Thank you MM Lee, for showing the way

Dear editor,

I refer to the letter by Dr John Ng dated 23 Nov 2009.

Dr John said that MM Lee made policies for the country and not for himself because the bilingual policy was for the country. This may not be true. MM owed his capture of political power in Singapore to the Chinese speaking masses. Had MM chosen to eradicate Chinese then, he would have eradicated his own support base. Today, the Chinese speaking masses have become history and so the abandonment of Chinese to some degrees will not entail any significant loss in political support. Seen from this perspective, the policy may have had significant personal importance to MM then.

Dr John also said that MM’s vision of China’s growth has been proven right. But the bilingual policy is no proof that MM envisioned the growth of China as the policy was a necessity for domestic reasons then. If the bilingual policy implies an envisioning of the growth of China, then shouldn’t it also imply an envisioning of the growth of Malaysia and of Tamil Nadu too since our second language can either be Malay, Tamil or Chinese? Both Chinese and Tamil are studied as a second language for the same reasons. Yet the study of the former is proof of MM’s vision for China while the study of the latter is proof for nothing. This contradiction tells us that the bilingual policy cannot be proof for anything beyond its most fundamental purpose, that of the study of our mother tongues.

Dr John expresses his utmost respect for MM for admitting his mistake. He gives us the impression that the admission of mistake by a man of high stature is worthy of utmost respect. But does that mean that conversely, a man of low stature who admits to his mistake is not worthy of the same utmost respect? This spells of elitism and unecessary glorification of people of ‘high stature’. We should not accord people of ‘high stature’ more respect than they deserve. Doing so will go against one of the basic tenets of the Singapore pledge, that of equality.

Finally, there are grave mistakes and there are not so grave mistakes. Admitting to simple mistakes doesn’t take a lot of strength or courage. Admitting to grave mistakes takes strength and courage. Till now, MM has not admitted to his mistake of locking up harmless political opponents for decades and robbing them of the most fruitful years of their lives.

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One Response to “Thank you MM Lee, for showing the way”

  1. cy Says:

    well written,mr ng! keep it up,i enjoy your works

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