Ten years of Lee Shien Long…..

August 15, 2014

catastrophic success!

——————————————————————————-

‘To say Mini Lee disappointed would not be entirely right. Besides, I don’t particularly like the word disappoint. As it’s a lovers word. I believe in these ten years – there were certainly many winners as there were probably losers.

My feel is most pundits don’t really understand the truth is self selecting – as how you would decide to fill his report card as PM will pivot entirely on whether you’re a winner or loser in his new order of Singapore.

I came across a blog recently that was aggregated by Singapore’s premier Potemkin site, the Singaporedaily. You know those fucks who aren’t allowed to aggregate whatever we and our channel partners produce….and in one of these blogs, the author wrote,

Yes, life in Singapore is tough but there are pros and cons everywhere in this world. Blame yourself if u cannot succeed, not the government. No one owes you a bed of roses, so stop acting so entitled!’

I don’t agree with the author entirely. As why should hard working people have to blame themselves if they failed under Mini Lee. In truth, he made the wheel of life so bloody difficult for the middle class to turn under his watch that even the best dropped out and failed – let’s face it, if one has to compete with the whole wide world, it’s really like you asking me as a farmer to compete with the likes of ADM, Bundee and Cargill – I mean, if I had to compete with those big guns who just rode into my kampung like some prized gunfighter. I wouldn’t even try to do something as silly as compete – as I know I don’t stand a chance in hell!

No way man! Can’t do it! Just pack my teddy bear in a box, put up a for sale sign and that’s it.

But if you said to me. Look here! Hello farmer! Bad ass mothers are coming to whip your sorry ass so you better lay off surfing porn and whiling your time playing online Soduku and if you can give me a commitment that you’re serious for a good fight – I am going to give you the resources and opportunities to improve your lot so that you can hold your own against them. I would probably sign on the dotted line and work darn hard to build critical mass and core competencies in scientific farming so that I would be able to hold my own even against those big boys.

My feel is that was what he should have done. Empower people to compete and hold their own against foreign competition, rather than leaving it all to the caprice of the free market. Because when you strip down globalization to its bare chassis, as an economic theory, often it’s dehumanizing, feral, downright vicious and often it’s closer to perdition than salvation – it’s a lousy purveyor of the la dolce vita.

My point is change needs to be intelligent managed at the point of inception and not when things get so bad that mini lee even has to get eight ball Tharman and tin pot soldier Chuan Jin to talk to the banks about giving locals an opportunity. I mean what kinda of balance of power are you even talking when you have to go to those sharks with the begging bowl. You go figure that part out lah!

Because at that stage, it’s game over…finished….poof it’s gone!

So when we talk about losers and winners, very often, we don’t appreciate the scale or for that matter even understand basic questions like – who the hell are we competing with?

The tendency is to take the course of least mental resistance and impute blame on those who failed, by saying, well if others can do it and you can’t hack it, then it has to be your fault!

I don’t think it’s reasonable to do that. Not if you want an intelligent conversation where you might see the world slightly differently from the way you have always seen it.

So coming back to the topic of Mini Lee’s ten years – All I am willing to say is I think it’s pretty impossible to find a more polarizing, divisive and controversial prime minister in the history of Singapore.

And if you think about it that’s not any casual statement, but a mother of all statements that could possibly stand by itself as a whole disquisition. That is basically how I would sum up his innings.

If there is any benchmark mini lee has successfully set in this last ten years – it is really being able to take the whole meaning of ‘divide’ beyond its dictionary meaning to call his own – and I have a feeling his record is good to stand for at least as long as Singapore’s natural life cycle. I for one cannot imagine a more controversial figure.

But that is not really my point – the crux is we are already living in a very divided society as it is – and these divisions are so deep and entrenched philosophically, ideologically and conceptually that it’s hard to see how there can be any basis for common ground – you know very recently one of my colleagues threw a Singapore day bash as he does every year to celebrate the NDP. The turn up was quite good. But these days, you will find two distinct groups who just want to do their own thing as they have absolutely nothing in common with the other group. They don’t talk. They much prefer to be in their respective groups, as I suspect, they seem to all know or intuit – that’s the best way these days to get by without ending up in the ICU – as what divides them is so great, if they ever got together, they would probably be so divisive as to produce no good for each side. And this should prompt one to ask why? Along with was it all worth it?

I mean at the end of ten years and all you have to show for is two groups who don’t want to have anything to do with each other then any reasonable person would have to ask – was it worth it to chase all out economic growth in the first place! Any reasonable man would question the goal along the means to the end. My feel is these people who choose to do so should not be treated as subversives or the fringe of the lunatic wing.

So there they were, two groups separated like oil and water -terminally divided – so close yet so far and that’s really how I see Singapore society these days under Mini Lee watch.

A divided nation split right down the middle where the differences between the winners and losers are so monumentally great that you can even have one side throwing out hurtful statements like,

‘Blame yourself if u cannot succeed, not the government. No one owes you a bed of roses, so stop acting so entitled!’

I really don’t think mere vignettes, happy soundbites and trinket cosmetic features such as getting the Singaporedaily to feature daily pics of Mini Lee is ever going to change his image or how so many people see him, as when one scales the magnitude of the divide along with all its multi hydra implications. All I can really say is that’s a really big problem that requires real and serious solutions not the panacea of spin doctoring.

The problem as I see it, while the winners seem to be winning at every turn and opportunity. All that the losers can do is to suck it all in and hope that they don’t lose too big. It wouldn’t be such a travesty, if you told me, these people who lose deserve to lose, as they were lazy and didn’t study hard or cut their teeth as diligent and responsible model workers. Many of the losers in my opinion did everything they should have done, they went to the right universities, they cut their teeth at work, but somehow the system just left them high and dry thru no fault of their own and that to me will always be travesty.

That I feel is his legacy, broken hopes and dreams amid the exuberance life is great. Like I said, it really depends on your vantage, did you win or lose?

That’s the question that in this unusual case just happens to be the answer as well.

I call a spade a spade. That’s what farmers do!’

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