"[T]hey wanted Singapore to open up" sums up the post below from Today Newspaper. Using the term 'they' implies that there are no Singaporeans demanding more openness in Singapore.
If that is what 'success' looks like - I'll take 'failure' any day.
Wednesday • October 18, 2006
Tor Ching Li
SINGAPOREANS should not be discouraged by the negative coverage — mainly from the foreign media — on the International Monetary Fund (IMF)-World Bank meetings held here last month.
At an appreciation event for some 2,700 IMF-World Bank volunteers last night, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said: "The foreign media had another agenda — they wanted Singapore to open up, to conform to their standards, their norms.
"Whatever line we drew, they wanted to push us, to go a little bit further. But we had to decide where the line was, and stick to it."
Singapore was criticised for keeping out some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) due to security concerns, as well as for banning outdoor demonstrations.
Said Mr Lee: "The IMF-World Bank wanted us to be a bit more open, and we tried our best to accommodate. But in the end, we were responsible for the safety of the delegates, and we could not shirk the responsibility of whom to let in."
The fact was that IMF-World Bank officials acknowledged "in private" that, as the host country, Singapore had to decide who to let in and what security measures to take, said Mr Lee.
He added that the CSOs issue attracted a "disproportionate" amount of media attention.
The reality is that Singapore "did the right thing", he said.
"All the S2006 delegates knew the truth. They were impressed not just with our efficiency, but also with the pride which everyone showed, and the commitment of every staff and volunteer," said Mr Lee, who congratulated the volunteers on the success of the meetings.
Mr Lee cited some examples of those who went the extra mile, such as a chauffeur who took photos of a delegate with his own digital camera and printed them as a gift.
"One officer so impressed a foreign delegate with the quality of service that he jokingly asked if she would marry him," he said.
The visitors also related how their liaison officers went beyond the call of duty to buy them lozenges for their sore throats, or of one who helped retrieve a pair of lost glasses late into the night.
Said Mr Lee: "You have shown how, at a critical moment, ordinary Singaporeans can rally together, rise to the occasion and put up an extraordinary performance."