Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew :“good thing” to welcome so many Chinese immigrants as Singaporeans have become less “hard-driving”
“Over time, Singaporeans have become less hard-driving and hard-striving. This is why it is a good thing that the nation has welcomed so many Chinese immigrants.” Lee was quoted saying.
Lee describes the country’s new subjects as “hungry,” with parents who “pushed the children very hard.”
“If native Singaporeans are falling behind because the spurs are not stuck into the hide, that is their problem,” he quipped.
Desperate to boost Singapore’s flagging birth rate, the government opened the floodgates to immigrants which have changed the island state’s demographics radically over the past few years.
Foreigners now make up 36 per cent of the population, up from 14 per cent in 1990.
According to Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng, there were over 90,000 PRs and 20,000 new citizens last year.
A majority of these newcomers hail from China and India with Malaysians, Filipinos, Indonesians making up the rest.
There are few immigrants from developed countries like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia or New Zealand.
Even for Chinese immigrants, most of them originate from the poorer inland provinces instead of affluent coastal cities like Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Tianjin.
In a recent poll conducted by Gallup in July, Singapore is not even featured among the top five destinations for immigration for college students. Their first choice is United States, followed by France and South Korea.
Due to the difficulty in attracting the most talented immigrants to settle in Singapore, the ruling party has “lowered” its standards to such an extent that even construction workers, cleaners and masseurs are offered PRs and citizenship.
The state media reported a Chinese construction worker whose son just passed out as a SAF officer. He became a PR and citizen within 12 years of arrival in Singapore.
Another China national and Singapore PR, Mdm Song Jin, was sentenced to nine weeks imprisonment for torching the fish farm of a lover.
It is not sure how these China nationals are classified as “talents” in the first place and if they are really “hungrier” than locals.
Lee has long eschewed social welfare benefits, claiming that it will create a “crutch” mentality which will cause Singapore to go down the slippery slope of Western-style “welfarism”.
Under Lee’s draconian rule, Singaporeans are expected to work for as long as they can to support themselves without burdening the state.
On the other hand, the government is flushed with cash accumulated from years of budget surpluses.
Lee is the Chairman of Government Investment Corp and his daughter-in-law Ho Ching is in charge of Temasek Holdings, both of which are giant sovereign wealth funds owned by the Ministry of Finance.
A Wall Street Journal article in September reported that “Government of Singapore Investment Corp suffered a loss around 59 billion Singapore dollars (US$41.6 billion) in the fiscal year ended March.”
Public opinion counts little for Lee who always thought of himself as the only person fit to govern Singapore.
As early in 1962, he warned Singaporeans of what to expect under his one-man rule:
“If I were in authority in Singapore indefinitely without having to ask those who are governed whether they like what is being done, then I would not have the slightest doubt that I could govern much more effectively in their interests.”
Lee’s authoritarian style of governance can only survive in Singapore. He would have been booted out of office a long time ago if he was in Hong Kong, Taiwan or Malaysia.
In a famous quote, Lee said,
“If you are going to lower me into the grave, and I feel something is wrong, I will get up.”
He should know that this is impossible even when he is being taken care of by the best physicians in Singapore.
The National Geographic also interviewed renowned Singapore psychiatrist Calvin Fons who gave an interesting analogy:
“When the country was young, there was a need for wise oversight. A firm hand. Now we are in adolescence, which can be a questioning, troublesome period. Coming into it without the presence of the patriarch will be a test.”
Young Singaporeans are ready to show Lee what they really think of him and his rubber-stamped party. The question is whether he will still be around then to witness Singapore’s very own “political tsunami”.