- Why so mean? Here’s why March 31, 2011onesingaporean Leave aMessage 1 of 1 , Mar 31 6:23 PMView Source
Why so mean? Here’s why
The answer to the question is manifold. But I will stick to one which I thinks is relevant.
The PAP Government, over the 53 years it has been in power, is not known for its magnanimity or grace. Lee Kuan Yew, of course, can be held responsible for this, being as he was the one who sat on the throne, and still is the man behind the one who sits on the throne.
Lee Kuan Yew’s influence, make no mistake, runs deep and wide in the PAP and the government. It is thus without a doubt that his ways influence and are practised by the lower-rungs in the government. Anyone who thinks otherwise must be completely naive.
Lee Kuan Yew’s influence too spreads far and wide in Singapore society. Indeed, many hold him up as some sort of demi-god, and fall to their feet at his very presence.
With this in context, lets take a look at some of the things Lee Kuan Yew has said about some people whom he dislikes or has – evidently – utter contempt for.
It is a lesson in meanness.
Lee Kuan Yew has :
- Called the late Mr JB Jeyaretnam a “mangy dog”.
- Called former president Devan Nair an “alcoholic”
- Called James Gomez a “liar and a cheat”
- Called Chee Soon Juan a “psychopath”
- Called Chee Soon Juan a “dud”
- Called Tang Liang Hong a “anti-Christian Chinese chauvinist”
- Called former solicitor-general Francis Seow a “womaniser”
- Called Singaporeans “dogs” – “We had to train adult dogs who even today deliberately urinate in the lifts.”
- Called Singaporeans “daft”
- Compared Singaporeans to animals – “the spurs are not stuck on your hinds. They are part of the herd”
- Called Singaporeans “ignorant”
- Vowed that he will “make him [JB Jeyaretnam] crawl on his bended knees, and beg for mercy.”
- Called Low Thia Khiang “dishonest”
- Called Sylvia Lim “dishonest”
- Said this of author Catherine Lim: “If you think you can hurt me more than I can hurt you, try.”
- Displayed gangster like behaviour towards JB Jeyaretnam: “Everybody knows that in my bag I have a hatchet, and a very sharp one. You take me on, I take my hatchet, we meet in the cul-de-sac.”
- Called Australia “the white trash of Asia”
- He locked up Said Zahari for 22 years.
- He locked up Lim Hock Siew for 16 years.
- He locked up Vincent Cheng for 3 years.
- He locked up Teo Soh Lung for 2 years.
- He locked up Chia Thye Poh for 32 years, totally incapacitated him.
You get the idea.
Of course, citing all these quotes and behaviour of Lee Kuan Yew does not mean what is being done to Tin Pei Ling is justified. And I am not justifying the attacks on the poor girl.
I am, however, trying to offer a reason why those who are attacking her, are doing so.
In the past, when Lee Kuan Yew said and did all these things, Singaporeans had to just swallow it – especially when the mainstream media, a complicit tool in the merciless demolition of those Lee Kuan Yew hated, was in his full control.
But the Internet age is quite different now. And Lee Kuan Yew has no way of reining it in as he did with the newspapers when he first came to power. In fact, if I recall, Lee Kuan Yew once said he does not really understand the Internet either.
His destruction of his opponents was utter, complete and total. No mercy was shown. It was like a bulldozer running over toufu.
His opponents never had a chance.
Yet, he could have been magnanimous. He could have shown mercy. He could have been more transparent in his dealings. He could have been fairer. He could have stayed his hand.
In short, he could have set a more humane tone for society.
And so, we learn from him.
Cos that’s what he keeps telling and preaching and boasting and justifying to us.
So, what Tin Pei Ling is going through is nothing compared to what the PAP itself – read: Lee Kuan Yew – did to those he hated.
The point here is this: The PAP needs to take a long hard look at itself and ask if it has become a party full of arrogance, complacency, and high-handedness.
A people subjugated and ridiculed by its own leaders must give vent in some ways.
And the Internet provides this now.
So, you may not condone the attacks on Tin Pei Ling, but you can understand why these happen – if you take a long hard look in the mirror.
Why so mean?
The answer can be found if the question is directed at Lee Kuan Yew.
Or maybe the reason is simpler: Like me, perhaps many are aghast that someone of Tin Pei Ling’s “calibre” can just simply waltz into Parliament – perhaps without even a contest – while others like Low Thia Khiang, Chiam See Tong, Sylvia Lim, Chen Show Mao, Vincent Wijeysingha, Tony Tan, Hazel Poa, Jeanette Aruldoss – all of whom are more mature and qualified than her – may not.
And if the reason for the attacks is this, then it is a valid anger, is it not – though the expression of that anger may not be? It is anger directed, really, not at Tin Pei Ling, but at a GRC system which truly needs to be abandoned.
After all, it’s the very survival of our country we are talking about – and none but the best and most qualified and deserving must be in Parliament – and be able to do so through a fair system of contest.
It chills me to the bone that Tin Pei Ling may get into Parliament by hanging on to the coattails of others, while Sylvia Lim might not.
Now this is what upsets me – and I believe many others as well.
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