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May 14, 2006



As a Filipino I'd be happy to get Singapore style quasi-dictatorship to get their level of economic success. We're in a quasi-dictatorial society anyway, with the killings of journalists and indigenous groups, and leftists left and right so why not go full on with dictatorship?


But dictatorship doesn't guarantee economic success, just the reverse in fact. In addition to being completely ruthless to opponents, Lee Kuan Yew was brilliant, determined, and clear thinking. He had a vision of the future and he dragged his countrymen there by force of will. If you can find me a Lee Kuan Yew in the Philippines, a quasi dictatorship might not be such a bad idea. However, scanning the political landscape, I don't see anyone who comes close to LKY's stature.


In terms of brilliance, determination and clear thinking, Ferdinand Marcos had all the makings of an LKY. Instead, all he succeeded in doing was kill-off the next generation of leaders, that's why all we have now are midgets. (For what it's worth, I don't buy the canard that it was Imelda who turned him to the dark side. He knew perfectly well what he was doing.)


cvj -- I agree with some of that and with Blas Ople's argument that much of the country's infrastructure was built during the first Marcos administration. The trouble with Marcos (and, let's be honest, with most Philippine politicians) is that he was seduced by the baubles of office. There have been rumors over the years that the Lees have enriched themselves (through condo units and LKY's wife's law firm) but, even if those were proved true, personal enrichment was never the driving force. Basically, LKY was a brilliant and dogmatic man who always thought he knew best. What better way of demonstrating his superiority than to completely transform an entire country? Lee would never have been diverted from the main task at hand in the way that Marcos was. That makes Marcos a more interesting personality than the dour LKY, but undeniably a worse leader.


Marcos had several babies with different women, had sex with a lot of beautiful women, lived life to the fullest (women, alcohol, money, power, fame). Lee Quan Yew was a one pussy guy. A very ugly one pussy at that. So he compensated by "helping a lot of people". Discuss.


torn, I agree with your observations on the two leaders. Seriousness of purpose is one trait I have observed as well in many Singaporeans I work with. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that they had almost nothing when they were expelled from the Federation. LKY and his countrymen could hardly afford to fool around when survival was at stake. In an interview, Lee Kuan Yew acknowledged that his greatest achievement is that 'there is a Singapore' and in a National Day speech last year, his son, the current PM, said that one of the benefits of being a Singaporean is that, at this point, they do not have to deal with existential angst unlike older countries such as Israel (which he specifically cited as an example).


Cvj -- Well, that's a revealing comment from Hsien Loong! It could also be argued that Singaporeans have been infantilized by a state that does everything for them, including (and especially) thinking for them. Did you know that Singapore has the highest per capita consumption of Disney products in the world? That's gotta tell you something. Speaking as someone with quite a bit of it, I think existential angst would do Singaporeans a lot of good actually.

john thomas putucheary

There is no assurance that Lee Hsien Loong, Harry Lee Kuan Yew and Ho Ching [Lee's wife] have the interests of Singapore at heart anymore. What has happened to the $168 billion foreign reserves? Why are they withholding CPF savings from Singaporeans at 55? Obviously, something is seriously wrong. Lee Kuan Yew and the PAP are not known for their compassion. Do you think Harry Lee worries that the average Singaporean will not have enough in his CPF at age 55 and therefore needs to be given his money at 55? No, he cares a damn, honey! And ditto, his useless son, Barry Lee Goldwater, and that bitch, Ho Ching, who incidentally is not a Singaporean, but a low class PR communist, who got a govt scholarship. That's why nobody in singapore had heard of her before. We shd all vote Workers Party in the next election -- and bring JB Jeyaretnam - buy DIRTY HARRY or place an order online ....Thks.

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