To cowpeh cowbu or not?

My article on WP’s silence in many hot and controversial issues has received mixed reactions as usual. Some are still unhappy that the WP has stayed away from making a stand when the people wanted them to say something. Some have complimented the WP for being wise by not being drawn or trapped into a situation like Chee Soon Juan or JBJ and other opposition politicians and be smashed to bits and buried alive.

There are merits and reasons to want WP to speak up. There are also very good reasons not to speak up but speaking up only at a critical moment when it counts. It is easy for WP to fire away at the many issues that the people are unhappy about and score political points and win over more supporters. Other than this, they are not going to gain anything meaningful and may open themselves to attacks just like cleaning the ceilings of hawker centres. Everything they said would be used to slice them to pieces, right or wrong, nitpicking to the tiniest hair. Even if they can say all the right things, all they need to do to get into trouble could be as minor as a sneeze while speaking.

What would happen to the issues if WP did not speak up? The problem could magnify and accelerate to an intolerable level much faster since no protest could be seen as everything is good, no problem, policy well received, or no one can find anything wrong with the policy. It is like allowing the fire to burn itself out.

Speaking out and pointing out problematic areas would allow remedial actions to be taken to rectify the flaws and could even turn a bad policy or issue around. A potentially explosive issue or bad policy could be massaged to become more acceptable. Speaking out, criticizing is helping to solve a problem, helping to make things better. The bad part is that no one likes to hear the bad news, the critiques, and people who spoke out are seen as bad people, trouble makers, the messenger of bad news, and often be kicked in the arse.

This may be a good reason why WP chose to stay reticent, don’t ruffle the feathers, don’t be a smart aleck when it is not welcomed, don’t be the messenger of bad news and don’t get butted for trying to help. What is the point when whatever they said would be received badly and seen as stirring trouble, with the wrong intention?  Must as well let people be happy with their mistakes and let the problem and pain fester and rot, and wait for the opportunity to pick up the pieces when it is too late to salvage a bad situation. Being quiet, non committal has many merits and can be strategically very sound too. It can also be a game of psycho, making the enemies wandering what one is up too and what is brewing. It may force the enemies to panic, to act prematurely and start barking for the wrong reasons. It can mislead the enemy to become complacent, to think there is no threat, all so nice and humble and accommodating. A nice and easy going politician, always smiling and so sweet can be even more dangerous than a barking dog. It is all a game and how the politician can play to his advantage. What is real or unreal?

We are just bystanders watching the chess players moving their pieces. Who will emerge the winner when it is game over, the quiet one or the one that is kpkb for the wrong reasons?


Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

Aiyah, please lah uncle.

You don't have to "speak up" simply for speaking up -- that's like being a rebel without a cause.

SILENCE is often the best PUBLIC strategy if you have no viable solutions to contribute. Otherwise you're just complaining, and in short time, you'll lose your supporters.

The WORST thing any would-be opposition political enterprise can do is to make statements that will cause more divisiveness on an issue.

"Either-Or" is essentially a false choice. You take a position, you lock yourself in. If backfire, you lose to the point you cannot recover yourself. You become divisive, you play to the unruly, unthinking, emotional MOB -- already "hot" from the issues at hand.

Better to keep quiet, keep your powder dry, and maintain control on impulses to outburst. Then think very carefully about the issues and formulate non-divisive responses and solutions.

Anonymous said...

The WP only KPKB once every five years.

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

P.S. Being quiet doesn't necessarily mean you are "non-committal".

I doubt the WP are playing "mind games" as you would suggest.

The PAP don't scare easily lah. The are bold and obnoxious, plus they have all the power -- to the point they can come out and devastate any opposition via a variety of "dirty tactics".

agongkia said...

What is there to speak up when there is no major issue to be look into?And if one is not ready to be the Chairman,why not just keep quiet as a normal director and get the monthly salary ,oon oon chia bee hoon?
And dun anyhow speak up just to show that one is working.
That Ah Huat propose to punish those poor towkays for paying their staff CPF late instead of thinking how to help those poor towkays who has to plead with the judge for a bit of times to pay up...
And Ah lian talk about those parental leaves..as if Sinkies are overstress....
If I towkay,you think I will support those chia leow bee who got no feeling to be the Garmen?If my good but nearly pokkai towkay is force to close shop because of punishment,you think I can still get a job that allow me to blog as and when I like?
Drink my Ah Huat kopi better than listen to Ah Huat story.
No talent means no talent.Buay How Seow.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

That is why I say don't ask a hundred or a thousand questions in Parliament. As 10 good and relevant questions will be good enough.

Some questions can simply write to the perm sec or minister for an answer no need to go to Parliament and waste time.

Anonymous said...

We should kpkb only among ourselves to raise awareness of the issues among fellow patriots and citizens.

But never kpkb in gahmen websites.
The best feedback to the PAP gahmen is no feedback.

SMRT breakdowns.
That's the best feedback ever.
If you feedback BEFORE the breakdowns, PAP will not believe you anyway.
So the fastest way to convince PAP is to agree with them.
And then sit back and watch the whole thing fall apart.

Anonymous said...

why so many "religious guru" try to politicise issues to advance their personnal goals?

why some public area are reserved for certain exclusive groups? who started this??? so whose faults?

one man meat is another man posion .... have a new meaning here???

knnccb ....

Veritas said...

The origin of parliament is for people to kpkb.

Parler = to speak in French.

How can WP go there and keep quiet? We do not elect them to be dumb, but we elect them to speak up on behalf of us.

Nevertheless WP is still one notch above PAP. Being dumb is better than speaking in a way those PAP did that cause me ad nausea.

Better to keep quiet than to tell lie, talk sycophantic, brag...etc.

Anonymous said...

Wah, RB, you are like the reincarnation of Sun Tzu or Napoleon, because they would have said the same things as you. Political warfare is very similar to real war, ain't it? Don't let your enemy bait you into cowpeh cowbu too much, eh?

“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” - Sun Tzu, The Art of War

"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake." - Napoleon Bonaparte

Anonymous said...

Sun Tzu

"If it is to your advantage, make a move forward;
if not, stay where you are."

Anonymous said...

@ November 23, 2013 1:08 pm

In other words, inaction is often better than blindly charging in.

The downfall of the PAP will be due to their hubris. Their arrogance breeds a mentality of always being right. They scorn the idea of populism. And what does the PM do? He does a disappearing act during a crisis, and when things die down, opens his mouth too damn much uttering hot air and fighting ghosts - and that goes with his ka-kias.

I am often reminded that:
Those who talk a lot know less than what they say.
Those who say little know more than what they talk about.

Anonymous said...

@ November 23, 2013 9:17 pm

Sun Tzu also taught:
"To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands,
but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself."