First world international showpiece.
Or so this is what US President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un were made to see Singapore as.
Like many tourists in Singapore on a short holiday trip, they have only time for the tourist attractions like the Garden By the Bay and Marina Bay Sands. Many foreigners leave the country with a positive impression of Singapore, thinking it is a first world modern city.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Behind the glitter is an army of working slaves. With no minimum wage, foreign workers work for as little as S$20 a day. The typical oblivious Singaporean will tell you these foreigners earn much more than what they would get in their country considering the currency exchange – that is fine since these people are xenophobic and do not believe in equality. But the truth is Singaporeans aren’t having it any better.
How does a “first world citizen” like a Singaporean fit in the term “slave” then? One just need to look at the plight of the elderly Singaporean. Collecting cardboard, pushing a trolley of newspaper under the hot sun, cleaning up diners’ mess, and working long hour hard labour taking home less than S$30 a day. Singaporean elderly worked and saved up their entire life, only to find themselves getting more desperate as they grow older. Some literally worked to their death, and never get to taste the “Swiss standard of living” the PAP government promised.
Did Trump and Kim manage to catch a glimpse of these silver-haired slaves during their tour?
How about the younger slaves? Singaporeans have been clocking the world’s longest hours in the world every single year. Then there is National Slavery, where young men are paid a-fifth of a professional soldier so the government get to save on security spending.
The two leaders also missed President Halimah Yacob, whose presence is a clear reminder that Singapore is no less a dictatorship than North Korea. Singapore is not a democracy, there is no freedom of speech and the political system is a corrupted kleptocracy filled with cronies. Businesses and individuals are fearful of the dictatorship no less than North Koreans of Kim Jong Un. What Lee Hsien Loong shown Trump, Kim and the world, is only but a lie he fabricated. Singapore is not a role model for either a democracy or a dictatorship because the people are neglected.
The S$20 million marketing spending created a facade of what Singapore is not. Foreigners who spend time long enough in Singapore will realise it is only good for tourism, and it is hell for those living long term in the island.