Singapore does not need foreigners' advice on democracy

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 September, 2015, 12:01am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 September, 2015, 12:01am

I refer to Kevin Rafferty's article ("Elections over, Singapore's ruling party must get right back to work", September 15).

Rafferty can rest assured that Singapore is constantly looking over its shoulder, in good times and bad - not just at its immediate surroundings, but also the world at large. Sadly, the picture for "freewheeling" democracy and capitalism does not look bright, especially over the last decade.

Australia will see its fifth prime minister in eight years due to chronic party infighting on both sides of the aisle. Japan went through a similar scenario between 2006 and 2012, with a remission far from guaranteed.

Opportunistic filibustering continues to hamstring sound policymaking from America to Greece, as well as Thailand before the military coup.

Overtly combative and self-serving plutocrats, kleptocrats and bureaucrats appear to rule the roost in many of these countries.

Yet this embarrassing state of affairs has not stopped scribes such as Rafferty from lecturing Singapore about the virtues of its "democracy".

It is ironic that those who write so smugly about "freedom and diversity" can be so stuck-up and authoritarian in their application.

How Singapore chooses to evolve its brand of democracy is really not the business of foreigners who have absolutely no stake in its future, and are fond of viewing its socio-economic/political evolution through their antiquated biases.

What may be deemed as "authoritarian" by some can be viewed as strong and decisive leadership by others.

There is no evidence that a multi-party democracy is superior in delivering on promises than a dominant party state elected by the people.

Sometimes we should learn to appreciate the world beyond our borders. Only then can democracy rise above petty suspicions and strive towards a peaceful give-and-take between the state and individuals, as well as between individuals and their community to realise its true purpose.

John Chan, Singapore