by Augustine Low
It is said time and again that 70% of Singaporeans are daft (or stupid) – the 70% who invariably vote for the People’s Action Party.
Remarks by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong seem to most remarkably lend credence to this notion.
In an interview with CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour on whether Singapore could open up more in terms of free speech, PM Lee, in a roundabout response, said the political scene is the way it is because of how Singaporeans voted.
“When does it change? It changes when the Singapore electorate decides that this Government is not serving their interests . . . and then it will be a different scene.”
In short, Singaporeans get the Government and the “political scene” they voted for.
The remarks by the Prime Minister seem to echo the charge (mainly by those in the 30% camp) that many Singaporeans are like sheep, unthinking and unfeeling, and what they get (even though they complain about it) is what they voted for.
The visit of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has also unfortunately not left a good impression of Singaporeans, as far as some of the foreign journalists are concerned.
CNN reported that it found it “weird” that Singaporeans were seen clamouring to get up close to Kim, treating him like a celebrity and shouting “Mr Kim! Mr Kim!”
MJ Lee, a renowned political reporter for CNN, tweeted her bewilderment as to whether Singaporeans “read the news, ever.”
People *cheering* Kim Jong Un’s entrance — and shouting “Mr. Kim, Mr. Kim!” as though he is a celebrity — is a thing that is happening right now in Singapore. Unclear if said people have ever read the news, ever. https://t.co/hmKbJaKgvW
— MJ Lee (@mj_lee) June 11, 2018
Because any informed person would have known that Kim Jong Un is the despot of a brutal, totalitarian regime, who stands accused of crimes against humanity, who allegedly ordered the killing of even his inner circle and family members, and who has spent billions on weapons of mass destruction while many of his own people are starving.
But then, even the Ministers have given Kim celebrity treatment. The beautifully framed selfies of Vivian Balakrishnan and Ong Ye Kung with Kim were splashed on foreign media. It made Kim look like a chubby rock star, flanked by two adoring fans.
But the chubby one is a wily fox.
Newspapers around the world are headlining that President Donald Trump got outfoxed, and that Kim Jong Un is the big winner of the summit because he received concessions and gave away practically nothing.
Augustine Low is a proud but concerned citizen. Voicing independent, unplugged opinion is his contribution to citizen engagement.