My job is really as a long-range radar

Dear Mr Lee,

I refer to excerpts of your interview by Mark Jacobson of the National Geographic that Straits Times published on 6 Jan 2010.

Why casinos?

You said the British and the Swiss have casinos too. But Swiss casino was a collective decision made by the Swiss people whereas we didn’t have a say on casinos despite many of us being against it. Traditionally, gambling addiction afflicts the Chinese more than it does any other race. Casinos will hurt us more than it will hurt the British people.

Declining birth rates

You said declining birth rates happened all over Asia even though they did not have a “stop at two” policy. But that doesn’t change the fact that your “stop at two” policy was wrong and could well have exacebated the slow down in our population growth. The reasons you gave to explain declining birth rates are based on highsight, not foresight. So where was your foresight then?

You said we are a small nation, we can top up. But you have topped up so much that we are now bursting our seams. Again, where is the foresight and anticipation to this?

Is MM Lee still the face of Singapore?

You said you are really the long range radar looking out for opportunities and threats. If your radar had worked, you would have warned us of the impending collapse of the world banking industry in late 2008 so that we could have avoided losing billions of dollars in our state funds.

You said either we embraced F1 and all the glitz of our globalised world today or we risk going out of business and running out of food. But so many places like Taiwan and Hong Kong do not have F1 and are prospering still so there is no reason why Singapore should go hungry without F1. Similarly, from the time the casinos were mooted some years back to its opening last Sunday, Singapore has never gone hungry. So where is the truth to your reasoning? Or is it plain scaremongering?

How would you like to be remembered?

You said you never wanted to be a politician but was saddled with responsibility to get the place going. But you also said in 1965 that Singapore is already a modern city, implying that it has already arrived and so you have delivered your responsibilities. Yet you continued as prime minister for another 27 years till 1992 which belies your claim that you never wanted to be a politician.

Does Singapore need somebody like Mr Lee Kuan Yew to keep going?

You said New Zealand will still be green and pleasant 100 years from now because it is the last stop on the bus line. But Easter Island was green and pleasant but became barren even though it is the last stop in the middle of nowhere. The Anasazi ruins in Southwest US bears the same fate. So your analogy to make Singapore appear more vulnerable than it really is has no historical basis.

High public sector salaries

Barrack Obama is paid lower than any of your ministers. Yet his wife dresses modestly to the extent of being labelled sloppy sometimes. So your insinuation about ministers with lower salaries having wives with glittering jewels does not hold water.

You said British members of parliament charge personal expenses to tax payers. But those charges are but a fraction of what you and your ministers pay yourselves. Eight years of corruption by ex-Taiwan president Chen Shui Bian is still cheaper than the salaries of the PAP.

You said Singaporeans are champion grumblers, that’s because we have champion causes to grumble about. We’re not just short changed, we’re being robbed in broad daylight.


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