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Why Liberties Probably Don’t Matter…in Singapore June 24, 2008

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.
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Well, after reading this article, which provokes questions and reflections, i felt that it would perhaps be useful to try and see why our Gahmen doesn’t think that liberties are that important.  Play some advocatus diaboli, so to speak…so a point-for-point, paragraph-for-paragraph parallel to this article by Simply Inconceivable.

While people are clamouring for Singapore to be a First World Nation, with First World rights, and so on, and so forth, perhaps there are many criteria to fulfill before any country can become a so-called ‘First World Nation.’  In the eyes of the powers that be, Singapore is a First World Nation of sorts, especially from the economical context.  That has been the sole criterion (or if not, the criterion which outweighs all others) in the Singaporean context – from the politicians to the everyday person.  You just have to pay attention to how Singaporeans are threatened with their mothers, wives and sisters becoming maids (read: economic crash) or how liberties will undermine the status quo which makes Singapore a haven for investment.

If our civil liberties were that important, then theoretically, Singapore should be in the slums today.  An extreme example would be Myanmar.  In Singapore, the powers that be see liberties as something smacking of Western idealism, which happens to be totally incompatible with Singapore’s hardcore pragmatism.  And a pragmatist would stick to the effective way of doing things – rocking the boat is tantamount to capsizing it, and thus, People Who Rock the Boat Should be Incarcerated.  In the meantime, make other potential rockers fearful enough to control themselves, or give the impression that the boat can’t be rocked, anyway.  We are able to criticise, but expect to be ignored, derided or arrested.

The government would like to say it is democratic.  Democracy, however, so long as economic First World-ism is maintained.  ‘To build a democratic society,’ it says in our Pledge.  But is it able to withstand a democratic defeat?  The government strongly believes not. (Egoism? Genuine fear? Realistic Estimation of the Situation?)  A certain Minister Mentor mentioned that he has no qualms calling in the military to suppress a democratic defeat, and people have been sued for trying to introduce Western-style democracy into Singapore.  Singapore is democratic, but according to whose definition?

Herein lie two further considerations:

  1. It is very possible that this government may be defeated democratically and the citizens thus attaining their liberty.  But that would mean a lot of angry, jobless ministers, from a purely egoistical standpoint.  Which have performed somewhat, bringing Singapore to an economically First World status (in Governmental standards, First World simpliciter) and have introduced the economical aspects of the Western world and made the people materialistic enough that ideals have lost their value for the pragmatic.  These people too wouldn’t want the status quo to be disturbed.
  2. What are we going to do about it?  The question is, can people be trusted?  Lee Kuan Yew came to the political front on a Golden Age in Singaporean politics, and he championed the cause of democracy and free speech.  But after he took power, he began to purge his opponents.  For it, however, Singapore is what it is today.  There is a very simplified polarity of liberties versus economic gain.  Is  it any wonder why Singapore is more economic gain, less liberties?  In this sense, the incumbent has been able to wider and strengthen its power base.

True, the Government listens only when it benefits them.  Perhaps in misguided self-righteousness, believing that it will profit the country (after all, there is a strict filtration system in place.)  Criticism made known to the masses would be a catastrophe to be avoided at all costs.  And should the votes fail, i wonder if legal pressure is useful, if at all, and international pressure (in the form of press) has been kept out long enough anyway.

Valiant cives mei! Sint incolumes, sint florentes, sint beati! (Cicero, Oratio pro Milone, 93)

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