Lee Hsien Loong lectures Japan, China and South Korea: You all should let the past be the past


Photo: KYODO

Maybe he saw how successful his father was in erasing the collective memory of Singaporeans with regards to their regime’s atrocities. Some Singaporeans today have never heard of Nanyang University (not Nanyang Technoogical University), Nanyang Siang Pau (closed down by his father’s regime), Chinese schools, Operation Coldstore, or Operation Spectrum.

Worse, they have no idea their “founding father” had worked for the Japanese army in Singapore during WWII when the rest of the nation was suffering under the cruel occupation by the Japs. They also have no idea how former ‘elected (walkover) President’ SR Nathan was a member of the Japanese secret police, Kempeitai, during WWII.

And now, Lee junior wants to teach Japan, South Korea and China how to let the past be the past. And while doing that, he doesn’t mind being insensitive, and offending the history that plagued South Korea-Japan and Sino-Japan relations for decades.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has urged Japan to admit to its misdeeds from World War II so it can play a more active role in the region.

“Japan needs to acknowledge past wrongs, and Japanese public opinion needs to be more forthright in rejecting the more outrageous interpretations of history by right-wing academics and politicians,” Lee said in a keynote speech at Friday’s opening of the Asia Security Summit conference, also known as the Shangri-La Dialogue.

“Japan has already expressed remorse or apologies for the war in general terms,” he said. “But on specific issues like the ‘comfort women’ and the Nanjing Massacre, its positions have been less unequivocal.”

He observed that even though this year is the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII, it “continues to cast a shadow over relations between the old adversaries, in particular between Japan and its neighbors China and Korea.”

“After 70 years, it is past the time to put this history behind us properly, like the Europeans have done. This requires statesmanship and largeness of spirit on both sides.”

While Beijing and Seoul do not think Tokyo has done enough to atone for the suffering caused by its aggression, Lee urged them to “accept Japan’s acknowledgements and not demand that Japan apologize over and over again.”

“The history of the war should not be used to put Japan on the defensive or to perpetuate enmities to future generations,” he said. “Such a reconciliation will also help Japan to become a normal country if it wishes to be.”

Concerning the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, he expressed hope that Japan and the United States will eventually join it. The two countries have not joined the launch of the bank for now due to concerns about its transparency and impact on existing financial institutions like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

Lee went on to say that although most Southeast Asian countries want Japan to play a more active regional role, they are also wary of the possibility of being embroiled in the rivalry between Tokyo and Beijing.

“They will welcome a resolution of the war issues, as they themselves have done between themselves and Japan,” he said.

The annual Asia Security Summit opened on Friday evening with unabating tension over the South China Sea territorial disputes expected to take center stage, security analysts say.

In reference to the disputes, Lee urged China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to come up with a code of conduct on the South China Sea at the earliest opportunity, while warning against an outbreak of violence in the waters.

“But even if we avoid a physical clash, if the outcome is determined on the basis of ‘might is right,’ it will set a bad precedent,” he said.

Defense ministers from major powers and regional countries have gathered in Singapore to discuss security issues of concern to the region at the three-day forum, which was organized by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

The speakers include defense ministers or military chiefs from the United States, Japan, China, Indonesia, India, Cambodia, Britain, New Zealand, Germany, Australia and Singapore.

On Saturday, Defense Minister Gen Nakatani, who is representing Japan at the security forum, warned in his speech that land reclamation projects in the South China Sea risked plunging the region into disorder and urged nations, including China, to behave responsibly.

“If we leave any unlawful situation unattended, order will soon turn to disorder, and peace and stability will collapse,” Nakatani said. “I hope and expect all the countries, including China, to behave as a responsible power.”

Tensions have risen in the South China Sea in recent months over China’s construction of artificial islands as it tries to assert its claim to the potentially energy-rich waters around the Spratly archipelago. The Spratlys are claimed by half a dozen countries including the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and China.

Nakatani proposed what he dubbed the “Shangri-La Dialogue Initiative,” three measures to bolster maritime and air safety in the region, including round-the-clock monitoring of airspace by ASEAN members.

Japan Times


Total Defence: In war, should we fight and be forgotten, or give in and be revered?


I think we need an update to Total Defence as it doesn’t cover this. If Singapore is invaded, what would be the right thing to do?

Should we fight, die and then be totally forgotten, erased from the annals of time and our sacrifice written off as no more than senseless idealism like all the braves who died resisting the Japanese invaders in 1942?

Or learn survival pragmatism from Singapore’s “Great Leeders” such as Lee Kuan Yew and SR Nathan to turncoat and work for the enemies, be it translating for them so that the invaders can “fix the oppositions”, or join the ranks of their brutal police to help them “fix the oppositions”, never mind if such actions lead to many of their fellow men dying senselessly as long as number one survives?

To do the former, we risk eventually getting pissed on in our death years later if a moronic government in absolute power were to decide to glorify the invaders by naming a museum after them, and then justifying for days as to how the offended should not be feeling offended. How many Singaporeans even know or remember people like Lim Bo Seng, Lt Adnan Saidi and what they did for us?

To do the latter, we might survive long after the war to become the “founding father”, the Prime Minister, the Minister Mentor, the President, and be bestowed a lifelong of riches and power for doing nothing and we are glorified and positively attributed for every single non-issue till we die. We get to write and publish our tales of fiction of our “sacrifices” and sell them as the “Hard Truth”. We get state funerals, and perhaps even a founder memorial in the work, all because we made the smart decision to bury our conscience six feet under at the first sign of trouble to watch all those stupid people die resisting instead of following the flow of power to survive. They die, we live, and that is all that matters, right?

WW2 Nathan.jpg

SR Nathan, seen here with a Japanese Lietanant. He worked for the Kempeitai during the Jap occupation, while Lee Kuan Yew worked as a translator for the Japanese army.

So how should it be? Looking from our history in the past 100 years, I think it is pretty clear on what would be the “right thing” to do. Right?

Leslie Chew

Low Thia Khiang: With current state of affairs, WP must go its own way


In a speech during the Punggol East by-election, which was hotly contested by 4 political parties, the sec-gen of the Workers’ Party, Mr Low Thia Khiang, spent some time addressing the issue of ‘opposition unity.’

“During this by-election, before nomination day, the Worker’s Party was accused of being arrogant and dismissive of other opposition parties who wanted to contest Punggol East, and showed no concern about opposition unity.

Tonight, I shall talk to you about the problems regarding opposition unity. (Crowd applause, beat drums)

Firstly, if the opposition parties were able to unite, Singapore today would not have so many political parties.

To register and helm a political party is not difficult. But to dig one’s heels into the ground and persevere is not that easy.

Before and after our nation’s independence, there were already many political parties. But those that have persisted to this day, and have thrived and progressed, apart from the People’s Action Party, is only the Worker’s Party! (Very loud crowd applause and cheers)

Under the political climate of PAP’s one-party dominance, for the other parties to lift their heads high and grow, is a very, very difficult thing.

I joined the Worker’s Party in 1982. It was only after close to 30 years that I managed to see a little bit of advancement made! (Crowd applause)

I’ve interacted with a lot of Worker’s Party supporters. They wish to see Singapore develop democratically. But they are often disheartened, because the opposition is often bogged down with problems. I understand their disappointment.

The opposition parties are actually very complex, with different personalities, different leaders, different approaches.

The year 1991 can be considered a big step in our nation’s democratic development. At that time, we had four opposition MPs in Parliament. The Singapore Democratic Party was the strongest party. However, later the SDP went into strife. In the 1997 election, the PAP took the opportunity to lump all the opposition parties together, and use a single bamboo stick to knock down the entire ship! (Crowd applause)

At the end, four opposition MPs was reduced to just two. After that, the strength of the opposition parties went downhill.

After the 1997 elections, the WP decided to go its own way. Later, some opposition parties formed the Singapore Democratic Alliance. The WP also decided not to join them. (Drum beats and whistles)

In Singapore, anyone can form a political party and contest elections. All political parties have different directions and ideals, they won’t necessarily have the same views and approaches to policies. On the issue of what kind of opposition party is most beneficial for Singapore, the views are also divided.

Therefore, given Singapore’s current political climate, to want all the opposition parties to form a unified force is an impossible goal.

As the saying goes, “道不同,不相為謀”.

Political parties are like people — if they have different inclinations yet you force them to be together, what would be the outcome? Not only will there not be joy, but there will be misunderstandings.

Regarding opposition unity, the fear is that eventually, not only will they be unable to advance together, but they will splinter and become fragmented.

This kind of outcome will only make the people again lose faith in the opposition and become an impediment in Singapore’s democratic progress. (Drum beats and whistles)

The Worker’s Party insists on going its own path, a difficult path that has been criticized — this is not arrogance, nor is it a disrespect to other contestants, but is instead to avoid history repeating itself, to avoid disappointing the people again, to avoid unnecessarily hurting the people! (Very loud crowd applause and cheers)

The Worker’s Party aims to be a respectable, rational political party. We place importance on each election. The trust and support of voters are always reminders to us not to let them down.”

The above was a speech delivered in Mandarin that was translated by Ng E-Jay and posted on his facebook page.