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Singapore’s universities and population under ‘soft’ surveillance: French paper




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Singapore universities and by extension its population are both under ‘soft’ surveillance, while the country attracts global admiration for its most sophisticated and certainly most strange social mode.

This was said by Le Monde, one of the biggest French newspaper in an article that drew comparisons and parallels between Hong Kong and Singapore.

The article said Singapore has found in the word ‘dirigisme’ (a French word meaning state control of economic and social matters), which it said was a diplomatic substitute for an ‘enlightened despotism’ which comes to mind when considering the system put in place by the founder father Lee Kuan Yew.

The paper said the system remains influential today, adding that the model of society is where everything is calculated, watched, planned, and where ‘Planification’ is the key word.

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The city-state is the incarnation of order, cleanliness, security, excellence and the no-nonsense attitude.

“Singapore is today the smartest of smart cities, connected, efficient, durable and at the forefront of research in the matter,” said the paper.

In Singapore, public order has reached the absolute limit, taking for example the chewing-gum ban, which it says is globally known.

“But do you know that a bicycle stolen can trigger a search campaign and a police report? The environment is a priority too. Throwing wastes elsewhere than in a bin can lead to a fine of EURO 1 350 for first offenders and if the offence is repeated, it can double and can even reach five time more,” said the paper.

It also narrated how the repeated offenders are forced into labour, cleaning streets for example.

Le Monde said it is not surprising that in the 1980’s the Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping sent his officers to be formed in Singapore, instead of Hong Kong.

“The néoconfucian order promoted by Lee Kuan Yew was preferred by the Chinese leader instead of Hong Kong’s liberal capitalism,” Alan Chong from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), of the Nanyang University said.


Singapore has known only two strikes (1988 and 2012), which were less than two days each.

Because of this, a cartoon in the South China Morning Post by Jake van der Kamp said: “Singapore is the first country in the world to have succeeded to implement communism in the Marxist sense of the term.”

The paper noted that 85% of housing are subsidised by the state, which also takes 37% off the salaries for its pension fund as well as other taxes imposed on businesses etc.

It also said Singapore’s government is clinical in its administration of the populace.
To answer to local needs, the country is outsourcing its workforce to the extent that its population is now 40% made of foreigners.

It has turned Singapore, already a mixed nationality country with Malays, Chinese and Indians into a more cosmopolite city than Hong Kong which is 95% Chinese.

It said Heart Media, a company originally from Hong Kong producing magazines on luxurious items is impressed with the Singapore government’s assistance in the information technology sector.

“They will always call us up to encourage us to modernise our IT park though it is already high end,” said the French businessman, Olivier Burlot who runs Heart Media.

His company employs 70 people in Singapore and foreign companies feels welcomed in the city state.

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