DISCLAIMER: I'm not big into politics, and I'm the last person to cite. I just recently found out that Jews had only accepted Christ as a prophet as recently as their US backing. I'm definitely not the most clued in person in the world.
Anyway, I *just* discovered the Jamie Han issue (late. I'm so late) and only because ST online (Singapore's national paper) has decided to charge and somehow the Jamie Han issue was brought up. So one thing led to another and here I am commenting on Jamie Han.
I think Jamie Han was extremely respectful, and his wording suggests to me that he has respect for the man, despite calling him a despot.
Myself, well. "despot" has 2 meanings. One meaning that a single person has dictatorial power over his people. The other meaning "tyrant". But since Han used the word "despot" in the 1st meaning, I'll take it as that. I'm sure being an honours student in history and all, he'd realise that calling someone a despot has negative connotations, hence the media furore.
While I'd certainly call MM Lee (Lee Kwan Yew) a dictator, I'd hardly call him a despot. I think that's pretty damn unfair. There are MANY things I may not agree with on how he ran the country, but I'll give him kudos where its due.
The man was, and is, a visionary of stunning intellect. and to him, the end justified the means.
And this has been my theory for a long time:
MM Lee stepped down for many reasons.
a) to show the world that he wasn't a DESPOT
b) to show that he had the presence of mind to hand things over...and also keep the people happy and not mind his son
c) because he knew that his fear tactics could only get so far.
Han calls his example "fear tactics" and argues he could find cases that show otherwise. This is certainly true. For every Mugabi and Castro there is a Marcos and Saddam. And history is shaped according to the winners. Mandela doesn't exactly have a clean slate. Palestine once had US backing. So did the Taliban. The US doesn't need to apologise for Vietnam or the War on Terror, but the Japanese need to apologise for WWII. The jews are still paying for killing Jesus, the muslims are still responsible for everything that goes wrong in the world that doesn't have to do with communism or Africa, and the christians are right. All the time.
LKY knew all this. He knew his ISA was causing a nation to live in fear. He stepped down to allow a more progressive, gentler, government to rule...without ruining his personal image.
The man's a genius. But we all knew that.
Han is also...idealistic. There's nothing wrong with that. In fact, I think it's frigging wonderful that there actually are Singaporeans who give a shit about ANYTHING. People who actually CARE. and I think that's Han's answer to his 1st question. He cares about the country. That makes it his. He owns it.
anyway, to justify why I call Han idealistic. LKY has obviously lived through the racial riots. He understands how tenuous the social fabric of Singapore is. He bloody made it up. Actually, I hold him personally responsible for the fact that it's still as tenuous as it is. Everything's just below the surface, and everyone is still bloody racist.
I also hold him partly responsible for the mentality that Singaporeans hold. Partly.
but well. Idealism. This is the case with most of the socialist left here in Melbourne. They throw up all these 'we must reform! rebel!!' statements, and can never find a viable, suitable solution. Also, as Staggard told me today, usually, and especially in the case of Singapore, the change needs to come from the inside, and not from external people power and rioting because god knows, in Singapore? HA!
But yeah. good on Han. He's got guts in a culture like Singapore.
So. That leaves me with my original statement. LKY vs PAP. (PAP= People's Action Party. Practically the only political party- and it's been in power since the birth of Singapore)
Let's just say I know through an inside source that when SM Goh (does he have that title even?) was PM, LKY employed brothers. One to be PA to him, one to (then) PM Goh.
and it's been well documented that Goh and Lee have had their differences. I'd argue that the PAP does exist outside of Lee. Certainly, Lee has a stronghold on the party, but I'd argue that there are very strong personalities within the party itself.
He wanted the reform, but also through the push from the other party members I'm pretty sure. As well as listening to the wind.
He's a genius. No way is the man going senile.
(and I'm actually going to actively invite comments for this post. Comment away all you William Safires!)