Friday, October 30, 2015

Democracy in Singapore is dead. Either stay and fight or leave the island

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Over 50 years of Singapore's history, the ruling Lee Kuan Yew's PAP has systematically, relentlessly and with single-mindedness destroyed any semblance of democracy. With the recent elections of 2015 the death knell for any liberty was finally crushed. Since the 2011 elections where they got 60% of the votes, now they have 70% leaving them a path open to turning the island into a Stalinist Russia.

Today the island stands with no freedom of speech, no right to peaceful protest or assembly, no free press and no rule of law. The courts are merely a rubber stamp to legalize anything the state wants.

If you are prepared to live under such humiliating conditions, you can of course stay and live your slavish lives. But anyone who yearns to live as free men and not in a police state, there are only 2 options; either stand and fight for what is right or pack up and leave the island with your families for settlement in a freer society.

Standing and fighting would entail civil disobedience and civil unrest. The police of this state would arrest you and cause you all manner of hardship. In the hope that a momentum for freedom will take root, more Singaporeans agitation would turn the island into instability and uncertainty. Naturally this would mean a disruption of the economy, instability and loss of income. But I believe this is a price worth paying. Every dictatorship in the world was toppled causing a temporary disruption in the economy. But the island would recover from it and progress into a far better place, to an island with democracy and hope for all.

If you are not prepared to do this, then you must leave the island for the sake of yourselves and your children. A recent survey conducted in Australia on the Singaporean diaspora stated the main reason for leaving as their having no say in how the island is run. As you know the Singapore style government means they know everything and the people know nothing. Policies are decided daily and thrust upon the island's citizens over night without any input from the citizens. There can be no public criticism. It is as if the citizens are irrelevant and they alone decide what is best and how you should live. This leaves the average citizen no better than a 10 year old child only to be told what they should do next and what new laws are now in vogue.

The only ones to benefit from the island are the cronies and the elite who like the Chinese Mandarins of before are given supreme authority to decide anything and everything. The rest of the island are told simply to shut up and obey.

This sort of life is highly damaging to children. A child's education is not just to learn a set of rules but also the ability to think and form independent opinions. This is impossible in Singapore. Teachers are told to instill fear in the children for their government. They are told it is unwise to question authority and the best way to live is simply and obey and get in line. As a result children educated in Singapore have tertiary education and degrees, but they are incapable of independent thinking. Except for a life under Lee Kuan Yew's authoritarian Singapore, they are useless in any free society anywhere in the world because of their inability to think independently.

Let me give you an example. I live in San Francisco, Northern California. There are a few Singaporeans running around here. But you never hear of them. I presume they are all quietly working for either Singapore owned companies or for local companies. I suppose they do their jobs and quietly go home each day. They live uneventful lives. None of them make any waves. You never hear of them. I suppose you can imagine why. In order to succeed in a society such as the United States, you have to have certain qualities, such as courage, ability to think independently and to question authority. In other words to think outside the box. And this is precisely the department in which obedient Singaporeans who have lived lives prostrating under their masters fail miserably.

One striking fact that one notices of Singaporeans abroad is their inability to articulate. They are very poor speakers and shy and reluctant to stand out in public. I am sure you can see why. In a society such as Singapore where it is dangerous to stick out from the crowd, people tend to be silent instead of questioning. Indeed school teachers consider this a virtue. A good Singapore student is one who keeps his mouth shut, works hard and obeys authority. With such a character, you stand no chance in a competitive society such as the US where craziness can sometimes be a virtue.

A few days ago while driving and listening to the local public radio station KQED, I was surprised to hear some school teachers actually encouraging their students to fail. It went something like this. Students, they said should not be afraid to fail. In fact they should be encouraged to fail. They should fail as many times as they want, because the willingness to fail allows children to try new ideas, whereas fear of failure would prevent their taking risk. And risk is what drives society, not obedience. After all if you fail, you can always succeed since failure is not a sign of defeat for anyone.

I thought to myself, what brilliant advice this was. And I thought to myself that this was exactly what my life was. In Singapore I attended the elementary school now defunct Winstedt School 2 where I did brilliantly and went to Raffles Institution. In Raffles I thought I knew everything and completely ignored studies resulting in my failing the O levels very badly. I then did it again and did exceptionally well (Grade 1). I then went to A levels course but failed badly again. As a result I had to do it again in England where I did brilliantly. I then did the law studies at Hull University and barely passed. After than I did the Bar Finals in London and did brilliantly once more, securing a 14th place in order of merit among a class several hundred.

You see, you don't have to get it right the first time. If you want you can always get it right sooner or later.

But this is not the Singaporean mentality. If you don't get it right the first time, you are simply a dummy and deserve a life of everlasting mediocrity. Had I not left Singapore, I would be destined among the lowly classes eking out a living cleaning tables at food courts. Thanks to England, I have not only managed to become a lawyer, I have managed to stick at it for more than 30 years, 10 years in Singapore and 20 years in California and I hope to be at it for many more years. America gives one hope, Singapore drives you down to mediocrity and hopelessness.

If you care for yourselves and your children both the economic and mental outlook, leave the island for settlement abroad. There are many ways to do it. Today many first world democracies are looking for skilled workers. Students can secure places in foreign colleges and universities. But I would recommend not waiting until they reach college age but going when they are children. A child's mental outlook is molded at an early age when they are infants and teenagers. Once they reach college age, the damage caused by living in this one party police state greatly damages their mind permanently. It may be too late for them to cure themselves of this disease by the time they go to college.

In this day where the world is so connected, it doesn't really matter where one studies. You could easily study medicine in Poland and eventually work in the US by taking the necessary exams. A Singaporean graduate from France can easily work in Canada or every other country.

In order to do any of this both the parent and the child should have some courage and a sense of adventure. Unfortunately as these instincts are the very ones suppressed by the life under Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore, I fear sadly that there may not be many takers for any of this. But if you are one of the few citizens of the island still capable of thinking independently, then go for it and emigrate.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
Fremont, California USA
Tel: 510 491 8525

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Singapore General Elections 2015. A victory towards mediocrity.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

If Singapore's leaders of Lee Kuan Yew's Peoples Action Party are wallowing in their triumph, perhaps they should think again. Will their overwhelming triumph at the elections lead Singapore ahead  or will it be their albatross around their necks to lead them backwards, not forwards?

For the last several decades, Lee Kuan Yew, the present Prime Minister's father had worked assiduously for one unwavering purpose, to turn the island into a total Fascist state, which it is now. The Constitution was carefully and meticulously dismantled. All the articles in them which guarantee civil liberties were all abrogated. Although there was freedom of speech, a separate section requires a police permit to speak thereby literally denying it. So was the case of the right to assembly, the right to peaceful protest and the right to demonstrate. Freedom of the press was taken away with the enactment of the Singapore Printing Presses Act requiring all newspapers to be licensed by the government literally turning the entire press to be state owned and controlled. News was effectively turned into state propaganda. The rule of law was denied turning the courts into rubber stamps for the government.

At the same time the Banking Act was amended to allow all kinds of money, both dirty and clean to flood into the island. It is home to the largest number of millionaires in the world turning the island into a haven for money launderers, drug smugglers and warlords from every corner of the world.

All this had a profound damaging effect on the people. Educated Singaporeans who were repulsed living in a fascist dictatorship where everything and everyone is state controlled began leaving the island in droves for settlement in the West. Some years ago it was reported that as many as a 1000 citizens emigrated abroad each year, a small number for a large country but a debilitating number for a tiny island. These were the cream of Singapore society, the professionals, the lawyers, doctors and scientists. We are not sure what the number is today but the recent election results no doubt will continue increasing the numbers leaving.

The abysmal low birth rate is literally turning the island local population into extinction. Despite huge amount of propaganda propping up the regime,. the locals simply refuse to procreate in sufficient numbers and it is believed that in a few decades, the island's local population will be reduced to zero. To counteract this slide to extinction, the government brings in planeloads of Chinese from mainland China, Indians from India and Filipinos to make up the numbers. These recent immigrants are totally economic migrants who have arrived in the island only because they were turned down by their preferred destinations of Australia, New Zealand Canada or the US. In other words second rate migrants who have no stake or even interest in the island except to make a buck and move on. They live and work in the island just because they have to, not because of the glory of the Republic of Singapore.

These destructive phenomena are entirely because of the island having gone into disrepute thanks to Lee Kuan Yew and now his son, the Prime Minister. Any discerning local citizen would find the very pillars of this government repulsive. Who would want to live in an island that punishes free speech through defamation actions in Kangaroo Courts? Where you can be arrested even though you peacefully stood at a street corner holding up a political placard. Where at the slightest indication of political opposition, you are liable to lose your job and eternally victimized in every aspect of your life. Where as an educated citizen, you are condemned to read nothing but state propaganda in the newspapers. Where success at any endeavor requires loyalty to Lee Kuan Yew's ruling PAP.

The 2015 elections has unwittingly sealed their fate towards mediocrity. Before the elections, the aspirations of the minority who believed democracy to be possible have been roundly dashed. The 70% vote of overwhelming victory for Fascism and dictatorship meant that there was no hope of the island ever achieving democracy in the foreseeable future. The majority of the islanders, it appears have willingly accepted their lives under the Fascist state.

What this means is dire and gloom. Even more local citizens would leave for democracy aboard. Which means even more Chinese mainlanders looking for fast buck will flood the island. Consequence, those with thought they had a stake in the island leave only to be replaced by temporary economic migrants. Realizing there is no hope of ever living in freedom and liberty, the island's birth rate will fall even lower and the path to extinction of the Singaporean race will speed up even more.

Educated and thinking Singaporeans would refuse to live this way and take their families and children for lives abroad.

What is going to happen very soon is a totally mindless society who have no choice to totally submit their minds and their actions to the ruling party philosophy. Just as in Nazi Germany the only way to survive was to completely espouse the philosophy of the Hitler's Nazi Party.

What is sad in this gloomy scenario is that the thinking and discerning opposition have no leaders whatsoever. Until recently the hope was in the Singapore's Democratic Party's Chee Soon Juan who showed some spine in the face of these unforgiving punishing rulers. But even he has succumbed and literally given up. Having been trounced at the recent elections, it appears he too has gone into hibernation.

I can see this overwhelming victory for these Fascists in authority only as the beginning of the slide to the island's mediocrity. No country that loses it's best and brightest where the only avenue to success is to be a card carrying government supporter can ever hope to achieve any greatness. Because this need to submit to authority dampens the human spirit, instills fear among the population, a cowardly society living in fear can never achieve innovation, invention, competition nor greatness. In effect their overwhelming victory has become the albatross around their neck.

Gopalan Nair
Formerly Singaporean
Fremont, California near San Francisco

Monday, October 12, 2015

Singapore General Elections 2015. A Brief on Singapore politician Chee Soon Juan

Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Singapore elections have just been over. The voters have overwhelmingly voted for Lee Kuan Yew's son's party The Peoples Action Party (PAP) which has been ruling the island uninterrupted since 1959. This island government is for all intents and purposes Fascist.

    There is no freedom of speech expression or assembly. The vast majority of Singaporeans either work for the government or in government linked companies. They fear retribution and loss of livelihood if seen to oppose the regime.

    Even those working for private companies fear open opposition to the regime will result in retribution from the government. You have a judiciary which are simply Kangaroo judges in Kangaroo courts rubber stamping the wishes of the government.

    All newspapers and media are state controlled. The elections are rigged so as to ensure the ruling party's victory. In these circumstances it must be abundantly clear especially for the mightily well read Chee Soon Juan that elections will take him nowhere.

    I write about Chee because he is worth writing about. Among all the opposition politicians who are no better than helpless mice, at least he is seen to have the courage to stand up to the regime.

    His career in opposition politics has been a life long tragedy. He has been at it for the last 25 years. During this entire time he has not managed to advance his party one inch. In fact his stewardship has in fact taken his party several steps back.

    In this election he has reduced his support to a mere 2/3 of the electorate. Almost 75% of the voters voted against him and his party, a much worse result than in previous years. In other countries, such a devastating blow would have required his resignation but not so in Singapore His people are still with him, but to what purpose?

    The fault with Chee is not the lack of knowledge. No one can dispute the fact that he is the most well read man in the entire island. Question is, with all that wisdom, why is he not able to make it happen?

    I have personally known Chee during the short time I was in Singapore when they arrested me and threw me in jail for writing a blog post criticizing the judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean. I have also been following his activity for the last 25 years. This is what I can say of him.

    What he lacks in not knowledge. He lacks the ability to understand his objectives and then the means to achieve it. Freedom House has quite rightly said that Singaporeans are incapable of changing their government through the ballot box. The Fascist regime is there to stay as long as the people simply contest elections and do no more.

    What is needed is democracy first and then elections. What is needed is the right to freedom of speech, assembly and peaceful protest first. Because without these preconditions, elections are useless.

    Chee has to ask himself the question whether he believes in democracy. Whether a democratic Singapore is ultimately for the good of the island. If that is decided, then he should do what is necessary to bring it about. Only then would elections means anything.

    I have no doubt Chee believes this, that democracy is for the ultimate good of the island. Fascism is not. Why? Because with democracy the full potential of the human being can be released without fear of reprisals. New ideas means progress. It means competition. And progress and competition are good things to yearn for.

    Chee's problem is that he is not master of his own will. He is swayed by what others tell him. For instance he has been told that the Chinese mentality, of which they are the majority in the island, are averse to confrontation and therefore not amenable to such things as civil disobedience.

   He has been told that he would not have any support if he openly confronts the government through peaceful protests and demonstrations and therefore should do no more than contesting elections. But common sense would tell him that under these circumstances, when their very livelihood depends on the government, no one would dare openly challenge the government. Which explains why Hitler and Mussolini continued to receive universal support.

   Although he initially had staged numerous protests and civil disobedience to demand justice, he gave it all up because he was told that it will not work. And he simply went along with it.

    I am not sure if I am a good judge of human character but I will say this. Whether you are Chinese, Caucasian or Mulatto, we are all human beings. And human beings will ultimately support what is right and oppose what is wrong. And the other thing that Chee should know, which I believe he does, is that the majority do not always carry the day. It is justice that carries the day ultimately. And there is ample evidence in history to show that you don't need the masses to overthrow unjust regimes, it only takes a handful.

    When Fidel Castro rose against Batista, he had only a handful of men. Over time it grew and he overthrew the mighty Batista. And why? Because he was right and Batista was wrong. You see this pattern repeated throughout the world in the millennium.

    Despite Lee Kuan Yew's son putting food on the table, his regime is inherently unjust. Anyone with eyes can see that. Denying freedom of speech and peaceful assembly is wrong anywhere. And fighting for human freedoms is right, anywhere in the world, including Singapore.

    My message to Chee is this. Use your head. You have a good head. Make up your mind what your objectives are. There is no doubt Chee's objectives are noble and honorable. Freedom is a good thing for the people of Singapore, there is no doubt about it. And since the regime is unwilling to give the freedom that people rightly deserve, you should demand it through every possible means, including civil disobedience protests strikes and every other means that you can think of.

    As was seen in the overwhelming rallies during the elections, there are many Singaporeans who would be prepared to take the route of civil disobedience, since they have no other option under the Lee's overwhelming control over the island. They simply refuse to allow the citizens their fundamental rights.

    During Mandela's trial at Rivonia, he admitted that he used violent means to overthrow the apartheid regime because had he played according to the rules then existing in South Africa, his people would never be able to gain their freedom.

    I am not suggesting violent means like Mandela. I am advocating lawful peaceful means such as protests, demonstrations and civil disobedience. What you should do is to provoke the government and their police to act against you. When they do, the injustice becomes open to view. This means more people would see the injustice and more would join your ranks.

    You should keep the clamor for freedom live on a daily basis on the streets for all to see. Provoking the issue in public on a daily basis. Forcing the government to use ever increasing repressive measures. And slowly turning the tide in your favor and against Lee's repression. Not simply going away and coming back in 2020 like all the other parties are going to do to contest elections and thereafter going away for another 5 years and reappearing.

    In Cuba Castro's forces did not defeat the Batista regime in reality. Batista himself destroyed Batista. During the protests and agitation, the Cuban police became ever more brutal and their open brutality made the support of Castro to swell to such an extent that Batista collapsed under his own weight.

    Chee should realize that he has no other option. If he waits for 2020 to try at the next elections, he would only lose once more. And he would be near 60. And he will leave politics leaving behind a wasted life, not having achieved nothing.

    On the other hand if he decides on civil disobedience for democracy, he may have only a handful at first. But as Lee Kuan Yew's son uses force and more force to suppress the just aspirations of his people, his popularity would slowly grow and swell to numbers that will eventually destroy them. And even if what I say does not necessarily happen, what choice does Chee have anyway?  Because if he simply waits to do the same thing in 2020, he knows he will fail again.

    On the other hand if he wants to enter Parliament at any cost, then he should what the Workers Party does. An  astute observer of Singapore would know that Workers Party did not win because they were good. They won because the Lee's party wanted them to win. It gives a much better impression to the world of Singapore if you had at least a few opposition members in Parliament.

    And what better opposition can you get than the Workers Party who are in politics not to further the opposition cause but to further that of the ruling party. In fact it is well known that the PAP themselves had gone around urging people to vote the opposition as they dreaded the image of being a one party state with total control of the Parliament. So although they are in fact in total control, for international consumption, they can at least say that there is an opposition in Parliament.

    So if Chee wants to be another Workers Party style politician, moderate your criticism of the rulers. Go once step further and praise them and hopefully they might admit you to the club.

Gopalan Nair
Fremont California USA
Tel: 510 491 8525