LETTERS: by Dr Michael BarrNews Weekly
, October 5, 2002
The Singapore success story is certainly worthy of study, but Jeff Babb's account (NW
, September 7) contained two grievous errors that detract from his critique.
Contrary to his suggestion, "socialism" has not been part of the Singapore government's rhetoric since 1976, when C.V. Devan Nair published his book entitled Socialism that Works ... the Singapore Way
. The publication of this book proved to be the last gasp of this particular ideological rationale. It was replaced the following year with the beginnings of the rhetoric of "Asian values", making Mr Babb's point about 25 years out of date.
Mr Babb's assessment of the health system is also wide of the mark. He suggests that Singaporeans have to fend for themselves in matters of health care, whereas Singapore is world-renowned for having one of the most intricate, complicated and government-interventionist health systems in existence. It is only within the context of this micro-managed, rule-bound, subsidised regime that Singaporeans are "expected to make their own arrangements".Dr Michael Barr,
Department of History,
The University of Queensland