Saturday, 9 June 2012

Reuben Wang Saga: SG imitating China?

By now, Most Singaporeans in the cyber community would have already heard about the news of a JC student f***ing DPM Teo. In case you didn't, you can read it here.

The use of profanities towards a DPM can be seen as extremely rude, but the student did nothing more than express his own views. And many in the cyber community uses much more colorful words when criticizing the government. So I don't understand why DPM Teo had to make it into such a serious matter by calling both the student's father and teacher into a 30-minute meeting.

In Singapore (and possibly any other country), when one's parent and teacher is required to meet an authority figure (e.g. police), it means that the child has done something seriously wrong (e.g. a crime). While nothing might have happened during the meeting, just the pressure from having your parent and teacher in the same room is enough for a student to succumb and apologize (sincerely or insincerely), out of fear that his parent and studies would be implicated. Is this the kind of apology that Teo wants?

In China, human rights are non-existent. Workers are exploited and squeezed dry by business owners, with the backing of corrupt government officials asking for kickbacks. Necessities are becoming too expensive for their low wages to keep up. When the workers finally band up and protest in the hopes of getting better wages and working conditions, they are met with cruel suppression by the riot police. State media are nothing more than mouthpieces for the ruling party, and human rights activists get heavily fined, jailed or simply "disappear" for their comments against the atrocities happening in their own country.

After thinking about it, I found out that Singapore is really similar to China in many ways. Singapore is an economic hub, with growth and GDP so high that it wowed even the western countries. But local workers are squeezed out of jobs, while foreign workers are exploited in their current job. Wages are suppressed to keep costs low, and necessities are becoming too expensive due to inflation and a spike in demand (esp. housing). The state media will stop at nothing to propagate the ruling party "greatness" while labeling alternative views as insane and utter rubbish. The only thing that's missing here is that there are no protests in Singapore (due to some laws and peoples' fear of them).

This begets the question: Do Singapore really want to become the next China? With its citizens suffering in their own country, while the leaders sit on top of their ivory tower pretending that all is well?

p.s. On a second note, why can't DPM Teo just treat the JC student as part of the "lunatic fringe" and move on? Shows a lot about his character, no?