Singapore at 50: the country the Philippines could only hope to be

The late great Singapore Elder Leader Lee Kuan Yew (LKY) wrote about the obvious in his 2000 book From Third World to First

A precondition for an honest government is that candidates must not need large sums of money to get elected, or it must trigger off the cycle of corruption. Having spent a lot to get elected, winners must recover their costs and also accumulate funds for their next election. The system is self-perpetuating. To be elected to Taiwan’s legislative yuan in the 1990s, some KMT candidates spent as much as US$10-20 million. Once elected, they had to recoup and prepare for the next round by using their influence with government ministers and officials to get contracts awarded, or to convert land use from agricultural to industrial or urban development. In Thailand, a former government minister described it as “commercial democracy, the purchased mandate.” In 1996, some 2,000 candidates spent about 30 billion bahts (US$1.2 billion). One prime minister was called Mr. ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) because he was renowned for dispensing cash to candidates and voters. He retorted that he was not the only ATM.

Today, 15 years after Mr Lee’s words appeared in that seminal book that recounted “The Singapore Story”, we sadly see his message continue to be wasted on countries like the Philippines where the aspiration to “eliminate” corruption resounds during every election with so much irony. Indeed, every one of those elections (where virtually every candidate trumpets one “eliminate corruption” slogan or the other) is an anti-thesis of LKY’s simple “precondition for an honest government”.


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It therefore remains quite baffling that many Filipinos continue to look to their affluent neighbour forlornly and wonder why their country remains at the bottom of the heap while a resource-poor pipsqueak of a city-state populated by the descendants of indentured labourers mainly from China and India booted out of the Malay Federation in 1965 towers above the rest today. What did Singapore do that the Philippines could not?

Sour-grapers deride Singapore as being merely “lucky” to be a small easily-managed country that happened to have been continuously led by a single brilliant visionary. It was all luck, see. But then the Philippines, too, was a lucky country. It was “blessed” by an abundance of natural resources and physical beauty and remained secured for the most part of the several decades following its independence in 1946 under the military umbrella of its former colonial master, the United States.

Unfortunately for Filipinos, history tells us today that while Singapore expertly capitalised on its “luck”, the Philippines all but squandered its “blessings”.

Suffice to say, it takes more than an ounce of imagination to envision a promising — but realistic — future for one’s country. And Lee had pounds of imagination to underlie his vision for Singapore from the very beginning when he and his ministers “made sure from the day we took office in 1959 that every dollar in [state] revenue would be properly accounted for and would reach the beneficiaries at the grass roots as one dollar, without being siphoned off along the way.”

Compare this resolve to be in it for the long haul armed with a clear strategy of how to achieve one’s vision with the way Philippine presidents today routinely fail miserably to articulate a strategy and a plan to execute it over a mere six-year horizon. Instead, Filipino politicians see six years not as a period to execute a plan but more as a payback period for moneys invested in winning elections.

Perhaps this is the reason why Philippine elections have never been about the real and pressing national issues and the solutions candidates stand for. Rather, Philippine elections are more about candidates’ winnability. The winning is the whole point of the exercise and not about whether or not the candidate is qualified to be president. The result — Philippine-styled “democracy” — is a sad perversion. In his Huffington Post article Philippines’ Survey Republic: Popularity and the Making of Presidents, Richard Javad Heydarian writes…

Philippine elections are sometimes more like a beauty pageant than a serious public affair. It is mostly about selecting motherhood statements, (numbing) jingles, and catchy buzzwords, which will resonate among voters. Not to mention, the power of family names — especially in a country that sometimes looks more like a collection of little kingdoms and unruly dynasties under a weak emperor, rather than a modern, egalitarian society.

It highlights the confronting fact about Filipinos’ political prison of their own making:

If Filipinos cannot take their elections seriously, they cannot have a basis to aspire for good government.

The administration of President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III is enough proof that elections won on the bases of clever slogans and catchphrases alone will not make the Philippines a better-governed nation. President BS Aquino rose to power in 2010 on the back of clever catchphrases — his Daang Matuwid (“straight path”) doctrine that underpins his lyrical election slogan “Kung walang kurap walang mahirap” (“Where there is no corruption, there will be no poverty”). But while these slogans so effectively resonated with an electorate that has long been incapable of thinking beyond the heady circus of Philippine-style elections, they were utterly useless in the midst of the job at hand to govern a nation of 100 million people. Writes LKY in his book as if he were alive today to witness the circus unfolding yet again in the Philippines…

It is easy to start off with high moral standards, strong convictions, and determination to beat down corruption. But it is difficult to live up to these good intentions unless the leaders are strong and determined enough to deal with all transgressors, and without exception.

The late Filipino comedian Dolphy once quipped after being asked if he would be willing to run for president (a sure winnable at the time on account of his vast popularity): “Running for president is easy. But what if I win?

If only the Philippines’ presidential candidates — and those of the future — were as reflective as these late great men.

60 Replies to “Singapore at 50: the country the Philippines could only hope to be”

  1. People always thought the other side of the fence is greener. Have you ever been to Singapore? I have stayed there for 5 years and got a good grip of how unhappy and dissatisfied Singaporean are with their Gov’t. The international news are all praising how Sg got everything in order, disciplined, clean, crime free, etc. etc but who would dare to stage a demonstration against a Gov’t that has no problem putting anyone in jail by just thinking about it?

    I’m not saying that Philippines is better at all but freedom is not free and Filipinos are paying for it dearly.

    1. Depends of course on your definition of “freedom”. In the Philippines, the most basic aspiration of building a society where “everything [is] in order, disciplined, clean, crime free, etc” is already beyond Filipinos’ reach but is something that Singapore achieved in 40 years.

      So if you ask Filipinos, what flavour of freedom do they prefer, (1) freedom from crime and filth, or (2) freedom to “stage a demonstration against a Gov’t”?

      Filipinos have the latter by the bucket load. But would you be able to say hand in heart that ordinary Filipinos lead a life of true freedom?

      1. Well Benigno, I don’t know if you are aware of the communist theory of government, it is the greatest concept so far imo, the problem is most people prefer to live their lives the way they like – it’s human nature.

        To answer your question, Philippines is poverty stricken but they are free to better themselves, get some education or skill, find a job, start a business, they can do anything they want within the law and if they choose to be a bum and live like rats, they have no one to blame but themselves.

        1. Sorry Hugh, but that simply isn’t so. The Filipino may be free to riot on the streets, but he’s not free to do any of those things you mention. Just try starting a business and see how far you get. If you are middle-aged, try finding a job that doesn’t stipulate (quite legally) “age 25-40”. As for education: you’ve got to be kidding me. Read the Law: you’ll be quite surprised to find out what’s “within the law” and what isn’t.

          Certainly there are many ways that (say) a poor farmer can better himself without putting his head above the parapet; but the entire society is geared towards making sure that he doesn’t.

          The sad thing is that Filipinos LIKE it like this. They enjoy being stupid, with no demands placed upon them. It’s comforting, in a perverse way, to be able to blame your own failures on an incompetent government.

        2. @marius, the only job I know that doesn’t have age limit is a call center job. A very toxic environment I should say.

          @Hugh, nice sweeping generalization you have there. Prolly because you are well insulated from the dumbfukkery plaguing us ordinary people.

          Filipino society is like a hammer. It keeps pounding the nail that sticks out.

        3. anon: call centres are normally run by non-Filipinos (it’s one of the few types of business that foreigners are permitted to run). Europeans and Americans generally find age-discrimination either pointless or distasteful.

          Personally, I’d want to hire the person who can do the job. Someone in their 40s is normally at the top of their game, so I can’t understand why Filipinos would want to exclude them. Maybe employers (bosses) are afraid that an expert will show up their own mediocrity?

        4. @marius, last time I checked, there is no Philippine law restricting anyone doing the things I enumerated above. I agree that the practice of corporation to only employ the 25-40 is tough to swallow but you know what, since we are talking about Sg on this thread, it is also the case in Singapore.

          @anon, I was not all insulated from the dumbfukkery you’re referring to, I have lived there in my younger years – seen it all.

          @ChinoF, I never said it’s easy, nothing is easy in life. Whether you are in Philippines or New Zealand, success requires a lot of work, time, energy to get there.

        5. Oh, there are Laws, anon.

          Read the Tax Law. It’s a nightmare. It reads like it was written by Idi Amin when he was 12. If you want to comply with all that when starting a business, you have to be rich to start with; and then you have to get richer, because the taxman will be around within 30 days to demand tax money that you haven’t earned yet.

          Now read the Anti-Dummy Law. If you can even make sense of the wording, you’re a better man than I am.

          Now try interacting with the bureaucracy, which just does its own thing. Laws? They don’t need no stinkin’ Laws. It’s an absolute shambles. You have to run hither and thither to get a license from this guy and a stamp from that guy, and if you don’t there’ll be some other guy coming to shut you down or demand ‘fines’. It’s a full-time job.

          All of this nonsense is what DEFINES a third-world country. It’s what MAKES them third-world. If people are wasting all their time chasing bits of paper and official stamps, they’re not running their business. The average person concludes it’s not worth the effort; he decides he might as well just sit outside the sari-sari store drinking and waiting for the local bigwig or foreign NGOs to do stuff for him. And in a way, he’s right.

    2. Perhaps you’re looking at only one part of Singaporean society that feels its culture is repressive. If you’re looking at Steph Micayle’s “Why I’m not Proud to be Singaporean,” what she complained more of is “artists” like her (a singer) not being appreciated by a society that values mathematicians and scientists, and policies that are more favorable to immigrant workers than the locals. Also, think about it; why are immigrant workers like us Filipinos flocking there? Because peace and order are better there than in the home country and they get paid better? There’s a context for that. Perhaps, for us Filipinos, we feel more free when we’re properly fed and paid.

      There was also something raised before: aren’t Singaporean children, who were raised never knowing poverty or hardship, spoiled brats and are the ones complaining?

      1. While it is true the some Singaporeans are spoiled brat and have entitlement issues, most of them are highly educated and hard workers to a fault, still the towering cost of living is driving them crazy consequently the upturn of suicide in Sg.

        1. And in being highly educated and hard workers, as well as compliant to their leader’s rules, to good manners and to honorable behavior, they still made a country that the Philippines could only hope to be. Obviously, there are Filipinos who don’t want to come homee from there because of the peace and security they find. High costs are sometimes the price to pay for that.

      2. I can understand the anger and the frustration about the current situation of the Philippines and tend to envy other countries like Singapore. But Singapore is for the rich in the like of Mark Zuckerberg. Ordinary highly educated Singaporeans are suffering from depression and so much hate against foreigners . Hatred built by their dissatisfaction over the government yet the only thing they can do is to suck it up and keep their mouth shut.

        Every Filipino I have talked to in Singapore doesn’t want to live there for good, they are only there to work and save or gain some work experience then move to USA or Canada. Most Filipinos there are living modestly, noodles and cheap food.

    3. anon: call centres are normally run by non-Filipinos (it’s one of the few types of business that foreigners are permitted to run). Europeans and Americans generally find age-discrimination either pointless or distasteful.

      Personally, I’d want to hire the person who can do the job. Someone in their 40s is normally at the top of their game, so I can’t understand why Filipinos would want to exclude them. Maybe employers (bosses) are afraid that an expert will show up their own mediocrity?

  2. This article (in Dutch; copied from the website of the Dutch national broadcaster, NOS) doesnt sound very positive regarding Singapore.

    Title of the article is:
    Has Singapore’s magic formula come to an end?
    Is Singapore’s toverformule uitgewerkt?
    Gisteren, 17:51 Buitenland
    Door Azië-redacteur Floris Harm

    Vuurwerk, militaire parades, een speciale SG50-bonus voor alle 82.000 overheidsdienaren van 330 euro en een doos SG50-LEGO voor de kinderen: Singapore pakt uit vandaag want de stadstaat is 50 jaar onafhankelijk. Het is het hoogtepunt van dit jubileumjaar, waarbij Singaporezen er nog eens van worden doordrongen hoe bijzonder hun stadstaat is. De westerse bezoeker wordt misschien een beetje iebel van zo veel vaderlandsliefde, maar in Singapore zijn ze maar wat trots op hun land. Dat komt mogelijk doordat velen van hen zich nog herinneren hoe het was in 1965.

    In dat jaar kwam Singapore alleen te staan, na een mislukte unie met Maleisië. Singapore had geen grondstoffen en was zelfs voor zijn drinkwater afhankelijk van zijn buurlanden. En dat terwijl de betrekkingen met Maleisië en Indonesië op zijn zachtst gezegd gespannen waren. Er waren rassenrellen en armoede: Singapore is kleiner dan de Randstad, met een complexe bevolking van Chinezen, Maleisiërs en Indiërs. Onder leiding van ‘Vader des Vaderlands’ Lee Kwan Yew kwam Singapore erbovenop. De economie werd in hoog tempo omgevormd. Daarbij werd goed gekeken naar het buitenland. Zo werd Singapore’s enorme overslaghaven geënt op de Rotterdamse haven. In 1965 was het bruto product per hoofd van de bevolking 500 euro. Nu is dat 55.000 euro: meer dan 100 keer zo veel. Lee’s beleid was pragmatisch. Wat werkte werd beloond, wat de vooruitgang in de weg stond werd aangepakt met boetes. Met niet aflatende propaganda werd de nationale eenheid van alle Singaporezen erin gehamerd.

    Baken van welvaart
    Ondertussen werden de mensen opgevoed: niet spugen, geen rotzooi op straat, geen kauwgom. En nog steeds. Het verbod op gokken is sinds de opening van een casino vervallen. Maar alleen buitenlanders mogen gratis naar binnen. Singaporezen betalen ruim 65 euro entree. Om ze tegen zichzelf te beschermen. Anno 2015 is Singapore uitgegroeid tot ‘Asia-lite’, zoals The Economist het noemt: een baken van welvaart en orde in Azië, waar veel landen te maken hebben met corruptie, armoede of politieke instabiliteit.

    Maar er is een keerzijde. Want Singapore voelt voor de bezoeker misschien vrij, een volledige democratie is het niet. Er zijn verkiezingen, en er is oppositie. Maar die heeft het niet makkelijk. De pers schrijft braaf op wat de regeringspartij wil, bang voor een rechtszaak wegens smaad. Demonstraties zijn er weinig, wegens strenge beperkingen. Daarom spreekt The Economist van ‘democracy-lite’: een autocratie met democratische trekken. Misschien is dat ook wel het geheim van Singapore’s succes: een autoritair bestuur zonder de daarbij gebruikelijke corruptie en machtsmisbruik. De People’s Action Party, die al sinds 1965 onafgebroken aan de macht is, heeft de verleiding weerstaan om alleen zijn eigen belang te dienen. Maar sommigen vragen zich af of deze toverformule nog lang blijft werken. Voor jongere generaties kan de bedilzucht van de overheid beklemmend worden. En tijdens de laatste verkiezingen bleek dat kiezers de regerende PAP niet onvoorwaardelijk blijven steunen: 40 procent van de stemmen ging naar de oppositie.

    Daarnaast begint Singapore tekenen van een midlife-crisis te vertonen, die veel welvarende landen doormaken: een sterk vergrijzende bevolking en gemopper op immigranten die het dreigende arbeidstekort moeten aanvullen. Desalniettemin zijn de vooruitzichten voor Singapore gunstig. Met een hoogopgeleide bevolking en een van de grootste havens ter wereld zitten ze in de perfecte positie om te profiteren van de groei van landen als China, India en Indonesië. En met een voorkeur voor pragmatische oplossingen is de kans groot dat Singapore de uitdagingen van de komende 50 jaar aankan.

    1. Thanks Robert, the article is 101% true. One thing more, I find the caning extremely barbaric but to say so is a crime.

      1. And look where that “barbaric” act got them now. You know what’s that called? Discipline and Filipinos as a whole are sorely lacking of the stuff. The society is too soft and forgiving, the people are letting impeached crooks back into office. That says a lot about Filipinos and their tolerance of corruption.

  3. It is really a Vicious Cycle. Politicians spend money in an election. He/She wins the election. He/She must Steal to take back what was spent in the election. He/She Steals more…for the next election, and for himself/herself… Recycle some of the Stolen Money, to buy votes. Give gifts to voters as: “tuyo”, rice, sardines, noodles, etc…The Vicious Cycle goes , on and on and on…

    Unless, this Generation can Break this Cycle. There is No Way the Philippines can go , from being a “basket case ” of Asia to a First World country…

  4. To wage a presidential campaign today, you need:

    Salary of watchers nationwide during election day: Php 8 billion – that is about USD 177 million thereabouts

    Minimum for TV ads, paraphernalias, sorties, etc: minimum Php 5 billion – that is about USD 110 million thereabouts

    Salary of President: Php 1,950,000 per year x 6 years is Php 12 million which is 0.01% of what he spent getting elected. He basically has to get back from kickbacks Php 13 billion during his term to break-even, unless he already got it in his previous positions.

    No wonder none from the private sector who are straight and competent would even entertain going to government. It would be a most insane move.

    System is just stupid, stupid, stupid.

    1. For TV ads, paraphernalias, etc.
      Senator — about Php one billion
      Congressman — about Php 500 million

      If he is independent, and does not have Php 8 billion, then he has no watcher during election day. He is likely to be cheated.

      Those within the party need not worry about Php 8 billion as the watchers of the Presidential candidate will also take care of them.

    2. Which is also why:

      (1) the Philippines’ archaic bank secrecy laws will never be amended even if these had proven to be a hindrance to Aquino’s own persecution of former Chief Justice Renato Corona; and,

      (2) national budgets will never be truly free of pork barrel and members of Congress will never be barred from being involved in pet projects (and made to focus exclusively on legislation which is their core responsibility).

      It is a vast system designed to abet politicians’ goal to claw payback from the national coffers and private business to recoup investment in expensive campaigns.

      1. Still think Corona was persecuted,huh? That is laughable, what did he lose? a little face? A POS P70,000/month job? It was a charde to hide what was happening at the time, the DAP scam and the rest of the thieving that takes place on a usual basis.
        it was proven the guy was paid to reverse a supreme court decision BUT that part of the impeachment complaint was dropped immediately prior to the trial(TRIAL?HA !),why could that be? If that is what constitutes a ‘persecution’ what would the jailing of a real world ‘bribe-taking’ offense by a public official be considered?

        1. Corona was the target of corruption. Nuff said. The impeachment was simply a kangaroo trial meant to dispose of a political enemy. It had no anti-corruption substance in it whatsoever.

        2. I bet you’re one of those malicious and vindictive failipinos who only believe on what the media always told you and prefer trial by publicity because you’re too emo for not knowing laws that must be followed you DooFuS.

  5. Binay, in that sense, is formidable. His watchers come from the Alpha Phi Omega Fraternity and are not just after their salaries, but are dedicated to their frat brother. It is a well oiled political machine. Their effectivity was already proven in 2010.

    We may be looking at a Binay presidency by 2016; LP s machinery quite fractured at this point. Shows you really a fumbling management. They think everything is all about bribing, and yet there they are accusing Binay having a tongpats mentality.

  6. I don’t understand why they say PNoy is not corrupt. Corruption is a two way traffic, giving and receiving. He bribed Senators during Corona trial and Congressmen during Merceditas impeachment. That is same as Binay getting tongpats from the parking building.

    1. Which is worse the one influencing events or the one being influenced; the one with agenda or the one yielding to greed? Same, same? Parepareho lang?

  7. Like the previous comment, it is a bad cycle that the Philippines has gotten itself and it contributes to so many factors both systematic and societal.

    The key to improve and secure our country’s future not just laws but more on vision, will and even discipline but if the people are either too ignorant or in our own terms. “Tigas na ulo” at “Bahala na attitude”.

    My exaggerated guess when we will reach first world, maybe 300 years??

  8. Breaking the habit is the most difficult to do, I just realize, ALDUB is not the first kalyeserye, but every election is a kalyeserye, voting is a no brainer because common people’s benchmark is who is the most popular at that time. It is painful to watch politician trying so hard to sing or dance just to convince voters, or ads where they are showing off those people that they have allegedly help like slapping us that here is what weve done, but to selected few? We can’t just put the blame on this politicians, but also to the voters who also is a part of creating this twisted standard of election campaigning.

  9. The 1987 Constitution put every kind of safeguards so there will no longer be a repeat of Marcos. Per experience now, the elimination of the two party system has ensured that it is either a stupid incompetent, or a competently corrupt, President who gets elected. Worse, they even become dictators, without declaring material law, just by controlling the budget. Stupidity could even be a worse form of dictatorship than a Marcos, an LKY, a Suharto, a Park Chung-Hee, or a Deng Hsiao-Peng, because there is no sustainable development; macro economy could look good, but it is really just based on a bubble, which will be allowed to burst a day after he leaves office; everything is run by irritating propaganda; lives could also be lost via negligence; education is totally neglected and population is dumbed down; nation could lose geographic territories; passport of citizens could be a shameful thing to carry bcuz if the pres is stupid then the people must also be stupid; media is also all about stupidity; disappearance of money sent by countries during typhoon like Yolanda; ENDO becomes institutionalized; (fill in the blanks)

    1. I concur with add. the 1987 constitution made the government a money making machine instead of focusing on governance. now look at us, pathetic. the “tuwid na daan” will go a long way up to 2056. ambagal. by the time we reach that year the oligarchs will be the billionaires of southeast asia (that’s what they want) while the common juan can just enjoy playing video games while overburdened by credit/loans.

    2. Sigh. Depressing and hopeless, but true. It is almost as if the PH needs a complete overhaul if we want to get change going (say a magnitude 7+ earth quake that will kill off 60% of the affected areas? I won’t mind not surviving so long as I know nature dictated it so) Mediocrity and incompetence is so deeply ingrained in our society that it affects everything from a micro to a macro point of view, and it seems there is no way to get rid of it especially when well-meaning, educated people are outnumbered by the stupid, arrogant, ignorant and educated-but-douche-bags-from-head-to-toe, 10:1.

  10. I consider Singaporean culture one thing. For example, I’ll compare these. When a Singaporean couple finds prices are rising, they don’t have children. When a Filipino couple finds prices are rising, they beget so many children, hoping at least one of them will be their ATM to cope with rising prices, without thinking that they have to feed and make these children grow first (provided they don’t die from the complications of poverty yet). Different way of dealing with reality, different results.

    1. I had a good chuckle on this one but hey,bloggers like you might help some Filipinos to make the intelligent choice, so hope you’ll write something similar to your comparison on here.

  11. Failippines politics is the ruination of the country. Elect one for life, then they won’t have to cater to any interest. If you elect one party to power, why the other party don’t do any useful work for the next 6 years, only try to work some scheme to get back in. But if they were elected for life they wouldn’t have to worry. The minute a man knows he can’t get a political job, he may turn to something useful. A business that’s doing well don’t change people every 6 years. A man don’t no more than get into the Malacañang and learn where the Ice Box is than he has to get out again, then he is never any good for hard work again.

    A cool blooded and crafty Failipino politician, when he would be thoroughly revenged on his enemy, makes the injuries which have been inflicted, not on himself, but on others, the pretext of his attack. He thus engages the world as a partisan in his quarrel, and dignifies his private hate, by giving it the air of disinterested resentment.

    In the struggle for supremacy the various political parties outdo each other in trickery, deceit, cunning, and shady machinations, confident that the one who succeeds is sure to be hailed by the majority as the victor. That is the only god–Success. As to what expense, what terrible cost to character, is of no moment. If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power.

    A politician don’t steal elections, he pays for ’em. The only way to reform a politician is to hang him.

    Indeed, Failippines politics is the food of sense exposed to the hunger of folly.

  12. LKY’s quote suggests the USA is in big trouble 😉

    >> Suffice to say, it takes more than an ounce of imagination to envision a promising — but realistic — future for one’s country.

    It seems to me that Filipinos do have a vision for their country. They want it to look exactly like it does now. It’s already perfect. Pinoy Pride!

  13. The Singaporean city-state is a paradise on earth where big business and international bankers thrive thanks to tax breaks. It also is a second “Switzerland” where secret bank accounts are deposited by benevolent leaders from around the world. The British-educated LKY was part of the elite, perpetuating himself to become a leader in the 1950s with help from his circle of friends. The elite were a scared of their pants of the growing communist movement after ww2 in Asia. LKY was smart. He learned different languages, such as “Bahasa Malay” and Mandarin to communicate with his constituents. He was also a bit of a racist. He once said, “blacks on average score 85% on IQ and it is accurate, nothing to do with culture. The whites score an average 100. Asians score more”. LKY established ties with the British whilst in England. The British would be more than willing to hand him power in 1959. Singapore developed as the gov embarked on a capitalist-oriented policy in the economy. Infrastructure was developed, the workers’ union controlled. It’s strategic location would be handy later on for trade and money-flowing. Politics, ofcourse, were controlled. In the 1960s, LKY had political opponents arrested. When the communists were being butchered in Indonesia in 1965, LKY was still more than happy to meet the anti-communist Suharto who was a general at that time. LKY never forgot the working-class people however, for he had housing built which were to be paid with pensions or a relatively high wage for workers of international companies. With a high-quality education sytem and an army modernized with aid from the US and Israel, what could go wrong? Freedom of the press suppressed in the name of efficient flow of profits. A parliamentary system distorted by LKY’s People’s Action Party (PAP). And today’s rising costs of housing, out of reach of working-class Singaporeans, a result of quantitative easing by the US in the markets.

    1. Can you think of any paradise on earth or elsewhere in the known universe where old people in 60s,70s and even 80s collecting cardboard boxes and cleaning tables at food courts just to survive? You might still find paradise in some parts of the Philippines if you can forego electricity and live close to nature. Finding paradise is a highly subjective venture.

  14. “Kung walang kurap walang mahirap”

    Let’s be specific just so we know who or what the real hindrances for progress are.

    “Kung walang kurap na gobyerno, walang mahirap na Filipino.”

      1. I agree to that, ChinoF. Corruption in the country is not limited to the government but take place on a national scale in that corruption involves bribery, incompetence, crime or illegal activities. It can happen anywhere and may involve anyone. Like what was said in one GRP Shorts, “The problem of the Philippines is Filipino.” Only there’s bigger damage when the authority who should be controlling it are the ones perpetrating it. The oligarchs and the government are able to amass the Philippines wealth, the first by owning basic services and resources, the latter by budgetary allocations.

  15. Excessive costs for campaigns? – that’s easy

    Here’s a proposal. Make the PH a federal state with a parliamentary system. Campaign costs will then be limited to a regional scale instead of nationwide. Campaigns will be through the internet to lower the cost. No printed material, ads, and billboards will be allowed. Public assemblies will be sponsored through state sanctioned debates, fully funded by govt. elections will all be done through the net from the comfort of your homes. All results will be made fully public – the tally for each barangay will be transparent for any third part to verify. Each voter will just need a pin code to verify his authenticity. Platforms will all be a minimum requirement to be a candidate. A series of surveys leading to Election Day will narrow down the field to the top 10 candidates. All campaign expenses will need to be reported to the government. Any violations to the campaign ceiling will be outright disqualification.

    Ok here is the reset button for the PH constitution —–> [DU30]
    Press at your own risk

    1. I see that Cesar Virata was elected as PM in 1981, without showbiz or entertainment personality but with government and policy and military.

      Waiting for Con-ASS Cha-Cha of the 1987 Const. as an amendment to see French-style Parliamentary system.

  16. We already have small Singapore- like states within PH like Subic Freeport, UP Diliman- Quezon circle area, the Fort, Ayala center, Rockwell center, mall of Asia area, Tagaytay, camp john hay. So all you have to do is to connect these states via a special road system free of traffic and you will actually feel like you are in Singapore already.

    You can actually trick your mind to think you are living in Singapore by limiting yourself to these upscale COD (clean orderly disciplined) areas. Just mingle with Zaxxun-minded people and you might just do pretty well happily living the life in the PH.

    Once in a while you can go down to the Ghetto areas to go on mission trips to help the poor by indoctrinating them with the world-class mindset. But for the better part of your life you can be practically insulated from the eyesores and stupidity of dumb Filipinos that make most of the place a hellhole that it is.

  17. The Philippines blew its chances of being an economic powerhouse that could have rivalled Japan and dwarfed Singapore post WW2. Now the best the country can possibly hope for is to play catch-up and it would maybe be better to play ‘THROW UP’ and literally ‘PUKE’ the leaders that are the entrenched oligarchies out of the country. The confiscatation the properties ala Henry VIII in the 16th century half a world away in the process (as a ‘theft against the people’ type scenario) and the country MIGHT have chance at crawling out of the sewer (certainly grabbing the 170 bank accounts held in foreign banks by the corrupt-as-shit gets Marcos family and bestowing it upon the rightful owners of these accounts,the Filipino nation, would go a long way towards improving the mess of a country that is left in the wake of these thieving scumbags.).
    The one thing that is laughable is the lauding of Lee Kwan Kew as single-handedly lifting Singapore out of the slum it once was.Please, the Man was a figure-head, maybe a much needed figure-head too as the people needed a fellow Singaporean to lead the way and may not have been so willing to follow the path laid out by the engineers of the creation of this Island country: The British and their Banks. Most notably Barclays, RBS and Lloyds of London. Without these entities all of the accomplishments attributed to Lee Kwan Kew would simply have been pipe dreams that could never have been realized.

    1. “The British and their Banks. Most notably Barclays, RBS and Lloyds of London. Without these entities all of the accomplishments attributed to Lee Kwan Kew would simply have been pipe dreams that could never have been realized.”

      Don’t see them doing the same in former African colonies.
      Yes, without LKY, all these entities wouldn’t even have had a chance.

  18. Let’s vote for the right leader and support him/her with all! He/she shall do this things. Duterte, Santiago, Bongbong will.

    1. Voting isn’t enough. The people themselves should comply with laws of the lands and be courteous and considerate of others. If they’re not, and if they think they have the right to scam others, then no matter who the leader is, it will amount the nothing. Singaporeans understood that, and were law-abiding. To Filipinos, the law is just a suggestion, and so a good and easier life for them is just a suggestion.

  19. If Davao continues being such a disciplined, clean and well-run city, maybe it will become a city state in its own right and maybe show the rest of the nation that change is possible, and success is eminently achievable, not just at an individual level, but at the level of a city, and a state.

  20. hugh mentioned suicide seems harder to find exact suicide rates for the Philippines for some strange reason than for Singapore, wonder why?
    Also, just as every country has some form of corruption, every country must have some degree of graffiti and vandalism, indicators of meaninglessness and alienation.
    Here in CDO, I have seen very little graffiti, so draw your own conclusions.
    It is up to all of us individually to aspire to integrity and virtue in our own lives, because by doing so, we spread our light to the larger society.
    But just as there are ‘failed states’, so there are ‘failed’ individuals, but such setbacks are only temporary: the state of permanency arises when there is a sufficient enough tipping point that the rule of law no longer applies in general, anarchy prevails, no one is safe, not even the elites, money flees permanently overseas, the only viable industry in piracy and kidnappings, and the country is easily invaded because no one can be bothered enough to stand up for it any more.
    We in the Philippines are far from that stage, but given enough despair and wanton violence and depredation, it remains a possibility, as it is for any ‘modern’ society.

  21. Plain and simple. Sg is progressive w the rigt implementation of laws and people are law abiding. Philippines on the contrary is opposite to it. Look at all progressive nations and see what they have in common which largely the Philippines lack – discipline.

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