Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Backing Down...Sort Of

Ever since his latest book, Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going, came out, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and the People’s Action Party (PAP) has had to deal with irate Muslims who took offence at his remarks that Malay-Muslims are in Singapore are “distinct and separate”.

Since then, various PAP politicians had tried to put out the fire but to no avail. With a General Election (GE) coming up, I guess the PAP finally decided that enough is enough. Explaining that he made the remarks 2-3 years ago, MM Lee Kuan Yew now says he “stands corrected” on the issue as the Malay community has made special efforts to integrate with other communities in that time.

Now I know Muslim groups wanted an apology from the MM over the comments but this is Singapore and the PAP is famous for not admitting mistakes. This is as good as you are going to get. In a way, the MM is backing down…sort of.

However, I’m afraid it’s too late. Doing it now with a GE coming up…let’s just say the image of the MM over the Malay community is now set.

Frankly I don’t blame the MM on this. A man has the right to his view and he had done so much for Singapore, he has the right to say what he wants. However the PAP could and should have done better to handle the fallout of the comments. The PAP should have made the MM do this when the book first came out. If the MM had this “stands corrected” stance immediately after the protests from the Muslims groups, this would have been a non-issue. The MM is so respected that people would have just let it go, but doing it now is a matter of it being too late due to the timing of the GE.

This will help dampen the reactions from the Muslim community but it won’t stop it. The timing is bad, it is months too late.


Anonymous said...

i don't believe lee kuan yew is all that respected, really respected. pple feel thay have to listen to him becos they think he's the "founder of modern spore". (he isn't, he's only its first prime minister who led a bloody good bunch of guys who did all the work of building up this company. but tt's another story)

and becos it's been drummed into us tt respecting authority means never contradicting them, even if tis obvious that what they say and claim is blatantly wrong, pple feel they have to believe what he says is true and that he means well. it's not always so.

there is also this huge fear factor. how does one contradict a man who's larger than life? how do u tell the big boss that he's spouting rubbish? the office cleaner wldn't dare say so to the CEO of an MNC, which is what it's all about.

lee kuan yew is a crafty old fellow, which is good if u'r a politician. he's a bully, which is helpful if u'r a politician leading a bunch of uneducated, scared people over rough terrain. unfortunately, when he's screwed so many over, gone back on what he preached, is tearing the nation apart with his policies, it's hard to respect such a person.

accepting what he says out of fear is another matter altogether. so is standing up to his increasingly odd claims and beliefs, which have not changed over the decades.

even his ministers, and certainly his MPs, dare not do so. what is particularly frustrating is the reverence and awe they accord him. one would think he is jesus christ, mohammad and buddha rolled up in one. he certainly isn't.

he's a man who once did a pretty decent job as a leader, but, sadly, passed his use-by date at least 20 years back. he did his best work when he had around him men who were not in awe of him, and who treated him as an ordinary joe who was good at marketing ideas and moving pple.

Anonymous said...

One gets the harvest of what one sows.

Me of course is quoting someone's wisdom.


Ghost said...

Sorry but I totally disagree with you. Say what you want about LKY (and a lot of people do), you cannot argue about his record and what he did for Singapore. I mean we are arguing about the matter on the internet and that’s already an example of the progress of Singapore. We are also easily the richest country in this region. Who would even imagine that when we spilt from Malaysia? For that, he even considered a sage in Asia.
Respected? That doesn't even come close to what he is in Singapore!