Wednesday, December 1, 2010
The Truth Can Be Pretty Nasty
"MM Lee noted that he had learned from living through three and a half years of Japanese occupation in Singapore that people will obey authorities who can deny them food, clothing and medicine.”
There is an exception to the rule of course, as in the freebies promised by his son in the coming election budget. Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a stern statement chastising the leak, saying that disclosing such confidential document would only "serve to sow confusion". And screw up the whole election strategy.
Given the many parallels that abound in the family influences on Singapore and North Korean style government, say succession plans, the other disclosure in the US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks is disturbing: “They are psychopathic types, with a ‘flabby old chap’ for a leader who prances around stadiums seeking adulation.” The laps around the pool and a strict exercise regime may have gotten rid of the flab around the waist, but the part about seeking world stage adulation is pretty obvious. The unsavoury comments about another country's head of state were found in a document detailing a conversation between Lee and US deputy secretary of state James B. Steinberg in May last year. It's not too late to cancel your Christmas holiday plans for Pyongyang.
But what should really rile you is his justification for giving special treating to PRC scholars or new-wave Chinese migrants: "MM Lee noted that his own experience as a student in the UK had left him with an enduring fondness for the UK. When he spent two months at Harvard in 1968, an American professor had invited him home for Thanksgiving. This was not the sort of thing that happened in the UK, and Lee had realized he was dealing with a different civilization. In the future, China’s leaders will have PhDs and MBAs from American universities, he predicted.” Taiwan's Foreign Minister Chen Tan-sun detected just as much when George Yeo spoke at UN's General Assembly in 2004, "It was nothing but an effort to embrace China's 'balls', forgive me using such a word".