A team of rivals
This was the main theme of an article by ST’s China Bureau Chief, Peh Shing Huei on Saturday. He was referring to the Obama Administration which is made up of both the Democrats and Republicans, some from the George Bush Administration. This rival mix in politics is gaining popularity out of necessity and expediency. China has started this trend after Deng Xiaoping’s successors took over the leadership. The current Thai govt is also a gathering of a mixed bag of politicians. And so is the State Governments in Malaysia. In fact UMNO is also an alliance of convenience among the communal parties. Singapore’s history also took off with a team of rivals, the left wing Barisan Socialis and the right wing or socialist PAP. But the marriage of convenience was shortlived and the Barisan Socialis MPs were either imprisoned or fled the country. I wanted to ask if such a marriage of convenience is possible or workable for the long term good of the component members and the country today. The answer is quite obvious. It cannot be and will only lead to one party swallowing the other or running down the weaker party. Politics has never been a pleasant tea party of friends but of vicious politicians trying to out manouvre each other with the winner takes all before the party is over. It was never meant to be a game for ladies and gentlemen but for schemers and cunningness to fix up or destroy the enemy at all cost. Have things changed? Has the world changed or the people changed to such an extent that the thought of partying with the rivals is now relevant and a necessity? Would we see the different political parties coming together after a general election as national leaders sitting in Parliament to agree and also to disagree without trying to take a swipe at each other at every opportunity? Looking at the ethics and temperaments of politicians, we are still a long way off. We may be emulating the Americans in many things. But the new trend of embracing rival politicians like what Obama is doing is the furthest thing that will be copied here. The medieval rules of the survival of the ruthless, and the destruction of every opponent in the way, will still be the political ethos and morality of politics here. Am I wrong?