As opposed to the first part of this Book Review, here we are going to start off by complimenting Mr.Lee.
Mr.Lee says "..Second, every five years there's a free vote.."
We compliment him on keeping a straight face while he said that.
We will now further outrage our readers by agreeing with him.
"If liberal democracy is so superior, it will take over the world just like the market economy..."
Yes, Mr.Lee, it will.
As it has started to even in Egypt. As it must in Malaysia. As it will in Singapore.
And not all the paranoid, fear-mongering, frightened autocrats and dictators in the world will be able to to stop it.
From an academic point of view, though, we would like to point out that liberal democracies and the market economy are two different things, somewhat like apples and oranges.
Comparing the two can only result in a false anecdote.
Which may, perhaps, be his intention.
Which would be very duplicitious of you, sir.
On the difficulties finding talent, he says "We can't find enough good people to run the government".
Surprising indeed in a population of 5 million. And a well-educated, urban poplulation too.
Perhaps they don't like the idea of being your minions, Mr.Lee.
Or perhaps they find the political system that you have forcibly rammed down their throat; contemptible and odious. And want no part of it.
He believes that Singapore cannot have an alternative set of leaders in the opposition because "the talent is not there".
We must refer here to Malaysia, a nation very like Singapore in many ways, with strong cultural and family ties. Except that Singapore has majority Chinese and a minority Malay population, in reverse to Malaysia. They however share 50-year old authoritarian governments, with neither free press nor freedom of speech, among countless other curbs.
In Malaysia, the ruling Barisan nasional was severely jolted in the 2008 elections by an opposition (Pakatan) which took over 5 states and denied Barisan it's customary two thirds majority in Parliement.
A senior Pakatan leader had this to say recently “Before the 2008 election, we could not find candidates because people were still afraid and we were a small party with only one MP.”
Now, however, Pakatan has any number of choices in terms of candidates. Before 2008, citizens were not willing to join what seemed to be a hopeless cause. They needed to believe that they could make a difference. Now they do. But to achieve that, they took a risk. They voted in the opposition, even when the cadidates were below par. But it had to be done. There was no other way to bring change. In Malaysia, there is now hope.
But in Singapore, the climate of fear is still a reality. People have lost hope of changing the political status quo. And so they do not join the opposition. They have no wish to be persecuted for what seems like a hopeless cause.
Forebodingly for Mr.Lee and the PAP though, no election has been called in Singapore since that seismic event in Malaysia. Singaporeans have seen change come to Malaysia, and they will have noted that it has made Malaysia a freer nation. A better nation. And in the Middle East recently, they have witnessed that far more oppressive regimes can be brought down.
Mr.Lee and his minionic Ministers (yes, its a new word), other than their usual repressive measures and unfair and unfree elections, have added several new methods to stop any kind of threat to their continued hold on power. They have added SMCs and GRCs, purportedly to make things fairer, but in reality hobbling the tiny opposition even more.
But there is hope yet, if the electorate is determined enough. For Singapore is very like a pre-2008 Malaysia.The next elections will be a critical one for Singaporeans. They have a chance to change their fate, a chance to release themselves from the climate of fear that is a fact of life in Singapore and a chance to turn the tables on their masters with their false painted-benign faces.
But we have digressed away from Mr.Lee's lament of a lack of talent. A vibrant political environment will throw up plenty of candidates. Mr.Lee has denied Singapore that with his political repressions. And now he wrings his hands and laments.
It is much like a market economy, Mr.Lee. Controlled economies, like, for example, India and certainly China used to be, will not throw up entrepreneurs or make for a healthy, bustling, rapidly growing economy.
Neither will a stale, repressed political environment stir interest in a life of public service or throw up many vibrant, credible politicians.
Free your people, sir, and perhaps you will find their talent.