He was an intellectual, a brave one (all the more impressive) who changed the Â 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 Â or P2.4 million. The average Singaporean is, then, Â 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 Â “Sick Man of Asia” -even while the Filipino Profligate Â Conjugal Dictators (Marcoses) visited him in Singapore aboard two Â separate jetliners and lavished LKY with the trappings of power and luxury when invited to the Â 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” Â high school and all have been all the better for it.
Try painting graffiti on the walls Â like “I Love You Piolo”-and cane beating ,not a Sun Life insurance, is all one will get. If you do not flush the Â public toilet, the fine is US$500 (about P20,000 per offense). In the Philippines, there is nothing to flush with Â ,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 Â which Â 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 Â elevator Â 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 Â own homes- which if Â we may suggest -get rid of the Â indoor CCTV ,please.
Narcissus and Adonis will have to be clothed perpetually inside their Â Singapore abodes, then. Vice Ganda and Terence Romeo may have no place in the “Fine City” , even if they behave like fine gentlemen Â 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 Â it is only discipline Â and not democracy (per se) Â that can bring prosperity. There- there Â 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 Â illegal detention without Â 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 Â 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 Â and send their best minds as scholars abroad-and make sure they come back and serve Singaporeans -even as the city state Â offers the best rates to attract the brightest minds from Â the other regions. Its food industries Â 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 Â 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. Â 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 Â man named Ferdinand Marcos became RP’s dictator for many years 1972-1985 and robbed the nation blind -at times Â hostaging the Filipinos with chains behind their backs while his cronies, bureaucrat capitalists and military goons pillaged the industries. Â 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 Â made the other- Â Lee Kwan Yew- a Real Visionary. Poor Guy, he died, at 91 years old, last week. What a loss.
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