Pandas can be dangerous if provoked

It’s interesting that the behaviour of pandas quite accurately mimics their country of origin. China is ostensibly opposed to colonialism and interference in other countries’ domestic affairs, but hypersensitive and emotional when provoked.

China’s proposed loan of two pandas to Singapore has turned out to be quite a diplomatic coup for them — and probably a commercial coup for the Singapore Zoo. It has made it to the headlines in local media, invited a letter to the press from a Singaporean gushing over the communist state’s gesture, and one local was quoted in the papers as saying that her “liking for China definitely went up a few notches”.

While I agree that this was a nice gesture by the Chinese government and speaks well of the state of bilateral ties, it would also be prudent not to get completely bowled over by this.

Continue reading “Pandas can be dangerous if provoked”

Singapore’s national interests vis-a-vis China

Our national interest is to see a growing and prosperous China that is at peace with its neighbours and the rest of Asia. But China may not be the benevolent power that it has been claiming to be for the past 10 years.

As expected, Lee Kuan Yew’s recent speech to the US-ASEAN Business Council, where he encouraged the US to engage more with Asia to counter China’s growing might, evoked fierce criticisms by netizens in China of not just the Minister Mentor, but of Singapore as well.

Some belittled our geographical size, while others said that MM Lee had treated the Chinese as outsiders although they had treated Singaporeans as “among their own”.

I previously wrote about MM Lee’s speech and supported his views. Those less in tune with Singapore’s foreign policy may have been under the misimpression that Singapore welcomes China taking the lead in Asia, politically and economically. We don’t.

Continue reading “Singapore’s national interests vis-a-vis China”

Balancing an emerging dragon

I think Lee Kuan Yew’s speech to the US-ASEAN Business Council in Washington on October 27th is an important read for any Singaporean who is going to live to see the next 30 to 40 years in this country.

He was basically appealing to American leaders to get more involved in East Asia than they have been in the recent past. He warned them against ignoring this region, because doing so would risk allowing China to replace them as the pre-eminent power in the region.

Continue reading “Balancing an emerging dragon”

Chinese leaders afraid of losing control: LKY

I would encourage my fellow citizens who have a heart for people and a passion to bring change for the better to Singapore, to count the costs, and then step out and be counted. If more of us step out and live out our passions in life, it is really the ruling party which has to fear losing the control they have over Singaporeans.

Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew gave an interview with Charlie Rose, which was broadcast on Bloomberg Television on October 22nd. The interview covered mainly the rise of China and India, and their relationship with the US.

While the discussion hardly touched on domestic Singapore politics, Mr Lee did reveal some of his thinking which has undoubtedly shaped the actions of the Singapore government.

Charlie Rose had asked how communications, technology and the flow of information will impact China. Mr Lee said that the Chinese leaders were “watching the Internet very carefully” and paying attention to what people think.

Continue reading “Chinese leaders afraid of losing control: LKY”