Friday, March 3, 2017

Singapore doomed to mediocrity without freedom of speech and expression

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The news about Singapore island has not been good for some time now. The economy has simply not been growing for some time now. In the past the island was hailed as one of the Asian Dragons with near double digit economic growth. But all that now is just memory. Despite all the governments planning, high level committees and manipulations, it is simply not working.

Singapore is disadvantaged from the start compared to other countries. It is far too small. Small geographically and small population wise. For such a tiny place to stay ahead, it not only has to be good, it has to be exemplary. Any economist or political science student will see that an island tiny and  so dependent on foreigners for capital and expertise, must constantly worry, constantly stay ahead. One bad episode and the entire economy can fall. One major company shutting down may trigger an avalanche of capital flight. One piece of bad news could cause an entire economic collapse.

In an island such as this with no mineral wealth, no gold or diamonds, its only real asset is it's people. But unfortunately the quality of its people is one of the worst in the world. Put simply, the Singaporean is unable to think and act independently. You call this behavior training or brainwashing. Over a decade of deliberate and dedicated program of brain washing to create a docile timid and submissive population to attract foreign investment, since foreign companies do not appreciate strikers and complainers, the Singaporean today is one that is incapable of complaining about anything at all! You can do anything to them and yet they wouldn't raise a whimper.

For 50 years, the Singaporean had the stick for disobedience and the carrot for obedience. The philosophy was and is, obey the government and you will be left alone. Disobey at your peril. Don't be foolish and criticize. Criticism is not only futile, it can be very harmful to your health.

Singaporeans today do not have the right of freedom of speech, nor freedom of expression, nor freedom to protest, nor the rule of law. All these things which are considered normal and expected in any other country, are all made illegal under the island constitution. So naturally you would expect any red blooded human being living under such conditions to complain, but surprisingly not in Singapore island. They are afraid to complain. It is just as Big Brother watching you. If you complain you may get trouble. So it is best to keep your mouth shut and simply obey.

Coming back to question, why is Singapore doing so badly, it is because the population of Singapore is incapable of carrying out any economic activity on their own. Because they are afraid, they are good only in following orders and be endearing towards their rulers. It is a constant daily pursuit to please their rulers. Flattery and showing appreciation towards their rulers is how to survive in the island.

Singapore was always and is today a state planned economy. It is the government that does the thinking and the people are required to follow. Unfortunately in all the areas of economic activity through state planning, it has turned out over time in the 21 century to be failures. The sea port was once a major business activity but foreign countries have caught up and the Singapore port is becoming redundant. Singapore airlines was once a leading carrier but other countries have wised up with the carrier now flying half empty. It is the same with every other business activity.

What Singapore needs is not a state planned economy but one created and driven by individual Singaporeans. What you need is thinkers and entrepreneurs. It is they, the Singaporeans, who can achieve greatness for the island, but unfortunately they are simply not up to the task. And why do I say this? Because to be inventive, to be a risk taker, to be an entrepreneur, you need to be a normal human being. Firstly you have to be free and not live like a slave. You have to be able to think on your own. Do things on your own,. You have to have respect in your government. You should not have to live in fear of your government.

As a example of the fear under which people live, if you ask a Singaporean a political question, he would probably take 5 seconds to think what answer he should give, lest it is not politically correct. You have an entire island of hypocrites, who have to massage their answers so as to be left alone by their government. And how do you expect a man who lives like this, think of new ideas and new businesses?

As long as these rights do not exist, Singaporeans unlike the British, the French, the Israelis, the Germans, they will never be able to use their heads, come up with ideas, have a stake in their country and be proud of their country. Without the collaboration of its very citizens, a tiny island like this has no hope of ever achieving economic success.

Today the economy is growing at about 1% to 2% a year. This rate of growth can hardly support a real country with a larger geographical area and population. With a tiny island and a tiny population, a rate such as this is destructive and terminal. No amount of planning can solve the island's problems as long as the average citizen can do nothing except follow.

If next year is also going to see just  a 1% increase in GDP with the economy stagnating , with the growing brain drain where thousands from an already tiny population continue to leave, you simply don't have enough ideas to sustain any development.

I think it is over for Singapore. What will destroy Singapore is the total success that Lee Kuan Yew achieved in creating a population which is incapable of complaining.

You may be wondering if what I say is true, why am I able to write this without any trouble. It is because I am writing this from outside Singapore and their ability to abuse the law and victimize me is not possible since I am not physically within their jurisdiction. They can of course try to sue in in the US but their chances of success are less than zero, because I am protected by the rule of law and a respected US Constitution. Therefore I have rights which I don't in Singapore island. Of course I would not have dared to write this within Singapore because I would find myself in the local jail the next minute. Which is why I left and why thousands of others like me are leaving, which is why that island is facing the problems that they do.

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


Anonymous said...

I have been following your blog for quite awhile and have to say i agree with every word.

I am a fresh grad working hard to leave ASAP.

keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

This is true.

The local people here care more about 'face', bootlicking, blind authority worship and following rules so seriously than they do about progress and innovation. There is no culture of the latter here.

Whistle blowers, critics or people of differing views are routinely struck down and made to look like outcasts when the messages or ideas they bring may be meaningful initiatives. This is what happens when a society lacks critical thinking skills and instead follow an authoritian narrative.

I'm not talking just politically, but even in the workplace and other areas of social cultures here.

Peoples here don't seem to dedicate themselves to proper research, analysis and critical thinking skills. Some are ruled by fear, others are stuck in the past methods n culture and are too cocky to change thanks to their 'know it all' simpleton attitude. There are too many little lee Kuan yew wannabes running around in this island. Hence, how to improve? They're always waiting for someone above to give them approval or tell them what to do. Well, good luck to that and enjoy your little meaningless life then!