Thursday, March 26, 2015
Losing LKY, Prem's advice to Singaporeans
"The things he wanted to do for Singapore but was not able to complete, the Singaporean people must come together to finish" he wrote.
On the surface this is a most unusual message. Didn't LKY already meticulously set up for a new team to take over? Prem did not say what were the tasks to be completed, objectives to be achieved but he suggests there are!
There are insights but not knowledge or data I do not tell my children before they are ready. There are also lessons they must or can only learn on their own. I know what these are but I have to keep them to myself. If I tell them they might not understand or I could also spoil it for them.
If I may borrow from Luo Guanzhong, the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Zhuge Liang often gave sealed instructions to his generals which they must not open until they are desperate.
Unlike many Thai premiers, Prem is a very wise man and knew LKY well.
This is not the place to speculate what these tasks we must complete as a people but clearly Prem must have understood they are what this PAP government could not deliver. We must also bear in mind the situation in Thailand which must be constantly on his mind even as he offer us that advice.
Of course this is not it, but one of the things the government cannot deliver quickly and satisfactorily is getting the damn MRT system to be more reliable. I suggested in an earlier post that a more courageous leadership would have come clean and co-opt their customers to find a solution. This is an example but I say this is not what Prem had in mind, that we must come together as one people to solve.
We also know that if any of the young ministers could be a geopolitical strategist par excellence, LKY would not fail to invest in him or her. There was no one, not even George Yeo. So he kept performing that role of watching out for Singapore to the very end. As far as I know nobody ask to see someone else if LKY is not available. It is like I can't get the top specialist doctor I had to settle and worry about living with the next available doctor. I might go somewhere else. The Americans will ask Kissinger. That shrewd man just visited China and got an enviable reception from Xi Jinping. Kissinger is sending a message to America, no more LKY just ask me.
Now I need to prove that there are some likely worrisome and even scary developments otherwise I am just speculating. For that, I have to borrow Han Fook Kwang. He is a good guy but I don't know why they got a dud to succeed him as ST editor.
On Tuesday, Han Fook Kwang shared this piece with us. This guy is quite good at inserting ideas surreptitiously when he needs to. If you are perceptive Han Fook Kwang has the message.
No, he will adjust. Before he got too weak he gave up on rising from the grave if he feels something is wrong here. He replaced that with he had given his whole life for Singapore. The job is finished.
See the bit underlined in red. He was still in good shape at that time. After all he took on the SQ pilots union but he was no longer PM. Had he been the one which the buck must stop with him, he would tell us what Goh Chok Tong wouldn't. He will deal with it his way.
If he was in charge as PM today, he wouldn't even allow the MRT to be in this shape. In fact he warned his son and the ministers about the problem of taking in too many people, not to mention so quickly.
Assuming he booed booed, he would not live with a situation which the people ceaselessly complain about the unreliable train system. If he can't fix it quickly, he will plead with us once and for all to come along and help. He knows how to rally us. His successors do not. He told his younger colleagues to under promise and over deliver, which I heard on TV Ng Eng Hen repeated in parliament just now. Unfortunately those who succeeded him over promise and under deliver. Whenever the PM or any minister say "don't worry", I start worrying. That is shorthand for over promising!
Yes, Prem is spot on,. We must unite as one people to continue working on LKY's unfinished business for us. He is gone but he left us this beautiful place to build on for the generations.
I wonder what other ominous thoughts LKY had which we need to discover for ourselves. We have to earn the right to know? No use if we are frightened. We must rise and say the only thing to fear is fear itself.
Posted by PengYou at 8:51 PM