What you need to know
Singapore is achieving a diplomatic coup that the PAP's rule does not deserve.
Am I proud that Singapore is hosting the Trump-Kim summit tomorrow? No, I am not.
Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) is a self-serving party. They sell the idea that they are playing their part for “world peace” but if it is peace they genuinely believe in, the PAP would not persecute its own citizens, sue, charge, or imprison them, or harass them and cause them to lose their jobs.
The PAP is only interested in playing this role because it puts them on the map. It allows them to cover-up their authoritarian ways on the pretext of being a “peace-believing” negotiator.
At the end of the day, does the PAP hope that North Korea will truly transition into becoming a peaceful country, like Norway or Sweden? It does not. The PAP hopes that North Korea will emulate the “Singapore model”, which the PAP has carefully crafted -- under which the party and its cronies become rich, and Singapore “appears” to be rich but in reality its citizens suffer from inequality and poverty. As many as 35 percent of Singaporeans are estimated to be living in poverty, according to a Singapore Management University handbook on “equality, poverty and unmet social needs”.
The PAP hopes that if North Korea becomes like the Singapore they have created, another country would legitimize their rule, which will strengthen its governance model against attempts to bring about a truer form for democracy, which the PAP despises.
After the talks are over, it would represent success for the PAP if the North Korean regime decides to not only give up its nuclear weapons, but become another Singapore, which the PAP could then support with a view to developing an economy based on crony-capitalism.
Just look at Malaysia. After the fall of Umno, the coalition that governed under former Prime Minister Najib Razak, PAP supporters kept up a steady stream of criticism of the new Pakatan Harapan government.
There is the perception that Umno, as much as it is corrupt, would make Singapore look better if it had managed to cling to power. Academic Donald Low, who departed his post at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in April, said: “Ultimately though, I think the reason many pro-Establishment people want to see the Mahathir government fail is that they seem to be doing everything that our Establishment says cannot or should not be done.”
The White House should know better than to acquiesce to this arrangement and offer assurance that Singapore has been selected as the venue for the meeting for reasons of security and neutrality.
When Singapore hosted talks between China’s President Xi Jinping and his Taiwanese counterpart Ma Ying-jeoh (馬英九) in 2015, it was China that wanted a third country to validate their worldview -- to convince the world that the CCP was trying to be a “responsible” world leader intent on engaging Taiwan peacefully.
The truth is that the then-Kuomintang government in Taiwan was more than willing to be a lackey and with the PAP also willing to sellout, China was able to use Singapore to apply a veneer of respectability while trying to bring Taiwan into its fold. But with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) now in power in Taipei, China has shown its true colors in refusing to negotiate on cross-Strait issues and aggressively squeezing Taiwan’s diplomatic and domestic operational space.
The PAP is not genuine about wanting to help countries gain peace -- the way we understand universal peace, where there will be no wars. The PAP is at war with its citizens constantly and uses a fear-based model to overpower their opinions and ability to act. "Vote for the opposition, and Singapore will fail," as the ubiquitous PAP messaging runs.
So, no. I am not proud. I would be proud if this was Norway or Sweden, or Finland, where I know my government listens to and respects its citizens, and truly practices democracy -- at least much more so than in Singapore -- and which would aim for equality and high salaries not just for its allies and close supporters, but for all citizens.
The PAP is not that. And their ideals are impure.
After this summit, will there be great change? Maybe. Maybe not. China ended up being even more overbearing after coming to Singapore.
But for the sake of world peace, truly, I hope that Trump and Kim make their deal, and that human rights are at least discussed, as mandated by U.S. law, when the two leaders finally meet.
The News Lens has been authorized to report this article.
Editor: David Green