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.


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.



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


• 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.

Cynical Investor admits to being a lot less economically literate than retired GIC economist

May 4, 2015

I refer to the 11 Apr 2015 TRE article “TRE discovers retired GIC economist” by Cynical Investor.

Cynical Investor wrote:

Hopefully TRE readers start reading Yeoh Lam Keong’s pieces because he is a lot more economic literate than most of their heroes: people like Roy Ngerng, Philip Ang, Ng Kok Lim and Uncle RedBean.

TRE publishes a fair share of CI’s articles too. If CI feels that TRE readers aren’t getting sufficient dosage of economic literacy from Roy, Philip, Ng and RedBean and so recommends Yeoh’s pieces instead, then surely he must also feel that TRE readers are also not getting sufficient economic literacy from CI himself despite numerous of CI’s pieces on TRE. Wouldn’t CI, in effect, be saying that his economic literacy is also a lot less than that of Yeoh’s?

Cynical Investor wrote:

Yeoh Lam Keong’s criticisms of govt policies are founded on facts and proven (or at least academically accepted) economic models , not BS or hot air …

Isn’t CI engaging in BS and hot air when he disparaged Roy, Philip, Ng and Redbean without substantiating what he said? What does a BS and hot air like CI know about facts or economic models?

Cynical Investor wrote:

Interesting while TRE is getting less and less the place where anti-PAP cybernuts gather, TOC (never a place of the anti-PAP cybernuts: in fact TOC made it respectable and fashionable to criticise the PAP administration online, showing that it could be done in a professional manner) is becoming the Hammer on-line.

But TRE is also where CI gathers, for how could he not if he is to know that TRE is a gathering place for anti-PAP cybernuts? Why does CI insist on gathering with fellow cybernuts at TRE if he isn’t a cybernut himself?

How could it be that TOC made it respectable and fashionable to criticize PAP when it is TRE that has much higher readership?

Just by looking at CI’s own blog makes you wonder where he finds the cheek to comment about what is professional and what is not.

CI is the undisputed No. 1 shameless cybernut.

Cynical Investor is Cynical Rat

May 4, 2015

I refer to the 30 Apr 2015 article “Bukit Batok, PAP or TRE rats in space?” by Cynical Investor.

Cynical Investor wrote:

The team hoping to send a Singaporean to space has completed a groundbreaking experiment – after three rats sent to space returned to Earth alive.

The experiment, conducted in Hyderabad, India, saw the rats contained in a prototype capsule designed to reach an altitude of 32km. Pressure was kept constant, and the temperature was a comfortable 28 degrees Celsius. The rats returned to land in “very good condition” (CNA a few months back)

Hmm wonder if Ng Kok Lim was one of these rats?

CI is good for nothing except making cheap pot shots without substantiation, without substance.

Cynical Investor wrote:

For those who don’t yet know, Ng Kok Lim cannot help but misrepresent me.

No one misrepresented CI. Ng Kok Lim’s representation of CI was truthful. It is CI who has shamelessly denied what he wrote.

Cynical Investor wrote:

In his second latest BS on TRE he claimed I sympathised with Amos Yee, quoting me out of context, and saying I too didn’t help Amos. He conveniently left out the link I put in the article he selective choses quotes from: that he should be caned. Err that sympathy? But then that point disturbs the narrative of the misrepresentation,

The BS is CI’s. Ng Kok Lim did not quote CI out of context but exactly within context. Ng Kok Lim had no need to conveniently leave out CI’s link because CI’s link did not contradict the fact that CI had indeed expressed sympathy for Amos. CI cannot adopt the twisted logic that as long as he had expressed some disapproval for Amos, he can then sprinkle in some good words or words of sympathy for Amos without being considered to have expressed good words or words of sympathy for Amos. He cannot have the twisted logic that negative comments combined with positive ones means the positive comments aren’t positive. He cannot shamelessly condemn others for speaking up but not taking action when he himself was guilty of the same thing.

Cynical Investor wrote:

In his latest piece, he shows that he read a lot of my pieces, yet quotes and misrepresents me, Chin Peng and the Plen extensively. (He makes Roy look like a paragon of truth on CPF when it’s a fact that Roy admitted that he lied about PM stealing our CPF*. M Ravi had a problem explaining to the court hearing the case why this admission shouldn’t be taken into account by the judge.)

CI could only claim but cannot prove that Ng Kok Lim had misrepresented him, Chin Peng or the Plen and shamelessly deny what he wrote in his own blog. If his own words from his blog don’t count, then what credibility does his blog have?

Ng Kok Lim quoted exact phrases of Chin Peng’s and the Plen’s respective denial of Leftist relation with the CPM and relation between the struggle in Singapore and the insurgency in Malaya. CI had chosen the biographies of these two gentlemen to base his arguments yet could not provide any similar phrase by them saying the opposite. Where does CI find the cheek to accuse Ng Kok Lim of misrepresenting Chin Peng or the Plen when he himself could draw no bullets from either gentleman?

CI should look himself in the mirror before making cheap potshots at others. Nobody can beat him in shamelessness.

Cynical Investor wrote:

Yet Ng cannot point to anything I wrote over the years that called certain leftists “communists” as he alleged when he screamed: CI is making the same unqualified smearing of the Lefitsts by the PAP by labeling them as communists like those in Cuba and so on. Where is CI’s proof that the leftists were actually communists?

But Ng Kok Lim has already returned the ball back to CI’s court by pointing to CI’s referral to the Leftists as those in Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Red China who would imprison, exile or kill opponents and intellectuals to only mean the communists and nobody else. If CI has no answer to that, it means Ng Kok Lim was right and CI had indeed referred to the Leftists as communists.

Cynical Investor wrote:

I ask him again: Where did I ever call the Coldstore detainees “communists”?
Ng may have wished I called some leftists “communists”, but where’s the proof?

Ng Kok Lim answers one more time: CI did indeed call the Coldstore detainees communists when he referred to them as those in Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Red China who would imprison, exile or kill opponents and intellectuals.

Ng Kok Lim has no need to wish that CI had called the leftists communists. The proof that CI indeed called the leftists communist can be found in CI’s referral to them as those in Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Red China who would imprison, exile or kill opponents and intellectuals.

Time and again, CI’s defense never included any explanation about who those in Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Red China who would imprison, exile or kill opponents and intellectuals were.

His silence despite being asked point blank who those in Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Red China who would imprison, exile or kill opponents and intellectuals were tells us that he has no answer other than the one that would give his game away.

TRE readers are given truth and facts. No one misrepresented CI

May 1, 2015

I refer to the 25 Apr 2015 TR Emeritus article “TRE commentators seek truth from facts! (Don’t misrepresent me)”

No one misrepresented CI. Instead, it is CI who has shamelessly denied what he said.

CI wrote:

“This is what Ng wrote: CI is making the same unqualified smearing of the Leftists by the PAP by labeling them as communists like those in Cuba and so on. Where is CI’s proof that the leftists were actually communists?)
Where did I call our leftists “communists” in
Ng may have wished I called our leftists “communists”, but where’s the proof?”

What CI actually wrote earlier was:

(Which brings me to the tot that if the leftists had won, would they be so magnanimous to Lee Kuan Yew and gang? For a start, LKY and gang and many others may not have been allowed to grow old and bitter. Think Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Red China, and I think you will get the drift of what I’m thinking: opponents and intellectuals not sympathetic to the leftists cause were, imprisoned, exiled or killed.
Much good it would do the PM and his PAP administration that these leftists benefit from their policies.

Thus, CI had referred to the Leftists as those in Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Red China who would imprison, exile or kill opponents and intellectuals. The question you have to ask CI is who were those in Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Red China who collectively imprisoned, exiled or killed opponents and intellectuals? The answer to the question is the answer to what CI had referred to, namely the communists. Since there can be no other answer other than the communists who were in Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Red China who would imprison, exile or kill opponents and intellectuals, it is therefore undeniable that CI had in fact referred to the leftists as the communists.

Thus, no one had misrepresented CI, it is CI himself who had strung together a list of communist countries and equated the leftists to those in these communist countries. There is no need to wish that CI had called leftists communists. The evidence that CI had referred to the leftists as communists can easily be found in his own writings.

CI wrote:

I would ask Chris K, Ng Kok Lim and others who believe the self-serving rubbish of the Coldstore detainees that they were a bunch of social democrat peaceniks with flowers in their hair) to go have a word with students (now in their 60s and 70s) of Chinese High, Chung Ching etc about their time in school. In their clandestine cell groups, did they study the works of leading European and British social democrats or socialists? Nope they would tell you that they studied the works of Mao.

Ask them about the cell leaders who led the discussions. Were they steeped in the tots of the ang moh social democrats or socialists? Nope they were acolytes of Mao, steeped in the doctrines Chinese communism.

Coldstore detainees fought and sacrificed for Singapore’s independence. How could they have been any more self-serving or rubbish than CI?

CI once recommended a book called “Singapore a Biography”. The book contains an example of what CI’s so-called Chung Cheng High student did at that time:

I write essays, poetry … critical political essays and so on attacking the government. Sometimes I will continue to write for three days and three nights, only in between I will have a little nap for 20 minutes, half and hour … because at that time everything moves so fast.

Chin recalled girls who would come over to his place and sometimes stay on after ‘a meeting or a study group’ … There was also the ‘student cells’ made up of five comrades who would swim, go to the cinema and do just about everything together, building up their ‘collectiveness’ in preparation for their call to revolutionary action. Not least, there were the famous student picnics, involving games, songs and an ‘interesting programme’ to ‘eventually get some messages across: anti-government or anti-British, to praise [the] socialist system and things like that’ …

[Singapore a Biography, Mark R, Frost and Yu-Mei Balasinghamchow, page 376]

Writing essays and poetry, swimming, going to the cinema, having picnics, games and songs – are these what CI wants us to know about these students? Even if these students weren’t peaceniks with flowers in their hair, surely they can’t be likened to those in Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Red China who would imprison, exile or kill opponents and intellectuals?

It was written in the same book:

Now I would say this, during the 1950s and 1960s, the entire struggle, we have to clearly define what is ‘Left’ and what is really communist activities. There are not really that many communists, okay? … But in terms of method of struggle, this is what the communists think: they would use the Left as a front. And the Left is actually leading the struggle in the anti-British movement or anti-whatever the system not to their favour.

[Singapore a Biography, Mark R, Frost and Yu-Mei Balasinghamchow, page 377]

Not that many communists, okay CI? Not that many of those in Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Red China who would imprison, exile or kill opponents and intellectuals ok?

It was written in the same book:

… Chinese student Han Tan Jian, who like Chin studied at Chung Cheng High School, where his after-school activities consisted of lessons in Chinese history and Marxist dialectics organized by Lim and Fong’s Chinese Middle School Students’ Union. Han frankly admitted that in the late 1950s he and his fellow students wanted to build a ‘socialist Singapore/Malaya’ on the ‘Chinese model’. But as he looked at the broader situation beyond the Chinese schools, such doctrinal certainty began to dissolve:

Malaya and Singapore could not establish a new country using the Chinese model. Although the communists could lead, […] even if they had the power to lead, they could not make Marxism the national ideology. There was the Malay issue. It was unimaginable that most Malays would, one day, give up being Muslim, convert to Marxism and give up on their Allah.

[Singapore a Biography, Mark R, Frost and Yu-Mei Balasinghamchow, page 377]

So contrary to what CI claimed, the students studied Chinese history and Marxism in general, not just Maoism. The students had also come to the realization that communism wouldn’t work and that they weren’t going to be one of those in Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Red China who would imprison, exile or kill opponents and intellectuals, ok CI?

It was written in the same book:

Apparently, Changi Prison during the late 1950s witnessed a similar realization take root amongst the PAP detainees. As Devan Nair recalled:

While we were in prison, the debate began. Where should we be heading? To a Chinese Communist Malaya, or to a multiracial, Democratic Socialist Malaya? What should be the meaning of Malayan nationalism?

We carried on the debate in prison. And the people who were supporting my stand, vigorously, were James Puthucheary and Sandra Woodhull. I persuaded Fong Swee Suan. And he agreed!

According to Fong’s more recent interview, though Lim Chin Siong was for some time detained separately, when he and Fong eventually debated the same issue Lim also agreed: a democratic, multiracial Malaya was the only way forward. It seems that as young revolutionaries got older they also got wiser.

These recollections give us the impression that in the late 1950s radical, anti-colonial leftists were still experimenting, still weighing the options – in fact, not so much ‘pro-communist’ but rather, as Lim described himself, ‘not [yet] anti-communist’.

[Singapore a Biography, Mark R, Frost and Yu-Mei Balasinghamchow, page 377]

Thus, even the Leftist leaders have also decided they weren’t going to be one of those in Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Red China who would imprison, exile or kill opponents and intellectuals, ok CI? All from the book you recommended, ok CI?

CI wrote:

Finally Chris K and fellow believers in the peaceful nature of the leftists’ movement here who fought the British and LKY should read the memoirs of the Plen and Chin Peng.

The book that CI recommended had already dissociated the leftists from the communists. In his memoirs, Chin Peng also drew the line between Singapore’s Leftists and his own revolutionary CPM which operated mainly in Malaya:

But neither Dr Lee Siew Chor … nor, I understand it, other prominent opposition figures like the Puthucheary brothers – James and Dominic – had ever been CPM members.

[Chin Peng: My Side of History, page 438]

In another book, Chin Peng referred to the Leftists as “them”, not “us”.

… Lee Kuan Yew seized the opportunity to have the Barisan Socialis leaders arrested in Operation Cold Store (February 1963), branding opponents of Malaya as pro-Indonesian. This harmed them badly at a time …

[Dialogues with Chin Peng: New Light on the Malayan Communist Party, C. C. Chin and Karl Hack, page 320]

Fong Chong Pik (Plen) too had denied that his work in Singapore had anything much to do with the revolution in Malaya:

I still need to declare that in Mr. Lee’s broadcast, the words “… wanted to help to bring about the Communist revolution in Malaya” were definitely not mine. Mr. Lee should admit that the person who spoke to him was not an idiot. Why should I say such a stupid thing? After all, the entire struggle at the time was far from being linked up with any “Communist revolution in Malaya”.

[Fong Chong Pik: The Memoirs of a Malayan Communist Revolutionary, page 137]

Thus, both memoirs of Fong Chong Pik and Chin Peng that CI wanted us to read contain the evidence to show that CI had been wrong. Neither gentleman associated Singapore’s Leftist movement with the armed revolution in Malaya. Stripped of any real association with the armed revolution in Malaya, there is no reason to consider Singapore Leftists as anything but peaceful.

CI wrote:

But at the very least they should read
This blogger is anti-LKY (like Chris K and Ng), yet his view of the students chimes with LKY’s views of the students.

Not true, the blogger described the students in terms of song and dance whereas LKY tended to regard the students as militant. Whatever the case, the blogger certainly did not portray the students to be like those in Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Red China who would imprison, exile or kill opponents and intellectuals.

CI wrote:

Then come talk to me.

Who would want to talk to a shallow creature like CI?

CI wrote:

The very serious point I’m trying to make that LKY’s and PAP’s self-serving narrative of our history, is not all rubbish. Like all good propaganda, it has elements of the truth. In the 1950s and early 1960s
— the Malayan Communist Party and China used the leftist movement here for their own ends;
— the students and other Chinese-educated leftists here were highly influenced by the writings of one Mao.

That’s CI bullshit. Many books say it is the other way around – that the leftists were fighting for their own destiny even if their anti-colonial stance were aligned with those of the communists. The leftists being influenced by the writings of Mao didn’t mean they were employing Mao’s tactics of guerilla warfare. They were openly defying the government with strikes and demonstrations.

CI wrote:

But I’m sure Ng Kok Lim doesn’t “Gather truth from facts”.

CI was sure darn wrong. It is the other way around instead; it is CI who doesn’t gather truth from facts while Ng Kok Lim always does.

CI wrote:

He didn’t read what I wrote: I never called the Coldstore detainees “communists”. Or he decided to misrepresent me?

CI conveniently forgot about other occasions where he did refer to Coldstore detainees as “communists”.

Why make things complicated by KPKBing that the Barisan Sosialis detainees were not communists … But unless one doubts the memois of the “Plen” and Chin Peng , the party’s formation was part of the plan to by the communists to seize power.

[CI’s blog, Ex-Barisan gang and friends missing the point, 26 Dec 2014]

My conclusion? The SDP is the kingmaker of the Opposition. Remember how the Communists destroyed David Marshall and the WP in the early 60s? They told their supporters not to vote for the WP.

[CI’s blog, Who is the Opposition Kingmaker? 23 Sept 2011]

After all his dad, who speaks several languages, has shown that he can multi-task: merger with Malaya, economic dev and “fixing” the communists and British.

[CI’s blog, Why can’t our PM multi-task? 24 Oct 2010]

Thus, no one is misrepresenting CI. It is CI who is shamelessly and ballslessly denying what he said.

CI wrote:

Taz the quality of Ng Kok Lim: either not bothering to read what I wrote or trying to make me say what he wanted me to say, despite me not writing it, by accusing me of writing something I never wrote.

The quality of Ng Kok Lim is such that he can easily defeat CI anytime, all the time. CI’s claim that I did not bother to read what he wrote is falsehood, as I produced substantial evidence from his website to prove him wrong. CI’s claim that I was trying to make him say what I wanted him to say is ridiculous. There’s no need to try to make him say what I want him to say when anything he said can so easily be used against him.

CI’s accusation that I accused him of writing something that he never wrote is also falsehood. CI indeed referred to the Leftists as those in Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Red China who would imprison, exile or kill opponents and intellectuals. Even if CI would choose to be dishonest with himself, his invitation for readers to get his drift would put the onus on us to ask who those in Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Red China were who would imprison, exile or kill opponents and intellectuals. If not the communists, then who? In the absence of any other sensible candidate other than the communists in Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Red China who would imprison, exile or kill opponents and intellectuals, CI cannot deny that he was actually referring to the communists.

For all his explanations, CI couldn’t even provide a reasonable explanation as to who those in Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Red China were who would imprison, exile or kill opponents and intellectuals. What CI doesn’t say or couldn’t say says a lot about what he actually said.

That’s the quality of CI, falsehoods upon falsehoods without the slightest shame.

Double standard talk is even cheaper

April 28, 2015

I refer to the 24 April 2015 TR Emeritus article “Amos: Talk is cheap, very cheap” by Cynical Investor.

CI wrote:

And jeers and sneers for those who claim to support, sympathise Amos Yee but who stood aside.

Didn’t CI similarly stand aside and did nothing? Why doesn’t CI similarly jeer and sneer at himself for whatever sympathies he has expressed for Amos?

This is what CI wrote:

… I hope the AGC drops the charges in return. Let’s remember, he has spent four nights in jail.

Or would CI indulge in the double standard of classifying what others say about Amos as sympathy and what he said about Amos as not sympathy?

CI wrote:

The absence of the anti-PAP cybernuts who pollute the comments section of TRE is not surprising.

There have been quite a number of TRE posts in favor of Amos so far, why does CI insist anti-PAP folks are absent? Or CI has decided that all TRE posts in favor of Amos so far are by non-anti-PAP people? Looks like it is CI himself who is the cybernut polluting cyberspace instead.

CI wrote:

But where were the ang moh tua kee human rights activists like Kirsten Han (she wrote an eloquent, sympathetic piece on him in Yahoo) and the lady who so eloquently blogged on Amos? They left him to rot in jail, while they eloquently proclaimed his right (duty?) to slime one Harry Lee Kuan Yew, and hurt the feelings of 20-odd S’poreans? Seems, he’s a flag or mascot, not a human being to these ang moh tua kees.
My serious point is that these ang moh tua kee “activists” cannot be taken seriously. They are not prepared to walk the walk, just talk the walk.

If people like Kirsten Han are ang moh tua kee, then what is CI? Ang moh suay kee?

Didn’t CI also leave Amos to rot in jail? Isn’t CI similarly just talking only and not walking?

What right has CI to complain about others just talking and not walking when he himself is guilty of the same thing? Where does CI even find the cheek to do so?

Compare the blog that CI quoted:

And now, the boy is spending the weekend in prison. Police handcuffed him when they led him out of court. He is to be tried as an adult.

Twenty-one Singaporeans can congratulate themselves for defending the nation against a 16-year-old. For safeguarding the boundaries. For being offended enough, concerned enough, patriotic enough to set the police on a child.

with what CI wrote:

Me? I think it’s wrong that he is charged under the Protection from Harassment Act. He should not be charged under any law for his bad, loitish but non-violent behaviour.

Society’s anger at its rules being broken should be allowed to manifest itself without affecting the boy’s future too much.

Both expressed sympathy, injustice, whatever you call it for the boy. Both spoke for the boy. Yet, CI has the cheek to pour scorn at others for talking without walking when he himself is guilty of the same thing. How does CI expect to win arguments on the basis of double standards?

CI wrote:

LKY needs no monument. So long as these people are around, Harry will be remembered. He had contempt for them, and rightly so.

The people that LKY supposedly had contempt for included CI himself because CI is guilty of the same contemptuous act he complained about.

CI wrote:

I hope Amos Yee will reflect on the kind of supporters he has. With friends like cybernuts and ang moh tua kee “activists”, he doesn’t need enemies.

CI may wish to add himself to the list of friends that Amos doesn’t need. Or would CI employ the double standard of labeling others who spoke for Amos as friends Amos doesn’t need but not himself?

Or would CI simply deny that he expressed sympathy for Amos? That unfortunately is not up to CI to decide. If CI can label what others say as expression of sympathy for Amos, then CI cannot deny others of the right to similarly label what he said as expression of sympathy too for Amos. So if others’ expression of sympathy leads to them being condemned by CI, then CI’s expression of sympathy should also lead to him being condemned by others.

Rebut TR Emeritus article “Another perspective on that Amos kid”

April 28, 2015

I refer to the 25 April 2015 TR Emeritus article “Another perspective on that Amos kid” by demonaut.

Demonaut wrote:

Almost immediately after the death of LKY, a mischievous 16-yr old kid made a video broadcast in which he spurted vulgarities at the current PM, insulted LKY and Jesus Christ and their followers.

Amos didn’t come across as being mischievous but passionate and truthful about what he feels strongly about.

Demonaut wrote:

The villain in this case is so obvious. Those who speak out in defence of the kid should ask themselves this: Would they allow a kid to go online in a video to insult they fathers or grandfathers with vulgarities?

Not so obvious. Demonaut has already condemned Amos to three villainies, two of which are not valid. While it is not courteous to spurt vulgarities, neither is it a crime to do so. While it may not please everyone that he insulted LKY, insulting LKY is similarly not a crime.

Demonaut should find comfort in the knowledge that the only father or grandfather that Amos insulted was that of LKY’s family. No matter how Demonaut chooses to think, LKY was neither the father nor grandfather of any Singaporean other than LKY’s family itself.

Demonaut wrote:

Anti-establishment, anti-govt and pro-Oppositions miscreants are blinded by hatreds so much so that they ‘heil’ the kid as their Hitler.

One wonders where Demonaut finds the cheek to insult three groups at one go as miscreants while complaining at the same time about Amos’ insult on LKY. What moral high ground does Demonaut see in arguing his case based on double standards?

Demonaut doesn’t realize that it is people like him who is being seen as heiling LKY as Hitler.

Demonaut wrote:

Now three lawyers have come forward to defend him pro bono. They base this on a noble proclamation of their profession. Who are they trying to fool? How many have they defended pro bono before? How many more after this? With legal fees being so high, every one in trouble with the law would wish to have lawyers who would defend them for free.

Demonaut has no basis to question the intentions of the lawyers defending Amos. Going by Demonaut’s logic, anyone who offers help for the first time must necessarily be insincere. That’s besides the fact that we don’t really know how many pro bono or unofficial legal advice these lawyers have already given.

Demonaut wrote:

A group has written to an outside organization for protection of the kid. A petition has been put up to garner support in defence of the kid. Who are behind these? The list reads like a Who’s Who of political pariahs.

There Demonaut goes again, effortlessly insulting others while finding fault with Amos’ insult on LKY.

Demonaut wrote:

Anti-establishment, anti-govt and pro-Oppositions activities are nothing new, especially online. But this time they have taken on a new vigor. Why? It is their first organized challenge to the govt after the death by LKY.

Demonaut deems it fit to demonize Amos’ rants but doesn’t seem to see the ridiculousness of his own rants. On what ridiculous basis does he say that Amos or others are out to challenge the government after LKY’s death? If there is real challenge, where are the protests? Where are the people at Hong Lim Park?

Demonaut wrote:

They are testing the strength of the “leadership without LKY”, just like the group of Marxist conspirators testing the strength of the new generational leadership in 1987. Perhaps, as in 1987, they are also being backed by a foreign power who has promised them political asylums should they fail.

Demonaut is even more ridiculous here. The keyword in the so-called 1987 Marxist conspiracy is the word ‘Marxist’. Where is the Marxism in the current case? If Marxism is involved, how come the petition went to the Catholic Church and not to Russia or China? The Singapore government is already doing roaring business with Marxist China and many Chinese Marxists are already in our midst.

Demonaut wrote:

If no action is taken, the situation will not just peter out. This time round, these miscreants are not just protesting for small gain. They are going for the whole hog. They want to create chaos, bring down law-and-order. They want to bring the govt down, unconstitutionally. They know they can’t win through the constitutional process.

The right response from the govt should be a show of strength. Identify and round-up all the instigators and hold them without trial. Investigate them thoroughly.

Demonaut should be careful about what he asks for. The time may come when the tide turns and the power which he goats the government to use on his fellow countrymen may end up being used on him or his children instead.

Demonaut wrote:

Do it for LKY. Do it for those who shed tears for LKY in the rain.

Those who shed tears for LKY were fooled for 50 years. So fooled to their bones they will never believe the truth even if shown the facts and figures.

South China Morning Post – Lee Kuan Yew is not Singapore’s founding father

April 23, 2015

I refer to the 23 Mar 2015 SCMP report “Singapore mourns as founding father Lee Kuan Yew dies at 91”.

Lee Kuan Yew is not Singapore’s founding father because he never once fought for our independence. When Lee merged Singapore into Malaysia in 1963, he exchanged British sovereignty for Malaysian sovereignty without any improvement to our independence. When Singapore was kicked out of Malaysia, Lee was crying, he didn’t even want independence. How can someone who didn’t fight for our independence, didn’t even want us to be independent and was crying instead of rejoicing when we became independent be called our founding father? Wouldn’t that make a mockery of what founding means?

Worst of all, Lee worked for the Japanese when Japan conquered Singapore while others fought and died defending Singapore. To honor Lee Kuan Yew is to tell young Singaporeans that next time the enemy comes knocking; their priority would be to save themselves and not defend Singapore even if it means working for the enemy because that is what the nation of Singapore honors.

SCMP wrote:

Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew died early on Monday morning after more than a month in hospital, leaving a legacy of an unlikely country he steered to independence in 1965 and transformed into a global city within one generation.

Lee Kuan Yew was not Singapore’s founding prime minister for Singapore had no prime minister at the point of our founding in 1819. It was only 140 years later in 1959 that Singapore had a prime minister.

Singapore was far from being an unlikely country. We had been prospering for nearly 140 years before Lee Kuan Yew took charge. We had all the trappings of a nation – British law and governance, excellent civil service, free trade and enterprise, schools, hospitals, police force, roads, buildings, excellent port and even public housing. We were in many aspects already a country except in name.

Lee Kuan Yew not so much steered Singapore to independence in 1965 than got kicked out of Malaysia instead.

In Lee Kuan Yew’s own words, Singapore was already a metropolis back in 1968. So Lee didn’t transform us in one generation. Instead, when Lee inherited Singapore, Singapore was already quite well transformed. We were already the 5th most important port in the world in the 1930s, the most important communications centre in the Far East in the 1950s, the third richest in Asia in per capita GDP in 1960 and the city with the most number of cars per capita at that time.

SCMP wrote:

A statement from the office of the current Prime Minister, his son Lee Hsien Loong, said, “The Prime Minister is deeply grieved to announce the passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, the founding Prime Minister of Singapore.

PM Lee was wrong to elevate his father to founding status because his father never did anything that qualified him as founder or founding father.

SCMP quoted Kerry Group controlling shareholder, Robert Kuok saying:

“Lee Kuan Yew was a giant of a man. His mind, sharp as a fine blade, was focused on pursuing his wish of establishing a just, fair and decent society. And no-one, whether friend or foe, can deny that he achieved this.

Lee’s purported gigantism stemmed from the unjustified piling of the good work others onto himself. How can Mr Kuok say with all his conscience that Singapore is a fair and just society when we have Dr Chia Thye Poh and Dr Lim Siew Hock detained for 32 and 19 years respectively without trial? How can he say Singapore is a fair society when our GINI index has always been the top three amongst First World nations for the past 30 years?

SCMP wrote:

“He pursued his aim with great determination, never giving in to the many set-backs and disappointments, with all this taking a heavy toll on his health …’’

Not true. When Singapore was kicked out of Malaysia, Lee Kuan Yew cried countless number of times and ended up convalescing for 6 weeks at Changi chalet. Not just that, when Barisan and PAP split in 1961, Lee was also staring at the ceiling as though staring at defeat.

When Lee Kuan Yew got back to Singapore, he invited the members of the Convention to attend his press conference. He was crying. I don’t understand him at all. On one hand, he worked so hard for merger. Having gotten the cupful, he shattered it. And then cried over it. He held two successive press conferences, and in which both he cried. On the third morning I went to work, and saw the press boys again. I asked Lee Wei Ching, his press secretary, “Why are they hanging around here?” Another press conference! I told Lee Wei Ching, “You ought to tell the Prime Minister to go to Changi and take a rest. Call the press conference off! Another crying bout, and the people of Singapore will think the government is on its knees. So he went to Changi, staying at the government bungalow for six weeks. There was a big time gap … between our last parliamentary meeting and the next meeting. More than five months. One would have thought with such a big event, Parliament should be immediately summoned and the announcement made to Parliament. The opposition came at me. Why is there no Parliament sitting? So I had to hold the fort. I was not appointed to act for him while he was away. When he went off to Changi, Parliament did not meet. So Singapore had a Parliament in suspended animation. Keng Swee and Lim Kim San saw me and asked me what was the constitutional position. Has he recovered? What if he does not recover? So what happens? I said I thought he was getting better, although I could not see him and telephone calls were not put through.

[Excerpt of an interview with Dr Toh Chin Chye, published in ‘Leaders of Singapore’ by Melanie Chew, 1996]

During the Big Split … Dr Goh Keng Swee … recalled Dr Toh Chin Chye visiting him in his Fullerton Building office in 1961, after seeing Mr Lee, saying: ‘I have just come from Harry’s office. He was staring at the ceiling just like you did. You should snap out of this mood. The fighting has just begun. It is going to be long and nasty. But if we keep wringing our hands in anguish, we are sure to lose.

[Straits Times, What if there had been no Toh Chin Chye?, 4 Feb 2012]

SCMP wrote:

In his 31 years as premier, Lee was indisputably a transformative leader. He dealt decisively with leftists and communalists, those who pursued race-based politics to divide society. He led Singapore to an ill-fated merger with Malaysia in 1963. When it was evicted from the Malaysian federation in 1965, he found himself in charge of a city state that suddenly had independence thrust upon it.

Lee wasn’t so much a transformative leader than a leader at a time of transformation. Lee’s so-called decisive dealing of the leftists was nothing more than the continuation of tactics first devised by the British and then used by the Lim Yew Hock government. Singapore ended up being transformed for the worse, not for the better with outstanding talents of that era like Lim Chin Siong, Dr Lim Siew Hock and Dr Chia Thye Poh ruthlessly and unjustly robbed of their rightful place in Singapore history.

Lee’s so-called decisive dealing of the communalists or raced-based politics was hypocritical for his own colleagues Dr Toh Chin Chye and Mr Lim Kim San admitted that it was Lee himself who contributed to racial tensions.

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]

SCMP quoted Lee Kuan Yew saying:

In his memoirs, The Singapore Story, Lee said if he had not done these things, Singapore would have been a “grosser, ruder, cruder society” and it was to ensure it became a cultivated, civilised society in the shortest possible time. “First, we educated and exhorted our people. After we had persuaded and won over a majority, we legislated to punish the wilful minority. It has made Singapore a more pleasant place to live in. If this is a ‘nanny state’, I am proud to have fostered one,” he wrote.

Lee himself had demeaned Singaporeans as animals with spurs not stuck deep enough into our hides. So Lee has created a society where he alone can be gross and rude. Why should Singaporeans share in Lee’s hypocritical pride?

SCMP wrote:

Lee and his colleagues led a country comprising many first- or second-generation immigrants or their offspring, one that was poor, with inadequate sanitation and woeful living conditions for the most part …

That’s unfair generalization. There were those whose living conditions were poor and those whose living conditions were better. Lee Kuan Yew belonged to the latter group as did many later generation Singaporeans and their offspring.

SCMP wrote:

… the People’s Action Party has remained in power for a continuous 56 years, the longest record for any party currently in power.

Not true. The Workers’ Party of Korea has been in power for longer – 66 years since 1949. The similarity between PAP and WPK cannot be more obvious.

SCMP quoted Henry Kissinger saying:

… Lee Kuan Yew … took a seaport which had lost its original purpose and transformed it into one of the most significant creative efforts of his period… Since Singapore lacks natural resources, he accomplished all this by relying on the scope of his vision and the quality and determination of his people.”

How could Singapore have become the most important communications centre in the Far East in the 1950s if our seaport had lost its original purpose?

Singapore was the most important communications centre in the Far East, not just for shipping but a focal point for airlines, telecommunications and mail distribution at the beginning of the 1950s.

[The Economic Growth of Singapore: Trade and Development in the Twentieth Century, W. G. Huff, pages 31-33]

Furthermore, our seaport was transformed under the wisdom of Dr Winsemius:

“So being in Singapore, I think at that time Dr Goh was once more Minister for Finance or in his capacity of Deputy Prime Minister and indeed I thought I need a pusher; I need really a pusher. So I went to Dr Goh, said ‘Look here, that are my figures on the North Atlantic container-run. And it is going to happen here. I can guarantee you that. I can’t get them moving. And the World Bank is against it. They consider it too early. There is only one way, with the same figures, you and I go to the Harbour Board, to PSA, and in principle you tell them that you would consider it unwise to put it off. Even if there is a chance, let’s say half a year that container port is lying idle, using interest and doing nothing, Singapore has to be the first one as to attract it.

“’And you should tell them, in my opinion, at least give them very clearly the impression if they do not come with a plan to rapidly make a container port that you will continue to have them by the planners. On the other hand, if they do come with it, in as far as co-operation from Finance or even the Cabinet would be needed, that you will give them that protection.’

“So Dr Goh practically dictated them to build that container port regardless of the World Bank.”

[Dr Albert Winsemius’s oral history interview, Accession Number 000246, reel 12]

Singapore has one important resource. Our strategic location at the maritime chokepoint between Europe and the Far East was our valuable resource that was the reason for our founding and prosperity.

The vision that Kissinger mentioned wasn’t Lee Kuan Yew’s but Dr Winsemius’ but it was up to Lee to communicate that vision (after the fact) to dignitaries all over the world as though it was his.

SCMP wrote:

Lee was more circumspect when he looked back on his life. “I did some sharp and hard things to get things right. Maybe some people disapproved of it. Too harsh, but a lot was at stake and I wanted the place to succeed, that’s all.

What was still at stake that Lee had to detain Dr Chia Thye Poh and Dr Lim Siew Hock till 1998 and 1982 respectively? What threats did Dr Chia and Dr Lim pose to Singapore’s success right up till 1998 and 1982 respectively?

SCMP wrote:

At the end of the day, what have I got? A successful Singapore. What have I given up? My life,” he once said.

Lee Kuan Yew inherited a successful Singapore from the British; a successful Singapore was what all Singaporeans got from the British, not just Lee Kuan Yew.

Singapore became even more successful following Dr Winsemius’ strategy; it was Dr Winsemius who gave all Singaporeans, not just Lee Kuan Yew, an even more successful Singapore.

If Lee Kuan Yew had been a rickshaw puller, would he not have given up his life pulling the rickshaw? If he had been a lawyer, would he not have given up his life practicing law? Was there anything Lee could have done that wouldn’t entail giving up his life?

SCMP wrote:

… Ko, who works for Singtel, a Singapore telco, told the Post: “I feel sad about the passing of a great leader. He built Singapore up in one generation. I hope his successor will protect his achievements.”

Not true, Singapore wasn’t built in one generation, neither was Singapore built by Lee Kuan Yew.

Times magazine – Lee Kuan Yew is not the father of Singapore

April 22, 2015

I refer to the 22 Mar 2015 Times magazine report “‘Father of Singapore’ Lee Kuan Yew Dies at 91”.

Lee Kuan Yew is not the father of Singapore and will never be fit to be called one because he never fought for Singapore’s independence like America’s founding father George Washington did.

Instead, Lee came to power in 1959 only after others have fought and won complete internal self-government from Britain (decision made in 1958).

Lee’s swopping of British sovereignty for Malaysian sovereignty in 1963 cannot be an act of independence in any sense of the word. If George Washington had swapped British sovereignty for Mexican sovereignty, would Americans hail George Washington as founding father?

Above all, Lee had worked for the Japanese during the Japanese Occupation. If Mexico successfully invaded America and George Washington ended up working for Mexico, would Americans hail George Washington as founding father?

Times magazine wrote:

Singapore’s first and longest-serving Prime Minister was the architect of a remarkable transformation

Lee Kuan Yew wasn’t the architect of Singapore’s remarkable transformation. The architect should be someone who comes up with the plans. Since it was Dr Albert Winsemius who came up with Singapore’s industrialization plans in the report entitled “The United Nations Proposed Industrialization Programme for the State of Singapore”, it should be Dr Winsemius, not Lee Kuan Yew, who was the architect of our remarkable transformation.

Times magazine wrote:

… Lee, who was Singapore’s Prime Minister … of the city-state that he molded into one of the most sophisticated places on the planet.

Singapore was already quite sophisticated during colonial times. We were already the 5th most important port in the world in the 1930s, Asia’s most important communications centre in the 1950s, the third richest in Asia in 1960 (Penn World Tables) and in Mr Lee’s own words a metropolis already in 1968. We were already very well molded when Lee took over.

Moreover, our molding was based on Dr Winsemius’ formula, not Mr Lee’s so it’s probably more accurate to say that Singapore was molded in accordance to Dr Winsemius’ plan rather than by Mr Lee.

Times magazine wrote:

… foreign political and business leaders have long praised him: “legendary” (Barack Obama); “brilliant” (Rupert Murdoch); “never wrong” (Margaret Thatcher), to cite a few of countless such tributes.

It would be interesting to ask Obama and Rupert Murdoch if they know of a person called Dr Albert Winsemius. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, it would suggest that their knowledge of Singapore is only skin deep that doesn’t go far beyond the legends of Lee Kuan Yew which are not unlike the legends of King Arthur. Similarly, Thatcher’s policies had been questioned and if Thatcher could have been wrong, perhaps “never wrong” was also wrong?

Times magazine wrote:

At home, Lee was above all the man in charge.

Lee being the man in charge doesn’t mean Lee gave Singapore success, just as Stalin being the man in charge doesn’t mean Stalin gave Russia victory in World War II.

Times magazine wrote:

… Economic development needed to precede democracy

How much more precedence does Singapore economic development need after having preceded democracy by 50 years already?

Times magazine wrote:

The community trumped the individual. “Asian values” is what Lee and his ilk called their credo.

Lee and his ilk built two casinos against the wishes of the community and bulldozed through the widely disliked Population White Paper, two clear examples showing it is the other way around in Singapore, that individual trumps community.

Times magazine quoted Lee saying:

… [Democracy’s] exuberance leads to undisciplined and disorderly conditions which are inimical to development,” he said. “The ultimate test of the value of a political system is whether it helps … improve the standard of living for the majority of its people.”

Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea are obvious examples why Mr Lee had been wrong, that democracy isn’t necessarily inimical to development.

China and Vietnam experienced both dire poverty and rapid improvement to living standards under the same communist political system. There has to be something more than just political system that improvement to standard of living needs.

Times magazine wrote:

… Singapore’s officials would run the city state (largely) effectively and cleanly — making it an oasis in Southeast Asia …

Singapore was already the oasis in Southeast Asia during colonial times. The King of Siam sent his sons to study in colonial Singapore. We had the most number of cars per capita in Asia during colonial times. We were already a magnet for talent from Southeast Asia and beyond during colonial times.

Times magazine wrote:

— and, in return, its citizens would toe the line.

Citizens foolishly toe the line not knowing that our success lay with Dr Winsemius’ plans, not Lee Kuan Yew’s.

Times magazine wrote:

… Lee’s critics had to admit: he knew his mind. “I always tried to be correct,” he once said, “not politically correct.”

If Lee knew his mind, why did he fight so hard to marry Singapore into Malaysia only for us to divorce two years down the road? Why did he cry so much on our separation from Malaysia? Why did he suppress our birth rate so much only to end up trying to reverse it instead?

Times magazine wrote:

And astute, especially when maintaining an equidistance between China and the U.S., East Asia’s top two rivals. Beijing and Washington both trusted him as a friend who enhanced their understanding of each other. Even as Lee invested sovereign funds in China, he provided safe harbor for U.S. warships. In fact, he was an open proponent of a robust U.S. military presence in Asia to help keep the peace. By pinning down North Vietnam during the 1960s and ’70s, he said, the U.S. bought much of the rest of Southeast Asia time to develop and ward off communism.

The fact that Lee sought US but not Chinese military presence shows quite clearly that politically and militarily, Lee preferred US to China.

Times magazine wrote:

Till the end, he remained an admirer of American entrepreneurship and ingenuity.

Such was the irony of Lee that he would scorn American democracy for its undisciplined and disorderly conditions yet fail to see that American entrepreneurship and ingenuity are born out of such undisciplined and disorderly conditions.

Times magazine wrote:

Lee’s … prodigious ability to look beyond the horizon. Today, chiefly because of the foundations he laid, Singapore, tiny and surrounded by hostile neighbors when it was born, has not only survived but flourished — a widely-admired banking, tech and educational hub whose GDP per capita is among the highest in the world; a place that constantly innovates and experiments; the Little City That Could.

Times magazine misunderstood Lee’s adoption of Dr Winsemius’ economic policies as being Lee’s ability to look beyond the horizon. When Singapore separated from Malaysia, Lee could look no further than the crashed world in front of him, crying and crying until he had to convalesce for six weeks at Changi chalet. With his only idea of import substitution for the Malayan Common Market ruined, Lee had nothing left except to turn to Dr Winsemius who in turn was the man who could see beyond the horizon and guided Singapore in the right direction.

Singapore’s flourishing today is chiefly the result of the strong foundations laid by our ex-British colonial government which the ablest man in Lee’s cabinet, Dr Goh Keng Swee, termed as our priceless British inheritances and Dr Winsemius’ economic plans. That Lee happened to sit on the throne was incidental and not instrumental to our flourishing.

Singapore’s per capita GDP is much less sterling when stripped of those accruable to foreigners and foreign owned companies.

Times magazine wrote:

After the war … Lee … was determined to free Singapore from colonial rule … Lee entered the unruly politics of a country still reeling from World War II … The island’s unions were riddled with communists, many Chinese-educated, inspired by Mao Zedong’s rise to power and eager to stage a similar revolution in Singapore. By offering his legal services for free to unions, Lee built up a grassroots electoral base and became a rival to the communists, who were officially banned. In 1954 he formed the People’s Action Party (PAP) in the basement of his house.

Examples of persons labeled communist or pro-communist were philanthropists Tan Kah Kee and Tan Lark Sye. Tan Kah Kee gave nearly all his fortune to set up schools and universities in Singapore and China while Tan Lark Sye set up Singapore’s only Chinese medium university. Yet, Tan Kah Kee was banned from ever returning to Singapore while Tan Lark Sye was stripped of his citizenship for the purported crime of communism or pro-communism. But today, both gentlemen are being lauded for who they really were – philanthropists passionate about Chinese education. There’s even a Tan Kah Kee Hall at the University Of Berkeley, California. That even philanthropists like Tan Kah Kee and Tan Lark Sye have been branded communist and persecuted as such goes to show how frivolous the communism charge was. It was a charge without trial that gave Lee and his predecessors the power to conveniently fix all those who opposed them.

Many of those Lee gave legal services to were eventually locked up by Lee himself after having outlived their usefulness when Lee came to power.

Times magazine wrote:

Singapore … became part of the Malaysian federation in 1963. Two years later it was kicked out of Malaysia because of racial tension … and the antagonism of many senior politicians in Kuala Lumpur toward Lee …

When Singapore was part of Malaysia, Lee’s belief in an egalitarian society had aroused the suspicions of Malay politicians who believed Lee spoke loftily about multiracialism even as he canvassed for Chinese votes.

That antagonism wasn’t one sided and Lee was one of the star contributors to it. Lee’s so-called belief in an egalitarian society in Malaysia was hypocritical at best because Lee had implicitly accepted Malaysia’s Bumiputra policy when he merged Singapore into Malaysia in 1963 because Malaysia’s Bumiputra policy had already been enshrined in Malaya’s constitution before that. As a trained lawyer, Lee couldn’t have claimed that he didn’t know that the Bumiputra policy was already codified in the Malaysian constitution that Lee had subjugated all Singaporeans to.

Even Lee’s good comrades Dr Toh Chin Chye and Mr Lim Kim San felt that Lee’s remarks had been anti-Malay or overboard rather than about multiculturalism.

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]

Times magazine wrote:

By late 1965, Lee’s vision for Singapore was formed … instead of trying to piggyback on the commodity-driven trade of its neighbors, Lee would seek investment from outside Southeast Asia, appealing directly to multinationals in the U.S. and Europe. “We had to create a new kind of economy,” he wrote, “try new methods and schemes never tried before anywhere else in the world because there was no other country like Singapore.”

The vision that Lee supposedly had for Singapore wasn’t in fact Lee’s but that of Dr Albert Winsemius’ as Singapore’s industrialization followed Dr Winsemius’ recommendations to a ‘T’. Lee’s vision had always been the conventional wisdom of import substitution for the Malayan Common Market. When that was rendered useless by our expulsion from Malaysia, Lee had no other choice but to follow the unconventional path set by Dr Winsemius. Lee was only good at claiming the credit of what others have done or devised.

Times magazine wrote:

Nevertheless, it would be enshrined in independent Singapore. The population today is about 5.5. million, of whom nearly 40% are foreigners. Of the locals, about three-fourths are ethnic Chinese. But Lee took steps to ensure that the majority couldn’t impose its culture on the country’s minorities. English became the medium of education and administration, while three national languages were also recognized: Mandarin, Tamil and Malay. To prevent ethnic ghettoes, Lee made sure neighborhoods had proportionate numbers of Chinese, Indian and Malay residents. The religious holidays of all ethnic groups were celebrated, and even small local-language newspapers and TV channels were financially supported by the state. Lee’s aim was to forge a Singaporean identity that would override ties to the old country.

Singapore’s multiculturalism wasn’t enshrined by Lee but had already taken roots during colonial years.

• 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]

“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]

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]

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]

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]

Times magazine wrote:

A key strategy to give people a sense of belonging as stakeholders in society was to provide affordable homes — today, ownership stands at 90% of the local population. “Citizenship is essentially a question of loyalty,” Lee said … Lee widened roads, dug canals, cleared slums, erected high-quality public housing estates

The provision of affordable homes had already started during colonial years; Lee merely took over the good work and expanded on it (

90% ‘home ownership’ is only in name and not in deed as public home title deeds refer to dwellers as “lessees” not “owners” (

Times magazine wrote:

Foreign investment, much of it from U.S. tech companies, did pour into Singapore. Texas Instruments set up a semiconductor plant in 1968, to be quickly followed by multimillion-dollar investments from National Semiconductor, Hewlett-Packard and General Electric.

Dr Goh Keng Swee believed there was an element of luck that resulted in US companies investing heavily in Singapore in the late 1960s. According to Dr Goh:

It is a matter for speculation whether in the absence of the upheavals caused by the Cultural Revolution in the mid and late 1960s, the large American multinationals – among them, National Semiconductors and Texas Instruments – would have sited their offshore facilities in countries more familiar to them, such as South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong. These resources had skills superior to Singapore’s. My own judgment remains that these three areas were too close to the scene of trouble, the nature of which could not but cause alarm to multinational investors.

[Wealth of East Asian Nations, Goh Keng Swee, page 256]

Times magazine wrote:

In U.S.-dollar terms, Singapore’s gross domestic product grew more than tenfold from 1965 to 1980.

That growth was well matched by those of the other three East Asian Tiger economies of Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea. Would anyone hail Hong Kong’s British governor for its equally impressive progress? Does anyone even know who Hong Kong’s British governor was then?

Times magazine wrote:

It became the world’s busiest port.

Singapore was already the estimated 5th most important port in the world in the 1930s and Asia’s most important communications centre in the 1950s. Our ascent to Number 1 was from only a few places away.

Singapore was already the estimated 5th or 6th most important port in the world by the early 1930s and the key port in the Straits region by the late 19th century.

[Goh Kim Chuan, Environment and development in the Straits of Malacca, pages 107, 114]

Singapore was the most important communications centre in the Far East, not just for shipping but a focal point for airlines, telecommunications and mail distribution at the beginning of the 1950s.

[The Economic Growth of Singapore: Trade and Development in the Twentieth Century, W. G. Huff, pages 31-33]

Times magazine wrote:

The dilapidated godowns of the old waterfront were razed to build skyscrapers.

Singapore already had skyscrapers long before Lee Kuan Yew came to power. When Cathay Building was completed in 1939, it was the tallest building in Southeast Asia. The Asia Insurance Building, Bank of China Building and the Shaw Centre were similarly completed in 1954, 1954 and1958 respectively.

Times magazine wrote:

Singapore Airlines, the flagship air carrier Lee started in 1972, encapsulated the city-state’s story of success: small, with scant resources and dwarfed by larger rivals, it aimed to be among the world’s best from the outset and quickly became so. As Henry Kissinger, the onetime U.S. Secretary of State, said: “Lee’s vision was of a state that would … prevail by excelling.”

Singapore isn’t the only success story, so why is Singapore alone lauded but not similarly successful places like Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea that have scant resources (assumed to be oil or minerals) too? The bulk of successful nations today like Switzerland and the Netherlands have scant resources (oil or minerals).

Does Henry Kissinger even know who Dr Albert Winsemius is? Does he know that even Lee Kuan Yew himself expressed gratitude to Dr Winsemius?

Most of all, he (Dr Winsemius) was wise and canny. I (Lee Kuan Yew) learnt much about Western business and businessmen from him. He gave me practical lessons on how … Singapore could plug into the global economic system of trade and investments by using their desire for profits … It was Singapore’s good fortune that he took a deep and personal interest in Singapore’s development. Singapore and I personally, are indebted to him for the time, energy and devotion he gave to Singapore.

[Straits Times, Singapore is indebted to Winsemius: SM, 10 Dec 1996]

Times magazine wrote:

Characteristically, Lee bluntly defended such measures … he said, “Freedom of the news media must be subordinated to the overriding needs of Singapore, and to the primacy of purpose of an elected government.” Because the foreign press wasn’t subject to local printing laws, newspapers or magazines whose articles were viewed as defamatory were either sued or their Singapore circulation cut …

What Lee referred to as the needs of Singapore that media freedom has to be subordinated to are more like his needs and those of his party. The banning of Tan Pin Pin’s film “To Singapore, With Love” and the refusal to publish Dr Chee Soon Juan’s letters hardly served the needs of anyone other than Lee’s and his PAP’s.

To The Economist – Lee Kuan Yew is not the founder of Singapore

April 16, 2015

I refer to the 22 Mar 2015 Economist report “The founder of Singapore died on March 23rd, aged 91”.

Singapore was founded in 1819 by Sir Stamford Raffles before Lee Kuan Yew’s great grandfather was born. There has been no re-founding of Singapore ever since. Thus, Singapore’s founder is Sir Stamford Raffles, not Lee Kuan Yew. Sir Stamford Raffles died on 5th July 1826, aged 45.

The Economist wrote:

… Fidel Castro, perhaps, and Kim Il Sung, in their day … both … failed to match Mr Lee’s achievement in propelling Singapore “From Third World to First” …

Taiwan and South Korea were authoritarian too at first but became more democratic eventually without sacrificing economic development. They clearly show that an economy can continue to develop whether or not there was an authoritarian figure at the helm. Thus, Singapore’s rapid development need not necessarily have been due to the authoritarian Mr Lee but could also have been in spite of Mr Lee.

Singapore’s rapid industrialization post 1965 was in accordance to a plan written by Dr Albert Winsemius and his team from the United Nations. If there was anyone to attribute our propulsion to First Word, it would be Dr Winsemius.

Also, Singapore did not progress from Third World to First under Mr Lee. When Mr Lee took charge in 1959, our per capita GDP adjusted for purchasing power parity already put us in Middle Income status according to World Bank classification ( Thus, Singapore progressed from Middle Income status to First, not from Third World to First under Mr Lee.

The Economist wrote:

… Moreover, he managed it against far worse odds: no space, beyond a crowded little island; no natural resources …

On the contrary, the odds were very much to our favor since according to Dr Goh Keng Swee, Mr Lee’s most trusted deputy who was also Mr Lee’s economics tutor at the university, we possessed all four important ingredients to our success (1) excellent geographic location, (2) British system of free trade and enterprise (3) adaptability of the British colonial government honed over more than a hundred years which he described as priceless and (4) stability and progress of our neighbors.

Singapore may not have oil or mineral resources but Singapore has an important natural resource that was the reason for our founding and prosperity – our strategic geographic location at the maritime chokepoint between the Far East and the West.

The Economist wrote:

Lee Kuan Yew made Singapore a paragon of development … In compensation, he turned Singapore into a hugely admired economic success story.

To say that is to belittle the contributions of others and to rob them of their fair share of recognition. What would Lee Kuan Yew have amounted to without the economic plan of Dr Winsemius that was at the heart of Singapore’s development into an economic success story? It was Dr Winsemius who was the savior of the day when Singapore was booted out of Malaysia and Lee Kuan Yew’s dream of depending on the Malaysian Common Market for Singapore’s continued prosperity had all but perished.

The Economist wrote:

He also boasted of his street-fighting prowess: “Nobody doubts that if you take me on, I will put on knuckle-dusters and catch you in a cul-de-sac.”

Such bravado was sadly lacking when the Japanese invaded Singapore and Lee Kuan Yew ended up working for them instead of fighting for Singapore’s freedom like Lim Bo Seng and Lt Adnan did.

Economist wrote:

… The regional giant, Indonesia, had been engaged in a policy of Konfrontasi—hostility to the Malaysian federation just short of open warfare …

Konfrontasi ended almost as soon as it began with the toppling of Sukarno by Singapore friendly Suharto only a few months after Singapore’s independence.

Economist wrote:

Singapore as a nation did not exist. “How were we to create a nation out of a polyglot collection of migrants from China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and several other parts of Asia?” asked Mr Lee in retrospect. Race riots in the 1960s in Singapore itself as well as Malaysia coloured Mr Lee’s thinking for the rest of his life … Public housing, one of the government’s greatest successes, remains subject to a system of ethnic quotas, so that the minority Malays and Indians could not coalesce into ghettoes.

Singapore already possessed all the trappings of a nation for more than a hundred years before Lee Kuan Yew took charge – an excellent civil service, British laws, British free trade and enterprise, police force, commerce, port, schools, hospitals, running water, roads and so on. We were in many ways already a nation except in name.

• Singaporeans were already calling themselves Singaporeans during colonial times (

• The various races have already been living together harmoniously for generations before Lee Kuan Yew took charge (

• Racial riots were the result of racial politics played on both sides of the Causeway ( and (

• Public housing was already started by the colonial government (

All that Mr Lee had to do was to inherit the nation but he did more than that. He whitewashed the solid groundwork laid by his British predecessors and shamelessly and unfairly hoarded every bit of credit to himself.

Economist wrote:

… Abandoned by Britain in 1971 when it withdrew from “east of Suez” …

How can Economist say Singapore was abandoned by Britain in 1971 when Singapore, Malaysia, Britain, Australia and New Zealand signed the Five Powers Defense Pact in 1971?

Economist wrote:

The astonishing record of Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore
… Mr Lee said in 1994 that he was “not intellectually convinced that one-man, one-vote is the best”. He said Singapore practised it because that is what the British had bequeathed. So he designed a system where clean elections are held but it has been almost inconceivable for the PAP to lose power. The biggest reason for that has been its economic success: growth has averaged nearly 7% a year for four decades.

The astonishing record isn’t that of Lee Kuan Yew’s alone but those of every Singaporeans’.

Doesn’t Economist ever wonder why Mr Lee practiced one-man-one-vote bequeathed by the British but not press freedom which was also bequeathed by the British? Mr Lee had different explanations for different things that quite often contradicted one another.

No amount of clean election can cleanse the stain of the lack of press and television freedom that are at the roots of democracy.

Nazi Germany was another country in another era where economic and military successes led the people to support its Fuhrer and to close their eyes to the injustices suffered by the Jews and other minorities.

Economist wrote:

… The traditional media are toothless; opposition politicians have been hounded into bankruptcy … voters … if they elect opposition candidates, their constituencies will suffer in the allocation of public funds; constituency boundaries have been manipulated by the government. The advantage of Mr Lee’s system, its proponents say, is that it introduced just enough electoral competition to keep the government honest, but not so much that it actually risks losing power. So it can look around corners on behalf of its people, plan for the long term and resist the temptation to pander to populist pressures.

Despite being one of its worst performing years, the ruling party still won an enviable 81 of 87 or 93% of electoral seats in 2011. 93% is virtual monopoly and far from adequate competition.

Regardless of whether or not the government had been honest, there has been a long and growing list of false statements made by them (, (, (, (, (

Instead of looking around corners on behalf of the people, the government has been looking at all angles to skin the people. Instead of planning for the long term, the government has been taking the ‘instant tree’ approach of doing things, a term coined by one of its own, Mr Inderjit Singh. Instead of resisting populist pressures, the government has started to pander to its people after losing just one Group Representative Constituency (GRC). The funny thing is that the things that the government finally decided to pander to are things that are no longer seen as populist but necessary and well deserved.

Economist wrote:

Mr Lee was a firm believer in meritocracy. “We decide what is right. Never mind what the people think,” as he put it bluntly in 1987. His government’s ministers were the world’s best-paid, to attract talent from the private sector and curb corruption. Corruption did indeed become rare in Singapore … As a police state, however, Singapore was such a success that you rarely see a cop.

Mr Lee’s firm belief was in feudal Chinese meritocracy where one’s success depended on the outcome of the once-in-a-lifetime imperial examination. He once ridiculed opposition member of parliament Mr Chiam See Tong for his less than sterling ‘O’ level results (equivalent to high school) by comparing them with those of Mr Mah Bow Tan’s, his own party candidate. But Mr Mah’s stirling ‘O’ level results and world’s highest pay could not prevent him from screwing up big time and causing the ruling party to suffer a GRC loss in 2011.

Paying millions to curb corruption is like paying robbers not to rob or paying thieves not to steal. To say that there is no robbery or theft because the robber and thief have been paid handsomely is ridiculous and silly.

One wonders from which corner of Singapore the Economist came to observe that a cop is rarely seen.

Economist wrote:

They … blamed high levels of immigration for keeping their wages down and living costs up. This was a consequence of a unique failure among Mr Lee’s many campaigns to make Singaporeans change their ways … he could not make them have more children. In the early 1980s, he dropped his “stop at two” policy, and started to encourage larger families among the better-educated. But, three decades later, Singaporean women have as low a fertility rate as any in the world.

High immigration wasn’t a consequence of Mr Lee failing to convince Singaporeans to have more children but the consequence of Mr Lee’s erroneous “stop at two” policy which led to the dramatic plunge in our birth rate.

Economist wrote:

… Singapore’s prime minister for seven years had been Lee Hsien Loong, his son. The Lee family would sue anyone who hinted at nepotism. And, for Mr Lee, that talent is hereditary was an obvious fact. “Occasionally two grey horses produce a white horse, but very few. If you have two white horses, the chances are you breed white horses.”

There has been widespread dissatisfaction with PM Lee Hsien Loong’s rule, culminating in his apology to the nation in 2011. Judging from his son’s performance, wouldn’t the elder Mr Lee perhaps wonder if his genes weren’t so white horse after all?

Economist wrote:

Thus Mr Lee, famous as both a scourge of communists at home and a critic of Western decadence and its wishy-washy idealism, revelled in the role of geopolitical thinker.

The communist label was a convenient pretext for Mr Lee to detain his political opponents without charge, trial or proof. Even then UK Deputy Commissioner to Singapore Philip Moore commented that Mr Lee’s evidence was circumstantial, stale and nothing very definite. Two notable detainees, Dr Chia Thye Poh and Dr Lim Siew Hock, stood the test of time and maintained their innocence throughout 32 years and 19 years of detention respectively. Doesn’t the Economist ever wonder what communist crime necessitated the detention of Dr Chia Thye Poh till 1998?

Mr Lee’s criticism of Western ideals was hypocritical at best. Before he came to power, Mr Lee championed for press freedom but once he consolidated his power, Mr Lee sang a different tune and murdered press freedom.

Economist wrote:

What, he must have wondered, if fate had allotted him a superpower instead of a city state?

Perhaps Mr Lee should wonder if fate had him born in Russia, India or Africa, would he have amounted to anything at all.


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