Ladies and Gentlemen,
The bad news for Singapore now doesn't stop coming. And they are all the result of an authoritarian government who thinks they know everything and the job of the citizens are to just obey. They have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams of creating the most docile submissive society in the world. Which society in the world would simply accept a life where there is no right to free speech, no free press, no independent judiciary and no right of peaceful protest?
As far as the locals are concerned, this is a very centrally planned economy not much different from those in Communist countries. The orders are that people should not complain, if they do they will be thrown in jail by their Kangaroo judges. The thinking is only done by a handful of people; by Lee Kuan Yew's son, the Prime Minister and his carefully selected minions.
And the thinking was that Communist China will have millions of millionaires who will come to gamble in the island's Casinos, will park their ill gotten millions in the island's offshore banks, will stay at the island's hotels and will shop at the luxury stores along Orchard Road. In this way, Lee Kuan Yew's son and his minions can reap millions in taxes and other charges, while employment will be provided for the poor locals to work in the hotels housing the rich Chinese, will work in the Casinos where the Chinese squander their money and will work in the banks where the Chinese park their stolen wealth.
Good plan but like all good things it cannot last. Today the Chinese are no longer their guardian angels or saviors. The Chinese economy is failing and they no longer want to come to Singapore, live in the hotels or gamble in their Casinos. Simply bad luck for the poor Singaporeans who are looking to Lee Kuan Yew's son, as to what to do next. Remember they are incapable of thinking themselves and like the dog waiting for the next trick, they have no idea what to do.
I suppose it was the present Prime Minster's father (who by the way gave him the job) who decided on these policies while the son is incapable of doing anything on his own except following his late father.
If you look at Singapore island today, there are a few sectors which the state decided should provide jobs. One was shipping, mainly container transshipment. Well that is gone too. World shipping has dropped and ships are hardly calling at Singapore. Thousands of jobs laid off there.
And then there was the oil refining and storage business. Only yesterday I read a report that Qatar is building the largest port that can take even the largest tanker in the world. They are also building huge storage and refining facilities and have openly declared that they want to take the business away from Singapore. They have the added advantage of being located next to the source. They have deep pockets and they can do it. There goes the shipping and oil refining and storage business. Thousands of jobs gone there.
And then you have the tourist industry with hotels and retail. Sorry that's gone too. With the deepening recession in China, they are no longer coming. As for others, the shopping is non existent since prices for products in Singapore are 3 times the price anywhere else. Why would anyone want to shop in Singapore when they can get the same item at a fraction of its price in Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur. And as for tourism, there is nothing to see in the concrete jungle. Unless you want to see glass multi storey buildings, there is no reason to come to Singapore.
And then you had manufacturing but that too is dead, due entirely to the fault of this government who think they know everything. When they increased apartment rent which the islanders pay to the government to a point where the poor citizen can hardly afford, wages have to shoot up sky high. At these rates no foreign investor would want to set up in Singapore and use Singaporean labor. It is simply too high. So what do they do, they employ wetback foreign cheap labor as a result of which locals are unemployed but yet have to pay the astronomical apartment rents.
Which is no wonder that the locals have taken to killing themselves in large numbers. When you have no job, no money and a family to support with no state welfare support whatsoever, what else can you do? The suicide rate is one of the highest in the world.
The problem is unique in the island because of the sort of people they are, carefully programmed into a docile and submissive people who live in fear of their government. A people who have been told that they do not have to think, but leave the thinking to the state and the rulers.
The difference between the Australian or New Zealand population and that of Singapore is this. In Australia and New Zealand, you have and entire population of the country thinking and creating new ideas. Whereas in Singapore, the thinking is done only by a handful of people who rule. The rest are told not to think but await instructions from the handful who do. This is why an island like Singapore is hardly getting anywhere. Because you have a dearth of thinkers and too many followers. You have far too few people thinking. Whereas in a country like Australia, despite economic problems the people pull through with their imagination and innovation and the human spirit always manages to ride any storm.
Of course a people who are free tend to respect their government. That is why Australians and New Zealand are proud of their countries and stay behind to make it work. In Singapore on the other hand most people have total disrespect for their government and their judiciary whom they consider corrupt (the ministers pay themselves several million dollars ) and the judges Kangaroos. In a recent poll taken in Singapore, two thirds said if given a choice they would emigrate to the West.
But unfortunately for the island, it is too late now to tell them to think. Independent thinking is impossible in the island anymore as things stand. What if you thought that a better system of government should be introduced? You would be immediately arrested and jailed by their Kangaroo judges. As you can see the only ones who succeed are those who simply go along with the government, never mind what they thought privately. If you have to be a hypocrite to succeed, what sort of ideas do you expect from such people?
The birth rate is now almost zero, thanks to the Zika virus. In the past the Prime Minister used to tell his subjects in their state controlled media to procreate. Now since he knows it is futile, he has stopped doing it. As for the mounting brain drain, in the past he had gone to the capitals of the world to plead with Singaporeans and the majority who have given up their Singapore nationality to return home. Since no one wants to return, he has given up that too. He used to have news articles with pictures in his paper, of cities like San Francisco meeting former Singaporeans. Since these news articles tend to encourage more Singaporeans to leave like those abroad rather than persuading anyone to return, he has stopped reporting on overseas Singaporeans.
Lets face it, Singapore has simply nothing to offer the foreign investor anymore. There is no cheap labor, there is no shopping since prices are too high, the casinos are empty since the Chinese have no money, and there is nothing to see in the island for tourists.
Lastly the money laundering business in Singapore is slowly coming to an end. The Americans came down like a ton of bricks against Swiss banks demanding the name of American citizen account holders and threatened to ruin the Swiss economy unless they complied. To make sure they mean business, the US government commenced action in Miami federal court against UBS. As expected the Swiss complied. And what is more they began discouraging American account holders from investing in Swiss banks because it was too much trouble.
Many of them fled to Singapore. Now the US government is coming down hard on Singapore to stop money laundering. American investors no longer find Singapore a safe haven either. Today I read the news that India is demanding a revision of their double taxation treaty with Singapore. Mauritius had already agreed to tax the income at the source which will come into effect early next year. India has demanded the same of Singapore which has requested more time. Knowing India I am sure they would not tolerate any hanky- panky from this little pipsqueak of an island. Take my word, Singapore will submit to India and if they don't, you can expect fireworks. If Lee Kuan Yew's son thinks he can get away with it, he simply does not understand India. Remember India does not need tiny Singapore. It is Singapore that needs India.
Following the US and India I expect other countries whose citizens launder their money in Singapore to demand their share of it. Once that happens, you can see the end of one more sector of the island economy collapsing, the money laundering business.
And then you have sea level rise from which there is no escape. The entire island is a mere few inches above sea level and down town Singapore where all the businesses are is no different. Today the island suffers from flash floods almost every other day. Progressively as the island gets hotter, the flooding can only be higher and more frequent. The government has no answer to the problem for obvious reasons, because there are none.
If Australia or New Zealand faces these problems that Singapore does, no one would be unduly worried. Why, because the Australians are a thinking people, an independent people who can think of new ideas. Singaporeans under 50 years of dictatorship have become so docile, so timid, so afraid that they simply cannot think anymore. Unless the state can come up with some ideas the island will collapse. And from what we can see, Lee Kuan Yew's son and his dictatorship have run out of ideas.
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont (San Francisco) USA
Tel: 510 491 8525