6 Nov 2004

Email from L

I received the following email, and feel it deserves to be published on-line. I have removed the email address.

Hello Hicky/Steve -

Keep blogging ! Oasis of sanity and all that. I have to say that the brownnosing on part of LHL didn't really surprise me. It is, as you've mentioned, the whole dynastic thing and the opportunity to justify the ISD; but it's also a couple of other things that have made me increasingly heartsick for a long time. I'll list them below (I won't post on the blog comments because Blogger is down and it's far too long anyway):

1. in SG one is conditioned to believe that might is right. Thus CSJ is behaving "like a gangster" by following the GCT (?) entourage and hectoring them, but LKY can mutter about brass knuckles for his opponents and still look like an elder statesman and not Tony Soprano.(You see this on the micro-level - school, society - as well, what with an alarming and totally disproportionate number of bullies and sycophants.)

2. Corollary to #1: nobody likes a loser (especially in SG). It doesn't matter even if the winner is an old meanie who will punch you in the nose if and whenever he feels like it; what matters is that you don't catch any loser cooties (as it were).

3. W plays essentially the same game that the PAP does. Win over the working-class and petite bourgeoisie with "values" and "rule of law", get them to vote against their own interests and estrange them from the progressives by tarring the latter as corrupt Westernised liberals who want to take their "values" away from them. Essentially: W's pseudo-Christianity = LKY's pseudo-Confucianism; W's family values = LKY's Asian values. (I note too in passing that one of the local papers - can't remember which one - seems to have started running syndicated columns by well-known US fundie rightist James "Focus on the Family" Dobson. It's been a source of grim amusement for me to speculate as to when - if ever - the rabid heritage conservatives (who have obviously never heard of Niemöller) will figure out that, while agreeing with them on gays and feminists and liberals in general, the evangelical fundies are not people who would take too kindly to certain traditional Asian practices such as, oh, ancestor worship, say. Of course, pointing that out to aforementioned heritage conservatives would probably entail flirting with a couple of OB markers.) Also, "liberal" is now as dirty a word in the US as it is and has been for a long time in Singapore. (In Singapore they append "westernised"; that's all there is to it.) It's the perfect wedge issue; as a progressive bred in the HDB heartland, I can sympathise with the man in the street on a whole host of economic issues but can't quite find it in me to reach out to people who seem to be unduly
fond of screaming about how oppressed they are by liberals - I mean, you know, it's no longer legal to smack the little woman around because she didn't chill the beer in time, just imagine ! Not to mention all the uppity bitches out there busy exporting their wombs -misappropriating what by rights should be State Property - the very nerve of it ! O tempora, o mores !

(The incredible virulence of the major SG forums never fails to make me livid. I've stopped dropping by the forums in question because they make social Darwinism more of a temptation than I think is healthy for me.)

4. Let's not underestimate the covert racism in SG. I suspect a good-sized part of the bunch who scream on a regular basis about Western racism (not that it doesn't exist, but ...) are really just appalled that THEY too should be lumped in with the REAL "dark-skinned people". (Note too the popularity of the Bell Curve book in SG when it was first released.) There is no way in hell LKY and his ilk are going to side with a people "darker" than their own, especially when this is the opportunity of a lifetime to brownnose their way into the country club and, hopefully, smack M'sia and Indonesia over the head with their shiny new membership card.

5. Let's also not rule out plain stupidity on the part of the Anointed One (Singapore edition). These are after all the same people who think that WalMart "shares its prosperity" with its workers, oops, no, its "associates" - and that said associates obviously just looooove their employer because they participate in (uh, compulsory) pep rallies every morning (vide Tony Tan in the ST, 27/8/03). I'm not entirely convinced that they know the difference between PR and
reality - or for that matter between ideology and reality. (See also under: Suzhou débâcle.)


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