Asian deference to power and authority

When I saw Obama bowing to the Emperor of Japan, I was kind of, 'What the hell is he doing?' Didn't he learnt from the same mistake when he bowed to the Saudi King? Didn't his advisors gave him a debriefing that being the President of the USA, he is first among all equals. No king or president is above him or on par with him. But he had to do it again. Many Asians would not notice the significance of that bow. But the Americans are incensed. Hey, the days of kings, dukes and princes are over. The concept of royalties or people who are more equal than others by birth is no longer acceptable, especially in republics, democracies and socialist/communist countries. The days of royalties will be a thing of the past in a matter time. However there are still Asians who are disturbed by the outburst of Americans at Obama. They find it perfectly respectful for a president to bow to a king. I think if the Queen of England or Prince Charles were to visit Singapore, many Singaporeans will willing and instinctively bow to them. For the commoners, maybe it is more a polite way to greet someone who is richer and more powerful than them. After all they are royalties, queens are beautiful, kings are clever and princes are charming. It is all written in the books of fairy tales and fables. In reality, many of these royalties can be quite idiotic or simply nasty creeps. Time has changed, and with universal suffrage, universal education, equality, the mindset of fairy tales should be cleansed in the education system. What is a king or prince if not of the inherited wealth and glory?


ed said...

I don't understand this.

Whilst i do agree with your basic stance, i have to say that Obama's 'bow' not being appropriate because he is 'first amongst equals' is itself an anti-democratic stance is it not.

I personally don't see him as 'first amongst equals' but rather a servant of a society of equals. Hence, it would not be appropriate for anyone to bow before any 'royalty' or 'servants of the citizenry' whether one is the president of the u.s. or not.

But, as i said, your basic standpoint, summed up well in your final paragraph, certainly has my acquiescence.


redbean said...

hi ed, your comments noted. today, people in modern societies believe in the concept of all man are equals. in reality they also know that some are more equal than others.

in the case of the american president, he carries a bigger stick than anyone and can talk louder than anyone, that is what i meant by him being the first among equals. in terms of political clout, he is number one. the kings or emperors are cloutless or relatively less influential than him.

a proper decorum should be all heads of states, be they president, prime ministers, kings, emperors or dictators, they should be equal in standing. that is how international protocol is being conducted.

i can understand why the americans were incensed when obama bowed so deeply to the emperor of Japan or to any kings. Nothing personal, just protocol.

Matilah_Singapura said...

In ancient times, the people would rise up ad kill the monarch which just proved too much of a tyrant. Or someone in the monarch's "inner circle" would carry out the murder.

In other words: The people get the sovereign they deserve -- regardless of the political system: pure monarchy, democracy, theocracy, plutocracy.... whatever.