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9/30/2006

constitutional monarchy is good for singapore

The Thai military coup could be the harbinger of a political change in Thailand. It is the first time that the king played a key role in engineering the removal of a popularly elected PM on drum up charges of corruption. It is so easy to prove such accusations on anyone in power, including kings and presidents, as people in such positions are often in compromising positions because of what they are. There will be many charges of excesses which can easily be proven. What may trigger off a backlash is the increasing awareness of the farmers of the political process. With higher education, the people will start thinking. Why should the land belong to the king and not to the people? Will this lead Thailand towards a republic? On the contrary, the politicisation of Singaporeans could go the other way. All signs point favourably towards a constitutional monarchy. How so? The majority of Singaporeans are of Chinese origin, steeped in Confucianist thinking that runs deep in their blood without them knowing. For several centuries, the Chinese fear authority. On the positive side, they become very discipline and easily led. On the negative side, they become very submissive and easily controlled. Or as proven in this region, they become very compliant even in the face of adversities and abuses. When there is a strong and virtuous leader, the Chinese will become a very powerful and organised force for progress and development, like what China has become. But when the leader is a crook or incompetent, the whole population will suffered in silence. They could not stand up to remove the leader, and thus be led or misled to their own demise. In a hypothetical case, if tomorrow a very powerful personality emerged and claimed to have the mandate of heaven to rule Singapore, like Yuan Shi Kai did in China, the people will obediently go along. Such a personality could instal himself as the next monarch, a constitutional monarch quite easily. And the Chinese population will accept it in acquiscience. No protest or protest feebly. But such a system may be good for Singapore. Under Confucianist ideology, the people are told to accept their stations in life. The monarch and elite deserve to be where they are and live a life of plenty. The poor farmers and peasants believe that life for them is to remain as good peasants and farmers. And if they have to toil for less, they are still expected to be contented with that. In the current context, the political elite will be very happy with such mindless mass that will quietly lead their lives in poverty. The compliant mass will resign to their fate and will not voice out about lack of opportunities or a widening income gap. Neither will they challenge the authority. Society will be at peace. The top and bottom are all happy to live their separate lives in separate worlds. See, a constitutional monarchy with a compliant people can save the country so many problems. Lim Swee Say need not work so hard to appease the demands of the unions. They know their station in life.

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