An Open letter to Mr Patrick L Smith

When I was younger, I wanted to be an investigative journalist. I want to expose people who didn’t do their jobs well. Why was I obsessed with exposing these people of their misdeeds?

When I was nine, I argued with a Form teacher, a Mrs Paul. She made me stand in front of the class, facing the blackboard. The reason for my argument? I was reading a book with these lines, “…when he was sleeping underneath a tree, a spirit came up to him and tore off his genitals.” [a story by Catherine Lim). Mrs Paul insisted that I was reading pornography. Sheesh.

When I was 10, my Form teacher (a Madam P) slapped a classmate (a girl by the name of Shankri) on the face because Shankri was speaking to me. I was the one who was favoured and had perhaps, caused Shankri to be hit. Bad teachers and examples I’ve had.

Today, I am reminded that journalists hold a very important role in societies. Well, at least in societies where people are generally educated and have an interest in the true well-being of their countries and communities.

***

My country’s founding father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew passed away on 23 March 2015. It was a loss that affected even the most stoic and critical Singaporeans I know. It was indeed a watershed moment for Singapore. Perhaps, it is Election year. Whatever it may be, the late Mr Lee’s contributions to Singapore begun from 1959. There is a Chinese term, “没有功劳也有苦劳” / Even if there were no rewards, there were efforts made.”
Today, I came across an article on The Salon, Lee Kuan Yew is finally dead — and America’s elites are eulogizing a tyrant and psychological monster. I wish no journalists will ever take Patrick L Smith as a role model because his article carries nothing but his bitter tales when he was living in Singapore which couldn’t be more wrong. Smith’s words were made of sweeping general statements which are unfounded, false and misleading.

Half-truths are the worst because it feeds the weak minds with poison while pretending to be an antidote.

***

An Open Letter to Mr Patrick L Smith:

Your words, Mr Smith, show how misinformed and out of touch you have been since you’ve stepped foot into Singapore. Whoever you hung out with when you were in Singapore, i am sorry that you had such a bad time in Singapore. Yes, the career didnt work out. After all, one’s credibility and reputation as a journo is everything, isn’t it? The FEER was interesting only for its narrow perspective (never seen such bad journalism ever) and let’s be truthful,  it wasn’t quite as honourable as you made it out to be. Your words do not value-add to making your readers any more well-informed but are laced with your pompous point of view as if you have had any experience running a nation without any resources nor support. Seeing many readers commenting on how well your article is written makes me worried about their sense of judgement and the future of their children’s/companies’/countries’ well-being and future.

As a Singaporean, I will urge you to not try to interfere with how we Singaporeans judge our politicians and founding leader. You did NOT know why the Late Mr Lee was hard on the Barisan Socialis. Please don’t speak as if you were in Singapore during the tough times we had when the Malaysian Federation deal fell through. Tough choices had to be made then.

You said, “Singapore’s tragedy is that its people allowed one man to humiliate them as deeply within themselves as Lee did. This is the hole they may have a chance to climb out of now. We will have to see.”

Truth be told, I am proud to be a Singaporean. There was never a hole of humiliation. We were protected and given the tools to succeed on any world’s stage. We, Singaporeans, do very well what we decided we can be good at.

Perhaps, Humiliation was what you went through – using mistruths and disinformation in order to sensationalise whatever publication you were with then. Singaporeans have never been more proud to have a founding leader and father in Lee Kuan Yew. Yes, we do have our issues with our Government (but bad food isn’t one of them as one commentator mentioned. Poor fella. I wondered what he ate!) but we will manage our domestic issues, thank you very much. We don’t need any foreign journalists trying to tell us what is right or should have been. We are thankful for the “no-life” (as what another commentator claimed Singapore is. To each his own, i will say) because who would want drama and guns in our lives? That is the reason why we build Changi Airport and have one of the world’s  best airlines in the world so that we get to travel in style to see what the world has to offer.

We don’t have to prove how we live our lives by Western / Caucasian standards. These standards mean nothing to us, Singaporeans.

The saddest thing about your article? You had a paragraph about how Mr Lee Kuan Yew reminds you of someone who “beats his charges with a bag of oranges so the organs are ruined but the bruises do not show” – how unoriginal. I’ve seen that line somewhere in an article about Tiananmen in 1999. Your stories were untruthful and meant to paint a negative image of Mr Lee. His bodyguards and drivers (I happen to know one of them) and they spoke of a man who was strong, disciplined and fair.

We will climb out of any troubles Singapore may face in the future because we are Singaporeans made resilience by Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s fiery brand of passion, strength and commitment in times of needs.

Please don’t quote theoretical ideologies as if they were indeed, best practices business cases. Show me a country which have had a perfect leader first, then tell me what your solutions may be for the problems you claim Singapore have?

Lastly, quoting Amos Yee and egging him on just tells me how your blinkers have not been removed from when you were in Singapore.

Mr Lee Kuan Yew may be seen as a “tyrant and psychological monster” to you but he was only acting towards people who are equally tyrannical and psychologically-unbalanced with their points of views. Humans react to what they are treated with, fair point?

Please, mind your own business and let us Singaporeans grieve.

Yours Sincerely,

Rene

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