Monday, February 21, 2011

The Price of Malaysia’s Racism

This is taken from a source, and the writer, John Malott was the US Ambassador to Malaysia, 1995-1998.

Slower growth and a drain of talented citizens are only the beginning.

The Wall Street Journal
Feb 8, 2011


Malaysia’s national tourism agency promotes the country as “a bubbling, bustling melting pot of races and religions where Malays, Indians, Chinese and many other ethnic groups live together in peace and harmony.” Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak echoed this view when he announced his government’s theme, One Malaysia. “What makes Malaysia unique,” Mr. Najib said, “is the diversity of our peoples. One Malaysia’s goal is to preserve and enhance this unity in diversity, which has always been our strength and remains our best hope for the future.”

If Mr. Najib is serious about achieving that goal, a long look in the mirror might be in order first. Despite the government’s new catchphrase, racial and religious tensions are higher today than when Mr. Najib took office in 2009. Indeed, they are worse than at any time since 1969, when at least 200 people died in racial clashes between the majority Malay and minority Chinese communities. The recent deterioration is due to the troubling fact that the country’s leadership is tolerating, and in some cases provoking, ethnic factionalism through words and actions.
For instance, when the Catholic archbishop of Kuala Lumpur invited the prime minister for a Christmas Day open house last December, Hardev Kaur, an aide to Mr. Najib, said Christian crosses would have to be removed. There could be no carols or prayers, so as not to offend the prime minister, who is Muslim. Ms. Kaur later insisted that she “had made it clear that it was a request and not an instruction,” as if any Malaysian could say no to a request from the prime minister’s office.

Similar examples of insensitivity abound. In September 2009, Minister of Home Affairs Hishammuddin Onn met with protesters who had carried the decapitated head of a cow, a sacred animal in the Hindu religion, to an Indian temple. Mr. Hishammuddin then held a press conference defending their actions. Two months later, Defense Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told Parliament that one reason Malaysia’s armed forces are overwhelmingly Malay is that other ethnic groups have a “low spirit of patriotism.” Under public pressure, he later apologized.

The leading Malay language newspaper, Utusan Melayu, prints what opposition leader Lim Kit Siang calls a daily staple of falsehoods that stoke racial hatred. Utusan, which is owned by Mr. Najib’s political party, has claimed that the opposition would make Malaysia a colony of China and abolish the Malay monarchy. It regularly attacks Chinese Malaysian politicians, and even suggested that one of them, parliamentarian Teresa Kok, should be killed.

This steady erosion of tolerance is more than a political challenge. It’s an economic problem as well.

Once one of the developing world’s stars, Malaysia’s economy has underperformed for the past decade. To meet its much-vaunted goal of becoming a developed nation by 2020, Malaysia needs to grow by 8% per year during this decade. That level of growth will require major private investment from both domestic and foreign sources, upgraded human skills, and significant economic reform. Worsening racial and religious tensions stand in the way.

Almost 500,000 Malaysians left the country between 2007 and 2009, more than doubling the number of Malaysian professionals who live overseas. It appears that most were skilled ethnic Chinese and Indian Malaysians, tired of being treated as second-class citizens in their own country and denied the opportunity to compete on a level playing field, whether in education, business, or government. Many of these emigrants, as well as the many Malaysian students who study overseas and never return (again, most of whom are ethnic Chinese and Indian), have the business, engineering, and scientific skills that Malaysia needs for its future. They also have the cultural and linguistic savvy to enhance Malaysia’s economic ties with Asia’s two biggest growing markets, China and India.

Of course, one could argue that discrimination isn’t new for these Chinese and Indians. Malaysia’s affirmative action policies for its Malay majority—which give them preference in everything from stock allocation to housing discounts—have been in place for decades. So what is driving the ethnic minorities away now?

First, these minorities increasingly feel that they have lost a voice in their own government. The Chinese and Indian political parties in the ruling coalition are supposed to protect the interests of their communities, but over the past few years, they have been neutered. They stand largely silent in the face of the growing racial insults hurled by their Malay political partners. Today over 90% of the civil service, police, military, university lecturers, and overseas diplomatic staff are Malay. Even TalentCorp, the government agency created in 2010 that is supposed to encourage overseas Malaysians to return home, is headed by a Malay, with an all-Malay Board of Trustees.

Second, economic reform and adjustments to the government’s affirmative action policies are on hold. Although Mr. Najib held out the hope of change a year ago with his New Economic Model, which promised an “inclusive” affirmative action policy that would be, in Mr. Najib’s words, “market friendly, merit-based, transparent and needs-based,” he has failed to follow through. This is because of opposition from right-wing militant Malay groups such as Perkasa, which believe that a move towards meritocracy and transparency threatens what they call “Malay rights.”

But stalling reform will mean a further loss in competitiveness and slower growth. It also means that the cronyism and no-bid contracts that favor the well-connected will continue. All this sends a discouraging signal to many young Malaysians that no matter how hard they study or work, they will have a hard time getting ahead.

Mr. Najib may not actually believe much of the rhetoric emanating from his party and his government’s officers, but he tolerates it because he needs to shore up his Malay base. It’s politically convenient at a time when his party faces its most serious opposition challenge in recent memory—and especially when the opposition is challenging the government on ethnic policy and its economic consequences. One young opposition leader, parliamentarian Nurul Izzah Anwar, the daughter of former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, has proposed a national debate on what she called the alternative visions of Malaysia’s future—whether it should be a Malay nation or a Malaysian nation. For that, she earned the wrath of Perkasa; the government suggested her remark was “seditious.”

Malaysia’s government might find it politically expedient to stir the racial and religious pot, but its opportunism comes with an economic price tag. Its citizens will continue to vote with their feet and take their money and talents with them. And foreign investors, concerned about racial instability and the absence of meaningful economic reform, will continue to look elsewhere to do business.

Mr. Malott was the U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia, 1995-1998.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Singapore-Malaysia Economies: Size Doesn't Matter

This article was written by a person, Pan Xing Cai which appeared in our Straits Times sometime late last year. It first appeared in Nanyang Siang Pau, a Malaysian Chinese newspaper too.

By Pang Xing Cai

As the year draws to a close, we look back on two major occurences that have taken place this year:
After three decades of reform and opening up, China has outshone Japan, a country that is 4 per cent the size of the former, to become the second largest economy in the world - thus proving what many have forecast before.
Singapore, "sacked" in 1965 by Malaysia, a country 520 times its size, is set to surpass the latter economically after 45 years of hard work, thus refuting the prediction that the 21st century belongs to continental-sized countries.

Singapore's economic miracle is not only an insult but also a terrible blow to Malaysia. Despite being smaller in size than New York City, the only nation in South-east Asia devoid of natural resources, and with a population one-fifth that of Malaysia, Singapore's economy has grown 189-fold since independence on Aug 9, 1965, with its per capital income rising from US$512 in 1965 to US$36,537 (S$47,830) last year.

Malaysia, by contrast, had a gross domestic product per capita of US$6,975 last year, up from US$335 in 1965.

Singapore's GDP was expected to grow by 15 per cent this year to US$210 billion, its fastest growth rate since independence, while Malaysia's economy was predicted to grow by only 7 per cent to US$205 billion.

The city-state, once considered a 'poor little market in a dark corner of Asia", is now ranked by the World Bank as one of the easiest places to do business, has the world's second busiest container port, and boasts the highest proportion of millionaire households.

Then Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew cried during a televised interview on the day Singapore was driven out of Malaysia, but he vowed to make a success of Singapore.

Another minister said, "Once a Singapore aircraft takes off, it will infringe onto our airsapce but we will not shoot it down."

If these ministers are still around, they will have mixed feelings.

With Singapore's economy poised to overtake Malaysia's, former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who ruled the country for 22 years, attributed it to "Malaysia's social restructuring policy and its equitable distribution of wealth between the races".

Dr Lee Hock Guan, a senior fellow at Singapore's Institute of Southeast Asian Studies said incisively: "Malaysia was struck by the curse of resource-rich countries: It didn't optimise its human capital."

Singapore leaders have remarked that the city-state has recruited many foreigners to fill the top of its population pyramid, while their neighbour (obviously referring to Malaysia) brought in foreigners to fill the bottom of the pyramid.

By offering scholarships to 61 independent Chinese schools in Malaysia, Singapore has recruited a large number of bright students who did well in the Unified Examination (UE).

Yet, the Malaysian government has refused to recognise the UE certificate and continues to discriminate against talents (on the basis of race).

Malaysia Ambassador to the United States Jamaluddin Jarjis revealed that 200,000 Malaysians have opted to become citizens of America but continued to send money home annually, amounting to an estimated US$2 billion or 10 per cent of their income.

A nation's or an enterprise's assets are its talent, not its natural resources. How can Malaysia not be surpassed by Singapore, which cherishes talent. Let's see if Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's Economic Transformation Programme can turn the country around.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

My Birthday on 12 Feb

It was my birthday on 12 Feb and 1 year short of half century mark, I am 49 exactly to that day. I've always remind myself, age is a just number and as long as I stay fit & healthy, I will run, I will chase as long as my lung capacity still permits me.

No intention to organise any special event to celebrate my grand old age (sheepishly, I admit I have posted my date of birth on my FB profile which can be viewed by many of my friends), some pleasant arrangements by some friends running up to my birthday certainly have brightened my day.

First, it was Tim Chua whom I get to know through his then girlfriend, Maxine and now his wife emailed me to 'chop' me for a birthday lunch on 10 Feb, Thursday. We had a good chat on some business matters at NUSS Guildhouse in Suntec as well as a good lunch. There was no cake though.

The following day, Dora arranged to have lunch with me though she didn't say she was buying lunch for my birthday. She kept mum, so did I. We had a good economical Thai meal in Macpherson Road. Again, there was no cake.

On the same evening, Rickson, Mandy and Gladys arranged to have a dinner with me at Peng Catering in Hougang. I insisted that I buy dinner. I was supposed to watch Chingay Parade, had to sacrifice the two tickets since it was a good gesture from them to celebrate my birthday. The dinner was sumptuous, we ate to our hearts' content. Mandy ordered the smallest cake she could find, good fit for just 4 persons. Thereafter, we had a good chat, just gossiping before calling it a day.

On my birthday, 12 Feb, I had a cycling event organised by Anna and I had to help her with some logistical arrangements. I kind of knew my cycling kakis, Anna, CK, Esther and of course, Dora should know my birthday which was shown on my FB profile but I didn't expect them to arrange any special for me. The cycling expedition started in the morning at about 1000 hours setting off at Khatib stadium and heading to Woodlands before making a U-turn back. There were some 20 of us. It was a hot morning and we finally arrived back at Khatib stadium at about 1330 hours.

Dora suggested we head to Thomson for our late lunch. Boy, I was feeling very hungry, I can eat a goat as I did not take any breakfast in the morning. After bidding farewell to the rest of them, Esther, Anna, Dora, CK and I headed to Thomson. My hunch told me they were probably going to buy me lunch but I just went along. None of them wished me "happy birthday", even Dora though I knew she was aware it was my birthday. I should smell a rat but I didn't, actually. We had a good lunch at a hawker centre, all 4 of us groped down our spagetti swiftly and washed it down with ice cold sugarcane juice. Anna thanked us for helping out in the cycling event insisted to pay for lunch. I didn't reject her kind offer since it was my birthday, let her buy then. The girls were fighting to pay, faint! After the lunch, I thought nothing about it and was ready to head home. Dora and Esther wanted to buy some pastries to bring home, we then followed them to a nearby cakeshop. Again, I was still like blur a 'sotong' when the indication was so clear the moment we stepped into the cakeshop. I even hastened them to pick up their pastries so that we can head home. Dora then placed a box in front of me and I even remarked (rather naively) whether she was sharing the pastries with Esther. They did not say anything. I was still kept in the dark - that blur I was at that juncture. When the box was opened, only then I realised they had ordered a chocolate cake for us. Yes, Anna's birthday was just one day after me. It was double surprise for me, first the birthday cake which I did not expect from them and then, Anna's birthday is just back-to-back mine. Birthday song was sang to both of us and we, Anna & I shared the joy of cutting the cake together. Thanks Esther, CK and Dora for the cake shared between Anna and me. This little surprise had certainly made my day.

I ended my birthay going to SAFRA Mt Faber gym with George in the evening. Fond memories to give with.

Conviction Versus Consensus Politicians

This article, titled " Conviction verus Consensus politicans" was written by one of Singapore's well known novelist, Catherine Lim following MM Lee's recent remarks asking Muslims here to exercise flexibilty or sorts on Islam teachings. This article appeared in S.T. on 12 Feb 2011.

By Catherine Lim

Conviction versus Consensus politicians

PRIME Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s reassurance of the Muslim community, upset by what they perceived to be disparaging remarks of them made by Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, was exactly as expected. It was calm, reassuring and generous in its praise of the community’s efforts in working with people of other races and religions to achieve an integrated and harmonious Singapore. There was nevertheless an almost surreal quality about the event, with a respectful, filial son having to dissociate his views from his father’s.

Indeed, the surreality might have provoked some to speculate that the Prime Minister’s statement was part of a shrewd strategy, in keeping with the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) hard-headed realism, to assign to MM Lee the task of delivering unpalatable but necessary truths.

But this is speculation that even the most determined conspiracy theorist will have to abandon. First, the Prime Minister’s statement was in part a response to a blunt question posed by a Malay-Muslim professional organisation: Did MM’s view that Muslims were the hardest community to integrate into society reflect the Government’s view?

Second, anyone who understands MM Lee’s personality would know that a man of such strong convictions, forthright style and unshakeable self-confidence would find subterfuge of any kind both unnecessary and contemptible.

Mr Lee Kuan Yew – in being able to freely speak his mind on a whole range of controversial issues that other ministers would handle with utmost care, in provoking strong reactions both at home and abroad that the other leaders later scramble to appease – plays a unique role in Singapore politics.

While the Prime Minister and his colleagues can afford to disregard the controversy created by MM’s strong convictions on such issues as graduate mothers producing superior offspring or homosexuals holding public office, they cannot afford to ignore his statements about a sensitive subject like religion. Hence – especially with a general election looming – they had to undertake an exercise in damage control on this issue, and project a consensus that was as far removed from MM’s view as was consistent with the high respect accorded him.

This special feature of the dynamics of politics in Singapore may be summarised in terms of the tension that can arise between the ‘Conviction Politician’ that MM is and the ‘Consensus Politicians’ that the rest of the PAP leaders have to be. The differences between these two kinds of politicians can be seen in the following areas:

Style: MM does not feel any need to soften his style in deference to people’s feelings, while the other PAP leaders have been making great efforts, over the years, to get rid of the old image of high-handedness, inflexibility and intolerance. They constantly speak of a people-oriented approach, of the ‘light’ touch in dealing with thorny issues.

Attitude towards the opposition: MM has freely expressed his contempt of some members of the opposition, speaking of them in demeaning terms that the other PAP leaders would not risk using for fear of provoking a backlash, especially on the Internet.

General election expectations: MM does not feel the need to adjust to the expectations of a changing electorate, being completely confident that Singaporeans will continue to vote in the PAP resoundingly. He believes the PAP will be voted out of power only if it became corrupt and incompetent – which it will not, so long as it follows the principles of honest and efficient leadership embodied in his model of governance.

The Prime Minister and his colleagues, on the other hand, are anxiously aware of the pitfalls of not meeting the expectations of a younger and more sophisticated electorate, energised with a growing confidence in its power to bring about change.

What does the present situation bode for a post-Lee Kuan Yew era? It is clear that once such a massive force is gone, the situation will be radically changed. MM Lee will probably be Singapore’s last Conviction Politician for three reasons.

First, the conditions that allowed him to be a Conviction Politician in the first place – the revolutionary Singapore of more than half a century ago – have passed into history and can never be replicated.

Second, it is unlikely that any PAP leader after MM Lee will be able to match him in the scale and brilliance of his achievements. Hence no future leader will enjoy the degree of respect, goodwill and gratitude that he elicits, resulting in people readily overlooking whatever flaws of personality or style he might be perceived to have.

Third, as Singapore becomes more connected to an increasingly complex globalised world and its leaders face daunting, unexpected challenges, they will have no choice but to sacrifice individual convictions for team consensus, in order to project an image of unity, stability and strength, both to their own people and the rest of the world. The ‘Conviction Politician’ in the mould of Mr Lee Kuan Yew will become an unaffordable luxury, an anomaly and an anachronism.

There will be three camps of thought among Singaporeans in the post-MM era, each strongly differentiated from the other: Those who would welcome the departure of a political giant who had grown too powerful to allow Singapore politics to come into its own; those who would regret that his legacy was diminished insofar as he did not become the benign, inspirational, retired statesman like, say, Nelson Mandela; and those who would bemoan the passing of a unique man who, in showing conviction in the purest sense of the word, exemplified real leadership.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dr M's Rebuttal To MM Lee Hard Truths

It is to be expected of Dr M and in his usual style & fashion, he has just launched his rebuttal to Hard Truths by MM Lee in attempt to 'right any wrong' made of him. We can choose to agree or disagree with either one but it is always interesting to watch both great men engaging in verbal sparring.

Perhaps, I am biased because I am a Singaporean, my one vote goes to MM Lee and nothing to Dr M for now.

The following is taken from Dr M's blog, titled 'Hard Truths'.
1. A new book on Lee Kuan Yew has appeared with the title "Lee Kuan Yew - Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going." It is a collection of 16 interviews with Lee Kuan Yew by Singapore journalists.

2. What is the hard truth which will keep Singapore going? It is, according to Lee Kuan Yew the vulnerability of Singapore. Without saying so in so many words, Lee Kuan Yew believes that the island's neighbours would war against it if it has no military capacity to defend itself. The United Nations would not help Singapore in the event of such an attack.

3. Even America would not defend Singapore despite the Security Framework Agreement. America went to the aid of Kuwait because of oil, but Singapore's problem is water.

4. Kuan Yew blamed me for stopping sand supply from Malaysia. I was quoted as saying, "Even at their present size they are trouble, you let them grow some more they will be more trouble." Rhetorically he then asked the journalist present, "We've got friendly neighbours? Grow up."

5. I may have said that, though I cannot remember. But is that an indication that we intend to invade Singapore?

6. Singapore had been taking large quantities of sand from the sea-bed east of Johore and also in the Strait of Malacca. As a result the coast has been eroded in places. Taking one billion cubic meters more of sand in these seas would cause serious erosion.

7. In addition the fish-breeding ground will be destroyed and this will affect Malaysian fishermen.

8. As to the trouble caused by Singapore; in the 22 years of my premiership I was not able to resolve any of the problems with Singapore. These are the Central Provident Fund, the railway land, the operation of the Malayan Railway in Singapore and the water price. Additionally the reclamation in the Tebrau Strait was affecting the deep water shipping lane for ships to and from Pasir Gudang Port. The only problem solved was the unilateral decision of Malaysia to give up the naval base in Woodlands after Singapore kept raising the lease payments. Malaysia did not ask for even a single cent as compensation for the facilities it has installed at the base.

9. As for Singapore's military planes flying over Malaysian air space, Malaysia had the right to disallow such flights for many reasons. Singapore would certainly not like to have Malaysian military planes flying over Singapore.

10. When we wanted to build a bridge to replace the congested causeway Singapore was not forthcoming.

11. All this while Malaysia had been supplying raw water at 3 sen per thousand gallons. Even to Melaka, Johore is paid 30 cent per thousand gallons. Negotiations to raised the price of water failed repeatedly. The first agreement will end this year. We will continue to supply raw water at 3 sen per thousand gallons until 2061 under the second agreement.

12. Yes, we buy treated water at a subsidised price of 50 cent per thousand gallons. We are willing to forego the supply and treat our water ourselves.

13. It was Malaysia which suggested that both countries submit claims to Pulau Batu Puteh to the international court. The court decided that the rock belongs to Singapore even though it is nearer Malaysia. But two other rocks further from Malaysia but nearer Singapore were awarded to Malaysia.

14. Malaysia's willingness to go to the International Court is hardly in keeping with a country which harbours the intention to invade Singapore.

15. Kuan Yew cried when Singapore left Malaysia. We thought that it was the separation which had saddened him. But now he tells us that it was because "I left behind tens of thousands of people who had joined our rallies". Kuan Yew might remember that despite the huge crowds attending the PAP rallies, the party won only one seat.

16. The PAP supporters immediately formed the DAP to fight the cause promoted by the PAP after the separation. The DAP is alive and well today in Malaysia. In fact it now rules Penang state.

17. But the rump UMNO left in Singapore could not survive in the hostile atmosphere created by the PAP Government. For that matter no other political party has been allowed to function properly in Singapore.

18. Kuan Yew claims all these opposition people are duds and must not be allowed to rule Singapore or even to be in the opposition. This is a frank admission that he determines who should represent the people of Singapore, not the people themselves as in a democracy. If there is any more proof needed that Singapore is a totalitarian state, this admission by Kuan Yew confirms it.

19. Now Kuan Yew is urging Muslims not to hold to the teachings of Islam too strictly. Most Muslims are in breach in their practice of Islam. But it is not for others to tell the Muslims that they should renege on their practice of Islam to facilitate integration in Singapore. In Malaysia we try to live with our differences. Our integration is not perfect because we are sensitive to the sensitivities of our people. We do not ask people to forsake their religious practices so we can integrate.

20. Malaysia has no intention to attack Singapore even if it is militarily weak. Even in my time there was no such intention. In fact we wanted to continue to supply Singapore with water, but at a fair price. I don't think my successors harbour any intention to do harm to Singapore. These are the hard truths. Competition in trade and shipping does not mean war, or a threat of war.

21. But one thing is certain: if Singapore treats Malaysia and Indonesia as its enemies then you must expect them to prepare for their defence. Even if it may not lead to war there will be tension and there will be an arms race. And much money will be wasted.

22. It would be far better if Mr Lee, the Minister Mentor of Singapore stop thinking about being vulnerable and that its neighbours harbour the intention to invade it. As with Pulau Batu Puteh, Sipadan and Ligitan our preference is for negotiation, arbitration or an international court's decision.

23. Remember Malaysia gave up Singapore peacefully. We did not try to use force to keep Singapore or to suppress its people.


Friday, February 04, 2011

Race; Racism

I was chatting with an 'ang moh' friend in a recent company's CNY dinner gathering and somehow somewhere along the line, we talked about the race issue. It was largely boring or disinterest to many of my colleagues at the table, judging from their nonchalant expressions and I found myself (a lone figure, perhaps for speaking too much) defending my position when this friend asked whether policies in Singapore, as a Chinese majority favour the Chinese over other minority races.

For ease of argument, rather to score point for me, I have to cite Malaysia or aptly so, Dr Mahathir to put forth my case. Almost immediately, I was asked by this learned 'ang moh' friend who, by the way speaks fluent bahasa Melayu/Indon to define racism when I said many of Dr M's policies during his tenureship as PM of Malaysia were (still are) race based and he, Dr M is a racist, period. Without giving much thought (I should have) and off I shot and I said, something to that extent, "Racism is favouring the majority race thus subjecting the minority races to many disadvantages." I tried to be diplomatic in my delivery, I swear I did. One typical example in Malaysia is the bumi policies which simply put me off. I would have gone on further but feared boring the rest of the diners at the table. I would like to raise the bar further with this; how would a Chinese or Indian student in Malaysia who scores more As than a Malay student in exam be denied govt scholarship which normally will go to the latter due to the quota scheme? We have read too much of such unfairness in Malaysia, year in & year out and yet, nothing much is done over the years despite promises by the embattled government.

If Singapore favours the Chinese race more by virtue of its sheer population size and in bid 'to cement the position of the Chinese', we will go downhill fast. As a Chinese race here, I have never felt a tinge of favourism lavished by our government to help only the Chinese to grow, to prosper at the expense of the minority. I could not pursue to study in Uni as my academic result sucks to the core. By my own merit, I failed and I accepted it wholeheartedly. I tried to be my own boss some years ago and I failed even more miserably. I did not have any handout or enjoy any adverse advantage from my government to save my business then. Because I am a Chinese and rightly so, my government should help me. Right, wrong??? Alas, there is no such policy like the bumi-policy in Malaysia that I could tap on, none at all. Do I blame my government for the lack of such policy, which otherwise could possibly have saved me from the brink of collapse? This is a meritocracy society and if one who has it to go far in study, at workplace, in business, it is because that individual has worked harder than his peer and also the X factor plays a vital role too. Luck is another though. I blame no one, certainly not my government. This only inspires me to work harder the next time when another opportunity arises. To survive on handouts from government only makes me lazier and not wanting to continue to try, knowing too well, I will be taken care of but on nation coffer, that is.

This is not a political message advocated by me and it is never my intention to praise the ruling party of the day. I am a Singaporean, this is an accident nation which should not be there in the first place and was not expected to survive on own for long but we did. Ours is a multi-racial society and if this nation largely favours one race, Singapore will be gone for good. Therefore, I want to categorically say I am a Singaporean first, then come my Chinese race.

I hope my ang moh friend is reading this passage of mine and I look forward to his comments (for or not).