Civil control offset by economic freedom

BAN chewing gum and spitting. Now there’s something our authoritarian nanny-in-chief, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, can learn from one of the world’s most successful leaders, Lee Kuan Yew. Lee’s death at the age of 91 last week is the perfect excuse for which Motsoaledi has been waiting to justify intensified draconian control. It legitimises control of every aspect of our lives. After LKY, as he was known, banned chewing gum and spitting, his country became one the world’s most spectacular successes.

No reporter missed the opportunity, when reporting his death, to mention his authoritarian rule. Freedom House classified Singapore under him as a "flawed democracy". Early ethnic and religious riots in one of the world’s smallest, densest and most heterogeneous countries were firmly put down, and followed by extreme social engineering. Communities were forced to mix, freedom of expression was curtailed, and everyone had to learn correct English, despite it not being the language of any significant group. Punishments were severe.

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