Monday, July 02, 2007

Apathy has overtaken Kiasu as a Singaporean Characteristics


Singaporeans are a tolerant lot. They have taken a lot of punishment without complaint. This year alone, Lee Kuan Yew, the dictator of Singapore, announced that he is not satisfied that he is already paid 3 times what the President of United States gets. No matter what the people say, he must have more. This time he has decided to increase his salary to US$3 million dollars a year. As you know, this is about 3 or 4 times the salary of the United States President and more than the combined salaries of the UK, French and German heads of state! Not to forget his Ministers, they too will take US$2 million a year from now on. He says that he is not bothered about what the people think of this, unashamed theft of his people's money. He is, he says, the boss. He will do what he wants and take what he wants. End of chapter.

All Lee's laws are oppressive. The law of Singapore, as ordered by Lee Kuan Yew, states that an gathering of more than 5 people in public requires a permit. Otherwise they are illegal and shall face prosecution and jail. But the problem is that even if you did apply for a permit, say to protest this thieving by Lee Kuan Yew and his friends of the millions of dollars of people's money, you will not get one. So in the end, the people are left with no means to question the government.

The people are prevented from publicly complaining about the injustices they suffer. The government insists that to make a speech in public, one needs a permit. But the Catch 22 appears again, that is, if you applied for a permit to publicly criticize the government, it will be denied. And if you did speak anyway, you face prosecution and imprisonment.

Letters of protest and criticism by the people to the press is routinely ignored because the press in Singapore are completely state owned and controlled. Lee and his government are not interested in the people's views and opinions. As far as Lee and his government are concerned, the Singapore population is nothing more than a nuisance, to be just ignored.

The young in Singapore almost entirely hate the government. They detest having to do national service for a country for which they have no loyalty. They want to emigrate overseas. But if they did, their parents face arrest and prosecution for their sons failure to do national service. Their parents too detest the government. But there is nothing they can do. There is no means for them to legitimately compel the government to listen to them. If they write letters to the government or the press, they are merely ignored. Lee Kuan Yew does whatever he wants. Life is becoming intolerable for the people under this dictatorship.

About 30 years ago, when the government introduced the Central Provident Fund savings system, the government promised the people that they could withdraw their savings at the age of 55 for their retirement. Over the years, the government has raised the retirement age and today it stands at 62. The workers under the new system are only given a small sum each month instead of their being able to withdraw the whole amount. In the case of workers who do not have much in the CPF account, the money that the government pays them in instalments is insufficient to survive on. They have to either continue working at their advanced age or they have to live in poverty. The government does not care about them at all.

The government restricts the information that people can receive. The Singapore newspaper, the Straits Times is state controlled. So are all the other newspapers and other news media. All state controlled. People are forced to read and listen to propaganda. Foreign newspapers which truly report the news such as the Far Easter Economic Review are banned.

The government does whatever they want with public funds. These funds belong to the people as they comprise tax funds and workers CPF retirement savings. With no consultation with the people whatsoever and not even disclosing their actions, the government does whatever they want with the funds. Moreover Lee Kuan Yew and his Ministers steal this money by paying themselves millions of dollars, in what they call salary, but which the people call theft. The people are left with no means of protesting thisinjustice. If they did publicly protest without a government permit, which they cannot obtain, they will be arrested and imprisoned.

If the people had complaints, they cannot seek help through their elected representatives. The 2 opposition elected representatives have become totally ineffective through fear. Fear that if they really took measures to air their people's grievances, they themselves might be arrested and imprisoned. Therefore, the 2 elected opposition Members of Parliament merely make speeches, which the government in turn ignores. The Non Constituency MP makes speeches in Parliament and occasionally goes around the island giving lectures on the Penal Code. She is a Law Professor. And Lee Kuan Yew and his bullies just ignores all that the opposition does in Parliamentary speeches and law lectures. At the end of the day, the people's lives have not changed one bit. They have no choice but to continue to bear the hard life that Lee
demands of them.

In every aspect of life, Singaporeans are being treated no better than "digits" as Lee Kuan Yew once called Singaporeans, to be pushed around any which way he wants. The question is, how much more will Singaporeans have to bear before they realize that they must protest, regardless of the consequences.

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News Junkie, Irreverent Blogger, Anarcho-Capitalist, Technologist