Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Party & State

My dearest children,

I started off my life by asking the question of what is the best. For if I wanted to do good in the world, if I wanted to do the best for the people, then I have to put them before myself. This is when I started to find a way of how to turn a swamp into a modern and vibrant city.

Of course, our place was not just a swamp like a lump of mud but a lump of mud that is strategically located in the middle of the most important trade route of the world. This is when it is opened to receive that trade as a means for our people to earn a living by working hard to provide a service.

The economic story is well-known. But the politics is a bit more complicated.

I had decided that I should be the philosopher-king as propounded by Plato. If wisdom should befallen the political leader, the society shall benefit from that wisdom. It has been shown that democracy, while the idea is good for being all encompassing and inclusive, is a dilution of perfection and the end result is always mediocrity but of the type that the common people find acceptable. But if we were to pursue economic prosperity through economic efficiency, we must have perfection that is characterized by meritocracy. That perfection and meritocracy must be seen to culminate in at least one place and that one place must be the political leader who is both wise and selfless.

When my eldest son decided to be a politician and ultimately the political leader, I had no choice but to open up the route for him. If he could do the job, why not? But of course, there were criticisms which I did not hear which would suggest that there might be others who were better than him and who, as a result of my son being earmarked for the top post, might have sensibly withdrawn volunteering their talents to the state. How much is this opportunity cost worth no one will ever know. The real cost must lies in the future of this state.

The problem of having a son succeeding his father in politics is that the son is under pressure to do better than his father, and this better must be seen as a much harder line instead of a veering away from the old path and taking the country onto a more enlightened path as it was then on a much firmer footing. If the son were to presume to take a similar premise as the father had taken, then the whole future is staked upon a single platform which may or may not be as relevant now as it had been in the past. The likelihood of making an error in future projection is very real, the further time moves away from the origin. But this is now for the government to decide.

In my case, for my own legacy, I had already made it very clear - that I did not wish to be glorify in any grandiose scale, for to do so will distract the attention of the people from what they have to do for themselves in the future if they have to keep looking backward into the past. It was for this reason that I had decided that any physical monument that had come to represent me should be removed so as to prevent any idol worshiping.

However, I was aware that there could be considerations by the party that its history should be preserved as part of the national history. That is very well and good when you imagine that the party is the best representation of the interest of the people and the nation in the future as it had in the past. But it may not be so. New parties may rise up and take over our party as the people demand their new aspirations to be met and which may be best served by new representations which they may create in the future. The party may not even be as important in the future as it had been in the past, unless the ideology of the party evolves with the times.

I know now that the quarrel among my children is a quarrel between the party and the citizens. I would say, son, let the citizens win.

Your loving father, etc.


walla said...

A: This is indeed such an odd case.

B: But why should it be? After all, Kapitan Salazar would say dead men tell no tales.

A: Hah! Pirates of the Caribbean again, Mr Sparrow?

B: It is however instructive. We often hear the Asian refrain that what one generation makes, its next destroys.

A: That sounds remarkably familiar. Don't we know exactly one example closer home?

B: That one is because man yearns for iconic immortality, the trappings of power, the excitement of accolades, the desire to be popular to compensate for personal weakness, and of course, the escapist privileges of artificial status, all of which converging to one fact.

A: Which is?

B: Only diamonds are forever.

A: I was wondering when you would come to that.

B: But from dust we came, to it we return. The luster of the diamond, no different from the memory of great achievements, here today, gone tomorrow. What matters anything? It's all in the jumping beans mind.

A: Coming back, that's why it is odd. All the members are educated professionals of exceptional caliber. Yet there is a tussle over who said and did what leading to shadows of doubt ending in antagonistic interpretations of intent. And all over a piece of landed property albeit with some historical importance. Which however can be easily forgotten and won't have much to offer by way artifacts that can be better off housed in a proper museum with audio-visual narratives.

B: It's a fault peculiar to most patriarchs. They start with nothing save the shirts on their backs, then achieve the impossible but hesitate to disburse before they die what they could have done while alive, as if holding on to the end would control those after them when they should have been more concerned about the danger of diseases of age which fall all before their time is up.

A: Meanwhile those they assume are the same as remembered when small have gotten older and come upon their own because of imperatives of their own family management. The changes are molded by the dictates of the times each family unit finds itself.

B: Not to recognize all these points until one procrastinates what will wait for no man is what can cause family feuds, often to no one's ultimate gain in the end.

A: One senses it wasn't just about the house.

B: Every detail of that building could have been digitally archived for later reproduction elsewhere using 3D printing architectural plans if need be. Even smells can be reproduced. Heck, let me sell you now the idea of e-museum, and by extension, e-heritage, finally e-culture. 7D e-exhibits are already a feature.

A: But not the importance and aura of real brick-n-mortar history.

walla said...


B: After a generation or two, people won't be able to relate much to the past for compass on what to do for their future. Looking at us is enough. You think it matters anymore?

A: Such a past is only useful to anoint those who will need to lead so that continuity lubricates old rationale for the cogwheels of new decisions.

B: But each situation that comes about will be new per se to the extent the players will be different. Thus the flux of events mandates new imperatives and priorities held by the glue of pragmatism which becomes the sole shaper of leadership qualities.

A: Which is the only thing they really have. In fact, i did a thought experiment and put myself in his shoes. Would i have done anything different from the beginning?

B: I suspect your own answer would be no. Everything was driven by pragmatism, yes? Secure society, activate the airport and seaport, create the hubs of manufacturing, shipping, logistics, banking, refining and tourism. Then converge the tubes, telecoms and technologies to create a megapolis as the switzerland of seasia for premier national branding to maintain pole position in regional commerce, earning reputational capital to attract trade and investments on the back of a clean and efficient if not paranoic government.

A: But then again i faced one problem.

B: Of your own creation? Haha. Yes, in the hurry to align with the west, swept no doubt by the education of your peoples in the best of the west, you forgot about the big change in Asia which has its own characteristics above and beyond what the west had mustered which had in any case been too often in the past by the spoils of conquest.

A: New generations will have to face up to the new facts and reality of this 21st century.

B: This can be a better century than the last one. Alas, we won't live to see it.

A: Our Black Pearl has berthed. Shall we, Mon Kapitan?

B: Lead the way. Psst, is there any entertainment on board?

A: You're a rascally rapscallion to the bitter end, no?

B: It's all in the mind, my good man.