PAP: 7 Deadly Sins

[‘Greed’ image from Dante’s Inferno]

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Intro to the Seven Deadly Sins.

A semi-satirical overview of the 7 deadly sins in Singapore’s history of governance.

1-7: Lust | Gluttony | Sloth | Envy | Greed | Anger | Pride (click to jump to section)

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1. Lust

Definition: Lust is a feeling of an intense desire in the body.

1) In 2012, the director of the Central Narcotics Bureau, Mr. Ng Boon Gay, was accused by Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau of obtaining sexual favors from a female vendor working for two information-technology suppliers in exchange for furthering the “business interests” of her companies. He professed his innocence but acknowledged having had sexual relations with the female vendor.
(Source: WSJ)

2) A court convicted Peter Lim, the commissioner of the Civil Defense Force, of corruption involving sexual favors in exchange for government contracts. Lim was dismissed from the Civil Defense Force and was sentenced to six months in prison.

3) Speaker of the House Michael Palmer resigned as Member of Parliament for Punggol East after revealing he had an extramarital affair with Madam Laura Ong, an ex-employee of the People’s Association working in Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.
(Source: AsiaOne)

4) Former Ministry of Education (MOE) scholar Jonathan Wong Wai Keong was sentenced to five years’ jail for having sex with a minor. Wong, who was convicted for possession of child pornography in Britain in 2010, faced a total of 10 charges – seven for having sex with a 15-year-old girl, and another three for committing indecent acts.
(Source: Yahoo!)

5) In 2010, an investigating panel said that the former principal of Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), Dr Ong Teck Chin, behaved inappropriately towards a male teacher.
(Source: AsiaOne)

6) Former grassroots leader and teacher Chua Ren Cheng, 33, was jailed for three months after he admitted having paid for sex with an underage prostitute. 44 were charged by the police for the same offence in a list that included a former grade school principal, member of a prominent family, an ex-Straits Times reporter, and a police superintendent.
(Source: Yahoo, Bloomberg, Everything Also Complain)

7) Spencer Gwee Hak Theng, a deputy public prosecutor, was charged in court with having sex with an underage Vietnamese girl, who was 16 at the time of the offence.
(Source: AsiaOne, UTAT)

8) RUMOUR / GOSSIP: Before he became Home Minister, PAP member of parliament K. Shanmugam had an affair (with a woman) that led to messy divorce proceedings.
(Source: Thanks to Vivian, UTWT, Gopalan Nair)

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2. Gluttony

Definition: Excess in eating and drinking.

1) “Food is the purest democracy we have.” (Source: K. F. Seetoh)

2) “Singaporeans can easily identify ourselves with the love of our food.”

3) “With HDB prices going through the roof and costs of COEs exploding, you’d think to say our economy or what’s left of it, right? But alas, no. The hot topic is the design of hawker centres of the future.”
(Source: Belmont Lay)

4) When it comes to tourism, Singapore punches above its weight, with nearly 14 million tourists visiting the island in the first eleven months of 2014. And as a result of a long-term plan by the Singapore government, many of them come for the food.
(Source: NPR)

5) [Hawker] centres are a true blue heartland space for Singaporeans to congregate, eat, bond and reflect, on mostly gossip, life and loves. It’s a national plan that helps politicians reach deeper into the hearts and homes of their constituents. No complaints thus far.
(Source: HuffPo)

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3. Sloth

Definition: Sloth is a failure to do things that one should do. Incorporates inertia and a resistance to change.

1) Central to PAP leaders’ thinking on the role of government was their view that [the] government in Singapore controlled all instruments and centres of power and did not allow the growth of political pluralism.
(Source: Vasil, 1992)

2) Observers say the current crop of leaders will resist any change to the status quo that has for decades insulated them from criticism, particularly as they face a new generation of voters with a different vision for the future. . .independent film-maker Martyn See said Lee’s death is expected to lift “the culture of fear that has dogged Singapore civil society for decades” but expects the government to resist any pressure toward greater freedom.
(Source: Yahoo)

3) The myths [for public policy] matter because they reduce the ability of the Singapore government to pursue pragmatic and creative solutions to [challenges].
(Source: Hard Choices, NUS Press, Pg-28)

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4. Envy


i. Envy is a longing to possess something achieved by another (Dictionary).

ii. Contempt and gloating are kinds of ‘reverse envy’. While we envy those with higher stature, we feel contempt for those with lower stature (EmotionalCompetency).

1) The dictator of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, died recently, to nearly universal praise in the West for the way he built his country into an economic powerhouse. Columnist Richard Cohen thinks that [America has] “authoritarian envy” because “too much democracy” keeps government from being able to do what it needs to do.
(Source: Patheos)

2) In Lee Kuan Yew’s massive From the Third World to the First: The Singapore Story, 1965-2000, there is only one country that he positively seems to envy: Hong Kong. In his view, the Singaporean “[could] not match the Hong Konger in drive and motivation.”
(Source: Econlib)

3) ‘Guard against politics of envy’: MP Zakir Hussain. Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP Josephine Teo is troubled by what she sees as a growing trend here: the labelling of certain Singaporeans as part of an elite. The elite include two groups: the rich and Singaporeans who have won government scholarships.
(Source: ST, 4 Dec 2006)

4) “Maybe it made lesser mortals envious and they thought maybe [senior civil servant Tan Yong Soon] was a little bit boastful.” — Charles Chong, MP
(Source: SDP, Lucky Tan)

5) The opposition to high ministerial salaries is more than just a reflection of public envy. It is a manifestation of a deeper malaise over the widening gap in wealth between the people at the top and the average Singaporean workers.
(Source: RealClearWorld)

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5. Greed

Definition: An inordinate desire to acquire or possess more than one needs, especially with respect to material wealth.

1) Then came the third generation PAP leaders who continue to carry on blithely the astronomical ministerial salary tradition and their so-called service to the people. As long as their motivation is their whopping salaries, the distinction between greed and service to the people is at best indistinguishable.
(Source: Singapore Recalcitrant)

2) This is greed without compassion. This is a government that has its heart and its priorities wrong. This is a government that has placed greater emphasis on corporate profits and GDP growth compared to taking care of our aged, our sick, and our needy.
(Source: SGPolitics)

3) The lack of direction and strategic vision of the current PAP and their selfish greed to accumulate more wealth for themselves while allowing the rest of us Singaporeans to suffer is unforgivable and disgusting.
(Source: TheHeartTruths)

4) While Alvin Yeo’s conduct is shocking, I am not surprised at the low standards set by PAP MPs and their seemingly insatiable greed. . .the PAP’s philosophy has been one of vastly overpaying Ministers to ensure that they remain loyal to the leadership and are prepared to ignore whatever principles they may once have had.
(Source: Kenneth Jeyaretnam)

5) From political office holders to top civil servants (excluding most rank and file) and grassroots, the PAP is about insatiable greed. Ordinary Singaporeans will continue to suffer because the PAP has only been able to entice the greedy to ‘serve’. Greed is so entrenched in the PAP that Singaporeans’ well-being now depends on the removal of the greedy PAP from our government.
(Source: Philip Ang)

6) Right now, [Singapore is] a haven for mega-rich tax evaders, cold-minded, calculative opportunists and those of the “greed is good” school of thought.
(Source: Yahoo)

7) “Uniquely Singapore: Honest greed of the PAP Government.”
(Source: ex Chersonesus Aurea)

8) A local entrepreneur told an audience of 500 pre-university students: “Greed is not evil. Greed oils the wheels of commerce. Greed gives you the will and motivation to succeed.”
(Source: ST, June 1993)

9) The PAP [is] seen as a greedy government.
(Source: Debating Singapore, Pg-52)

10) The NKF fiasco [is] about greed and power. It is about the idea that the political elite must be paid top dollar — no matter how obscene those amounts are and regardless of who suffers.
(Source: Dr. Chee Soon Juan)

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6. Anger

Definition: Inordinate feelings of hatred and anger. Feelings of anger can manifest in different ways, including impatience, revenge, and violence.

1) [The Catherine Lim affair points] out the potential of a strategy of assuming the feminine role deliberately. . .to make a strongly argued point without incurring the state’s full-blown violence.
(Source: Kenneth Paul Tan)

2) In parliament, Goh Chok Tong described Catherine Lim’s political commentaries and criticism from other Singaporeans as an “attack” that the government would have to reciprocate: “If you land a blow on our jaw, you must expect a counter-blow on your solar plexus.” Goh raged against Lim, employing a battery of [violent metaphors] to reinforce his point.
(Source: Kenneth Paul Tan)

3) In LEE’S LAW: How Singapore Crushes Dissent, Lydgate demonstrates that the misuse of democratic power can be as brutal and suppressive as a dictatorship.
(Source: Chris Lydgate)

4) As an incentive for voters to support the ruling party, the PAP tied votes directly to the eligibility for Housing Development Board (HDB) estate upgrading plans. As then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong warned, “You vote for the other side, that means you reject the programmes of the PAP candidate.”
(Source: Terence Chong, 2009)

5) In 2015, Jason ‘Cookie’ Tan, believed to be a grassroots leader at Telok Blangah, made a physical and sexual online threat directed at 16-year old Amos Yee.
(Source: The Online Citizen)

6) “Everybody knows that in my bag I have a hatchet, and a very sharp one. You take me on, I take my hatchet, we meet in the cul-de-sac. . .anyone who takes me on needs to put on knuckle-dusters.” — LKY
(Source: Malay Mail Online)

7) In 1989, journalist Dennis Bloodworth described Lee Kuan Yew as “bloody-minded and ruthless with his adversaries. He stomps them into the ground.”
(Source: Malay Mail Online)

8) In 2011, MM Lee Kuan Yew warned Aljunied voters they would have to live and “repent” for the next five years if they voted in the Workers’ Party (WP) team at Aljunied GRC.
(Source: Yahoo)

9) “I will make him crawl on his bended knees, and beg for mercy.” — LKY on JBJ
(Source: Devan Nair)

10) “But if you are a troublemaker. . .it’s our job to politically destroy you.” — LKY
(Source: BBC, The Diplomat)

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7. Pride

Definition: Believing that one is essentially better than others; failing to acknowledge the accomplishments of others.

1) One common form of attack by the [PAP] ruling party is to bring libel suits against critics, putting them on the defensive and contributing to a culture of self-censorship. [One] of Lee’s young questioners said the tactic “gives the impression that the PAP is arrogant and even a bully.” (Source: NYT)

2) “The ruling party is taking Singapore down the route to North Korea where only homage and tributes are allowed to be expressed to the Great Leader.” — Tan Wah Piow (on Lèse-majesté Singapore style)
(Source: The Online Citizen)

3) It shows the arrogance of the PAP leaders in wanting to assert their political dominance in Parliament to the exclusion of the opposition. . .is this not a mockery of democracy?
(Source: Singapore Recalcitrant)

4) “Do you want 3 meals in a hawker centre, food court or restaurant?” — Vivian Balakrishnan (when queried on the issue of public assistance)
(Source: The Online Citizen)

5) It is not simply arrogance when the PAP claims that poverty does not exist in Singapore or blames poverty on the individual’s laziness or misfortune. Its strategy of stigmatising poverty absolves the Government of any obligation.
(Source: SDP)

6) “There is a particular brand of Singapore elite arrogance creeping in. Some civil servants behave like they have a mandate from the emperor. We think we are little Lee Kuan Yews.” — Ngiam Tong Dow
(Source: Constructing Singapore, A Mandarin and the Making of Public Policy)

7) “. . .the extremely snobbish mindset among the rich and powerful elites (who can forget the brash youth who once said “Get out of my elitist uncaring face”?).”
(Source: Jentrified Citizen)

8) “If you don’t include your women graduates in your breeding pool and leave them on the shelf, you would end up a more stupid society. . .So what happens? There will be less bright people to support dumb people in the next generation. That’s a problem.”
— LKY at National Day Rally, 1983
(Source: Guardian, SDP)

9) “I make no apologies that the PAP is the Government and the Government is the PAP.”
— LKY (Source: Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy)

10) “I never killed [my political opponents]. I never destroyed them. Politically, they destroyed themselves.” — LKY
(Source: NYT)

11) “Supposing I’m now 21, 22, what would I do? I would not be absorbed in wanting to change life in Singapore. I’m not responsible for Singapore. . .Why should I go and undertake this job and spend my whole life pushing this for a lot of people for whom nothing is good enough? I will have a fall-back position, which many are doing — have a house in Perth or Vancouver or Sydney, or an apartment in London, in case I need some place suddenly, and think about whether I go on to America.” — Lee Kuan Yew, The Man & His Ideas, 1997
(Source: LKY)

12) “We decide what is right. Never mind what the people think.” — LKY
(Source: Salon)

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End Notes:

1) In almost every list, pride is considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins, and the source of the others. (Wiki)

2) “Pride goeth before a fall.” (Christian; Buddhist; Islam; Hinduism; Confucius; Taoism)

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And an image from Demon-Cratic (“where the devils wear white…”):


2 thoughts on “PAP: 7 Deadly Sins

  1. As reported in the Singapore Business Times in the early 1980s, a young tycoon went round the schools and preached to the young that it was good to be greedy. At around the same time, I stayed in one of his hotels in Hong Kong. I booked in advance for a superior room and was given one that was smelly and mouldy with damp wall-paper. The reason given to me was that the hotel was fully booked. Maybe the same tycoon gave the same lecture to pre-university students in 1992. He aged with the students. I believe he is also married into the PAP elite.

    Before 100 days of mourning are over for the Dictator (1959-2015), I observed that an additional 2,000 pigs are to be imported daily from Sarawak, Malaysia after a ban on Malaysian pigs for near 20 years. I know for sure at least 2,000 pigs could be imported from Batam by a sibling for nearly 20 years. And there were rumours as to the ownership of the balance of the 3,000 pigs which make up a total of 5,000 permitted to be imported daily until recently.

    No matter who supports the Godless Ultra Communistic Political and Social System as created by the Dictator (1959-2015) and imposed on the citizens by the Apparatchiks aka Meritocrats, this System which is also known as the Singapore Model or authoritarian capitalism or benign dictatorship ( no such thing ) or rich Cuba without the havanas but the bananas will fail if it had not already done so.

    History the fairest arbiter of Humankind’s fables and foible has shown us that the regimes of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Stalin, Mao, Tito, Ho Chi-minh, Lee Kuan Yew etc. faded away with the departure of the Dictator.

    Hence, we now also observe Russia and China grappling with the money aspect which is actually toxic to such regimes and their political systems because even though the Dictator (1959-2015) tried his best to understand Chinese history and culture, he really was no Chinese . To his dying day, he was a Straits Baba. His System does not permit an exit unlike Democracy when properly practised with its checks and balances. He never knew the implication and the application of the ancient Chinese belief in the 36 steps of human conduct or behaviour in which the 36th step was the last.

    Money, money, money will be the death knell of the existing Singapore political system, now or the future.

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