More Repression Headed Your Way As LHL Leaves Nothing to Chance Ahead of the Coming Election
On Racial Harmony Day on 21 July, both Lee Hsien Loong and his ventriloquist’s dummy, Heng Swee Keat, took to Facebook to tell Singaporeans that they must “treasure”‘ the harmony and “also remember the times when tensions between the ethnic and racial groups boiled over into conflict and violence.”
It is no surprise that “harmony” is so important to LHL. It was always a primary concern of the Chinese emperors (and LHL considers himself and his family to be natural-born rulers with inherited privilege) dating back 2,000 years. It continues to be the primary concern of the Communist regime in China, where it is translated by its critics as meaning the Party prizes stability, or control, above everything else. The Chinese words for “harmony” or “peace” share the character 平 with the verb “to flatten”. This is no coincidence since the chief worry of the emperors, at least until the arrival of the Western powers, were the periodic peasant revolts that swept China during periods of crop failure or natural disaster. Imperial generals were charged with restoring peace by crushing or “flattening” the revolt.
So as elections approach LHL is using peace or harmony as a justification for whatever it takes to keep his party and himself in power. The threat of racial or religious strife is sufficient reason to stifle dissent and ensure he wins another landslide. He is aware of my relentless focus on the amounts he and his wife are secretly extracting from at least one of our sovereign wealth funds in the guise of remuneration and my push to have him declare his assets. He is worried about even a small-scale repeat of what happened to Najib and is displaying the customary Lee family ruthlessness to try to ensure a landslide. If he can continue to stoke unfounded fears about racial or religious strife he will continue to so.
LHL’s view of racial harmony is a Chinese-centric one of course. It was encapsulated in his dad’s oft-repeated remarks that Singapore has only prospered because it is 75% Chinese. According to LKY, if it was instead 75% Indian then Singapore would long ago have been torn apart by racial strife and descended into penury and chaos. Even the language used by Seat-Warmer Heng is patronising and condescending towards minorities: “it’s delightful to see all of you post photos of your little ones decked out in traditional clothing to celebrate our different races.” suggesting that minorities have strange and backward customs and harking back to LKY’s infamous comment about Muslims wearing headdresses for no rhyme or reason. As I wrote in a recent article, the Government’s view is that minorities here as in China need to be rehabilitated if they fail to fit in with Chinese dominance and PAP rule
As we have learnt to expect from past experience, LHL’s (and Heng’s) posts were followed swiftly by more ominous threats from their loyal and silver-tongued servant, Shanmugam, who has proved himself adept at equivocation and intimidation in bringing in the newest, at least until now, instrument of repression, the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA). He announced that the Government intended to update the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act (MHRA) to make it fit for purpose (in other words for suppressing dissent) in a digital age.
We have to wait and see what new amendments the Government will be bringing in. However they have more than enough laws already as they used the obscenity laws and the penal code against Amos Yee and the Sedition Act against the publishers of The Real Singapore. Whatever Shanmugam’s comments, the US immigration judge who heard Amos Yee’s application for asylum could see through the use of law as a pretext to silence political opponents:
The evidence presented at the hearing demonstrates that Singapore’s prosecution of Yee was a pretext to silence his political opinions critical of the Singapore government. His prosecution, detention and general maltreatment at the hands of the Singapore authorities demonstrates persecution on account of Yee’s political opinions. Yee is a young political dissident and HIS APPLICATION FOR ASYLUM IS GRANTED.”
From Shanmugam’s other comments reported on Yahoo News, it is clear that the PAP want to stop the use of Facebook and Twitter as a democratic platform for Singaporeans to be able to criticise the regime. He assailed the “democratisation of free speech online” which had led to a “coarseness” in public discourse (in other words opinions the PAP do not like). The usual references to free speech leading to broken societies were made and Shanmugam claimed he had got the agreement of religious leaders.
With GE2020 fast approaching LHL is pulling out all the stops to make sure that Facebook and Twitter just become another arm of the State media. It will be up to Singaporeans to stop him.