How Singapore Works

Hat-tip to Lindsay: Wee Shu-Min, the daughter of a Singaporean Member of Parliament flamed someone on her blog for saying Singapore’s labor policies were heinous (which they are). After there was a minor outcry, her father started complaining that it violated her privacy. Apparently, in Singapore it’s a violation of privacy for people to quote something a member of the upper class said in a public forum, but okay for the government to jail men who receive consensual blowjobs.

Mr Wee, 35, a Singaporean who works for a multinational corporation, had written in his blog on Oct 12 that he was concerned about competition from foreign talent and the lack of job opportunities for older workers here.

He urged the Government to understand Singaporeans’ plight.

Last Thursday, Miss Wee [no relation] responded to him on her blog, calling him old and unmotivated and said he was overly reliant on the Government.

In dismissing his views, she wrote:

‘Derek, Derek, Derek darling, how can you expect to have an iron rice bowl or a solid future if you cannot spell?

‘There’s no point in lambasting the Government for making our society one that is, I quote, ‘far too survival of the fittest’… If uncertainty of success offends you so much, you will certainly be poor and miserable.’

In case anyone from Singapore who thinks Wee Shu-Min is not full of shit is reading this, I urge you to look at the people at the top schools. You’ll see very few Indians and Malays, far fewer than live in Singapore. At the National University of Singapore, virtually everyone I saw in class was Chinese; I saw more white people than ethnic Malays and Indians.

Of course, it’s not because Malays and Indians are naturally inferior to Chinese, or because they’re lazy. It’s because the Singaporean government believes in racial harmony, which means pretending there’s racial equality and not doing anything to give lower-income children a leg up or enforce antidiscrimination laws.

Wee Shu-Min’s father’s response was even more irritating, though.

But she wrote in a private blog and I feel that her privacy has been violated. After all, they were the rantings of an 18-year-old among friends.

I think if you cut through the insensitivity of the language, her basic point is reasonable, that is, that a well-educated university graduate who works for a multinational company should not be bemoaning about the Government and get on with the challenges in life.

Nonetheless, I have counseled her to learn from it. Some people cannot take the brutal truth and that sort of language, so she ought to learn from it.

In a country where speaking truth to power is considered defamation, it’s not surprising that highlighting the idiocy that goes into justifying the system is considered a violation of privacy. In a country where the bottom quintile is worse off than in any other developed country but Portugal, it’s not surprising that the defenders of the status quo will twist themselves into pretzels to blame poverty on the poor.

The point about “a well-educated university graduate” is just as stupid. The government responds to critics by saying that they don’t have the exact level of education it requires, so everything they say is necessarily wrong. But when a critic is educated, he’s exhorted not to complain.

Finally, “the brutal truth” is something I’d expect to hear from a creationist. The real brutal truth here is that Singapore is a country where the tiny upper class owns the rest of the citizenry and expects it to like it. The real brutal truth is that in Singapore, having a few millionaires who get paid exorbitant salaries by the government or private industry and millions of paupers is considered development.

6 Responses to How Singapore Works

  1. SLC says:

    Yeah, but the fascist cocksuckers who run the place claim that they keep the crime rate down.

  2. A revolt from the people against its government is long overdue.

  3. clotho says:

    Thing I remember most about Singapore is “No Durians”

  4. ABC says:

    plenty of truth here and that’s why it is so threatening to speak the truth or pursue truth because it can be very ugly to hear for the elites. the system has been created to cushion all these hard blows so business can continue as usual.

    so the people are relegated and entrenched in the 1960s for fear of upheavals as we…erm…modernise..what an irony.

    having said that, we understand the authorities concern for order however, it has been grossly abused to suppress legitimate expression!

  5. John Smith says:

    “I’ve gone ahead and bookmarked at so my friends can see it too. I simply used How Singapore Works Abstract Nonsense as the entry title in my bookmark, as I figured if it is good enough for you to title your blog post that, then you probably would like to see it bookmarked the same way.“

  6. […] Singapore: Where Speaking Truth to Power is Considered Defamation (by Alon Levy, Math […]

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