Correcting Diamond Industries’ Mr Frank Chew’s ST advertisement

I refer to the 9 Aug 2014 Straits Times advertisement (Money section, page C7) by Mr Frank Chew Chong Khay of Diamond Industries Pte Ltd.

bullshit

Mr Chew wrote:

• “Today, I am extremely grateful … especially to the father and architect of modern Singapore, Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Through his far-sighted visions for the country, he has brought about a stable and thriving environment for us to live and work in, one in which I am able to care for my parents in the way that I hope to. At the same time, I am able to give my children what my parents had to strive so hard for in the past.”

Mr Chew is mistaken. Lee Kuan Yew was neither father nor architect of modern Singapore. The father of modern Singapore was Sir Stamford Raffles while the architect and far sighted visionary of our export industrialization was Dr Albert Winsemius. Others like Dr Goh Keng Swee also played a vital role but ultimately, it was Singaporeans from all walks of life who contributed to the nation’s success.

Lee Kuan Yew himself had credited Dr Winsemius for our success:

• Most of all, he was wise and canny. I 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]

Straits Times, PAP stalwart Lim Kim San, eminent civil servant Ngiam Tong Dow and various authors all attribute Singapore’s post independence prosperity to Dr Winsemius:

• He was Singapore’s trusted guide through economically uncharted waters for 25 years from 1960. Through him, Singapore borrowed ideas and strategies that worked for Netherlands and other developed nations. Singapore’s economy is flying high today, thanks in large measure to his sound advice and patient counsel. He is the Father of Jurong, the Dutchman behind Singapore Incorporated. Dr Winsemius was a special person for he had changed Singapore to what it is today. For Singaporeans today, a huge debt of gratitude is owed to the Dutch economist.
[Straits Times, Dr Albert Winsemius Singapore’s trusted guide, 7 Dec 1996]

• He was behind the 10-year development plan that saw the island state transform into today’s high technology, high value added industrial hub.
[Straits Times, He Believed in Singapore’s Future, 7 Dec 1996]

• Singapore’s economic miracle owes something to Dutch economist Dr Albert Winsemius. Dr Albert Winsemius was not merely a consultant, he was someone who revolutionalised and set Singapore’s economy in the right direction.
[Tactical Globalization: Learning from the Singapore Experiment, Aaron Kon, page 170]

• Dr Winsemius of the Netherlands and Mr I.F. Tang of China were two foreign friends of Singapore who made extraordinary contributions to the economic development of Singapore as leader and secretary of the first UN Industrialisation Survey Team in 1961.
[A Mandarin and the Making of Public Policy: Reflections, Ngiam Tong Dow, page 66]

• Goh Keng Swee and Dr Albert Winsemius are generally regarded as the brains behind the coherent export/foreign investment oriented policies that Singapore has followed.
[Multinationals and the Growth of the Singapore Economy, Hafiz Mirza, page 77]

• The Winsemius Report, as it is commonly known, eventually formed the blueprint for Singapore’s development efforts.
[No Miracle: What Asia Can Teach All Countries about Growth, Mitchell Wigdor, Chapter 6]

• In line with the recommendation of the Winsemius Mission, Singapore implemented policies contrary to the spirit of the 1960s by allowing foreign companies full ownership of their investments and control of operations. This gave Singapore an immediate advantage over other countries that had adopted a more nationalistic or socialist philosophy that prevented complete foreign ownership and control of large manufacturing investments.
[Singapore, the Energy Economy: From the first refinery to the end of cheap oil, Ng Weng Hoong, page 12]

• With Singapore’s secession in 1965, the United Nations Proposed Industrialization Programme for the State of Singapore became the basis for Singapore’s industrialisation strategy.
[State enterprise in Singapore: legal importation and development, Philip Nalliah Pillai, page 30]

• A year after his first visit to Singapore, he presented a 10-year economic development plan. Winsemius also advised the government about large scale housing projects in Singapore and managed to get Philips, Shell and Exxon to Singapore.
[Managing Transaction Costs in the Era of Globalization, F. A. G. den Butter, page 38]

• Albert Winsemius presented a ten-year development plan to turn Singapore from a port dependent on entrepot trade to a manufacturing and industrial centre. Following the Winsemius Report, the Legislative Assembly passed an Act in 1961 to create a statutory board to promote industrialisation and economic development. The EDB came into being …
[Lim Kim San: A Builder of Singapore, Asad Latif, page 106]

• Singapore’s emergence as a pivotal manufacturing node in the emerging network of transnational capitalism was partly made possible by missionary zeal displayed in the adoption of the Winsemius Report, submitted on behalf of the United Nations Industrial Survey Mission of 1960.
[CyberAsia: The Internet And Society in Asia, Zaheer Baber, page 59]

• The 1960-61 United Nations mission led by Albert Winsemius helped develop a blueprint for Singapore’s industrialisation and development plan and recommended the establishment of EDB. The Winsemius report provided the basis for Singapore’s first development plan. It made two particularly notable observations. The first was that Singapore did not lack entrepreneurs but they were mainly in commerce and not in manufacturing. This suggested the need for the government to participate directly to operate certain basic industries if neither foreign nor local enterprises were prepared to do so. However, said the report, long-run government participation might harm the investment climate unless it was true to commercial and market principles. The second point recommended the establishment of a nonpolitical EDB with divisions for financing, industrial facilities, projects, technical consulting, services, and promotion. The report recognised that the EDB’s core function should be the promotion of investment and that it should eventually hand over its financing activities to an industrial development bank. The Winsemous report was accepted and its recommendations implemented almost immediately. In its early years, the EDB had technical advisers from the United Nations and the International Labour Organisation (ILO). Initially, it concentrated on the four industries identified in the Winsemius report, namely, shipbuilding and repair, metal engineering, chemicals, and electrical equipment and appliances.
[Lessons from East Asia, Danny M Leipziger, pages 240, 241]

• In 1960, a UN industrial survey mission headed by Albert Winsemius was sent to Singapore, at the PAP government’s request, to survey the possibility of industrialisation. The Winsemius Report recommended, among other things, that Singapore should make use of the skills and ability of the local labour force to develop certain selected industries including chemicals, building material, steel-rolling, ship-building, and electrical appliances and parts, by wooing well-known foreign firms to set up joint ventures with local firms. It also advised that the new local industries to be set up should aim at the overseas market, since the domestic market was tiny. In 1961, the government drew the State Development Plan based on the Winsemius Report, which later became a Five-Year Development Plan. That same year, in accordance with the advice given by Winsemius, it set up the Economic Development Board (EDB), which was then given the task of constructing industrial estates, providing loans to firms in the private sector, attracting FDI, setting up joint ventures with foreign MNCs, and putting into practice fiscal measures under the Pioneer Industries Ordinance.
[Japanese Firms in Contemporary Singapore, Hiroshi Shimizu, page 31]

• An area of 2,025 hectares was suggested at first for the new Jurong Industrial Estate. In June 1961, Dr Albert Winsemius, an economic expert from the United Nations Bureau of Technical Assistance, submitted his report on an Industrialization Programme for Singapore, and recommended 6,480 hectares. The Winsemius Report also proposed the setting up of an Economic Development Board (EDB) to develop the area and promote free-enterprise industry.
[http://tamanjurong.sg/about-us]

Mr Chew also wrote:

• “When I was young, I did not recognize the importance or significance of national service. It was merely a requirement that had to be fulfilled. If given a chance to live that part of my life again, I would do it wholeheartedly because I am now convinced of the need to defend my country and family.”

If Mr Chew now understands the importance of defending the country and the family, then he should also understand the gravity of not defending the country and the family. Lee Kuan Yew did not rise up to the occasion in Singapore’s hour of need to defend our country against the Japanese invaders. In the aftermath of our surrender, Lee Kuan Yew also worked for the Japanese military. How does Mr Chew’s supposed understanding of the importance of defending our country square with his admiration of someone who not only failed to defend our country but had also worked for the enemy as well?

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