8 Feb 2005
[ SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 05, 2005 11:11:39 PM ]
Voting has almost nothing to do with being a democracy. It's only one of the necessary conditions. Singapore votes regularly, but catch any serious political analyst listing the rich Asian city-state as a free democracy.
Elections are held regularly in Malaysia too. But Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew and Malyasia's Mahathir Mohammad have railed regularly against Western notions of democracy. The Lee school of thought offers authoritarian rulers legitimacy to keep opponents in jail, curb political dissent and share the spoils with the pliable. Both Lee and Mahathir, who have relinquished office but wield power, have argued that Asian values don't translate to unfettered political freedoms.
There has to be respect for the state, elders and hierarchy. Besides, too much democracy can hinder economic growth.
India, in sharp contrast, now proves there isn't any contradiction between a healthy economy and a flourishing democracy. Read more...