Singapore needs a Wee Kim Wee in politics

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In recent weeks, the Prime Minister, Senior Minister and Minister Mentor all spoke about finding the next generation of leaders.

What is conspicuously missing in all that they said are the details – or pre-requisites – that they would be looking for. But being the PAP, it is not hard to fathom or guess what kind of a new leader he/she will be. Probably one with a hard nose for the economic, business, finance, a management genius, and of course one who can be politically ruthless.

It would be extremely sad if our next prime minister were someone like that.

Personally, I’d like to see a more human leader – one schooled in the humanities, philosophy and who has had a true humble beginning, one whose empathy for the masses (especially the poor and struggling) is not disguised in political polemics and wayang kulit.

A person like our former president Wee Kim Wee.

President Wee was no white horse. His father was a clerk. According to Wikipedia, “Wee studied at Outram School, and he started out as a clerk working for The Straits Times, before becoming a reporter focusing on political issues.”

President Wee then worked his way up – all the way to become one of the most respected and most loved president of our land. And even in his death, he chose to be with the common folks – having his ashes interred at Mandai Columbarium with those of ordinary citizens instead of Kranji War Cemetery, where late dignitaries are usually buried.

He not only symbolized but also lived his life with humility, friendliness, empathy and with always a smile on his face.

Singapore needs a leader such as President Wee in this time of constant change and uncertainties.

We are tired of the calculative, so-called “top talents” who take years to decide on whether our old folks deserve a mere $30 and then another $40 increase in public assistance. And all this while paying themselves hundreds of thousands of dollars in pay rises amounting to millions and millions of dollars.

A leader such as President Wee will be a rallying point for Singaporeans who are fearful, anxious and uncertain about the future. We do not need another emperor’s son, a prince whose screw-ups are painted over by a run-dog media.

We need a leader of genuine compassion, who does not hide behind a wall of bureaucrats and grassroots eunuchs. A leader who wears his heart on his sleeves.

The irony is that the PAP has become so devoid of such qualities that a person of President Wee’s personality and character would not be caught dead wearing the white of that lightning party.

It is an irony which, if you think about it, results in Singapore being the lesser for it.

I, for one, am not holding my breath that such a person will appear from the PAP. The party’s machinery and inner-workings simply will not allow such a person to rise to the top.

Nah, what I hope to see is such a person coming forth from another quarter. And perhaps this is exactly what Singapore needs – a fresh face, a new beginning, a new possibility.

All this talk by the PAP ministers about finding a new leader is thus nothing new. The important thing is that there will not be a “new” leader – or a “new” type of leader. Whatever the PAP throws up, you can be sure, will be the same kind of leader from the same mould of leaders which the PAP has given us so far.

We need a new kind of leader in politics in Singapore.

Sigh. How I wish Singapore was different enough to give us another Wee Kim Wee.

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11 Responses

  1. I always believed that the political future of Singapore will be bipolar, conservative and labor.

  2. […] seanokeycnn wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt […]

  3. RH:
    1. If you accept my premise of Singaporean identity being formed from Shared Common Experiences, as I wrote in Comment 2 in : http://theonlinecitizen.com/2008/02/20/knowledge-based-economy-needs-more-uni-education-financing/#comments
    then it follows that a White Horse like LHL IS NOT A SINGAPOREAN BUT ALMOST A FOREIGNER. LHL’s entire life and career from young have been so different from the rest of us [and many of his ilk, too, including LIE KY] that he and his ilk have little Shared Common Experiences like the rest of us, and hence they are not really Singaporeans. They are Foreigners! This may explain why they are capable of such cruelty, callousness and stinginess; why they have absolutely no empathy with the rest of us or think our lives, interests, hopes and dreams important — only their failed policies and egos are important and these take precedence over anything for the masses of us.

    2. If you agree with my premise of SCE, then it also follows that SCE is a 2-way process in which a foreigner not only becomes more and more Singaporean with more and more SCE, but it also means that HE ALSO CHANGES US EVEN AS WE CHANGE HIM. Thus, if our ‘culture’ is weak or his culture is strong, then our numerical superiority may not change him as much as he can change some of us, at least those with whom he interacts or can communicate with or has reach over.

    3. Talking about numerical superiority, with 1 in 4 of the population foreigners, our ‘culture’ is in danger of being swamped by all these foreigners’ cultural baggage that they inevitably bring with them. Thus, the nature of Singapore is rapidly changing with the massive imports of foreigners. Singapore may not remain Singaporean for long. Maybe it is already too late.

    4. All these points are beyond the little minds of the LIE KY LHL PAP LIEgime since they only know the price of everything and the value of nothing. Such considerations are way, way out of their ken and their so-called ‘technocrat’ tendencies, ‘technocrat’ defined boastfully as almost ‘scientific’ and therefore ‘unemotional-based’, which they deride as ‘unscientific’ and therefore inferior. They have been and are totally wrong. The result is a Sparta instead of an Athens.

    5. Singapore is Sparta while Hongkong is Athens. Sparta was militaristic. Boys were encouraged to grow strong and joined the army as soon as they were old enough. Today, Sparta has left nothing behind. Athens, on the other hand, gave the world many achievements, from politics, science and mathematics, especially geometry, music, drama, philosophy, poems, writings and musings on a diversity of subjects, all of which even scholars today delve into fruitfully.

    6. Singapore, like Sparta, is leaving nothing behind. This is the legacy of LIE KY and probably the most damning indictment of his [mis]rule.

  4. […] MSM editor’s creative scissors-you read what they want you to read – Looking For LaLaLand..: Singapore needs a Wee Kim Wee in politics – Reality of Kai: Superficial – Bad News on the Doorstep: Wrong move – Balderdash: The idiocy of […]

  5. Hi
    Pres Wee was what students of leadership would define as “Level 5 leader”

    Humble sincere but full of will and integrity.

    I had privilge of having a private dinner with him and Mrs Wee. Excellent conservationist and perfect gentleman. He even sent a photo and kind card/letter the next day to thank me for my company!

    FYI:
    Level 5 is the Executive who “builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will

    http://www.imaginal.nl/articleLevel5Leadership.htm

    Dr.Huang

  6. For me I want another Ong Teng Cheong who asked for transparency and was denied a state funeral.
    If he is still around the CPFLife scheme could not have taken off.At the very least questions will be asked.
    True patriotism is to protect the common people/good not the selected few.
    But other than that ,old mens can spin what ever they want just remember when they die some of the “Brutal truth” may just come into light.
    EG
    CPF belongs to …..
    a) the government 😐
    b) people who earned them 😉
    c) corporations without risk control/assessment in place 😦
    d) Martian. All your base are belong to us 🙂

  7. We need a Barack Obama in Singapore. But sadly, my feeling is that it will be a long time coming…

  8. Yes, I am for another Ong Teng Cheong too

  9. observe how everyone wants another President Wee and President Ong but no President Nathan.. what is our current president doing anyway..

  10. Hi can you tell me where the source of mr wee kim wee picture you get from? thanks

  11. continuously i used to read smaller content that also clear their motive, and that is also happening
    with this post which I am reading at this place.

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