My thoughts about the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew is that he was an exceptional leader, able to bring Singapore from third to first in a generation. But for all that he has done, too little credit is given to the ‘Old Guards’ who have supported him while the masses tend to be unaware about his evil side.
That being said, I cannot ignore the fact that the majority of elderly Singaporeans look up to him. But to equate the PAP today to the old man is simply flawed and misleading. Let us look at a key idea of his in order for us to understand why.
In a 2011 interview, he gave an extension of one of his elitist views: “I am a firm believer that the more talents you have in a society, the better the society will grow. [With] 3 million people, [Singapore] is not going to punch above its weight. ”
In theory this is true, especially if one were to look at how countries such as the USA have prospered because they have managed to gather immigrants with drive. However, the execution of this principle (which is done by present day PAP leaders) paints a very different story together.
Not only do the modern PAP leaders seem to speak up more for foreigners (e.g. Sun Xu/ Nisha), the best foreign talent from the rest of Asia have no incentive to stay in Singapore for the long-term. It was LKY himself who admitted decades ago that they are merely using us as a stepping stone to greener pastures.
Where does that leave us? By looking at the quality of the immigrants today, we see people who are merely average rather than exceptional. ICA thought Yang Yin was a music teacher when they gave him PR status, Nisha was given citizenship as a Applications consultant before she moved to US. Are these jobs Singaporeans cannot do?
Furthermore, these ‘average’ talents have become so large in numbers that quite a few of them refuse to Integrate well into Singaporean society. We have seen cases of Pinoy sub-committees in heartlands while an opposition politician lamented that Deepavali has now become Diwali in Singapore.
When some of these nationalities are in HR and management positions, available job openings are given to their own compatriots instead of locals who have no protection. For all these, the government chooses to ‘wayang’ by coming out with a Fair Consideration Framework will all the loopholes.
And there are worse cases. We have seen increased levels of crime committed by foreign ‘talents’ who otherwise do jobs Singaporeans can do. LKY admitted it himself in the 1970s that they would bring social problems and the common-sensical answer would be to manage the quality. But the present day PAP leaders have proven us otherwise by failing in their QC.
Is this what LKY meant when society punches up above its weight?