Today, I’d like to talk about a country I’ve really discovered this year. To be honest, before last August, I didn’t know a lot about it. In fact, I just knew that it is a small island, in South-East Asia, near Malaysia and that one of the most important people there is Lee Kwan Yew who built a new society, a new conception of civilization, but I didn’t know what it was. Hence, my knowledge about Singapore, I considered to be the Monaco to Asia, was not so rich, and I was ashamed because of that.
So, this year, in my school, I met two citizens from Singapore. I won’t talk about them, since I refuse to talk in details about anything concerning my life, but, what I can say is that I’ve been surprised by their view of the world. I don’t want to judge what they think, but finally, I understand what a shock of civilization is. This small country is seen as one of the most authoritarian of the world according to a “Western biased view”, but, and this is quite important, is one of the most developed country in Asia. Why do I want to talk about this country? Because it is maybe the one which “frightens” me the most, the one I understand the less. I really respect their economical development, the efficiency which is considered as a value there, but, and that is the most important for me, I disagree with the deeds of the Singaporean government and the laws there. For instance, criticizing the government is a crime, like consuming drugs or being homosexual. For all these “crimes”, the “criminals” are punished by death or are sent to jail for a too long time or are tortured etc.
I don’t think I’m intelligent enough and I know enough about Singapore, that is why I want to qualify my speech, not to say blunders. However, I can’t agree with the relativist speech I hear all the time. Of course Democracy, well, the Western vision of Democracy can’t be applied everywhere since every civilization is different, since every culture is different, since every country has a different history, a different past. I agree with that, and as I said in a previous article, I don’t agree with the Neoconservative goal to spread the US democracy all over the world in order to reach the “end of history” as said the philosopher Francis Fukuyama. I’m very afraid of that. But the contrary is scaring too. How come can somebody deny that the respect of the Human dignity, of the Human Rights is a universal value, in not only a western value? Saying that means Human being don’t have the “same value” according to their nationality. That is not my point. I understand that some people can consider the US and European actions to spread democracy, or their model or democracy, as a new version of colonialism, and I quite agree with them. What the Bush administration has done in Iraq or what France and the United-kingdom have done in some country in Africa like Togo or Kenya is very reprehensible, and maybe more. So, my point is not to say if a country doesn’t share the same values as mine, it’s a frightening country. Of course not! Nevertheless, I can’t really approve the fact that a government tries to shape the people’s mind, to teach them that the only thing they need is the economical growth and that they have to sacrifice their freedom to reach this goal. It makes me think to the doctrine of Hobbes, I completely disagree with, which pretends people prefer to sacrifice their freedom instead security (or economical growth in this situation).
I know I often talk about Universal Values, about democracy, about Human Rights. I assume it is boring, but I want the reader to know I’m very convinced about what I say, but, that I’m not an ethnocentric person, who considers what he thinks as the gospel… that’s also very important for me. To conclude, I think that there are as many ways to reach a fair government as the number of governments, but considering people as “a component of a computer” and eliminating the members of a society who doesn’t represent the value the State wants to spread don’t belong to my ideals. You may disagree, it doesn’t really matter in fact, but you know my point.