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5/21/2011

Entrenched power, entrenched mindset

The Qing Dynasty ruled China for nearly 400 years. In its dying days it was all about power, holding on to power at all cost, no means was too harsh or brutal, as long as they could hold on to power. An entrenched power would only seek its own interest above all else. Our history has also seen a similar but shorter period of entrenched power. It has developed a mindset among the ruling class that they indeed were the rulers, destined, mandated by heaven, to be at these supreme and privilege positions. And the ruled also acquired a mindset of hopelessness, that it was their fate to be ruled. The years of ‘democrazy’ did not educate the people and the rulers that the country belongs to the people and the people are its real masters. A few weeks after the watershed GE, the old mindset of a ruling class is clearly prevalent. The rulers would not go away. They are so entrenched in their lifestyle as rulers, and it must continue to be so. The children of the ruling class and the elite too acquired a dismissive and unforgiving attitude towards the ruled. We have seen and heard it before. In the midst of an outcry for change, some quarters of the ruling class claimed to have heard, and are giving out signals for change and reform, like the Qing Dynasty. In the latter, many reformers lost the battle and were either killed, imprisoned or ran away. Reforming a dynasty from its old ways is not as easy as it thinks, as long as power still resides in the hands of the old ways. A few selected letters in the ST forum deemed worthy, or the prevalent views of the people, are calling for the retention of the yodas, and an unwritten consent for the old Machiavellian ways of knuckle dusters, threats, fears, law suits, just do what I say but don’t do what I do. Be content and be grateful, and shut up. The yodas no doubt are still good and able for many good years. They don’t become dummies overnight. They are still what they are, still entrenched in their old mindset and old abrasive styles. Is this what the people want? More haughty and cocky top down approach of father knows best, and carry a cane ready to strike at the wayward kids? In the new line up of younger leaders, there are several very promising young men that have entered the ring, with a clean slate, and a new mindset. If there is any hope of reform and transformation to a more gracious ruling class, less vindictive, more forgiving and generous, less thuggish, it must come from these new faces. Among the older reformers, perhaps a small handful could be sold to the idea of reform, and genuinely want to take a new approach. As for the rest, the entrenched mindset of ruthless and absolute executive power remains intact, waiting for the day to say, ‘I told you so, we must do it the way we knew better. The ruled only understand the rule of power.’ We are at a threshold of a new incoming tide and a receding old tide, refusing to go away. There can be no real reform if the yodas will not go away. Yes, the leopard will not change its spots. Who will triumph in this tussle for power and change, and how long will it take? The decadent Qing Dynasty dragged on for decades before a revolution finally sent them to oblivion, and before they struck havoc and destruction to lives and the country in general.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

A few selected letters in the ST forum is but the views of a narrow segment of the population, maybe selected out of hundreds of others that were rejected because they probably advocate the opposite stand, hence their letters never see the light of day.

That is the kind of distorted feedback that our leaders have come to rely on and paid the price.

They want truthful, honest, no holds barred feedback they must work the ground and above all, listen to the chatter of netizens.

The worst places to gather feedback are the RCs and CCs and relying on grassroots. More often than not, they represent the voice of the converted, who will never utter a word of resentment against the power that be.

Do people go to their place of worship to lodge complaints against their God?

Anonymous said...

Good analysis, Mr Chua.
A person cannot change, until his heart changes. His heart cannot change until he decides to deny himself (his old self). Yodas remain yodas as yodas like themselves too much in the game of power, money & knowing it all.

Anonymous said...

Very sad to read here that the Newspapers are sticking to their adulating the Authority old ways. If the Media are representative of the Leadership, then it can be justifiably be said that things will REMAIN UNCHANGE.
And those talks of wanting to address the concerns and problems of the people shall remain as just talks.

Matilah_Singapura said...

The old tide will go away only when the people say so.

The people get the government they deserve. This is a fact of politics. Don't blame the politicians -- they were chosen by the people. Tyrants like Mao, Stalin and Hitler were also chosen by their people. They were brutal to some of the people, but the vast majority still chose the tyrants to remain in-charge.