‘PM’s gaffe is a case of bad diplomacy’
The above is the title of an article posted by a ‘Apologise’ in TRE. I quote a paragraph from the article on the PM’s gaffe and Apologise’s position on the PM’s position as not reflective of the general population.
‘Regardless of our individual positions on the South China Sea dispute, we feel that our PM’s gaffe is a case of bad diplomacy because China did nothing to Singapore to warrant such a response. We categorically state that his remarks does not represent all Singaporeans. We feel that by making those remarks, he is acting against our interest and his actions puts in jeopardy our warm and stable relationship with China that former Prime Ministers, including the father of our current PM, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew helped cultivate over the years. Its understandable for China’s leaders to feel annoyed. We would like PM Lee to apologise to China and help restore our peaceful relationship, while supporting Singapore’s call for the speedy and safe return of our property.’
There are strong sentiments in the social media that were not favourable to what Hsien Loong had been saying on the SCS and relations with China. I once mentioned about the dichotomy in views and perceptions between Channel 5 and Channel 8 Singaporeans. The two groups are as far apart and divided in their views, aspiration, taste and likes and dislikes that no one should simply take them for granted as a homogenous group. When reading the English media, there is this audacity among the Channel 5 that they represent the Channel 8 people and can speak on behalf of them. The truth is far from it. Channel 5 people must not think that they represent the Channel 8 people and that their views are the dominant views. In reality, at this point in time, the Channel 8 people are the majority in absolute numbers.
Hsien Loong, though coming from Catholic High background, is more a Channel 5 than a Channel 8 type. His world views and cultural biases are thus more western than eastern and his preferences and affections are quite obvious. His latest comment that there is no ‘middle kingdom’ came as a surprise as he jolly well knows what that word mean in Chinese even if he is more Channel 5. China written in Chinese is zhong guo or 中国。Yes, 中国 means exactly what it is, Middle Kingdom. What he said about being no middle kingdom can be interpreted differently by the Channel 8 people and some may not take it lightly.
Perhaps Vivian can explain that Hsien Loong spoke in his private capacity as an ordinary citizen and not as a PM. That may appease some of the Channel 8 people if they did not know what it means by saying there is no middle kingdom.
Is this a gaffe? Whatever, there is no need to demand an apology, especially from our PM. No need to be so childish, everything also demand an apology. It would be quite embarrassing if our PM actually said sorry and China came back saying sorry must also explain.
The situation is bad enough, it is water under the bridge. Let's move on. It is easy for me to say it but would be good if China is to say it, let's move on.