October 5th 2002

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Hurdles to the sell-off of Telstra

Queensland sugar protests grow

Turnbull contradicts Costello's new agenda

GERMANY: Floods, Iraq help Schroeder scrape back

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Goodbye to all that? Surely!

ECONOMICS: Globalisation: where is it going?

MEDIA: September 11: media's 'greed for tears' writ large

LETTERS: Vietnam commitment right (letter)

LETTERS: On our own terms (letter)

LETTERS: Democrats' suicide (letter)

LETTERS: Singapore (letter)

HISTORY: When we dead awaken

OBITUARY: Heroic Vietnamese cardinal Van Thuan dies in Rome

BOOKS:Demon of the Waters, by Gregory Gibson

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Singapore (letter)

by Dr Michael Barr

News 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the following year with the beginnings of the rhetoric of "Asian values", making Mr Babb's point about 25 years out of date.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

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