Thursday, September 19, 2013

Lee Kuan Yew - his legacy

Just a small note about Lee Kuan Yew.

He is without doubt a great political leader. He's a smart man, an intelligent man, an astute man... but he's also a man. A fallible man. Someone who did not brook dissent or opposition.

See how he treated his political opponents. He jailed some of them. He did vile things to them.

Read about the so-called Marxist Conspiracy in the 1980s where a group of idealistic social workers and lawyers mainly from Catholic groups were imprisoned under the ISA. They hauled up their leader and forced him to confess on national tv.

Even then as a child I realized that something was wrong.

Well, then you look at all the other leaders of his era - Marcos, Sukarno, Mao, the various Vietnamese leaders, ... and Pol Pot - and suddenly LKY is like freaking Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. lol.

He is often worried about the future direction of Singapore and wants to lecture us on this or that. But I wonder whether he realizes that a lot of Singapore's problems are actually his fault.

One thing I don't like about him is his ego - his attitude that he built Singapore up from scratch. There are many other leaders in Singapore that don't get the same recognition. Few people remember them - its all LKY this and that.

His stiff policies has also resulted in the migration of a lot of Singaporeans. Don't like it - get out - is his government's attitude. When my dad made a complaint that it was unfair that I should be penalized for flunking my Mandarin in school - the education officer (not a native born Singaporean) told him, if you don't like it, migrate. That was back in the 1980s.

A few years back -one PAP minister opinionated, "Quiters go to Perth" -

I don't think he really cares- he simply increases the immigration intake- and hey presto, he gets a whole bunch of newly minted citizens.

Which makes you wonder. What is a nation without its citizens? What is a national identity when the original citizens are now a minority? Does having a pink IC really make you a Singaporean?

What is Singapore? Originally it was just a small Malay fishing community.  Then a major port for the British empire. Now what? A small independent nation - mainly Chinese people who have a westernized style of government. But we do have something unique - and that's our Singapore character - our culture - the way we think and behave. Its unique. Its who we are. Its how Chinese, Indian, Malay, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist can sit down together communally and talk about how much suntun to use in curry chicken haha.

Its something distinct. I think its something special and worth valuing and hell, even worth fighting for. Isn't that what we did NS for? I certainly didn't do my NS so some rich young dude from China can drive around in his Ferrari sports car at illegal high speeds and splurge his money on the preciously finite Singapore properties.

But society is becoming increasingly polarized. The Govt has a plan to boost the population of Singapore by 100% - mostly through immigration it seems. I think any society increased artificially- if you let in too many migrants - is bound to fray with serious racial and social tensions. And it also seems the Govt is bending too far backwards to help the new migrants into Singapore. I think its damn odd and even a good metaphor for our migration policy when some HDB counselor can actually advice an Indian Singaporean family NOT to ever cook curry at all because its making a recently arrived PRC family upset. This has so many levels of WTF??? Not only that - but most of the new migrants who come in haven't served NS nor reservist. But if they are exempt by age, wealth or whatever - then why force natural born citizens to serve or penalize those who don't want to serve?

For visitors unaware of Singapore's rules - NS, or National Service - is something which the majority of Singaporean men have to do for a 2 year stretch - mostly doing military service for very low pay. When I did my NS back in the early 1990s, I was paid as a recruit about $150 a month. The chance of death, injury (permanent) are also very high. During my time in the service if someone got killed in an accident, the Govt would give the family about $2,000 (that's all folks) as compensation. Singaporeans in the past bore this without much complaint because this was their nation that they were defending. Now, with the Govt opening the floodgates to any rich dude who wants a new citizenship and somewhere to park his cash, who are we protecting again?

Meanwhile the rich are getting richer. The poor are barely getting by.

Meanwhile the well-paid Govt ministers are seemingly out of touch. Just read the headlines.

To get by - everything seems hinged upon a narrow criteria - paper qualifications, people who are excellent in all round academics win. People like Einstein (who flunked virtually all his subjects except Math) would have been relegated to a technical vocation.

Where did this style of elitist style of government come from except from LKY?

Is this what we want our nation to be?

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