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Ideals and Agony of Asian Democracy: The Singapore Experience

서울대학교 지역종합연구소
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  • Political Science


This study analyses the reasons for the maintenance of authoritarianism in Singapore until now without serious crises and explores the possibility of a change towards Western democracy in Singapore. The politics of Singapore shows a new authoritarianism that guarantees the minimum democratic procedure and emphasizes the moral state, even though the Singaporean government calls it Asian Democracy. The success of Singaporean authoritarianism is ascribed to the following two factors. The Singaporean government has used the dual strategies to deal efficiently with the citizens" desire to participate. On the one hand, the government made momentary efforts to prevent an explosion of dissatisfaction by ameliorating some of the demands, and on the other hand, made clear the limits of the participatory democracy and made use of a political socialization policy to rebuild the consiousness of the citizens. But after the 1984 election, the middle class of Singapore has started to criticize and check the runaway victory of PAP and some signs of a formation of a civil society have begun to appear. But many policies that aim to woo the middle class have caused significant working class discontent with the government. The Singaporean government, in spite of the ceaseless efforts for national integration, dismissed the sentiments of ethnic minorities by emphasizing Chinese values and maintaining the meritocracy principle. There are differnt views as to the propects for liberalization in Singapore. This writer anticipates that the "new authoritarianism" in Singapore will undergo a gradual democratization.

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