October 8, 2009 by admin
Filed under Forum
Leave a comment
I would like to response to comments regarding my article. (read here)
1. I have no right to talk about Singapore as I have emigrated-
I am now a Canadian citizen and my allegiance is to Canada but that does not prohibit me from speaking or writing about Singapore or any other country.
That is freedom of speech as stated in our constitutions – Singapore and Canada. MM Lee and many Singaporeans have expressed their opinions about other countries, i.e that the British healthcare is inferior to Singapore’s and how superior the Singapore system is compared to other countries, etc. etc. If they can speak on other countries, why can’t I? Do they have more rights than I? Let’s be fair and debate on a level playing field.
Let us be civil and not treat anyone with opposing views as public enemies. Canada has about half a dozen former prime ministers and they treat each other with respect even though they have different opinions. None was ever put in jail nor threatened with it. That is 1st World democracy.
I was raised in Singapore and have friends and relatives there. I am concerned about Singapore because a friend of mine committed suicide because he could not pay for medical treatment after his Medicare ran out.
A group of us regularly send money to his wife as she could not get any financial assistance from the government. Why do we care about Singapore? It is because we care about our friends and relatives in Singapore and we are not ashamed of it. Yes, we care and we cannot turn our faces from it regardless whether we are called quitters or losers.
2. Myths about us being treated as foreigners and second class citizens in other countries -
In Canada, all citizens have the same rights and privileges regardless of race. There are more than 20,000 ex-Singaporeans in Canada who will stand by what I said. To illustrate my point, the previous Governor-General of Canada – a position equivalent to President Nathan of Singapore, was a Chinese lady who came to Canada as a refugee from China.
The Police Commissioner of Vancouver Police Force is a Chinese from Hong Kong, the Solicitor General is an Indian and the list can go on and on. A Singapore friend who has a special need child was paid more than C$1,000 a month to help the kid’s living expenses. He did not get any help when he was in Singapore. Is that second class treatment? I suggest those Singaporeans check their facts before they make fools of themselves.
3. In Canada, the immigration program is well calibrated and managed. Canada has a population of 33 million people and a land mass of 9,093,507 sq km which is about 15,000 times the size of Singapore. Even with such a huge land mass, it takes in only 250,000 immigrants a year from all over the world.
Singapore, on the other hand, took in more than one million PRs in the last few years mainly from China and India. Singapore’s infrastructure could not support such an huge and sudden influx of people. There will be a breakdown of social order.
In Canada new immigrants are given free lessons in English or French to assimilate into the Canadian society. Immigrants from Africa are even taught how to use modern facilities like toilet bowls, hot and cold showers, ovens, etc. I have nothing against Chinese or Indian PRs into Singapore but it must be well planned like the Canadian system.
I am not writing to ridicule or hope for the demise of Singapore. Contrary, if you read with an open mind, I pray that it will improve and continue to be in the 1st World status in every meaning of the world. However, it cannot be done when opposition members are being intimidated, jailed or fine just because someone wanted absolute and perpetual control of the government.
Cheong Wing Lee