Archive for November, 2008

Only an A-Team will do

November 2, 2008

Straits Times, 25 Oct 2008

MM Lee said he chose to invest in Suzhou because Suzhou has a lot of extremely smart people and that’s why Suzhou succeeded. Yes, Suzhou people are so smart that a large chunk of our investment got makan by them. So much for being successful. Who is he kidding?

He says the younger generation doesn’t know how we got here and how it rested on discipline and tough minded leadership. How can the younger generation not know when they are required to study it in secondary school? What the younger generation doesn’t know is how the success of our nation has little to do with tough minded leadership but the quality of its people.

MM likes to emphasize that without his tough minded leadership, Singapore will go back to square one and never rise again. You look at Taiwan and Korea both of which have gone from tough minded leadership to liberty for the people and they still stand tall. Hong Kong too has never had tough minded leadership but never fell too. So you have to suspect that Lee’s talk is all hot air but no substance.

Lee emphasized connection to the world. But Singapore was founded back in 1819 by Sir Stamford Raffles to connect to the world. So it is a credit to Raffles, not LKY. Similarly, traits like rule of law, transparency, fair play and meritocracy are inheritances from our British colonial past, evident in Hong Kong too. So again, the credit goes to the British, not LKY.

Lee says he trained people not to litter and other social habits. But we still have so many litter bugs today and we spend millions every year to clean up the streets. Even he conceded that he will never see a gracious Singapore in his lifetime. So he seems to have amnesia because one moment he says one thing, next moment he says another thing. Perhaps it’s time for him to retire?

He says that if a Chinese or Indian goes to America, he becomes Americanised. But if an American goes to China or India, he cannot Americanise China or India. How silly his logic is. It is reasonable to say that the individual adapts to the country he is in, it is silly to suggest that the country adapts to the individual. MM cites the infinitesimal numbers of Christian converts in China and India as proof. But historically, how was Christianity spread in large numbers? Through mass murders. Christianity spread through Europe because Christian Europeans slaughtered their Pagan neighbours. Similarly Christianity spread through the Americas because the indigenous people were slaughtered. MM Lee doesn’t seem to understand history vey well and so makes silly conclusions.

Finally MM says that it’s ok for the top tier migrants to be mostly foreigners but in the middle tier, Singaporeans should outnumber migrants. In other words, MM believes in a Singapore that is predominantly run by migrants with Singaporeans doing all the leg work for them. That’s our MM, ever a firm believer of Singaporean slaves working for foreigner masters.

The successful must care about the less well off

November 2, 2008

Sunday Times, 14 Sept 2008

MM Lee asked Michael Blooberg what he intended to do with his billion dollar wealth. Bloomberg said his children will not need it except perhaps enough to get them started so the rest is going to charity.

With this, MM Lee urges the successful here to practise more philantrophy.

What hypocrisy? Has MM Lee ever donated any significant sum of money to any charity despite his enormous wealth? The least he could do is to donate his $90,000 a month salary to the charity since neither he nor his children will need it.

Foreign workers in Serangoon Gardens

November 2, 2008

See how Balestier residents cope – 11 Oct 2008

Dr Edmund Lam wrote to the Straits Times forum on 11 Oct 2008 to express his bewiderment at the furore over the foreign workers dormitories in Serangoon Gardens. He sites his own experience of living along Balestier Road as proof that foreign workers and residents can co-exist amicable side by side.

My brother too lives in the Balestier area and he too finds the neighbourhood peaceful and lovely. However, whenever he brings his children to visit their granny, he never fails to curse and swear at the thickness of the foreign worker crowd in Little India. Perhaps herein lies the truth behind Dr Lam’s perceived state of peace in his neighbourhood, Balestier is near to Little India and so workers in Balestier all flock to Little India.

So unless Dr Lam experiences what my brother or myself experiences day after day, year after year, he is in absolutely no position to comment on the liveability amongst throngs of foreign workers.

Dr Lam also said that his property price went up despite the foreign workers. Flat prices in Little India also went up over time. The problem is, when the flats in Little India were first launched, it set record prices but Little India wasn’t called Little India then. Now, with Little India firmly entrenched, Little India flats no longer commands a premium over less central estates like Bishan or Toa Payoh. So the foreign worker environment has indeed dampened property prices.

Voice of reason amid sound and fury – 17 Oct 2008

In an interview with the Straits Times, Mrs Lim Hwee Hua wondered if the original occupants of Singapore had held anti-foreigner views, what would we have become? That is like asking what would America have become had the red Indians been hostile to the first White immigrants or what would Australia have become if the Aborigines didn’t welcome them too.

The truth of course was that neither the American Indians nor the Australian aborigines had any choice because their lands were taken over by the might of European guns. Similarly, I doubt the original occupants of Singapore were any less anti-foreigner but who had little choice but to accept British rule. Therefore, contrary to what Mrs Lim suggests, Singapore is what it is today not by grace of its original inhabitants but by the might of the British Empire.

Mrs Lim also highlights the need to not stereotype foreign workers with certain behaviours. But these behaviours are real and not stereotypes. A flat in the heart of Little India typically reaks of urine. A colleague once suggested to me that perhaps it isn’t urine smell but Indian smell. How can I not tell urine smell from Indian smell? In any case, I am not the only one who is affected, my wife complains of the same thing because we always go out together.

Not only do they urine, they do it right in front of you. Once while walking home, my wife counted a total of three incidences where the worker literally unzipped right in front of us and urinated on the spot. Urine is not the only thing, you sometimes find shit and vomit too. Unless one personally experiences 50 to a 100 foreign workers crowded in one’s void deck every Sunday, one is in no position to blame another of being xenophobic. There is also the occasional shouting and fighting with glass bottles being smashed. The police do take their time to come even though the police station is nearby.

Sacrifice votes or economy? No contest – 19 Oct 2008

Finally, George Yeo tried to confound the issue by saying this is an economic prerogative and so dominates over the social issue of foreign workers. If Singaporeans can be housed in the far flung corners of Singapore, why can’t the foreign workers? This is clearly a question of where to house the workers, which is never an economic question. So that’s how the government confuses the issue to make their decisions appear more justifiable than they really are.