Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Things I Argree with LKY

Writing helps me destress. I read that thinking about things in a logical manner also helps the mourning process. Of course I'm going to get flak for this post, but I don't give two shits.

To be upfront and transparent, I have never formally studied politics or political science. Nothing more than secondary school social studies and history, and where I end up on Wikipedia or the fringes of the internet. But who says you need a formal education to be knowledgeable about a subject anyway? Perhaps my views and inferences of his quotes and interviews might be misinterpreted out of context, but hey, everyone looks at a picture and sees something different.

In light of the passing of LKY, I have been very ravenous in my readings of all things related about him, especially his much later years in life, as he seems much more worldly, wiser and more in-tune with the modern development of society and technology. Less scary also perhaps.

This interview from 2007 with the NY Times is my main source of information. Maybe since then his views have changed, but this is what I'm working with.
We knew that if we were just like our neighbors, we would die. Because we've got nothing to offer against what they have to offer. So we had to produce something which is different and better than what they have. It's incorrupt. It's efficient. It's meritocratic. It works.
The system works regardless of your race, language or religion because otherwise we'd have divisions. We are pragmatists. We don't stick to any ideology. Does it work? Let's try it and if it does work, fine, let's continue it. If it doesn't work, toss it out, try another one. We are not enamored with any ideology.
Let the historians and the Ph.D. students work out their doctrines. I'm not interested in theories per se.

This is underlying point of this whole post. It doesn't matter what you want, all that matters is what needs to be done. Theories mean diddly shit if they don't work in real life. Whatever works is what we go with.

My biggest problem with self-proclaimed socialists is the undeniable raw fact that they compare the perfect textbook Utopian socialist society to a flawed, but practical and working capitalist society. David Hannan has crushed the socialist point, so let's stop talking about it. (I'm in the midst of writing a review for "Why Not Capitalism".... after I finish my review of another book) Sure, compare Andrea Chong to your real life wife/girlfriend. Fantasies are one thing, real life is another.

(I have website analysis statistics, I know all you tikos went to go check out her IG)

Mr Lee was a pragmatist. I think I have become one myself.

"You take a poll of any people. What is it they want? The right to write an editorial as you like? They want homes, medicine, jobs, schools." - LKY (Source)

Who cares if you are unable to "express yourself freely" if you are jobless and homeless? Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, anybody? You want to follow your passion, excel in your dream job? You better work for it, because those things don't just fall out from the sky and hit you on the head like a coconut. I want to be a billionaire playboy pornstar, so if you think you should get what you want, why shouldn't I get what I want?

How much you want something has absofuckinglutely no bearing on whether you will get it or not. I refrain from the word "should", because who is judge and jury? "Will" only denotes the simple binary outcome of yes or no.

I want Scarlett Johansson and Kiera Knightly. You want a condo and a car? Join the queue buddy.

First, to understand Singapore, you've got to start off with an improbable story. It should not exist. 
To begin with we don't have the ingredients of a nation, the elementary factors, a homogenous population, common language, common culture and common destiny. 
We are migrants from southern China, southern India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, before it was divided, Ceylon and the archipelago. So, the problem was, can we keep these peoples together? 
The basis of a nation just was not there. But the advantage we had was that we became independent late. In 1965, we had 20 years of examples of failed states. So, we knew what to avoid - racial conflict, linguistic strife, religious conflict. 

I've argued with Mr. Anon about this at related issue at length, but I think this issue of creating a national identity and the need to co-exist with a common goal and destiny is something we are still trying to deal with today. Now our new migrants are from many other countries. Can we keep these people together? Xenophobes say no. Perhaps I am the only one with this opinion, but I think that this is the only way to progress - to absorb those willing to contribute into our society.

The same reasons why people thought we could not succeed as a nation back then are still the same problems that we are facing now. We are not your typical nation, so the typical solution doesn't work.

Well, we are pragmatists. If, in order to survive, we have to open up a sector, we open it up. Because the best test - the yardstick is, is this necessary for survival and progress? If it is, let's do it.
I don't like casinos but the world has changed and if we don't have an integrated resort like the ones in Las Vegas - Las Vegas Sands - we'll lose. So, let's go. Let's try and still keep it safe and mafia-free and prostitution-free and money-laundering-free.
Can we do it? I'm not sure but we're going to give it a good try and we're going to keep our clean and green and safe reputation. That's the plan.

Do you honestly think that we are a benevolent, kind and loving nation that want to share our precious land and wealth to whichever foreigner that washes up upon our shores? Thinking along the lines of pragmatism, if we could do without them, we would. The simple fact and answer is that we can't do without them. As much as they need us for jobs and money, we need for labour and consumption. We have opened up because we had to, not because we wanted to.

As much as he opposed the casino and the notion of gambling, LKY relented and understood the rationale for having an IR. Although the IR has a host of benefits, it does comes with its own sets of cons as well. I think they have managed those cons very well. You think LKY wanted to have an IR in Singapore if he could have it his way? We have them because we needed them, not because he wanted them.

What has to be done, is done.

I think we have to go in whatever direction world conditions dictate if we are to survive and to be part of this modern world. If we are not connected to this modern world, we are dead. We'll go back to the fishing village we once were.
They are here because we've provided security, stability and predictability. If that sense of security and predictability is gone, the money will stop flowing in and will flow out.

Maybe I'm sounding like a broken record, but I do believe that the only way to stay ahead of the game is to keep on running and adapting - the Red Queen Hypothesis. And we have to keep going, because if we ever stop, those behind us will close up the gap. Nobody remembers 2nd place. We shouldn't be happy with what we have, because if we stop for a moment too long, we'll forever be playing catch up.

I think that security, stability and predictability is all about the economy. Companies set up shop in Singapore for a variety of reasons, like geolocation, transport links, language, efficient labour, fair laws, good policing etc. If those reasons start to falter or disappear, so will those companies, along with all the people they hire and spending that they do locally. If the money does start flowing out, the fallout will be a lot larger that we think, and can probably handle. Jobs, homes, standards of livings will start to crumble.

Somethings are too important to play around with and screw up. You can do whatever you want with your own life, that's fine. Once things involve other people, it becomes everyone's shared responsibility to make sure we got this shit down right. I don't care about your hippy vibes or whatever feels you have.

To end of this post, it is from another interview in 2010 with the New York Times:

I'm not saying that everything I did was right, but everything I did was for an honourable purpose.

If you have ever been in a situation where you had to choose between your own personal gain or the benefit of a group, you might appreciate and understand the situation that he was in, many times. Not many people can put their personal gain behind that of the group. I know I wouldn't, but I'm screwed up, selfish and would never be a politician. True respect to this man.

I might have not known this man personally, but he has very deeply affected me in ways that he will never even know.

If my week goes as planned, I will be going to pay my respects at Parliament House this week.

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