Crikey’s
item from Nick Tymms about Singapore yesterday is an example of
precisely how Singapore operates – it gets its well-paid foreign
ciphers to do its promoting for it.

Tymms didn’t mention that he
is a PR executive for Ogilvy, in Singapore, and Ogilvy has had
Singapore state-owned companies as its clients.

The Straits Times
has NOT had front-page stories about the Nguyen matter and it pointedly
does not run Amnesty International’s criticism of it, now or anytime. I
have never, in several years of being based in South East Asia and 20
years of coming to Singapore, seen a such thing. It is patent nonsense.

He
says “the media plays a role in state affairs in Singapore,” but this
is mealy-mouthed evasion, typical of PR spin. The media is
state-controlled in Singapore. There are numerous anecdotal examples of
the Lees literally directing ST editorial, even writing some of
it. It does not operate as a fair mirror to society, as he describes;
it functions as the government’s daily gazette on how Singaporeans
should conduct their day and what is acceptable to think about.

The
average Singaporean, who is Chinese, mid-40’s, monolingual, untravelled
and lives in a state-provided flat and if he follows the news at all,
has never experienced any media apart from the stuff served by the ST
Group, be it in Chinese or English, Malay or Tamil, if he could speak
them. It is highly unlikely he would ever have heard of Nguyen Van
Tuong and if he did he would think him Vietnamese only anyway and thus
not worthy of further consideration, in the Asian hierarchical scheme
of things.

And it is these people, the so-called Singapore
heartlanders, that the Lee family are most concerned with as they
provide the basis of support. Wealthier Singaporeans, the so-called
cosmopolitans with their noses in the state trough, are beneficiaries
of Lee’s golden ricebowl and thus have no interest in spilling it. In
any event, their vote can be tracked because Singapore’s “democracy”
has numbered ballots.

The majority of Singaporeans are neither
in support, or not in support, of the death penalty – they simply have
not been asked. Independent opinion polling is banned in Singapore.