“Singapore and Katrina”

Interesting; Tom Friedman compares the governance of the US with that of city-state Singapore, especially in light of Hurrican Katrina, and reminds us what real accountability and responsibility look like.

Friedman concludes with some obervations of the storm’s handling by Singapore journalists.

Speaking of Katrina, Sumiko Tan, a columnist for the Sunday edition of The Straits Times in Singapore, wrote: “We were shocked at what we saw. Death and destruction from natural disaster is par for the course. But the pictures of dead people left uncollected on the streets, armed looters ransacking shops, survivors desperate to be rescued, racial divisions – these were truly out of sync with what we’d imagined the land of the free to be, even if we had encountered homelessness and violence on visits there. … If America becomes so unglued when bad things happen in its own backyard, how can it fulfill its role as leader of the world?”

Janadas Devan, a Straits Times columnist, tried to explain to his Asian readers how the U.S. is changing. “Today’s conservatives,” he wrote, “differ in one crucial aspect from yesterday’s conservatives: the latter believed in small government, but believed, too, that a country ought to pay for all the government that it needed.

“The former believe in no government, and therefore conclude that there is no need for a country to pay for even the government that it does have. … [But] it is not only government that doesn’t show up when government is starved of resources and leached of all its meaning. Community doesn’t show up either, sacrifice doesn’t show up, pulling together doesn’t show up, ‘we’re all in this together’ doesn’t show up.”

Read it all(especially if you live in Singapore or it’s a place of interest to you).

The Discussion: 4 Comments

This article is nothing more than a bunch of nonesense. I think that Friedman has been drinking from the PAP kool-aid.

Singapore as an example of good goverenance? How many facets of the Government and Economy does the Lee family control? Friedman and his ilk always seem to be complaining about the “Bush Dynasty,” but where is the outrage over the “Lee Dynasty?”

September 15, 2005 @ 2:21 am | Comment

That may be, but at least the Lee Dynasty had Chinooks on site to help repair the levee breach in New Orleans.

Not that I’m up for a Singaporean “enlightened” despotism to arrive in the US. Especially for fear that “enlightened” gets anti-intellectualised by guys that talk in fake accents to sound like they aren’t the product of an Ivy League education.

September 15, 2005 @ 4:35 am | Comment

Wouldn’t it be closer to home to remember Cuba’s handling of Hurricane Ivan?

September 15, 2005 @ 2:03 pm | Comment

It starts with chewing gum and inevitably ends with anarchy in the streets.

September 15, 2005 @ 9:33 pm | Comment

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