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MM Lee: Lucky Indonesians

Posted by theonlinecitizen on January 15, 2008

By Choo Zheng Xi

In another Singaporean first on the world stage, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew was the first foreign dignitary to visit the ailing President Suharto in hospital in Indonesia.

In glowing comments on Suharto’s reign, MM Lee attempted to put a gloss on the ailing dictator’s shortcomings: (Read the Straits Times).“Yes, there was corruption. Yes, he gave favors to his family and his friends. But there was real growth and real progress,” Lee was quoted as saying.

He then attempted to tell Indonesians how privileged they were to have grown up under his rule:

“I think the people of Indonesia are lucky. They had a general in charge, had a team of competent administrators including a very good team of economists.”

MM Lee wasn’t lying. After all, Indonesia did grow economically, so Indonesians could consider themselves lucky.

Slaughter

I guess you could consider yourself lucky if you weren’t Chinese Indonesian.

Suharto was the architect of state encouraged pogroms against the Indonesian Chinese population. When he came to power in 1965, he slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Chinese on the pretext of rooting out communism. Festivals like Chinese New Year were banned, Chinese characters were outlawed, and Indonesian Chinese were forced to change their surnames to mask their ethnicity: hence Teos became Tjio, Chans became Tjhans.

Or you would consider yourself lucky not to be an opposition politician.

For convenience, Suharto banned all political parties except three. All other parties were forced to disband, or merge with the easily manipulable establishment parties. The former President of Indonesia, Megawati Soekarnoputri, was one of those Indonesian politicians unlucky enough to be on the wrong side of Suharto’s politics: he sent thugs to attack her party headquarters in 1997 and banned her from running for elections in the same year.

The communists were even less lucky.

They were just systematically exterminated. Suharto never bothered with preventive detention, the way MM Lee did. He just killed the lot. Hundreds and thousands of them, on a scale which prompted even the complicit CIA (which was funding Suharto’s murderous anti-communism) to call it one of the ‘worst massacres of the 20th Century’.

You also wouldn’t be too lucky if you were one of thousands of Acehnese, East Timorese, or West Papuan unfortunate enough to be subject to Indonesian military brutality. An estimated 200,000 East Timorese were killed in the Indonesian invasion of East Timor after the Portugese left the territory. That was a systematic extermination of almost a third of the population of that country.

The truly lucky which MM Lee might have been referring to, those well and truly blessed by the Suharto years, are undoubtedly his family and friends.

In its Global Corruption Report of 2004, Transparency International (TI) ranked Suharto number one on its list of corrupt dictators. His loot amounted to anywhere between $15-$35bn, and he shared his wealth with members of his family, including the infamous Tommy Suharto.

Tommy was unfortunate enough to have a crime pinned on him. He spent around a year in jail on a reduced sentence for ordering murdering a judge before being released conditionally. Not bad, considering his sentence was supposed to run for ten years.

Of course, we will never know how lucky the luckiest man of them all really is: Suharto still hasn’t been brought to trial, the missing billions he allegedly embezzled is still sloshing around the region. Lucky us.

MM Lee’s sentimentalism, diplomacy’s loss

A controversial former backbench Labour member of the United Kingdom, George Galloway, was famous for his chumminess with the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. In a speech in 1994, he went as far as to laud his resilience in the face of international sanctions: “Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability”.

Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew is not an eccentric backbencher. He is a senior member of Cabinet, and a respected authority on regional affairs. His spin on Suharto’s reign will be damaging to our relations with members of the international community who do not share his rosy view of the Suharto years, as well as to his international credibility.

This will inevitably be painted as the concerns of the human rights obsessed West.

That is rubbish, because nearer our doorstep, I can only imagine the revulsion our very Asian East Timorese counterparts feel at his comments. One can only surmise that he has calculated that the feelings of a newly independent nation of one million people doesn’t factor on Singapore’s diplomatic radar. This attitude would be ironic, considering the long odds which Singapore initially faced at independence.

Was his courtesy call on Suharto official government business, and was he then expressing the sentiment and well wishes of our Cabinet?

I suspect that somewhere in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and government press offices, there are some bureaucrats working to do serious damage control.

De mortuis nil nisi bonum: Speak no ill of the dead.

Before Suharto dies then, let me try to set the record straight. Suharto is a corrupt, cruel, murderous albeit economically successful dictator. And watching a senior member of my government’s Cabinet attempting to rewrite history makes me angry.

Read also: “Mr Lee, Suharto is the luckiest dictator on earth!” by Martin Manurung.

 

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73 Responses to “MM Lee: Lucky Indonesians”

  1. Singapore Resident said

    “Yes, there was corruption. Yes, he gave favors to his family and his friends. But there was real growth and real progress,” Lee was quoted as saying.

    http://www.p65.sg/2008/01/13/sex-video-scandal-in-singapore/
    I would look at what the person has done as a Minister and MP. If he or she is doing the job well, I would not really mind.

  2. Daniel said

    Bulleye hit.

    When I read the following, it seems like LKY is justifying his own action using others as a example to alleviate his own conscience ? Look clearly at the way he delivered. Nepotism and corruption is okay as long as there is real growth and progress. But face it, even the worse tyrant (eg Saddam) can make progress. The smartest thing that LKY do that no other are capable of is to focus on the financial aspect, not physical. The good thing is he doesn’t kill or destroy people physically. While I do appreciate LKY and his companions in building Singapore, will we able to accept a society that is voiceless and government that is increasingly oppressive because the need for more money (but to whom ?). The ERP Toa Payoh gantries speak for itself. It is great insult to Singaporean’s intelligence to say that these gantries will not affect motorist much.

    “Yes, there was corruption. Yes, he gave favors to his family and his friends. But there was real growth and real progress,” Lee was quoted as saying.
    He then attempted to tell Indonesians how privileged they were to have grown up under his rule:
    “I think the people of Indonesia are lucky. They had a general in charge, had a team of competent administrators including a very good team of economists.”

    And to say that Suharto is corrupted
    “His loot amounted to anywhere between $15-$35bn, and he shared his wealth with members of his family, including the infamous Tommy Suharto.”

    But did the government ever reflect their action is no less than Suharto when the GLC and Temasek handle even more money and yet it is a private affair when it comes to decision making ? Where is their accountability ? Whose money are they handling ?

    “Responding, Mr Lee said: “Definitely your government welcomes all sovereign wealth funds, including the Chinese. So if you’re not afraid of the Chinese, with US$1.3 trillion (reserves), you wouldn’t be worried about Singapore, with its (reserves of) only over US$100 billion from GIC and another US$80 billion-US$90 billion from Temasek. So rest in peace, sleep well.” – CNA/ir”

    Channel NewsAsia

  3. Robert HO said

    RH:
    1. This is what I emailed out to my little group of ~50 recipients at 2.48pm yesterday on Mon 14 Jan 08:

    RH: “LIE KY praising Suharto is like me praising my mirror image — just an exercise in self-praise.”

    Here is what Yahoo says of the “brutal and corrupt” Suharto’s US$73 BILLIONS, which is much less than what LIE KY has for his personal use as chair of GIC.

    2. Excellent and timely essay, Mr CHOO Zheng Xi.

  4. Robert HO said

    RH: Must read this also :
    http://www.singaporedemocrat.org/articlesuharto.html

  5. […] survivalism January 15, 2008 I really wonder about this guy and what he’s been saying so […]

  6. anon said

    Message sent out loud and clear:

    It’s OK to be corrupt and grant favours to your family members, as long as the country also benefits economically.

    No morality, no ethics, no soul.

  7. Alan Wong said

    I beg to differ the following comment :

    “The good thing is he doesn’t kill or destroy people physically”.

    I wonder what good can come out of it. What about psychological, emotional and financial harm and misery to those affected ?

    So do you mean it is perfectly OK for any leader to practically do anything he pleases as long as there is no physical harm caused to others?

    So if a leader uses unfair political tactics such as corruption, nepotism, detention without trial, unconscionable legal suits, etc. against his opponents to prolong his dictatorial rule, it is both equitable and excusable for this leader to continue to govern as long as it is for the ultimate good of the country.

    It appears to me that some wise and cunning leader is trying to say that whatever misdeeds that he has done, he should be forgiven for the sake of what he has done for the country.

  8. saintmoron said

    Abuses of powers, corruptions, nepotisms, despots, ruthlessness and other improbities are common if not parts and parcels of politics.

    However, if ability is placed above all other attributes such as honesty, conscience, justice etc, then Saddam Hussain(Irag), Marcos(Phillippines) and many other reflections and shadows of said examples should be considered as ‘good men’ as national leaders. Good meaning effective, capable BUT NOT INCLUDING RESPECTABLE. When money is made to be the Measure of Success and made to supersede all virtues and societal values in honour, we know the World has lost humanity or rather we may have lost our humaness.

    I now feel that money has made this World cold, dark and frightening with leaders all over the World desiring money, power instead of looking after the wellbeings of their flocks and the peace of the World.

  9. Robert HO said

    RH:
    1. Must watch these videos :

    Indonesia under Suharto : Video: Mass Graves 1 [About 3 million people murdered]

    Indonesia under Suharto : Video: Mass Graves 2 [About 3 million people murdered]

    CIA plotted, instigated, helped, funded, identified the millions to be murdered by Suharto.

    2. Just a few years ago, LIE KY famously said publicly, “Suharto is NOT a crook.”

    3. Part of the reason why LIE KY is so fond of Suharto is not only that they have so much in common [hence praising Suharto is indirectly praising HIMSELF!] but also that Suharto was a US-CIA stooge much like LIE KY himself, so if the Americans love Suharto, so will LIE KY.

  10. […] that we love Caesar less… – The Online Citizens: MM Lee: Lucky Indonesians – BothSidesOfTheJohorStraits: Lee/Suharto: Holding up a mirror in the twilight – Unfortunately […]

  11. Daniel said

    Alan Wong,
    I don’t really imply that. I merely contrast it with Suharto way of killing people physically to LKY’s way of financial as a instrument. It is only within these two ways that the word ‘Good’ is used. That is why I say the LKY is smart to focus on financial aspect.

    Killing someone financially is no difference to eradicate someone emotionally and psychologically etc, and this too I agree.

    Think about it. Why the world praise Singapore even though it is oppressive ? The answer is because there is no violence or physical harm involved. Rather LKY used something that cannot be seen but only be felt, and feeling is never used to determine GDP, condemnation, or any benchmark, and therefore the world will always praise Singapore and seen it as a great investment city.

    But the impact of killing someone financially is no difference of killing someone physically in term of feeling and emotion. If not, why people jump down MRT ? Because of Loneliness ? Only a joker can say that.

  12. BlackTeeShirt said

    Progress is exchange for the number of people who died, is apparently ok. hmmph

  13. Andrew Loh said

    I am personally appalled at MM Lee’s remarks. If we begin to rationalise and accept the misdeeds (murder, rape, corruption, etc) of any leader by reasoning that well, he has also done some good while he purged mercilessly his own people through inhumane action, then we have lost sight of the value and dignity of being human.

    Building “roads and infrastructure” – as MM Lee described it cannot justify wholesale murder and plunder on such a wide scale as Suharto did.

    Sadly, this is the sort of “pragmatic” thinking that has seeped deep into the Singapore Government’s mindset – “Economic progress above all else” is the mantra nowadays.

    That makes us all nothing but “digits” (a word once used by MM Lee) to be used and abused according to the whims and fancies of people who have too much power.

  14. aygee said

    hi all.

    i’m just trying to play devil’s advocate here and by no means i’m trying to side anyone.

    Here’s the thing – history is written by the victors, as they say.

    While we can say the Roman Empire gave us the Calendar, concrete, modern engineering etc etc, the Roman Empire also killed millions. Emperor Shi Huangdi united the 7 kingdoms of China, but killed millions too.

    So i think this is the point that MM Lee is trying to express.

    While i’m not trying to defend Suharto – you mentioned that he dealt a heavy hand on the Indo Chinese. His wife is Indo chinese, and the Chinese, less than 5% of the population, still managed 95% of the wealth in Indonesia, while 90+% of the population still remained below the poverty line. His not allowing Chinese names and celebrations were, in his eyes, the best way to help the Chinese assimilate with the larger Indo population (whether it is good or bad, thats a different argument).

    the 60s were also a turbulent time of the Cold War. (This is what i read about history in SEA – but then again its written by the victors…)

    The Korean War was a stalemate, and North Vietnam was making its presence felt. The British and the Americans were worried about the Domino Effect in Asia – that the Communist element would move into SEA. Sukarno was “friendly” to the Communists which led to the Confrontation period. Malaya was in a state of Emergency. Unfortunately, the militarised Communist element in SEA at that were indeed the Chinese (many of whom were driven by China). The left-wing elements were very unhappy over the formation of Malaysia.

    I could go on and on.

    The point i trying to make is – there’s always two sides of every argument, esp with regards to history. The actions taken by any historical figure need to be looked at from that period of time, rather than by today’s values and benchmarks. So – Suharto could be a despot is some eyes, but he is also seen as a figure that united Indonesia and removed the Communist threat from the nation.

    and i think this is what MM Lee was trying to say.

  15. aygee said

    Here are some maybes…

    Remember that Singapore used to be under the ancient Javanese kingdoms of Srivijaya and Majapahit, as part of the Riau Islands.

    Indonesia has the muscle to take over what used to be theirs when the Colonialists move out. (they proved it with East Timor).

    Any left-minded nationalist leader (supported by communist China or USSR) could have just said that they want to take over Singapore when the British left, and caused mayhem in Malaysia by supporting Chin Peng, the MCP and its military arm. The MNLA in Malaya was said to be 500,000 strong – many of them immigrant Chinese. There were a lot of unhappiness (mainly Sukarno) over Sabah/Sarawak joining Malaysia, with Singapore being another point of contention.

    Perhaps Suharto was the man that actually helped in stopping the Communist element in SEA, by removing Sukarno?

    What would Singapore’s history be without Suharto being close friends with MM Lee?

  16. Daniel said

    “Sadly, this is the sort of “pragmatic” thinking that has seeped deep into the Singapore Government’s mindset – “Economic progress above all else” is the mantra nowadays.”

    YOu are right. The question is who stand to benefit the exorbitant reward and lavishing with the economic progress ? Not the laymen, middle-men, poor men but the coffers as we have already known because their rewards and salary are pegged to the GDP. All the measures taken so far penalised everyone except the coffers. Sure, the coffers get penalised, but isn’t their salary cover everything else ? Even statistic can be skewed in the name of progress. Amazing country, isn’t it ?

  17. Daniel said

    “The point i trying to make is – there’s always two sides of every argument, esp with regards to history. The actions taken by any historical figure need to be looked at from that period of time, rather than by today’s values and benchmarks. So – Suharto could be a despot is some eyes, but he is also seen as a figure that united Indonesia and removed the Communist threat from the nation.”

    Sure, there are two sides for every story, but if taken as a excuse to condone corruption, murdering, raping, killing and other evil deeds, then there will never be bad person in the first place, then even Dulai is honourable because he has managed to make NKF what it is today.

    People who do bad deed always will want to justify his good deed so to erase his bad deed, and achieve vote of sympathy. This is understandable. But all person, good or bad, have to be accountable to his own action, past or present. No amount of goodwill done in the future could erase that.

  18. Seems like there’s a lot of newly found shock and surprise..

    LKY’s character is well-known for decades. The issue here is the institutionalisation of Lee pragmatism, one that is a zero-sum in its goals and Machievellian in its tactics.

    While the latter is often useful in dealings with other states, the concern we have here is how it trickles down to domestic policies and their political attitudes within the nation.

  19. aygee said

    That’s right, Daniel.

    In some people’s minds, Durai did a good job the make NKF into an institution, and deserved the salary he was earning. I’ve read similar arguments in some blogs about the Malaysian Health Minister and his sexual escapades. Some people are willing to forgive him because thats his personal life, and his contribution to Malaysia is unblemished.

    There are many among us who see Suharto for who he is, but if we ask many Indonesians – they would have a different opinion of him. The 60s was a different era with different omplexities, as the colonial masters pull out of Asia. Perhaps at THAT time, we NEEDED a person like Suharto or LKY.

    So – right and wrong – black and white – it all depends on which side of the fence you’re on.

    What we can learn from this, and what we can do now, is that we need checks and balances in government.

    Have NGOs, opposition views in legislation, free press, free judiciary. i.e. independent legislation, judiciary, executive bodies checking on each other, with a free press as the “fourth seat” of government. No one is perfect and no one is above the law.

    Will this happen in my lifetime? Probably not even in my children’s lifetime, sad to say.

  20. Right... said

    yes – by that standard- Singaporeans and Iraqis are lucky too

  21. saintmoron said

    Me just do not understand what today’s values(or yesterday’s values)and benchmarking values are all about. Pardon me if I sound like an idiot or ignoramus, values are values that stand the test of time and undisputed qualities, there is no chronological tag to them.

    Me sees aygee extolling the virtue of pragmatism in his arguments and the very value of pragmatism have been extensively discuss in blogosphere. Though it is not downright negative, there are far less positive interpretations of pragmatism thus far. It is very uncertain value at best.

    It is also never wrong to say that USSR, China and the many other communist regimes (were)are not(never) inferior to other systems of governance. I am confounded and terribly vexed by those who interprete(d) communism as though all communist nations are hell. Please pay them a visit, any of them.

    MM Lee Kuan Yew has done himself a lot of damages this time, I do not know why, but I believe he does know that responses to his statement (about Suharto) is very likely to irate many here, Indonesia and even elsewhere. Many will also believe that he(LKY)was(is) also singing eulogies for himself whilst doing it for his ‘friend’.

  22. antz said

    aygee,
    Partially yes iam for your views…but do remember difference between MM Lee and suharto is a stark contrast naming…everybody knows what he did very cruelly against the Indo Chinese…the etc and etc given as mentioned above but did MM Lee came to slaughter his own citizens??
    What he did especially the killing of millions as mentioned cannot be forgiven..i have read the way he govern Indonesia right after succeeding sukarno…he wanted a United Indonesia..he can jolly well put on his weight around SEA given his military background and as the leader of the biggest country in SEA..to push all the countries around him…yes i support meaning bringing stability to SEA…but his wrong doings…well far to be forgiven…

  23. Crazy Dog said

    “Yes, there was corruption. Yes, he gave favors to his family and his friends. But there was real growth and real progress,” Lee was quoted as saying.

    I got worried when i read that Mr Lee has said the above…clearly he has made a slip and he has indirectly refer to himself….. It is fine to be corrupted and give favors to family and friends as long as singapore has progress….

    We clearly need an independent press. The old man know his time to go is coming and he is trying to justify himself and his own conscience….

  24. aygee said

    Saintmoron, your point about communism or left-wing politics is exactly what i meant by values/benchmarks (perhaps i chose wrong words to describe it?).

    Here’s another example if it helps explain waht i mean: Shi Huangdi, the first emperor of China. A murdering despot or a forward-looking man who united China?

    A Chinese historian would differ in opinion from a Western historian. the person recording Shi Huangdi’s actions in his time would differ in opinion from a historian studying his actions today. How one interprets the situation is based on the values/benchmarks that person holds.

    Anyways – not wanting to stray from the point of the blog, LKY feels that his hard-core pragmatism should or must go down well with everyone..and i mean, everyone, and unapologetic about it.

    this is the man extolling a gracious society. ironic.

  25. antz said

    aygee,
    There’s lots of difference between Indonesia and Singapore…and well i do not want to support nor parties but in my point of view frankly,MM Lee as a man that in his time step forward in uncertain times to lead his country in such a way to have us space…and to make sure in term of economy…we are not begging for a living to our neighbours..in terms of geographic we are in the midst of two bigger countries…where there are rich in natural resources and most importantly land…so the way MM Lee view all the disadvantages that we had…sacrifices got to be made..in other words i remember him saying that we are not even suppose to be a country…but was forced to be one…

    In the case of Indonesia,I read some western observer articles…on Suharto..he wanted Indonesia to be something like America…to recognise Indonesians as Indonesians only…behave to be Indonesian and speak one…he dislike democracy…and in turn contribute well to his economy…but he make a mistake…nepotism..that were well known among his own party and in turn to the public..in general..this has lead to his ultimate downfall..in a country…where now u can see that is very pro democracy…

    Suharto will still be considered a legacy in terms of maintaining a large country to be soundly especially in economic terms…we just cannot lean on the past…like u said in the case of shi huangdi…in terms of history Indonesia had the longest and the most powerful that is the majapahit empire..that is concentrated mostly in central Java…the place where Suharto was born..and i can say mostly the past Indonesia president..except for BJ.Habibie was not Javanese but the rest was..as a friend of mine…an Indonesian…ever told me if only suharto rule like LKY..if Indonesia can be like Singapore…as we are the largest country in SEA..nobody can push us around..to the extend like a Javanese warrior during the majapahit empire Hayam wuruk…not to eat spice till he unite the whole of Indonesia..

  26. Gerald said

    I believe MM Lee was looking at things from a “Singapore’s interests” perspective when reflecting about what Suharto had done. If it weren’t for Suharto, Singapore and Malaysia might still be facing Confrontation with Indonesia. Maybe we might even be part of Soekarno’s Indonesia.

    The Chinese Indons as a whole benefited far more from Suharto’s reign than the average Javanese. Suharto was also able to keep the Islamic extremists at bay because of his iron fisted rule. Recall the fate of the Chinese during the turmoil of 1997 when Suharto was deposed.

    Of course, from a moral perspective, the man was a brutal dictator, a despot and a plunderer of his nation’s wealth. Indonesia is one of the most resource-rich countries on earth, and look where the average Indonesian is right now. Don’t blame democracy. It wasn’t that great even while Suharto was on the throne.

  27. KM said

    Compare the words in LKY’s 2005 speech and his recent words on Suharto.
    A politician indeed…very skilful at using weasel language.
    Singapore shouldn’t need to pay its ministers high salaries, because even if there’s corruption, it’s okay so long as there was “real growth and real progress”, right?!?!!?!

    ******************************************
    Mr Lee said: “Yes, there was corruption. Yes, he gave favours to his family and his friends. But there was real growth and real progress. I think the people of Indonesia are lucky. They had a general in charge, had a team of competent administrators – including a very good team of economists to build up the country.”

    ******************************************
    ADDRESS BY MINISTER MENTOR LEE KUAN YEW AT THE ASIAN STRATEGY AND LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE’S “WORLD ETHICS AND INTEGRITY FORUM 2005” AT KUALA LUMPUR ON 28 APRIL 2005
    “…Corruption has to be eradicated at all levels of government. But if there is corruption at highest levels of a government, the problem can become intractable. To clean up may require some key members of the core leadership to be removed. In the case of communist countries that would lead to a split in the party leadership, a serious problem. The outcome depends upon whether the top leader is strong enough to tackle other powerful leaders without a disastrous split in the political leadership or a rebellion among party stalwarts who support the offending leader. The fear of a collapse of the government may cause the leader to hold his hand.

    An important factor is the salary of Ministers and government officials. They have enormous powers to grant or deny permits that can make or break businesses. When ministers and senior civil servants are paid salaries that are derisory compared to those of their counterparts in the private sector, officials and ministers will be tempted to take gifts. Whether it is policemen, immigration officers, customs officers or officers in charge of dispensing licences, it is dangerous to have them grossly underpaid. Over the last 40 years, Singapore has moved towards paying political and civil service officers 70-80% of what their equivalents are earning in the private sector, the formula is based on an average of 6 professions, their salaried incomes based on the income tax returns. This has enabled ministers and officials to live according to their station in society without extra sources of illicit income. …”

  28. Daniel said

    What is the problems with paying so high salary to the ministers ? And what is the problems of too much absolute power ?

    The answer and solution that we see so far demonstrate these ministers’ complacency and insult to citizen’s intelligence. The solution is to simply pass the cost to citizen even though the government and resource are capable of meeting wellfare demand. In the past, the solution has never been so subtle, and it looks like absolute power already corrupted from the top all the ways to the stepboard. (LTA actually deter SMRT from offering lower price service ! If this is not price-fixing, what is it then ?)

    Price-fixing, collusion, monopolistic practices and other illegal business practices that deem illegal for private business becomes legal and and lawful under government-related business and goverance. Nepotism and conflict of interest that so widespread in the government. This is exactly the same practices that have made Suharto so hopelessly corrupted and yet aren’t we seeing the same thing happening in Singapore.

    That is very sad because no matter how much LKY try to comfort the public that despite all these taking place in the name of economic progress or ensure Singapore’s survivial, he will never understand the pain of citizen having to bear these practices just because he is LKY. People will always put a show to appease him because that what he expect from others. If you expect someone to be obedient, then someone will act obedient before you. All these undesirable practices has only one ultimate goal which to earn immense profit and from whom, that is needless to say. The problem is that these practices will become prevalent as way of life that no-one is able to say it is wrong anymore because it becomes part of a culture.

    Even if you ask Suharto if his regime is corrupted, he will affirmatively answer no (Isn’t he denies all charges of corruption against him and his families ?) as corrupted leaders that seen to protect his legacy will naturally do so. Having to admit corruption is tatamount to create public uproar and wide meticulous investigation into the office, a repercussion that likely to end a dictator’s regime.

    If corruption becomes a culture and widespread practice, I doubt it is deemed illegal anymore. It just masquerades into something that sound nicer. Anyone who work in China will probably know of what is meant by Guanxi.

    It looks like when a leader made wrong the first step, he has to continue along this path in order to prevent scrutiny and to protect his legacy much to the detrimental of the country’s future.

  29. Robert HO said

    RH:

    Just 1 point : If the other countries were to use LKY’s ‘benchmarking’ method to calculate their salaries, and given the astronomical salaries their CEOs, etc, earn, Bush, Brown, EU Ministerial salaries would be in the tens of millions at least. Which proves that the ‘benchmark’ is a totally corrupt, self-serving method.

  30. noone said

    What would have happen if Indonesia had a democratic government during the 1960s at the height of the Cold War in SEA with Vietnam and communist in the countries? Would you democrats allow a communist government to be voted into power?

    Think about that. Democrats are suppose to be pluralists. Would they allow a communist party to win via election? Would you support Hamas since they were voted in via democratic means?

  31. James Seng said

    It is true that Suharto has done many bad things, be it for self interest or for national interest, that is up for debate. But it is also true he has done many GOOD things for Indonesia and the region.

    Suharto is not the absolutely evil western media paint him to be nor he is entire saint. He is a mixed bag of both good and bad. The bad things he has done should not overwrite what the good things (and vice versa).

    ps: What was written here is merely repeating what is already in the wikipedia page about Suharto. If you are not born to witness the 60s, I suggest you spend more time with the older folks and ask them about the history. Or better still, speak to some older Indonesian (chinese) folks.

  32. Daniel said

    James Seng,
    if your argument stands, then US deserves to apologise to Saddam’s family for hanging Saddam after all Saddam did some Good for his people too,building his country. And all bandits and robbers should be pardoned because they may have killed people for money and possession,but they might also give money to the poor. There is no wicked persons in the world.

    What I trying to say it is not for the leaders themselves to say that they not guilty, it is up to the native subject that have to bear the consequences of their action and decision to judge them.

    If the argument stands, it seems we have wrongly accused Durai and his accomplices because these people have built NKF into a strong foundation and serve the people once even though they serve their self-interest too. And so since Durai and the rest of ‘friends’ have done something good before, we should acquitted them of all charges too.

    James, if you read the story of any dictators in history, all the dictators have done something good in their lifetime eg building economic progress, make country strong, blah and blah…
    But that does not acquitted them of any wrongdoing from destroying massive life to achieve their objectives.

    A dictator maybe a leader, but a leader may not be a dictator.
    Saladin http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saladin , a great leader that never is a dictator that died a pauper life because he gave all his possession to help the poor but then after he died, his tomb was never harassed.

  33. saintmoron said

    Agyee, thank You for your response.
    I would not compare modern history with that of the old(anything over 200 years). Politic today is a totally different thing from that of the past. Systems of governance, demographics, modernizations of structural/technological/scientific/social developments, education and a whole hosts of other differences. It is probably another study altogether and my point is wisdom and virtue(values as a whole) are hardly chronological stuff. They are just simply undisputed good that we all subscribe to.

  34. James Seng said

    Daniel,

    You are putting words in my mouth.

    I said nothing about forgiving and pardon Suharto (and I think MM Lee likewise). But his mistakes should not override the good things he has done, just like his good things he has done should not override his mistakes.

    Remember Suharto, for both his success and failure.

    ps: Your negative view of Durai is your own. Despite his failures, NKF is stronger because of him.

  35. aygee said

    which brings into perspective what i said earlier…

    What we can learn from history and can only hope that it happens in Singapore…

    is to have better checks and balances, and transparency. a free press, an independent judiciary, legislative and executive committees in the govt.

  36. Gary Teoh said

    by lky standard, if ministers are paid a lower salary,they will corrupt, that means all these talented ministers have no integrity at all, they are not honest people

  37. saintmoron said

    Aygee;
    points taken and I appreciate the interactions, likewise, we all wish that propriety is respected and maintained and hence respects can be accorded.

    Personally, I am unable to respect unscrupulous genius who can enriched the country, himself, his kins, clans and friends whilst his subjects are far from being look after. In fact, it is far better to have a fair minded leader than a clever greedy protagonist running any nation.

    Respects should rightfully be given to a mans’ probity rather than his ability which could be badly misused.

  38. Robert HO said

    RH:
    1. The evidence is clear that the CIA used/helped Suharto to topple/depose/coup Sukarno. The CIA did this partly because this is what they do all the time, toppling unfriendly leaders and replacing them with pro-American stooges. The CIA found Sukarno too ‘soft’ on his communists and so instigated Suharto to take over, helping him with money, intelligence [the physical, not the mental kind], planning, etc, even the lists of Indonesians they want murdered, boasted by a general to number 3 million victims.

    2. Thus, Suharto is a CIA/American stooge. Since the Americans did not want turmoil in the region for fear this will lead to communist takeovers, SUHARTO EFFECTIVELY TOED THE AMERICAN LINE NOT TO CAUSE TROUBLE. Hence we have the Americans to thank for the non-interference and peace in the region during Suharto’s reign. Not so much due to any Suharto desire for peace, etc. Meanwhile, the British PM Harold MacMillan also created a pro-British, pro-West, pro-American stooge in Singapore by jailing PM-elect LIM Chin Siong so that LKY could treacherously steal his position in the PAP and Singapore to be PM. Clearly, the Big Powers are playing power games all along. These are the historical and political realities. Big Powers create stooges out of local men and as long as they serve the interests of these Powers, they get to lord it over us and pay/steal themselves billions etc. The Americans and British love dictators and support them. All their cosmetic words about supporting Democracy is bullshit.

    3. Thus, all the commenters above who think that Suharto is to be praised for not attacking us or Malaysia, etc, should thank the CIA instead. Suharto and LKY are just American stooges, serving their interests [LKY’s mighty armed forces are part of the US Containment of China and may possibly be used to destabilise Malaysia or Indonesia if they don’t play ball with America]. Indeed, LKY has sent men and money to help Thai insurgents in the south to kill, bomb and destabilise Thailand, probably with CIA collusion and orders. Since LKY is an American stooge exactly like Suharto, they serve the same Boss and so are allies and so have many common grounds. Thus, LKY is not to be praised for being so clever to neutralise and keep Suharto peaceable. Suharto was simply following American orders not to cause trouble. Let’s give discredit where discredit is due. The shadowy world of the CIA reaches right into our homes as well as the Istanas of LKY and Suharto.

  39. Zheng Xi said

    Noone,

    Believe it or not it is possible to have a democractically elected communist government. The states of West Bengal and Kerala in India have elected communist state governments. Healthy opposition parties thriving in both states. Kerala’s doing quite well.

  40. […] his frank words that Suharto does not deserve enough recognition, critics would jump on the band of authoritarian brothers innuendo. I won’t be surprised if the Indonesians would also pick up on this comment […]

  41. aygee said

    And Saintmoron, your points are also taken. His cronies and family did get rich, while many of his people remained poor.

    Robert Ho, your point #2. I think i read in Said Zahari’s book about Lim Chin Siong’s jailterm and LKY’s rise to power. He didnt say it outright, but Said Zahari sort of alluded to LKY’s pro-western stand, and his use of his western connections and left-wing support to rise to power. LKY did say that Lim Chin Siong was his biggest challenger in the early PAP days.

    Zheng Xi – i offer another example. Italy had a communist govt elected a few years ago – they didnt last though. But yes, communist parties can be elected in open democracies. there are more and more South American countries now with left-wing govts getting elected – Venezuela and Bolivia.

  42. noone said

    And..thus would you have accepted a communist run SEA country if they were elected through a democratic process? imagine what would have occurred after that? There would have been another vietnam secanerio played out in your hands.RH is wrong and right. the CIA did support pro american but righ wing dictatorships all over the world during the CW. in fact, beyond SEA, Iran, Latin American states, South Korea, Some african states were accepted to be dictatorships rather than to allow communist to take over. Would you have allowed a democratic system during the CW which would have allowed communist takeovers?

  43. JFK said

    can we say that TT Durei was a great guy who created jobs and help boost the economy ?

    Can we say Hitler did a wonderful job for his country ?

    Look before you leap, think before you speak.

  44. antz said

    it’s difficult to have a totally zero corruption in a large country like Indonesia…and also the rest of other bigger countries in the world…what i can see is that we are blessed in the sense of being small corruption was out of question cos if there is definitely we the citizens will suffer greatly cos we have no natural resources to lean on…and to make sure corruption do not exist…the govt actually laid out a huge payscale to its ministers…cos just to be briefed corruption will destroy singapore…i read both of his books that LKY wrote…and in the last page of the book he wrote…there’s a minister from malaysia told him that Singapore due to lack of almost everything u can think of…will come crawling back to m’sia…and in the sense of economy in his book he wrote almost everybody be in m’sia nor indonesia…seems pushing s’pore around like a ball…just waiting for the end of our survival..and that’s the point where he feels that sacrifices…got to be made..in terms of politics/social/law etc…u named it…to develop s’pore and more importantly of course to be in good terms with neighbouring countries…he knows a strong army will lead to nowhere if we remain in squabbling terms with them…so with Suharto…and also with mahathir no matter how he do not like them he git to be friendly with them…this will make a balance in SEA…cos geographical…we are sandwiched in between…
    LKY knows Javanese culture well…as i can see and this make him and suharto good friends and pls ppl do not undermine the Indonesians…they are a sleeping giant…have the chance to work in jakarta for quite a number of years..the rich is very rich with very big cars with personal driver while the poor…is very poor sleeping along the roads and this breaks my heart whenever i am in the car…going to my office…my experience in jakarta doing business with them is that…Indonesia is a sleeping giant…if they are awake…nobody can push them around…in terms of economy…and it’s true what LKY said…they are yet to take off yet…but one day if they will then i can say they will fly our Asean flag high up…

  45. Zheng Xi said

    Noone,

    “Would you have allowed a democratic system during the CW which would have allowed communist takeovers?”

    Erm so you kill the lot of them, communists or suspected communists?

    And are you suggesting that the CIA sponsored dictatorships in SA and SK were acceptable? Good ol’ apartheid and Park Chung Hee eh? Infinitely better chaps than the communists.

    Point is, it’s ridiculous to attempt to justify killing for political ends. I believe it’s called terrorism, regardless of whether Suharto, the CIA, or the communists do it.

  46. saintmoron said

    What is your points Antz? Survival? Prove one can stand on ones’ feet forever if one has bones?
    “…but one day if they will then i can say they will fly our Asean flag high up…”, unquote. Why should’nt they fly the Indonesian Flag further? May I ask You please.

  47. saintmoron said

    It is really up to the individuals to assess the merits of Suhartos’ leadership of Indonesia. To give him credit where credit is due is no different from disrespecting him for his mistakes, many of which were very grave if not downright cruel.

    Fundamentally, respects should only be accorded to wholesomeness of probity rather than just ability alone. The simple reason is that a clever man misusing his intelligence is a very dangerous man when he becomes unscrupulous. And hence becoming despicable instead of respectable.

    Leave a Reply

  48. sieteocho said

    About TT Durai, some people may have the impression that he worked hard, he made NKF into a brand name. But that is more than offset by the fact that it’s completely inefficient at getting kidney patients what they need: less than 20% of the $$$ gets to the kidney patients. NKF under him was totally fucked up under that smooth and shiny exterior and you need to count the cost of the people who now refuse to donate to charity because of how he has sullied everybody’s name.

    As for all the poor people in Indonesia they’re there because of the system that Suharto perpetuated. Those small select group of people he’s friendly with will get monopolies, then there will be a lot of wretched people he will have to police. Don’t be fooled by how Indonesia’s GDP was increasing so quickly. Only the elite saw anything. You can look at the good and the bad, on balance he was a bad thing.

    MM Lee is being so cosy with him now because he wants to defend the fact that he was so friendly with a dictator. He wants to perpetuate the idea that he is to be respected simply because he was so powerful – in other words might makes right. To be sure, one big consideration is that he wanted Singapore and Indonesia to be friendly, and you cannot fault that.

  49. Shep said

    For non-Indonesians like myself, or perhaps those in the country who are unfamiliar with the events surrounding Suharto’s takeover, you owe it to yourself to view the ground-breaking documentary “Terlena-Breaking of a Nation“. It was definitely an eye-opener for me.

  50. aygee said

    hi JFK,

    you may have missed some of the points discussed earlier. What we were saying was to stepping away from our own judgements, and viewing things from an objective (pragmatic?) point-of-view.

    On your point about Hitler, yes, in retrospect, we can indeed label or judge Hitler as a monster, evil incarnate, etc.

    But, in those times 1920-30s, Germans were despondent, in the light of the defeat in the first WW. They were under economic pressure from the victors. Hitler, whatever his motivations were at that time, wanted to give Germans their pride again. He did whatever he had to do to unite Germans again, and gave pride for the “fatherland”.

    So the comments about Durai etc – the gist of the conversation was – he has done good but he also had done bad. I dont think he started it off by saying “right, i’m going to join NKF and turn it into a money-making organisation for myself. I will exploit my connections with the govt and screw Singaporeans”.

    Money, power and greed probably corrupted him and made him lose his way. but i’m very sure, he was the man who turned NKF into a proper institution (but again, its open for argument if there’s proof otherwise).

    Shall we forgive him for his wrongs then? No. But please take into account the good things he has done before you throw the book at him.

    There’s many ways to judge a person, based on your own values. Thats fine and you’re entitled to your opinion.

    But when you say “Look before you leap, Think before you speak” are you implying that another person’s opinion is wrong, and your opinions are right? If you are, then thats unfair.

  51. Andrew Loh said

    Aygee,

    Can good deeds justify the slaughter of hundreds and thousands of innocent and defenceless people?

    You may be right about Hitler. But please do not forget that it is with hindsight that we know whether something is right or not – and thus judge it or the person accordingly.

    No amount of ‘good deeds’ can justify the senseless slaughter of so many in Indonesia during Suharto’s reign, in my opinion.

    Otherwise, we would be accomodating to dictators, despots, murderers, rapists and such like.

    People in authority and power must be held to a higher standard – a higher standard of respect, integrity and value. For they are not ordinary people. They are in fact people who wield immense power and thus can abuse that power as well.

    Just as Suharto did.

    And yes, on hindsight, we judge him and his actions. And in this, there is no justification for what he did. Thus, to try and “balance” his evil deeds with whatever “good” he may have done, is to try and gloss over the murders, plunder, rape and violence he unleashed over his own people.

    Senselessly taking a human life does not justify whatever “good” you may have done.

    That is why murderers, even first time murderers, get the maximum sentence. In Singapore, that means the death penalty. Why then, do we try and excuse a dictator who slaughtered in the hundreds?

  52. aygee said

    andrew,

    fair points you brought up.

    But from what i observe – Suharto is still revered by his own countrymen (correct me if i’m wrong). When he was deposed, he did not flee the country, even with the billions he allegedly has (contrast with Thaksin). They were after his family/sons/cronies, rather than him?

    I remember chatting with some Indonesian journalists during the late 90s. They said, if i recall correctly, that Indonesia is finally learning what democracy is – we never really had it under Suharto, but versus what we have now (it was Habibie at that time i think), we’d rather have Suharto back in charge.

    Daniel, on comment #32, gave a link to Saladin on wikipedia. I read it and it was interesting.

    Saladin fully exterminated many of the defeated Christian armies during the Crusades. Yet, he was known for his chivalry and respected to this very day. People remember him for saving a Christian woman’s baby, rather than the millions of Christian soldiers he exterminated.

    If any of you are Godfather fans, in Godfather III, Michael Corleone was lamenting to himself at Don Tomassino’s funeral, “I did what i had to do..for the Family. I gave my life for the Family. But Father, why were you so loved and me, so feared?”

    Sounds like a discussion where we’ll never reach a compromise.

  53. Robert HO said

    RH:
    1. For a fuller exposition of my Comment 22 above, please visit my blog at http://i-came-i-saw-i-wrote-it.blogspot.com/ .

    2. The title of my new post posted today is “ICONOCLASSING SINGAPORE GDP MYTHS”.

  54. antz said

    saintmoron,
    What is your points Antz? Survival? Prove one can stand on ones’ feet forever if one has bones?
    “…but one day if they will then i can say they will fly our Asean flag high up…”, unquote. Why should’nt they fly the Indonesian Flag further? May I ask You please.

    Pls remember that Indonesian is part of Asean…they as the largest country in SEA holds the key to the region stability…I spend quite a number of years interacting with Indonesia businessman…they in the whole find that S’pore is a place where children receive education and grow up…seems to me that they as foreigners..admire s’pore though we are just a fraction of batam…smaller than batam in fact..always they will told me am lucky to live in singapore…though we are small…the world know where we stand…am saying that yes..no country is perfect…but after listening to my own countrymen whining and complaining about policies here and there…it seems that we are a bunch of complainants…ungrateful of the place where we are standing today…and yet there’s ppl out there admire our country…wishing theirs will be like ours..this is my personal view…as for suharto…we as foreigners does not have quite a say if he deserves the recognition for the bulding of his country…up to individual to assess his achievement..nobody is a saint..as a saying goes animals died leaving it’s skin but humans died leaving behind one’s name…

  55. James Seng said

    It is easy to be an armchair critic.

    There is a common story that goes something like this:

    You are the captain of the train with many passenger on board. You reach a junction where if you take one path, you would kill an innocent child playing on the train track whereas the other would mean crashing your train, possibly injuring or killing your passenger. Which road do you take?

    It is a common moral dilemma, one face by leaders all the time. The bigger the organization/country, the more often you do. The circumstance of being a leader is that you often have to choose between two evils, a damn if you do and damn if you don’t.

    Find me a perfect leader who has done no evil.

  56. saintmoron said

    Antz, I expected You to tell us that most outsiders(foreigners) admire our country and many long to be living here. This is obviously so, any filthy rich person will want a safe haven for himself and his fortune and this is one place that fulfills that need. And there are many such people in the world who wants to seek such a place for safety, far more than this tiny land can accommodate.

    Here, the people have to face rising costs of living, sharing this tiny land with increasing foreigner population. Much of the jobs are taken up by foreigners and the jobless local born are treated as liabilities. So, pragmatically, the power that is could easily enhance the economic wealth by allowing foreigners to buy into this country. With more rich foreigners settling here; the World sees more wealths in Singapore.

    But the average(common) man do not get to benefit from glorious economic growth. Growth that is gloriously sung(sing) to the World almost on a daily basis through all the state medias. On the one hand a glorious picture is painted for the World to see, on the other hand, the citizens are struggling for survival whilst the leaders pay themselves sinfully huge remunerations.

    Antz, if I read You correctly, You implied that MM Lee has forged a cordial or even close relationship with Suharto for the sake of Singapore and that Singapore and even other S E Asian countries were not at wars, because of Suharto. I live through the ‘Konfrontasi’ period and was personally by accident, one with fellow NS men, found a boatload of Indonesians at Ayer Gemuroh off Tanah Merah Coastline in the beginning of 1970s. So obviously, like it or not, I got to hear about the confrontation for a period of time. I hope You are not implying that without MM Lee, Suharto would have taken Singapore and other countries or be at war with others.

    Although I am not well versed with history and politics, I can say without qualm that Indonesian Leaders since the day of Sukarno have had to deal with much internal strifes. Those included struggles amongst political parties, politicians versus military, communist versus anti communist, tribal(Timor and other Indon islands) and last but not least religious fightings.

    Nevertheless MM Lee wanted Independence and got it from the British, supposing the British had not built Singapore into a thriving Entrepot Port, I do not know if anyone would have wanted it. On the other hand, if the British gave Singapore to any of the bigger states around it, I personally believe it(Singapore) will still function and further developed in its’ ports(sea and air) businesses. It would have been just a natural continuation of developments. This is my conjecture and I see those talks of wars and Singapore suffering if not for this and that as greater conjectures because I see them as so.

  57. noone said

    So which path would have been better? Vietnam was more a locla nationalist uprising that triggered to a war because the US feared of a communist takeover. But neither was their South Vietnamese government that humane in its policies.

    Suppose the communists were allowed to roam in Indonesia and SEA. Would you expect no US/Western intervention then?

    There is no answer. Butclearly the answer of came from what happened. SEA was “allowed its style of democracy” so long as there was no red carpet sweeping across it

  58. Shaun said

    Face it, comment #57 was uncalled for and has no relevance whatsoever to the above argument.

    Moving on, I believe a leader has to be assessed on his omneity. A leader in position whether based on merit, default, luck, or popularity has to recognise the tremendous responsibilities placed along with the powers vested. Praise a leader for his successes but condemn him for his mistakes as well. There’s little use for ‘what if-s’ or ‘could have been-s’ after shit has happened. Therefore let history be the best teacher and learn from the positive and seek not to repeat the nagative aspects of any leader.

    Regardless of the end result, I believe ethics is of utmost importance in the execution of duty. I just hope Suharto or whoever involved has a clear conscience in what he has done.

  59. sieteocho said

    We know that a 1 party system is going to exist in Singapore indefinitely. And it may be good that a second party (possibly Worker’s Party) will emerge to be a credible opposition. But until then it is perfectly useful to have PAP members voicing out on things they disagree on, not always toeing the party line, having real discussions about issues, in public where we can see all of that. More openness and stuff like that.

    And this is why I fail to understand this “he’s a PAP lackey and if he seems otherwise he could only be a hypocrite” attitude.

  60. Kevin said

    Dear James Seng

    You got the moral of the popular story all wrong, infact you even got the story and the facts wrong.

    1. A captain of the train does not decide on the ‘path’ (track to be more exact). It’s the switch operator that does.

    2. The innocent boy is not just any boy, it’s suppose to be the operator’s son. It’s a decision between duty or self-interest. It’s a dilemma between public interest or self-preservation.

    3. Such decision in the story is not a visionary leader decision, it’s not even an executive level decision, but a common man decision between what is right or wrong. E.g. A purchaser decision to take under-table money or perfomr his/her dutyto the company. A policeman decision to take a bribe or to bring justice. A fireman decision to perfomr his/her duty to save a lives or to protect his own life.

    Not sure which version of the story you read, but most versions I’ve came across said the operator did his duty, decided on public interest and sacrifice his own son. The EXACT OPPOSITE of what people like Suharto and Lee Kuan Yew did.

    Such split seconds decision reflect on the values and moral of the decision makers. It is not a dilemma to many common people in the world, it’s similar decision that firemen all over the world make on a daily basis. Strangely, when it come to kiasu Singapore it becames a dilemma.

    People follows their leaders and adopt their values over time. Corruption is rampant in Indonesia because it’s leaders are corrupted and choosen to ‘save’ their sons over public interests. Successful senior civil servants in Singapore demanded that their children be exalted into senior positions of influence that exceed their capabilities for the same reason of following their leader.

    We do not need perfect leaders, but we need people of integrity in Senior leadership. We need leaders who choose to sacrifice person interest over public interest. Such leaders will draw like-minded leaders to them as well as teams of talented and self-actualised thinkers/economists who do not need multi-millions paycheck.

    As for talented but selfish mathematicians & lawyers, we can always hire them in truck load.

    Have you check your heart today?

  61. antz said

    saint moron,

    Patially yes i agreed to the pharagraph where u are stating it seems that we as in the whole is like as though fighting for our own survival…for example jobs/space…and etc…for ya foreign talent..it seems that the govt welcome them wholeheartedly..educating us that foreign talent is needed for our economy engine growth

    …and once i remembered MM Lee saying that we,the locals is a kinda PC hardisk…while the foreign talents…are the special gigbytes installed in the PC…to make it in the whole as special programme…looking at our history it seems that…it’s a kinda of endless arguements…cos we the locals..are descendants of immigrants…and by right..we in turn gotta welcome foreigners..

    Now..for the sake of our tiny nation…and all i can say is that after further analysing…reading and at the same time reading from blogs…not only from s’pore but other neighbouring countries…it seems that the govt is implementing the foreign policies for survival…I noticed the way..our govt reacts..to our own policies normally from our neighbouring intervention..especially just across the causeway…our govt wishes to have a kinda subtle..firm govt…to make it simple to politely say no..to certain policies that do not favour us….now and then of increasing demand..and allegations made by them…ain’t easy for just a small county like us that is considered by many of our neighbours a prosperous country…and to some a county that was run like a MNC..this has in fact..have an effect of admiration..at the same time feeling of an awe…a tiny nation that is able to overcome difficulties where ppl that is us…as the only resource..

    So all i can say…is that this is the way we will be…as MML Lee ever said everything that has been woven nicely will be undone in a slight seconds…if the leaders just happen to lose concentration..as he ever said once…where are we in the map??are we in the Bahamas or next to the US…??he is trying to say that yes even though we are not in a state of danger where…sounds of guns and cannot cannot be heard from our nearby market…it seems…to put it in conclusion…there’s always dangers ahead….

    As a matter of fact…do not follow emotions when running a country..where u do not know who is aiming for you…
    but an ancient egyptian who is an adviser to the pharoah and telling him…the last sentence in a book i read…there’s no perfection..but prevention..

  62. noone said

    Come on no relevance? You have not justified it yourself.

  63. noone said

    Lest you forget history itself is objectivity in history is questionable.

  64. saintmoron said

    Antz;
    thank You for responding, much appreciated. May I also thank You for not candidly branding me and the likes who critisize the leadership, as a bunch of ungrateful prudes.

    Pardon me, for I just cannot accept blind loyalty in the face of events that we get to witness first hand. I must say that I fully agree with Kevin who posted above, the facts speak for itself.

    Do allow me to digress by going into an issue that You, I and everybody else are exhorted to do repeatedly. We were(are) told to upgrade and retrain ourselves when all of us are fully awared that many a compatriot had got educated to the best they could and worked their ways to executive and management level only to become taxi drivers and security staff after gotten retrenched for nothing except for attaining their positions. That is really a joke only morons can understand. Do You see it?

    Maybe, I have a different perspective, nonetheless, I hope You take our interactions as a friendly discussion, I sincerely do not mean any offence.

  65. Antz,

    Just a suggestion. You might want to paragraph your comments for easier reading. 🙂

    Thanks.

  66. antz said

    saint moron,

    Many a times i hear similar feedback…but in my own perspective taxi drivers and especially security staff contribute to the economy too..

    We will always be in a disadvantaged position basically due to our size and our position sandwich in between two larger countries.It seems what i can see is that there will be always an on and off demands.

    They as in the whole unable to see that we in fact has largely contribute to their economy…as u should know we,the working class-that is us just love to shop and dine but sadly crimes and insecurity was on and off being reported at their doorstep while they when coming over to our place felt safe and secure..and by large welcome their presence.I felt sympathy for them because some i know by 3am they already up…rushing making sure they will arrive on time.I think u should know that’s a far cry of us waking up in the morning to work where we are still soundly asleep.

    Sometimes i felt ridiculed to the fact that certain blogs in our neighbouring countries..will kinda off debate heatedly policies that was being implemented here….

    Right from our ERP policy stretching to our very own social policy.Always there will be one bulldozing it’s way trying to say..’why follow?they are a tiny island..easier to handle pls do not treat them as if they are that great’

    While the rest will kinda rebutt..copying and pasting from our sources and giving examples from our success and in the end the argument will stalled and will out of the blue changes topic.

    Well saint moron..this has been in fact an enrinching discussion..just highlighting some daily observation that i have come across from blogs that i have read.Anyway,back to Suharto he is still clinging to his life till to this day..a strong man indeed after numerous organ failure..

    P.S-sorry online citizen for the difficulties in reading from my comments due to lack of paragraphs…

  67. […] Zheng Xi from TOC writes an article here. Its really a good read as it states what he has done, and what our MM has to say about […]

  68. […] While it is not nice to speak ill of the dead, the fact remains that Suharto’s regime was rife with human rights violations, despite whatever MM Lee said about him. I still don’t have much sympathy for him, dead or […]

  69. […] While it is not nice to speak ill of the dead, the fact remains that Suharto’s regime was rife with human rights violations, despite whatever MM Lee said about him. I still don’t have much sympathy for him, dead or […]

  70. […] Times’ sentimental tribute/farewell articles on Suharto rather distasteful? The guy was hardly a saint, after all. Perhaps they are merely preparing the ground for the inevitable death of our own Dear […]

  71. Hoping said

    Suharto, the Model Killer, and His Friends in High Places
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19224.htm

    [ “The CIA forged a document purporting to reveal a leftist plot to murder Chilean military leaders,” he wrote, “[just like] what happened in Indonesia in 1965.” The U.S. embassy in Jakarta supplied Suharto with a “zap list” of Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) members and crossed off the names when they were killed or captured. ]

  72. Jackson said

    LKY mentioned that it’s ok to be corrupted, as long as there is real economic progress.

    DO HE KNOW WHAT HE IS TALKING ABOUT!?

    So that means Singapore’s real economic progress is the partial result of ‘him’ being corrupted?

  73. site said

    This is my first time visit at here and i am truly happy to read all at one place.

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