Shanmugam Says “Singapore Will Fail If Racism and Xenophobia Take Root” Directly Contradicting LKY’s Theory That Racial Superiority Was the Main Reason for Singapore’s Success
Singapore’s leaders were absolutely right to condemn the racist attack against an Indian Singaporean last week. LHL said on Facebook that the attack “goes against everything that our multiracial society stands for, and the mutual respect and racial harmony that we hold so dear”. On cue, his Ministers made similar statements. Now Law and Home Affairs Minister Shanmugam has got in on the act. In Parliament on Tuesday he said that Singapore will fail if the country allows racism and xenophobia to become prevalent.
Shanmugam obviously needs to go on a refresher course or a political re-education camp in the collected wisdom and utterances of our late founding father Lee Kuan Yew, who as every Singaporean schoolboy knows, transformed Singapore from a fishing village and mangrove swamp to the global metropolis it is today (never mind that this would involve bending the laws of physics and traveling back to 1819 to inhabit the body of a white man, Stamford Raffles, in the same way as his son and Goh Chok Tong bent the laws of physics by materializing in a polling station in Cheng San in 1997 thus avoiding prosecution and disqualification!).
According to the collected wisdom of LKY, the main reason for Singapore’s success post independence was that the Chinese, whom he believed as a matter of unassailable scientific fact to be of superior intelligence to all other races (with the possible exception of the Jews):
Let me tell you what I would think if I were an Indian. Why not 76 per cent Indians, 15 per cent Malays and 7 per cent Chinese? That is better still.
“But you know this is the real world. Let us just maintain status quo. And we have to maintain it or there will be a shift in the economy, both the economic performance and the political backdrop which makes that economic performance possible.”
I have said this on many a previous occasion: that had the mix in Singapore been different, had it been 75% Indians, 15% Malays and the rest Chinese, it would not have worked. Because they believe in the politics of contention, of opposition. But because the culture was such that the populace sought a practical way out of their difficulties, therefore it has worked.
I have said openly that if we were 100 per cent Chinese, we would do better. But we are not and never will be, so we live with what we have.
LKY’s insulting comments on Malays are well known:
There are deep and abiding differences between groups. And whatever we do, we must remember that in Singapore, the Malays feel they are being asked to compete unfairly, that they are not ready for the competition against the Chinese and the Indians and the Eurasians. They will not admit or they cannot admit to themselves that, in fact, as a result of history, they are a different gene pool and they do not have these qualities that can enable them to enter the same race.
Well, we make them say the national pledge and sing the national anthem but suppose we have a famine, will your Malay neighbour give you the last few grains of rice or will she share it with her family or fellow Muslim or vice versa?
Most of these quotes come from Lee Kuan Yew: The Man and His Ideas, co-authored in 2010 by state media apparatchiks and sycophants, Han Fook Kwang (whom some civil society activists seem to think is some kind of independent voice!), Warren Fernandez and Sumiko Tan.
So when LKY’s son, who inherited Singapore from his dad, and the other PAP Ministers, descry racism against minorities, they are being a little bit hypocritical. In their hearts they believe that they are the superior caste and that the country belongs to them. Malays and Indians and other non-white minorities are second-class citizens. This is no more clearly shown than by Lee Hsien Loong saying in 2008 after Obama’s election victory that it was possible for Singapore to have a non-Chinese PM one day but that it was not likely to happen not any time soon. This sentiment was backed up by Fired Seatwarmer-in-Waiting Heng Swee Keat in 2019 who said older Singaporeans were not ready, the same kind of racist argument that used to be used in the UK and the US in the 1970s to justify not hiring Black or Asian workers. Clearly 2025 or 2030 will still be too early, as the current front-runners ostensibly vying to replace LHL, when he finally decides to call it quits, (but probably likely to be pipped at the post by LKY’s grandson Li Hongyi) are all Chinese men.
Partly using the cloak of the mother tongue policy and the need to maintain Chinese culture, Chinese students get the lion’s share of educational resources and almost all the Government scholarships, particularly to Ivy League universities and Oxbridge. Chinese also form a far greater percentage of the senior management and boards of Government-owned companies than their percentage of the population. Instead of employing minority Singaporeans, the non-Chinese members of Temasek and GIC-controlled companies are usually white, Chinese or Indian expats.
When the Government attacks “xenophobia”, what they really mean is that Singaporeans should not question the Government’s preference for foreign managers, presumably on the grounds that, far from being a political threat, they will praise LHL and the PAP internationally and foster the image of Singapore abroad as some kind of liberal paradise free from the scourge of racism that afflicts Western countries. Yet strangely, despite Obama’s praise of Singapore as a model of racial diversity, it is the US which has had a two-term African-American President and now has a mixed Jamaican and Tamil American Vice President.
So spare us the hypocritical outrage, Mr Shanmugam! You convince nobody. By failing to disown LKY’s views, your masters from LHL downwards demonstrate that racism not only has deep roots here but is part of the national myth and the education system.