GayandRight

My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (www.freethinkingfilms.com)

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Singapore continues its anti-democratic ways....

A nice intro to a story from the New York Times.
As his party headed for a near certain crushing victory in an election on Saturday, Lee Kuan Yew, the man who created Singapore in his own severe image, had an unsettling glimpse into what could be the future of his country, and he did not like it.

In the newspapers, on the airwaves and in threats of lawsuits, the tough operators of his People's Action Party were doing what they always do: attacking and humiliating the opposition that Mr. Lee calls riffraff. In the last election, in 2001, only 2 of the 84 elected seats in Parliament were won by opposition candidates. If that number increases by even one or two this time, eyebrows will be raised.

But there they were on live television three weeks ago, a forum of 10 polite young Singaporeans challenging Mr. Lee, who is 82, with a confidence and lack of deference that is rare among their elders here.

About 40 percent of today's eligible voters were born after Singapore became independent in 1965. Whether their elders like it or not, they are their country's future, and their vision now stands side by side with Mr. Lee's.

"What we want is a choice," Mabel Lee, 28, an editor and news broadcaster, said at the forum. "What we want is political vibrancy. What we want is a media that could reflect both the views of the opposition as well as of the ruling party fairly. What we want is to see that the opposition is being given a level playing field. What we want is fairness in the political sphere."

Mr. Lee argued back as if he had met, in this open-minded younger generation, his real opposition — interrupting, cross-examining and telling the panelists that they needed to be put in their place like his own grandchildren.

"Let me tell you this," said Mr. Lee, who holds the title of minister mentor and whose 54-year-old son, Lee Hsien Loong, is prime minister. "If what you say is a reflection of your generation, then I'm a bit sad."
I lived in Singapore for 3 1/2 years - and I saw just how anti-democratic Singapore can be. Election rules change at a whim; election campaigns are a short 2-3 weeks; there's no organized debates; and people are scared to run for the opposition.

Now, the paradox is that Singapore is extremely well-run. The government is competent - and you'd think they'd have a little more confidence in facing the people at election.

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