Ladies and Gentlemen,
Those who are not very accustomed to Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore would have thought the finding by 2013 Reporters Without Borders placing Singapore's newspapers 151 at the bottom of the list below Somalia for press freedom to be rather harsh.
But a quick look at today's Singapore state controlled newspaper Straits Times would make you think even the 151st ranking was a little too generous. It should be below even that of North Korea.
This is what is reported in today's Straits Times breaking news for the local section
1. Lee Kuan Yew says children should be bilingual
2. Parking in private streets are not allowed
3. English Premier League's football creates interest
4. War Memorial is to be gazette
5. Car firms give perks to customers
6. Car dealers adjust down payments
7. A report about Singapore zoo
8. New standards for improved food
9. Five got scholarships
10. 2 were arrested in Ubin for stealing
11. Some kids rely too much on parents
12. A Bank officer was jailed for theft
13. Day care for dementia patients
14. Murder suspect gets medical exam
15. A student is a computer wiz
16. A program to deputize neighbors
That's all the local headline news in Singapore's, I have to say, premium state controlled newspaper, Straits Times. I am sure no one would disagree with me if I say, it is certainly not the New York Times. But letting alone the New York Times, it may not even be anywhere near the Havana Times either.
And this is what happens when a society like Singapore allows a dictator to get away with controlling everything in the island, the newspapers, the judges, speech, expression, assembly and every possible human right that you could possibly think of for the last five decades.
Thanks to Lee's state controlled Straits Times, the people of Singapore, as evidenced by the rubbish you see in those pages, have completely switched off, and they appear to no longer even care if they don't get any news about their country. In the end the dire result is that the government is not interested in telling Singaporeans anything important, while the Singaporeans couldn't care two hoots about anything important either.
Those who would have cared have all left the island, of no more than 2 million local citizens, in the world's largest on going brain drain to the West, while those remaining and the recent arrivals from China in the island are so ignorant or so intimidated, they don't really think they need any news anyway.
There is nothing really happening in the island. There are no protests. There are no complaints. There are no view points. There is simply nothing. Lee Kuan Yew's island today has the quiet of the cemetery.
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont, California, USA
Tel: 510 491 4375