Singapore’s national conversation

02Sep12

Insight from The Star’s Seah Chiang Nee:

The authoritative former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew had little use for public opinion when he was in power, preferring to set his own agenda.

Now a year after he quit active politics, his son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, has indicated that he wants to move away from his non-consultative phase, at least for the moment.

In 2002, PM Goh Chok Tong conducted a comprehensive study to restructure Singapore with public participation – apparently to the dislike of Singapore’s founding leader.

I understand it did not result in significant changes because Kuan Yew had objected to any talk that the Singapore he created was flawed and required remodelling …

Kuan Yew, who is now a passive Member of Parliament, did not reject consultations but often made it clear that he found them a waste of time.

In a comment rejecting the use of public polling to gauge public opinions in 2002, Kuan Yew said: “I ignore polling as a method of government. I think that shows a certain weakness of mind – an inability to chart a course whichever way the wind blows, whichever way the media encourages the people to go, you follow. You are not a leader.”

Singaporeans are glad that Kuan Yew’s successors are choosing to distance themselves further from his hard-line approach.

In the chaotic 60s and 70s, Kuan Yew liberally used the cane or legal punishment to resolve many of the Singapore’s problems ranging from secret societies to spitting.

You broke the law, the cane came out. It largely cleaned up the streets.

Today, his successors can no longer rely on this weapon to tackle contemporary problems.

How can you punish people for marrying late or not having babies? Or enforce filial piety or work ethics?

 

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6 Responses to “Singapore’s national conversation”

  1. 1 Reflect and wonder

    Like father like son,
    only difference is the
    way each expresses
    their words.
    Anyone believes a person
    that apologized before the
    GE and immediately went
    back to his own old ways?

    One must be daft or a dud
    to be such a believer.

  2. 2 Sad Citizen

    LHH is a pathological liar. Only stupid citizens believe his lies.

  3. 3 Reflect and wonder

    The spots on the leopard only disappear
    when the skin starts rotting and stench is
    coming out from it.

  4. 4 lost

    So
    Lee Kuan Yew
    will not have conversation
    with the people anymore?

  5. 5 Congenial Citizen

    The old goat can converse with his own ghosts.

  6. Hi LuckyThe elderly lady is old and weak. Being hslmreas (though a bit of acid mouth) she deserved to be respected and protected. Everybody agreed they are the ones that built the foundation of this country. We need a law to protect them.Veritas – u\’re right abt the gulf Arabs and I dont blame them either. Anon 21:55 – u are being racist. What\’s wrong with u? Still cant get along with your fellow Singaporeans after all these years. Beb, seems like you must upgrade yourself so you can live in a better neighbourhood. Minority complex? It\’s so passe lah



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