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2/22/2007

how to react to tribal hostilities?

We are having tough times with our neighbours. To some, ee have bent backwards to help them very generously at times. But what have we got in return? They are now threatening us with all kinds of things, taking our commercially bought assets, accusing us of unfriendly acts, threatening us to sign treaties or agreements or else, threaten to expel our diplomats etc etc How are we, as a people, to respond to such threats and war cries? The govt will have to react as it is an inter govt issue. But should the people react, or should we just shut up as if nothing happens? And if we are to react, how? Throw stones back at them if they throw stones at us? Or pretend that we are more civilised and offer the other cheek? There were conflicting views in the MSM forums on how to react when neighbours turn unreasonable or hostile. To retaliate or to appease? There are many things that we can do and so can our neighbours, both positive and negative, like behaving like little children or respectable international citizens, or exhibiting our tribal manners. But the worst thing that we can do is to let people throw all the punches at us and we meekly take the blows, be compliant.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dude, have you ever asked yourself why Singapore is so disliked by so many countries ? Like they say, if one neighbour has a problem with you, okay maybe something wrong with him, two neighbours, okay still maybe something wrong with those two but if the whole darn neighbourhood has a problem with you, it's really time to reflect on whether there is something bloody wrong with how you go about your business in the neighbourhood.

redbean said...

the only reason i can think of is that singapore is behaving like a rich kid who wants to be popular and went around throwing its money to buy friends.

what singapore should do is to keep its money to itself and don't try to please anyone. when one tries to please by throwing money around it gets two kinds of reactions.

one is that people will take it as a sign of weakness or insecurity. and they take advantage of it by becoming freeloaders. why not when one party is so eager to please.

the other effect is that it becomes condescending or a kind of aloofness which will not be received kindly.

Anonymous said...

I agree totally with anon 12.33pm. Singapore is behaving like a big bully with lots of money and performing an economic invasion of her neighbours. How would Singapore feel if another country were to do the same to her?

Buying of illegally smuggled sand is another thing that Singapore should not encourage. This just similar to buying blood diamonds or buying of rhino horns etc.

redbean said...

i think all the countries around us are doing funny things behind everyone's back. singapore is not the only bad boy. agree that is besides the point.

the buying of illegal sand is yet to be proven. it is a very sticky situation. our contractors (not singapore govt) will find sand from whoever is willing to sell at the best price. and if the sellers came with all the documents, is it reasonable to demand that our contractors go through a legal check like hiring a lawyer to do a title deeds check?

or is it reasonable to expect the singapore custom to do the policing when they are not willing to police themselves?

and who to catch? all the big robbers of the people are still kicking and smiling. it is the small guys that are caught as scapegoats.

the indonesian sellers could go one big circle to sell their sands to us, legally of course, and no one is wiser.

and yes, we should not get our sands from illegal sources. and we should not deal with anyone that is corrupt. so which general or minister are we not supposed to talk to? can we talk to suharto, habibie, abdulrahman wahid, yudhoyuno?

Anonymous said...

However you want to argue it redbean, sand on a ship flying an indonesian flag MUST be illegal. buying it and you are not only acting illegally, you are also encouraging someone to perform an illegal act. redbean, you are a singaporean and you will always argue for singapore. i respect that. however, one must also have a clear conscience. when your son bullies his friends you must not fight for your son but reprimand him or he will get worse.

redbean said...

hi anonymous,

this is just a friendly discussion by ordinary people, like kopitiam talk. as a singaporean, it is normal that i am in many instances biased in favour of singapore. but while we chat, it is good that we have our reference point of what is right and wrong very clear. illegal buying of sand is illegal and no way can it become a right.
on the other hand, in politics and international trade and relations, many things are complicated by a lot of vested interests. if we insist on right and wrong, then the world will come to a standstill. this world operates on a full range of grey.

we can take positions of right and wrong and the answers are very obvious. all political decisions are compromise decisions.

redbean said...

how right or virtuous is suharto?

why should lky lay a wreath to the commandos that came to bomb our country? these are all grey matters.

Anonymous said...

it must be terrible to be disliked by all your neighbours.

redbean said...

not really if we are rich and can enjoy the good life. the feeling only comes when one is eager to please and wants to be popular.

just live one's own life and to hell with those that do not concern you. no need to waste time and resources on them. only to people who are close and meant something to you.

that is a happier philosophy of living : )

Anonymous said...

Sure you can live cozily with your head in the sand on your little red dot. If you are not careful with your agressive behaviour you will become the "spoilt brat" of the Asean countries. When that happens, you will fall, howeevr rich you might become.

If history is anything to go by, there has never been a bullying country that survived. So beware!!

Anonymous said...

Anon February 22, 2007 7:56 PM, don't you worry. Peesaipore is only acting tough now because a certain old fart is still around. When he kicks the bucket, all this bravado will disappear as quickly as the grim reaper will wrest his soul. Time is not on their side.

redbean said...

in the wrong company, whatever singapore does or not do, will always be seen as bad. even if singapore behaves like an eager beaver rushing to help or offer assistance, pouring money into an endless pit, people will never be grateful.

what singapore needs to do is to conduct itself correctly and let others think whatever they like. the neighbouring countries have always think that singapore owes them a living. but the world has changed and gets very small. our neighbours now are us, europe, middle east, india and china. not just southeast asia.

it is a new world of technology, internet and high speed communication. not longer a world of coconuts and rubber plantations. singapore will survive as long as it does not self destruct.

Anonymous said...

What you perceive as right and proper in Singapore may not be good for your neighbours. Singapore has always jostled to be in the winning position. In doing so, very often, others get tramped along the way. No consideration for others, that is the main fault of the Singapore way.

redbean said...

you said it, it is the perception of others. that is why i said singapore should just do what is right and forget about other people's perception. waste of time worrying about what people think of us.

actually singapore has been trying to help the region to grow, and all can benefit. but the problem is the incompetence and mismanagement of the neighbours, to put it undiplomatically. we started batam and bintan and even included jb, but they messed it up for us. that's way before suzhou and the opening up of china.

after so many years of mismanagement, they should stop blaming us and get their own houses together. and stop envying us for our success. our success is our own creation despite all the odds and restrictions placed against us. everything that we need, our neighbours have plentiful but chose not to sell to us and preferred them to go to waste. good examples are water and sand.

just let us manage batam and bintan for them at OUR cost and we share the profit and we will turn these two islands into another singapore. we can do it but they can't. so what's wrong or whose fault?

Anonymous said...

You say that Singapore has tried to uplift this region for the benefit of neighbours. Don't make me laugh. Singapore does things ONLY for the benefit of Singapore and no one else. If the spill over benefits fall on neighbours' table then OK, but the main meal will be for Singapore and no one else.

How patronising!!!

redbean said...

i don't think you read what i said. singapore will help the region to grow and all will benefit. it is not singapore's responsibility to help anyone. if we help anyone, it is through our generosity and selfish interest. just like people doing charity work. it is for their own good and future wellbeing as they believe that doing good will reap goodness. selfish interest again.

even in the batam/bintang and jb triangle, the growth is for all parties and each party should make the best of it on their own. only the idiotic will complain that A makes more and so he feels cheated. how much one makes depends on how much effort one puts in.

Matilah_Singapura said...

>> the only reason i can think of is that singapore is behaving like a rich kid who wants to be popular and went around throwing its money to buy friends.<<

Exactly right, spot on.

The point is: The State should never do these things. In fact, The State should not even be "rich". The wealth, for the benefit of long-term prosperity and freedom of THE PEOPLE must be held by The People.

In other words, leave the private sector ALONE to play in the market. No state should be allowed to enter the market at all, for any reason, at any time. None. Stay the fuck OUT.

If The State holds the wealth, then ask yourself the question where and how did The State get so wealthy?

The State is always the aggressor. The only legitimate function of The State is to prevent aggression form happening, and when aggression occurs to stop it and punish the aggressors. However, modern states are the worse offenders in aggression because they can make LAW and raise TAXES. By making laws, and enforcing them, modern states can silence dissent or disagreement very effectively, essentially giveing the people who run The State a monopoly on power to do as they please — i.e. to implement any agenda they choose.

Over the years, S'pore state officials have insulted its neighbours. In recent times, the S'pore State has been buying up its neighbours' assets.

How many times do you think you can slap a guy, then buy up the stuff in his neighbourhood, and charge him for the use of these assets... and then expect him to keep quiet?

What the fuck are these government people thinking??

Shit for brains! Moral compass: ZERO!

redbean said...

maybe it is good to experience being humbled and a bloody nose.

it is good that a nation is wealthy. but wealthy for what and for who?

Matilah_Singapura said...

It is meaningless these days to use the word "nation". What we have in most geographical territories are nation states.

Now you can get closer to the answer to that pressing question of yours ;)