The changing and unchanging political dynamics
For more than 40 years, the political dynamics and the way politics are played out have hardly changed here. Like it or not, it is a system based on a powerful personality dominating all political decisions and policies. Once decided, there it goes. Right or wrong, good or bad, let's move on. It looks so simple and easy to run this place. The same pattern of a domineering leader at the top was also the case for Malaysia and Indonesia. There were Mahathir and Suharto, all very powerful personalities that do not allow anyone to mess around with them. And between these three key players, many things could be done, deals struck, just by their own wheelings and dealings. Between LKY and Suharto, they have reached a certain understanding and would honour their agreements. In the case of Mahathir, though he had all the power to make deals, at the later stage of his political life he came out as one that would break deals or interpret them in whatever ways he wanted or to his benefit. There is nothing that is cast in stone. Everything is changeable. That was the political scene then. The same pattern and style of politics still exist in the little island but no more in Malaysia and Indonesia. They have changed with the passing of Mahathir and Suharto. More pressure groups are getting stronger and getting heard. More demands are made on their leaders that prevent them from exercising their power as PM or President. They no longer have the absolute powers of their predecessors. This is frustrating to Singapore. Making deals are no longer between two personalities, a four eye meeting to solve all issues. Things are going to be dragged on and on and nothing done. This is the new dynamics of the region. We have remained quite the same in the way we do things. The rest have changed. How to make deals anymore?