Xenophobia and hypocrisy

~ By Gordon Lee ~

Lee Kuan Yew and the PAP he founded do not like taking lectures from others. In fact, he despises foreign “meddling” in Singapore’s politics, criticises them for doing so, curtailed the distribution of certain papers or even taken legal action against some of them.

Nevermind that Lee Kuan Yew himself allegedly [wikileaks] enjoys taking the mickey out of his foreign counterparts by calling the Burmese generals “stupid”, former Taiwanese President Chen Shui Bian a reckless “gambler”[1], or the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il as a “fat, flabby chap” and a “psychopathic”[2].

Nevermind that Lee Kuan Yew criticises Malaysia for the “systematic marginalisation” of the Chinese in the educational and other systems of the country[3].

Nevermind that “good” political meddling is praised and circulated in the press.

Nevermind that the Government welcome foreign involvement in other aspects of the country save politics. Foreign investment, foreign companies, foreign workers, foreign talents, foreign technology, foreign educational institutions – these are all actively courted.

Such blatant hypocrisy.

And what is truly upsetting is that Singaporeans participate in that same hypocrisy – under the veil of “nationalism” and “self-determination”. Perhaps a sign of an all-too-effective “National Education”?

I am sure the Government is secretly delighted that Singaporeans are all too happy to defend their policies against perceived “foreign” intervention. I have seen enough of it. Amnesty International press releases are routinely condemned by netizens as “meddling”. Executions are supported by some on the basis of not being seen to “bow” to foreign pressure.

Singaporeans still hung-up with anti-colonial sentiments of the past continue to heckle the British in Singapore[4]. When non-Singaporeans comment on some of TOC’s articles and posts, they are censured not just for their views, but for even participating in the discussion.

Can we not end this jingoistic xenophobia, and instead work towards a truly inclusive society which practises freedom of speech and expression – whoever the person may be, and whatever the person may say?


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