"... Mr. Lingle describes an unwritten social contract under which citizens tolerate political repression in exchange for material rewards. After visiting the country for 25 years, I think he underestimates the appeal of the package of rising living standards and clean administration that the governing People's Action Party delivers in return for a fairly free hand in running the country." -- Barry Wain, Asian Wall Street Journal, May 10, 1996
"... repeated attempts to silence critics and to penalize writers such as Lingle draw attention to this work, and as a result, this account gains credibility. Lingle's book will be read in light of the court actions and its critical views, which tarnish the glow of Asian economic miracles." -- Stephen J. Anderson, International University of Japan, June 17, 1996
"His book is an indictment of the "suffocating, authoritarian intervention in most aspects of life there." Although he does not deny that Singapore has become one of the great economic success stories of modern times, he argues that its political repression has exacted significant economic and political costs. He questions the long-term survival of the ruling part, the People's Action Party, and its capacity to sustain Singapore's economic growth." -- Donald Zagoria, Foreign Affairs, Vol. 75, No. 4, page 160, July/August 1996
"In terms of industrial policy and as a general suggestion, I recommend Chris Lingle's new book, ... I have always hailed Singapore as an outpost of capitalism based on these silly international studies and indexes of freedom. Never again! This insiders account is very Austrian and very shocking. The book is a case against the future of Singapore and the use of Singapore and Asian Values as a model of economic development. It also provides a good factual and theoretical explanation for the success and failures of industrial policy in the modern mercantilist regimes like Singapore and Japan." -- Roy E. Cordato, Campbell University, April 3, 1996
"Lingle identifies Singapore's authoritarian capitalism as combining a selective degree of economic freedom and private property rights with strong-armed control over political life.
Christopher Lingle's account can be read on many levels - as a mystery and adventure story, as an analysis of modern Asia's economic prospects, as a portrait of one particular brand of justice at work. But above all else it is an eloquent and completely persuasive argument for the role of human liberty in Asia's increasingly rich societies. His story will be interesting to any reader - and important to all of them who care about the place of liberty in societies around the world." -- James Fallows, Laissez Faire Books, October 1996
"The timing of Christopher Lingle's book is admirable. Public attention is once again focused on East Asia. Recent events like the military posturing of China versus Taiwan, the man-made humanitarian drama unfolding in North Korea, border-tensions between North and South Korea, and political unrest in Indonesia have all captured the attention of the international media. So far, however, Singapore's regime, under leadership of Mr. Lee Kuaw Yew and the People's Action Party, has escaped public scrutiny. Actually, Singapore's apparent success with combining authoritarian rule, political stability, and economic prosperity still make it act like an ideological leader in the region. Lingle provides a personally involved and extensive critique of Singapore's political, economic, and social reality. He paints a picture of Singapore as a place where one would definitely not want to live and, perhaps, not even do business. Lingle argues that the long-run political, social and economic costs should discredit Singapore's authoritarian rule as a role-model for East Asia." -- Han Dorussen, Norweigan University of Science and Technology, PublicChoice Vol. 93, Nos. 1-2, 210-213, 1997
"What he [Lingle] saw in Singapore got his defiant juices going. Although Singapore is advancing rapidly in economic terms, it is more authoritarian than Pat Robertson's idyllic 50's ... He's paid a big price for his honesty. But, he's going to win this fight. Because he's got the courage and conviction it takes. His book is in its second printing. ...In time, when the regime in Singapore falls, Dr. Chris Lingle will have helped bring about its collapse." -- Joe Zychik, Zychik Chronicle, April 1, 1996
"[Lingle] has abandoned the mild criticisms of his Herald Tribune piece. Intellectually he's done a full body slam on Singapore." -- J. Randal Ashley, The Atlanta Journal, March 3, 1996
This is a book that deserves to be read, as an alternative to other accounts that often ignore the negative aspects of Singapore's meteoric rise to world respect. If only to be reminded of one overriding reason for Singapore's economic success... a relatively opposition-less government that rules paternally with its supporters and fairly ruthlessly with opponents. Do the ends justify the means? Is it enough to have steered Singapore to a standard of living the envy of other Asian nations and to developed nation state by 1996? Like the Catholic convent girl, protected from the rest of the world, eventually finding the real world difficult to cope with, one trusts that the Singapore populace copes rather better with the coming era of globalisation, regionalization, and Kenichi Ohmae's end of the nation state.
As Lee himself said, one wonders why Lim Kiat Sian, (and this is no endorsement of Lim's politics which attempts to bring about a more Chinese dominated Singapore), felt safer among the shootings, muggings, and car-jackings of Johor Bahru than Singapore.
Maybe Lee asked the question rhetorically; for the rest of us, we may give it a bit more reflection. -- Rod Davies, April 1997
Dr. Lingle began research for this book during his fellowship at the National University of Singapore. Lingle's Singapore visit came to an abrupt halt after he wrote a response to a previously published editorial comment that appeared in the International Herald Tribune. In his article, Lingle inferred that some regimes in East Asia are able to thwart criticism by relying on a compliant judiciary. Within two weeks he had been interrogated repeatedly by police detectives - which prompted him to resign his position, flee the country and seek refuge in the USA with nothing more than his overnight bag and notebook computer. The Singapore government seized his property in Singapore and sentenced him to jail in absentia.
In March, 1996 Mr. Lee Kuan Yew's lawyer urged the High Court of Singapore to order Lingle to pay substantially more than $300,000 in damages for libelling the Senior Minister. Justice S. Rajendran handed down a $70,000 judgment against Lingle.
Dr. Lingle comments: "I am not surprised by the Singapore judge's ruling. I guess the courts didn't see the irony in the judgment against me. As far as I can see it, the judgement vindicates me and supports the criticism that Singapore's rulers use a compliant judiciary to bankrupt their critics .. whether they are the political opposition or news media or foreign nationals."
Dr. Lingle has held university professorships all over the globe including the continents of Asia, Africa, Europe and America. Dr. Lingle is now a Visiting Professor at the Department of Economics, Case Western University.