Response to “6 reasons why LKY detractors are wrong” – Part 2

This is part 2 of the response to the 4 Apr 2015 TR Emeritus article “6 reasons why detractors of LKY are wrong” by X.

X wrote:

National service is often another point of contention … In the late 1960s, the British were pulling their military out of Singapore … If we had not quickly built up our defence, we would probably have suffered a replay of the Japanese invasion in WWII.

X would be a fool to think that today’s SAF, capable as it is, can prevent a replay of Japanese invasion if the Japanese ever chooses to invade Singapore again.

X wrote:

Further, the two years gives males an opportunity to pause their academic pursuits and ponder their choices carefully, especially for many who arrive at a crossroad of what and where to study, and what to do in future, as many would have just completed their tertiary studies.

If that pause is so wonderful an opportunity, how come not many females pause their studies to ponder over choices?

X wrote:

In fact, no one understood freedom better than Mr Lee himself, when he decided that he will build a multi-cultural society and enacted laws against those who threaten such harmony.

How could Lee Kuan Yew who made no qualms about detaining people for 30 over years, know anything about freedom?

Singapore’s multiculturalism wasn’t built by Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore was already multicultural during colonial times (https://trulysingapore.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/times-magazine-lee-kuan-yew-is-not-the-father-of-singapore/).

It was Lee’s good comrades Lim Kim San and Toh Chin Chye who pointed to Lee Kuan Yew being one of the main culprits of social disharmony (https://trulysingapore.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/times-magazine-lee-kuan-yew-is-not-the-father-of-singapore/).

X wrote:

Freedom is the ability to understand and tolerate others and realise that we are unified by a common goal of progress.

By that definition, North Korea must be one of the freest countries in the world because North Koreans have one of the best understanding and tolerance for one another, being of the same race, culture, language and even politics and unified by the common goal of nuclear armament.

X wrote:

Freedom is the ability to talk freely to peoples of other race, nationality and religion, to have an open mind and to want to understand others more.

By that definition, air hostesses, taxi drivers and tour guides must have more freedom than the average person since they are in the business of talking freely to people of other races, nationalities and religions.

X wrote:

Freedom is when you can joke about racial and religious stereotypes with your friends of other race and religion, and not worry about offending them.

What is so free about a freedom that can only be practiced amongst friends in private?

X wrote:

Neither is freedom the ability to carry guns around for ‘self-protection’. The fact that you have to protect yourself is already nonsense.

What X feels as nonsense is no nonsense but makes perfect sense in other countries. Americans staying in the vast countryside near wilderness can come into contact with potentially dangerous wild animals that guns help to protect against. This is one example of X’s lack of understanding of others that by his own definition is an indication of his own lack of freedom.

X wrote:

Freedom is to be able to walk around the country at peace, not having to possess weapons for self-protection, to know that a young woman can get home safely in the dead of the night, that one can place his bag at a hawker centre to chope (reserve) seats without worry of your belongings being stolen.

If freedom is judged by crime rate, then Kuwait, a low crime rate nation ought to be a very free country. Yet Kuwait is classified as an authoritarian regime by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index and “Worst of the worst” in freedom by Freedom House.

X wrote:

Criticisms also mention that Mr Lee created a stifling education system that emphasized so much on the sciences, encouraging Engineering, Medicine and Law

Not true for medicine and law. The measly numbers of doctors and lawyers trained each year by our local universities should instead show the opposite of how un-encouraged these two courses have always been.

X wrote:

… we must understand that it was only in recent history, during the past 2 decades, that Singapore was really lifted out of the third world into the first world.

Not true. Singapore’s 1965 per capita GDP (Penn World Table) already put us in Middle Income status (https://trulysingapore.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/dont-forget-to-praise-singaporean-forefathers-too/). We progressed from Middle Income to First World, not from Third World to First.

X wrote:

At the same time, we must understand that as a small population of five million, the talent pool is extremely small. The main reason we see stars continuing to rise out of countries such as US, UK and China, is that, from the onset, they have already won the statistics game. These countries have such huge populations that they can maintain an entire music industry on their own. An amateur band, for example, could probably thrive rather well locally as compared to a band of equal standards in Singapore.

Statistically, all else being equal, UK with 12 times our population should have 12 times as many bands of equal standards. The 12 times UK fan base spread over 12 times as many bands should result in no better thriving of UK bands than Singapore bands.

Japan has more than twice South Korea’s population. Going by statistics, Japan should be more than twice as successful as Korea in the music or entertainment industry. But people all over Asia are watching Korean TV dramas, not Japanese ones. Statistics is not everything.

X wrote:

Further, because we constantly see a stream of talents rise from these countries, we rarely get to see those who fail and, just like in Singapore, get their hopes dashed. Just look at American Idol’s audition periods. They could hold days of auditions seeing hundreds upon hundreds of hopefuls, yet at the end of the day, there is only one winner. If you think it is much easier to succeed in the arts overseas than in Singapore, you are probably delusional.

X earlier argued that small population means more difficult to thrive; now he says small population means easier to succeed. More difficult to thrive but easier to succeed; easier to thrive but more difficult to succeed – how much more oxymoronic can X get?

X wrote:

let’s face it – if you fail to enter, you’re probably not good enough, don’t blame the nation for the cards it was dealt with.

The last thing we want is for X to become our education minister telling our children they are not good enough. The following are examples of just how wrong naysayers like X can be:

Elvis Presley was once fired by his manager who told him “You ain’t going nowhere, son. You ought to go back to driving a truck.”

The Beatles were at first rejected by the recording company who said “we don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out”.

Ludwig van Beethoven’s teachers once felt he was hopeless at composing and would never succeed in either violin or composing.

X wrote:

However, we should not penalise Mr Lee heavily for his mistakes, for what he has done for Singapore far outweighs what he has undone with his errors. Further, he is no God, he is human too. We ought not to deify him and expect perfection of him. As much as he was a perfectionist, he could not have always made the right decisions alone, and, as he has always acknowledged, required the input of his able team.

Lee Kuan Yew’s sins cannot be atoned with glories taken from others like Dr Winsemius. If Lee was no God but human, why should he and he alone escape judgment? Not expecting perfection from Lee doesn’t mean we therefore cover up his flaws. Lee’s acknowledgement of his team was rare. His denial of false praises in the press was even rarer.

X wrote:

Mr Lee was a living, breathing human who walked amongst us and devoted his life to creating a miracle. With his passing, the world becomes a little darker, and it is up to Singaporeans to continue his legacy and do enough justice to restore his light.

Lee Kuan Yew did not create a miracle. Singapore was already one of two prosperous miracles in the British Empire’s Far East long before Lee was born. Singapore made a great leap forward after independence but the strategies came from Dr Winsemius, not Lee. Lee devoted his life to consolidating his personal fiefdom even if that meant trampling upon the lives of fellow Singaporeans. The world is no brighter with his passing because the people are none the wiser to his true colors. It is up to Singaporeans to wake up from Lee’s false legacies and restore justice to Singapore’s true heroes who suffered and sacrificed so that we may be free today.

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