The Rhetoric

“The reason why the US got into the predominant position (in the world economy) is because it was prepared to allow a whole host of citizens to try, experiment, to do it yourself.”
– SM Lee Kuan Yew, Asian Wall Street Journal, June 19 2001.

The Reality

“I am often accused of interfering in the private lives of citizens. Yes, if I did not, had I not done that, we wouldn’t be here today. And I say without the slightest remorse, that we wouldn’t be here, we would not have made economic progress, if we had not intervene on very personal matters – who your neigbour is, how you live, the noise you make, how you spit, or what language you use. We decide what is right. Never mind what people think.”
– Lee Kuan Yew, Straits Times, Apr 20 1987

“Singapore does not let professional firms such as those in engineering, architecture or law, operate freely. For example, Singapore law firms in the US now enjoy a key privilege that US firms in Singapore do not enjoy – the ability to practise local law.”
– Straits Times 23 Mar 2002 report addressing one of the six “sticking points” raised by US Ambassador Franklin Lavin on the FTA.

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