Friday, September 15, 2006

Damage Control (Singapore and IMF/WB mtgs)

So Singapore finally relents after extensive pressure. 22 of the banned 27 activists will finally be allowed to enter the country.

1) "Singapore, rebuked, lifts ban (IHT)"
2) "Singapore relents ban over activists (FT)"
3) "Singapore Allows some activists to meet (Hindu Times)"
4) "22 out of 26 now able to enter (CNA)"

Somehow, the damage to Singapore's reputation has already been done. At least, this latest relent by the Singapore authorities has limited the damage. Unfortunately, when I did a comparison on Google news search, the number of news articles about this latest turnaround is 377 compared to a high of 1300 about Singapore's refusal to allow the protestors to enter. Singapore has given the International media the unfortunate chance to parade the country in a negative way.

Hopefully, the media in general will be responsible to treat the whole issue as a learning process for a young country. There is hope. The Singapore leadership is open. The concern now is who are they being open to? Without the personal intervention of the IMF President and World Bank top officials, without the pressure of the International Media, without the threat of boycott by well known International Civil action groups, will this latest relent ever happen?

Power, wealth, and reputation rules the day.

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