Sunday, September 11, 2016

Singapore Island government running it like the Middle Ages

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Singapore is being run is if it were the Middle Ages.

Even though it is on paper a Constitutional democracy, it is in fact a kingdom. And the King is Lee Kuan Yew's son, the Prime Minister. And because of the way it is run, now in the 21 century, it is a sure way to run into oblivion.

For those who are not familiar with the goings on, let me explain. Firstly you have a thoroughly corrupt government. The official salaries of the Prime Minister and every single minister is not in the thousands of dollars but millions. I understand the official salary of the Prime Minister which was until recently $3.7 million a year, out of embarrassment, they themselves recently reduced to $2.7 million a year. But that is only the official salary. Unofficially they take much more in bonuses of several months a year, directorships and dividends from all major companies in Singapore. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that Lee Kuan Yew's son, Lee Hsien Loong who his late dictator father Lee Kuan Yew placed in power practically owns the island. In order to make his cronies continue to support him, he pays them each millions too so they ensure his retention of power.

It is quite often we hear that there is no corruption in Singapore. This statement is only partially true. None one else in the island is allowed to be corrupt. The only ones entitled are Lee Kuan Yew's son and his chosen lieutenants. Which brings to mind Reza Pahlevi, the father of the Shah of Iran who ruled Persia from 1925 to 1941. Subsequently the name was changed from Persia to Iran. He is attributed to totally eradicating corruption in Persia. It is said that he was so ruthless against corruption that once he threw some bakers into their own oven and burned them alive when he discovered corruption. But then there was only one man who was corrupt in Persia, Reza Pahlevi himself! He owned almost everything in his kingdom!

And then you have the state controlled news media repeatedly repeating that there is rule of law. But then JB Jeyaretnam a former opposition politician was repeatedly sued jailed and bankrupted, not for any crimes he committed but because he was openly against this regime. We have Chia Thye Poh who was jailed for 31 years, even longer than Nelson Mandela's 27 years for criticism. We have subsequently Chee Soon Juan a former professor at the Singapore University who was dismissed from his job, jailed and bankrupted for the same reason. When the Singapore judiciary are paid millions of dollars to openly abuse the law to punish dissidents, how can you say you have the rule of law?

I was and am a thorn on the side of this administration. While I was a lawyer, through trumped up disciplinary proceedings I was repeatedly disciplined and jailed. They even took away my law license in Singapore, all geared to silence me. But since I now live in California, I need not silence myself. Another case of judicial abuse to silence dissent.

I can go on. There was only recently Roy Ngerng who was fined $ 150,000 because of a blog he wrote about Lee Kuan Yew's son. There were 2 men in 2008 who wore T shirts with Kangaroos  in judicial robes found near the courts. They were sentenced to prison for doing that. There was a man who wrote the words "Democracy" on a monument near the Padang. He too was jailed.

And the entire news media including all blogs and social media are state controlled. There is not a single international newspaper that has not yet been sued for defamation, from Newsweek to the Wall Street Journal.

There are small minorities of Malays and Indians. They are all discriminated by the majority ethnic Chinese who are also the Prime Minister and his government. The Constitution talks of equality before the law. But the Constitution of Singapore is no better than a piece of scrap paper. None of the articles are obeyed.

And then you have the Communist Chia style shaming of political opponents. Each time a political opponent is arrested and punished, his image is prominently  displayed in the newspapers. The idea is course is to persecute the individual for the rest of his life. No one will give him a job, he will get the worst housing and he will be impoverished.

Chee Soon Juan, the earlier mentioned professor has been reduced to selling books which he himself authored along the streets of the island. So was the plight of JB Jeyaretnam before he died.

And then you have some weird Middle Ages punishments under the legal codes. A large number of offenses carry not only imprisonment but also caning, where trained prison officers beat the backsides of offenders until they are bloodied and their backsides permanently marred and deformed. The plan is to inflict as much pain as possible. And a man who has been caned is demoralized, humiliated and broken in spirit for life.

So what does this island government think it is doing? Do they think they are in the Middle Ages where the people were terrified into submission. For Heavens Sakes, we now live in the 21 century. People are educated and they are connected globally. We don't have to take this nonsense lying down. And that is exactly what is happening.

Even if they themselves are not beaten and tortured in this way, many Singaporeans feel uncomfortable living in an island where their fellow citizens are treated this way. They don't want to live in a country where they cannot read real news but state controlled Goebbels style propaganda. They don't want to live in an island where their fellow Indian and Malay citizens are discriminated. They don't want to live in country where you have to fear for your life and liberty because there is no rule of law.

So they leave in huge numbers to the West. Any right thinking person who is able to leave, leaves. They and their children choose to settle in the West. In this way the best and the brightest are lost forever. And especially for a tiny island like this, without natural resources, their only asset is their people which they are losing en masse.

Lee Kuan Yew's son and his government are simply following what his father did, ruling with an iron fist. The style of government is "You listen to me or else". But today the best and the brightest are saying to him "Else what?" And packing up and leaving.

This government does not realize that repression today has its reactions. The people are not so stupid or helpless as they were in the 1950s. Today in 2016 one does not have to live this way.

This King of Singapore governs entirely for self interest. He wants to continue to line his pockets with gold and like his father he thinks the only answer is to silence all dissent. He fails to realize that ultimately power lies not from his throne but from the people. Without the people he is as good as the proverbial emperor with no clothes.

And because the way the island is run, Singapore island under Lee Kuan Yew's son continues to suffer from numerous difficulties, while the government has no clue how to redress them. First you have the lowest birth rate in the world. For a small tiny city this is bad enough. Now with Zika virus, it has become zero, no births at all. Today the government has stopped asking people to have more babies since with Zika, such a request would be embarrassing. The government has stopped reporting the numbers who are emigrating, also I suppose to avoid embarrassment. The government has stopped going to all the Western capitals of the world, which they used to do every year to persuade Singaporeans who had left to return. No one appears to want to return.

Personally I don't think there need be a revolution in the island to overthrow this regime. I think they are doing it to themselves.

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


Jacques said...

Gopalan: please check an article from several years ago which was published in the Korea Times, called "Another S'pore Sling" by John Burton.

Burton noted that the Financial Times had to pay the S'pore gov't 75 grand U.S. in fines and make a public apology, or else face a lawsuit in a Singaporean court which they almost certainly would have lost.

Apparently, the FT had noted that Lee Hsien-Loong's wife was the owner of a certain company there. The S'pore government claimed that this could lead some people to believe that nepotism was involved, even though the FT's observation was factual, and the word "nepotism" was not used.

This seems really petty and silly. Imagine that, for example, the son of a S'pore official often wore pink shirts, and a foreign-run magazine or newspaper there noted that sartorial fact in an article.

Could the official then say, "I'm gonna sue you! Some people may infer that my son is gay because you noted that he likes to wear pink shirts!"

Gopalan Nair said...

The reader must note that foreign newspapers submit to Singapore's Kangaroo courts only because they want their newspapers to circulate in Singapore. If they don't need to do this, Singapore won't sue any foreign newspaper in a foreign country. They know they will lose just as Singaporean Prime Minister, the defamation lawsuit specialist, does not sue me for this blog because they will have to do it in California, where a prospect of winning is rather unlikely to say the least.