Mon, Mar 30, 2015 - Page 8 News List

Taiwanese awareness worth more than riches

By Lee Min-yung 李敏勇

Former Singaporean prime minister Lee Kuan Yew (李光耀), praised as Singapore’s founding father, has died at the age of 91, and the question of whether Lee was the “glory” or “dictator” of Singapore has once again become a hot topic.

Singapore is a nation made up mainly of Chinese together with Malays and Indians. After World War II, it became independent from Britain and in 1963 it entered into a federation with Malaysia only to leave the federation and form an independent country in 1965.

Thanks to its English-language policy, globalization has made it an active part of the world economy, and its average per capita income is now more than US$50,000.

Leading Singapore to independence has been the greatest boost to Lee’s position in history. He studied law at Cambridge University and became a lawyer in the 1950s, which helped him bring about Singapore’s independence from Britain and Malaysia.

It is said that Malaysia either abandoned or expelled Singapore due to its underestimation of the financial and economic potential of Singapore’s Chinese society.

If both Hong Kong and Macau, two other former colonies, had continued under foreign rule, perhaps they too could have gained independence instead of being returned to Chinese rule. Due to Beijing’s deceptive “one country, two systems” policy, the glory of Hong Kong, the Pearl of the Orient, which used to shine brighter than Singapore, has faded.

China may brag about being an “ancient civilization” and a “big power” compared with Britiain, but its democratic capacity and magnanimity is much inferior to that of the UK.

Lee led Singapore to independence and glory, but the city-state’s success has been limited to economic prosperity. His political attitude reflected the lack of democratic awareness in Chinese culture, and as a result, the country is now wealthy but not free. From this perspective, he was more Chinese than British.

Former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) and Lee were good friends, but Chiang failed to build the fragments of the old China into a new country after relocating to Taiwan, leaving a politically fragmented Taiwan behind. Since he failed to resolve the problem before he died, he could hardly compete with Lee in terms of historical importance.

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and Singapore’s Lee could have benefited each other, but Lee Kuan Yew only cared about Singapore’s interests, and had no sympathy toward turning Taiwan into a normal, healthy nation. Meanwhile, since he always thought highly of himself, he was unwilling to submit himself to the talented but arrogant Lee Teng-hui, and the two eventually parted ways.

Some Taiwanese and Chinese have chosen to emigrate to Singapore, which attaches excessive importance to economic development. Its national development might be restricted if it does not review its short-sighted utilitarianism and attach significance to democratic values.

Many Taiwanese officials liked to visit Singapore in the past, but they only gained a superficial understanding by such fleeting visits and learned nothing from the Singaporeans. Now, they like to visit China and make tours to places situated behind the ranks of missiles targeting Taiwan.

Some party, government and military officials have even left the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and joined the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and their actions are absolutely embarrassing. Without a Taiwanese awareness, there will be no glory for the nation.

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