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11/16/2008

Confucianism or Confusionism

The ideology of Confucianism is very clear about the roles of people and their relationship in society. Everyone has a proper place and should behave accordingly. The king must behave like a king and be responsible for his kingly roles. The people must be people and go about their lives as the ruled. Also, people must behave responsibly to fellow human beings. The father or mother must be what they are, as responsible parents. Relationships and roles are clearly structured, no overlapping or crisscrossing, no confusion. And no wearing multiple hats of conflict and contradiction. When such conditions exist, society or country will be orderly and peaceful. When the roles are mixed or interwoven, when king acts like commoners, or parents like irresponsible children, or acting as both, everything under heaven will be in turmoil. Applying these to our present polity, I can see only Confusionism instead of Confucianism. What we have today is a govt that is not only the govt but also in business. And businesses, with govt participation, think or sometimes behave like they were the govt. The workers are represented by the Union. The Union is also the govt, or led by the govt. So the govt is the union and is the worker and vice versa. This confused or complex state of beings has completely blurred the respective roles and responsibilities of the organizations. Obviously the design of these organizations to be in this way was cleverly crafted to operate in harmony and efficiency. When things are running smoothly, the system will be greatly admired and appreciated. We have attributed our success and good fortunes to these creations, tripartism, Singapore Inc, privatized public hospitals and privatised public business organizations etc etc. But when things start to go wrong, when there is conflict of interest, people get confused. What are they supposed to do when they are 3 in 1, govt, business and people? The holy trinity is supreme only in the heavenly abode when each can switch roles instinctively with ease without compromising one another. In the earthly dimension, human beans are not that godly to be able to switch their roles efficiently. A time delay often occurs when the incumbent responsible has to decide which hat he wants to wear or should wear. The minibond crisis and the great retrenchment are classic examples of how people got confused in their roles. There are many other examples. Should they act on the side of the govt, or on the side of business, or on the side of the people? Which is the correct role to play? It is Confusionism at its best. In the midst of this confusion, Tan Kin Lian rises to lead the people when many people and organizations should be doing so but not doing. Once the void is filled, the divide gets clearer and wider by the days. Confucianism is good when there is no confusion. Confusionism is troublesome.

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