Chris Ho: Saved Comment on LKY

chrisho_lky
Standard

Great post via Chris Ho in March 2015, with many pertinent points mentioned (based on a comment by netizen “hortensisus_truth,saved by Chris Ho).

  • Will update the pic above when I get the chance! (March 2016 — I moved house a couple of months ago…)

Re-posted below.

The SG PR machine will do its very best to persuade the world that Lee Kuan Yew was a benevolent man. The truth is far more complicated and in some instances downright sinister. His economic legacy may be available for all to see, but at what cost?

The Telegraph even chooses to repeat the lie that LKY believed in the rule of law. He believed in no such thing. He believed in HIS rule & HIS law. To this day, the judiciary remains a compliant poodle that dares not go against the government & has made the most outrageous rulings so as not to inconvenience the PAP (ruling party.) Just look up: Cheng San GRC polling day ruling

Consider the following:

1) SG, under his rule, had one of the highest execution rates per capita in the entire world – often for ridiculously small crimes. (See Van Nguyen’s execution – one of the least just executions ever).

2) To this day, it is still not mandatory to provide domestic workers with a day of leave each week. Nothing short of modern slavery for more than 100,000 poor, migrant labourers who can do practically nothing about it if they have a ruthless, uncaring employer-which many do. SG may have gotten rich but the exploitation of regional workforces has played a massive role in that wealth generation. That mindset has been passed into society which is one of the least caring rich countries on earth towards its migrant poor.

3) The claims of zero corruption are simply laughable. Is nepotism not considered corruption? The reality is that with such iron control of the media, it has been hard to establish who owns and controls what in SG – interestingly as alternative media has grown, so has evidence of corruption. Just consider: LKY’s son is PM, his other son was head of the Singtel and is CEO of Civil Aviation Authority, his daughter-in-law is in charge of the sovereign wealth fund, his relative is President. I could go on but it is absolutely clear that the entire family benefitted enormously from his ruthless control of the government. The gov lost 40% of the vote in the last election & yet still retains 82 out of 89 seats in parliament? Why? The electoral system has been gerrymandered & twisted to the ruling party’s benefit entirely corruptly. No corruption? Absolute rubbish & nonsense.

4) The birth rate. If you want a real indictment of his rule – look to the SG birth rate. SG has one of the world’s lowest fertility rates. People have simply given up having children because this densely populated island is a hot house of constant and almost unbearable pressure on its citizens. He created a school system that deliberately made people of lesser academic talents feel second class and were treated as second class. The result has been a brain drain of creative talents. Like the Mayans before him, his legacy may be to have eradicated his own people in the name of material glory. Some legacy.

5) Intolerance. The local and sympathetic foreign press will use euphemisms for his “knuckle duster” approach to dissent or political control. Ask those who have been imprisoned by him without trial whether they think it was just the knuckle duster? One of the world’s longest serving political prisoners, without trial, was in SG – 32 years – and there are literally countless others. See Operation Coldstore and Operation Spectrum for a hint of his charming, bullying, ruthless style.

6) Gay rights. SG is the only G20 country in the world where it is still illegal to be gay. Gay people are arbitrarily abused for their inherent sexuality and from time to time their sexuality is used against them. For that matter, try and be an independent academic. (See Cherian George – denied tenure simply because he was a mild government critic, despite being one of the foremost journalism professors in the country).

7) Opacity in government. The Singaporeans are forced to save their money in a scheme called the CPF. This is used for healthcare, housing, education and retirement. It remains to be seen, however, whether the way that money is managed is fair, reasonable and corruption free. Whilst it may indeed be all above the board, the government has refused to disclose much information about this giant pool of money and how exactly the money is used, invested etc. There remains a lingering doubt as to whether the money is truly available for citizens or used in their best interest. SG has no freedom of information laws, tightly controls the flow of information out of government and repeatedly refuses to provide data that justifies their actions.

LKY was a utilitarian, Platonic and Machiavellian bully. Praise his economic achievements but never forget those who have suffered, and there are plenty today and in the past who still do so, because of his ruthlessness. Spare a thought for the exiled, the executed, the unfairly punished, the bankrupted, and, above all the S’porens who were left for 30 years in a climate of utter fear. His legacy is far less benign than a sycophantic press will acknowledge.

Check out some excerpts by Chris Ho I compiled some time ago, and follow his witty, entertaining and enlightening updates on FB.

* * *

chrisho2

[Photo from FB]

CHRIS HO is a singer/musician/author/underground filmmaker/music fan/DJ.

Chris Ho Online: Facebook | Photo Album | Website | Music | DJ Profile

Advertisements

Lee Kuan Yew on CPF

LKY_CPF
Standard

1. LEE KUAN YEW on CPF:

“This is your wealth, the savings of people in individual accounts are not government reserves.”

LKY_CPF_speech

Screenshot: LKY’s Speech | Page 13

Source: Speech by Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, at The Fullerton Square Rally on 19 December 1984 (NAS)

2. BOARD OF DIRECTORS on GIC:

GIC is a sovereign wealth fund (i.e. government-owned investment fund) established by the Government of Singapore in 1981 to manage Singapore’s foreign reserves. GIC and Temasek Holdings are the soverign wealth funds owned by the Government of Singapore.

GIC’s Corporate Gorvernance page states that “the government holds the GIC board accountable for portfolio performance, but does not interfere in the company’s investment decisions.”

GIC_accountability

Screenshot: GIC Corporate Governance (1 Aug 2015)

The page goes on to list the GIC’s Board of Directors.

GIC_BoardDirectors

Some of GIC’s Board of Directors | Source: GIC

How is the government supposed to “not interfere in GIC’s investment decisions” when government members such as the Prime Minister and several Ministers are on the GIC’s Board of DIrectors?

Is the Prime Minister not supposed to discuss GIC and Temasek Holdings with his wife, Ms. Ho Ching, who has been the CEO of Temasek Holdings since 2004 and is the world’s 59th most powerful female according to Forbes?

As Roy Ngerng says in a recent blog post:

“Can the GIC claim not to have any regard to the sources of funds it receives if the government also sits on the GIC’s board of directors?

Can the GIC claim not to know if it is using Singaporeans’ CPF to invest?”

(Source: Roy Ngerng / The Mysterious Circumstances of How GIC was Formed)

3. OTHER PERSPECTIVES:

A modest selection of commentaries on CPF.

a) Leong Sze Hian

I thought it may be in the public interest, to try to summarise some of the questions on CPF that Roy Ngerng and others have been asking.

  • Is there any other country in the world that keeps so much of the returns from the national pension fund – from the people?
  • Is it true that since 1999, the CPF had the lowest real rate of return amongst all national pension schemes in the world?
  • . . .Does it mean that we may have lost [about] 84 per cent of our total CPF funds of $151.3 billion in 2008 (CPF Trends, October 2013) in just one year?

(Source: Leong Sze Hian – What are Roy’s Questions about the CPF?)

b) Roy Ngerng / CPF Blogger

RoyNgerng_Sword

Roy Painting | Source: SG Daily / FB

i) “DEMAND FOR TRANSPARENCY: What are the losses that GIC and Temasek Holdings have made since their inception? What have they done to manage the losses? How much “capital” has the government injected into the GIC and Temasek Holdings since their inception? Where does this additional “capital” come from?”
(Source: Roy Ngerng / 30 June 2014)

ii) As most Singaporeans would know by now, our CPF is being taken by the PAP to be invested in the Temasek Holdings and GIC. In 2008, Temasek Holdings lost $58 billion, which is equal to 40% of the value of our CPF (Chart 76). When this money is lost, who has to pay off the loss and the debt? It’s not them.

Short Version: When The PAP Started Turning Against Singaporeans

Video Version: When The PAP (Video)

iii) “This is the top viewed article on my blog and has been viewed more than 550,000 times. Many Singaporeans are angry because: the government said that since we borrowed our own pension funds to buy housing and they cannot pay us the interest on the money withdrawn, when we sell our homes, we will have to pay back this interest into the pension funds. This is possibly the article which started the government watching me.”

Article: Truth Exposed: The Dirty CPF-HDB Scheme To Trick Singaporeans

Video Version: Truth Exposed (Video)

iv) “This is my second attempt after I got sued, to trace how the government has been taking our pension funds to earn and use since the 1980s.”

Article: What PAP Has Done to Your CPF (The Real History)

v) “The Rothschild family used to control large swaths of the banking industry in Europe and effectively controlled their governments. In 1982, the PAP started working with them.”

Article: How the PAP Started Turning against Singaporeans from the Mid-1980s

c) Phillip Ang

i) PM Lee’s famous words which I think Singaporeans will now find them hard to believe: “Never forget that we are servants of the people. Always maintain a sense of humility and service.
(Phillip Ang, 1 July 2015)

ii) “The total balance of our CPF is not $282 million but $282 BILLION. GIC should not be allowed to continue managing our CPF without providing a proper set of accounts as it would be logical to suspect something’s not right.”
(Phillip Ang, 30 June 2015)

iii) “There wasn’t a whisper heard in Parliament on the CPF issue until Roy came along. And what’s more outrageous – PM Lee did nothing because he had probably assumed zero transparency and zero accountability did not matter, as during his father’s time.”
(Phillip Ang, 4 July 2015)

d) Christopher Balding

i) “The claimed 17% earned by Temasek in SGD belongs to the people of Singapore who provided the public surpluses and capital investment to build companies.”
(Christopher Balding, The Real CPF Scam)

ii) “I have said many times that if I am wrong, it is easy to prove me wrong with very simple and data that should have no reason to be secret. They could easily prove me wrong if the truth was on their side. It isn’t. I know it and they know it.”
(Christopher Balding, In Singapore: Truth is No Defense)

e) Kenneth Jeyaretnam

“GIC has confirmed what I wrote that in fact GIC’s funding comes from CPF. They say so here: GIC, along with MAS, manages the proceeds from the Special Singapore Government Securities (SSGS) that are issued and guaranteed by the government which CPF board has invested in with the CPF monies.
(Kenneth Jeyaretnam, Exposing the Problems with CPF / March 2015)

f) Chee Soon Juan

“PM LHL’s proposal to return retirees 20 percent of their savings upon retirement does nothing to resolve the problem of inadequate CPF funds. This move is symptomatic of Mr Lee’s leadership – trying to appease the public while sticking to unjustified, and unjustifiable, policies.
(Chee Soon Juan / SDP / February 2015)

g) Martyn See

“There are over 450 comments to this open letter titled DEAR CPF: GIVE ME BACK MY MONEY!, virtually all of which support the writer’s plea. Many also describe their personal stories of financial struggle. There is no better way to understand the lives of the working class Singaporean than to start here.”

Excerpts: Compiled by Martyn See (FB)

Lee Kuan Yew: On Ministers’ Salaries

sgministers_salaries
Standard

[LKY ON MINISTERS’ SALARIES (1980’s)]

1) “In Singapore, [wealth and power] are two different things. And we should keep them as two different entities.”
— LKY, National Day Rally 1984

2) “Recently, we persuaded a graduate, who is a journalist, to be a candidate for the next elections. He went through a stretch of soul-searching. He decided to take up the responsibility.

He explained it this way: In Malaysia, Dr Mahathir [warned] of dangers of using vast sums of money to buy voters. To be elected is the way to power and to wealth. This journalist found [that] in Singapore no one was fighting to be elected either into the Central Executive Committee of the PAP or into Parliament. There was no money to be made. . .no dishonest or opportunistic or selfish and greedy types [should] ever get into positions of powers.”
— Lee Kuan Yew (16 August 1984 / PDF Download)

[LKY ON MINISTERS’ SALARIES (1990’s)]

3) “It is possible that politically and socially uncommitted people from the higher management and professional brackets will be attracted to the idea of public office for this higher pay. . .[but] if this salary formula can draw out higher quality men into politics, whatever their motivations, I say, let us have them.”
— Lee Kuan Yew (1 November 1994)

4) “Ministers who deal with billions of dollars cannot be paid low salaries without risking a system malfunction. Low salaries will not attract able men who are or can be successful in their professions or business. Low salaries will draw in the hypocrites who sweet talk their way into power in the name of public services, but once in charge will show their true colour, and ruin the country.”
— Lee Kuan Yew (19 July 1996)

5) “Equality is an aspiration: it is not reality, it is not practical.”
— Lee Kuan Yew (19 August 2009)

[PERSPECTIVES ON SG MINISTERS’ SALARIES]

6) Mr Jeyaretnam: “The Prime Minister more than once said, “Let’s be honest with ourselves.” Well, let us be honest. What is the Prime Minister saying? Is he saying that his present Cabinet Ministers or the new recruits into his Party would not have come in unless they were promised huge sums of money by way of high salaries? . . . If they are only interested in the money, there is no integrity.”
1985 Budget Debate (via Roy Ngerng)

7) “How much money does it take to keep a Singapore government minister happy? The government says a million dollars is not enough.
— NYT (2007)

8) “The broader issue is that politics is a public service. Other corruption-free countries such as Denmark and New Zealand do not need to pay their ministers astronomical salaries to keep them clean.”
— Tan Jee Say, former senior civil servant and fund manager (2011)

9) “Given that ministers get to decide on their salaries, aren’t we in essence giving them a blank check in the name of preventing corruption?”
— Aaron Chew (2011)

* ‘Blank Check’ Definition: An unlimited freedom of action.

10) “DPM [Teo Chee Hean] talked of the ethos of political service. How this can be reconciled with paying themselves obscenely high salaries in order to serve the people? Is this service to the people or self-serving?
— Singapore Recalcitrant (11 March 2015)

All in the FamiLee

Standard

Associated words used by netizens: FamiLEE, LEE-gime, LEEgalised corruption, LEEgacy, and Marry-tocracy.

I was very curious about a Lee Family Tree graphic that was created by Alternative View SG.

I have gathered some excerpts from reliable sources which verify most of the family ties in this Lee Family Tree image.

If readers know of any inaccuracies, please contact me to verify the data. Thank you :)

LeeFamily

* SECTION 1: RUMOURS AND SPECULATIONS

1) RUTH LEE = LKY’s Niece

Wong Kan Seng is married to Ruth Lee Hong Geok, who is rumoured to be the daughter of Lee Suan Yew (Lee Kuan Yew’s brother). If this is true, it makes Ruth Lee LKY’s niece.

Here are a couple of pictures of Ruth Lee and Wong Kan Seng:

ruthlee

Wong Kan Seng with his wife, Ruth Lee Hong Geok. Image from Veritas.

ruthlee2

Ruth Lee and Wong Kan Seng. Image from RememberingLKY.

leekuanyewfamily

Lee Kuan Yew extended family picture, taken on Chinese New Year’s Eve (1993). From LKY’s memoir, “The Man and His Ideas” (pg-246).

In the above picture taken in 1993, it looks like the woman to the right of Ho Ching is Shermay Lee (LKY’s niece). Her parents are Pamelia Lee and Lee Suan Yew, who have four children.

In a Straits Times interview, Shermay Lee said she has an older sister and younger twin brothers. (Note: I am guessing these younger twin brothers are in the 1993 black and white picture above, in front on the right.)

Pamelia Lee is standing and in the centre of the 1993 photo. Looking at this pictures makes me wonder if the woman to the left of Pamelia Lee is “Ruth Lee,” the older sister that Shermay referred to.

+ + +

* SECTION 2: VERIFIED BY RELIABLE SOURCES

This section contains excerpts and screenshots which verify the other family ties in the Lee Family Tree graphic.

1) HO SING = HO CHING’S Younger Brother

hoching_hosing

Ho Ching (left; image from SI). Ho Sing (right; image from YTL).

A 2010 Today Online article mentioned that Ho Sing, then 44, is the brother of Temasek CEO Ho Ching.

Ho Sing has worked with several Singapore Technologies-affiliated companies. At YTL, Mr. Ho oversees a growing list of assets in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, China and Japan.

Ho Ching was the CEO of Singapore Technologies Group from 1997-2001. A 2007 NYT article mentioned that a Temasek spokesman was unwilling to reveal Ho Ching’s age or date of birth, although a Temasek bond document in 2005 said she was 52.

As the following netizen says: “I don’t understand why all the secrecy.”

2) HO PENG = HO CHING’S Younger Sister

hopeng

Ho Peng. Image from ST.

A 2005 Fortune Magazine interview mentioned that Ho Peng, who was then working as the Curriculum Planning and Development director at the Ministry of Education (Singapore), is Ho Ching’s sister.

Ms. Ho Peng was appointed Director-General of Education in April 2009. She retired from the MOE in March 2015.

3) GRACE FU = DAUGHTER OF JAMES FU

jamesfu

James Fu was Mr. LKY’s press secretary from 1972 to 1993.

gracefu

Grace Fu. Image from Wiki.

Grace Fu, senior minister of state, is the daughter of James Fu.

In 2012, she wrote about the difficulties of “the recent pay cut” in ministers’ salaries. With a 37% pay cut, entry-level ministers would get an annual salary starting from S$1,100,000.

4) KWA CHONG SENG = NEPHEW OF LKY’S WIFE

kwachongseng

Kwa Chong Seng. Image from PSC.

Kwa Chong Seng, PSC member, was the Deputy Chairman of Temasek Holdings (Private) Limited from 1997 to 2012.

“It was in the immediate wake of the HPL affair of 1996 that LKY initiated a series of changes to the relationship between the DCAC and the GLCs — changes that were part of a broader overhaul of the financial sector that finally came to fruition in 1999. Lee Hsien Loong as Deputy Prime Minister was given special responsibility for this project and set about changing the structure — and the personnel — in the GLC sector.

This activity marked a major shift of institutional power away from Goh and Richard Hu and to members of the Lee family and a few Lee loyalists. First the power to appoint board members and non-executive directors of GLCs was transferred from the DCAC to Temasek holdings.

This is significant because it occured around the same time (1996) that LKY loyalist S. Dhanabalan was appointed Chairman of Temasek Holdings and LKY’s wife’s nephew, Kwa Chong Seng, was appointed Deputy Chairman of Temasek Holdings (1997).

It may be significant that at about the same time (1997) Lee Hsien Loong’s wife, Ho Ching, was appointed Executive Director and CEO of the Singapore Technologies Group, which is the Temasek-owned holding company for defence-related GLCs.”

(Source: The Ruling Elite of Singapore, by Michael Barr)

5) KWA SOON BEE (LKY’s Brother-In-Law)

kwasoonbee

Kwa Soon Bee. Image from KeppelLand.

“Many senior business figures in Asia are related to other prominent figures by blood or by marriage. The connections in Asia are often not obvious to outsiders but they can be a minefield for the unwary.

The mix of marriages and blood relations in Asia can make for some complex webs. Here are a few examples that involve some of Asia’s biggest business names:

Lee Kim Yew, Chairman of the Singapore food company Cerebos Pacific, is a brother of Singapore’s Senior Minister and former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Lee Kim Yew’s wife is Gloria Lee, the founder of one of Singapore’s most prominent stock brokerages Kim Eng Securities.

A third brother is Lee Suan Yew, a past director of Singapore’s Hotel Properties Ltd. His wife, Pamelia Lee, has been a senior director at the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board. Kwa Soon Bee, the brother of Lee Kuan Yew’s wife Kwa Geok Choo, is a former permanent secretary of health and a member of the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board.

Lee Kuan Yew’s sons Lee Hsien Loong and Lee Hsien Yang are deputy prime minister of Singapore and head of Singapore Telecom respectively. Lee Hsien Loong’s wife, Ho Ching, is head of Temasek Holdings.”

(Source: Big in Asia, by Palgrave Macmillan / 2003)

6) TAN CHIN TUAN (OCBC Pioneer + Tony Tan’s Uncle + LKY’s Uncle-in-Law)

tan chin tuan

Group Photograph of Founding Members of OCBC, 1932, showing Tan Chin Tuan (front row; fourth from left) and Kwa Siew Tee (back row; third from left). Source: Veritas / NAS.

  • Kwa Siew Tee is Lee Kuan Yew’s father-in-law.
  • Lee Kuan Yew’s mother-in-law, Wee Yew Neo and Banker Tan Chin Tuan’s wife, Helen Wee (a banker’s daughter), are half-sisters.
  • Which makes Tan Chin Tuan LKY’s uncle-in-law.
  • Tony Tan is Tan Chin Tuan’s nephew. Tony Tan was sworn in as President on 1 September 2011.

This is a picture of Kwa Siew Tee and Wee Yew Neo:

weeyewneo

President Yusof Ishak with Mrs. Lee Kuan Yew’s Parents, Kwa Siew Tee (left) and Wee Yew Neo (right), 1968. | Image from National Archives of Singapore.

This screenshot from Geni (a genealogy directory) states that Helen Wee and Wee Yew Neo are half-sisters.

wee_yew_neo

Wee Yew Neo. Image from Geni.

These screenshots show that Helen Wee was married to Tan Chin Tuan.

nlb_chintuan

Family of Tan Chin Tuan. Image from NLB.

chintuantan

Tan Chin Tuan. Image from Geni.

According to the blog Veritas:

Without the Kwa family network of powerful families, it is questionable whether LKY could have emerged as the leader of the PAP in the 1950s, given that there were many other extremely capable and charismatic leaders in the party. The nexus of Kwa family probably also helped LKY to win the trust of the British, which handed over to him the control of security apparatus. That is the key with which LKY was able to arrest his political opponents.

7) TEO CHENG GUAN (father of DPM Teo Chee Hean):

teocheehean

Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister of SG.

Teo Cheng Guan was the sixth chairman of OCBC Bank, and the father of Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

He was on the same management board as Tan Chin Tuan, Tony Tan’s uncle.

+ + +

* SECTION 3: SAY THE WORD AND GET SUED

Definition of “Nepotism”: The practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs. (Oxford)

A summary of how “nepotism” is a sensitive word in Singapore — including publications that were sued for alleging that high-ranking Singapore officials got their jobs through nepotism.

1) “Days after political website Temasek Review Emeritus (TRE) revealed Mr Richard Wan as of one of its editors, lawyers acting for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong issued him a five-page letter in 2012, demanding that the website remove an opinion piece that contained comments which alleged “nepotistic motives” in the appointment of Lee’s wife as head of sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings. After retracting the article, Wan published an apology on the website, and urged TRE readers to refrain from making similar comments.”
(Source: SG Rebel and Asia Sentinel)

2) “The problems created by Lee Kuan Yew’s urge to control most aspects of Singaporeans’ lives are more subtle than nepotism. Lack of political and economic freedom [is] the cancer at the heart of Singapore.”
(Source: WSJ)

3) “In its apology, Bloomberg said its article had implied that Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong had put the Lee family’s interests above the country’s in allowing Ms. Ho’s appointment, and that her husband and father-in-law were guilty of nepotism. Lawyers for the three men accused Bloomberg and Mr. Smith of acting maliciously. The article has been removed from Bloomberg’s Web site and subscription service.”
(Source: NYT)

4) “The Financial Times has apologised and paid libel damages and costs to Singapore’s prime minister and the country’s founding father after accusing them of nepotism.”
(Source: Guardian)

5) “The International Herald Tribune apologised, settled the $678,000 in libel damages, and, as part of the settlement, [columnist] Bowring agreed that he would not say or imply that Lee Hsien Long took office through nepotism.”
(Source: Foreign Policy)

+ + +

* SECTION 4: IS NEPOTISM CORRUPTION?

According to Wikipedia:

Forms of corruption vary, but include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, influence peddling, graft, and embezzlement.

Some other excerpts:

1) “Corruption comes in different forms and nepotism is one of its most subtle and overpowering forms. . .it marks the destruction of a meritocracy which should be the basis of admissions or employment. The problem with nepotism is even though only a few people in power have the ability to use nepotism for their own gain, its effects are widespread and affect many people.”
(Source: DNA)

2) “Favoritism, cronyism, and nepotism all interfere with fairness because they give undue advantage to someone who does not necessarily merit this treatment.

In the public sphere, favoritism, cronyism, and nepotism also undermine the common good. When someone is granted a position because of connections rather than because he or she has the best credentials and experience, the service that person renders to the public may be inferior.

Also, because favoritism is often covert (few elected officials are foolish enough to show open partiality to friends, and family), this practice undercuts the transparency that should be part of governmental hiring and contracting processes.”
(Source: Santa Clara University)

3) “When patronage, nepotism, and cronyism become popular mechanisms for government to select appointees for important positions, the corruption of collusion (i.e. conspiracy) will unavoidably take place.”
(Source: Government Anti-Corruption Strategies)

4) “There needs to be a change. Singapore is not the Lee Family and we need to get rid of the climate of fear.”
(Source: KJ in IB Times)

+ + +

* SECTION 5: CLOSING COMMENTS

X’ Ho on Nepotism:

“Is nepotism not considered corruption? Just consider: LKY’s son is PM, his other son was head of Singtel and is CEO of Civil Aviation Authority, his daughter-in-law is in charge of the sovereign wealth fund, his relative is President. I could go on but it is absolutely clear that the entire family benefited enormously from his ruthless control of the government. The gov lost 40% of the vote in the last election & yet still retains 82 out of 89 seats in parliament? Why? The electoral system has been gerrymandered & twisted to the ruling party’s benefit entirely corruptly. No corruption? Absolute rubbish & nonsense.”
(Source: Chris Ho)

Former ISD Director on PM LHL and Ho Ching:

“She did not marry me and become Temasek Holdings’ Chief Executive Officer. I married her because she had the talent of a CEO.” This was the dramatic revelation of PM Lee Hsien Loong in referring to his wife, Ms Ho Ching, in an interview with Mr. Phil Ponce, host of the Chicago Tonight on WTTW Channel 11 last Thursday. Apparently, this was said to pre-empt Mr. Ponce from popping the question of nepotism in the Singapore government.
(Source: SG Recalcitrant)

Comment:

“You can see they all ‘kaki lang‘ (one of us) — damn jia lat (this is serious).”
(Source: breakaway)

* * *

MORE INFO (re: the “wider” family tree):

1) Why It Might Be Difficult For The Government To Withdraw From Business
(Singapore-Window)

2) “The Lee Dynasty of Singapore”
(Comment)

3) The Beginning of The End of Lee Kuan Yew’s Dynasty?
(CSIS)

PAP: 7 Deadly Sins

greed_deadlysin
Standard

[‘Greed’ image from Dante’s Inferno]

+ + +

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)

+ + +

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.
(Source: State.gov)

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)

+ + +

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.”
(Source: PAP.org.sg)

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)

+ + +

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)

+ + +

4. Envy

Definition:

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)

+ + +

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)

+ + +

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)

+ + +

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)

+ + +

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)

+ + +

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

demoncratic

Book Review: Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore

tjs_lky
Standard

An online blurb describes this book as “a penetrating analysis of the policies and predilections of [this] controversial leader.”

The table of contents accurately reflects the sequential and exciting tone of the content:

1. The Making of a City State
2. The Making of a Man
3. The Making of a Prime Minister
4. The Battle for the People’s Minds
5. Marriage and Divorce
6. Strategy for Progress
7. Strategy for Repression
8. The Mould of Conformism
9. From Athens to Israel
10. Under the Banyan Tree
11. Alone against Tomorrow

As someone born in the late 80’s, a lot of the details were new to me upon my first read of the book from cover to cover.

What is fascinating about the book is that it was published in 1973. The author displays an uncanny ability of astute perception and prediction for Singapore’s style of government and political situation in the ensuing decades since the book was first written.

The first half of the book is akin to a comprehensive history lesson of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s background and subsequent ascent to power. The author takes a careful and perceptive look at LKY’s actions to come to the conclusion that Lee’s concept of Singapore is partly “a way of [making] a society in his own image — the projection on to the national scene of an individual’s complex psychological problems.” This is justified by the Singapore of the 1970s mirroring “not the collective aspirations of a people or a generation but the ideals, convictions and prejudices of Lee Kuan Yew.”

The first notable aspect of the book is how it reveals the destructiveness of one man’s (and by extension, one party’s) policies and actions upon an entire nation, society, and generations of citizens. The author sticks to the facts with a writing style that displays lively touches of wit and humanity, so the reader is presented with a “study of Lee in action,” instead of a frenzied personal attack.

Chapter 7 and Chapter 8 were particularly outstanding for the thorough and well-selected cases that showcase the extent of Mr Lee’s policy of repression, with respect to any form of dissent or sharp criticisms.

In a brief yet comprehensive manner, the author analyses various contradictory statements by Mr Lee; the sequence of events associated with Operation Coldstore; the application of the Internal Security Act to dispose of political rivals; the subsequent treatment of political opponents and/or prisoners; and how all aspects of the state were subjected to government control (from the education system, to the mass media, and the rule of law, in order to cast “Singaporeans in a carefully prepared mould”).

The second notable aspect of the book is its prophetic nature. T.J.S. George foresaw that the “prosperity” Lee heralded would be “accompanied by deterioration in the quality of life.”

To casual observers and citizens who are impressed enough by “Singapore’s apparent glitter,” this deterioration in the quality of life would seem to be a misnomer. The last chapter of the book reveals how LKY’s “dictatorial” practices disregard “the citizen’s right to respect and equality, that basic right which enables each ‘digit’ in a social whole to stand up and express his views.”

The book shatters many myths with regard to the state of democracy and civil rights in Singapore. Above all, it gives an insightful account of the side of Mr Harry Lee Kuan Yew which will not be seen in state-sponsored portrayals of the ruler as a faultless man.

A quote from a blog post by the author to end off this review:

“The West has spread the impression that Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew is Asia’s outstanding economic miracle man while Malaysia’s Mahathir as a cantankerous ogre, hater of white people and dictator to boot. Both are dressed up portraits. What makes Mahathir special is that while pursuing economic progress he never lost sight of the larger picture of human values. That cannot be said of Lee Kuan Yew and certainly not of Indonesia’s Suharto or Thailand’s Thaksin Shinawatra.”
— TJS George (June 2011)

* * *

Author Bio:

tjs_george

T. J. S. GEORGE is a former political editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review and the founding editor of Asiaweek (Hong Kong). He is a writer and biographer who received a Padma Bhushan award in 2011 in the field of literature and education. A veteran senior journalist and one of the best known columnists in India, he continues his fight against social injustice, corruption and political anarchies through his columns.

T. J. S. George Online: Blog | Wikipedia

* * *

More Information:

Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore (Amazon)
Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore (NLB)
Excerpts from Book (blog)

Excerpts from “Marxists in Singapore?”

singapore_marxist
Standard

Excerpts from “Marxists in Singapore? Lee Kuan Yew’s Campaign against Catholic Social Justice Activists in the 1980s”

by Michael Barr (2010)

PDF Link to Journal Article: Ebscohost

* * *

Definitions:

1. Conspiracy: A secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful.

Extracts from Article:

1) Singapore’s ruling elite runs a finely calibrated system of social and political control based on a mixture of monitoring and repression by the state, and self-monitoring and self-restraint by all elements of civil society.

2) In response to the challenges [of a fresh upsurge of social justice activism and dissent], LKY created a fanciful narrative about a “Marxist conspiracy” to overthrow the state. . .this article uses archival, oral, and secondary sources [to study the] motivations of the government — which essentially means the motivations of Lee Kuan Yew.

3) The comprehensive display [at Singapore’s Internal Security Department Heritage Centre] has one glaring omission: there is no mention of Operation Spectrum, the smashing of the supposed Marxist conspiracy in mid 1987.

4) The conspiracy was so shadowy that when one of the detainees protested during interrogation that he did not know anything about a conspiracy and did not even know half of his supposed twenty-one co-conspirators, he was told with a straight face that he was “an unconscious conspirator,” and he might as well admit it.

5) According to a former journalist who was working at The Straits Times in 1987, not a single person in the newsroom remotely believed the charges, but they had no choice but to report the government’s story as fact. (Note: Read Bertha Henson’s blog about the matter — TOC.)

6) The official amnesia is perhaps a convenient cover for the fact that there never was a conspiracy, Marxist or otherwise. Then prime minister Lee almost admitted as much in confidence at the time when he told the Catholic archbishop of Singapore, the late Gregory Yong, that the detainees themselves were of minimal concern to him. He dismissed them as “do-gooders who wanted to help the poor and the dispossessed.”

7) . . .Lee Kuan Yew personally orchestrated the exercise to try to guarantee what he understood to be the elements essential to the stability of the regime beyond his impending (or so it seemed) retirement.

8) [The authors of the Church and Society series] “criticis[ed] the Government on various secular issues…[and] accused the Government of emasculating the trade unions and enacting labour laws which curtailed the rights of workers.” This hardly amounts to conspiring to overthrow the state.

9) [The Catholic activists] had no reason to doubt that they would remain under the protection of Archbishop Gregory Yong. The first of these beliefs lasted until the early hours of 21 May 1987, when ISD officers awakened and arrested the activists; the second, until 3 June 1987, when the archbishop told the priests associated with the movement that he would not defend them if they were arrested.

10) [Historical records reveal that LKY managed the detentions in] the face of significant reluctance on the part of his Cabinet colleagues, and [there] is strong evidence that he did not really believe there was a Marxist conspiracy and was certainly not interested in or worried about the detainees themselves.

11) There is no room to doubt that this was a personal campaign, micromanaged by Lee in every respect.

12) [Goh Chok Tong’s] account depicts Cabinet members being dragged inch by inch into becoming complicit in taking the decision to act, but never coming up with any better reason for conviction other than that the accused were engaged in “some nefarious activity.”

13) S. Dhanabalan [said that the detainees] were “not on the verge of overthrowing this government or starting a revolution.” We know from subsequent developments that in fact he was very unhappy about the detentions.

14) Evidence shows that Lee never believed that the detainees were part of a Marxist conspiracy to overthrow the state. . .despite these statements he concluded the meeting by asking “the Church leaders whether they were satisfied that Vincent Cheng was involved in the communist conspiracy” based primarily on Cheng’s “admission” of this charge, which had been elicited under torture.

15) Lee’s stated reason for the detentions during these meetings was that he was concerned by the activities of the priests associated with the movement [Fr. Edgar D’Souza, Fr. Patrick Goh, Fr. Joseph Ho and Fr. Arotcarena].

16) Lee demanded the complete submission of the Catholic Church to his will. Records of both afternoon meetings on 2 June show Lee personally pressuring and coaching Archbishop Yong for two clearly stated purposes: first, to ensure that the archbishop did not give the impression that he had been pressured by the government into supporting the government’s actions, and second, to avoid giving the impression that Lee personally had been heavily involved in the archbishop’s decision-making process.

17) [The priests and Church] were displaying a capacity to operate across many levels of society with great independence and a strong sense of invulnerability.

18) In 1986, only a year before the detentions, the Law Society had used its role as the professional association for solicitors to criticize a government bill (the Newspaper and Printing Presses Act) because it threatened journalistic freedoms. . .in the words of Wong [Kan Seng], “Public policy is the domain of the government. It is not the playground of those who have no responsibility to the people.” . . .one of the detainees of 1987, Teo Soh Lung, was a prominent office holder in the Law Society throughout 1986 and 1987 and [after] the first month in detention, her interrogators completely lost interest in her involvement with the Catholics (specifically her work on behalf of foreign maids) and focused exclusively on her role in the Law Society.

19) [The] archbishop must have realized that in the eyes of the government, [the] real offense of these Church workers was not any supposed involvement in a Marxist conspiracy, but the blurring of the line between politics and religion, just as the Law Society was blurring the lines between “politics” and professional responsibility during the same months.

20) The capacity of activists to cross social and institutional boundaries (for instance, from church to campus to shop floor to the media) challenged the government’s monopolistic control over the public agenda.

21) LKY knew perfectly well that the Catholic Church had been instrumental in bringing down the Marcos regime in the Philippines and that it was taking a leading role in the democracy movement in South Korea. . .Lee probably had only a vague, two-dimensional understanding of the issues involved, but he was not one to view such a pattern of events complacently.

22) The documents show that the combination of these international and domestic perspectives generated in Lee’s mind a scenario in which, at the very least, the movement posed a short-term threat to the ruling elite’s monopoly on political discourse and power just when he was planning his retirement. Lee responded by using these detentions to set tighter limits on public dissent through two new mechanisms: the imposition of legislative controls to remove the capacity for such blurring of the lines in the future and the encouragement of a culture of self-censorship and self-monitoring to avoid future clashes with the government.

23) . . .the beginning of a new pattern whereby the Church supervised its own repression. Remarkably, it was the archbishop, not the government, who suppressed publication of the 14 June 1987 issue of The Catholic News — an issue that contained a defense of the detainees and a statement of support by the archbishop himself.

24) Lee Kuan Yew must have expected public skepticism about the accusations against the detainees to undermine the government’s credibility, but he was clearly prepared to bear this cost in order to establish a firm pattern of effective authoritarian rule that he could be confident would outlast his premiership. This he did by imposing a pattern of tough love both on society [and] on his successors in government.

25) As a direct consequence of this episode, the Catholic Church in Singapore lost both its independence and a vibrant element of its social conscience.

Source:Marxists in Singapore? Lee Kuan Yew’s Campaign against Catholic Social Justice Activists in the 1980s,” by Michael Barr (2010)

PDF Download: Ebscohost

* * *

AUTHOR:

barr

DR. MICHAEL BARR is Associate Professor in International Relations in the School of International Studies at Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia. He is the author of Lee Kuan Yew: The Beliefs behind the Man and other books on Singapore politics and history, and is Editor-in-Chief of Asian Studies Review.

Michael Barr Online: Profile | Publications | Interview with James Minchin | Interview

* * *

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

1) Remember or forget? The 1987 “Marxist conspiracy” (Alex Au; 2009)

2) 2,500 pray at Mass for detainees (Function 8; 2012)

3) 23 years after Operation Spectrum: Ex-detainees recall mental and physical abuses (SG Rebel; 2010)

4) Today in history – remembering Operation Spectrum (TOC; 2015)

5) Fighting back with words! (Teo Soh Lung FB; 2015)

6) Interview with Thum Ping Tjin about Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore – Part 3 (TOC; 2015)