Tag Archive | "LKY"

A virgin’s dream: When Lee Kuan Yew admits to loving Singapore, even the opposition

A virgin’s dream: When Lee Kuan Yew admits to loving Singapore, even the opposition

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Marvin Ng fantasises about an unlikely happy ending this elections.

THE Worker’s Party wins a GRC and a number of SMCs.  The next day, the Minister Mentor goes on TV and gives a national address.  He begins by congratulating the opposition and then Singaporeans.  Then he tells us that he is very happy to see that we, Singapore as a country, has matured.

He explains that the significant victory of the opposition, despite the sticks and carrots from the PAP, shows that we, Singaporeans, have a backbone.  And that it shows that we care more than ourselves, but also those around us.  At this point, he pauses and pulls out a disc.

He explains that he made the video on the disc a few years ago.  He continues… he knows that he is not getting any younger and is saddened to see his compatriots passing on, one by one.  These men, whom he has fought together, were exemplary Singaporeans who had spent their entire lives to uplift the lives of all Singaporeans.

Like them, he is worried about Singapore and whether we will be able to take care of ourselves when he is no longer with us.  He then explains that he has made the video so that it can be shown at the time of his passing… his final message to Singaporeans, one which he has hoped would spur us on.  He then plays the video…

We then see a slightly younger MM, perhaps in the early 2000s.  MM in the video explains that if we are seeing this, it probably means that he is no longer with us.  He explains that the video is his parting words to all Singaporeans, the people that he loved.  He apologises for being a bit too harsh on us and that his intention is good i.e. to make us stronger (more or less like Tiger Mom).  More importantly, towards the end of the video, he describes the ideal Singapore that he would have loved to see before he died.  A Singapore where people are cohesive, able to think critically and courageous enough to fight for the country.

He explains that fighting for the country includes taking the government to task if they think or feel that it is no longer doing a good job.  He adds that he has always been worried that the PAP will become too successful, so much so that it is able to brush the people’s will even when they screw up.  He was afraid that Singaporeans may never reach the level of maturity and have the gumption to do something about it when that happens.

Next, he also explains why he is so tough on the opposition.  He has set the bars high and created many obstacles for the opposition to overcome.  He believes that only when the opposition is able to overcome these obstacles and still be able to reach out and touch the people, will they be worthy to represent the people.  He wants opposition candidates that are of the same or better calibre than the PAP.  The video concludes with him lamenting how he wished he could be there in a point in the future when Singapore has reached this ideal state.

He ends with an optimistic note that Singapore will get there some day and he wishes us all well and thank us all for our support.  It ends with “I love Singapore and I love you all.”

Cut back to MM.  Wiping tears from his eyes, he explains that he can now go with peace in mind. He compliments various opposition leaders (the worthy ones, for example, Chiam See Tong, J.B Jeyaretnam, Low Thia Khiang), current and past, for their courage, commitment and passion to serve.  He again apologises to them for being tough on them and hopes that they can see through his “tough love” and be able to forgive him.

He encourages the current and future opposition leaders to strive harder and make sure to kick the PAP butt again should it falter, like this current election.  He acknowledges that the current team has failed in some aspects but hopes that together with these new opposition leaders, new ideas for ways forward can be devised.  He explains that no one in the current administration, including the Prime Minister, knows of his true feelings about this and the video.  He promises to have a good discussion with the PAP team (PM and his team going to get an earful).

Lee Kuan Yew now talks to the people.  He wants us to work hard for ourselves, our children, our family and for Singapore.  He wants us to put aside petty differences and always consider the good of the country and our fellow Singaporeans.  He hopes that one day, we will be a gracious society and one that has a strong sense of nationhood which transcends language, race and religion.  He wants us to give our full support to the government and yet be mindful and be ready to play our part should it falter.

He ends… “me and my colleagues can only do so much… the future is up to you and children and your children’s children.  Make us proud…”

Vote responsibly, say ‘No’ to arrogance

Vote responsibly, say ‘No’ to arrogance

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I am 27 years old and I am voting for the second time in my life. What do I want out of my vote?

By Belmont Lay

Lee Kuan Yew

Young peepur..I dare you to vote opposition...go...vote...vote...see what happen..

THE PAP mantra is to be everything and anything to Singaporeans, even when it amounts to nothing logical.

They are determined to give you both the ruling and opposition voice; a Swiss standard of living even though your hard earned cash is locked up in your HDB flat; plus, carrots and sticks to treat and beat you over your head with once every GE. 

They’re so good they give you all the problems and solutions so you will never run out of either.

Not only that, I also realised the PAP can give you the question and answer – all in the same day – if you happen to read the local papers.

In Today on April 30, there is an article where Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam asked: Dear opposition, come up with concrete examples where PAP have been arrogant or else what you’re saying is hot air.

Shanmugam’s assertion is that there are no such instances (because you see, rather ironically, PAP is very humble in making such a strong assertion in the first place) and the opposition are just mudslinging, especially during the rallies.

By a stroke of luck, in the same day’s copy of The Straits Times, I found that concrete example.

Lee Kuan Yew said: “If they (the Aljunied constituents) choose the opposition, then I say, good luck to them. They have five years to ruminate and to regret what they did. And I have no doubts they will regret it.”

Paraphrasing, Lee basically said: “Young peepur… You vote lah… vote…I dare you to vote…go…go….later you regret don’t say I never tell you..go…”

Solid? His Leeness’ point is that property prices in Aljunied GRC will go tits up simply because… well, I really don’t understand how but he insists it will because he thinks he is god (which is stupid because everyone knows Chen Show Mao is God and the property market has many interlinkages that will not be easily affected due to the imposition of some piss-headed artificial boundary scheme called the GRC.)

There you go, Shanmugam, your concrete example that PAP is arrogant.

His Leeness’ statement is reeking with so much overbearing hao lian-ness and hubris that I guarantee you, many young folks like myself are going to vote Workers’ Party in, or rather, vote George Yeo and company out, if given the chance.

Why am I so sure?

Because His Leeness has the cheek to say that property prices will go down if Low Thia Khiang and gang make it into parliament. Then you hire Mah Bow Tan to cool property prices for what? For fun?

While we’re at it, might as well ask voters to vote in more opposition to tame the property market as a whole. Firing Mah will save taxpayers some and he won’t be around to make a hash out of everything anymore.

But that’s not what’s getting my goat today.

What is really getting my goat is this talk about talent and how the PAP possesses every damn device to locate them.

You hear a lot about this PAP machinery churning out talent like nobody’s business. Going toe-to-toe with all else out there, they have what it takes to form the next leadership.

Right? Well, right my ass.

As far as I’m concerned, the only semi-proper account of how this talent-scouting works is given in His Leeness’ memoirs in which he talks about countless tea sessions doubled up as opportunities for character assessment and clinical psychological testing like those used to spot astronauts.

Okay. First major rebuttal: After countless rounds of tea and some testing, the PAP throws up a 27-year-old jackass?

What kind of herbal tea have they been drinking?

And second point of rebuttal: Hello? Nicole is in the National Solidarity Party… Oh wait. Even better still. Workers’ Party opened their doors and hearts one fine day and in walked God Himself.

So, here’s the point of today’s missive: I want more out of my vote. I want it to be a humbling experience.

And here’s another driver-vehicle analogy: I refuse to barrel down the street blind-folded in a school bus with my future children inside when the PAP is at the driver’s helm. It’s bad enough that Mah’s sitting in there with me; the PAP has to keep telling me it’s all nice and cosy (supposedly like a HDB flat Mah built) when I know I might turn turtle.

Look, I’m not going to trust anything you say simply because you think you have our mandate to say it.

And if you honestly think that you really do have the mandate, you are just being arrogant.


Caveat: Author is the election agent and boyfriend of Nicole Seah. Read with discretion.

Conversations with Tom Plate – transcript of snippets

Conversations with Tom Plate – transcript of snippets

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On political journalism (from lecture)

When political journalism is done right, it makes a really valuable contribution.. Think about what George Orwell did when he explained to us about totalitarianism… As we rightly dump on the silly journalism that chases stars into restaurants and all of that, and the commercialism of journalism, we need to not forget that there’s a kind of journalism that needs to be held to a high standard and does makes a valuable contribution. Because only history at the end of the day, 1500 years from now, is going to make a great final judgement on Lee Kuan Yew, and on Mahathir.

What the journalists do is they do now. We do now, and because we do now, we make mistakes, our calibrations are rough an approximate. All we can give you is an approximate judgement now. And that’s what this is. It’s a judgement of Mahathir now, of Lee Kuan Yew now, take it for what it’s worth.


The one-on-one started on an awkward note when we asked Tom if he would rather be under the Lee Kuan Yew or Mahathir regime.

Silence, for a good 5 seconds while he held his glass of wine in hand.

Q. I know it’s been a long day but I just need to ask you this question.

A. Go ahead.

Q. You’ve been in Malaysia for a long time?

A. Yeah.

Q. You’ve been in Singapore for a long?

A. Have I been in Malaysia for a long time?

Q. To know the country?

A. No… not at all.

Q. Singapore no?

A. I don’t think so. I’ve been to Singapore more than I’ve been to Malaysia.

Q. Ok, just off the top of your head, given a chance to reside in either country, which one would it be?

A. On the border… heh heh heh.

Q. And why?

A. One foot in Malaysia and one foot in Singapore. No seriously… I don’t… (pauses for 5 seconds)

Q. Ok, let’s put it this way: Whose regime (Lee Kuan Yew or Dr M) would you rather be under?

A. (Pauses for eight seconds.)

Q. You can drink (points to wine)

A. Eh no, I’m definitely not going to answer that question, I’m just trying to figure out how to get around it. I’m not as stupid as I look, just because I’m American doesn’t mean I’m stupid…

Q. Damn it…

A. Yeah yeah… I think they’re different, totally different things. I think frankly, Singapore offers a more intellectual atmosphere? A slightly more globalised environment. I think Malaysia offers one that is closer to cultural roots of Asia and people. And it is more diverse obviously, because it’s four to five times as big. (Editor’s note: I think Tom probably meant four to five hundred times as big.) I’ve been to Singapore a dozen times, and KL half dozen times and I’m never bored of either place. They’re different, it’s like choosing between, like do you like tomato juice or do you like carrot juice? Either one is available, I’m happy with it.

Q. Ok, so following that, since you are a political journalist, under which regime would you rather be a political journalist?

A. (Pauses for 4 seconds.)

Q. Now, now, for example now. Now it’s quite liberal… Pretty much.

A. Where?

Q. In both countries.

A. Ok. Then either country is fine.

Q. You got to choose, man. I mean both have pros and cons. Just give me a comparison.

A. (Pauses for 8 seconds) Well, I’m sorry, I’ll rather be an American journalist who comes to this region and is frankly, treated quite well by both M&Mes, is allowed to pursue his work as an American journalist and is treated as a fellow professional. Even though their system is different from our system. The Malaysian way is not the American way. The Singaporean way is not the American way. I think that’s the ideal way to relate to both this places.

In retirement, you know, could I imagine living in either country? I actually could. But I don’t think my wife could. My wife does not like the perceived rigidity of Singapore. And I’m not so sure, as a Jew, she would be hundred percent comfortable in Malaysia? So I’ve given you something controversial. I’m talking about my wife.

You mentioned in your lecture that you haven’t met any effective leader who’s not an egomaniac. Do you think this is the reason why don’t Lee Kuan Yew and Mahathir don’t want to step down?

Plato when he was writing about the republic. Said that the only reason that a citizen or republican would want to be a philosopher king, was the fear of being ruled by the lesser. [This] goes to the motivation of why you want to be a ruler. What Plato was trying to say, was that the overly ambitious man will not have the ideal wisdom to run the republic.

What happens if you’re Lee Kuan Yew or Mahathir, is that you get into the position and you realize that in your own judgement, the people who can replace you are by and large fools and knaves and that you really are the best person. And then you develop an expertise and so on and so forth ad because of the nature of the way you use power, there really isn’t any limit to it.

And then you get to believe that you’re irreplaceable. The successfully democratic systems have developed institutional mechanisms making sure people move along in them. I mentioned in the lecture hall how the Ameircan system has evolved into an almost informal way constitutional way of using a former president. That’s one of the better aspects of our system. They don’t have that in Malaysia. But Lee Kuan Yew in his wisdom, insisted that there be some way of doing that. But the way he did, which I think is pretty clever, is that rather than to dumped the guy in the street, you make him a lesser minister but he still has sort of an advisory role. Now of course with LKY much more than an advisory role, but still, it’s a way of using political talent that hasn’t really burnt itself up yet.

They face the same problem in Hong Kong. They had a chief executive, he was unpopular and then he had to leave…why should your successor propose to do A when you tried to do A and it didn’t work, and you can tell him why it didn’t work. Why waste your money and your time.

I know I’ve had certain jobs in journalism and you become a junkie to your job. And then when you leave to job….I mean, I hated to take vacations. Because I could never relax, I couldn’t wait to get back to my job, I needed my action fix. And I think he does as well.

Right. How are we as citizens supposed to take them seriously at this point? I mean, look at the remarks both the old men have been making: anti-semitism and assortative mating. Isn’t it worse that they’re in power when they may not be mentally as able as before?

Basically the common sense of most people is a powerful tool. Bill Clinton once said of the American people that they had great common sense, and fundamentally are very good. When he dicked around with his intern, the republicans were so happy. They said “we finally got the SOB”..but slick Willy was hard to get, couldn’t get him on…all kinds of issues. And everytime the revelations came out…Clintons’s standing on the pole rose. And republicans couldn’t figure it out….

American people were saying: 50% of all marriages are seriously in trouble. We all have issues in a relationship. This is something between Hillary and Bill. But actually you guys did a pretty damn good job, you republicans are just jealous.

Clinton said many years after that American people are very fair. Most people cannot filter out exactly a certain leader has been there for too long, saying outrageous things because he wants to stay in the limelight. On the other hand, some of the things they say are worth listening to. It’s better that the political culture or political structure gives them a place so it doesn’t have to be awkward, doesn’t have to be forced. I think one of the problems with Mahathir was that he had to force himself in. Would have been better if he had some kind of semi-constitutional role as a former PM.

Before we go, is there any section that you would like us NOT to publish. There’s a certain sections where you said ‘dicking around’ to descibe the Lewinsky scandal..

You know what standards of taste and norms are, you make the decision. If people are offended by the use of the word ‘dick’ then they ought to get a life.

“When will Lee…..”

“When will Lee…..”

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A 10-minute one-on-one conversation with Tom Plate – part 1 by Fang Shihan

The more web-savvy among us would have known by now what shows up on the Google search when you type the three words “When will Lee”.

Yes, we’re all curious to find out when Lee might die, retire, or officially step down. And for Malaysians, maybe when Mahathir might step down FOR GOOD.

But obviously trying to score an interview with both the soft-authoritarians would be close to impossible. So we got the next best thing – a conversation with a journalist who’s had extensive interaction with the Minister Mentor of Singapore, and his nemesis, Dr. M, former PM of Malaysia.

Meet Tom Plate, the American with the crazy tie and hair on the left. Also a veteran political journalist and author of “Conversations with Mahathir Mohamad” and “Conversations with Lee Kuan Yew.” Yes, the angmoh journalist grilled them badasses intimately, didn’t get sued or suddenly deported and lived to tell the tale.


Conversations with Tom Plate – he did most of the talking.

Q. You mentioned in your lecture that you haven’t met any effective leader who’s not an egomaniac.

A. Reasons why Lee Kuan Yew and Mahathir don’t want to step down.

–  What happens if you’re Lee Kuan Yew or Mahathir, is that you get into the position and you realise that in your own judgement, you really are the best person because the people who can replace you are, by and large, fools and knaves.

– And then you develop an expertise and so on and so forth and because of the nature of the way you use power, there really isn’t any limit to it. And then you get to believe that you’re irreplaceable.

– There is no system in Singapore and Malaysia where ex-leaders can exert their influence constitutionally or semi-constitutionally.

– And lastly, LKY and Dr. M need their fix – like how a hardcore media junkie, like me, needs a fix and can never relax.

Q. Right. How are we as citizens supposed to take them seriously at this point? I mean, look at the remarks both the old men have been making: anti-Semitism and assortative mating. Isn’t it worse that they’re in power when they may not be mentally as able as before?

A. Some things are worth listening to, some things are not. If you cannot get rid of them, it is better that the system creates a space for them without having to force their way in, like the case with Dr M.

Q. Under whose regime, LKY or Dr M, would you rather live under?

A. (Pauses for eight seconds. Thinks of a way to wriggle out of the question.) Neither!

Q. Under whose regime, LKY or Dr M, would you rather be a political journalist now?

A. Neither! I’ll rather be in America!

Read the full transcript of this conversation here.