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Daily Kos mocks Singapore

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Markos Moulitsas, founder of Daily Kos the largest collaborative left-wing on blog in the U.S. recently posted an entry musing on where conservatives would go now that they perceive their country headed down the path of socialism:

So you know how dejected liberals threatened after 2000 and 2004 to “move to Canada” to be in more ideologically friendly territory? I wasn’t with that crowd, of course. I wasn’t about to give up on this great nation of ours.

But that has long had me thinking: where would conservatives go if they wanted to escape this horrible SOCIALIST America, what with the 39 percent top rate and HEALTH CARE for all (assuming we ever get it)?

Iran? They’d love the theocracy, with a bona fide morality police to beat the crap out of non-believers! But the country worships the wrong god. So close…

Russia? It’s got the oligarchy thing that conservatives love, plus a war-mongering leadership that dreams of empire. Too bad they don’t speak American, or even use American letters in their alphabet!

Singapore? Unfettered capitalism, English as an official language, and a caning if you chew gum on the streets. Oh, and jail if you get caught being gay. It’s conservative nirvana! Well, except that people are Asian. If only they’d be whiter.

Dubai? A playground for the rich, but with the oppressive hand of religion to stamp out all fun. Still the wrong god, though.

Any other suggestions?

It’s clear he doesn’t think much of Singapore.  More importantly as others have pointed out, it isn’t accurate but not wrong altogether to characterise Singapore’s economy as “unfettered capitalism”.  It’s more of a state-directed capitalism where the government plays a major role with majority stakes in most of Singapore’s largest corporations, but doesn’t hinder business as in other socialist nations.  Another user commented as follows:

 okay, I’ll bite. (0+ / 0-)

Singapore my ass. We don’t want them here either, and honestly, it’s not as bad as you’re making it sound. As someone elsewhere pointed out, public housing, public transport, universal education, universal government-subsidized healthcare, low taxes for the lower socioeconomic class. Low crime rate and an uncorrupt police force. No fear-mongering, no bloviating radio personalities, no shit-stirring by anybody, no hate crimes condoned in any shape or form. Also, more darkies and Chinks than you can sneeze at, all living in general harmony. Four official languages, thank you very much–Malay, Tamil, Chinese, and English. And the national language is Malay. Chewing gum no longer illegal, though yes, I do remember when it was, but it was never a big deal; you got caned if you did stupid shit like stick it to lift buttons–you know, vandalism–not smuggled it back from Malaysia and chewed it at home. Sodomy illegal, theoretically–damn British legal remnant–but often turned a blind eye to. There’s even a thriving little gay subculture, openly out people, gay bars. They ask you to be discreet, which I don’t agree with either, but it’s not stringing up by the town hall. And here’s an amusing difference between you and us: our conservative retards give a shit about our welfare, and have earned our trust.

Most of all? We didn’t come from where you come from. Our history is not your history, not even white-people history. I know that, looking at us from your perspective, we have limited rights, but it’s getting better slowly and steadily. Ex-colony, coming out from the Japanese Occupation, fearing the communist threat, four goddamn different races trying to live on a tiny island: we needed those laws and that strict control back then to survive. Now it’s time for change, and it’s happening–at our pace. So leave off, kos. I don’t want no goddamn setbacks to progress. Yeesh, talk about cultural blindness. Talk about white privilege. I’m thoroughly unimpressed.

 Just as Kos may have overstated the capitalist aspect of Singapore this particular blogger exaggerates when he says that “And here’s an amusing difference between you and us: our conservative retards give a shit about our welfare, and have earned our trust.”.  I don’t know exactly how long he has been living in Singapore, but I must say either he isn’t or is too blind to notice that compared to the U.S., there’s barely any social safety nets in Singapore.  Unemployment benefits?  Zero.  Anything resembling social security?  Nope!  CPF doesn’t even come close.  Nor am I aware if Singaporeans in general trust the government to do the right thing.  Unless he were referring to conservatives, but in Singapore citizens aren’t polarised to the extent America is, so it’s hard to classify the citizens as conservatives and liberals, although the opposition parties at present are clearly to the left of the ruling party.

Also note that the writer glossed over the issue of Singaporeans having “limited rights”.  Apparently he didn’t want to undermine the thrust of his post that Singapore isn’t too bad of a place.  Just wait till fellow Kossacks learn that bloggers can and have been arrested and jailed in Singapore, and this applies even to foreign bloggers who criticise the government.  Or that the ruling party just passed a bill which criminalises all forms of public demonstrations (without demonstration permits; yes a completely ridiculous idea), even if only one person is involved.  Or that Singapore’s press freedom ranks consistently around 144th-ish out of 167th, and where independent foreign papers who dare to engage in the audacity of independent-minded journalism are often charged in court.  I wonder if Kossacks can even imagine if Social Security’s payroll taxes were to go up to 33.4%, the madatory CPF contribution rates and for Social Security benefits to not be adjusted for inflation.  More can be said, but enough has been already.

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Written by defennder

March 31, 2009 at 10:58 AM

Posted in Singapore affairs, US

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