Book Review: Dare to Change

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The dedication of Dare to Change is a memorable one:

“Dedicated to: all the political detainees who struggled for democracy and all Singaporeans who long for openness, humanness, and justice for our nation.”

Dare to Change is Dr. Chee’s first book (published in 1994). Do not be fooled by the book’s slim size — the content is possibly more relevant than ever, and would still be eye-opening to people who are not familiar or conscious of Singapore’s political system and situation.

Over the course of seven clear and concise chapters, the reader is given a substantial evaluation of the PAP government’s authoritarian policies on the nation.

The main message of the book is apparent from beginning to end: that change is imperative if Singaporeans are to be allowed to “lead their own lives” in order to achieve a higher “quality of life.”

In the first chapter, Dr. Chee writes that society would be more robust if the Government did not compartmentalise and pigeon-hole everyone into its grand scheme of things. He also makes the argument for a country needing a society that is “courageous in its participation of the nation’s politics,” if that country is to be stable and successful in the long run.

In the next chapter, Dr. Chee puts forth the notion that the biggest fear of the PAP could be the “thought of having to share political power with other parties,” as well as having “non-political organisations form a proper check and balance system.” He writes that “if the control of power is all that the ruling party cares about, Singapore is in for a very unpleasant journey into the future.” Fast forward a couple of decades since the book was first written — has the journey been more pleasant or unpleasant, with socioeconomic forces such as rising inequality, stagnating wages, and a growing foreign population?

Two chapters are dedicated to the economy and distribution of wealth and resources. Dr. Chee mentions that funds for public welfare in 1994 amounted to about 1% of total government expenditure compared to an international average of 30%. He also points out that the Prime Minister of Singapore gave himself a monthly salary of $96,000 at the time, while the government carefully studied whether a man who was unable to look after himself deserved $150 a month.

The closing chapters give a comprehensive overview to major violations to Press Freedom and the Rule of Law. The local press is described as having been “reduced to a mere mouthpiece for the government,” with a note that totalitarian and dictatorial regimes have long used censorship and the restriction of information to “subjugate their people.” Dr. Chee notes the role of the ISD in the 1987 Marxist Conspiracy, and points out that physical abuse and torture “cannot be used by leaders to justify ends” in a society which claims to “have a sense of civility and decency.”

Dare to Change does not strike me as being written by a “dud” or “near psychopath” (to mention a couple of colorful adjectives Lee Kuan Yew reserved for Dr. Chee Soon Juan). The content reflects common sense logic throughout. A list of alternative solutions are presented at the end of the book along with the rationale on how these changes are beneficial to the country (this is the inspiring “appendix” section at the back of the book, which is like an ultra-summarised version of the book’s contents).

The book ends with the underlying hope and motivation to create more openness and progress in Singapore in the long-term. This gently reminds the reader of a quote which features at the start of the book:

“We cannot resist change.”
— Goh Chok Tong, 1994
(Prime Minister, Singapore, 1990-2004)

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cheesoonjuan

DR. CHEE SOON JUAN is a politician and political activist from Singapore. He is currently the leader of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party (SDP). Recognised by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience, Dr Chee has been arrested and jailed more than a dozen times for his political activities, mainly for repeatedly breaking Singapore’s laws requiring organizers to obtain a police permit before staging political demonstrations or making public speeches on political issues.

CSJ Online: Website | Facebook (CSJ) | Facebook (SDP)

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More Information on Dare to Change:

Amazon | NLB | SDP | Excerpts

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Excerpts from “Scandalising the Singapore Judiciary”

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Excerpts from “Scandalising the Singapore Judiciary”

by Tsun Hang Tey (2010)

PDF Link to Journal Article: Informit.com.au | Ebscohost

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Definitions:

1. Rule of Law: The legal principle that law should govern a nation, as opposed to being governed by arbitrary decisions of individual government officials (Wiki).

2. Scandalise: To dishonor and disgrace (TFD).

3. Jurisprudence: Legal system.

Extracts from Article:

1) [This article] hopes to open up a new line of debate over the extent to which it is ‘rule of law’ or ‘rule by law’ that is adopted in matters where criticisms of the ruling party and its leaders in Singapore are involved.

2) Scandalising the Singapore judiciary [is] an archaic phrase which embodies ‘any act done or writing published calculated to bring a court or a judge of the court into contempt, or to lower his authority’.

3) The Singapore courts have dealt firmly with these contemnors through the contempt of court committals, shaping a jurisprudence that places [emphasis on] maintaining good public perception of its ‘integrity and impartiality’, at the expense of freedom of political speech and critical reporting.

4) It is said that the rationale behind the law of contempt is ‘not to vindicate the dignity of the court or [judge], but to prevent undue interference with the administration of justice’, as well as to preserve public confidence in the integrity and competence of the judiciary.

5) The 11 November 1974 issue of Newsweek magazine that was alleged to have had the effect of scandalising the court of Singapore. . .ended with the shocking allegation – that ‘in the courts in Singapore it makes a vital difference whether it is the government or the opposition that is in the dock.’

6) Christopher Lingle, the author of an article published in the International Herald Tribune was convicted [of] contempt by scandalising the court [by] suggesting that the Singapore judiciary was ‘compliant’ to its government.

7) [The Singapore judiciary] has failed to undertake a searching or meaningful analysis of the issue of the permissibility of derogation from the constitutional right of free speech, and has also failed to appreciate the importance of achieving an appropriate balance between the social benefit of preserving its integrity, and the freedom to report critically.

8) The Singapore judges have sworn to ‘preserve, protect and defend the Constitution’, [where] the purpose of the Constitution is in protecting and guaranteeing the rights of citizens. Where freedom of speech and expression is considered to be a basic human right, it is all the more important that the courts provide a proper rationale for derogation of such a right.

9) It is common to observe the courts citing from other judgments without giving much input into the rationales and reasons for doing so. . .the rigour and depth in the reasoning employed in judgments pertaining to other areas of the law seem to be lacking in contempt of court judgments handed down in Singapore.

10) One’s right to freedom of speech and expression can be abrogated rather easily – so long as the criticism made is ‘scurrilous abuse’ or ‘excites misgivings as to the integrity, propriety and impartiality brought to the exercise of the judicial office’, one would be found guilty of scandalising the court.

11) It does not matter if one had made such criticisms honestly in exercise of one’s recognised right to freedom of speech and expression. Such an approach amounts to the imposition of a strict liability offence and renders the right to freedom of speech and expression almost obsolete (at least with regard to criticisms one can make of the courts). This renders the recognition of the right to freedom of speech and expression superfluous and meaningless.

12) While the court will expressly recognise a right to freedom of speech and expression, it will be quick to note that such a right is not absolute and subject to multiple limitations.

13) While no right can be absolute, the courts ought to engage in a rigorous analysis to find the right balance between the competing interests, and before setting down limitations on the rights it is sworn to protect.

14) The rights of the people should be given its maximum space and recognition, for the entire purpose of rights is to guarantee the fundamental liberties of the people. If such rights were to be curtailed and limited right from the start, there is not going to be much to guarantee and uphold.

15) An accused, regardless of whether he or she was justified in their statements, would be found guilty as long as the statements scandalised the judiciary. Therefore, in effect, no one can make any adverse comments on the judiciary, regardless of the extent of truth there is in the comments. This is an untenable position for it amounts to a derogation from the right to freedom of speech and expression without a proper justification, and it may potentially assist judges who do not act in the best interests of justice.

16) This right to criticise is explained by Lord Atkin in Ambard v A-G of Trinidad and Tobago [[1936] AC 322]:

. . .no wrong is committed by any member of the public who exercises the ordinary right of criticizing, in good faith, in private or public, the public act done in the seat of justice. . .Justice [must] be allowed to suffer the scrutiny and respectful, even though outspoken, comments, of ordinary men.

17) See article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

‘Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers’.

While Singapore is not a member of the Human Rights Council in the United Nations, it has obligations with respect to the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights made by the General Assembly on 10 December 1948.

18) Recent developments indicate that the law enforcers are swiftly and decisively enforcing Singapore’s law of contempt against contemnors exhibiting behaviour of various types, namely, contemptuous blogging on the internet and the writing of insulting emails to judges (as seen in [Mr Gopalan Nair]; the wearing of T-shirts imprinted with images of a kangaroo dressed in a judge’s robe while appearing at [the] Supreme Court courtroom; and the Attorney-General’s committal for contempt proceedings [for] three allegedly contemptuous articles published in Wall Street Journal Asia in June and July 2008).

19) Harsh allegations made by a range of international bodies in questioning the integrity of the Singapore judiciary:

What emerges … is a government that has been willing to decimate the rule of law for the benefit of its political interests. Lawyers have been cowed to passivity, judges are kept on a short leash, and the law has been manipulated so that gaping holes exist in the system of restraints on government action toward the individual. Singapore is not a country in which individual rights have significant meaning.
— The New York City Bar Association (1990)

Source: “Scandalising the Singapore Judiciary,” by Tsun Hang Tey (2010)

PDF Download: Informit.com.au | Ebscohost

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AUTHOR:

tey_tsun_hang

Prof Tey obtained first class honours from Oxford University and practised law in Malaysia before being hired to teach at NUS Law faculty. Prof Tey entered the legal service in the Supreme Court as a Justice Law Clerk during the tenure of then Chief Justice Yong Pung How. Prof Tey went on to become a District Judge, after which he returned to academia at NUS Law Faculty.

In 2011, Tey decided to go ahead with publishing a number of articles highly critical of Singapore’s judiciary without approval from the ISD. “I am no longer willing to self-censor,” he wrote. “I certainly do not want [to] compromise my intellectual honesty.”

Of the 2014 sex-for-favours case against him, Tey maintains that the case was politically motivated from the start.

Tey Online: TOC | Yahoo | The Monthly (AU) | Legal Consensus (Tey’s book on Singapore’s judiciary) | Singapore Consensus (Tey’s articles)

Tey’s Court Actions: NUS | Singapore ICA (to show how high-handed and well-coordinated the executions were)

Excerpts from “The Politics of Judicial Institutions in Singapore”

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Excerpts from “The Politics of Judicial Institutions in Singapore”

by Francis Seow (1997)

Link to Article: Singapore-Window | PDF

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Definitions:

1. Acquittal: A judgment that a person is not guilty of the crime with which the person has been charged.

2. Executive: Also used as an impersonal designation of the chief executive officer of a state or nation. (Black’s Law Dictionary)

3. Rule of Law: The legal principle that law should govern a nation, as opposed to being governed by arbitrary decisions of individual government officials. (Wiki).

Extracts from Article:

1) While [certain features of Singapore society] may be desirable, the manner of their implementation depends on certain anti-democratic and authoritarian structures and institutions.

2) I was astounded when my attention was first drawn to an October 1993 Straits Times banner-headlines, Singapore’s legal system rated best in world: Full confidence that justice will be fast and fair.

3) Some history is needed to show how the legal system was systematically undermined by the prime minister after the People’s Action Party (PAP) came into power.

4) The sudden transfer in 1986 of senior district judge, Michael Khoo — one of the ablest judges to grace the subordinate court bench — to the attorney general’s chambers following his acquittal of Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam [engendered] much controversy. From being the respected head of the subordinate judiciary, Khoo overnight became a mere digit within the attorney general’s chambers.

5) Jeyaretnam appealed [his] disbarment to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council — Singapore’s ultimate court of appeal in London — which roundly castigated the chief justice and the Singapore courts for their legal reasoning.

6) The minister for law [moved] in parliament for the abolition of appeals to the Privy Council decrying it as being “interventionist” and “out of touch” with local conditions.

7) Asked about the abolition of the privy council, Goh Chok Tong responded that [the] privy council was “playing politics.” It was a disgraceful statement. As the Roman satirist Juvenal once said: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who will guard the guards themselves?)

8) The Jeyaretnam case [highlights] the grotesque contortions the politically corrupt judiciary went through to rid a political irritant to the prime minister and his government. It demonstrates the misuse of the law in advancing the agenda and interests of the ruling political party.

9) [The attorney general] argued the court could [not] “inquire into the reasons why [a] detention order is made [through the Internal Security Act (ISA)]. This is an executive act.” The court for its part willingly abdicated its judicial responsibility in favour of officialdom rather than the cause of justice.

10) In 1987, twenty-two young Roman Catholic and social activists were arrested under the ISA, accused of being Marxists involved in a dangerous conspiracy to subvert the PAP government through violence. They were released only after they had made the ritualistic television confessions. But eight of them were re-arrested when they disclosed those confessions had been coerced out of them. In the ensuing [proceedings], the [appeal was allowed] on technical rather than on substantive grounds, thus enabling the government to hurriedly amend the constitution and the relevant laws, and order their re-arrest.

11) Although the PAP government recognizes the role of the judiciary in the body politic, it no longer sees it as a check on the balance of power in the traditional sense but rather as an important instrument for the prolongation of its political longevity.

12) Judges on contract, renewable at the will of the prime minister, is not conducive to judicial independence. . .it is not uncommon to find a particular judge, like T.S. Sinnathuray, being commonly assigned sensitive cases with predictable results. Judges known for impartiality, independence and strength of character are never assigned them.

13) The then prime minister [LKY] appointed his banker-friend, Yong Pung How, as chief justice, who had not practised law for 20 years, whose superior claim to this illustrious position was that he is a loyal crony.

14) LKY’s hour-long defence of the appointment in parliament — during which he delved into bathetic nostalgia; [and] his inquiries of his judges to name the three best persons, excluding themselves, all of whom in a remarkable coincidence, named his friend [Yong] as “the best of the possibles” — rang somewhat hollow and contrived.

15) The salaries, which the PAP government pays its judges, have much method in its generosity. High court judges receive A$630,000 per annum plus a minimum bonus of three months’ salary or A$205,020 at A$68,340 per month, totalling A$835,020, besides other perks and privileges, like a motor car, a government bungalow at economic rent. The chief justice receives A$1,260,000 per annum, besides an official residence (or an housing allowance in lieu thereof), a chauffeur-driven car, among other handsome perks and privileges of office. Indeed, he receives more than the combined stipends of the Lord Chancellor of England, the Chief Justices of the United States, Canada and Australia. As a Queen’s Counsel pointedly queried: “Is this kind of money a salary or an income of permanent bribery?”

16) Supremely confident in the reliability of his judiciary, the prime minister uses the courts as a legal weapon to intimidate, bankrupt or cripple the political opposition, and ventilate his political agenda. Which judge would be so reckless or foolhardy to award a decision against him? Judges know on which side their bread is buttered.

17) The notorious case of Public Prosecutor v Tan Wah Piow demonstrates the [precarious] state of the judiciary in Singapore. . .vital defence witnesses were arrested on the morning of the trial, and deported.

18) An Australian Queen’s Counsel, Frank Galbally, who observed the trial for the Australian Union of Students, said: “In Australia, the case would be laughed out of court … [The three accused] did not get a fair trial. … In my opinion, it is just a political trial.”

19) [In a 1995 criminal trial in Singapore] Alun Jones, QC, discharged himself “for the first time in 23 years’ practice,” describing the judicial proceedings as “a travesty of a trial” and a “perversion of a judicial process.”

20) The New York City Bar Association, after a fact-finding mission to Singapore led by the late Robert B. McKay, then dean of the New York University Law School, observed:

What emerges. . .is a government that has been willing to decimate the rule of law for the benefit of its political interests. . .The only check on the Singapore judiciary is the prospect of ultimate appeal to the Privy Council in London.

That report was published in October 1990. Since then, appeals to the privy council have been abolished. The supervisory powers of the courts have been removed.

21) In a fateful [1996] interview, opposition Workers’ Party candidate, Tang Liang Hong, observed:

“Why wasn’t [the Nassim Jade] matter handed over to a professional body like Commercial Affairs Department or Corrupt Practice Investigation Bureau? They are government departments [well-known] for being [firm and impartial]. They would be more detached and their reports would have been more convincing to the people.”

Lee and his son took offence at those remarks, and commenced a libel action. The presiding judge was Justice Lai Kew Chai, a former partner of the prime minister’s law firm of Lee and Lee.

22) Lee and his political colleagues’ [papers] were served and heard the same day — a privilege and sense of urgency denied to Tang and his wife. Tang described it as PAP’s ‘instant justice.’

23) Let me recall to mind the dreadful words of Dr Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s notorious minister of propaganda:

“Justice must not become the mistress of the state, but must be the servant of state policy.”

Those words could just as well have been spoken by Harry Lee Kuan Yew or by any one of the PAP ministers. For Singapore’s judiciary is well on its way to this Goebbelsian utopia.

Source: “The Politics of Judicial Institutions in Singapore,” by Francis Seow (1997)

Link to Article: Singapore-Window | PDF

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francis-seow

FRANCIS T. SEOW is a former Solicitor General of Singapore and a brilliant Public Prosecutor. He was awarded the Public Administration (Gold) Medal during his 16-year career with the Singapore Legal Service.

Francis became the lawyer for several of those detained in 1987. Regrettably, in 1988, he too was arrested under the Internal Security Act and detained without trial for several months.

He is the author of several books on Singapore, including To Catch A Tartar: A Dissident in Lee Kuan Yew’s Prison, The Media Enthralled and Beyond Suspicion? – The Singapore Judiciary.

Francis Seow Online: Profile | Wikipedia | YouTube | Beyond Suspicion | Foreword by Devan Nair

Did K Shanmugam Make An Illegal Party Political Film? (Martyn See)

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Source: Martyn See (Facebook)

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Did Law Minister K. Shanmugam make an illegal party political film?

Dear K. Shanmugam,

On the 10th of May 2015, you uploaded a video entitled “A Day in the Life of a Minister”, which features a camera crew tracking your activity of the day. It was an unscripted video shot and edited in the style of a reality-TV programme.

You stated that the 12-minute long video was made by “volunteers”. By that, one would assume that this is not a government-sponsored production. As such, may I inform you that this video is not exempted under section 40 of the Films Act and therefore in possible violation of section 33 which criminalises “party political films”, the penalties of which are a fine not exceeding $100,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years.

I cite the following clauses of the Films Act relevant to “A Day in the Life of a Minister”.

“Party political film” means a film —

(a) which is an advertisement made by or on behalf of any political party in Singapore or any body whose objects relate wholly or mainly to politics in Singapore, or any branch of such party or body; or

(b) which is made by any person and directed towards any political end in Singapore;

For the purposes of this Act, a film is directed towards a political end in Singapore if the film —

(a) contains wholly or partly any matter which, in the opinion of the Board, is intended or likely to affect voting in any election or national referendum in Singapore; or

(b) contains wholly or partly references to or comments on any political matter which, in the opinion of the Board, are either partisan or biased; and “political matter” includes but is not limited to any of the following:

(i) an election or a national referendum in Singapore;

(ii) a candidate or group of candidates in an election;

(iii) an issue submitted or otherwise before electors in an election or a national referendum in Singapore;

(iv) the Government or a previous Government or the opposition to the Government or previous Government;

(v) a Member of Parliament;

(vi) a current policy of the Government or an issue of public controversy in Singapore; or

(vii) a political party in Singapore or any body whose objects relate wholly or mainly to politics in Singapore, or any branch of such party or body.

None of the following films shall be regarded for the purposes of this Act as a party political film:

(e) a documentary film without any animation and composed wholly of an accurate account depicting actual events, persons (deceased or otherwise) or situations, but not a film —

(i) wholly or substantially based on unscripted or “reality” type programmes; or

(ii) that depicts those events, persons or situations in a dramatic way;

Exemptions

40. —(1) This Act shall not apply to —

(a) any film sponsored by the Government;

(b) any film, not being an obscene film or a party political film or any feature, commercial, documentary or overseas television serial film, which is made by an individual and is not intended for distribution or public exhibition; and

(c) any film reproduced from local television programmes and is not intended for distribution or public exhibition.

(2) The Minister may, subject to such conditions as he thinks fit, exempt any person or class of persons or any film or class of films from all or any of the provisions of this Act.

(3) An exemption granted under this section may be withdrawn at any time.

I put it to you that the video “A Day in the Life of a Minister” may constitute an illegal ‘party political film’ under section 33 of the Films Act because:

1. It is an advertisement made by or on behalf of a political party in Singapore whose objects relate wholly or mainly to politics in Singapore.

2. It is made by a person and directed towards a political end in Singapore – by featuring a Member of Parliament.

3. It is a film that is substantially based on unscripted and “reality” type programmes, and it also contains dramatic elements.

4. It is not a government-sponsored film.

Of course, the Minister may opt to exercise section 40 of the Films Act to exempt your film from the Act.

In the interest of upholding transparency in the application of the Rule of Law in Singapore, this letter will be made public. I look forward to your reply on this matter.

Yours sincerely,
See Tong Ming

The above was emailed to K. Shanmugam on 11 May.

Source: Martyn See (Facebook)

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martynsee2

MARTYN SEE is a Singaporean political blogger and filmmaker with two banned films, two police investigations and a conscience that just won’t let him rest.

Martyn See Online: Blog | Excerpts | Facebook | Photo Album | Interview | YouTube

Amos Yee’s Speech

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I decided to transcribe the text from Amos Yee’s video so that what he said doesn’t get lost amidst the current lynching being directed at him. This is included in the second half of this blog post.

PART 1:

A quick summary: 16 year-old Amos Yee was arrested for posting an “anti-Lee Kuan Yew” video.

At the time of this posting, you can view a copy of the video.

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16-year-old Amos Yee in video

Amos Yee was arrested on these charges:

Police said Amos will face charges in court today under Section 298 of the Penal Code for utterances against Christians with a “deliberate intent to wound religious feelings”. Other charges include circulating an obscene object and making threatening, abusive or insulting communication which is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
( — Straits Times)

I have a few questions to the Singapore authorities:

1) PAP grassroots leader, Jason Tan, threatened to chop off Amos Yee’s penis and stuff it in his mouth because of Amos’ 8-minute video. Is this not an abusive threat?

2) A pro-PAP page has been set up for the purpose of cyber-bullying and shaming Amos’ family. Doesn’t this constitute “insulting communication that is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress”?

3) The anti-harassment law in Singapore covers harassment in the online sphere including online sexual harassment and cyber-bullying. Does this law not apply to critics of LKY and the PAP ruling party?

Readers, please peruse Amos’ Yee’s speech below to take a look at the points he brought up.

I did some light copyediting to the text, and I removed the expletives and profanity from his 8-minute speech.

I hope this makes the substance of his argument clearly visible to discerning readers and netizens.

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PART 2:

“Lee Kuan Yew is Finally Dead,” by Amos Yee

Video text transcribed by Jess C Scott (clean version)

amos yee

Amos Yee

Lee Kuan Yew is dead, finally.

Why hasn’t anyone said, “Yeah, the guy is dead!”

Lee Kuan Yew was a horrible person.

Because everyone is scared. Everyone is afraid that if they say something like that, they might get into trouble which — give LKY credit — was primarily the impact of his legacy.

But I’m not afraid.

So if Lee Hsien Loong wishes to sue me, I will oblige to dance with him.

Lee Kuan Yew, contrary to popular belief, was a horrible person and an awful leader to our country. He was a dictator, but managed to fool most of the world to think he was democratic. And he did so by still granting us the opportunity to vote, to make it seem like we have freedom of choice.

However, during [his] rule, he controlled the entire media and education, proliferating nationalistic propaganda on a daily basis. And he placed an excessive surplus of his books in popular bookstores. In most of his books, look at how he self-indulgently plasters reams of pages with these montages of pictures of his experiences. Like “Ooh, look how much better I am compared to you.”

And of course he is absolutely notorious for suing people who criticised him, forcing them into jail and leading them into bankruptcy. Apparently, his thirst for suing is hereditary, too. So he created an environment where his blatant flaws as a leader were hidden, because most people were afraid of criticising him in fear of being found guilty by the judicial system that he controls. So everything that people hear is about how great Lee Kuan Yew is.

Of course he is able to deceive people into voting for him. Despite our voting rights, he is undoubtedly totalitarian.

Now seeing what LKY has done, I’m sure many individuals who have done similar things comes to mind. But I’m going to compare him to someone that people haven’t really mentioned before: Jesus. And the aptness of that analogy is heightened, seeing how Christians seem to be a really big fan of him. They are both power-hungry and malicious, but deceive others into thinking that they are compassionate and kind. Their impact and legacy will ultimately not last as more and more people find out that they’re full of bull. And LKY’s followers are completely delusional and ignorant, and have absolutely no sound logic or knowledge about him that is grounded in reality, which LKY very easily manipulates, similar to the Christian knowledge of the Bible and the work of a multitude of priests.

On the surface, he seemed quite successful. He turned Singapore from a small seaport into a bustling metropolis, rife with skyscrapers and its own casino. World leaders seem to like him, most notably Margaret Thatcher, and many foreigners and millionaires wish to invest in Singapore.

But if you look deeper, and you find out what the true nature of LKY’s Singapore is…I’m sure most of your parents have told you how luxurious Singapore is, and how, if you go to another country, it would be much harder and much more expensive.

But all you have to do is do a Google search, look at our country’s statistics, and you will find out how delusional and ignorant your parents are.

Most people in Singapore are struggling to make ends meet. And it is reported that Singaporeans work the longest hours in the world. We are one of the richest countries in the world, but we have one of the highest income inequalities, highest poverty rates, and our government spends one of the lowest on healthcare and social security.

The money spent on the public is so low, it’s more representative of a third world country. And yet the amount of taxes is one of the highest in first world countries. And political leaders in Singapore earn more than quadruple the amount earned by political leaders in the United States. They are acquiring so much money — why aren’t they spending it on the people? What are they actually spending it on?

One time, an SDP member told me that once they got into power, they are going to take the key and open every cupboard, and search out all the information on the government spending to find out what those motherf**kers have been doing with all that money.

And whenever somebody wonders online if the government is pocketing the money for themselves, they get sued. Quite suspicious, isn’t it?

How LKY deemed what he considered as success was solely predicated upon measurable, concrete results: a rich country, the love of major powers, a positive public image. And his emphasis on results was transcendent onto how Singaporeans led their lives. Somebody who has the better house, the better results in an exam, the better degree — is deemed “more successful” than the other person.

Because of this emphasis on pure materialism, it sacrificed our happiness.

Because if someone is more concerned about money and status over what they’re actually doing and their life, no shit you would lead a depressing life.

I think the biggest flaw of LKY as a leader to our nation, is that he honestly thought that money and status equated to happiness. And his failure to understand how false that was really showed, leading us to be one of the richest countries in the world, and one of the most depressed.

Ultimately, how do you quantify a great leader?

It is by how he creates a place where people are able to live happily and prosper, based on their own unique attributes. And he hasn’t. So no matter how rich the country he made is, it doesn’t mean a thing.

His death was great for him too, seeing how he was struggling with an illness for several years and even declared that he wished he was dead. He should have asked his son to pull the plug or committed suicide by himself. But he didn’t. You know why?

Because if he did, his band of sycophants might despise him. And his oh-so-great reputation that he so desperately tried to uphold, might shatter. Because it would be deemed quite controversial for a leader to end his life with suicide.

And it is rather tragic, isn’t it, that he had to suffer the last few years with the atmosphere or materialism and the need for a positive image that he himself created.

So there you go: Lee Kuan Yew, an overrated, over-glorified person, a dictator, and exceptionally Machiavellian in nature. With his death and the upcoming elections next year, there is a high chance, that us citizens of Singapore [can] finally change things for the better.

Let’s all hope for change.

For good change, for every possible kind.

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