Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Dear Singaporean Friends

Dear Singaporean Friends,

I've always admired your country for its effective transformation from abject poverty to a first-class country in only a few decades. I've always admired your diligence and work ethics whenever I have a chance to work with you. Whenever I visited your country, I feel very safe and welcome wherever I went.

Your society is perceived to be quite free of corruption. I admire this greatly, given that Thailand is down there in the list at #59 and your country is near the top at #5. There are some complaints about relative lack of freedom of speech, but most of you seem to accept that as a price for a stable, prosperous society. This works as long as your government is relatively benign.

However, I have some concerns of my own to share with you. I don't mind Singaporean investments in my country as long as they are governed by high standard of ethics. However, the recent Temasek's buy-out of Shin Corporation reeks of somthing quite rotten.

Many people perceived, rightly or wrongly, that Temasek is colluding with our Prime Minister to rip off Thai people of strategic assets. The way the deal was structured suggested elaborate financial shenanigans planned ahead by the parties involved.

This shook my good-feeling toward Singapore greatly.

I think Thailand and Singapore should be friendly neighbors that can complement each other in many areas. I have no problem with Singaporeans. You are all welcome whenever you come here. I have a favor to ask you though: Could you please not support ripping off Thai people? Please ask for explanations from your government about this deal.

Corruption is contagious. If your country contracts Thailand's corruption and your government can act without accountability, your life might be drastically less stable and less prosperous in a few short years. That is something that none of us wants.

So, please help both Thailand and Singapore by demanding high standard of ethics from your government. Please don't let your government bend moral rules for financial gains.

Thank you,

Your Thai Friend.

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