SG does lack freedom of expression

July 12, 2015

Dear Mr David Kaye,

I refer to the letter “SG does not lack freedom of expression” addressed to you by someone going by the pseudonym of whiteyellowbrownblack.

Whiteyellowbrownblack wrote:

For your information, Singapore does not lack in freedom of expression. Our government holds open debate on mass media and social media. There is no restriction on public assembly for social gatherings. Public assembly for political purposes can be held at Hong Lim Park.

For your information, Singapore severely lacks freedom of expression. There is not enough open debate about societal issues on mass media. Newspaper editorials support the government more often than not and give little if any due recognition to more robust counter-arguments found only on the internet. National think tanks and university academics are almost always in support of the government but are often caught with their pants down with false arguments or skewed statistics. Television debates are often over represented by the government and its auxiliaries. Even documentaries and period dramas slant the truth until fact becomes fiction and fiction becomes fact.

The government’s use of the social media is pretty much confined to making announcements or scolding Singaporeans. They hardly ever answer to more substantive hard questions posted by Singaporeans online.

By law, any gathering of more than five persons is liable for jail.

Public assembly at Hong Lim Park requires a permit which is sometimes refused and other times cancelled at the whim or fancy of the ruling party.

Whiteyellowbrownblack wrote:

Nowadays, any government official who opens his/her mouth becomes the instant target of venomous replies and rebuttals. Through the Internet, people can go online to criticize, condemn, curse and swear at the government day and night. Its a free-for-all, done anonymously, without any age limit. Even kids do it. One has gone a step too far. And that’s Amos Yee.

It is not true that all that is uttered by government officials gets targeted. If government officials make sensible statements, these statements will be accepted and embraced by the people. For example, when Mr Tharman said that Singaporeans are underrepresented in financial institution top positions, the people cheered. When Dr Balakrishnan called for a spade to be called a spade when Orchard Road was flooded, the people cheered too. Government officials have only themselves to blame for making obviously ridiculous statements which they somehow are quite fond of making.

Whiteyellowbrownblack perhaps doesn’t see the pain and suffering that the people have to go through due to ridiculous government policies that are the source of their online tirades. Rather than focus on these tirades, Whiteyellowbrownblack should instead focus on the root of these tirades and channel his energy towards combating these root decays instead.

Whether or not Amos has gone too far is a matter of opinion, not fact. Whiteyellowbrownblack admits below that he is unhappy with Amos’ admonishing of his beloved LKY but Amos wasn’t even charged for that. This shows there is absolutely nothing wrong with insulting LKY. Whiteyellowbrownblack should recognize that LKY was a controversial person, not a universally recognized good person. There will be those who praise LKY; there will also be those who insult LKY. Whiteyellowbrownblack is free to rebut Amos but he should not follow in LKY’s footsteps and bay for Amos’ blood instead. Whiteyellowbrownblack should recognize there is a sizeable minority ordinary Singaporean folks who see LKY as a bad person and who too have been hurt by the complete and absolute false praise of LKY to the heaven during LKY’s mourning period. Amos’ tirades hardly brought enough balance to the skewed praising of a man they see as undeserving of praise.

Whiteyellowbrownblack wrote:

The kid does not only challenge the tolerance of the authority. He hurt the feelings of ordinary folks like me as well. He insulted those who bid their last farewells to their beloved LKY as “necrophiliacs who suck his d*ck”. He again insulted those who supported LKY as “sycophants who for decades past have been ferociously s*cking his oblong dick”. If you consider that as freedom of expression, then you should have no objection to me saying that you are a pedophile looking for a chance to ferociously s*ck his fresh young d*ck?

Whiteyellowbrownblack has justified the use of crude words in return for the crude words that Amos used. But Whiteyellowbrownblack hasn’t or perhaps could not justify the torture of Amos in a mental asylum. That is the crux of the issue that Whiteyellowbrownblack doesn’t seem to comprehend. The UN is stepping in only because the punishment meted out to Amos was way out of proportion to Amos’ purported ‘crime’. If all that Whiteyellowbrownblack wished for and all that the authorities enforced was a mere return of crude tirades, then UN mostly would not have stepped in.

Whiteyellowbrownblack wrote:

Children and youngsters in Singapore are well protected. They don’t get gunned down in schools or on the streets. They don’t become drug-addicts. As far as the protection of children goes, the UN should first learn to keep its own house in order. UN Peace-keeping forces have been found to rape those very women and children they are supposed to protect.

While there may be more reported incidences of gun violence in schools in the US, such incidences are much less heard of in Europe, Australia, Canada or New Zealand. Whiteyellowbrownblack should not extrapolate the problems in the US to all Western societies in general. Liechenstein and Monaco are two Western nations that quite often boast lower crime rates than Singapore.

UN indeed is having its hands full at having to deal with abuses all over the world. But these abuses mostly originate from Third World countries. The last thing UN expects is to deal with abuses in supposedly First World Singapore.

Whiteyellowbrownblack wrote:

Lastly, one question: Why is it that in a global organization like the UN, only Westerners are in positions to dictate values to Asians?

Whiteyellowbrownblack should recognize that the secretary general of the UN, Mr Ban Ki Moon, is an Asian. Whatever that has been dictated to Asian Singapore quite obviously came with the auspices of an equally Asian Mr Ban Ki Moon.

More than doctor behind Amos Yee’s psychiatric report

June 26, 2015

I refer to the 24 June 2015 TR Emeritus article “Doctor behind Amos Yee’s psychiatric report” by Cybernut Investor.

Cybernut Investor wrote:

He’ll be sent to Woodbridge for two weeks’ of observation and may then undergo mandatory treatment. (Trumpets pls, I predicted this early yesterday morning (23 Jun 2015) before the sun rose.

But in another TR Emeritus report “Taiwan News: Amos Yee suicidal in SG prison” published on 22 Jun 2015, one day before Cybernut Investor’s purported prediction, TR Emeritus had already reported that Amos had been imprisoned at a psychiatric ward:

Amos Yee, the Youtube personality and blogger who was arrested because he openly criticized Lee Kuan Yew on Youtube, is currently imprisoned at a psychiatric ward and mentally tortured by the institution, stated Dodwell & Co LLC. Yee’s lawyer said the boy is suffering from depression and attempted to commit suicide because of the inhumane treatment.

According to Dodwell & Co LLC, Amos Yee informed the prison psychiatrists that he had suicidal thoughts on the third day of his imprisonment, June 4. He was then taken to a mental asylum ward with one of his hands and legs strapped to bed.

What’s there for Cybernut Investor to trumpet when it was already reported that Amos had been imprisoned at a psychiatric ward? Does Cybernut Investor think it is a quantum leap to link the prison psychiatric ward to Woodbridge?

Cybernut Investor wrote:

Already the cybernuts are saying that Amos is being “fixed”.
The problem with this view is that M Ravi … personally chose to consult Dr Munidasa Winslow … M Ravi has also not disowned Dr Winslow’s diagnosis in February 2015 … Furthermore M Ravi has not challenged his suspension from practicising law …
So if M Ravi is being treated by Dr Munidasa Winslow, how can one reasonably argue that Amos Yee is being fixed? The doctor trusted by M Ravi is the one saying Amos may be autistic. Unless of course, one asserts that M Ravi has been conned into consulting Dr Winslow?

The problem with Cybernut Investor’s logic is that he is confining the fixer only to Dr Winslow. However, consider the 25 Jun 2015 Online Citizen report “A mother visits her son at IMH” about Amos’ mother Ms Mary Toh’s comments:

I understand that block 7 is where they also keep the truly mentally ill patients, and those who have committed crimes or offences and who are also mentally unsound.

It is also where my son is being held.

I wondered why my son, who is here to be assessed if he has autism, is kept here in the same block as those who are mentally ill.

I am told that there is a private ward at IMH where my son, who is not mentally unsound, could be sent to.

But he is ordered to be assessed at Block 7.

Given that Dr Winslow is no longer a staff at the IMH; it would have been impossible for him to order Amos to be held at Block 7 rather than at the private ward. Thus, contrary to what Cybernut Investor had in mind, the fixing need not necessarily be from Dr Winslow but from other parts of the state apparatus acting on Dr Winslow’s assessment.

UK election results do not make PAP look democratic

June 16, 2015

I refer to the 13 Jun 2015 TR Emeritus article “UK election results make PAP look democratic”.

Cybernut Investor wrote:

Anti-PAP cybernuts (like OXYGEN, Dosh), their heroes (Mad Dog Chee, s/o JBJ), rational activists opposed to the PAP (Yes, there are many like SDP’s Dr Paul Thamby and Dr Wong Wee Nam, Dr Ang Yong Guan, P Ravi, TeamTRE etc), and

Since Cynical Investor makes no qualms labeling his critics like OXYGEN as cybernut, he will henceforth be called Cybernut Investor.

Cybernut Investor must be nuts to say that rational people like Dr Paul Thamby and Dr Wong Wee Nam will choose to work under a mad dog. Either Dr Thamby and Dr Wong are irrational or Dr Chee isn’t a mad dog.

Cybernut Investor wrote:

… most neutral political analysts bemoan the system here: with only 60% of the votes the PAP won 81 seats (93%) of the seats at the last GE. The WP with 12% of the vote won 6 seats. And although the Oppo had 40% of the vote, these 6 seats were all they won. This pattern is consistent in all the elections since 1959.
Well the UK, is supposed to be a bastion of democracy but in the last election
– In Scotland, the SNP had only 50% of the votes but won 56 out of 59 seats (Labour lost 40 seats). 50% of the voters ended up with only 3 seats.
– In the country as a whole, the Tories had only 37% of the vote, yet have a 12 seat majority over the combined opposition share of the seats. 63% voted against them, yet the Tories formed the govt.
Makes PAP’s 60% of popular vote and 93% of the seats look more “democratic”, a lot more. At least 60% of adult S’poreans voted for the PAP.

If the Scottish National Party can go from being the underdogs to the overwhelming new winner of Scottish votes overnight, surely that counts towards democracy? Can that happen in Singapore?

From the table below, it can be seen that the Conservatives’ 50.9% electoral seat share is only 14% more than their vote share of 37%. In contrast, PAP’s 93.1% electoral seat share is 33% more than their 60.1% vote share. PAP’s 33% extra electoral seat share is much more compared to the Conservatives’ extra 14% seat share so there is definitely reason for Singaporeans to feel aggrieved.

Cybernut Investor has no basis to claim that the 63% UK votes that didn’t go to the Conservatives were votes against the Conservatives because they could simply be votes for the respective parties that they went to. A consumer that chooses apple juice over orange juice doesn’t necessarily have anything against orange juice; he just prefers apple juice that’s all.

The 63% votes that went to other UK parties resulted in 49% seat share which is a discount of only 14% whereas for Singapore, the 40% votes that went to opposition parties garnered only 7% seat share which is a whopping discount of 33%. So contrary to what Cybernut Investor said, this makes PAP’s 60% vote share and 93% seat share look less democratic – a lot less.

UK 2015 electoral results

Seats % seats % vote share % seats – % vote share
Conservatives 331 50.90% 36.90% 14%
Labour 232 35.70% 30.40% 5%
Scotish National 56 8.60% 4.70% 4%
Liberal Democratic 8 1.20% 7.90% -7%
Democratic Unionist 8 1.20% 0.60% 1%
Sinn Fein 4 0.60% 0.60% 0%
Plaid Cymru 3 0.50% 0.60% 0%
Social Democratic and Labour 3 0.50% 0.30% 0%
Ulster Unionist 2 0.30% 0.40% 0%
UK Independence 1 0.20% 12.60% -12%
Green 1 0.20% 3.80% -4%
Independent 1 0.20% 0.30% 0%
Alliance 0 0.00% 0.20% 0%
TUSC 0 0.00% 0.10% 0%
National Health Action 0 0.00% 0.10% 0%
Traditional Unionist Voice 0 0.00% 0.10% 0%
Others 0 0.00% 0.50% -1%
650 100.00% 100.10%

Singapore 2011 electoral results

Seats % seats % vote share % seats – % vote share</td
PAP 81 93.10% 60.10% 33%</td
WP 6 6.90% 12.80% -6%</td
NSP 0 0.00% 12.00% -12%</td
SDP 0 0.00% 4.80% -5%</td
Reform Party 0 0.00% 4.30% -4%</td
SPP 0 0.00% 3.10% -3%</td
SDA 0 0.00% 2.80% -3%</td
87 100.00% 99.90% </td

Cybernut Investor wrote:

And don’t you forget that OXYGEN and the other cybernuts infesting TRE, scrounging off and undermining TeamTRE’s efforts to make S’pore a less PAP friendly place.

Cybernut Investor must be nuts to suggest that TeamTRE’s efforts are being undermined by OXYGEN when it is TeamTRE that approves OXYGEN’s many wise comments. That would be akin to saying TeamTRE is undermining its own efforts.

Cybernut Investor wrote:

In the UK, even if they all formed a coalition, the Oppo had less seats than the Tories.

But in the UK, a coalition of all opposition would have a seat share of 49% whereas in Singapore, a coalition of all opposition results in a measly 7% seat share. Thus, Cybernut Investor’s example undermines his own argument.

Cybernut Investor wrote:

But that’s not all. If Labour had gotten 37% of the votes instead of 30%, and had not lost 40 seats in Scotland, it would have likely won the election. In that case the 63% who did not vote Labour would have to accept a Labour govt.

The 63% that didn’t vote for Labour would still have perhaps 49% representation in parliament – that’s still much greater democracy than compared to Singapore.

Lee Kuan Yew is not Singapore’s founding father

June 6, 2015

I refer to the 24 Mar 2015 Straits Times report “Singapore mourns: Thousands pay tribute to founding father Mr Lee Kuan Yew”.

ST quoted PM Lee:

“The first of our founding fathers is no more. He inspired us, gave us courage, kept us together, and brought us here. He fought for our independence, built a nation where there was none, and made us proud to be Singaporeans. We won’t see another man like him,” he said.

Lee Kuan Yew is not our founding father let alone the first because he never fought for our independence like George Washington or Gandhi did for their respective countries. Instead, Lee was the recipient of our independence and was on record to say that it was a moment of anguish for him. Isn’t it contradictory that Lee fought for our independence yet felt anguished when we became independent? Lee’s anguish at our independence confirms that he never wanted Singapore to be independent which in turn means that he never would have fought for our independence let alone be considered our founding father.

The inspiration Singaporeans have for Lee is misplaced for it wasn’t Lee but Dr Winsemius who was the true architect of our industrialization and whose plans brought us here. Lee’s courage was starkly absent when the Japanese invaded Singapore. He divided the country with his factious politics. He not so much built a nation than inherited one. Singaporeans were already proud before Lee came to power.

ST quoted PM Lee:

To many here and abroad, he said, “Lee Kuan Yew was Singapore. Singapore was his abiding passion. He gave of himself, in full measure, to Singapore. As he himself put it towards the end of his life and I quote, ‘I have spent my life, so much of it, building up this country. There’s nothing more that I need to do. At the end of the day, what have I got? A successful Singapore. What have I given up? My life.'”

Too many here and abroad equate Lee Kuan Yew with Singapore because they have no better information than state propaganda.

Lee didn’t give of himself to defending Singapore during Singapore’s hour of need but gave of himself to working for the Japanese enemy instead which would normally have been seen as treachery in other countries like France. Lee clearly would not give up his life for Singapore. Whatever Lee gave was in return for his own survival and benefit that had little to do with Singapore becoming successful for without Lee, Singapore would most likely have ended up like Hong Kong – different but prosperous just the same.

ST quoted PM Lee:

PM Lee called on Singaporeans to honour Mr Lee’s spirit, even as they mourned his loss, and work together to “build on his foundations, strive for his ideals, and keep Singapore exceptional and successful for many years to come”.

Singapore’s foundations weren’t Lee’s for much of what Singapore is today can be traced back to priceless British colonial inheritances as explained by Dr Goh Keng Swee.

ST wrote:

Over at Tanjong Pagar, which Mr Lee represented for 60 years since 1955, thousands more turned out to pay tribute to the man some called the “father of the nation”, bowing respectfully before a large portrait of him.
Retired calligrapher Seow Cheong Choon, 80, wept as he recounted how he had once railed against Mr Lee, doubting he would deliver on his promises to house Singapore’s slum dwellers and squatters.

“He said he would give us all a house. Not just one or two people, but the thousands living in attap houses,” he said in Mandarin. “I was angry with his promises of false hope. Who could believe him? Singapore was chaotic, muddy, full of gangsters.”

He was referring to the time Mr Lee had declared at a 1965 grassroots event: “This country belongs to all of us. We made this country from nothing, from mudflats… Today, this is a modern city. Ten years from now, this will be a metropolis. Never fear!”

This is another example of Lee’s habit of exaggerating his own accomplishments. Surely the turning of mudflat to city was achieved by the British, not Lee Kuan Yew? Singapore certainly did not transform from mudflat to city in the 6 short years that Lee was in charge. Lee also boasted to Chicago businessmen in 1968 that Singapore was already a metropolis. Again, Singapore did not turn from city to metropolis in 3 short years. Unfortunately much of Lee’s boasting has been uncritically accepted by the people. Mr Seow should take note of the numerous government advertisements asking the people to sell their flats back to the government and realize that for these people, Lee’s promises had, in the end, come to nothing.

ST wrote:

Little wonder then that he came to be regarded as the man most instrumental in shaping this country, from the time he and his People’s Action Party colleagues pushed for self-government in the 1950s to their quest for merger with the Federation of Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak to form the new nation Malaysia in the early 1960s, and their efforts to secure the Republic’s survival after independence was thrust on it on Aug 9, 1965.

The man most instrumental in shaping post independence Singapore has to be Dr Winsemius, for it was his economic plan that our industrialization was based on for which Lee himself expressed indebtedness.

The biggest push for self government came from the Leftists who were subsequently expelled by the PAP. It would be most shameless for the PAP to claim the credit of those whom it subsequently expelled.

Lee’s push for merger with Malaya was a mere substitution of British monarchy for a Malaysian one without any improvement to our state of independence.

ST wrote:

He famously wept on TV announcing the “moment of anguish”, when Singapore was “severed” from Malaysia. Not only had he believed deeply in a unified Malaysia as a multiracial society, but he must also have sensed the enormity of the task for the new city-state to make a living in an inhospitable world.

That moment of anguish is proof that Lee Kuan Yew never wanted Singapore to be independent and so could never have fought for our independence let alone be regarded as our founding father.

Lee’s so-called belief in a multiracial Malaysia was hypocritical at best. He had already sold Singapore out to Malaysia knowing full well he was subjecting all Singaporeans to the Bumiputra policy that was already enshrined in the Malaysian constitution.

ST wrote:

… Having survived life-and-death battles with the communists and communalists in Singapore’s troubled early years, he made plain that he was not averse to donning “knuckledusters” to take on and “demolish” his political adversaries. He refused to be swayed by popular sentiment or opinion polls, believing that voters would come round when they eventually saw the benefits of policies he had pushed through.

Lee’s so-called survival of battles with communists and communalists were figments of his imagination. The communists had largely been hunted down and eradicated by the British long before the State of Emergency ended in 1960. The Leftists that remained didn’t so much as do battle with Lee as were persecuted by him.

Lee was the key player in the entire communalist saga. It was his good comrades Lim Kim San and Dr Toh Chin Chye who pointed to Lee as being the one who made racist and incendiary speeches that contributed to racial riots (https://trulysingapore.wordpress.com/2015/06/05/lee-kuan-yew-contributed-to-racial-riots/). Before Lee came to power, the Malays and Chinese had been living together peacefully for more than a hundred years (https://trulysingapore.wordpress.com/2015/06/05/singapore-racial-harmony-during-colonial-times/).

Lee need not be swayed by popular sentiment because he controlled the press and could therefore shape popular sentiment instead.

ST wrote:

He was both a visionary and a radical thinker, and was instrumental in a host of major policies that have shaped almost every aspect of Singaporeans’ lives, from promoting public housing, home ownership, racial integration in public estates and, later, estate upgrading, to adopting English as a common language for the disparate races in Singapore.

Lee was no visionary; his vision was borrowed from Dr Winsemius. Lee may have been instrumental in disastrous policies like Stop-At-Two or Graduates’ Mothers Scheme but the key policy of export industrialization went strictly according to Dr Winsemius’ plan.

Despite not having Lee Kuan Yew, Malaysia ended up besting Singapore in the English Proficiency Index (http://www.ef.sg/epi/#asia).

ST wrote:

He made multiracialism and meritocracy as well as economically sound and corruption-free government hallmarks of the Singapore way. He carried over his own frugal ways to the business of government and was relentless in his fight against the “cancer of corruption”, making plain no one was beyond being investigated and ejected from office if they strayed.

Multiracialism, meritocracy and economically sound government were already well entrenched during colonial times. Singapore’s racial harmony was already an inspiration to all during colonial times (https://trulysingapore.wordpress.com/2015/06/05/singapore-racial-harmony-during-colonial-times). Lee Kuan Yew, his wife Kwa Gek Choo and Dr Goh Keng Swee all won scholarships given by the British colonial government. Dr Goh Keng Swee attributed the second of four reasons why Singapore succeeded to the lean, mean British colonial government:

In the modern idiom, the Victorians who governed Singapore established and maintained an infrastructure at minimum cost with maximum efficiency.

[Goh Keng Swee, The Practice of Economic Growth, Chapter 1: Why Singapore succeeds, pages 6-7]

ST wrote:

He pushed for ministers and senior civil servants to be paid salaries pegged to private sector rates, despite that being controversial, believing it was necessary if Singapore was to continue to enjoy good, clean government.

It’s silly to pay thieves high salaries to discourage them from stealing. Why employ a thief to begin with?

The notion that public service should be associated with exorbitantly high pay had already been rejected by the public during the NKF-TT Durai saga.

ST wrote:

And if this city gained a reputation worldwide for also being one of the cleanest and greenest, it was because the Prime Minister himself took a personal interest in enhancing the island’s greenery, parks and waterways, long before such environmental consciousness became fashionable.

Surely Singapore’s greenery didn’t begin with Lee Kuan Yew when Singapore’s best hope of a UNESCO listing – our Botanical Gardens was established by the British colonial government in 1859, 100 years before Lee came to power?

ST wrote:

… Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed him as a “far-sighted statesman and a lion among leaders”.
United States President Barack Obama said in a statement: “He was a true giant of history who will be remembered for generations to come as the father of modern Singapore and as one of the great strategists of Asian affairs.”

Both Modi and Obama hardly knew Lee Kuan Yew so their appraisal of Lee couldn’t have been anything more than the regurgitation of popular reports or hearsays that mostly originate from Singapore’s state controlled media. Does Modi or Obama even know who Dr Winsemius is? Obama was probably misinformed because no one would be so stupid as to hail someone who felt anguished at a nation’s independence as its father.

ST wrote:

He had soldiered on with his public duties after retirement, and even after the loss of his wife of 63 years …

Lee’s remaining in office despite supposedly retiring suggests the falseness of his retirement. That he held on to his MP title while hardly performing any constituency work suggests the futility of his so-called soldiering on. Whether he soldiered on for the nation or for his own party is also questionable.

ST wrote:

Summing up his life’s work in his two-part memoirs, The Singapore Story, Mr Lee once revealed how he and his colleagues believed that Malaysian leaders anticipated the day when an independent Singapore would fail and be forced to appeal for readmission to the Federation, on Malaysia’s terms.

“No, not if I could help it,” he once declared … I did not know I was to spend the rest of my life getting Singapore not just to work, but to prosper and flourish.”

That’s another one of Lee Kuan Yew’s self-praise. Just because Lee was in charge doesn’t mean Singapore prospered and flourished because of him. Hong Kong is the best reflection of how Singapore would have turned out without Lee – different but prosperous just the same.

Moreover, our prospering and flourishing was in accordance to the economic plan written by Dr Winsemius whom Lee expressed indebtedness to. Whatever was Lee’s role, he certainly wasn’t the brains behind our prosperity. Unfortunately for many of our lowly educated pioneer generation, the only face they know that they will forever associate our prosperity with is Lee Kuan Yew’s.

Lee Kuan Yew contributed to racial riots

June 5, 2015

The events of 1963-1965 appear to be substantially a clash of temperaments and world views, with consequent misunderstandings among the key players. Lee’s own colleagues tell a story of Lee Kuan Yew in overdrive, aggressively engaging in brinkmanship and pushing the Malaysian experiment to the precipice. Lee found it difficult to exercise self-control in front of a microphone and developed a pattern of making outrageous and inflammatory speeches, which Toh Chin Chye later characterised as anti-Malay. When Lim Kim San, a key cabinet minister during the period was asked by Melanie Chew whether he counseled Lee to tone down his speeches, he replied “Oh yes! We did! But once he got onto the podium in front of the crowd, paah, everything would come out. Exactly what we told him not to say, he would say!” Lee at this time was driving himself to the brink of a breakdown, and his judgment was impaired by a regime of prescription drugs designed to help him cope with the stress. He was not at his best and all his prejudices about Malays and his fears about the future were given a free rein, just at the time when he needed to keep them under strict guard

[Constructing Singapore: Elitism, Ethinicity and the Nation-building Project, Michael D Barr and Zlatko Skrbiš, page 29-30]

… the political ambitions of PAP leaders led by Lee Kuan Yew created a situation that, if not arrested, might inevitably result in a serious Sino-Malay clash.

[Across the Causeway: A Multi-dimensional Study of Malaysia-Singapore Relations, Takashi Shiraishi, page 43]

He (Lee Kuan Yew) was subsequently taken to task in Malaysia for apparently questioning the status of Malays as the indigenous people of Malaysia, angering Malays and endangering the Chinese in Singapore. He was also accused of having aspirations to become Malaysia’s prime minister and of wanting special status for Singapore within Malaysia

[Chronicle of Singapore, 1959-2009: Fifty Years of Headline News, Peter H. L. Lim, page 74]

… Lee Kuan Yew’s own political ambition also contributed to the separation of Singapore from Malaysia.

[A History of South East Asia, Arthur Cotterell, page 346]

… Mr Lee is a highly ambitious man,” the Tunku told Malay leaders in 1966, “he feels Singapore is too small for his aspirations … he wants a bigger stage for his dictatorial performances. Mr Lee has become prouder since the outside world proclaimed him as a wise and clever man. But he is living in a dream world …

[Lee Kuan Yew: The Crucial Years, Alex Josey, page 42-43]

Singapore racial harmony during colonial times

June 5, 2015

• Racial Harmony In Malaya
To those who know their Malaya from one end to the other, no less than to the casual visitor, it is a constant source of wonder how so many different races and communities live and work together in the utmost harmony … we repeat, that the different communities live and work in harmony because the British system of justice and administration enables them to obtain fair play. There are no discriminatory or repressive laws, there are few, if any race prejudices in the bazaars and counting houses, there is nothing to prevent the humblest coolie from rising to great wealth – many indeed have done so …
[The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), 26 July 1935, Page 8]

• MALAYA’S RACIAL HARMONY IMPRESSES
“It is a pleasing feature of life in Malaya that there is not merely a complete absence of friction but much cordiality in the relations between the different races inhabiting it. It is quite common to find Malays, Chinese and Indian all living the same street in perfect harmony and apparently, with some degree of intimacy.” The Mui-Tsai Commission Report Chapter VIII.
[The Straits Times, 1 March 1937, Page 13]

• SINO-MALAYAN AMITY IMPRESSES GEN. WU
It makes me happy to see the Chinese and other peoples here co-operating so well with each other.
[The Straits Times, 15 November 1940, Page 11]

• The Malayan Melting-Pot
The Sultan of Perak … “I wish to say to you that Chinese and Malay in the past eighty years before the coming of the Japanese lived side by side in absolute peace. The Chinese lived in the midst of Malays without any trace of fear, and the Chinese also fearlessly and peacefully pursued his vocation in any Malay settlement … Here in Singapore we are constantly impressed by the easy, natural and friendly relationships existing between Eurasians, Straits Chinese, Straits-born Indians and others who went to school together and now meet each other in adult life … Boys – and girls – of the local-born communities who sit side by side in the classrooms of Raffles Institution and St. Joseph’s and St. Andrew’s and the A.C.S., learn to become unconscious of racial differences, to meet on common ground, and to accept each other simply as Singaporeans – not as members of this racial community or that. Naturally this process is more penetrating in the secondary schools than in the elementary ones, because the influence of the school is exerted for a longer period and in years of higher mental awakening …
[The Straits Times, 25 May 1946, Page 4]

• S’pore an ‘example’ of race harmony
Singapore has set an example to the world of racial harmony, said Mr. T. P. F. McNeice, President, in reply to Mr. C. F. J. Ess, at the meeting of the City Council yesterday.
[The Straits Times, 29 September 1951, Page 5]

• Duchess praises ‘one people’ idea
The Duchess of Kent, the first Royal Freeman of the City of Singapore, said yesterday that its people were engaged upon a project of far-reaching significance – the casting into one mould of elements derived from many different cultures. “This plan in itself testifies to the good will and good sense so characteristic of the people of this island,’ she said.
[The Straits Times, 2 October 1952, Page 1]

• Police help island troop to learn sailing
Singapore’s 84th Pulau Tekong Sea-Scout Troop is certainly helping to strengthen the bonds of friendship among Malays and Chinese on the island. It is undoubtedly a Sino-Malay affair for half of its 20 members are drawn from each race. Even the four patrol leaders in the troop are equally divided on a communal basis. Members of each patrol, however, are mixed.
[The Singapore Free Press, 17 July 1953, Page 12]

• Our racial harmony inspiration to bishop
An American Negro bishop said in Singapore yesterday that complete racial harmony among students and teachers in Colony schools was an inspiration to him. He said it proved his theory that if you get people of all races close enough together for them to smile at each other racial pride and prejudices will vanish quickly
[The Straits Times, 30 September 1954, Page 4]

• ‘See yourselves as just one people’ Governor’s advice to teachers
The people of Singapore must not think of themselves in terms of their racial and language loyalties, but as Singaporeans, the Governor, Sir William Goode, said yesterday. Schools must be Singapore schools, not English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil schools … In 1953, he said, English was the only medium of instruction at the college, but today they worked in English, Malay and Chinese. “In this way too the different races in the Colony can be welded into a united people with a common loyalty and a common pride in Singapore and a united determination to work for the good of Singapore.”
[The Straits Times, 12 October 1958, Page 7]

• U.S. TEACHERS ‘IMPRESSED’
Eighteen American teachers (above) from 11 states left for Bangkok by CPA this morning after a four-day stay here … Prof. Mulder said they were impressed by the racial harmony they had observed in Singapore and had come to know the state much better.
[The Singapore Free Press, 16 July 1959, Page 10]

• TELLING THE PEOPLE
So many races, but one nation
If a world list were compiled of countries enjoying high degree of inter-racial harmony Singapore would undoubtedly occupy a leading position. Here people of various races work, play and live together happily as one nation. They help each other in time of difficulty. They rejoice in each other’s happiness. And they share each other’s grief. Such is the respect, understanding and goodwill between the Malay, Chinese, Indian, European and other races living here that visitors in Singapore have often praised the State as an example for the rest of the world to follow. The latest visitor to express this view is Mrs. A. Qugley, formerly of the Chicago Tribune, who passed through the State during a tour of the Far East. She said that “the people here must be extremely proud of themselves for the “really great” racial harmony that was evident
[The Singapore Free Press, 6 July 1961, Page 6]

Response to “6 reasons why LKY detractors are wrong” – Part 2

May 31, 2015

This is part 2 of the response to the 4 Apr 2015 TR Emeritus article “6 reasons why detractors of LKY are wrong” by X.

X wrote:

National service is often another point of contention … In the late 1960s, the British were pulling their military out of Singapore … If we had not quickly built up our defence, we would probably have suffered a replay of the Japanese invasion in WWII.

X would be a fool to think that today’s SAF, capable as it is, can prevent a replay of Japanese invasion if the Japanese ever chooses to invade Singapore again.

X wrote:

Further, the two years gives males an opportunity to pause their academic pursuits and ponder their choices carefully, especially for many who arrive at a crossroad of what and where to study, and what to do in future, as many would have just completed their tertiary studies.

If that pause is so wonderful an opportunity, how come not many females pause their studies to ponder over choices?

X wrote:

In fact, no one understood freedom better than Mr Lee himself, when he decided that he will build a multi-cultural society and enacted laws against those who threaten such harmony.

How could Lee Kuan Yew who made no qualms about detaining people for 30 over years, know anything about freedom?

Singapore’s multiculturalism wasn’t built by Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore was already multicultural during colonial times (https://trulysingapore.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/times-magazine-lee-kuan-yew-is-not-the-father-of-singapore/).

It was Lee’s good comrades Lim Kim San and Toh Chin Chye who pointed to Lee Kuan Yew being one of the main culprits of social disharmony (https://trulysingapore.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/times-magazine-lee-kuan-yew-is-not-the-father-of-singapore/).

X wrote:

Freedom is the ability to understand and tolerate others and realise that we are unified by a common goal of progress.

By that definition, North Korea must be one of the freest countries in the world because North Koreans have one of the best understanding and tolerance for one another, being of the same race, culture, language and even politics and unified by the common goal of nuclear armament.

X wrote:

Freedom is the ability to talk freely to peoples of other race, nationality and religion, to have an open mind and to want to understand others more.

By that definition, air hostesses, taxi drivers and tour guides must have more freedom than the average person since they are in the business of talking freely to people of other races, nationalities and religions.

X wrote:

Freedom is when you can joke about racial and religious stereotypes with your friends of other race and religion, and not worry about offending them.

What is so free about a freedom that can only be practiced amongst friends in private?

X wrote:

Neither is freedom the ability to carry guns around for ‘self-protection’. The fact that you have to protect yourself is already nonsense.

What X feels as nonsense is no nonsense but makes perfect sense in other countries. Americans staying in the vast countryside near wilderness can come into contact with potentially dangerous wild animals that guns help to protect against. This is one example of X’s lack of understanding of others that by his own definition is an indication of his own lack of freedom.

X wrote:

Freedom is to be able to walk around the country at peace, not having to possess weapons for self-protection, to know that a young woman can get home safely in the dead of the night, that one can place his bag at a hawker centre to chope (reserve) seats without worry of your belongings being stolen.

If freedom is judged by crime rate, then Kuwait, a low crime rate nation ought to be a very free country. Yet Kuwait is classified as an authoritarian regime by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index and “Worst of the worst” in freedom by Freedom House.

X wrote:

Criticisms also mention that Mr Lee created a stifling education system that emphasized so much on the sciences, encouraging Engineering, Medicine and Law

Not true for medicine and law. The measly numbers of doctors and lawyers trained each year by our local universities should instead show the opposite of how un-encouraged these two courses have always been.

X wrote:

… we must understand that it was only in recent history, during the past 2 decades, that Singapore was really lifted out of the third world into the first world.

Not true. Singapore’s 1965 per capita GDP (Penn World Table) already put us in Middle Income status (https://trulysingapore.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/dont-forget-to-praise-singaporean-forefathers-too/). We progressed from Middle Income to First World, not from Third World to First.

X wrote:

At the same time, we must understand that as a small population of five million, the talent pool is extremely small. The main reason we see stars continuing to rise out of countries such as US, UK and China, is that, from the onset, they have already won the statistics game. These countries have such huge populations that they can maintain an entire music industry on their own. An amateur band, for example, could probably thrive rather well locally as compared to a band of equal standards in Singapore.

Statistically, all else being equal, UK with 12 times our population should have 12 times as many bands of equal standards. The 12 times UK fan base spread over 12 times as many bands should result in no better thriving of UK bands than Singapore bands.

Japan has more than twice South Korea’s population. Going by statistics, Japan should be more than twice as successful as Korea in the music or entertainment industry. But people all over Asia are watching Korean TV dramas, not Japanese ones. Statistics is not everything.

X wrote:

Further, because we constantly see a stream of talents rise from these countries, we rarely get to see those who fail and, just like in Singapore, get their hopes dashed. Just look at American Idol’s audition periods. They could hold days of auditions seeing hundreds upon hundreds of hopefuls, yet at the end of the day, there is only one winner. If you think it is much easier to succeed in the arts overseas than in Singapore, you are probably delusional.

X earlier argued that small population means more difficult to thrive; now he says small population means easier to succeed. More difficult to thrive but easier to succeed; easier to thrive but more difficult to succeed – how much more oxymoronic can X get?

X wrote:

let’s face it – if you fail to enter, you’re probably not good enough, don’t blame the nation for the cards it was dealt with.

The last thing we want is for X to become our education minister telling our children they are not good enough. The following are examples of just how wrong naysayers like X can be:

Elvis Presley was once fired by his manager who told him “You ain’t going nowhere, son. You ought to go back to driving a truck.”

The Beatles were at first rejected by the recording company who said “we don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out”.

Ludwig van Beethoven’s teachers once felt he was hopeless at composing and would never succeed in either violin or composing.

X wrote:

However, we should not penalise Mr Lee heavily for his mistakes, for what he has done for Singapore far outweighs what he has undone with his errors. Further, he is no God, he is human too. We ought not to deify him and expect perfection of him. As much as he was a perfectionist, he could not have always made the right decisions alone, and, as he has always acknowledged, required the input of his able team.

Lee Kuan Yew’s sins cannot be atoned with glories taken from others like Dr Winsemius. If Lee was no God but human, why should he and he alone escape judgment? Not expecting perfection from Lee doesn’t mean we therefore cover up his flaws. Lee’s acknowledgement of his team was rare. His denial of false praises in the press was even rarer.

X wrote:

Mr Lee was a living, breathing human who walked amongst us and devoted his life to creating a miracle. With his passing, the world becomes a little darker, and it is up to Singaporeans to continue his legacy and do enough justice to restore his light.

Lee Kuan Yew did not create a miracle. Singapore was already one of two prosperous miracles in the British Empire’s Far East long before Lee was born. Singapore made a great leap forward after independence but the strategies came from Dr Winsemius, not Lee. Lee devoted his life to consolidating his personal fiefdom even if that meant trampling upon the lives of fellow Singaporeans. The world is no brighter with his passing because the people are none the wiser to his true colors. It is up to Singaporeans to wake up from Lee’s false legacies and restore justice to Singapore’s true heroes who suffered and sacrificed so that we may be free today.

Response to “6 reasons why LKY detractors are wrong” – Part 1

May 30, 2015

This is part 1 of the response to the 4 Apr 2015 TR Emeritus article “6 reasons why detractors of LKY are wrong” by X.

X wrote:

With the passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew … hundreds of thousands of people willing to queue for hours just to pay our respects to the founding father of Singapore.

Lee Kuan Yew is not the founding father of Singapore and can never be considered one because he never fought for our independence like George Washington or Gandhi did for their respective countries.

X wrote:

Singapore is often said to be more a dictatorship than a democracy … because there is no option to vote for, we are ultimately living under a dictator. Yet, this is really because our small population provides for a dearth of talents willing to serve Singaporeans in politics … In fact, the man himself has considered a two-party system where both parties are equal, to be ideal. However, Singapore just does not have enough people to have such a system. Big countries already have a problem finding a pool of dedicated, patriotic, intellectual and selfless talents. In a tiny island state like ours, this problem is magnified.

Many of our ministers come from the SAF or civil service. But there are so many more generals and high ranking civil servants from SAF and civil service respectively. How can X say there is a problem finding dedicated, patriotic, intellectual and selfless talents? To turn it around, is X saying those generals or high ranking civil servants who did not end up in politics are either not dedicated, not patriotic, not intellectual or are selfish? If any of those are true, how in the first place did they become generals or high ranking civil servants?

There are many small population nations like Norway and Finland that have multi-party politics so small population is a poor excuse for lack of political plurality.

Action speaks louder than words. Lee Kuan Yew clearly demonstrated his preference for a system where his own party is dominant over a two-party system. He even claimed to be able to govern much better if he could rule without elections.

X wrote:

Perhaps detractors would also argue that few dare to join the opposition party because of Mr Lee’s history of suing his opponents. Yet, if we look at the facts, the people that he did sue were attacking him on a personal basis.

Lee Kuan Yew never lost any defamation suit. That perfect record is something that is almost never found in real life. Shouldn’t X wonder if the same cases had been read in a court in US, UK or any other Western nation, would the outcome have been the same?

X wrote:

The current reigning opposition never ran into legal troubles with Mr Lee or the other Members of Parliament, simply because they do not defame others. They do their job of the opposition party by supplying alternative, constructive views, and not by supplying personal attacks as previous opponents did.

The current opposition has been stifled to such an extent that much of what they can raise in parliament has been severely curtailed.

X wrote:

Many western publications … sing praises of Mr Lee, saying that a benevolent dictator like him is hard to come by, and is actually the best form of governance a country could get.

Most Western publications that sing praises of Mr Lee often do so with stale regurgitated motherhood statements from the local press that doesn’t stand up to truth or logical reasoning.

X wrote:

At the end of the day, it matters not what form of governance we subscribe to – it is undeniable that the policies the government have put in place have indeed helped with our progress.

X must not deny that the key policies that helped us progress came from Dr Albert Winsemius, not Lee Kuan Yew. Lee Kuan Yew was devastated, shattered and hid from public view for six weeks upon our ejection from Malaysia. In the end, it was Dr Winsemius’ wisdom that we relied on, not Lee Kuan Yew’s.

X wrote:

Further, so long as there is a capable opposition standing for election, we as citizens have the power to vote them in – this is the defining point of a democracy.

But democracy requires a free press to be its guardian without which there can be no democracy, so says Winston Churchill whom Lee Kuan Yew admired. Since Singapore does not have a free press or free television, what democracy is there to speak of?

X wrote:

However, let us not oppose for the sake of opposing, but instead vote for the candidate that best represents the people.

Similarly, let us not support for the sake of supporting. Chiam See Tong’s good performance in parliament for Singaporeans and for his constituency over many years shows that the candidate that best represents the people need not necessarily be the smartest or the most decorated.

X wrote:

Mr Lee’s argument, however, was that the high salaries of private companies are keeping the talents from coming to civil service. He said that, “If this salary formula can draw out higher quality men into politics, whatever their motivations, I say, let us have them.”

We used to have cheap and good ministers whom Singaporeans complained little about. Now we have expensive and not so good ministers that Singaporeans complain a hell lot about. So it’s not necessarily true that higher salary necessarily draws out higher quality men.

X wrote:

Was he wrong? Was he really after the money? At this time, with the many reports on his frugality, I think not.

X is mistaken. It’s not necessarily true that a frugal person wouldn’t go after money. In fact, it’s possible that a person is frugal because he loves money so much that he feels pinched if he has to spend it. The same love for money that makes him frugal can also make him go after money. In the case of Lee Kuan Yew, we must never forget his eternal phrase “what’s wrong with more money?”

X wrote:

Mr Lee really was after able talents from the next generation to bring Singapore forward and continue his legacy. He was simply being pragmatic, recognising the fact that in this practical society, his people would rather enjoy a high pay in private companies than to serve in civil service with lower pay.

We know that is not true. George Yeo earned around SGD 1.4 million in 2013 (HK$ 8.8 million) working for Kerry Logistics which is about half of the SGD 2.8 million he earned as a minister in 2010 (http://www.transitioning.org/2010/02/19/worlds-richest-and-best-paid). Civil servant Tan Yong Soon could afford expensive culinary lessons in France because civil service pay is not bad.

X wrote:

Let us pause for a moment and take this for what critics call it – corruption. Compare it to the prevalent corruption in other countries – ministers accepting bribes, paying their way into power, pushing for policies that benefit those who bribe them. If our government is corrupted because of their high pay, I say at least their corruption does not crush the country.

X does the usual selective comparison that PAP loves. If Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Netherlands, Germany and so on can have uncorrupted government without crushing their countries, why can’t we? Why does people like X always compare First World Singapore to corrupted Third World ones? It reeks strongly of Third World mentality.

X wrote:

Take the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2009 for example. Singapore, being a highly trade-oriented country, was among the first and most greatly affected. With consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth from 2008 to 2009, Singapore had officially gone into recession. In the 2009 Budget, the Resilience Package was introduced. The policies were generally commended by financial experts for them being well thought out instead of knee jerk reactions, and they proved to work extremely well when Singapore was one of the first to recover from the crisis, with a GDP growth of over ten percent in 2010. If this does not prove that we have quality ministers who do their job, I don’t know what does.

It wasn’t just Singapore but Asia in general had been praised by IMF for handling the crisis well and for rebounding quickly and strongly:

In my view, the macroeconomic, financial, and corporate sector reforms put in place over the last decade have played an important role in the region’s resilience. So, despite being hit hard initially, Asia was able to bounce back quickly from the global financial crisis.

[Dominique Strauss-Kahn – Managing Director of the IMF, Opening Remarks at the Asia 21 Conference – Daejeon, Korea, 12 July 2010, “Asia and the Global Economy: Leading the Way Forward in the 21st Century”]

Malaysia has come out strongly from the world recession. Forceful counter˗cyclical policies, sound balance sheets … Malaysia’s financial sector has withstood the global recession well. Thanks to the Bank Negara Malaysia’s proactive supervision, measures to ensure uninterrupted access to financing, and prudent lending practices, loan book did not deteriorate as much as feared and started improving in the second half of 2009.

[IMF Executive Board Concludes 2010 Article IV Consultation with Malaysia, Public Information Notice (PIN) No. 10/114, 13 August 2010]

… IMF praised the Indonesian government and central bank for their response to the global financial crisis …

[IMF urges Indonesia to target inflation, Financial Times, 7 Jun 2009]

The praise that other Asian countries received for their similar sound handling of the Global Financial Crisis should instead prove that quality ministers that do their jobs can come at a fraction of what they cost in Singapore.

Call it corruption, embezzlement, greed; call it whatever you wish. This writer, however – having been brought up in a meritocratic society that is Singapore – believes that one should be rewarded for his hard work, and even more for producing quality work. If we hold the notion that civil servants should be paid and treated like what they’re called – servants – then we would hardly get good leaders in the Cabinet.

X should understand that the common man on the street that does hard, menial jobs may not be less hard working or produce less quality work than the civil servant scholar writing nonsense in the comforts of his office cubicle. X should acknowledge that it was the common people who first recognized the problem of escalating housing prices long before any MP raised the issue in parliament and long before any minister took action. No matter how good a cabinet leader is, he may not have the best ideas or the greatest wisdom which can come from the people instead. Based on X’s essay, the quality of future civil service leaders is not something to look forward to.

Don’t give thanks to Lee Kuan Yew

May 23, 2015

I refer to the 2 Apr 2015 TR Emeritus article “Give thanks to LKY, but bid PAP ‘Good Bye’” by MC First.

MC First wrote:

To me, the thing is simple. No ah gong means no today’s Singapore.

Hong Kong progressed just as well without Lee Kuan Yew but with British governors. Is MC First going to say no British governor means no today’s Hong Kong? Then we can turn things around and say without Lee Kuan Yew, we would still have today’s Singapore because a British governed Singapore would have turned out just as well.

MC First wrote:

This is something that we can never take away from him and it is a legacy he has left behind. Ah gong is like our parents, a lot of times they dish out very good advice, but we just don’t want to listen.

There is no legacy to take away from Lee Kuan Yew because the legacy of Singapore is not Lee Kuan Yew’s but that of past British governors and generations of Singaporeans past and present.

Lee Kuan Yew’s advice was always about highlighting the 10 cents of good for you leaving you to figure out for yourself the $100 of good for him and his party.

MC First wrote:

Without a single doubt, ah gong was a man of integrity.

Without a doubt, Lee Kuan Yew wasn’t a man of integrity. As an opposition MP in the 1950s, he championed for press freedom only to turn his back on it once he cemented his power. Back in 1965, he pointed to the people as the ultimate determinant of the nation’s success. Many decades down the road, he pointed to his own party as behind Singapore’s success.

MC First wrote:

He ate and breathed Singapore.

LKY consumed the soul of Singapore to such an extent that more than half are left with either no balls or no brains.

MC First wrote:

YES, he was utterly ruthless against opposing politicians. But which politician is ever benevolent?! Politics is a dirty, dirty game. For instance, even the supposed enlightened Tang Emperor Li Shi Ming. He too had to kill his own brothers in order to become the Emperor. What you and me – people on the street, should really be concerned about is whether the power taken has been used to do GOOD or do EVIL?

There is a big difference between Lee Kuan Yew and Li Shi Ming. Lee Kuan Yew continued to do evil even after he has won power whereas Li Shi Ming did not. Why did Lee Kuan Yew have to detain Dr Chia Thye Poh and Dr Lim Hock Siew for 32 years and 19 years respectively? Surely the struggle to survive had long passed after 32 years and 19 years respectively?

MC First wrote:

From kampong to metropolis in less than FIFTY years, you think this is an easy feat?

Bullshit. Lee Kuan Yew himself boasted to businessmen in Chicago that Singapore was already a metropolis back in 1968. There’s no way Singapore could have transformed from kampong to metropolis in three years. Singapore was already a metropolis or nearly so by the time Lee Kuan Yew took power.

MC First wrote:

Just go across the Causeway and take a look at JB, and you can easily tell the difference.

But that difference had already existed long before Lee Kuan Yew took power. Singapore was already much better developed than JB during colonial times as one of three Straits Settlements and as a British Crown Colony.

MC First wrote:

In a land that is surrounded all over by Muslims, we are effectively a mini-Israel, but who has ever dared to challenge our sovereignty?

Our law minister Shanmugam has made it clear that that is largely due to US military presence in the region, not due to Lee Kuan Yew.

MC First wrote:

The SINGAPORE passport today is one of the few passports that allows you to travel uninhibited to any part of the world. Ah gong’s international diplomacy is the result for this convenience.

That’s nothing to boast about. Malaysian passport is not far behind with a Visa Restrictions Index of 163 compared to Singapore’s 167 (Straits Times, “Which passports are most accepted around the world?”, 18 Apr 2014).

By comparing Singapore’s score of 167 with Malaysia’s score of 163, MC First can at most say that Lee Kuan Yew diplomacy resulted in a measly 4 extra points compared to Malaysia’s 163 points or 2.5% extra convenience only.

MC First wrote:

My dad was a taxi-driver and my mum a housewife, yet they managed to buy a flat for $8,000 so that my family could have a roof over our head. All these were made possible by ah gong and his generation of pioneers!

You look at the advertisements all over MRT trains asking people to sell their flats back to the government for retirement funds. Hopefully, MC First can see that having a roof for two, three decades only to sell the roof back to the government means no roof at the end of the day. So at the end of the day, that was what Lee Kuan Yew gave many of the pioneer generation, the illusion of a roof over their heads.

MC First wrote:

They had integrity and were SELFLESS!!

If Lee Kuan Yew had integrity, how come he never admitted to his mistake of killing Singapore’s birth rate? If he had been selfless, how come he didn’t volunteer to fight the Japanese like Lim Bo Seng did?

That’s why ah gong deserved a grand send-off.

For all those reasons, Lee Kuan Yew did not deserve a grand send off.

So, we must give credit when it is due.

If credit due must be given, then credit must be given to Dr Albert Winsemius, not to Lee Kuan Yew as it was Dr Winsemius who masterminded our industrialization, not Lee Kuan Yew.

Ah gong did his very best to shape Singapore and we must ALWAYS be grateful for that.

Lee Kuan Yew did his best to consolidate his power. Instead, it was Dr Winsemius who gave us the plan and the ideas to shape Singapore’s post independence economy. MC First must not forget that Lee Kuan Yew himself said that both he and Singapore are indebted to Dr Winsemius. Thus, MC First should listen to his Ah gong Lee Kuan Yew and be grateful to Dr Winsemius instead.

Proposal for political change

May 18, 2015

Current situation

Members of Parliament (MPs) have conflicting interests between representing their respective parties and representing the people who voted for them.

For example, in the recent Seng Kang columbarium issue, MP Lam Pin Min represented the PAP government’s position when he openly disagreed with the Seng Kang people he was supposed to represent.

Residents at the dialogue said the HDB should have been more upfront about the Chinese temple housing a columbarium …

… Dr Lam said the authorities had been upfront, noting that it was indicated in the Fernvale Lea brochure for the new flats that the temple may include a columbarium allowed under the guidelines of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). “There is really nothing to hide,” he added.

Some residents had also asked why the Chinese temple is being developed by a private company.

Dr Lam said current regulations did not restrict the type of company that can develop a place of worship and he understood from the URA and HDB that it has been done before.

[Straits Times, Upset over columbarium plans, Fernvale Lea’s future residents want a refund from HDB, 4 Jan 2015]

It’s hard to imagine Dr Lam would wholeheartedly represent his people when he didn’t even agree with them. Similarly, during the Population White Paper debate, most PAP MPs conformed to PAP’s wishes but not to the wishes of the people.

These are wrong; there is a need to decouple MPs from political parties.

Proposal

Separate the election of MPs from the election of the government.

Choosing the MP

Constituency elections will strictly be a constituency level event, not a national level event. Each constituency will have elections once every five years but different constituencies can hold elections at different times.

To qualify to be an MP for a constituency, an individual:

• Must have no affiliation to any political party

• Must be resident of that constituency

• Must not hold any full time job

Choosing the government

Every five years, there will be an electoral contest between political parties to form the government. Political parties will come up with cabinet proposals of between 10 to 15 individuals as well as their 5-year plans and total pay packages including bonuses. The entire nation will elect the party to form the government based on their 5-year plans, deliverance of past plans, strengths of individual candidates and asking prices.

The party with the highest number of votes wins the right to form the government without winning a single constituency. This will give no reason for the governing party to give advantage to one constituency while disadvantaging another constituency. At the same time, there is no diminishing of legitimacy as the ruling party has been elected by the entire country.

Relationship between government and MPs

The Government will propose bills to MPs in parliament for their approval. 2/3 of MPs’ votes are required for bill to be approved. An MP absent from parliament will automatically count towards a “no” vote. (MPs who clock less than 80% attendance in parliament in the preceding year of full year service as MP will have his MP title revoked and re-election must be held within reasonable time as decided by the election committee).

President, election and CPIB committees

• The elections department and CPIB will be transferred out from the prime minister’s office to the president’s office to avoid potential conflict of interests.

• The meaningless ceremonial reporting of prime minister to president and the equally meaningless need for the president to adhere to advice from the prime minister will be abolished. The president will make his own decision on matters concerning elections and CPIB only. Use of past reserves will be approved by MPs in parliament.

• The president must not have any past affiliation with any political party.

• The president will appoint up to five MPs to watch over and keep tabs on each and every ministry so that when the government presents bills pertaining to any ministry, there will be about five MPs sufficiently well versed and given full access to ministry information to appraise government matters raised. Sensitive ministries like Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Foreign Affairs may be partially exempted.

• The judiciary will come under the president’s office and all judges will be appointed by the president independent of the prime minister.

Election committee

• All constituencies will be fixed in accordance to the current postal districts

• On average, every 25,000 voters will have one MP representing them. The current 2 million voters will have a total of 80 MPs on average. Final discretion on number of MPs for each constituency will lie with the election committee.

• Districts with less than 12,500 voters can be merged with a neighboring district as decided by the election committee.

• Districts with two or more MPs can have one MP designated as minority MP as decided by the election committee. In a district designated with minority MP, one MP position will be given to the best performing minority candidate.

Others

Referendums

• The government of the day must carry out a nationwide referendum on any matter deemed necessary by 1/3 of MPs.

Constitution

• As a starting point, all laws must not contradict the constitution. Any laws that contradict the constitution must require a referendum to pass.

Newspapers and media

• Lee Kuan Yew’s newspapers act of 1974 will be abolished. The independence of newspapers and the media and the freedom to set up newspapers and other media will be enshrined in the constitution. The constitution of media freedom will be above the authority of any ministry, government department or the prime minister himself.

• Media freedom will still be subjected to the rule of law and judicial discipline.

Defamation laws

• Onus of proof of defamation will lie with the complainant

Citizenship rules

• A minimum of 5 and 10 years of continuous residency are required for the granting of PR and citizenship respectively. Only sportsmen and sportswomen may be exempted from this ruling subject to the approval of the president.

• Granting of citizenship must be approved by at least 2/3 of MPs in regular meetings outside of parliament sessions. Details of all such citizenship grants must be posted regularly on the government website.

Advantages of new system

• Better separation of powers

• Less grid lock than traditional two party system as MPs do not belong to confronting parties opposed to each other but are independent individuals representing the broad spectrum of the population across all constituencies

• MPs are independent of political parties, answerable only to the people who voted for them and are not encumbered by party agenda.


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