Western media were talking about trade-of and then Calvin Cheng went to tell them off.
Because of that, Donald Low, a lecturer from Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy was not impress. He said Calvin Cheng deserved a response, and of course that invited a counter response from Calvin Cheng.
But what the hell trade-offs are they all arguing about?
The story goes that those Westerners, angmo writers were somewhat upset about the accolades and honour Western leaders are showering on one man Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's No.1 Prime Minister but their No.1 hated person.
Lee Kuan Yew was no fanboy of the Western media, and vice versa. Doing away with diplomatic protocol and courtesy, the West has always believed that Singapore is so small that their media alone, if not add a couple of NGOs would be sufficient to teach and tell Singapore how to run a country. But for Lee Kuan Yew, it had always been such that if you want to step on my holy ground you better remove your stinking shoes or else I'll kick you hard at where it pains you most.
But to Singapore and to Singaporeans, Lee Kuan Yew is the man. It is not about what is written all over the world, neither is it about what is being taught in the Ivy league.
Singaporeans knew the man via real life experience. You tell them Lee Kuan Yew is a dictator, but what they know of him was a strict father. You tell them Lee Kuan Yew restricts their lives and movements, but these to them were necessary household discipline. You tell them not to listen and believe in everything Lee Kuan Yew says and to them Lee Kuan Yew had always been a man of his word.
So now even as Singaporeans are yet to recover from a state of shock and great loss, you Western media come along and insult the man whom Singaporeans fondly call Founding Father? You want to tell them that all the things Lee Kuan Yew did for them were nothing but sinister exchange?
Hey buddy....take note of this. During the time the name Lee Kuan Yew was first introduced, Singaporeans had to head to streets of Chinatown to get a letter written to relatives in China. Look at the pictures that are proudly hung up on my walls in the living room, and please count how many mortarboards there are. Go round the neighbourhood and you will know we are not unique.
What trade-off? Look at me, do I look like I've been imprisoned and tortured like those appearing in documentaries over RT TV? Singapore's prison is for criminals, not ordinary folks. Have I ever been taken to court for grumbling about parking fine and speeding? No, not when I pay up in time. Are you suggesting that Singaporeans should not be paying fine for parking or speeding offences?
Yes I heard Low Thia Khiang mentioned about Singaporeans being sacrificed for Lee Kuan Yew's policies, and society paid a price for that. I am not sure if Mr Low was talking about me. Yes I was asked to sacrificed, but I was doing it for my family. But in all honesty, we never knew we had in fact sacrificed. Practically everyone lived the same way.
The house we used to live in in Toa Payoh was rented from the HDB, It was small but there were basic services like water and electric was there. We had to squat to do our business if you know what I mean. But comparing with our previous abode, a rented room in a large house in Ah Hood Road where at least more than 20 families sharing two toilets and bathrooms, this little rented house was luxury. Was that a sacrifice? If you want to compare to the executive condo we are living in now, that may sound a lot of discomfort no doubt.
Oh yes, I guess you may also want to know about General Elections in the 60s. There were no less than 10 political parties and independent candidates to choose from. Political activities these days cannot compare. Did you experience fighting between parties? Those days political freedom wasa in their own hands. Only those with guns or associated with guns were later arrested. Some of them ran away to Western countries and tell stories about us. How much do they know by living in advance countries?
So for goodness sake, don't talk too much about trade-off. We know better. Yes there is a price to pay for everything, and what we see today, how we live today are bought with a willing price, not a trade-off.
This footnote is added for Mr Low Thia Khiang.
Maybe others may have questioned your sincerity in offering your tribute to Mr Lee Kuan Yew, after listening to your speech in Mandarin I do not doubt your sincere tribute. The only thing you did,and I can understand that you need to as leader of your party and the opposition as a whole is to make a dent in the PAP.
While you praised Lee Kuan Yew for his tenacity and relentless efforts in building Singapore, you tried to differentiate Mr Lee from the PAP by rejecting the PAP's contribution and influence in bringing about progress and prosperity for Singapore. But your attempt sticked out like a sore thumb. Lee Kuan Yew and PAP cannot be separated nor differentiated. They are synonymous or perhaps homologous.
We do understand the need to differentiate Mr JB Jeyaratnam or even Mr David Marshall from the Workers Party, or do the same with Mr Chiam See Tong with Singapore Democratic Party. You simply cannot do that with Lee Kuan Yew and the PAP.
So your recognition to Lee Kuan Yew having indeed brought about progress and prosperity to Singapore by rallying Singaporeans to unite, it is unequivocal that the same recognition is on the PAP's one party rule in unity. Please bear in mind that when Singaporeans rally around Lee Kuan Yew, they are also rallying around PAP.
As to your reference to sacrifices of Singaporeans, I mentioned earlier that we sacrificed for the sake of our families and our future. We were never interested in power not holding political offices. We just wanted a secured future. To those whose ambitions were to seek political office, they do so for their own ambitions. To each his own. Do I owe them for their sacrifices....certainly not.