Deng's context for the quote was that as China pursues growing wealth, increasing per capita incomes, and rising living standards for her people, it will also expect environmental degradation and a host of social ills including political unrest, increased crime, and a fraying social safety net.
Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam seemed to be defending not the nation, but a select coterie of the rich and ostentatious when he paraphrased Deng thus: "if we leave our windows open, you get insects flying in. Some would have a lot of bling and colour, but that’s what happens when your windows are open." It would seem, unlike Deng, Tharman welcomes those insects with open arms. Never mind if some of them are fleeing the dragnet of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which has a cache of 2.5 million files threatening the secrets of more than 120,000 offshore companies and trusts, exposing hidden dealings of politicians, con men and the mega-rich the world over.
The secret records obtained by ICIJ provide facts and figures — cash transfers, incorporation dates, links between companies and individuals — that illustrate how offshore financial secrecy has spread aggressively around the globe to offshore hideaways like British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands and (...drum roll...) Singapore.
Offshore patrons identified in the documents include Indonesian billionaires with ties to the late dictator Suharto who enriched a circle of elites during his decades in power. Thai official and former cabinet minister for Prime Minister Yingluck, Nalinee “Joy” Taveesin, who used Singapore-based TrustNet to set up a secret company. And there's Maria Imelda Marcos Manotoc, eldest daughter of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, and beneficiary of a British Virgin Islands (BVI) trust which may or may not be part of the estimated $5 billion her father amassed through corruption.
When the state media initially reported on Chinese national Ma Chi's spectacular traffic accident, they dwelt mostly on his $3 million condominium in the East Coast, $400,000 BMW and the fact the speeding Ferrari was a $1.8 million limited edition car. Not how the "tall, capable, young and handsome tycoon who arrived from Sichuan province a few years ago" made his money. Tharman may promise to "try our best to keep a culture that is not one based on excesses but is one based on responsibility” but that sounds awfully like locking the barn door after the horse has bolted.