Khaw Boon Wan Espousing Self-Righteous PAP Leadership

“To lead, you must be able to see first further, and tell people what is unpleasant sometimes. I try to say what’s right. Pleasant or unpleasant to me, is not as important as what is right, what is rational.” Khaw Boon Wan on leadership.

There is a terrible old cliché in leadership theories that good leaders do what is right. The claim sounds logical—almost indisputable—simply because we do not expect good leaders to do what is wrong instead. We must remember, however, that there is often no universal consensus on what constitutes right and wrong. For someone in a position of leadership to self-indulgently see and market himself as a good leader who does what is right, he has to first be presumptuous enough to impose his beliefs regarding right/wrong on those he is leading and pre-empt the possibility of dialogue. His right/wrong becomes the only possible configuration. His worldview is immutable truth. This is the sort of political leaders that Singapore has.

In a rather ironic moment, Minister Khaw Boon Wan shares with us his take on leadership, which turns out to be an indirect claim that he and his PAP colleagues are leaders par excellence. It is difficult to tell if he is even trying to be subtle about it by not referring to himself and his colleagues, but makes references instead to what he considers bad political leadership elsewhere in the world. What Khaw says is yet another signal from the PAP, whether it is deliberate or not, that the PAP will never change. Khaw’s words negate any promise the PAP has made to listen to the people, though this is not at all unexpected—who amongst us but the most naïve (to use a word that I consider to be a tad too positive in this context) would believe that the PAP is going to be receptive to noisy, untalented Singaporeans?

One cliché that will always be used to describe the PAP government (and I make no apologies about using the term “PAP government”) is: the government knows best. Actually it ought to be: only the government knows. If you disagree, you are wrong. Be grateful that you have a good government that will correct you, plebeians! We may not want to disagree with Khaw excessively when he claims that political leaders need to “tell people what is unpleasant sometimes.” To be sure, leadership is not about courting people with honeyed words and vague promises or even crowd-pleasing apologies sans sincerity. But let us first ask why there is even a need to tell people what is unpleasant. I would assume that it is necessary when the people are wrong or are not aware of unpleasant truths and thus need to be enlightened. This is the underlying assumption when a leader tells people what is unpleasant. However, when a leader brings this a level higher by self-consciously explaining that good leadership involves telling people what is unpleasant, it reflects deep-seated anxieties about people’s confidence in him (which explains the need to define good leadership) and/or a belief that those he is leading tend to stubbornly refuse the enlightenment that he has to offer them. As it turns out, perhaps two characteristics of excellent leadership are, quite paradoxically, insecurity and condescension.

Not quoted: Sorry, I'm going to continue telling you unpleasant things because I'm a good leader.

While Khaw is quite unambiguous about his definition of good leadership, he is also introducing an element of uncertainty or inconsistency—“sometimes”—in his statement. How does a leader decide when to tell what is unpleasant and when not to do so? Allow me to propose that good leaders say the nicest things when garnering votes and dispense with pleasantries at all other times. This is like a preacher who makes promises about how God will bless people when he is trying to convert them, but who constantly reminds them that they are sinners who should be punished once they are converted. Blessings? What blessings? This is a conclusion about good leadership I have reached after years of observing the PAP, whom we must assume the one entity that has the highest concentration of the greatest leaders in the world.

We must not make the mistaking of over-simplifying Khaw, of course. There are at least two other qualities of good leadership that he mentions: foresight and rationality. Foresight is, for him, linked to saying what is unpleasant. It has got to be an extended condescension of sorts. I have doubts about how farsighted it is to define foresight narrowly as a leader seeing beyond what no-leaders can see and conveying the vision to them. One could very well define foresight in political leadership as the ability to take into account why what they say is unpleasant to the people they are leading. We can do without leaders who constantly tell us how good their policies are for the country when the people simply experience increasing misery and suffering. The tendency of the PAP to impose on the people its third-world-to-first grand narrative is itself a sign of bad leadership. Would these leaders have the foresight to see that setting up a thousand Facebook pages will not help them “engage” the people if there is no aim to go beyond the usual condescending leadership style and the only aim is to create a semblance of engagement and hoping that people will be taken in.

We may also fault Khaw for his emphasis on rationality in leadership. Khaw is saying that leaders have to be rational and make decisions that are unpopular (we have heard that many times from the PAP), but what gets neglected is how rationality can actually lead to different decisions. Given the same situation, two different leaders may make different but nonetheless rational decisions. It may be entirely rational to, for instance, ban a work of art because a significant segment of society deems it objectionable. It may be equally rational to not ban the work because no matter how objectionable it is to some people, it does not and cannot harm anyone and we should not disallow creative expression. To tyrannize based on one mode of rationality is bad leadership and this is a persistent problem with the PAP. Its rationality is always the only right. So they are more self-righteous than right.

"Good leaders do the right thing. And I'm always right."

We should, however, not fault Khaw excessively for we cannot say that he is wrong and that leaders should not be rational. We should not give him much credit either since his point, when it is acceptable, is commonsensical and not at all insightful. We wonder also how rational he and his colleagues are.

Khaw dishes out seemingly good advice to Singaporeans about the need to save. As it is reported:

“Sometimes you get fine weather, sometimes rainy. But if you have always saved for the rainy day, you’ll be pretty steady and safe,” he was quoted as saying by The Straits Times.

Speaking at the sidelines of a National Day observance ceremony in Sembawang on Sunday, Minister Khaw noted that even saving S$100 out of S$1,000 each month would go a long way in sheltering Singaporeans during rainy days. (Source)

He gives the example of Americans and Europeans who overspent instead of saving their money. It is all good advice except that before we can follow his advice, we have to earn enough to save money. If I earn as much money as Khaw as a minister, I would certainly be able to save $100 out of every $1000, which is just 10% of my salary. But what if I earn only $1000 per month? How am I going to save $100, especially with “fair and balanced” transport fare hikes and the ever-rising cost of living? At least the Americans have a minimum wage and many European countries have unemployment benefits. In Singapore, we have to save for a rainy day; when the storm floods our pathetic lives, we go begging our very sympathetic MPs for a food voucher or too and get constant reminders not to have a crutch mentality. If this is an example of sound, rational leadership, the PAP will score better than anyone else.

It seems that our political leaders are more interested in telling us what great leaders they are than in leading well. Admittedly, this is itself very rational because so long as the people believe that they are led by the best leaders in the world, they will be good and grateful citizens despite their misery. They will know that they only have their lack of prudence and their sheer incompetence to blame when they have financial problems. What else should matter? Successful propaganda counts more than substance.

The Next Time the PAP Asks for My Vote

I have reason to believe that PAP politicians are given a handbook with a title like The PAPalian Hermeneutics of Criticism. This seems to me to be the only reason they quite consistently interpret what the public says in a style for which they should be awarded a patent. My guess would be that the book has a maxim: When people ask for an inch, it means that they are trying to extort a yard from you. This should not come across as too much of a surprise since the linguistic ineptitude of most citizens below the ruling class is appalling, most not having been even a mile near an Ivy League.

Following the maxim, when the public complains (like all the uncouth members of the lower classes do) that hikes in transport fares are unreasonable, it means that they are asking for free public transport. If those dirty beggars look at you pleadingly for what they euphemistically call financial aid or basic welfare, they must be demanding to live a life of luxury off government coffers. If they so cunningly appeal for so-called democracy, they are actually threatening to topple the best government to ever have existed in the history of civilization.

We therefore have to commend Kuan Yew’s son (the Prime Minister, that is) for flawlessly applying the teachings of the handbook. His mentor ought to be proud of him. On the floods that have taken place recently, he comments, “I don’t think it’s possible in Singapore to expect the place to be completely free of floods.” His intelligence is unrivalled. He has completely exposed deviousness of those who have hypocritically expressed concern about the freak floods. They are simply expecting a flood-free universe (because, I believe, they subscribe to a theory that each time a freak flood takes place, they age fifty years).

No one should blame Kuan Yew’s son for his subtle insinuations for public expectations have to be managed before they go out of hand. The way in which he interprets complex phenomena such as the noise made about floods is tried and tested and reliable. We know, for instance, that when PAP politicians ask for our votes, they are expecting an opposition-free parliament. Being the conscientious learner and dutiful minion-without-opinions that I am, I know how to respond the next time a PAP politician comes knocking on my door for votes.

And the reader must pardon me for my adulation of Kuan Yew’s son. There exists a group of people in Singapore (whom some jealously and so erroneously accuse of being The Elite) who are so privileged when it comes to wisdom that every little morsel of sagacity that they let loose would benefit us greatly—if we had the right degree of humility to learn from them. Take for example SMRT CEO Saw Phaik Hua who has gained overnight fame through just one sentence: “People can board the train – it’s a matter of whether they choose to.” Look at how ingeniously she, like Kuan Yew’s son, dissects the rhetoric of unreasonable critics.


Saw: always ready to cut you down to size

Ms Saw uses statistics to persuade us and this is what we should do instead of maligning everyone just because we are dissatisfied with certain things in life. She tells us that even at its most crowded, an SMRT train carries only about 1400 people. On the other hand, she patiently explains, it is considered crush load only when the train carries more than 2000 people.

Yes, it is believed that at their most crowded, SMRT trains can fit about 600 more people before it is considered truly crowded. If it helps, allow me to emphasize that 600 people is quite a lot of people and therefore SMRT trains have never ever been crowded. Imagine a fully occupied upper deck of an SBS double-decker. 600 people is about 12 times that many people. Currently, even when it is experiencing the highest passenger volume, an SMRT train can actually fit in 12 more upper-decks of people. How could this possibly be considered crowded?

Despite the bravado I have shown above, I must confess that I have absolutely no idea how to fit these 12 upper-decks of hooligans into the most crowded SMRT train I have traveled in (not without making another joke about saws anyway), but that must be because I still have a lot to learn from those who earn more in one year than what I may take a dozen freak-flood years to earn. (One freak-flood year is 0.5 century, if you need me to jog your memory.) No doubt, out of sheer jealousy, I may retort that our transport companies can provide better service—it’s only whether they choose to. After all, I can easily assert this with much more certainty than claiming (for instance) that the government is capable of better leadership and it’s only whether it chooses to. But surely this would be to miss the point. If we have learnt our lessons well, we really should not expect transport companies to offer us free chauffeurs and limousines. Neither can we demand the government to bow down to the whims of badass citizens.

The Mask of Moderation

There have always been those who deem themselves rational voices of moderation in public discourse, although these people are often complicit with the ideology of compulsory balance, probably the worst form of extremism, which denies other standpoints (particularly those that are against the status quo) by virtue of the fact that they are not judged to be balanced, rational, or moderate. People can be so balanced that they will readily execute anyone who moves an inch further from the center of gravity than permitted by their standards. If a comparison helps, it is like a religious institution that has some form of legitimacy in a society but voices subtly extremist views. It is quietly accepted because any form of extremism it takes does not offend those with the power to threaten its legitimacy within the mainstream.

There are also those who seize the notion of balance and wear it as a mask to propagate positions that are anything but moderate. These people know the game and taps into the power of the above group to their advantage.

We saw, in the previous post, how Mr. Ling Tuck Mun tried to look opposition friendly by suggesting that we imagine a future without the PAP, only to eventually hint none too subtly that such a future would not be too bright. Then Rachel Chang comes in and tell us, sounding almost neutral, about the “Power of the net to polarise”. Of course, being good and rational folks, we know that engineered homogeneity is preferable to polarity. (In Cold War terms, why have two Superpowers when we can have one lording over us?)

Perhaps in order to establish a connection with those who are critical of the government, Rachel Chang starts her article with the idea that the government is all-powerful:

There is a cliched warning parents like to use with their kids to discourage wrongdoing: ‘You better not do xx, or the police will come after you.’

The Singaporean version of this replaces ‘police’ with ‘the Government’, an indication of how the Government is larger than life here.

I thought it goes, in perfect Singlish, “Don’t anyhow say! Wait the gahmen send the police after you.” But I get Rachel’s drift. She gets to her real point immediately, if the reader pardons Molly’s extremely extremist act of inserting a comment into the following quotation:

But that is not the only bogey in Singapore. The people who oppose the Government [all of them?] have become scary in their own right.

Virulently anti-People’s Action Party personages on the Internet have claimed victims of their own, including members of the PAP’s youth wing, Young PAP.

This is very well set up. The people who oppose the government are scary, virulent and victimize others. And to put into perspective how terrifying these people are, they are victimizing the those affiliated to the old bogey, the PAP!

Rachel then cites a supposed example of how the new bogey has victimized others:

The chairman of the Eunos Community Centre’s Youth Club [Mr. Sear Hock Rong] had boasted on his website that his clients included Eunos residents’ committees. Netizens seized on the link, accusing him of using his grassroots connections to drum up business for his events management company.

A check with the Eunos constituency office revealed that his business dealings with it amounted to no more than a few jobs as master of ceremonies at grassroots events.

It would help a lot of Rachel could provide us with a few examples of netizens who “accused” Sear of using his connections to get business and whether these netizens accusing him had enough influence to victimize him through their accusations. I have come across articles demanding to know whether he had used his connections to benefit his business, but I have yet to come across one that has maligned him. Perhaps Rachel and I visit different websites. Being the excellent journalist that she is, if only Rachel had visited Temasek Review, perhaps she would have shed light on the how untrue the following claims are:

Mr Sear runs an education service company which was registered only in July this year. In the span of six months, his start-up managed to secure 24 clients including the following grassroots organizations: Eunos Citizens’ Consultative Committee, Eunos Zone ‘1′ Residents’ Committee, Eunos Zone ‘3′ Residents’ Committee and Eunos Zone ‘5′ Residents’ Committee.

According to information posted on Mr Sear’s company website, Mr Sear is the Chairman of Eunos Community Club Youth Executive Committee.

His business partner Mr Fong Yoong Keong is the Vice-Chairman of Eunos CC Youth Executive Committee and Assistant Secretary of Eunos Zone ‘3′ RC.

Speaking of bogeys, though, Rachel seems to have forgotten to mention the legal bogeys such as the defamation bogey. Incidentally, it seems that Sear has threatened to take action against people for divulging his personal information.

In case we are not sympathetic towards Sear, Rachel cites the example of Gayle Goh who “stopped writing, in large part because of the harassment and abuse she was subjected to by some netizens.” Rachel even tells us that “political forums and blogs, embittered and united in their detest of the ruling party, egg one another on to mow down minnows like Mr Sear and Ms Goh.” (Using the same logic, perhaps I might say that members of the mainstream media, embittered and united in their detest of critical netizens, compulsively assassinate alternative media.” I am not too sure which “people who oppose the Government” harassed Gayle Goh into closing her blog, but perhaps Rachel could have cited examples of how a blogger is threatened with defamation by Philip Yeo, and how, as an ironic return to the police bogey, a Janet Wee apparently complained to the police about alleged sedition on the part of The Online Citizen. Instead, Rachel proceeds to persuade us that “[t]he World Wide Web can be a scary place. It is a no-holds-barred arena, and its denizens have little care for decorum and personal space – or facts, for that matter.”

The Straits Times can be a scary paper and its journalists have little care for journalistic integrity—or facts, for that matter. But this is nothing new. What less typical in Rachel’s article is the effort she puts in to appear balanced, moderate, rational. To do so, she sounds almost critical of the political landscape at times:

I cannot help wondering if the political landscape has contributed to the situation.

Dissent in Singapore through channels such as political parties and the media is seen as weak. Some Singaporeans believe that they can only find fearless discussion of policy issues online. They believe the mainstream media self-censors.

The other extreme, a lack of self-censorship, prevails in cyberspace. In some forums, ugly impulses like a blanket racism towards all foreigners have become de rigueur.

So long as a segment of Singaporeans feel there is no mainstream channel through which they can criticise the Government freely, more will gravitate towards the Net. And once there, they may forever be beyond the reach of the ruling party.

The Straits Times suggesting that there should be a mainstream channel for people to criticize the government freely? A miracle? But perhaps we can read it again. “And once there, they may forever be beyond the reach of the ruling party.” Does Rachel see anything wrong with this? Does she want a mainstream space for people to criticize the government “freely” so that they will not be “beyond the reach” of the PAP? Criticize freely and be fixed by the PAP freely. Ultimately, Rachel’s point is utterly stale:

The urgent task for the online community in Singapore is to build up websites that are credible and respected, and pry control of the Web away from the ones who dominate it now – the ones who hide behind nicknames and prefer personal attacks to policy discussion.

Her point is a simple disparagement of current alternative media. It is an attack on people who prefer to stay anonymous, regardless of the fact that anonymous netizens are capable of writing that are at least more sound than hers. Rachel wants “credibility” from the netizens. “Credibiity” in Singaporean public discourse is an uncanny term. It may simply mean that you take on a Straits Times quality. Or that you divulged your name and IC number so that you can be fixed more easily.

Certainly, not all online behavior is respectable. For instance, I do not find it very respectable for a government to employ people to post positive “truths” about itself in order to counter comments criticizing it. There are probably racist comments (but who is to say that no one is paid to be racist?). There is no need to persistently preach about credibility, especially in ways that would just benefit the hegemony of one party. The power of the Net to polarize? No, it’s the power of the Net to diversify. It is the Net. There are poles and there is a lot between the poles that stumbling penguins faced with melting homes should not ignore. (My due apologies to penguins.)

In a moment of bitterness rather than self-awareness, Rachel continues from the previous quotation and finishes her article saying, “The same ones [those who currently “dominate” the web, according to her] who will probably shoot me nasty, unsigned e-mail messages after reading this column.” If I write a blog post criticizing her pseudo-moderate stance, I must a a dangerous cyber terrorist even if I cannot even be bothered to email her.

Reclaiming Our Imagination

Mr. Ling Tuck Mun writes to the Straits Times forum asking people to imagine a Singapore without the PAP. And leaves nothing to the imagination. By simultaneously inviting us to imagine and denying us the space to imagine within his territory, he attempts to violate even Singaporeans’ right to even imagine a better world without the PAP. He is attempting to pollute one of the last avenues of subversion against the all-encompassing hegemony of the PAP which Singaporeans have. What a heinous, despicable perpetrator of injustice. May a million victims (or cyber terrorists, as Lionel De Souza calls them) eviscerate the vile monster his rhetoric is.

First, Ling invites us to imagine the unimaginable and totally illogical, almost mocking Singaporeans already:

Imagine the People’s Action Party (PAP) at this month’s Budget successfully enacting a law to distribute most of the country’s reserves to all eligible Singaporeans.

Each Singaporean would likely become a millionaire overnight. Imagine the tsunami of joy sweeping each person, who would literally be a first prize Toto winner instantly.

What joy would there be if the PAP were to distribute the money in this way. Being a millionaire would mean nothing when everyone is one. But, moving on from this bizarre scenario, Ling says:

The only sum set aside would be the same amount of reserves that Singapore had when it separated from Malaysia in 1965.

In fairness to the next political party forming the government, the sum should factor in a reasonable rate of interest to match inflation over the years.

What? What next political party forming the government? Most people might already be beyond bewildered at this point, but there is no need to worry. Ling will clarify:

The task before this new party is to build Singapore up in the manner the PAP has done.

Imagine the dissolution of Parliament immediately after this month’s Budget to make way for a general election.

The PAP recuses itself from this election after concluding that Singaporeans would prefer a fresh political party at the helm.

Ling is effectively mocking the desperate hope of the Singaporean hopeless. There should be no greater act of sedition than this. First, he presents an exaggerated and ludicrous scenario of the PAP government distributing the reserves to everyone. Here, one detects a hint of mockery targeting those who criticize the government for not doing enough to help the poor and for being too stubbornly anti-welfare despite the fact that the country has accumulated immense reserves over the years. Next, he has the PAP withdrawing from politics, as if to pander to those who are hoping that the PAP would be voted out of power. Ling even explains:

The PAP would no longer need to explain the need for Central Provident Fund savings, to delay retirement, import foreign workers to grow the economy, ensure sufficient public housing and public transport, build up a credible and strong defence force, establish quality and value-for-money health care and public education and so on.

In other words: Hey, you no longer have to complain about all the PAP policies you hate!

Of course it does not stop there. Ling deals your imagination a blow:

I wonder if any Singaporean can still be confident of the worth of having a million dollars without the PAP in power.

In other words: Without the PAP in power, Singapore will collapse economically. This is the Ling Tuck Mun version of Kuan Yew Illogic: vote Mah Bow Tan out and your flats will become worthless; talk more about having an opposition and you will become maids in other countries.

Which is to say: You complainers should stop your bloody complaints about the dubious CPF scheme which seems to stop you from withdrawing your own money. You should stop whining about how the PAP thinks you should never retire even though you earn literally only a small fraction of the salary of that old man in the Parliament who should have retired five decades ago etire but did not. You should stop feeling disgruntled about the ridiculous foreign talent policy which, after all, is to grow the economy for YOUR good. You should not demand that the government ensures that there is an adequate supply of public housing so that prices will not rise to unimaginable levels. It will be equally atrocious for you to ask for better public transport than bus companies treating you as sardines. And of course, you should never attempt an invective about the state raping people by conscripting them. Not to mention criticize the health care system despite how cheap and excellent it is.

Because no political party other than the PAP is able bring about economic progress. Or rather: because you know that no political party other than the PAP is able bring about economic progress. And you believe that economic progress is all that is important.

And because everything you have, the PAP Gods gave it to you.

Without the PAP, you are nothing.

Without the PAP, Ling Tuck Mun is nothing. With the PAP, he might be considered Singapore’s foremost intellectually disabled Villain. No, I did not mean that. I am actually only asking you to imagine that. After all, to quote Ling, “[t]he notion may be a figment of the imagination, but it is worth pondering, if only because it helps put matters in perspective for the ordinary Singaporean.”

Molly is just contributing her divine feline perspective for the ordinary Singaporean to imagine.

“That is, to imagine a Singapore without the PAP.”

Yes, imagine a Singapore without the PAP. Perhaps Ling Tuck Muns and Lional De Souzas would not exist.

Let us imagine a Singapore without the PAP, without PAP sycophants telling us how to imagine.

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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