Be thankful to whom? Only LKY, who himself had espoused democracy?

Lee Kuan Yew democracy free press

Lee Kuan Yew’s words while he was Opposition leader in 1955.

The current rhetoric of the pappies seems to be: that Singapore thrived as a nation because of Mr Lee, who brought us from ‘nothing’ to being a first world country. And that, had we softened our approach in those trying years, we wouldn’t have been where we are now.

Basically, it means: “If not for strongman Lee Kuan Yew, we wouldn’t be here with what we have today.”

Some usually-Oppositional figures even chip in: “It may be difficult to like everything LKY did, but if not for him, we wouldn’t have had our education we have today.”

Some pappies, now, would not hesitate to add: “The West talks about democracy and freedom, but we have proven that economic success need not, and in fact, does not come with democracy, but our own brand of ‘governance’.”

But how about looking at it the other way: If not for the West, we might not even be the entrepot trading hub we once – vibrantly – were. If not for the West, we might not even be speaking English. If not for the West, we might not even have facebook because the PAP govt would not need to give shits about any freedom of expression at all, if the only superpowers and economic powerhouses in the world were Fascists like China.

Be grateful. Be thankful. For what you have today. Yes, other than Lee Kuan Yew, whom one cannot discount (someone who won by one vote to Lim Chin Siong in the sec-gen election, whom he later imprisoned), so many other people to thank for what we have today.

Why be so single-minded and narrow-minded, and worse, discredit the entire system of democracy, just because of the current ‘great economy (but with citizens who don’t dare to fall sick)’. After all, Lee hails himself as an upholder of democracy, didn’t he?

Albert Tay


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