1H2017 Review: Singapore

1H2017 Review: SingaporeSingaporean politics was rocked in June by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s siblings, who accused him of abusing his power. Their main grievance concerned what they considered the prime minister’s efforts to acquire and preserve the family home. His actions, they argued, ran contrary to the dying wishes of their father, Lee Kuan Yew, who…

Singapore’s Lee Family Rift and International Consequences

Singapore’s Lee Family Rift and International ConsequencesThe very public rift between Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his two siblings, Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang, is a sharp reminder of what a small place Singapore is and how splits in the family can become fissures among a once tight-knit elite. The core of the ruling People’s Action Party…

Bitter Squabble Surfaces Among Singapore’s Lee Family

Bitter Squabble Surfaces Among Singapore’s Lee FamilyAn extraordinary row has broken out among the descendants of Lee Kuan Yew, the founder of modern Singapore who died in April 2015, with two younger siblings accusing Lee Hsien Loong, the current prime minister, and his wife Ho Ching of being “driven by a desire for power and personal popularity.” The other two are…

Singapore Blogger Bends Under Threat of Huge Fine, Jail Term

Singapore Blogger Bends Under Threat of Huge Fine, Jail TermUPDATE: Han Hui Hui, a 24-year-old Singapore dissident, has buckled under to a threat of a S$600,000 fine and jp to 18 years in prison for "scandalizing" the Singapore courts and removed a series of blogs and a Facebook entry from the Internet and apologized to the court for posting them. Singapore still takes no…

Purging the Past

Purging the PastFalse news is in the news. Preachers of alternative truth are everywhere. But just as insidious as news creationism is the trend to purge the memory of unpleasant facts, and to judge the past entirely in terms of the values of the present.  Singapore is a place not normally seen as squeamish about its colonial…

Latest Singapore Economic Roadmap Marks Time

Latest Singapore Economic Roadmap Marks TimeAnyone familiar with past economic Singapore plans for facing the future would recall how radical they could be. Then Finance Minister Goh Keng Swee in the early 1960s led with bold industrialisation plans centered on the Jurong area and on the late 1960s decision to allow foreign banks to set up the Asia Currency Unit…

Singapore Succession a Troubling Issue

Singapore Succession a Troubling IssueSuddenly, the Singapore government has begun to look vulnerable as it realizes that all the micromanaging it has done to make the island nation a predictable haven, and thus a chart-topper in living standards rankings, can be thwarted by trends beyond its control. Nowhere is this clearer than in its plans for succession. It is…

Singapore Passes Expanded Contempt of Court Law

Singapore Passes Expanded Contempt of Court LawOver the objections of the sister of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and human rights and press organizations, the Singapore Parliament has pushed through a bill widening the ability to bring contempt of court charges against political opponents. The measure, the “Administration of Justice (Protection) Bill,” passed on a straight party line vote after seven…

Singapore Continues War on Dissent

Singapore Continues War on DissentSingapore which already has some of the most stringent contempt of court laws in the democratic world, is apparently about to tighten them further, alarmed human rights activists say, giving the attorney general the ability to bring contempt of court charges against a wide range of individuals or other interests, particularly the press, and hardening…

Is Singapore Prepared for its Future?

Is Singapore Prepared for its Future?Everything big or small is planned in Singapore. The next big thing in the economy – Greentech and Medtech – is centrally conceived. The next prime minister has been chosen. His own successor is in the making. Even the maximum walking-distance between one’s home and the next park is centrally-determined – it’s 10 minutes. But…
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