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Cartoon editorial
LEE KWAN YEW (LKY)  married his wife -mainly because she beat him in one of their major subjects as classmates at Cambridge University.

He was an intellectual, a brave one (all the more impressive) who changed the  once dirty port of Singapore into the world’s most progressive city state of only 5 million people -the average man there earning US$55,000 a year  or P2.4 million. The average Singaporean is, then,  a millionaire-by Philippine standards-all packed in a clean, modern highly centralized city state of only 714 square kilometers.

LKY had the right to call RP then the  “Sick Man of Asia” -even while the Filipino Profligate  Conjugal Dictators (Marcoses) visited him in Singapore aboard two  separate jetliners and lavished LKY with the trappings of power and luxury when invited to the  Manila palace.

But is a nation-a person- measured only in terms of money value?

Singapore is called a “Fine City” (not ” fine” as in “good”) but because they impose all kinds of fees for almost everything. Spit on the floor or chew gum-there is a fine .( Says he: If you cannot think because you cannot chew gum, try banana). One could go bananas, right there. Cane (made of rattan) beatings are common for many petty crimes- because LKY went through that in the “definitely British”  high school and all have been all the better for it.


Try painting graffiti on the walls  like “I Love You Piolo”-and cane beating ,not a Sun Life insurance, is all one will get. If you do not flush the  public toilet, the fine is US$500 (about P20,000 per offense). In the Philippines, there is nothing to flush with  ,assuming there is a public toilet.

Try to throw any litter and the penalty is US$1,000 (P40,000) and one will publicly pick up thrash for community service, whether you are in coat or tie or not.There are urine detectors in elevators  which  issue an alarm when they sense urine presence- the elevator stops and the police collars and punishes the “predator offender” of olfactory nerves.

In many RP elevators , the urine scent is drowned by the smell of poor dusty  elevator  carpets and zero ventilation -even as the aging elevators chug-chug their way to floors uneasily- causing heart burns and palpitation.Virtually, no pornography is ever allowed in Singa and one can be arrested for walking naked in their  own homes- which if  we may suggest -get rid of the  indoor CCTV ,please.

Narcissus and Adonis will have to be clothed perpetually inside their  Singapore abodes, then. Vice Ganda and Terence Romeo may have no place in the “Fine City” , even if they behave like fine gentlemen  there-for gay relationships-even kissing between the same sex-is banned. Oral sex was a crime until repealed in 2007- leaving Monica Lewinsky and Linda Lovelace- well, loveless.

LKY believes  it is only discipline  and not democracy (per se)  that can bring prosperity. There- there  is only one political party-LKY’s- and only six opposition in government. The seventh one was driven to bankruptcy by the legal courts -illegally controlled by the powers that be-for insisting there was need “for more freedom in parliament”.

Media has been curtailed- a diffident media is deemed inimical to progress. Freedom of speech and the press in Singapore is best described by their absence.Human rights is a jocular principle- nicely languaged but a wall flower on the dance floor.


For instance, if one behaves awkwardly in public, the Singaporean police can summarily arrest him for urine testing for possible drug usage – in many other countries- that’s called  illegal detention without  formal charges or warrants of arrest.


Yet, for all that, Singapore is a rocking success-for personal well being and corporate stability in an island where all the institutions work with clock-like efficiency and corruption is hated like the memories of  Hitler and the Nazis.

Despite the lack of natural resources- land ,minerals, fauna and fora- the rocky island of Singapore excels because they zeroed in on what LKY , the intellectual, finds attractive- the so-called “knowledge-based” industries like ” logistics management, financial services and bio-sciences.”

They give universal education in the city state  and send their best minds as scholars abroad-and make sure they come back and serve Singaporeans -even as the city state  offers the best rates to attract the brightest minds from  the other regions. Its food industries  and night life are booming -to thrill the tired bodies at dusk and onwards.


Multinationals often set their regional hubs in the city state because there is a prevalence of the rule of law. Compare that for instance with the RP’s notoriously “for sale” justice where its own president once called  the country’s judges “hoodlums in robe”.

The LKY Vision had worked for Singapore. He believed in the balance between “market and government intervention. ” The market welcomed massive government intervention in Singapore because market efficiency results when “there is a high quality of political leadership, pragmatism, meritocracy and social conformism” That does not exactly sound like the Philippines.


Strong man tactics of leadership worked in Singapore but destroyed the Philippines.  Why?Lee Kwan Yew admitted that though he made mistakes -all of his acts were driven by noble goals.

But on the other hand- a  man named Ferdinand Marcos became RP’s dictator for many years 1972-1985 and robbed the nation blind -at times  hostaging the Filipinos with chains behind their backs while his cronies, bureaucrat capitalists and military goons pillaged the industries.  Meantime , the facetious announced, the First Lady, went into the “mining industry”- naming all industries as “mine,mine and mine.” The country became one of Asia’s economic basket case.

And so goes the tale of two Asian dictators. The one  made the other-  Lee Kwan Yew- a Real Visionary. Poor Guy, he died, at 91 years old, last week. What a loss.

For comments: email to dejarescobingo@yahoo.com or bohol-rd@mozcom.com

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