Saturday, April 07, 2007

You $pin Me Round

Once again, Lee Kuan Yew is trying to spread FUD when he said that it is "absurd" for Singaporeans to quarrel about ministerial pay and warned that Singapore would suffer if the government could not pay competitive salaries.

"Your security will be at risk and our women will become maids in other people's countries," he claimed.

Does this sound like someone you know? Like the idiotic George Bush, for instance. Not that I'm trying to imply that Lee is a senile minister. You'll have to draw your own conclusion.

No matter how the PAP government tries to put a spin on things, it cannot fool all the people all the time.

Related story:
You spin me right round, baby…right a record…round round round round…

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Juha said...

Little Dragon reinforces the Steel SuperRiceBowl!

Dammit, that's good money in anyone's book. Top ministers here only earn about a tenth of that.

Stephen said...

Looks more like a giant diamond-studded titanium rice bowl to me, if the report that ministers who turn 55 actually receive both salary and pension at the same time is true.

Anonymous said...

Editorial: Lee Kwan Yew: a ratbag to the end

Taipei Times
Saturday, Apr 14, 2007, Page 8

It seems the Australian government-academic establishment is running out of
Asian autocrats to fete. Chancellor Allan Hawke and Vice Chancellor Ian Chubb of
the Australian National University (ANU) are the latest to join the Australian
movers and shakers who laud distasteful people -- in their case, former
Singaporean prime minister Lee Kwan Yew, who now holds an ANU honorary

That the ANU could impugn its reputation for excellence in Asian studies and
human rights law to further the ambitions of its top two officers is surprising
enough. That these men should ram through the award by shelving university
processes of review and then praise Lee's "integrity," "commitment to advancing
the causes of peace and prosperity" and "international statesmanship [sic]" is
downright contemptible. But credit where credit's due: Lee would applaud their

Hawke and Chubb, no doubt, will be unmoved to hear of Lee's most recent slur
against a head of state -- hardly proper protocol, one might think, for the
recipient of a gong for statesmanship. Nonetheless, on April 4, Lee trotted out
an attack on President Chen Shui-bian (’…G), saying that he was duping
Taiwanese into believing that independence from China is possible because war
would result and the US would not intervene.

The problem with this salvo was that it wasn't just personal; it was a bouquet
to China and a put-down directed at millions of Taiwanese people who believe in
democracy and liberty. So a personal attack on Lee for his cardigan despotism
and hubris is perfectly in order -- because so much of Singapore and its
neuroses are linked to Lee's person.

Lee's record on human rights is poor. He, like other autocrats in the region,
demeans his people by labeling liberties of press and academic freedom as
Western conceits that are not conducive to "Asian" societies. This mentality --
culturalist bordering on racist -- set up one of the more enduring intellectual
hoaxes of the 1990s, namely that there exist "Asian values" (as opposed to
Western or Judeo-Christian values, presumably, though his argument was never
coherent). And these values, funnily enough, seem to absolve people such as Lee
for oppressive behavior -- as long as an economic return is delivered.

Lee's legacy of authoritarianism lives on. This week saw the banning of a
documentary about a long-time political prisoner in Singapore, Said Zahari.
Suffice it to say that Singapore's credibility is shaky if it can't face up to
events of 30 years ago and cites social order as a pretext for shutting down

And if it wasn't clear before, it should be now: With the latest pay rise that
lawmakers have awarded themselves (justification: lavishing millions of dollars
on the "most talented" legislators and executive officials beats corruption),
the Singaporean state can now be dubbed the world's most lucrative -- and
sanitized -- protection racket. Lee, who these days goes under the risible title
of "minister mentor," will himself pocket another small fortune. But even by
Singaporean standards, this self-aggrandizement is so brazen that Prime Minister
Lee Hsien Loong has promised to donate his new riches to charity.

Lee Kwan Yew, his son and their supporters can keep their city-state kleptocracy
and their largely pliant people. And long may he be courted by foreign academic
powerbrokers and governments dazzled by his connections.

But Lee Kwan Yew is no friend of Taiwan. Until Singapore learns to deal with
domestic political opponents other than by intimidating, bankrupting, arresting
and torturing them, there is little to learn from Lee's fiefdom or his lectures.
Taiwan has seen it all before -- and left it behind.


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