Professor Lai Yue Qian praises Singapore for its foresight, strategic planning & acquisition for the COVID-19 vaccines

By December 22, 2020Current
Professor Lai Yueqian on COVID-19 vaccines

TL;DR – He also opined that other countries are all nowhere near what Singapore has achieved as a small nation.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’d know that the first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine has landed in Singapore. In fact, the shipment landed at Changi Airport at about 7.30 pm last night (Dec 21).

Not sure about you, but I am immensely proud of Singapore for being the first Asian country to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines. This would not have been possible without the government’s strategic foresight and planning.

And hey, I am not the only one who thinks this way, ok?

In a recent episode of  Lai Yue Qian (赖岳谦)’s 《您问谦答》on YouTube, the associate professor at Taiwan University of political science has too, sang praises of Singapore for its foresight, strategic planning, as well as the acquisition of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Some of you may remember Professor Lai Yue Qian from the article we’ve published some time back, where he discussed about the online storm over Taiwan’s mask donation to Singapore.

Those were our masks from our own production lines in Taiwan, but “cannot see also cannot touch”

Besides praising Singapore, in the episode, Professor Lai also compared the other democratic countries like the United States, Europe, Japan, and Taiwan, to that of Singapore and opined that they are all nowhere near what Singapore has achieved as a small nation.

He then concluded by urging Singaporeans to not take Singapore’s democracy for granted.

Here’s the cut of the episode where he spoke of Singapore, in case you’re interested:

Again, do note that the English translation wasn’t by us, and the video already had the subtitles embedded when it was sent to us. Nevertheless, a big thank you to whoever did the translation!

I’ll leave you the full text of the cut here too if you are unable to watch the video above.

Let me share with you the current situation.

At this point, everyone knows that the Covid-19 vaccines are being hoarded by rich countries. The USA bought up most of the promising vaccines so far, the European countries aren’t inferior in this aspect either. Out of all Asia countries, Singapore would be the first country to receive the vaccine.

When the pandemic first hit the country, Singapore’s government was extremely farsighted, they knew how serious this issue would be. They knew how it would have impacted Singapore because for the country to prosper, it needs to be open to people travelling in and out.

Therefore, in the very first instance, Singapore played a part in vaccine production. Their government officials attended briefings, and they had discussions with scientists. After they drew up a standard procedure, they began to invest. When they invest, they have the priority and right to the vaccines.

Despite so, Singapore have not only spent money on vaccines, they also leveraged Singapore’s very own facilities, their power plants and became Southeast Asia’s vaccine distribution hub. This is where they can start to make money. Countries would also be willing to channel their raw materials for the vaccines to Singapore and thereafter Singapore can also distribute the vaccines to other countries.

Think about it. A government like that, to the rest of the world, is outstanding.

If Singapore’s democracy becomes like European / USA’s or Taiwan’s form of democracy, they start toying around with populism, just take a look at Taiwan now, where is the vaccine? No one knows. They said they can only get it in the second season. Look at Japan. Japan said that they are not confident in using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.

But you think about it, out of all the Asia countries, besides China which has their own huge manufacturing capacity, Singapore despite, not having manufacturing capacity, became the first Asian country to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech shots.

This shows how capable the government and government officials are. Are they admirable? They are certainly admirable. Do they have foresight? They definitely do. But this is a system that has been developed and refined over time.

If they had used Taiwan’s, USA’s, Europe’s, or India’s system, then do you think in these places where populist politicians exist, would logical and scientific approach have been possible at all?

Hence, this is exactly why Singapore’s democracy should never be taken for granted.

Stop romanticising the Western liberal democracy. I have said this many times. Their version of democracy has shown cracks, the competitiveness amongst their government has been going downhill.

And it will only keep going downhill, it is never going up. It is a structural issue, it’s going to be impossible to change that.

 

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Gabrielle Teo

Author Gabrielle Teo

I read lots, and I also spend an indecent amount of time trying to get my mostly unpopular opinions published. Oh, I argue a lot with fellow Singaporeans who complain incessantly about Singapore too.

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