The biggest news in Singapore these few days is an interview given by Minister Mentor of Singapore, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, to the National Geographic magazine.
In it, Mr. Lee say that the ruling party’s liberal immigration and pro-foreigner policies is ‘good’ for the country, and is quoted as saying, “Over time, Singaporeans have become less hard-driving and hard-striving. This is why it is a good thing that the nation has welcomed so many Chinese immigrants.” He then went on to say “if native Singaporeans are falling behind because the spurs are not stuck into the hide, that is their problem.”
Needless to say, Singaporeans who read this are up in arms about the interview. However you’ll never know it reading the Strait Times, because the interview was never mentioned. Correction: you’ll never know it if you read any of the mainstream newspapers in Singapore, because not one mention of the interview was ever mentioned by any of them.
Now I don’t agree with what Mr. Lee said in the interview about new immigrants from China being more “hard-driving and hard-striving” (they are cheaper, not more hardworking), and about “if native Singaporeans are falling behind because the spurs are not stuck into the hide, that is their problem” (what’s the government for then?). It is also kind of funny reading the interview at the end of the year when the government just lost billions of dollars in failed overseas investments. All without blinking an eye I might add, because the one in charge of the investment company that lost the money is now back in charge of the said investment company.
However say what you want about the interview but I for one will not criticize someone for giving his honest views, but what I am truly surprised at is how nothing about the interview is said on Singapore news. It is as if the interview never took place at all!
Now the Strait Times has always been known as a pro-government newspaper and a government mouthpiece but really, sometimes they do themselves no favors. This is an interview in the National Geographic magazine! You know how many people in the world read National Geographic? Common sense would tell you that some Singaporeans will read about the interview and will be unhappy about it. So how does pretending the interview never took place help the Singapore government?
It doesn’t. What the Strait Times should be doing is giving space for ministers (or better yet, the MM) to explain why Mr. Lee said what he said. They need to explain why Singapore’s Chinese immigrants are ‘good’ for the country (after the case of that Chinese PR who got her PR and then took part in the Chinese National Parade) and I think they need to especially explain/rebut the views of Mr. Siew Kum Hong, the former NMP who believed he was passed over for another term because he voted no against the government. If possible, maybe they can give an example of how he was NOT the first NMP to vote against a government bill. (Like I said, “if possible”)
The interview is done, the article is written, the National Geographic magazine is published and out there; pretending that the interview never took place help no one, and that includes the Singapore government.