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The lionized city

May 10, 2011

In the Singaporean elections last weekend the ruling PAP party’s vote fell to 60.14%, from 66.6% in 2006 and 75% in 2001. The opposition won six seats, from two in 2006 and 2001. Two ministers lost their seats as well as the candidate to be the next Speaker of Parliament, only the second time a cabinet minster has lost a seat since 1963.

Reuters reports that:

Analysts suggest a greater emphasis on reducing income gaps could hit investor sentiment.

Oh dear! Poor investors.

As I write in chapter 7 of my book, even as early as the 1990s lower income-earners were becoming poorer in absolute terms, a trend which continued into the next decade. Ordinary people are clearly fed up with being left out of the so-called economic miracle while the financial sector continues to boom. Despite the electoral system being rigged in favour of the ruling party and public dissent only selectively and grudgingly tolerated, other freedoms – political, social, and democratic – have remained absent.

The country isn’t truly as magical as the international commentariat seems to think it is. Who cares about investors, when life for most people remains difficult?

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