Sunday, March 22, 2015

Clueless Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore Prime Minister son scrambles after his father's death

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew, 91 years old, who ran the island from 1959 mainly by himself, never mind any Parliament, and later through the proxy of his handpicked Goh Chock Tong and later still of his own son, smacking of nepotism, has just died leaving his son wondering what to do next, poor fellow.

If the son has managed to strut around the tiny island so far as the Prime Minister, it is only because others feared the fact that his father Lee Kuan Yew was around, no more no less.

It is true that within a span of just 50 years, Lee Kuan Yew has managed to transform the island from just another South East Asian sea port into a bustling metropolis replete with towering skyscrapers, and managed to invite large numbers of foreign companies to do business there. As a result he has managed to provide jobs not only for the tiny population of Singaporeans but also the huge influx of foreigners who came because they couldn't find jobs in their own countries.

As for the bustling skyscrapers, now since Lee Kuan Yew is dead, we will know very soon whether will be termed into empty towers with no one in them.

All very good so far.  But the big question is, does all this have any durability beyond Lee Kuan Yew himself? Will there be stability henceforth and will the foreigners who have come seeking profit remain in the island, now since he has gone?

From, what I know of Singapore, which is as good as anyone else, having been born there, educated there and imprisoned by Lee for questioning the impartiality of his Kangaroo judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean who sent one of his critics, Chee Soon Juan, to jail and bankrupted him through the ever dreaded defamation lawsuit, Singapore has no chance of continuing the way it has with Lee Kuan Yew.

This is why.

Skyscrapers and foreign investors are all very fine. But what a country needs is a civil society of institutions that will endure beyond any dictator, which Lee was undoubtedly one. You need the rule of law, you need a government that the people respect, you need leaders that are not corrupt and beyond all this, most importantly you need a Constitution which protects the people's rights. Absent these fundamental foundations, no country can expect to remain stable and united, least of all a tiny island such as this with a tiny population totally reliant on foreign capital.

Unfortunately for the people of Singapore, despite all that Lee Kuan Yew had done in building the skyscrapers and the economy, he failed to realize the need for stable civil institutions to take the island from his government to the next.

Singapore does not have the rule of law, the government has amply and repeatedly made this known since 1970s. The law is used by the government as a political tool to silence dissent and the people know this very well as has been the case beginning with  JB Jeyaretnam, a late opposition politician who was repeatedly sued, jailed and driven into bankruptcy until he died in 2008. And then we have Chee Soon Juan another of his critics who has suffered the same fate, once holding a highly respective and well paid career as a university professor but now reduced to hawking his books on the street to make a living.

And then we have Tang Liang Hong, a multi millionaire lawyer who was driven into exile to avoid arrest and torture because he questioned the corruption of Lee Kuan Yew and his family when they were given discounts by a developer of a property called Jade Mansions. Even I was arrested and jailed in 2008 when I was briefly in Singapore as a result of a blog I wrote criticizing the same judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean for misusing her judicial office to please Lee Kuan Yew by sending his critic Chee to jail and bankruptcy.

There is no question that the people of Singapore have no faith in their judiciary. They live in fear of the government, and are fully aware that they can be put away any time through the Kangaroo Courts.

The average Singaporean has no faith in their government. Firstly they consider each and every government politician from Lee Kuan Yew's son, the Prime Minister and every single cabinet minister thoroughly corrupt to the core. In fact they are so corrupt they would have put Mobutu of the Congo to shame. If you did not know, Lee Kuan Yew's son, and Lee Kuan Yew himself throughout his life and every single minister in government receives a salary of no less than $3.7 million a year. This is not all they take. In addition every year they pay themselves as much as 6 or even 7 months salary in bonuses. In other words each and every one of these ministers pay themselves millions. They are the highest paid politicians in the world.

There is a word for this and it is called corruption. But the problem is, the moment you accuse them of corruption, in comes the Kangaroo Courts and you are either jailed or bankrupted. As a result, through fear, it is literally taboo to use this word.

Secondly there is absolutely no transparency in government. Unlike in democracies where policies are debated before implementation, they simply decide and publish it the next day in the state controlled press. By the way all newspapers and the entire press is state controlled. As a result the people live in fear of the Kangaroo courts and simply accept anything thrown at them.

Although in paper there is such a document as the Constitution, in reality it is totally ignored. There is no freedom of speech because the article in the Constitution which guarantees it carries a rider that a government license is required for speaking.

There is no freedom of assembly in the same fashion. There is no right of peaceful protest in the same fashion and the Newspapers and Printing Presses Act requires all newspapers to be licensed and controlled by the government.

Elections are a farce. What happens is this. Scholars who have been sent abroad to study in Western Universities are co-opted into the government upon return, and fielded at elections under circumstances where it is impossible for them to lose, because the residents are threatened to vote for them and other dirty tactics such as suing them for defamation in the Kangaroo courts.

After they have won they are immediately made ministers with a commission to not only make laws but to pontificate over you. The problem is, these men have no moral or in fact legal authority to rule over you. Firstly you never voted for them because the elections were rigged and secondly they are no leaders by any stretch of the imagination, their only qualification is having passed their school exams.

Question is what happens now. Their style of governance so far has been for Lee Kuan Yew's son to tell his people what to do through their state controlled newspapers and television; and the people are expected to obey. So far they have accepted it firstly through fear and secondly because his father was alive. But in truth he, the son, does not instill confidence in anyone, not even among his own party members. If they have listened to him so far, it can only be attributed to his father's presence. With his father dead, I doubt whether anyone is going to pay any attention to him.

And then you have the equally disgusting bootlickers appointed Ministers, every one of them being paid millions. The people know they serve him only because of the millions and have no interest in politics were it not for the money.

In other words what Loong (Lee Kuan Yew's son) and his ministers lack is credibility. And without credibility it is hard for them to have their way. The days when you could simply intimidate your way through is long gone.

If Lee Kuan Yew's son and his ministers are going to carry on the same what they did by treating their people as irrelevant and simply telling them what to do, I suspect this sort of thing is not going to work anymore. It may have worked while Lee Kuan Yew is alive but now that he is no more, it is unlikely that the people will take this lying down.

So what is the looming scenario? The people are going to demand their CPF since for most Singaporeans this and their government-owned 99 year lease apartments are their only asset. If the government refuses to pay now, the people may openly protest and if the government responds the only way they know with force, then the situation will become ugly and there would be mass protests and demonstrations. They could also demonstrations  against racial discrimination against the Malays and Indians, against the unlimited entry of immigrants and the lack of Constitutional rights.

There may also be mass exodus of migration abroad for settlement.

If there is going to be instability, there will be mass outflow of capital by foreign companies. When that happens the Singapore dollar will collapse followed by the collapse of the entire economy.

The reason for this gloomy prospect is because there are no civil institutions in place that can allow for smooth transition from one government to another. The people have no respect for their government institutions just as the government treats their people as cattle.

Singapore is an island ruled by fear, not through mutual respect where the ministers live in opulence with million dollar salaries while nearly half the population who live in the one and two room apartments live below the poverty line.

The most likely scenario now is the people demanding their CPF (retirement funds) now because they have no faith that the government will honor their promise to pay. If they refuse there is likely to be island wide instability and chaos.

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


Old Money Savoir Faire said...

The current mass media television obituaries are bizarre, telling of a 'swamp that MISTER Lee transformed to the economic powerhouse it is today(!)' - and, that, in his own words 'the aristocratic Tunku of Malaysia said to Lee: out with you.' Meaning, that this was the mechanism for the separation of Singapore from Malaysia. What a lot of rubbish the pop press spouts. Thank you Gopalan Nair, for being one of the firts in the now rising tide of voices against this bizarre 'creative' writing of history.

Anonymous said...

This passing of the old tyrant will mean that the coming parliamentary elections is imminent; definitely before August 2015. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

This was your first blog entry since the passing of Lee Kuan Yew. The ensuing times are going to be interesting to watch. Fortunately for me, I was born outside of Singapore, so I can watch the events unfold from a city near San Francisco. I still have family members in Singapore so I hope they remain safe.


Anonymous said...

Dear Gopalan,
The God of Singapore has finally kicked the bucket. The outpouring of sorrow by educated and brainless Singaporeans is genuine. What do you call a brainwashed people who only get to read the unquestioned official version of history, and proud to be associate with a ruthless orator. They even believe Singapore was a fishing village in 1965. Hopeless!

LKY is lucky to ride the economic wave but only S Korea managed to achieve Developed country status.
Hongkong, Taiwan are limited by territories issues.

The naked son is now exposed to political attack and will use this outpouring of grieve to win an election and shut up the Opposition. Is this the coming lockdown of Singapore while a weak leader resort to underhand means to control Singapore.

Hong Lim Park is now conveniently removed as Speaker's Corner to be transformed to LKY Memorial Park.

The new game has begun, without the "father" watching. Singaporeans are in uncharted future.

Anonymous said...

I need to add.

Without LKY looking over, I believe the opportunists will look to profit from LKY failures.

LKY wanted 1 educated men 2 votes because he did not believe in democracy - part of the Singapore Pledge, But not fulfilled after 50 years. See how the educated are making big boo boo like global financial crisis. His idea is flawed.

He had also destroyed laws and institutions that would have allowed proper development of Singapore after he left the scene.
Eg CPF used for non-retirement purpose, laws that would allow multiple political parties to compete on the same level. Eg Authorisation Person contact for campaigning materials which Australia practise.

Because he was not magnanimous, this set the stage for how Singaporeans behave.

Finally, Singaporeans can't get enough of their God. I am not allowed to criticise him. I am afraid of such closed society. I better stay on in Australia. I cannot accept ignorant educated people who need to overrate a fellow human to make themselves feel good. From Fishing village in 1965 to First World in 50 years. Oh Yes.

Anonymous said...

It is unsettling how Lee Kuan Yew who destroyed press freedom in Singapore is now celebrated by the liberal press, especially in the US and UK. Don't they find this a little odd? - Apparently they don't.
The next odd thing is why Lee Kuan Yew is celebrated by supposed democratic politicians in the West. For example Obama calling him a "true giant of history". While these accolades are nothing new and born out of vital economic and strategic interests, Western leaders should really think if it makes sense in the long run to give undue ideological credit to authoritarianism.
Lee Kuan Yew's political and economic legacy is definitely Janus-faced and questionable but hell he has to be the best public relations guy the world has ever seen! A lot of Singaporeans and foreigners seem to think he is like Mandela or Ghandi. Well, no friends, he is the guy who has Mandela and Ghandi locked up!

Anonymous said...

Like faithful obedient dogs whose owner has died, anyone caught criticizing Singapore during this mourning campaign will be labelled anti Singaporean, this is to keep in line with his useless son's reminder that the Old Fart is in fact Singapore.

Singaporeans are indeed doomed because the next pied piper may appear more people-friendly, but the immense wealth of Singapore is hard to ignore.

Unlike developed countries where the people get a sense of security from their strong civil society, Singapore get their from a dead man. What's next?

Singaporeans have short memory, made even shorter by the hectic lifestyle imposed by the Lees to stop dissents, they follow without question.

Eg Did they know that the Old Fart was stirring up the Malays sentiments, leading to Singapore's expulsion from Malaysia ?
Dr Toh Chin Chye shed light on this fact.

Let's see what the Old Fart said in 1964. WARNING: THIS IS NOT A JOKE!

“Is this an open, or is this a closed society? Is it a society where men can preach ideas - novel, unorthodox, heresies, to established churches and established governments - where there is a constant contest for men's hearts and minds on the basis of what is right, of what is just, of what is in the national interests, or is it a closed society where the mass media - the newspapers, the journals, publications, TV, radio… are fed with a constant drone of sycophantic support for a particular orthodox political philosophy? I am talking of the principle of the open society, the open debate, ideas, not intimidation, persuasion not coercion...”

A dangerous idea that is lost in Singapore.

LEEyer and LEElaws said...

Like North Korea, I expect Lee Kuan Yew to be immortalised, and the Trinity of Father, the Son and the Invisible forces will run Singapore forever and ever.

Anonymous said...

The ongoing coverage of LKY's wake/funeral and the media bombardment of propaganda (Tunku was a bad guy, Singapore was a fishing village etc) can be succinctly described in one word: Orwellian.

Long before LKY's death, I had already envisioned what would happen on the day of his death. Still, it is highly unsettling.

We owe it to our future generation to teach them about the correct history regarding LKY. They won't find it in the National Education material and history textbooks in schools. They won't find it on the tv, radio, newspapers or even in public libraries.

Anonymous said...

I am an impartial party to this topic. I am not Singaporean, nor do I have relatives there. What I do have is the experience of living and working in Singapore and the experience of being a ASEAN citizen of Chinese descent.

As an ASEAN expat in Singapore, I did find it "artificial" however I appreciate the country's stability and law and order. As an ASEAN Chinese, this is the only country in ASEAN where I feel not discriminated against. Say what you must about the man, however he is a hero in the eyes of the persecuted ASEAN Chinese. He gives us confidence as ethic minorities in ASEAN and serves as a role model that we may overcome discrimination.

A hongkie may possess up to THREE (3) passports said...

@anonymous comment dated 25 March 2015 at 08:11 a.m., Pacific Daylight Time:

Interesting that you did not mention where you are from as well as which nation state you are a citizen of (from personal experience, they may NOT be the same).

Anyway, you may like to check this out:

Jul 23, 2010
Malaysian Chinese GO HOME.:
July 22, 2010 at 8:18 pm

"Good riddance to bad baggage.

Pests like you are the root cause for most of our troubles.

First, Malaysian Chinese milked our kindness… Drawing on the you Sinkies are Chinese and me too Chinese suffering under the discriminatory Malay regime wayang routine….As a result many Malaysian Chinese gain free education in our universities in the guise of ‘ASEAN [Association of South East Asian Nations] scholars’…ASEAN?–it simply meant Malaysian Chinese…but the fact was Goh Keng Swee ,another ex-Malaysian ,gave pests like you priority in education and jobs over local Indians and Malays.

Thus begin our first FT [Foreign Talent] policy. Priority for jobs and education for Malaysian Chinese over local born Malays and Singaporeans…an institutionalized racism

It did not end there. [The] PAP [People’s Action Party] took full advantage by filling free loaders like you in our Army,Police,SPH (Singapore Press Holdings),civil service and etc…Why?..because you Malaysian Chinese suck up to PAP in return for all that freebies PAP gave.

BUT,you Malaysian Chinese knew better not place your full trust on PAP and kept another foot on Malaysian soil….with property, [spouse(s)] and [other] relatives.

Had the best of the both world eh?

But we do have another name for such undiluted filth like’s called prostitutes..Sorry,let’s not tarnish the name of decent hard working sex workers who sells their bodies for money…You, Malaysian Chinese are worse than prostitutes. Blood sucking leeches, perhaps?

Like leeches you grow fat sucking the blood of host country and grew rich and now you want to go back and topple the government of your country of birth?

What a [expletive] … if you Malaysian Chinese had an iota of any decency in you you should have stayed back in Malaysia and fought like our JBJ [Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam] and Dr.Chee [Soon Juan]….

But,you Malaysian Chinese,like rats in a sinking ship choose to abandon ship at the first sign of trouble. PAP realized that too.The very reason why they give priority to PRC [People’s Republic of China] Chinese over Malaysian Chinese…little consolation though it may be to us.

But you Malaysians stick out like a sore thumb wherever you go. Nobody wants a friend who is nowhere in need….I am sure humanity can do better without scums [i.e. self-centred, self-serving fair weather F(R)IENDS] like you."

NOW, when are you, for ALL of your PLAUDITS, going to be a CITIZEN OF "CITY, NOT COUNTRY"?

No regards,
"A hongkie may possess up to THREE (3) passports".

P.S. I need NOT have to state (no pun intended) that passports are only awarded to CITIZENS.