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Singapore: Wikileaks and the “flabby old chap” comment

Apparently, Singapore’s former Prime Minister and currently Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew thinks North Korea leader Kim Jong-il is a “flabby old chap who prances around stadiums seeking adulation.” This was revealed when Wikileaks uploaded thousands of documents exposing classified communication between the US State Departments and its embassies around the world.

It seems Lee made the comment when he met US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg at the Istana (presidential palace) in Singapore on May 30, 2009. Lee commented on many issues but it was his opinion about North Korea and Kim Jong-il that captured global attention.

[The North Koreans] are psychopathic types, with a “flabby old chap” for a leader who prances around stadiums seeking adulation. MM Lee noted that he had learned from living through three and a half years of Japanese occupation in Singapore that people will obey authorities who can deny them food, clothing and medicine.”

“Kim Jong-Il has already had a stroke. It is just a matter of time before he has another stroke. The next leader may not have the gumption or the bile of his father or grandfather. He may not be prepared to see people die like flies.

What are the reactions of Singapore bloggers? Many were surprised that Lee, a seasoned diplomat, would use those unflattering words to describe another leader. Referring to Lee’s observation that denying people of basic services would strengthen a leader, Singapore Notes made this comment

Now we know why no food stamps will ever be distributed in Singapore, and healthcare will never be free

Words of the Cze thinks that some citizens of Singapore would find Kim Jong-Il and Lee to be similar in many ways

There are doubtless many who would jump to point out that his remark regarding the elder Kim’s propensity to “prance around stadiums seeking adulation” is ironic, insinuating that LKY is himself not much different. I beg to differ. LKY has shown consistently in word and deed that he wouldn’t take offence at being called a “flabby old chap”. Try calling him a “flabby old cronyist” however, and the next thing you hear might be the banging of the judge’s gavel.

The blogger adds that the leaked cable report confirms the influence of Lee on US policymakers and how his views are still valued by the Americans

The WikiLeaks cable report definitely confirms an anecdote pretty much the vast majority of Singaporeans subscribe to; that old LKY is still very much an active mind. His counsel, whether we value it or not, is valued by others. He is pretty much to the G8 and BRIC what Che Guevara must had been to South American revolutionaries, or Bismarck to to the rest of his contemporary Europe

Christopher Ong ponders if more cable reports of this kind are needed by Singapore

But do we need the leaking of more US cables concerning Singapore — information that may, in any angle considered, compromise the integrity of some vital operation — to drive home the fundamental truth upon which Wikileaks is established upon? The answer is no.

Singapore Kopi Tok also assesses the impact of Wikileaks

Were Assange's leaks irresponsible? The jury is still out on this but common sense is that there is a limit to what information should be confidential and what should not. Lawyer-client and doctor-patient information, insider trading as illegal, and a country's military and security information are all different common sense examples that information is not a free-for-all show and tell, and that consequences to such disclosures are expected.

Musings from the Lion City is not impressed with the documents exposed by Wikileaks

Today is supposed to be D-Day for the US State Department as whistleblower website WikiLeaks released hundred of thousands secret confidential cables. After reading some of the more high profile cases I can’t help but say, “That’s it? This is what they were worried about?”

Outside the embarrassment factor, I fail to see what’s so amazing about the cables released by WikiLeaks

Twitter reactions from Singapore

teddyrised: Why is Wikileaks being made the scapegoat for those cables? Julian Assange didn't put words into your mouth. You idiots said it yourselves.
senthilnath: RT @sivadayalan: Julian Assange could have won the Nobel prize if and only he publishes wikileaks of China, Russia (non US aligned countries) #wikileaks
lYuxiang: OH shooots, why am I reading wikileaks instead of doing my tutorials
abietabilly: RT @pravityo: RT @agungisme: everyone liked wikileaks till they found out their secrets are being revealed too LOL
tuckiesmalls: it blows my mind how some people can support wikileaks and the 2 idiots behind it

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