(Or “Why blood is always thicker than water”)
Following this post wondering why shumeone very senior from ST was dredging up quotes from a long time ago to show that one LKY preferred S’poreans to FTs; JG, a reader, responded in defence of LKY. Before readers brand her a “running dog” like the ST chap, pls remember that she wrote this: on why the PAP will fail: ’cause “always behind the curve”. And also remember that the FTs are “betterest”policy took off when his son became PM.
(BTW, JG, you may not have heard the rumour that LKY was alleged to have said that he tot that DPM Teo would have made a better PM than his son. He was rumoured to have muttered this after it was alleged that his son told him to desist from campaigning for (or is it against?) the PAP in last year’s GE.)
I have a different take. When he was PM, he was on the “right side” of the immigration debate. As shown in the 1971 speech, he was shrewd enough to realise that certain FTs will fit in (eg : M’sians), certain won’t. And preserving social ethos is as important as iimmigration numbers. And the need to weed our reliance on FTs.
Under GCT and LHL the immigration policy went on “auto-pilot” and by definition, went astray. They took in FTs by the bus loads to gin up the GDP.
Throughout this period, LKY streneously defended the Govt. Asked S’porans to “grow their spurs”, either fast growth or be prepared to send your kids to work as maids overseas etc. Why the change?
I think its because when it comes to his own son, his instinctive paternal reaction is to defend. I dare say that the old LKY would have disapproved of the way LHL handled many issues. The old LKY dares so say things, and take position, like saying that certain cultures won’t fit in (eg : Filipinos), so hold them off in terms of immigration. The old LKY wouldn’t fumbled the way the “national conversation” was handled. And wouldn’t ditter for so long about fire or not fire Wong Kan Seng, Mah Bow Tan.
After GE2011, LKY volunteered to step down from cabinet. After he volunteered, GCT no choice but to follow. I think he recognised immigration is now a big bugbear. And he recognised we’ve taken in quantities and qualities that make integration difficult. So he spoke what you pointed out in your article.
But a father’s love for his son, can sometimes still blind him to objectivity. That’s why I think its easier for him, if his son were not in charge. He can be a bit more Mahathir like. With his son, he can’t and won’t.