Power and the exercise of Power

Power is sexy, intoxicating and tempting. People who grew up in the HDB heartland and found themselves in position of authority and power would suffer an initial cultural shock. Wah, I have so much Power, I am so powerful. Suddenly, from a neighbourhood Ah Kow, the heartland kid becomes a somebody. Walk also different, talk also different, dress differently and eat differently, even smell differently. Suddenly from a nondescript nothing to look at kid, the kid becomes so attractive, so sexy.

Power can be very wonderful and can change a person, his character. From a meek little kid, he may now talk very big, even turning himself into a monster or a bully.

Power can come from many sources, money, position of authority and in politics, political power, the most fearsome when abused. People in position of authority and power should, ok this is spoken from the point of a person without Power and could fall victim to Power, exercise Power with a little humility and sensitivity. The very reason for saying this is that this is a democracy, I think it is though some may disagree, and your position in Power can be taken away by the very people that gives you the power and the very people you are throwing your power at.

You just do not know when you will lose your power, and become Ah Kow again, though you may not live in the HDB heartland anymore. But Singapore is such a small place and you are going to bump into people that were at the receiving end of your Power when you exercise them abusively. I bet you it would not be a pleasant encounter and experience should that day come.

When one is stripped of Power, the playing field will be level again and an Ah Kow will be treated as an Ah Kow.  Be more foresighted and circumspect and prepared for that day when you are Ah Kow again.  Exercise your Power, the temporary Power bestowed upon you by virtue of your current position and authority with a little care.  It is not going to be with you forever. Hope the day would not come when abusive Power is thrown at you, when you are on the wrong side of Power.

Life is temporary, everything is temporary and changing. Don’t be cocky.


Anonymous said...

All the confessions by some elected persons having lived the hard life when they were young have been debunked by their attitude when they were elected into power.

That said, I admire Lui Tuck Yew who walked the talk when he took public transport and was at the scene of major train breakdowns.[I don't know if he had a hard life when young, sorry.]

Anonymous said...

...this is a democracy, I think it is though some may disagree, and your position in Power can be taken away by the very people that gives you the power...

Aiyo RB, if you are talking about PAP, then you have to wait long long for their power to be taken away lah.

How long? As long as you will not join the opposition to fight the power of PAP.

Anonymous said...

That said, I admire Lui Tuck Yew who walked the talk when he took public transport and was at the scene of major train breakdowns.
Anon 9:20 am

Aiyo, that's wayang lah. What so difficult to wayang? And so expensive some more, the time taken to standing and klkk (walking to and fro) at the scene of major train breakdowns. To commuters, they may even thought he was very free as a minister, more free than them.

Anonymous said...

Correction: Should be Anon 9:14 am below
That said, I admire Lui Tuck Yew who walked the talk when he took public transport and was at the scene of major train breakdowns.
Anon 9:20 am

Anonymous said...

Rb //When one is stripped of Power, the playing field will be level again and an Ah Kow will be treated as an Ah Kow. //

Rb, r u referring to the "commander-in-chief" in ...... ermmmmmmmm. ....... sinkieland shipping icon which soon will be sinkieland icon no more but ......?

But will he be elevated to even higher power after the transition period of overseeing the handover is completed?

Like becoming "commander-in-chief" of say another sinkieland icon such as 塌马-sick?

Virgo 49 said...

Many many years ago, in a cosy reatarurant on upper voild deck at St George's HDB estate.

Used to see Dr Toh Chin Chye with wife occuping a small table for two having their food.

Quiet esteemed gentleman where those who recognised them will nod their simple greetings.

Not so sure now if these current crop of MPs and Ministers both past still serving will be greeted by their fellow citizens.

Just imagine now even RC members of ruling party already abused their fellow men who are supposed to serve them.

Even their running skunks had rubbed of the power from their Maaters and behaved as though they are high almighty.

See their faces of most current RC members reeks if arrogance and superiority.

All these due to the daft 70% daft sinkies who brought the unnecessarily sufferings to the 30%.

Anonymous said...

新加坡 。对人不对事 官官相卫 。对事不对人 遥不可及 。Hands-On Green Matters

patriot said...

Sin is no Libya or even the Philippines.

The Dictators in countries where citizens such as student, academic, activist and the man in the street are constantly actively responding and reacting to the deeds of their rulers.
They have revolution, reform, uprising and even declare war with the authority.

Gadaffi and Saddam were killed, Marcos and Suharto were arraigned and punished. That's the Way Citizenries of other Countries take care of themselves and their nations.

Student and worker in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Philippines and Indonesia etc have always been the Checkers of their rulers.

In Sin, student and worker commit suicide when they are unable to cope up with livings.

As for those Sinkies in power, they are probably having better homes in many other places where they can run to when the slightest sign of danger appears. At least their successors are assured of sanctuary to live luxuriously anytime.

Sinkies have only themselves to blame, if they fall victims to the Abuses of their rulers.
They have chosen their rulers and allow the Rulers to do as they like.


Anonymous said...

You watched too many of donnie yen ip man movies? A humble beginning and a powerful pugilist with no airs, righteous, family man, heart for the weak and courage to fight for the right cause.

People like him do not change the world. They only perpetuate hero worship. One day, a wrong man will step in because you believe there is or will be the right man for the throne.

There never was. Perhaps never will be.

Anonymous said...

Life is temporary,
But PAP's domination is permanent.
Because Singaporeans are daft.

True or not?
You tell me lah!

Comrade Red Herring said...


Your assumption or presumption that Singapore is a Democracy is TOTALLY and COMPLETELY Wrong.

Singapore has NEVER been or is a Democracy AT ALL, even in the most fickle of ANY imagination.

Before 1959, Singapore was a British Colony.

When the PAP came into POWER in 1959, it was still commanded, commandeered, controlled and conditioned by the Empress of 'Great' Britain, under Guise of a Commonwealth, controlled and led by the United Kingdom (a Kingdom without a King).

The PAP then was a Communist Party, following the model of the CCCP, in disguise as a Socialist Party. However, even socialism was only an outward slogan to fool the gullible and sheepish. Right from the start, it was usurped, commandeered, manipulated, dictated and so-called 'led' by a Cunningly Smart (or street-smart) Dictator, who used the slogan "From the People, By the People, For the People" to entice and mesmerize the dumb, daft and brain-dead frightened sheep, goats, pigs, rabbits and chickens.

Throughout the last 50 years, Singapore was run by a Dictatorship of Proletariat (called the Cabinet) under the Strong Iron-Fist of a Single Dictator, either in the forefront or behind the scene.

Even today, the PAP is nothing but a Communist Party in disguise. And Singapore is run exactly like a Communist State. The main essence of Communism is to discourage Individual Ownership and encourage State Ownership. Try to examine the key possessions in the lives of the majority of the citizens. WHAT are they?

And see whether these key possessions are owned by the Individual or the State?

1. Your miserable HDB flat.
2. Your life-long hard-earned CPF Savings.
3. Your sons, from the age of 18 to 55.
4. Your car, if you have bought one and thinks you own it.
5. Your rule of law (or is it rule by law - not the law of the jungle but the law of the political power elites).

And recently, the Dictator has announced openly that Singapore has become a Natural Aristocratic State. Is it not?

So, how can anyone even think of Singapore as a Democracy?

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi Comrade Red Herring, welcome to the blog.

Your interpretation of Singapore's political system has its own merit in many ways. I have difficulties trying to disagree with you.

Anonymous said...

RB: 1:16pm
Your comments concurred with 12.27pm. I was not in that generation directly but knew what went wrong. First it was the excuse of communism. Believer of this concept was labeled as traitor by one old man. That was made easy because the Brits started first fighting with a small groups. Whoever going against the old man could be labeled and locked up.
Was the concept wrong? If it is, how does China became world economy number 2 in so short a time. This concept leveled down the entire population, took out the rich and privileged who ran to taiwan, enforced education, after 1 to 2 generations, it became China today.

That post 12:27pm did not talk about the betrayers of voters who voted for 23 opposition but they resigned and went on streets protest.

That created good opportunity for the old man to label opposition who were not mild and timid as communistic. CST was that kind and survived. LTK also counted.
That kind of quiet politics worked well for the old man and people who like more vocal opposition simply looked down at these poor fellows sandwiched inbetween 2 hard metal sheets. Both sides are no comfortable.

At the end until now, people just hate to be in opposition. Also hate to be in politics. That kind of attitude builds up people in power to be arrogant and use their authorities with heavy hands. There is no serious consequence for letting go their ideas as they wish to.

People at all levels of power emulate each other.
For example: the principle and teacher of one child committed suicide took him off a camp when he was in deep distress after police s humiliation with 5 adults taking him away from school. Their power to terminate someone who had paid for an activity was unquestionable. The parents had no power to object to the move. No question asked.
If in other country, such as US or Australia, i believe the principle and teacher might have a private discussion with the mother if that should be the best option.

Can you see the ones exercising power and the one receiving power? it became a tradition/ custom.
Do you think a China mother will let the principle teacher to take his son off a paid camp? NO. In that communist country, the parents will question the police arrest if over done. There are "auto detector/recorder" wear by the police kungann. When an arrest turns bad, the auto recorded video can replay. The audit on the team of police committed the problem will be from another location in china. The prosecutor will be from another higher level. If there is death, the postmortem will be done in front of the family, the persecutor and the police.

Communist china is more impartial to deal with abuse of power.
If this place is not right, it is because voters and its people are just too uninterested in state affairs, so much so that the ones exercising power can have more room to commit mistakes and get out of it.

People work in high handed companies such as those from Japan should know: the bosses could do nonsense. But when some one stood up to complain to head office, the bosses got sacked. But in the current system when opposition are timid, there is nothing can be done.

Voters want it that way. Blame at wrong targets. They want the authorities to treat them this way, yet they make noise. This is democracy. it is and dont blame communism. Btw, i am not communist definitely.

Anonymous said...

But in the current system when opposition are timid, there is nothing can be done.
Anon 1:54 pm

You sure or not? Is Dr Chee Soon Juan timid? No, right? But he can do nothing also, simply because every time he lose elections.

Something can be done only when the opposition is strong, united and ready to be govt. Only then will there be a chance that majority voters will vote them into power to do something.

Anonymous said...

@ patriot June 10, 2016 10:50 am
//Sinkies have only themselves to blame, if they fall victims to the Abuses of their rulers.
They have chosen their rulers and allow the Rulers to do as they like.//

Nothing will change for sure, if going by 5 millennium historical anecdotal evidences?

Ancient Chinese are willing to tolerate abuses till they were reduced to cooking and eating inner layers of tree barks for food

In a way, ancient rulers were kind of sadistic and seemed to enjoy ( tremendously and feeling a sense of immense ( false ) importance ) the fact that countless subjects were reduced to extreme starvation and impoverishment are still at their mercy?

Anonymous said...

When alive, old man got "sinkies by the throats"?

And before his passing, he "would have let his successor(s) "fully aware"?

So what's new?

Anonymous said...


"Abuses" of ( especially PMETs ) sinkies would likely persist in the job mkt?

Abuses of "NS sinkies" paid even lower than Blangahs but ironically many are much more qualified ( than the foreign labourers ) with Poly Dip or straight "A"s Cambridge Advanced Level?

Anonymous said...

Lousier and Lousier quality of education being provided in all levels of public schools and sinkies children especially those with less privileged background "scolded and short changed" like clock work?

But sinkies will still tolerate bcos they "hum chee"?

Many even get "terrified and shaking" when their names are "shouted loudly" ( intentionally? ) in polling booths and continued to choose the ( same ) masters ( "that will continue to behave like ancient emperors" )?

Anonymous said...

You hammer a ferocious dog several times it will slowly back off and play by the rules. The rule of the laws of Sin.

You have no hope with the oppositions

Anonymous said...

Furthermore, all of them are idiots

Anonymous said...

Marcos was like that, Suharto was like that, Gaddafi, Saddam etc etc. They did not believe they would fall from power.

They did fall. No one is infallible.

patriot said...

Like to say here that me does not watch 'kung fu' movies nor movies of other genres.

As for history of China and Chinese Culture, I am very proud of them. Me born Chinese and therefore me am link to all thing Chinese.
I am naturally proud of the Chinese Civilization. As always, there were patriots that sacrificed themselves to rid China of tyrant, traitor and despot.
Yuefei, Jingke, Quyuan and numerous others spreaded over thousands of years had kept the Chinese Traits of patriotism, filial piety, 礼仪廉耻,以德服人 etc alive and many now and in the future will keep it kicking and going infinitely, 弘扬广大龙的传统。

The Chinese has over 5000 Year and more of recorded history and many enlighten folks existed throughout.
Chinese Philosophers were invariably non-superstitious and were by and large intellects of the Highest Level.

In my opinion, the Mainland Chinese have kept and are keeping their indigenous culture more intact and wholesome than oversea Chinese.
As for Sinkie Chinese, most have abandon their roots and much of their rooted had rotted.

Just my personal feeling, hope readers are not offended.


Anonymous said...

The only thing you will learn from the Chinese civilisation is they are as blur a sotong like the rest of the other civilisation.
Bloody idiots

Anonymous said...

Anon 3.26pm
Chee is not timid, how do u know? Chee staged shows to get police to get him in the past after he was sacked in Nus for using stamps for his wife s postage and over claimed a few dollars in taxi fare (based on estimates).
Chee lost in election is because his insight in singapore s issues has not tinkle agreement with voters. Not because he is timid, neither is he aggressive.

U like to say opposition cannot govern? What is can govern? or can form government?
Let define here:
If opposition has more than 50% it can form government. That s it. It not up to u to say they cannot. U are just one vote.


I would say, the time has not arrived for opposition to earn more than 50% seats. It is this reason. Opposition must work hard. The chances are on WP. They may get 30% or 30seats. Then in the following round 2025GE, WP can combine with a smaller opposition to form a majority.

If you do not agree with me, then its only Pap can form the government. Not problem to me. I will continue to watch those voters get into difficult problems. Unless they are smart and know how to avoid getting into troubles, if not, time is very hard for voters continue to supporting Pap at 70%. Their jobs are and will be given away to indians to get in more headcounts. Their debts cannot be reduced when Hdb is charging them double while their salaries are kept stagnant. Stagnant means less than 5% increment over 10 to 15 years. Sure die or mati. No way to get out except: go join one old fellow who said properties prices can go up by voting pap. Many holding the second property will have debts higher when interest go higher.
1% increase in interest can average increase debt by S$400pm.
If Pap still use globalization as excuse to bring in cheaper pmets to under cut Ns men s salary increase, they cannot go on and go. U better give up some days. Find better ideas than "opposition cannot govern". The opposition will have no choice at all when voted into parliament. Some days.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen tel aviv terrorists attack 2 days back? cnn.

A casual restaurant with youngsters similar to starbugs type. All of a sudden people started to run. So fast.

The terrorists wore nice suites similar to businessmen wear.
But they fire semi auto weapons.

This is the type of new terrorists on video.

The show is real stuff, not tv show. Our fear that terrorists from someone alien to us and most unexpected dress men could be terrorists.

Its time Singapore enlist professional soldiers hire from foreigners to protect local citizens. Citizens wearing green to patrol mrt or public places become the obvious targets. These young men can never expect well dress in suits ang mor can be the terrorists.

Ns men become target, that is too much for little dot running short of babies citizens. What do you think?

patriot said...

Me concurs that the Soldiers and Policemen patrolling the Installations are easy targets of terrorists.

The supposedly protectors of life and property are the Only Armed Personnels around and their greatest weakness is moving together in ONE DIRECTION. IF THEY ARE ATTACK FROM THEIR BACKS, ALL SHALL KAPUT TOGETHER.


Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

"Personal" Power is ok. In fact the more of it you have, the better your life can be. Personal power is limited to the individual's self---i.e. it is the power which governs the restraint and actions of the individual, to do what they need to do in order to live well.

"Power over others" is where all the shit starts to happen. It is common that many people who lack personal power, prefer to wield power over others, by virtue of AUTHORITY.

Therefore it is not whether power is "good" or "bad", it is just part of the human condition. Thus, POWER (over others) needs to be CONSTRAINED. If it is not, there will be problems.

For e.g.: in a classroom the teacher is The Authority and thus has the POWER to keep the kids in line. However the teacher's power is constrained. i.e. the teacher can scold a student who has crossed a disciplinary line, but the teacher has no authority to beat the student up. i.e. there is some legal constraint over the teacher's power.

Similarly for the state and for the govt running the state. Their powers need to be LIMITED to certain spheres and contexts.

Otherwise, there will be problems.

The questions you should be asking is: "What are the contexts where power of authority is VALID and in what situations and contexts does authority have to leave it alone and not interfere?"

The answer to the above will enlighten you.