore runs NOT on LKY, but millions of us who work everyday to make our country run fine.

So please stop asking us to leave the country and making stupid predictions like our money will turn to monopoly money - its complete nonsense based on what you WISH, but not what will happen..

Yes you are forced out of Singapore so i get it, you WANT singapore to fail cos that will give you a good "Oh the right thing happened to me" excuse- but many of us still call Singapore home and whilst it remains to be seen, your EXTREMIST views of Singapore failing without ANY real fact or figures to back up is insane and shows your pure jealousy that you can't ever return to singapore!! Grow up please!!

Anonymous said...

Lee Kwan Yew will die in hospital today.