The ad above is run by the Singapore government as part of their campaign to attract business and foreign capital to Singapore.
An international marketing campaign is presently underway to sell Singapore as the biotech capital of Asia. The main pull is the most complete data base of the populace of any place in the world, all owned by the government, which prides itself on the extent of data it maintains as well as the reach of its surveillance.
The sales pitch goes like this:
For sale: "untapped pool of genomic data from a diverse population living inside a biomedical system with some of the best record keeping in the world."
"The fact that the country has a single patient identifier - all computerized government records identify an individual by the same type of number - creates "a unified data structure that population geneticists are very happy with." - Edison Lui, head of the Singapore Economic Development Board
One scientist wrote, commenting on an article describing these plans, "The advantage of a patient database (exactly what today is impossible in most developed countries) seems to be one great (only?) advantage." - The HMS Beagle:BioMedNet, letters
If you click on the ad above, you can read the attractions of this peaceful city-state as sold by its rulers.
One of the reasons it is peaceful is that dissent is not allowed.
One of its selling points is "Consensus, not conflict" - a beautiful attraction to those looking for a peaceful place to live, where there is no diversity of opinions tolerated, no real choice of other views and representatives as a democracy has, and the state controls everything down to the right of the citizen to chew gum.
But freedom is not being sold, because freedom does not exist. Democracy is not being sold, because it is a cosmetic democracy.
For the sake of Singaporeans and all other people in the world who live in cosmetic democracies, this page is dedicated.
Because "consensus" without free speech is dictatorship.
LINKS WE RECOMMEND
For Singapore and the region, an excellent site for news and social issues
Internet Resources on Singapore (As well as same for other Asian nations)
An exhaustive and up-to-date directory by Robert Y. Eng, of the University of Redlands
Singaporeans for Democracy
They present a succinct assessment of the true state of possibilities now. Here is an excerpt:While Singapore pretends to be a democracy and a beacon of
light to new nations, its successful repression of the labour
movement, its colonial-style exploitation of thousands of foreign
workers, its use of law to crush its own people, its willingness to
perjure in the highest courts of its own country, its restriction of
press rights when it comes to political reporting by its local and
regional journalists, its re-writing of history to exclude those who
disagree with it, and insidious control over all aspects of its
citizens' lives go unchecked.
As Singaporeans know so well, there are plenty of choices in
Singapore but they exist mainly in relation to what one wishes to
buy in the shops. Beyond that, the government controls
everything from whether we flush the toilets to where our
children go to school to where we live, what bank accounts
we're allowed to keep, how many children we have, to how
long we can stay locked up under the Internal Security Act.
"Singapore Thinks Big: Genomics and Beyond",byLois Wingerson, The HMS Beagle: BioMedNet, August Issue 108, August 3, 2001
Abstract: The Singapore Economic Development Board is determined to attract top-ranked researchers who can help to make their tiny island the biomedical and biotechnical hub of Asia. In this article, the author examines what it will take to set up a totally new, world-class genomics institute."
"Singapore Focuses Its Life Science Strategy on Humans", Current Biology, 2001, 11:1:R3
"Opportunity, not exploitation: Valuing the Icelandic Genome", by Kari Stefansson , The HMS Beagle 1998, Vol. 3, No. 8, pp. 355-357
"Watching the watchers: A counter-surveillance report" by James Gomez, Senior researcher at the Friedrich NaumannFoundation, June 12, 1999, Singapore Window
"New Singapore software can beef up surveillance", New Zealand Herald, July 29, 2001, archived on Singapore Window
Excerpt: Singapore scientists have created new software which may beef up surveillance efforts in the future by distinguishing between a person's normal activities and suspicious behavior."
"Democracy, Singapore Style", Editorial, The Age, Melbourne, November 6, 200, archived on Singapore Window
"Democracy is the best social system. There is no such thing as a western or eastern system as long as it's best for the people."
- Wei Jung Shei, Chinese democracy activist, television interview 30 Dec 1998
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