Singapore and China, in history

Chinese national identity has long been considered to have been an obstacle to Singapore’s nation-building efforts. This is mainly because China was suspected of using its ethnic links to encourage Singapore’s communist rebellions during the 1950s and 1960s as Lee Kuan Yew was working towards establishing the city state. This study reviews Lee’s exchanges with Beijing and argues that he gave China the impression that he was building an anticolonial, pro-China nation. Beijing therefore responded positively to Lee’s requests for support. Reiterating its overseas Chinese policy to Lee, Beijing sided with him against his political rivals and even acquiesced in his suppression of Chinese-speaking “communists.” In addition, China boosted Lee’s position against Tunku Abdul Rahman, supported Singapore’s independence and lobbied Indonesia to recognize the territory as a separate state. China thus actually played a helpful role in Singapore’s nation building.

That is from Philip Hsiaopong Liu, via the excellent Kevin Lewis.

Comments

If this true this would add to the many parallels between the founding of Singapore and the founding of the State of Israel. The many socialists in leading positions in Israeli politics in the 1940s is said to have given the Russians hope that Israel might enter the USSR's sphere of influence and this is said to have caused the Russians to support the establishment of the state or at least to limit its efforts to impede it.

So the plan is to tell Communists you are doing x, while actually doing y? That’s a plan I can get behind.

Exactly so. Lee was very clever, called his party the People's Action Party, at first gave every indication that he leaned that way. But on independence he kept the statues and names of the colonial past, kept the court system and rule of law, basically kept the core of the British system but with egalitarian socialism-light pragmatic social policies, and censorship and limited democracy. The ultimate pragmatist. He disdained ideology. He got along quite well with both Deng and Reagan.

Respond

Add Comment

It's not just telling communists that. Just look at what China has been telling the world versus what it has been doing.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

"he gave China the impression that he was building an anticolonial, pro-China nation"
Lee is smarter than the average bear. China also realistically knows they are limited in influencing city-state which was just far enough away from its true sphere of influence. While Lee's model of state capitalism with some socialism is the one influencing China, Singapore has become more democratic while China has moved towards authoritarianism. Hong Kong wouldn't be protesting if China behaved more like Singapore.

Watch Lee run circles around the baiting American press which was very much agenda driven in the then as now:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VexrmTacOAA

Respond

Add Comment

Doesn't really seem to make the case that Chinese government influence was too important, and to the extent it does matter, only for the rise of Lee not building a "national identity".

Respond

Add Comment

Did Malaysia get those Goldman Sachs bankers yet? I like that Southeast Asians (and Icelanders) can do what most of the weak-willed West cannot do and that is carry out justice against fraud. Trump for a so-called populist has done nothing to imprison the corrupt elite of Wall Street for their economic crimes and lies against the American people. Why is the country fraying at the seams? Look no further than Manhattan.

Even better than imprisoning bankers, Iceland refused to burden its citizens with huge debt to cover foreigners' losses in Icelandic banks. The EU creditors were placed with all in line to collect as the assets are liquidated.

The Swiss also apply criminal laws against banksters. In America, no. For which they pay a lot of protection money.

The crimes and lies (financial fascism) presently slamming the American people started in 2009 with the Fed and US government choosing to enrich Wall Street and too-big-to-fail banks while abandoning ordinary Americans. See near-zero interest rates and QE's (holding down LT and ST rates).

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Conversely Lee convinced Deng to try market-based reforms and was thus immensely beneficial to China.

Respond

Add Comment

Meanwhile, we allow Red China dictating our national identity, using our movies to preache totalitarianiam, to fool America's youth. It is unacceptable. Investigate Disney!

I wonder how many people Red China has bought to make sure its aggression against America's political institutions remains mostly unremarked and unacted upon by the key players? I think it has become obvious that a vast, powerful fifth column is operating unchecked in our country. For much less, patrotic Americans have once threw British stuff at the sea. It is a time for action. Boycott Disney!

I can tell you that. When I was young, America was a different country. I doubt such outrages would have been tolerated then.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

When one thinks of Singapore, one thinks of its sovereign fund (actually three separate sovereign funds with distinct mandates, Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC), the diversified and largest fund (its size is a state secret), the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), effectively the central bank, and Temasek, initially the vehicle for state-owned companies but now with a broader mandate to invest in equities). Singapore's sovereign wealth funds played a central role in Singapore’s nation building; Yew's paternalism survives him.

These are professionally managed, highly regarded investment vehicles, not the pocket book for corrupt politicians, with a long history during which the funds developed close working relationships with some of the most successful private funds in the world; insiders say the relationship with Bridgewater (GIC was an early investor) goes back to the days when Ray Dalio answered his own phone. Because GIC invests for the long-term, management is not under pressure to produce immediate results. That isn't to say that Singapore's sovereign funds have it easy, not in today's investment environment with very low yields; sovereign funds are subject to the same market forces as private equity, it's just that the funds don't have demanding shareholders to please.

Why do I mention Singapore's sovereign funds? To point out that Singapore has a mixed economy, neither China's nor America's but unique as the city-state that is Singapore. In America, we don't do sovereign funds. Not yet, anyway. In America, private equity funds the enormous losses of tech's next big thing. At least they have funded the losses. In his column today, even Ross Douthat, not an economist and prone to predicting the future, predicts the end of those heady days for tech. What comes after? Is America capable of a professionally managed sovereign fund, or is America so corrupt and so cynical that Singapore's great success is beyond reach?

"In America, we don't do sovereign funds."

In America, we have, among others, the Social Security and Medicare trust funds, which by law can only invest in US debt instruments.

In fiscal, monetary and trade matters, America can do as it pleases. The dollar is the World's reserve currency and it can print dollars. Aye, there's the rub. One day, the World will not accept the dollar. Then, the Fit hits the Shan.

I want the fist to hit the Han!!

The worse it gets, the better it is.

What is to be done?

Exterminate All The Brutes!

The horror! The horror!

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Of course, there is no trust fund: the 1980s payroll tax increase was just a partial offset to the income tax cut for wealthy Americans. That it was all a sham is confirmed by the attempt to do it again many years later. I've made this point before: we are the fake nation, with fake news, fake trust funds, a fake president, fake tech, even fake orgasms. America even has fake blogs, fake in the sense that what one reads on the blog is not what's being said. There was a time we called deception for what it was: propaganda. Today, we give it a scholarly name.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Lee Kuan Yew, aka Harry Lee, was a highly intelligent chap and a remarkably adroit politician. The combination isn't common I suspect.

Respond

Add Comment

Singapore would benefit from a 25% increase in the annual number of live births.

Respond

Add Comment

If you believe this I have a bridge to sell you.

Respond

Add Comment

Lee Kwan Yew would not have been the remarkable politician he was if his interactions with China were this simplistic and transparent. This description could be a piece of the whole or it could be pure BS, but you can be 100% certain that the actual back and forth and the real motivations of both sides can't be found, verified, nor explained so easily.

Respond

Add Comment

Seems like doublespeek to me. China and Chinese were the barrier until China believed it had an ally accepting it as the superior in the relationship.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment