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10/01/2006

asean, a 3rd world grouping

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. A primeval way to justice. We take it unkindly when someone said something bad about us. How to return the courtesy? Beat him up or kill him? Or we take the modern and civil way of reasoning it out with him, or take him to court. In the political process, the trademark of a stable and developed nation is the peaceful and orderly way of transferring political power or office. A president or prime minister departed and give way to his successor through a general election or a party election according to an agreed time scale. The president or prime minister could be naughty or crazy, but he could only be removed legally either through an impeachment or being voted out of office. There are other cruder forms of doing this, revolution, assasination, mass demonstration, or a military coup. When these methods are used, the normal legal procedures are cast aside. And such methods are normally adopted by third world countries, rich or poor. The use of extra legal processes or the thought of a military coup is a manifestation of the people's primeval instinct. ASEAN is an outstanding example of countries that are still far from political maturity. Myanmar is still under a military junta. Thailand just coup its popularly elected prime minister. The Philippines' president could be deposed by another coup anytime. Indonesia is country where the military is still very strong, like a dormant volcano. The Indochinese states are too new to form any judgement while Brunei is a kingdom. The most mature country within ASEAN in terms of a military that does not see its role in interferring with the domestic political process is Malaysia. The military has accepted the same role as those of the British, its predecessor. It is to defend the nation from external threat and not meddling with internal politics. You don't hear the military men edging to remove a prime minister or govt. Singapore was perceived as the most developed of all the ASEAN countries and a first world country in all aspects until the latest suggestion that the military will step in when things are not going right. That is the hallmark of a third world country. When military intervention is seen as a logical option, it only shows that we are still very far from being a first world political system.

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