Sunday, August 13, 2006


Kway Teow Man's post on loyalty led me to think a little further on my earlier post.

I must have mis-read his post.For I seem to get the impression that to get more loyalty from its citizens, besides being gracious to those who left, the government should also put up a better 'wayang' show. This would help satisfy the group of Singaporeans who feel that their feedback had not been taken in.

I am not sure if I had understood him correctly on this.

In a sense, the government's current wayang had already garnered the support of the majority of the population (about 67%). That, by global standards, is already a pretty good show(ing).

Will a better wayang garner more support from the remaining 33%?
How many are at the margin?

I don't know.Going by the
comments in the blogosphere, I will speculate that a number of bloggers will not be thrilled by more wayang.In fact, some might say that more wayang might even cause some from amongst the 67% to lose heart, as insincerity is not the mark of someone trustworthy.

Marketing texts often say that if one has a poor product, no amount of marketing can sell it.Now, I am not suggesting that the government is a poor product.But the point from these texts is that marketing can only do as much as the product's features can support.

It is in this context that I am suggesting going back to fundamentals.This fundamental I am referring to is part of the Confucius quotation that Kway Teow Man had cited in his post.And that is 'xiu shen' - 'cultivate one's self'.

According to Confucius, 'xiu shen' should take place before setting one's house in order, governing one's country and bringing peace to the world.

To Confucius, 'xiu shen' would be the source of any government's credibility and moral authority.Has a government been aboveboard in all its dealings?Where trade-offs have to be considered, whose interests are being traded off against whose and are the reasons for these trade-offs sound and reasonable?

But, what seems reasonable to one may not be to another.So, where is the benchmark for making assessments of 'reasonableness'?

I don't know.I heard there is such a thing as the 'rational man' in the eyes of the court.I heard also that since a government is 'for' the people, I guess the opinions of the public should count somewhere. So, perhaps public opinion can also help to provide a good benchmark.As an example, in the NKF case, I thought the public's opinion over the issue provided one with a good idea of what some of the benchmarks could be.

Since values differ from one group to another, whose values should it be pitched at?Should a government be looking only at the majority values?How can a government also consider the minority's values?How much should it do in 'leading' change rather than merely following the wishes of the majority?

Perhaps it is a matter of following the majority sometimes and the minority for others.But which times?

I don't know.

waterchild is only a child.It knows nothing about the world of governance.What waterchild knows is which adults it likes to play with and which it shuns away from.

In waterchild's simple world, everything revolves around only one thing.Its heart.

Its heart not only gives it life.
It also guides its life.

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