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Rachel Lu

Humor – Singaporeans: What Do You See?

We at Tea Leaf Nation don’t usually venture out of our comfort zone and “meddle in the internal affairs” of a country we have no knowledge about. However, we can’t help but share this image, tweeted by Chin Yee Koh (@许振义), the Director of Asia Directorate at National University of Singapore, on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter. 

Professor Koh offers a pre-emptive disclaimer to would-be critics: “Fans of [modern Singapore founding father] Lee Kuan Yew, please don’t shoot me, I’m also a fan of Lee.” Chinese netizens, however, appreciated the self-deprecating humor and found more to chew on. @great-simple commented, “Thought-provoking, and we can see ourselves in this too.” {{1}}[[1]]耐寻味,从中也能看我们自己。[[1]]

Netizen @宋祥律师 wonders, “Singapore, Taiwan, Korea and Myanmar all started down the path away from despotism. Some have gone quite far and some are just starting. Are we about to embark on this journey too?” {{2}}[[2]]新,台,韩,缅等都是从同样的集权时代走出来的,只是有点走得远一点,有的才出门。我们也快上路了吧[[2]]

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Rachel Lu

Rachel Lu is a co-founder of Tea Leaf Nation. Rachel traces her ancestry to Southern China. She spent much of her childhood memorizing Chinese poetry. After long stints in New York, New Haven and Cambridge, she has returned to China to bear witness to its great transformation. She is currently based in China.
  • ClausRasmussen

    Why do westerners see Singapore as communists ?

    In the West, Singapore have a reputation for being one of the most capitalistic communities on the face of earth.

    • eeeee

      Haha I love the sarcasm! Singapore is actually quite socialist. Its ruling party has never lost power since founding the modern state.

      • ClausRasmussen

        I was not sarcastic.

        That the ruling party have been in power for so long is not a sign of a socialist system, but rather an authoritarian system. The Japanese LDP party, for example, was in power for 50 years but you would not call them socialist.

        • eeeee

          Yes, the party being in power was in addition to the economic policies of Singapore being socialist.

        • eeeee

          By the way…look at the land use/ownership policies of Singapore. Also just curious, would you consider Denmark or Finland socialist? I’d say they’re pretty socialist.

          • ClausRasmussen

            I am in fact living in Denmark :-) And no. I don’t call Denmark/Finland socialist but rather social-democratic. If Singapore is a socialist country, then most of the capitalistic countries in this world is socialist too and then the word “socialism” loses its meaning.

            However, the question was not so much about the degree of _socialism_ but why singaporeans think that westerners think that Singapore is _communist_ (there is a difference) ?

            I have never been to Singapore and is by no means an expert on the country. But I am living in a western country and have a good understanding of western political thinking, and I can tell you that the Western world consider and admire Singapore for being a model capitalist country.

    • Alnedra

      I think it’s more a reference to the fact that many westerners think Singapore is a part of China. I got asked that a few times in UK, whenever I answer that I am a Singaporean.

  • ClausRasmussen

    Why do westerners see Singapore as communists ?

    In the West, Singapore have a reputation for being one of the most capitalistic communities on the face of earth.

    • eeeee

      Haha I love the sarcasm! Singapore is actually quite socialist. Its ruling party has never lost power since founding the modern state.

      • ClausRasmussen

        I was not sarcastic.

        That the ruling party have been in power for so long is not a sign of a socialist system, but rather an authoritarian system. The Japanese LDP party, for example, was in power for 50 years but you would not call them socialist.

        • eeeee

          Yes, the party being in power was in addition to the economic policies of Singapore being socialist.

        • eeeee

          By the way…look at the land use/ownership policies of Singapore. Also just curious, would you consider Denmark or Finland socialist? I’d say they’re pretty socialist.

          • ClausRasmussen

            I am in fact living in Denmark :-) And no. I don’t call Denmark/Finland socialist but rather social-democratic. If Singapore is a socialist country, then most of the capitalistic countries in this world is socialist too and then the word “socialism” loses its meaning.

            However, the question was not so much the realities of Singapore being a socialist country or not, but why singaporeans think that westerners think that Singapore is communist country ?

            I have never been to Singapore and is by no means an expert on the country. But I am living in a western country and have a good understanding of western political thinking, and I can tell you that the Western world consider and admire Singapore for being a model capitalist country.

    • Alnedra

      I think it’s more a reference to the fact that many westerners think Singapore is a part of China. I got asked that a few times in UK, whenever I answer that I am a Singaporean.