10 April 2009

But It's An Awfully Robotic Country

Should I emigrate to Singapore? Their forward thinking policies are certainly enticing. I especially like the simple way Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew puts it:

“For the last 44 years since 1965, we have assiduously insisted on 'regardless of race, language or religion' in everything we do: schools, housing, health, jobs, education, promotions. So we are becoming an integrated society.”

The emphasis on English as a common language created a slightly more cohesive society in Singapore, although Lee was unsure it would stay so in a time of stress.

Malaysia, by contrast, had segregated vernacular schools, which meant communities grew up separately, and had differential yardsticks for jobs and contracts.

“It's openly a Bumiputera country,” he said, referring to the preferential treatment of indigenous groups.

“I've often said this about Malaysia ... If you would educate your Chinese and your Indians like we do our Malays and others, you will equal if not surpass us.”

Can the countries simply acknowledge they are organised on different principles and yet seek to work together in areas where their interests converge?

Replied Lee: “You are assuming they can have two compartments in their minds.

“With the Malaysians, if you read the Malay papers, there's a certain regret that they allowed us to be independent.

“They didn't expect us to succeed. But we have, and our very existence is a challenge to their policies.

“And so they say, look, our Malays are dispossessed, are oppressed and so on. But they come down (to Singapore) and they know it's not true, that the Malays are completely part of our society,” he said.

“They share the same benefits in housing, health, education, everything. They have their mosques, they're not deprived of any freedoms as Malays. So the angst is there (in Malaysia).” — The Straits Times
>> Full article (Rhetoric from KL not official stance)

On the other hand, from my travels there I have an opinion that Singaporeans are too closely sheltered by the government and certain liberties are not there. Plus, they all seem like robots working in a clean, sterile environment. It's like a whole country of Stepford Wives!

I also wonder how Singapore can do without MM Lee. Will scientists clone him or preserve his consciousness, so that he can continue advising the government 500 years in the future?

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