Singapore, where nothing’s impossible – except democracy

May 13, 2003
Singapore Democrats

This post is at least a year old. Some of the links in this post may no longer work correctly.

Ratifiers for Democracy
http://www.ratifiersfordemocracy.org/where_nothings_impossible.htm

The ad [which says: “Singapore – Where nothing’s impossible”] is run by the Singapore government as part of their campaign to attract business and foreign capital to Singapore.

An international marketing campaign is presently underway to sell Singapore as the biotech capital of Asia. The main pull is the most complete data base of the populace of any place in the world, all owned by the government, which prides itself on the extent of data it maintains as well as the reach of its surveillance.

The sales pitch goes like this:

For sale: “untapped pool of genomic data from a diverse population living inside a biomedical system with some of the best record keeping in the world.”

“The fact that the country has a single patient identifier – all computerized government records identify an individual by the same type of number – creates “a unified data structure that population geneticists are very happy with.” – Edison Lui, head of the Singapore Economic Development Board

One scientist wrote, commenting on an article describing these plans, “The advantage of a patient database (exactly what today is impossible in most developed countries) seems to be one great (only?) advantage.” – The HMS Beagle:BioMedNet

If you click on the ad above, you can read the attractions of this peaceful city-state as sold by its rulers.

One of the reasons it is peaceful is that dissent is not allowed.

One of its selling points is “Consensus, not conflict” – a beautiful attraction to those looking for a peaceful place to live, where there is no diversity of opinions tolerated, no real choice of other views and representatives as a democracy has, and the state controls everything down to the right of the citizen to chew gum.

But freedom is not being sold, because freedom does not exist. Democracy is not being sold, because it is a cosmetic democracy.

For the sake of Singaporeans and all other people in the world who live in cosmetic democracies, this page is dedicated. Because “consensus” without free speech is dictatorship.

LINKS WE RECOMMEND

Singapore Window
For Singapore and the region, an excellent site for news and social issues.

Internet Resources on Singapore (As well as same for other Asian nations)
An exhaustive and up-to-date directory by Robert Y. Eng, of the University of Redlands

Singaporeans for Democracy
They present a succinct assessment of the true state of possibilities now. Here is an excerpt:

“While Singapore pretends to be a democracy and a beacon of
light to new nations, its successful repression of the labour
movement, its colonial-style exploitation of thousands of foreign
workers, its use of law to crush its own people, its restriction of
press rights when it comes to political reporting by its local and
regional journalists, its re-writing of history to exclude those who
disagree with it, and insidious control over all aspects of its
citizens’ lives go unchecked.

As Singaporeans know so well, there are plenty of choices in
Singapore but they exist mainly in relation to what one wishes to
buy in the shops. Beyond that, the government controls
everything from whether we flush the toilets to where our
children go to school to where we live, what bank accounts
we’re allowed to keep, how many children we have, to how
long we can stay locked up under the Internal Security Act.”