Democracy Index – Ideal or flawed?

by Patrick Liew on January 26, 2017

The Democracy Index is based on indicators that are biased towards ideals of western liberal democracies.

Other than Japan, South Korea, Uruguay and Mauritius, the highest scores are accorded mostly to western countries.

For example, despite all the political issues that we have read about in the US, it has been rated as a full democracy in the past.

In the recent study, it was demoted for the first time and scored 7.98 against Singapore’s 6.38.

How many Singaporeans would like us to model after the US in terms of its political system?

If we do, will we be able to survive and succeed in the turbulent future?

The indices of democracy that are used
to measure the state of democracy in 167 countries are apparently based on definitions by the Economist Intelligence Unit and Washington-based Freedom House.

Freedom House was once criticized by Ron Paul, a US House Representative for using much of government funds to “assist one particular candidate” in a political election.

The indices for the study include electoral
process and pluralism, political participation, and political culture.

Singapore scored poorly in these indices and will find it hard to excel in them.

Case in point, one of the questions in the study is about freedom of the press.

In Singapore – for good or bad – freedom comes with responsibility.

Anybody is free to say anything they want but if they cannot support their views, they can be subjected to legal suits and other repercussions.

As a people, we generally disdain lies, half truths and misinformation, including post-truths and alternative facts

However, we can do better in strengthening our political maturity.

Many Singaporeans, especially those from the first generation are not very educated and not deeply concerned about political participation and political culture.

Bread and butter issues matter more than developing political culture.

We should continue to educate our people to participate in active citizenry, including participating in processes to enhance political maturity.

Otherwise, our democracy may be “flawed” to use the term by the Economist Intelligence Unit and we may also be vulnerable to abuse and destructive forces.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

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