(Or “Why CCP’s fears are PAP’s fears”)
More on why S’pore should be analysed from the perspective that it’s a one-party state like China and N Korea rather than as an authoritarian mutant version of a democratic state.
BBC’s Carrie Gracie( http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-37724839) wrote recently
China’s “consultative democracy” has one glaring challenge of its own: the paranoia of the ruling party.
It never ceases to amaze me how afraid the Chinese Communist Party is of its own people, and how fear clouds its judgment and skews its decision making.
Fear of street protest ties its hands in tackling pension reform or state-owned enterprises. Fear of a punishing assessment of its mistakes makes it manipulate history in a way that distorts not only the past but also the future. Fear of competing narratives makes it drive some of China’s brightest and best into exile or jail. Fear has become a huge overhead and a great brake on China’s progress.
While this is not quite true of S’pore in a literal sense
Fear of street protest ties its hands in tackling pension reform or state-owned enterprises.
the sheep of Animal Farm S’poreans (Like BG Yeo’s Christians) don’t riot let alone protest, the PAP is kiasu of providing evidence that it’s not true that the “PAP is always right”. This ties its hands in radically reforming the CPF system, GLCs, immigration and in general the economy. After all it can’t blame another party for the problems.
Every decade, another restructuring master plan?
The PAP keeps saying the economy must be restructured.
In the 80s, one Lee Hsien Loong as trade and industry minister headed a committee to recommend changes in the economy. In the early noughties when DPM he headed another committee on the same issue.
Indeed, in updating the 2010 Economic Strategies Committee (ESC) report headed by Tharman), the 30-member CFE will have to take into account new global and domestic realities. Chaired by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, the panel has been tasked with developing economic strategies to keep Singapore competitive; it aims to complete its work by the end of 2016.
Again, while not exactly true here “Fear of competing narratives makes it drive some of China’s brightest and best into exile or jail” the PAP’s fear of competing narratives has stifled society here largely thru self censorship and self blinkered minds.
Hence, this fear and the resulting self censorship and self blinkered minds have become a huge problem for S’pore’s economy and body politick. It can’t be the creative, open society that the PAP says it wants and it says is needed because there are limits to creativity and open society: BG Yeo’s infamous OB markers.
“Control of information and thinking and systems is central to the government, and they genuinely want to harvest the economic advantages provided by a populace that is creative and independently minded, but they want to do it without surrendering control. It is their dilemma,” said Michael Barr, associate professor of international relations at Flinders University in Adelaide.
FT. (Btw, Barr can be classified as anti-PAP. But he’s right on this point)
True, S’poreans enjoy Western-style consumption (fuelled by debt) and personal freedoms (tell that to the ang moh tua kees and their anti-PAP cybernut allies). But S’pore is also a complex place with contradictions (think the contradiction between 377A and the relaxed official and civil attitude towards the gay community), and inequalities (think Gini and the elderly poor). “It needs a pluralistic, flexible and modern political system.” (Economist view of Russia, which applies here.)
This modern system doesn’t look like happening any time soon. The PAP has imposed an archaic authoritarian political system (de-facto one party rule) softened by more welfare spending using S’poreans’ forced savings (CPF and btdger surpluses). These can temporarily suppress economic, social and political problems but are unable to resolve them.
The ongoing public transport problems is a good example of what can go wrong with the PAP’s way of doing things.
So as I wrote here: “[T]he level of authoritariansm is so extreme that a good strong dose of liberal values would do the body politick, and economy no harm.” The problem is with the ang moh tua kees who prefer to ape Western liberals rather adapt liberalism to suit S’poreans. They want us to eat potatoes like them.