Me remembering LKY

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This is the closest I got to LKY. His wax replica in HK.

On this final day as Singapore bade farewell to him, I just thought I penned my thoughts on his legacy and Singapore’s future from a Christian perspective.

Honestly, I’ve many unanswered questions of the real history of the emergence of PAP into power and Singapore’s independence. I do not subscribe “the end justifies the means” reasoning no matter how noble the end might be. However, on my unanswered questions, I believe I will gain more clarity on the accuracy and truth in the future with LKY’s demise.

But for now, I will focus on the present and there’s no denying that Singapore is a miracle. It’s a rags to riches story but one told by a nation and achieving first world status in 1-2 generations! Moreover achieved by a nation that is so tiny with absolutely no dependence of any natural resources to cash in! So Singapore’s prosperity and international status that we enjoy now is most credited to LKY’s vision, leadership and relentless pursuit in making it happen at all costs!

However, I know there’s a God who is sovereign and He determines who rises and who falls, which government gets elected and which gets thrown out. In all, God uses leaders or nations to achieve His purposes just as how He used king Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon. Therefore, I believe whatever the history accuracy ought to be, that is secondary in comparison to acknowledging and understanding how He is working through people and events to ultimately achieve His eternal purpose!

LKY’s era reminds me of how Moses led the Israelites when they were freed from Egypt as slaves. Like Moses, LKY introduced the rule of law to bring order towards becoming a civil society. He shaped them into a people and gave the people dignity that was lost. And facilitated a new way of life with independence. God was behind all these. He used LKY and is using Singapore for His purpose. No doubt.

So this begs the question why God has prospered Singapore in this season and among Asia? For the last 50 years the vision for Singapore was to secure it’s survival with economic prosperity. Now that has been achieved, what do we rightfully do with all the wealth and resources? Is it just for our indulgence and providing a false sense of security?

I believe that is what we as a people need to find out and chart into the next 50 years. And God to birth a new vision needed to aspire us to thrive as a people over just merely surviving!

The future of Singapore is now in the hands of the next generation. A new era has now open up to new opportunities to write HIS story. And to get a good reference of the future of Singapore and how we move into the next era we should study the book of Judges, Kings and Chronicles to glean on the wisdom through Israel’s tumultuous development as a nation before the exile.

Let us pray that Singapore continues to uphold integrity and righteousness zealously even with the passing of LKY. And pray that we will have a more overtly outward outlook beyond our own lives and beyond Singapore to fulfill our Antioch call for Asia- to be a beacon and blessing in advancing His kingdom of love, peace and righteousness. Amen!

My Read of the Month:

Title: A Nation Cheated
Author: Chee Soon Juan
Published: 2008
Genre: Singapore Politics
Ratings: 3.7 out of 5 stars

Without a doubt Dr Chee Soon Juan cuts a very controversial figure in Singapore politics. Some respect him while some or most loathe him, especially for his confrontational antics with civil disobedience.

However, we cannot deny that this man’s fortitude in standing for his democratic beliefs in spite of the constant hammering dished out by our PAP leaders baffles many of us. And it did provoke me to consider about this man’s intentions and aspirations for Singapore and to read this book.

This book surmises Singapore’s political history (based on historical records) and how the PAP came into absolute power that it is today. And unlike what we were mostly told by the media and in schools, Dr Chee attempts to present the untold version of the PAP’s unscrupulous mannerism in usurping power using the ISA to detain political opponents.

Many of these political opponents were imprisoned without trial as long as 25 years. One notable character whom should have been Singapore’s first prime minister was the late Lim Chin Siong. He was a respected leader of the masses who valiantly fought for the rights of Singaporeans and their desire for independence from the British rule.

Interestingly, he was against the meager with Malaysia. That allegedly led him to be detained by the ISA on grounds that he was a communist. He was locked up twice on accusations for his communist links but was never trialed and convicted. He was subsequently banished to London in 1969 and only allowed to return 10 years later.

With Lim and an opposition out of the way, Lee Kuan Yew and the PAP took control of the independent press and active trade union movement. And they say the rest is history. In 1996, Lim passed away unceremoniously.

Not everything in this book is about the late Lim, but his story and his fate is pivotal in how the tide turned in favour for the PAP to reign. The rest of the book recounts the history of the degenerating of our labour laws; the dependency of MNCs and use of GLCs; and the transparency of our sovereign wealth funds with Temasek Holdings and GIC.

Overall, this book appeals even to the average man on the street. It shares the other side of history which has been blacked out. So one ought to read with an open and discerning mind, and conclude for yourself the true Singapore story.

And the truth is important,  for history defines who we are as a people, and don’t we wonder why there is no true identity or true sense of belonging as a Singaporean?

Who should read it: All Singaporeans and anyone who’s interested in the making of Singapore’s success.

Christians Overtaking S. Korea, Buddhists Worry

Worried South Korean Buddhists are protesting against what they perceive as Christianity’s increasing dominance over the nation’s politics, especially in the light of the current man in office.

THE CHRISTIAN POST
By Edmond Chan

Christianity’s rapid expansion in South Korea is due to the faith having brought modernisation with the introduction of Western medicine, education, and even democracy.

While Buddhism on the other hand with its focus on meditation, prayer, and seclusion in temples, “failed to play an important social role” according to a Religious Freedom expert, and is viewed more as a cultural heritage than religion.

South Korea has the highest proportion of Protestant Christians in Asia, at 29.3 percent of the 48,850,000 people. Buddhists account for 22.8 percent of the population.

Eleven of the twelve largest Christian congregations in the world are located in Seoul alone, including the largest congregation, Yoido Full Gospel Church, which boasts 800,000 members.

Protestant churches also stage all-night prayer marathons, and are known for their evangelical zeal, with the second highest number of missionaries dispatched all over the world, next to the U.S.

Read the full article here>>>

The Increasing Power of The Internet

Since the introduction of the worldwide web on 26 February 1991 by Mr Tim Berners-Lee,  the internet has grown phenomenally and has greatly flattened our world. And almost unawaringly, the internet has become so intertwined with our real world.

Blogs are no longer kid’s play

According to blog trackers Technorati, the blogosphere is growing at a pace of 1.4 weblog created every second. In their State of Blogosphere report, it said the number of blogs it was tracking now stood at more than 70 million blogs with about 120,000 new weblogs being created worldwide each day!!

If you think these blogs are merely kid’s play, you are sorely mistaken. One should never under-estimate the influence these blogs and websites have.

Myanmar exposed

Taking the recent Myanmar’s protests for an example, what actually led to the exposure of the Junta’s heavy-hand tactics for the world to see has everything to do with the Internet through a few popoular blogs in Myanmar. The Junta in attempts to stop the world from seeing and hearing the pro-democracy protests cut public access to the Internet. But it was the case of a little too late.

The difference with the last major uprising in 1988 then, had as many as 3,000 people being killed by the soldiers’ opened fire, but it took days for the news- let alone photos or video- to emerge.

However, a leaked video clip of General Than Shwe’s daughter’s wedding which was circulated and uploaded on Youtube allowed the whole world to have a glimpse of the lavish lifestyles enjoyed by the generals.

This exclusive video showed the bride draped in diamonds and other expensive jewels and gifts which was said to be worth US$50 million. This expose was one of the reasons which sparked the people to hit the streets.

What can we expect next

With technology- the Internet playing a crucial role in putting Myanmar on a global spotlight. This has evidently proved the increasing power of the Internet in today’s context.

This is good news for citizen-journalism, but at the same time we should expect more governments and organisations paying more closer attention on any foresee-able threats from blogs or websites that may caused “unrest”.

Knowing well how pro-active our government is, I would not be surprise that they are taking some lessons from this Myanmar’s episode.  So I would be expecting them releasing new “improved” cyberspace policies and regulations soon.

CPF: What Is The Real Truth?

When someone comes to me and shares a conflict or some unpleasant encounter with another party, I try my best to keep an open mind by not concluding based on all that he/she tells me. 

I will, at least maintain that till I have found out the facts from the whole situation and after listening also from the other parties involved. That way I would have a balanced and complete picture in order to make a good and wise judgement or conclusion. 

In regards to the CPF tweaking plans in implementing the complusory annuity for all Singaporeans, most of us have heard a plenty from our government’s side of the story through their our mainstream media. But what about the other side of the story- the people?

Here’s an extract of a comment made from a fellow Singaporean in this blog that should set us to think alittle bit more about what the new CPF plans spell for us ahead.

What is the real truth? You decide…

If I remember well, when I started work as a teenager in 1968, I was told by my boss that 25% of my pay will go to CPF. He will contribute 25%. My boss said, “That’s law, don’t worry. Government guarantees you’ll get it all back when you retire at 55”.

On reaching my retirement goal- age of 55, I was shocked that they have moved the goalposts many times since I started work at 1968. My money wasn’t my money anymore. Yes, there’s Special, Medisave & Retirement Account – SMRA – “You can’t touch these!” A hip hop/rap song?

For those who “catch no ball” about the CPF system and latest Longevity Insurance Scheme, read here>>>