Oh Poor Malaysia, no one from Malaysia has said anything on this thread and they're being criticised, just cos someone on this forum decided to say Malaysia yielded great influence over Singapore, Indonesia and Australia! Let's leave Malaysia alone..... And yours truly from LITTLE SINGAPORE thinks that whatever said and done, Malaysia is the most successful state with a Muslim (albeit slight) majority and we should not judge them through our own eyes and experiences as every country has its own set of experiences to learn from and build upon.
Though Mahathir has said many things off the record, he still has lifted Malaysia to being South East Asia's richest state per capita after Singapore. And bear in mind, Malaysia has a racially diverse population, spanning two land masses (East and West Malaysia)..... Singapore is a tiny country (YES AND
Irtysh-Avia (Kazakhstan)">IT IS
TINY ZEN! LITTLE SINGAPORE) compared to Malaysia and one could argue that Lee Kuan Yew was the right man in the right place at the right time and what he did to propel Singapore to first world standards in a matter of 20 years probably could not be replicated by any other person in any other place in any other circumstances.
I guess many of us are guilty of looking at other countries through our own lenses, peppered with our own prejudices and bias and in all seriousness, it is difficult not to. Our judgements and perceptions are shaped by our own experiences in the people we come into contact with, and the values our societies impart to us. For example, many Australians would find the Singaporean way of life really boring because there's not much in the way of outdoor life, and there's not much to do but shop and eat.
Likewise, many Singaporeans say that Australia is "boring" because shops close at 5.30 everyday, dining out is expensive compared to Singapore and the pace of life is generally slower, thus leading Singaporeans to think that Australia is rather "laid back". Likewise, Australians would claim Singaporeans have no life since all they do is work and save and live to work.... While Singaporeans would claim Australians don't have a life because all they like to do is enjoy the outdoors and heaven forbid, they don't shop and eat! Life is all about shopping and eating! (To me, life is all about cheap food and shops closing at 10pm! Everything else is secondary! Yes I'm that sad haha)
Every country has its own model that suits them in a particular period of time. Singapore's model of benevolent authoritarianism (whereby Singaporeans let the government do whatever they want in return for economic wealth) seems to have worked for us well, till today. Whether this system continues to work in our favour would depend on having competent people in charge, because, in our system without checks and balances, a competent administration like the one we have now can run the country effectively, but in the event it turns corrupt (in the traditional sense of the word, one could argue that the Singapore government has no need to turn to conventional forms of corruption since it controls nearly every aspect of the economy - remember that perfect information flow to the government means absolute power!)
Qatar has its own form of government that serves it well at this point in time, as does Malaysia, Thailand and every other country in the world. Perhaps East Timor and Iraq might be notable exceptions.
The fact is, we are all at our own stages of development and as a people we decide how our country is governed. As citizens of whatever country we reside in, we should seek to have a stake in the governing of our own country, without being overly critical of countries around us. Lee Kuan Yew, for example, seems to love advising other governments, especiallly developing ones, on the wonderful Singaporean way of governance, but perhaps he should realise that the Singaporean way of government only works in circumstances unique to Singapore.
Many of us, when visiting other countries or are exposed to other cultures, would inevitably compare those countries to our own, perhaps to reassure ourselves that our way of life is good, or that our way of life is the one that suits us best. Some of us may have superiority complexes (as many Singaporeans do when they visit neighbouring countries. "Oh how lucky we are in Singapore.... we have this and that..... unlike our impoverished neighbours" many Singaporeans love to say). Based on what I've read, The Singaporean papers love to speak of how lucky Singaporeans are compared to Malaysia, the Malaysian papers speak of how lucky Malaysians are compared to Thailand, the Thai papers speak of how lucky Thais are compared to the rest of Indochina etc etc
I'm guilty of that sometimes, and I'm sure many of us from the developed world are. Many westerners are very critical of Singapore and cannot comprehend how a supposed "dictatorship" can deliver a standard of living compared to leading western european nations. "You are rich but you have no freedom. We are rich AND
have freedom" many would like to say.
Perhaps we can all agree to disagree when comparing how various countries are run. If there were a perfect model and solution to everything, the world would be a rather boring place won't it!
Right, I shall end my monotonous prattle right here!