Monday, November 18, 2019

At least Singapore is honest about its dictators

May 27. 2019
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As a resident farang, I seldom have much to complain about in Thailand. My tax bills are invariably high, but I pay willingly. And, unlike a lot of my fellow ex-pats, I don’t get too worked up about Thai politics and the absence of democracy. 

Democracy in most countries is just a sweet-sounding word, bandied about so that everybody feels good. True democracy only exists when every citizen has the same opportunities, especially the same educational opportunities. 

I would go so far as to say that not all dictatorships are undesirable. Take the example of Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore. He turned a fledgling city-state into one of the world’s best-functioning meritocracies. Unsurprisingly, Singapore also educates the whole of its population to an extremely high standard. 

I’d say Lee was a benign dictator. What’s more, he was honest about the kind of leader he was.

It’s honesty that I respect, and dishonesty that I do complain about. To take a current example of the latter, the political grouping that calls itself the “Democrat Party” should surely not be actively supporting a junta-inspired dictatorship. To be worthy of their name, they should be working to improve the opportunities of all citizens. 

Instead, they are now doing exactly what they said during the election they wouldn’t do: allying themselves with the Phalang Pracharat Party. So isn’t it time for the fake Democrats to start calling themselves “The Dictatorship Party”? Or do they feel no shame at their dishonesty?

Linus AE Knobel

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