Dare to be Daft

Kuan Yew has single-handedly popularized many words. Despot is one of them. Complacency another. The most recent word: daft.

While I do not agree with Kuan Yew that voters who vote for the opposition in order to spite the PAP are daft, I have no idea why it is getting so much attention. It is, after all, merely a piece of lowdown rhetoric which I suspect even Kuan Yew himself is not particularly proud of.  Unfortunately, even when Kuan Yew calls people daft, many daft Singaporeans seem to be daft about him. (Such as certain vacuum-heads who compulsively write to The Straits Times hoping to win the chance to do weights training with political testicles.)

What is truly insulting though is Kuan Yew’s other claim about himself and his government:

No country in the world has given its citizens an asset as valuable as what we’ve given every family here. And if you say that policy is at fault, you must be daft.

Give. In the Straits Times article on 28 January 2010, “Don’t cast protest vote over rising flat prices: MM,” the word “give” appears in one form or another no less than eight times to refer to the government giving the people something. No, Kuan Yew. You did not give us our flats. We worked, we earned our money to buy our flats. You sell them to us. And they are getting more and more expensive. Kuan Yew, stop seeing yourself as The Emperor-God of Singaporeans. Singaporeans work, often harder than you ever have, for what they own although you think they are lazy compared to the new immigrants from China.

Policy is not at fault indeed. It is the sense of self-importance that plagues you and the government you have made. You believe that Singaporeans owe their lives to you and you are freely claiming whatever you want from them as and when you deem fit. You claim credit for every good in Singapore and disavow responsibility from every bad that results from what you have done. When you feel like it, you try to show off your humility such as by admitting that you are wrong about how bilingualism is practiced while simultaneously reinforcing the policy and projecting an image of enlightenment.

Cast a protest vote. Why not. At least, if I infer from Kuan Yew’s logic correctly, housing would be free if you cast a protest vote and a minister gets voted out. If the reader is not convinced, please refer to the following fascinating snippets of absurdity reported by Kuan Yew’s propaganda machine, The Straits Times:

1) As Singaporeans lament rising flat prices, he [Kuan Yew] said they ought to understand that the Government sells them at a subsidised price, below market rate, so that they can own an asset that will appreciate in value over the years.

This is brilliant. Worry not when you have a hell of a mess to deal with. It is not really a mess for you have, in fact, intended it to happen all along.

You see, Kuan Yew and his colleagues are gods. Flats are becoming more and more expensive not because of market forces but because the government has planned for it to happen so that you can sell your flat for a higher price. Minor God of National Development Mah Bow Tan must have been really humble when he said: “Nobody, no matter how prescient, no matter how clever, would have been able to predict that this is what is going to happen this year. All of us were caught off-guard… I did not expect the prices to go up.” (CNA)

I would like to know, though, what the use of owning a flat that appreciates in value over the years is. I can sell it, be homeless and keep the profits. Or I can sell it, refuse to be homeless, and use the money I get to buy another flat. But given that this new flat I buy must also have “appreciated” in value (it may even have appreciated more in value than my flat), so whatever profit I gain will be spent on this new flat. To really profit from appreciation, I need to buy more than one flat or at least have a place to live in other than the flat I buy. The only sense I make of this is that the gods are helping the rich become richer. But Kuan Yew is right since the rich are Singaporeans too. (Cut and paste this paragraph under Point 4 below.)

2) But if Mr Mah loses to the opposition, he warned that Singaporeans better sell their flats fast as they would no longer be of any value.

Listen up, all those who do not have enough money to buy flats! Vote Mah Bow Tan out and flats will have no value. I think this means that you would not even have to pay a single cent for them. I have no idea what how voting for/against Mah affects the value of flats, but if you believe Kuan Yew and you want a flat for free, you know what to do if you get to vote. Meanwhile, women out there can apply to be maids in other countries. Finally, a chance to escape this bizarre hell!

Now I understand what Kuan Yew is giving us. He’s giving us hope and certainly is not fear-mongering as some cyber-terrorists are claiming.

3) ‘It will always be an issue,’ noted Mr Lee. ‘They always want it cheaper and better.’

This is conventional Kuan Yew wisdom. When people ask for welfare, they are asking to be fed all their lives without working. When people ask for freedom, they are asking to be able to kill people and not be held responsible. When people want HDB flats to remain affordable, they are just being greedy and want better flats at lower and lower prices. And that is a good reason to punish them with smaller, worse flats that are more and more expensive.

4) ‘[T]he moment you buy a flat, you can sell it to make a profit,’ he said. ‘We are giving you something more valuable than you’re paying for. So we say you cannot sell it for five years.’

If I buy something that is more valuable than what I am paying for, there is really no need for the price of that item to go up beyond the inflation rate. I will still be able to profit from it. So why are flats so expensive?

5) ‘We decided from the very beginning, everybody must have a home, every family will have something to defend. And that home, we developed over the years into the most valuable asset.’

Kuan Yew has probably confused having a home with having a flat. Having a flat is not a prerequisite for having a home. Neither does it ensure that one has a home. But one gets his drift. He wants every family to have something to defend. In other words, he wants every family to have something that can be held hostage. In yet other words, he wants every family to have a liability. An appreciating, growing liability. So that he can tell you, “Vote my my party, otherwise your flat will become worthless” even if he makes zero sense.

Daft? Kuan Yew insults Singaporeans’ intelligence not by his choice of words but by how he assumes that the nonsense he spouts will be believed. Unfortunately, he may be right about the intelligence of many Singaporeans. But he has made people that way. Some of the others who have more intelligence might be the beneficiaries of his policies and will not do anything he considers to be daft. It is up to the rest, however small this group is, to dare to be daft whilst they still have the chance to be daft.

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