Blast from the past (1994):
In the 1991 General Election, the Prime Minister campaigned and made an issue of his consultative style of Government. He was disappointed and puzzled by the loss of four seats and a 1.5 per cent drop in popular support. He came to the conclusion that most Singaporeans are not particularly interested in his style, whether it is "gentler" or "kinder". What they want is a good government which produces results.
They want the government to concentrate on the basics, like better pay and lower cost of living, better neighbourhood schools for their children and better jobs. They want a safe, stable society, one good for their children to grow up in. They support detention without trial, the death penalty, caning, and film censorship. They support banning art groups which tout the cutting of pubic hair as an artistic performance. However, this does not mean that the Government will not make room for minority intellectual groups to pursue their interests, provided majority sentiments are not offended.
But to be effective, he cannot be kindness and gentleness all the time.
Singapore will expand its political and artistic space pragmatically and gradually, and not in accordance with any formula urged upon Singapore by the Western media, which had pushed for and praised American-style democratisation in Taiwan and South Korea.
In 10-20 years, the results in Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore will speak for themselves.
CHAN HENG WING Press Secretary to the Prime Minister Prime Minister's Office , There are limits to openness
29 December 1994
(c) 1994 Singapore Press Holdings Limited
Korea has its dynamic chaebols, Taiwan its high-tech industries and SME's, and Singapore's still prostituting itself for MNC's. And let's not even talk about soft power: Taiwanese TV formats are relentlessly copied in Singapore, and Korea's sent its hallyu shockwaves round the region. Not just TV, though, look at their cinema and their music industry.
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