Western Democracy won’t work in Singapore

This is the party line towed by Singaporeans when Journalist Articles mention the restrictions to human rights and civil liberties in Singapore.

First of all, what is “Western Democracy” ?
I was under the impression that Democracy is Democracy.
According to the dictionary this is what it means

government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.

If you know what a “Western Democracy” is, please by all means, leave me an explanation in the comments. Is it like “Western Confucianism” or  “Eastern Epicurean-ism” Whatever that means.

Seriously though, is the democratic facade in Singapore such a thick veil that it’s hard to see for the average person? If you think 9 opposition seats out of 99 is a democracy, you probably don’t understand what a democracy is.

How are issues supposed to be debated when almost the entire parliamentary body is made up of a single party that covers for and supports one another? That is neither “western democracy”, “eastern democracy” or democracy. It’s what we call an Echo Chamber.

In otherwords, it’s an autocracy, “government in which one person has uncontrolled or unlimited authority over others; the government or power of an absolute monarch” the opposite of a democracy where the masses govern, here you have an elite person or an elite group deciding what’s best for the masses. 

I’ve long said that Singaporeans are unable to think for themselves and often rely on the government to think for them, well this is what 50 years of autocracy has done to the people, it’s damaged us as a society, a society that tries its hardest to silence dissent and keep its citizens free from thought.

It’s time for change, it’s time wake up Singapore, do you remember your Singaporean pledge, the part where you say “To Build a Democratic Society”, do you actually mean it or do you just say it because the Principal in your school makes you recite the pledge?


“In nation after nation, democracy has taken the place of autocracy.” – John Charles Polanyi


2 thoughts on “Western Democracy won’t work in Singapore

  1. Tim Ogilvy says:

    Nice! It’s complex – in Australia our democratic process means we have Tony Abbott as our Prime Minister, and he’s more of a running comedy than a leader… but in some time, we will get rid of him, and swap him for someone else – possibly just as crap.

    The only way democracy works in any country is if citizens stay vigilant, and are prepared to speak and act to keep things on track. Excessive comfort is therefore the enemy of effective democracy, and the most effective way for an authoritarian government to retain power is to keep the middle class broad, and comfortable.

    I read this quote the other day:
    “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” – Winston Churchill

    Churchill still believed in democracy, but he knew it to be flawed and complex. Actually there are things that run deeper than democracy, and which are fundamental to it – the principals of social responsibility, and the value of kindness. If we believe that we have the power to affect the lives of others, and we hope to use that power constructively, the rest follows.

    My limited knowledge of Singaporean society is that for people who happen to fit the middle part of the Bell Curve, life is good. For people who are a little bit different, it seems that’s “too bad”.

    People say that collectivism and submissiveness are an Asian trait, and that individualism and rebellion are a western trait. People also said that African Americans were less able than white Americans, and history, and the American Civil Rights movement proved them wrong.

    Western individualism when it comes in the form of unbridled capitalism and greed, to me is certainly as bad as any kind of authoritarian regime. Since the internet became dominant, we are much more citizens of earth, and much less citizens of any one nation. I do hope that humanity can find a path forward based on kindness, compassion, and insight – regardless of how we structure the monolithic bureaucracies that we design (to varying degrees of effectiveness) to serve and unite us.

    Here in Australia we do have our ridiculous stigmas and crappy authoritarian history, but for the most part, nobody really cares. I think we are more lucky than we know. We also stand to lose a lot of that if we are not vigilant.


    1. Thanks for the reply.
      Yeah Tony Abbot is a joke but the alternative is, Julia Gillard remained in power for an indefinite amount of time and I think that what the Americans have, where presidency expires after 8 years, needs to be applied to prime ministerial roles for countries where the PM clearly holds more power than the President, like yours and mine and England

      Basically the idea of the same person being in such an influential role is dangerous. Just look at my country, state controlled media and press, restrictions of basic human freedoms and other atrocities.

      And I fully agree with you, politically vigilant citizens are a key role in democracy, mandatory voting is the tool of oppressive where they rely on the ignorance of the masses to silence the critical few.

      That’s right democracy if democracy is left unchecked it’ll just devolve back into an autocracy, more on my thoughts here

      Your knowledge on Singaporean society is mostly correct, except for one minor detail.
      The ruling govt party is trying to do away with the middle class, so theres a clear elite ruling class and a lower working class.

      It’s basic Stalin 101, Keep the rich happy and content and they wont revolt, keep the poor too busy surviving that they don’t have the time to revolt.

      Don’t even get me started on how ignorant Singaporeans can be about religion and ethnicity.
      I have a hard time explaining to many that I’m not muslim since many think that race and religion are one in the same. It’s really no surprise they coined the term “Western Democracy”.

      Australia learned from her mistakes, from Stolen Generations to Pauline Hanson and is still learning which is a sign of a progressive nation, ours on the other hand is a complacent nation set in the old ways thinking we’ve already got it settled, theres no need to improve, other than financially.

      My sentiments on the future of humanity are aligned with yours 🙂


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