Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Too Strict Mr.Lee

In an astonishing feat of self-delusion, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew has labelled Singaporean Malays 'too strict' in his new book. Their  'strictness', Mr. Lee, is nothing compared to yours.

These statements by Mr. Lee, and the furore they have ignited, in fact transcend the issues relating to the Singapore Malays. The real issue is Mr.Lees continuous and unrelenting attacks on all Singaporeans right to liberty and their freeedom as individuals.

Your press publications laws , Mr. Lee, are too strict.
Your limits on free assembly of citizens, are too strict.
Your limits on public speaking , are too strict.
Your curbs on the forming of Societies, are too strict.
Your crackdown on freedom of expression in its last bastion, the internet, is too strict.
Your laws prescribing corporal and capital punishments, for far too many offenses, are certainly too strict.
The list goes on.

I am being too lenient of course, by only calling 'too strict', what is in fact draconian and repressive.

Those few Singaporeans brave enough to stand up against this tyranny, are harrased and hounded by the police, and then, fined and imprisoned by a compliant judiciary. Equally vicious, almost embarassing, is Mr.Lees crude, bludgeoning strategy of suing and bankrupting dissidents, for 'defamations', that are in reality fair comment on matters of public interest (witness the case of Chee Soon Juan questioning loans made by Singapore to Suharto).

So insidious is this repression, that Singaporeans have taken to censoring themselves. This is evident in their bland newspapers. And it extends to television and the cinema. Suffer creativity and originality.
The Web, online journalism and the freedom to comment offered Singaporeans a chance to finally freely express themselves. But the recent crackdown on The Online Citizen shows that even this will not be countenanced by an insecure government.

Fear, suspicion and a siege mentality is indoctrinated in Singaporeans by constant invocations of the 'threat' posed by their neighbouring countries. Yet, in all these years, not a single skirmish. Mr. Lee has read Sun Tzu, it would appear, while dismissing John Stuart Mills.

And so the educated, intelligent, and for the most part prosperous citizens of Singapore meekly return the ruling party to power at every 'election' (suppressed freedom of expression, state-subservient media and a gelded hustings do not free and fair elections make). Thus perpetuating the toxic politics of a one-party state.

While Mr. Lee squats, like a grim, geriatric Nosferatu, sucking the soul out of his island nation.

"If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind " -John Stuart Mills

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