12/19/2007

Dr Surin calls the people to check their govts

The key issue in Asean in Vision 2020 is 'The disconnect between the state and citizens' according to Nazry Bahrawi. 'Asean must not remain aloof and disconnected from our people - our power base and our source of legitimacy...The people must demand that their governments and govt agencies be accountable for progress - and the lack of it - in their respective countries.' Said Dr Surin Pitsuwan, incoming Sec Gen of Asean. He should add that Asean countries need look no further. Just look at Singapore and use it as the role model of a high connect between the people and govt. Everything runs smoothly in Singapore and the people are fully behind the govt. Asean countries should send more missions and govt officials to study and learn from Singapore.

1 comment:

Matilah_Singapura said...

> Everything runs smoothly in Singapore and the people are fully behind the govt. <

I agree—the people get the government they deserve.

> Asean countries should send more missions and govt officials to study and learn from Singapore. <

I don't agree. The people of ASEAN need to pop over to absorb the essence and to alloy with the zeitgeist [2] of this unique city state.

I think Secretary General Surin is missing a point: S'pore is a city state—there is no hinterland with communities and the activities farmers, tribes, separatists, insurgents, warlords et al.

When you have that sort of extremely varied diversity, the S'pore "model" will never, ever work.

The S'pore model won't necessarily work elsewhere because the govt or ruler of any given territory, is a local of that particular territory. That means he or she will be part of the culture, customs etc (the zeitgeist) of that territory—and these aspects take YEARS, sometimes centuries, or in the case of very old civilizations like Thailand—thousands of years—to develop and become the social fabric.

And I think one other thing is clear: the people will definitely take umbrage to their govt or rulers attempts to foist a foreign, (authoritarian) model on them—wiping out their traditions, culture, customs, and most importantly FREEDOM. There are more personal and societal freedoms in many of the other ASEAN (with the exception of say, Burma) countries than there are in S'pore. For example: other ASEAN nations have a truly free press, peaceful assembly and demonstrations are allowed (Malaysia presently is a "wait and see" case), there are opposition parties in the political sphere and there is generally a larger degree of "anarchy"** due to the wide diversity in the population and the hinterland in the geography.

** "Anarchy" means "no government". It doesn't mean "no structure" or "no rules" In the hinterland communities, the federal govt is generally mistrusted. Tribes and communities tend to be more self-governed than controlled by the politicians in the capital city.