Sat, Feb 21, 2009 - Page 8 News List

Johnny Neihu's Mailbag

The ‘Singapore experience’

Dear Johnny,

I totally agree with your article in the Taipei Times last week (“If only Singapore had knick-knacks,” Feb. 14, page 8), especially the critical part about Singapore. I studied at the National University of Singapore last year, but I gradually realized that Singaporeans’ lives are not as idyllic as Taiwanese think.

Many Taiwanese have the wrong impression of Singapore. Your article clarified what I have tried to explain to my friends who believe that the Taiwanese government should copy the “Singapore experience.” Can I share your article with my friends in my blog?

CHEN CHEN-YU

Johnny replies: As it happens, Chen-yu, we are not in Singapore, which means that if I say anything about the government that is sarcastic, unfriendly or contemptuous, I won’t have the Taiwanese equivalent of Minister Mentor Lee Kwan Yew breaking down my door, locking me up, suing my ass and lecturing me on Chinese magnificence. You can do whatever you like on your blog.

Lest I be accused of making a crude attack on that city-state’s smug Armani despots, let me say that some of my best friends come from Singapore. Now, back to the crude attack.

As the economic Leviathan hits the region, it will be interesting to see if Singapore’s working class change their tune on how their government goes about its business.

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