Thoughts : Singapore

Singapore (Economic Development)

Economic Prosperity at All Cost?: A letter published in The Straits Times on the 24th of June, 2003. I write about how the economy and economic prosperity should not take precedence over everything else when it comes to government policies. In addition, I distinguish between liberalization in the political and economic realm. While the former is good, leaving everything up to the market – economic liberalization – ought not to be blindly pursued as the government still ought to help the poor and losers due to globalization.

See also:
Country Policy Brief on Singapore [International Development]
The Economy and the Education System [Singapore (Education)]

Singapore (Human Rights & Freedom)

PAP Should Strengthen its Alternatives for Singapore’s Greater Good: An unpublished letter sent to The Straits Times on the 4th of February, 2005 in which I argue that the purpose of any political party in a country is to govern the country for the benefit of the people, and not for the purpose of being in power for its own sake. And if Singapore’s future would be better with more than one dominant party, then the PAP should, for the sake of Singapore’s greater good, cease from unfairly suppressing the opposition and instead help the opposition to strengthen itself.

Please Allow Singaporeans to Mature: An unpublished letter sent to The Straits Times on the 20th of February, 2003, calling for the government to allow for more freedom of expression by Singaporeans. Such may be a risky thought for a benign-dictatorial government which wants the best for the people and thinks it knows better than the people. However, if we’re to see Singaporeans be mature and thoughtful global citizens, the government needs to allow the people the freedom to express themselves, even if such means the risk of failure – for in the end it ultimately means the maturing of the Singapore society.

The Peacefulness of Protests: An unpublished letter sent to The Straits Times on the 17th of February, 2003, in response to the government’s tiring and anachronistic justification of disallowing protests because of the instability it creates in Singapore.

Apathy of Singaporeans Towards International Affairs: An unpublished letter sent to The Straits Times on the 24th of November, 2002, about the causes of political apathy among Singaporeans.

Graciousness Epitomized; Graciousness Lacking…: An unpublished letter in 2001 about the contrast between our Prime Minister’s lack of graciousness shown in suing opposition leader Dr. Chee Soon Juan and the graciousness and forgiveness extended by the parents of a dead girl to her killer.

Singapore (Education)

The Cultivation of Passion in our Education System: A letter published in The Straits Times on the 6th of November, 2003. I speak here of the need to allow students time off formal studies to discover their passion, rather than forcing upon them government-dictated, economically useful subjects of study.

MOE Should Offer Students a Wider Range of Language Choices: A letter published in The Straits Times on the 8th of October, 2002, urging the Ministry of Education (MOE) to allow students to learn a greater variety of languages – especially that of Spanish.

The Value of Literature: An unpublished letter sent to The Straits Times on the 7th of October, 2002 about the value of literature.

The Economy and the Education System: Published in The Straits Times Forum page on the 29 May, 2001, this letter questions the absence of any foreign University catering to the Humanities and Social Sciences among those invited by the Singapore government to set up a foreign campus here. The letter, and additional comments by me below it, also reflect upon the pragmatism of the Singapore government – as that of all other countries too – in placing the importance of the economy and material progress above everything else. This was my first letter ever published in a newspaper.

Singapore (Foreign Policy)

Hating Singapore’s Pragmatism: A blog entry on Singapore’s pragmatic (read: unprincipled) foreign policy which includes some frank acknowledgements by government officials. (2006) [Blogged here]

War in Iraq: in Singapore’s Interest?: An unpublished letter sent to The Straits Times on the 18th of March, 2003 arguing – contrary to Lee Hsien Loong and based on his three criteria of what Singapore’s interests are – that support for the US-led war in Iraq is not in Singapore’s best interest.

Our Government’s Pragmatic and Unprincipled Choice: An unpublished letter sent to The Straits Times on the 7th of June, 2003 commenting on the Singapore government’s pragmatic and unprincipled choice in supporting America’s war in Iraq. I also state that unless Singaporeans are willing to sacrifice prosperity for morality, our government will remain pragmatic – as well as unprincipled, when needed – as it sucks up to richer nations for the sake of our economy.

See also:
Singapore’s Role in International Development [International Development]

Singapore (Islamic Issues)

Headscarves and National Integration?: An unpublished letter sent to The Straits Times on the 13th of October, 2003, stating my view that Muslims should be allowed to wear headscarves to school – believing that such would not go against the desire for national integration.

The Tudung Issue and the PKMS: An unpublished letter sent to The Straits Times on the 4th of January, 2003. I write here about the need to try to understand why the Singapore Malay National Organisation (PKMS) and family involved in this recent Tudung controversy are opposed to the government’s policy, rather than just imputing unflattering motives to them.

Muslim Concerns Unacknowledged by the Singapore Government: An unpublished letter (understandably so because of the sensitivity of the topic!) sent to the The Straits Times on the 19th of January, 2002. It is about the lack of understanding shown by the Singaporean Government towards the concerns the local Muslim community have towards American bombing of Afghanistan.

Singapore (Maids)

Singapore’s Maids and Graciousness: An unpublished letter sent to The Straits Times on the 30th of September, 2003, calling on Singaporeans to show more grace to maids.

Oppression in my Own Backyard: Reflections upon the treatment of maids in Singapore after I watched a SBS (an Australian channel and my favorite of all I’ve come across in the world) documentary about them. (2002)