The poor and the working class population of Singapore are living without dignity: More young Singaporeans are unemployed, or working in part-time stints without a future. The “more fortunate” ones on full-time jobs are stuck with 60-hour work weeks with no overtime pay. The middle-aged Singaporean employees get displaced by cheaper foreigners. The disabled and unemployable elderly ones stricken with health problems pick cardboard for a living or beg on the streets selling tissue paper, while the rest works as cleaners, security guards or in low esteem jobs earning the pity stares of the people around them. Retirement is a far-fetched dream as CPF payout dwindle from the increasingly stringent withdrawal laws. Everyone is stressed out for good reasons: suicide rate is going up, crime rate is going up, unemployment is also going up, cost of living is going up, public transport is failing and a myriad of other social problems are surfacing. This is Singapore.
Yet on the very same island, there is the affluent and rich. Sitting on the top 1% is the corrupted ruling party members who reward themselves with million dollar salaries. Costing a total of S$53 million a year, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s administration is the most spendthrift government in history. The corrupted dictator rewards himself with S$2.2 million, and weld complete control over the country’s finance.
CPF funds and the national reserves are invested by the country’s only two sovereign wealth fund companies: GIC and Temasek Holdings. Lee Hsien Loong puts himself as the chairman of GIC and his wife Ho Ching as CEO of Temasek Holdings, and gambled in the global stock market with Singaporeans’ money since 2002.
The dictator also positioned the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) under his Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), and manipulated the interest rate payment of CPF – giving cheap credit to GIC and Temasek Holdings which profit from the difference in special government securities bond and their real return from global investments. At 2.5%, CPF pays the lowest interest rates among all retirement funds.
Aside of dipping his hands into the national reserves, Lee Hsien Loong renders himself above all forms of investigation by putting the corruption bureau CPIB under his PMO command. The dictator appointed his former private lawyer Lucien Wong as Attorney General, and commence prosecutions against the opposition and his critics, putting them in jail or bankrupting them through defamation lawsuits.
Such atrocities are not uncommon among dictators in history. Lee Hsien Loong is just another corrupted politician leeching off the people he is “serving”. The Prime Minister is just a fake title he wears while exercising the actual power of an emperor like a monarchy. Singapore did not get its independence in 1965, Singaporeans merely swapped their former British colonial master for a new one. The British were untouchable before, just as a PAP member today is.
To worsen things, Singaporeans are neutered and indoctrinated with the belief of “changing a system from within”. Those who tried gets swallowed by the dictatorship, while those who refuse to prove their loyalty are kept away from power.
Dictatorships are overthrown, not voted out in rigged election designed to keep the incumbents in power. Just like how the powerful British colonial masters were overthrown, Singaporeans must resort to public protests. The people must not be afraid to sacrifice themselves engaging in civil disobedience to overthrow Lee Hsien Loong.
The passage of time teaches oppressed people how to overthrow a dictatorship, and in all cases blood is shed. A coup d’éta, political assassination or uprising are called “revolution” when a new government is installed, or “terrorism” when they fail. Losers are never kindly treated in history, no matter how just their cause was. Henceforth, the success of any operation will earn you the label of a “patriot” or “terrorist”.
How does one motivate himself into taking these perceived drastic solutions, depends on the vision he has for the country. The oppressed looks only at the past and present and think to themselves: “If I obey, I am good.” This is also why most Singaporeans are pessimistic in their outlook, it is hard for one to be forward looking when there is a need to suppress his thoughts and hold his tongue before he speaks. To them, Lee Hsien Loong can never be overthrown and illegitimate methods must never be entertained.
For a start, Singaporeans must change their mindset and look to the future. The future where Singapore can truly be an egalitarian society where the weak is supported, and where the wicked no matter how privileged is punished. A Singapore where the people actively participate in policy formulation, and not for the sake of earning brownie points from a small elitist class of aristocrats. A Singapore where people voice dissent and criticise freely, without fear for his freedom. A real nationhood, and not a false democracy.