ed’s response to an Irate Indian on ‘ethnic Han’ singaporeans....n ed finally retires from this issue
funny you touched on this subject recently in your blog, i was thinking about it too about a week ago.
i believe that human rights will not be respected by societies in which the majority are ethnic han because of their affinity for confucianism. therefore all the efforts of the UN, opposition parties etc. are pointless and futile. a tiger can't change it's stripes.
pushing for human rights in singapore is like trying to convert a muslim to a christian - a dangerous activity. Its a no brainer that most singaporeans (mostly the chinese) are far right in political alignment. This is due to their confucian culture, an ancient forebear of fascism. the malays and indians have been confucianized as well. pap engineered this society thusly, for their personal benefit and gain. having socially engineered a far right society which supports their policies of detention without trial, isa, no human rights, forced conscription, forced savings, death penalty, and their far right ideology of authoritarian fascist capitalism, they have no problems as a far right party getting elected by the far right (chinese) majority and therefore win each election.
Therefore it it pointless and futile to push for human rights in a nation whose majority have clearly rejected such ideas outright as evidenced by the polls. Its like a christian evangelist knocking on the door of a muslim house and saying to the owner who answers the door "have you allowed jesus into your life yet?". You're dealing with an arrogant, ultra-conservative (far-right), unimaginative and pig-headed people who are convicted in their beliefs and in the superiority of their far right authoritarian ideology over modern democratic systems of goverment; people who have been brainwashed and engineered over thousands of years to reject human rights and equality the way a catholic rejects satan and all his deeds on easter sunday ritual mass.
This is just my opinion on this subject. I think that it would be interesting to explore the link between confucianism and fascism, and i have searching the webs for such information. I think that chinese (what you call legalist confucian) culture is the ultimate fascist culture; the truest and purest form of fascism which was around long before it was thought of in the west. I believe that with their authoritarian far right culture honed over centuries of monarchs and top down management, subjugating the rights of the individual to the rights of the collective, the chinese not only invented fascism, they perfected the art of fascism long before hitler or mussollini were born.
when was the last time you met a chinese liberal democrat? aren't almost all the chinese all over the world you have met socially conservative and authoritarain in their dealings with others (far right)?
what do you think?
I think the main reason why 'human rights' aren't really respected in Confucian societies is because we are using the western idea of human rights amongst a people who sort of have a different sort of humanity that doesn't require said rights. If people are self-absorbed enough, the collective need to stand up for the rights of all, for those on death row, etc, etc, disappears. Hence, 'to be human' simply means not doing that which might elicit punishment. In such a society, those whom have their human rights contravened are those 'whom ask for it' 'because they know the consequences' of their actions'. They view our 'knowledge of the law', and our breaking it as justification of our punishment.
The rights and wrongs of the law, or the meaning of justice, doesn't come into it. It's no wonder that people in such a society seek nothing but the right to choose between one kopitiam and another, or one 'smartphone' and another. The freedom to express themselves isn't important as they have been underdeveloped enough to not have anything to say about anything significant, or anything significant to say about anything that doesn't pertain to their self-interests. Hence, you can say that Confucian societies do have human rights for the kind of 'humanity' it develops - or 'underdevelops' would be more accurate.
Even if the society is largely 'ethnic-han', that doesn't necessarily mean that they will automatically promote and practice confucianism, or be the victims of a legalist-style government. When you look at singapore in the 70s and 80s, even though the majority were 'ethnic-han', they weren't really like the singaporeans of today. They had a sort of inferiority complex that made them realise that a more multiculturally and western-induced culture was superior due to its ability to make more of them creatively, intellectually, and humanity-wise. This introspective movement was headed by the english-speakers who spurned 'being as their ancestors'. They had no affinity with China, India, and in essence, saw themselves as singaporeans - meaning, the product of the fusion of all local cultures and that of the west (both british and american culture). Of course, as you know, this evolution was smothered in the cradle by the pro-confucian government.
So you're not wrong in stating that the singaporeans of today are 'far-right' in alignment. In a way, you could say that most of s.e.Asia is 'far-right' as a consequence of their kicking out the colonialists because they were 'white' and putting their own 'native-born' oppressors in place. India too went the same way, but, thankfully, its multicultural and relatively democratic history saved it from becoming another China. As for China, with their legalist-confucian culture, enforced since 221 b.c., they predictably became fascist in character. But they don't really realise it as the rest of the s.e.Asian region is in a way 'right' in their nationalist stance - nationalism is a lesser version of fascism. So because of this, the chinese aren't really given a really non-fascist alternative. And with their inward-looking and traditionalist culture, they wouldn't really take the west as a role model as they aren't s.e.Asian.
You won't find much discussion on the web on the link between fascism and confucianism. I'm one of the first to really go into great detail regarding the subject. It is up to the academics out there to pick up on this and come up with more systematic analyses on the subject. That might happen in the future as most of s.e.Asia falls under the Chinese sphere of influence - as i predicted some time ago in various articles.
I'm with you in believing that these train of events can't be stopped, but what has to be said has to be said. Hereon, i'm not going to focus much on this issue anymore as i've said much of that has to be said with regards to the fundamental problems afflicting s.e.Asia in this respect. I'm not focusing much on more 'practical' issues, and haven't done so in the past, because to do so is to imply that things can still be improved despite the unjust foundations of society. That isn't true. When the foundations are flawed, negative consequences are inevitable. People coming up with new ways to get around these problems might lessen its impact, but they will still be dumbed down by it, and become lesser than they would if they had addressed these fundamental issues.
I suggest that you don't allow the singaporean experience to impose a ceiling on your own development. To just focus on these issues and be frustrated all the time, and seek solace in the trivial, is handing singapore its victory. Personal victory is not to be found only in fighting an evil, but in becoming more despite the ceiling it places on us. Even if nobody appreciates it, you have still won - think along the lines of 'Edward Scissorhands' in the final scene where he still does his beautiful ice sculptures whilst hidden away in his house on the hill. At the end of the day, if you aren't doing what most in the country aren't doing, then you have become singaporean in persona, and all your gripes about it would simply be because you can't be exactly like them in being able to access all the motivational and 'practical' advantages that they can. Keep more company with more intelligent and creative people via the net, exposure to other ideas, the problems and artistic/intellectual achievements in other climes and times. Than you can truly say, 'I'm despite singapore', instead of, 'I'm because of singapore'. This is not just an advice to you, but a reminder to myself.
I wish you the best.
A final word by ed on the subject, and the journey.
It’s been quite a journey. I knew that there were much issues to be addressed with regards to singapore, but when I started in 2005, i forced myself to focus on global issues, not only out of concern, but because i realised that the more we focused on others' problems, the more perspectives we are going to get to analyse our own. I realised this from my earlier years of focusing on my friends’ problems, and appreciated how their varied problems enabled me to acquire perspectives that I wouldn’t have if i just focused on my own. That made me more adept at solving more people’s problems, and even my own. Later, i applied this approach in handling singaporean issues by first focusing, as stated, on global affairs.
After 3 years, in about 2008, i turned back to singaporean affairs and moved from being the ‘heretic’ and ‘inquisitor’ (as I was known in previous sites or articles published in other parts of the world), to, simply, ‘ed’, with ‘edsperience’, and then, ‘according2ed’. I didn’t focus so much on ‘practical’ issues as to do so, as stated in the above letter to John, it would be tantamount to sweeping under the carpet the other evils in singapore society - xenophobia, racism, self-absorption, economic opportunism, legalism-confucianism, etc, - and allowing these evils to keep producing more evils that we’re either going to spend time clearing up perpetually. And besides this, we will inevitably become lesser people due to fundamental ‘philosophical’ issue being unresolved. So, I had to write about said fundamental evils even if i didn’t always like doing it.
The reason I forced myself to do so was, firstly, I recognised the greater potential of all singaporeans regardless of race as i had witnessed the fruition of these potentials to an appreciable degree in the 70s. I also knew that if these comparisons weren’t made, this potential would be lost - as was the spirit of the Chou era in Chinese history after it was displaced with the legalist-confucian spirit from 221 b.c. If I knew things and didn’t say anything about it, i become part of the problem and i can't remain blameless. Hence, at the price of popularity and mass oppositional appeal, i took the lone path toward a greater truth. Not easy. But more fulfilling. And anyway, the path of the true ‘Inquisitor’ is not paved with accolades but with thorns and spikes emerging from mass ignorance and desire to go with the familiar. I was well aware of it, but s/he who knows, has to transmit it, whatever the cost to oneself. Hence, no regrets.
Thankfully, albeit quite unfortunately, I hadn't allowed myself to be underdeveloped by the status quo. If i had, ignorance would have delivered bliss, but would certainly not have absolved me from suffering its consequences. It's just that ignorance would have led me to attribute the causes of local evils to overarching causes as opposed to fundamental ones. Well, if its a choice between being underdeveloped and having bliss, or not being underdeveloped and frustration, i'd still choose the latter. It's better to be more and have no one to appreciate it than to be less and be appreciated by all.
It was a difficult journey as, being a victim myself of this state of affairs, and feeling this even more given my relatively higher skills in quite a few arenas than any chinese i've ever encountered, it was difficult to continue being objective about the issue. However, thankfully, the objectivity and good intentions prevailed most times. From a sociological point of view, i must say that i relished the opportunity to study this state of affairs despite my being victimised by it. I cannot say that i bear no animosity toward most chinese, but I can say that my appreciation of their potentials to be more tempers this animosity with hope and understanding, and hence, extracts enough negativity to prevent it from turning to pure hate.
So what had to be said, for the good of all singaporeans, has been said. There probably is more to be said with regards to the fundamental and problems. But that is for another whom is given that gift to see further, or who stands atop my insights to build further upon it.
I have to thank V who has supported me the past couple of years in this enterprise, and also Mark and Ang, whom, in recent months, had given this issue their empathetic support despite their being able to just ignore these issues as they themselves aren't victimised by the status quo. That makes them pretty exemplary - unlike my other 'friends' whom have generally ignored this issue because it doesn't affect them.
The articles with regards to this situation will remain on a2ed for reference and direction by future inquisitors, or those whom, regardless of race, seek to better singapore from the ground up.