Friday, August 29, 2014

The nature of PAP's governance is "a continuation of colonial rule"

This is probably the most important speech you will NOT hear in the SG50 celebrations next year.

Historian PJ Thum exposes the 3 Myths of Vulnerability, Development and Meritocracy and calls the PAP Government an "imperial government and a continuation of colonial rule"


"So if you're the first Prime Minister of Singapore. You have just been handed power by the British. Where does your legitimacy come from? You're not an indigenous people. You've won an election under very dubious circumstances where you put your political opponents into cold storage. So what do you do? You take a leaf out of the previous colonial government. You reject democracy, you suspend individual rights, you continue to cripple all sorts of safeguards against your exercise of State power etc. by arguing that Singapore is an exceptional case, by arguing for Singaporean exceptionalism. Why? You use the three myths of development, vulnerability and meritocracy."


"By 1950, Singapore was the richest country in Asia. The only country in Asia that was richer than Singapore was metropolitan Tokyo. It was famous then for everything that we are famous for today - tall buildings, wide boulevards, clean drinking water. We had more cars per capita than anywhere in Asia. We were famous for being a trading port, an offshore financial centre, a specialised commodities futures centre, world market for rubber and tin, an oil distribution centre. Lee Kuan Yew himself in 1960 as his electoral fortunes declined as he got more and more unpopular, kept going around saying, "Look, Singapore has the highest income in Asia." If you read the Straits Times in 1960 he kept saying this to point out how good we were doing."


"The PAP's first generation, the Old Guards as we celebrate so much, was an example of how great leadership and talent can be found from people of all backgrounds regardless of education and upbringing. But after the party split several times in the 50s and early 60s, the leadership needed people they could trust to fill the ranks and so they turn to people who are like them - friends, colleagues, relatives - people with talent and who were smart but who thought very much like the leaders of the PAP. So power became concentrated in the hands of a narrow elite. And over time this has meant homogenity of thoughts, values and experiences. They think alike, they feel alike, they believe the same things. Multiple studies on Singapore's elite have shown that the strongest determinant of elite status in Singapore is the proximity to the PAP leadership. The elite is overwhelmingly male, overwhelmingly ethnic Chinese, overwhelmingly upper class; they attend a narrow range of schools, something like 90% of scholarship holders come from just 4 schools. Because a majority of them were male, most of them would have actively served in the military as scholar officers. Don't get me wrong. Within this elite, competition is very fierce and is meritocratic. But to get in there is an accident by birth and the rest of Singaporeans are excluded by definition from the very beginning. So you have a pre-selected elite who don't know that they are the pre-selected elite, who within the competition of this pre-selected elite, believed that they have gotten to where they are through hard work and therefore they owe nothing to the rest of society for their position.."


"The PAP has abandoned attempts to restore democratic normality and instead have reasserted Singapore's exceptionalism.
Singapore's vulnerability was emphasised. Legislative authority was used to legitimise regulatory oppression. The media was suppressed and a monopoly was asserted over public discourse. Opposition has been depicted as subversive and detention without trial has been used to remove the leadership of the political opposition.

To maintain the three myths, the PAP, like the British, have used instruments of intellectual and legislative control. Over the decades the PAP has gone further than the British in implementing colonial policies in destroying Chinese education, shutting down Nantah, ending all Chinese schools..

To me the really sad thing is Singapore democracy really worked from 1955 to 1963 when Singaporeans went to the polls on an average of once a year. And out of this short period emerged policies that made Singapore world-famous today - HDB, CPF, industrialisation, a tri-lingual education system that produced a reasonably talented second generation of PAP leadership. But after the PAP's absolute control in 1968, what do we have? We have Stop At Two, the second industrial revolution where GDP dropped 10% in just one year, we have a CPF that's constantly being fiddled with.. And that is a product of a lack of democracy, a lack of debate, a lack of dissent and a lack of new ideas in the government.

The nature of our governance in Singapore today is an imperial government. It is a continuation of colonial rule."

1 comment:

jack said...

A very good article,I have taken the liberty to translate via Google into Chinese for our citizens.Thank you.
新加坡人民行动党执政的本质是 “延续殖民的统治”
历史学者覃炳鑫 (P. J. Thum) 暴露3个脆弱, 发展和任人唯贤的神话,并称新加坡人民行动党政府一个“帝国政府和延续殖民统治的”.

“所以,如果你是新加坡第一任总理。你刚被英国移交权力,那么你的合法性从何而来?你不是原住民,你在非常可疑的情况下赢了选举,你把你的政治对手放进入冷库,所以你会怎么做?你从以前的殖民地政府学习 。你拒绝民主,你暂停个人的权利,你继续削弱各种对您行使国家权力等保障。

“到了1950年,新加坡已经是在亚洲最富有的国家了。 比新加坡更富有的地方是日本的东京都。今天我们新加坡著名的一切那时已著名- 高层建筑,宽阔的林荫大道,干净的饮用水。 那时我们有比亚洲的任何地方更多的汽车人均。 我们是出名的贸易港口,离岸金融中心,有专门的商品期货中心,世界市场对橡胶,锡,石油分销中心。那是1950年。李光耀本人在1960年为他的选民支持度下滑,因为他得到了越来越不得人心,不停地绕来绕去说,“你看,新加坡是亚洲收入最高的地区。”如果你读海峡时报在1960年那时,他不停地说这指出我们新加坡有多好,正在做什么。“

“人民行动党的第一代,我们庆祝了这么多的老一代,就是一个伟大的领导和人才可以从各种背景,无论教育和抚养的人发现的一个例子 。
但在50年代和60年代初人民行动党分裂几次之后,行动党领导需要他们可以信任的人以填补行列, 所以他们转向像他们一样的人- 朋友,同事,亲戚 - 有天赋聪明的的人,但思想非常像人民行动党的领袖的。
所以权力都集中在一个狭小的精英手中。随着时间的推移这意味着他们思想,价值观和经验均一性的。 他们有灵犀一点通, 他们感觉一样, 他们认同 一 样的事情。新加坡的多项研究精英表明,精英身份在新加坡最强的决定因素是要接近人民行动党的领导。
精英绝大多数是男性,压倒性是华族,压倒性是上层的阶级; 他们来自几个 学校, 像90%的奖学金获得者来自仅有4所学校。 因为他们大部分是男性,他们大多会积极在军中服役的学者军官。不要误会我的意思。在这个精英,竞争是非常激烈的,是任人唯才。但要得到在那里, 是 出生的意外,与其余的新加坡人从最开始被排除在外 。 所以,你必须有预先选定的精英,他们也不知道自己 是预先选定的精英,他们在此预选精英的竞争,他们 相信都是通过自己努力工作他们才能 到哪里 ,因此,他们对于自己的位置,是没欠社会的其余人什么的。“