The problem with S'porean PM Lee Hsien Loong, or as certain of us like to call him, Hsiao Lee (Small Lee), son of Lao Lee (Old Lee), is that - well - he's full of crap. His dad Lee Kuan Yew used to freely admit that Singapore wasn't democratic. Under Small Lee, nothing has actually changed except the rhetoric.
It didn't always seem as though it would turn out thus: Small Lee's freaky political Tourettes on the subject of Opposition leader Chee Soon Juan yesterday is a far cry from the promises of Lee's inauguration speech, where he spoke of the need for diverse opinions and robust debate. Then the actual debates started, and same old vicious defamation suits, bankruptcy proceedings, gerrymanders and plain old arrests and intimidation rolled on as usual.
Old Lee was at least honest enough to say 'screw your culturally imperialist Western standards! I am a Chinese dictator! No-one fucks with me and gets away with it!' But caught between the comfortable inheritance of Singaporean political repression and the attractiveness of a democratic moral high ground, Small Lee is incompetently working the doublespeak.
Fresh from the PAP's poorest election result in its history, where even a 'suicide squad' of six Worker's Party first-time election 'virgin' campaigners took an unprecedented third of the vote in his own electorate, Lee's defamatory ranting against SDP leader Chee Soon Juan appears the sign of a rattled man.
norightturn has a good summary of the pitiful response from Helen Clark on her failure to address Singapore's human rights record. Meanwhile, must run off to investigate the whereabouts of Small Lee, who is in town today. Tip-offs welcome.