Monday, February 1, 2016

Singapore's authoritarianism stifles any real progress

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Like the Central Asian "stans" like Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan or  the European republic of Belarus,  which all continue their lackluster existence, so too will Singapore continue to trudge along. But if you are thinking of any real progress which countries like the USA, Western democracies or Australia, this will never happen. The main impediment to any real progress is the dictatorial government.

It doesn't matter in Turkmenistan if President Berdimuhammedow is as corrupt as he wants. The people have to accept it. If they don't they are punished. Similarly in tiny Singapore island, it doesn't matter if Lee Kuan Yew's son pays himself several million dollars a year. Singaporeans have to accept it. If you call him corrupt, he will sue and bankrupt you.

Similarly in Turkmenistan, the entire judiciary is corrupt and deliver judgments pleasing to Berdimuhammedow. The people of Turkmenistan know their judiciary is corrupt. But if you publicly said it, you will be arrested and tortured. Same in Singapore. You know the Singaporean judiciary is corrupt. Yet you have to pretend they are independent. If you said otherwise, you will be arrested and bankrupted.

Just as in Turkmenistan, the entire country and all its wealth belongs to Berdimuhhamedow. But there is nothing you can do about it. You simply have to pretend as if nothing happened. Similarly in Singapore, the entire island, its judiciary and everyone in it, belongs to Lee Kuan Yew's son, the present Prime Minister. You know this. Yet there is nothing you can do about it. If you publicly complained you would be arrested and tortured.

But having said all this, you may be surprised to know that at the 2015 elections, no less than 70% of the island voted for this dictatorship. So what this means is that the vast majority are prepared to live under this regime without any rights.

But then the stifling fact is this. The vast majority of these people are with little education, consequently without any idea of what democracy means and therefore are quite prepared to live under any regime as long as they are left alone.

The ones who succeed in Singapore island, just as those who succeed in Berdimuhhamedow's Turkmenistan are the sycophants who sing praises to him. It is the crawlers who succeed because they are not a threat to the regime. Your real abilities do not matter. What is more important is your loyalty.

In Singapore too, this is how the game is played. To succeed you have to be seen as their supporter. You have to demonstrate that you are not a threat to them. So you join the government grassroots organizations just as they do in China through the Chinese Communist Party. Just as in China, your main interest in joining these grassroots organizations is for personal advantage, never mind the interest of anyone else.

As a result of this sick philosophy in Singapore island, you have an entire society of people eagerly  going around licking the boots of Lee Kuan Yew's son and his friends for the only purpose of hopefully being recognized and rewarded. Some even with high level positions and paid millions.  Bermuhammedow does it in Turkmenistan. Lee Kuan Yew's son does it in Singapore. You end up with an entire island of cynics and hypocrites. You can never get the best out of these people because they have lost respect for their leaders, their judiciary and their government just as the people of Turkmenistan.

Contrast democracies like USA, Canada, Australia and Western Europe. A Finn living in Finland, respects his country, respects his government, and respects his judiciary. Unlike in Singapore, a Finn does not live in fear of his government. He knows that the government is just and fair and he will be treated with justice. He does not have to crawl on all fours and lick his masters boots, like a Singaporean does.

A Finn does not join grassroots organizations in order to be recognized by their leaders. If he does it, he really wants to help his people. There is no hypocrisy in a Finn in his daily life, as there in Singaporeans.

You get much more productivity, ideas, innovation and enterprise out of a Finn because he loves what he is doing. He is himself and does not have to be anyone else, unlike a Singaporean who is like a willing puppet on a string, playing to his master's satisfaction. On the other hand you get only frustration and dissatisfaction among people like Singaporeans or Turkmens because they are ashamed of themselves and their lives which they live in fear of their government. Their main purpose of their lives is to please their political maters and never to be seen as confrontational. Like a dog, always willing to please, because otherwise you are in trouble. Lacking an education and the wherewithal to leave for settlement abroad, they live out their rotten lives.

And then of course there are those who realize their distasteful lives and have the means to leave for settlement abroad. This is the cream of society. Every year more than a thousand Singaporeans continue to leave for settlement abroad. Although this number may seem small, for a small island like Singapore with a tiny population, this number is crippling. Those that are already abroad work to bring over their siblings and friends. This brain drain will continue in increasing numbers.

The quality of the average citizen continues to decline and those that remain do only what is absolutely necessary since they have no happiness in the way they live. On the other hand you have thousands upon thousands of ordinary folks queuing up at the grassroots organizations centers applying to volunteer, all of whom outwardly claim altruistic motives but in reality they are waiting to be recognized by Lee Kuan Yew's son and the possible rewards that may follow. Serving in Lee Kuan Yew's son's grassroots organizations is like buying a lottery ticket. You never know Lee Kuan Yew's son may select you and you may become a millionaire.

This sort of hypocritical lives really does not bring out the best in anyone. With a workforce and a citizenry with a mentality such as this, you simply cannot compete with the free and democratic countries in the world. This negativity that is part of the entire climate of the island is insidious and like a growing rot decays and delays any real progress the island can ever hope to achieve.

Really the best for a country is to be free and democratic. Dictatorships are only good for the dictators like Lee Kuan Yew's son. They deliver no benefit to the people.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean by birth
US Citizen
Fremont, California USA
Tel: 510 491 8525

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