Wang Gungwu – The consumate gentleman historian

Professor Wang Gungwu was at his best when interviewed at the Straits Times Global Outlook Forum on Singapore China relations and China’s One Belt and One Road Project. It is not just the depth of his understanding of the subjects in question but how he disagreed but saying he agreed with opposing views and still put out his views in a very pleasant and amicable way. To all those he disagreed, he told them he agreed with them and then told them his views that are diametrically opposed to those that he disagreed with without ruffling feathers.

He praised Singapore for all its positive contributions to China’s rise and economic growth and kept silence on the negative things Singapore have been doing to China. He praised Vivian Balakrishnan and said he agreed with him and his views but came out with his own views that were obviously not the same as Vivian’s.

While many still live in the past and think that China is still a hapless poor country that needed their help, this historian is living in the present, in the future, and telling them that the China today is a country that many needs to go to for help.  This is the strangest part of the interview with the Straits Times published on 1 Dec, a historian living in the present while the politicians and analysts living in the past.

Wang Gungwu dispense his understanding of the Singapore and Asean relations with China in as frank a way he could, diplomatically. He encouraged Singapore to play a leading role in Asean, music to the ears of some, but to unite Asean to be useful to China or at least not against China. An Asean that is united and useful to China or neutral would be to the better interests of Asean and its members.
He also reminded those that kept harping about China expecting the Chinese majority Singapore to be helpful that this should be good for Singapore as well. Why not, why not be helpful and chose to be unhelpful? It is nothing to have such an expectation as if for Singapore to be helpful is a dreadful thing to do.

The other point he raised was to dispel the unthinking that were made to believe that China is against freedom of navigation.  He said ‘China is now committed to a global economy and, needs freedom of navigation, freedom for ships to wander around, because the maritime economy is basically what China has benefited from for the last 40 years and they know that. He did not elaborate on who is selling the idea that China would curb freedom of navigation and the clowns that believe in this lie. He added, ‘This is totally different from the past, and I think they appreciate that for that maritime economy to be pursued consistently and successful from now onwards, (you must) have peace in Asean and Asean can be most helpful to ensure that China’s development continues.’ This piece of wisdom hopefully will go down well to those who have been told to think that China is an expansionist country and wanting to dominate the world through wars.  Would this piece of wisdom go to waste among the silly unthinking leaders in Asean?

Wang Gungwu also touched on China’s One Belt and One Road and how important it is to have good relations with all the countries along the Belt and Road. The cooperation of all the countries is critical to its success for any one of these countries could derail the project.  China needs to be friendly to all the countries and not otherwise. A China dependent on peace and cooperation with all the countries cannot be aggressive and unfriendly if it wants others to work with China. Now where are the sillies that are still living on the delusion that China would be unfriendly, expansionist and up to no good?
The very difficult region of Central Asia is where China has done best diplomatically to win their confidence to come on board the OBOR. This is where China has great success through peaceful means and diplomacy. Anything short of that would be a disaster.

In the sea, China was not there to challenge or oppose the American dominance. China wants to work with the Americans to ensure that the sea is safe and there is freedom of navigation for trade and cooperation.

In the whole interview, Wang Gungwu was saying all the good things and leaving out all the bad things that the unthinking and conspirators were doing against China.  His diplomatic answers to the issues that have blinded many unthinking leaders and led them to misbehave badly may or may not change much of their thinking. But for the readers with an open mind and clear thinking would find them useful to dispel the negative myths spun around China by the liars and trouble makers plotting to contain China and disrupt the peaceful rise of China.


Virgo49 said...

This how A true Red blooded Chinese Gentleman behaved.

500 years of Cultural good upbringing.

You see those Top Officials behaved in Public. Always with dignities. Even just their Press Secretary made announcements of displeasure with other countries.

Always in polite measured tone. And always said we yow chey (polite terms) of requests to cooperate with us.

Unlike our wah Defence Minister of a pee sai nation putting in a stern face saying we will claimed our military equipments like as though they have the right to rule the world.

Worse of all given the name of HEN.

Hen wants to fight with Tiger Xi Xeng Ping.

I not called Sin chin xing for nothing.

License to kill.

Anonymous said...

Does Wang Gungwu need a million dollar salary to be dignified?
If he does not ... Will he spoil the market for Singapore's dignified politicians?

Anonymous said...

One Taiwanese Professor Li Ao already said that these pi Sai people have poor or bad genes & DNA due to their ancestors when they migrated to little red dot r mostly having poor or bad cultural background, those days when their forefathers come to Sinkie Land they would juz wear a singlet & short (some no underwear)& have poor hygienic habits like spitting, so how do u expect our Minion-ster to speak in a more 'cultured' & polite way, we wouldn't be surprised to see that Sinkie Minion-ster will show the Cheena their middle finger if HK dun send back those army toys.

denk said...

myth 1
china is trying to 'divide asean' [sic]
murkka is the one who's been sabotaging china/asean./jp/india relation via regime change, terrorism, arm twisting.

myth 2
sg is a sovereign state

sg has been functioning as a de facto 51 state of unitedsnake,
soon to be 'sikkimised' with an indian pm, indian fm and an avalanche of indian ft, workers.
tharman is a very likely candidate, he has been carefully cultivated and promoted as a 'very capable and caring statesman' [sic]
we are witnessing the most insidious regime change unfolding right before our eyes, with 80% sheeples cheering on.

myth 3
sg is standing up to china cuz we wanna uphold 'international law'

lang jiao ho lu ga

how could sg while sucking up to the most wanted outlaw the unitedsnake be talking about 'international law', its an oxymoron.

myth 4

i've thrown down my challenge in many forums ,
'show me one instance of chinese violation of fon and i can show u 10 murkkan cases'
so far no takers !

myth 5
'murkka is here to enforce fon, we'r neutral in the territory dispute' [sic]

lang jiao ho lu ga

the way snake sobataged and derailed china's rapport with asean and its reconcilation effort with jp clearly belies murkkans declaration.
not to mention its myriad war games with the claimants.

there'r others that right now slip my mind.

anyway ,here's the conclusion,
this is the ususal murkkans speaking with forked tongue and crying robbery while sticking a knife at your belly

Anonymous said...

Although punch-above-weight Singapore supported U.S. on the South China Sea issue, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump don't bother to call on phone the Singapore PM, but instead called Taiwan President Tsai and Philippine President Duterte yesterday . . .

Anonymous said...

Thanks to RB. I did not hear of such name Wang, i thought he was some chinaman scholar hiding in Nus. When reading the article on 22 oct 16 he published on some times, i could not see what this Wang was trying to derive at. He was talking about a flow of events and dated back to Nanjing government. I felt strange, as a chinaman scholar would not go that far. So i went to check wiki who is this guy Wang, from the chinese character, that was the guy disliked by those days chinese students leftists. i was too young to know why when this guy was involved in some education issues on chinese lunguage in singapore.

I did not know he has become australian and back to Nus. May be he still has chance to go Beijing uni to lecture. But the contents of what is china and what is singapore is not impressive to me as a layman. An academic who can impress me is one who can express in simple lunguage what he means. If he cannot say what he means in simple sentense, too bad, i will rank him last. Do u?

In this modern world, we use handset, sms, talk straight lah.

I put it on how China see Singapore first to irritate u. China sees Singapore as useless, no value to them, siding USA, not being practical to do business with China, but being tyranny (oppressive) to demand China to give up the 9 dashline islands they used after world war.
China s counter measures to ensure their shipments still go along Malacca straits by investing to build islands at Malacca with ports. The estate is said to house 700000 residents in years to come. WE can see the days when tat place is booming with China Chinese and Malaysians. Sin city has less.

That is China, how I as a citizen see Chinese. They are very pragmatic practical. They do things for a value, they are not arguing my system is better than you, my maths is better than u, they earn RMB in each deals. Singaporeans are not pragmatic any more. Singaporeans want to be known and seen as rich, smarter than China men, but lacking the efforts to do it. Instead, Singaporeans rely on words. Its similar to Aleppo war, the west use media to say Aleppo is killed by Russian and Syria while the IsIs are holding the civilians to take the bomb shell.
Singaporeans are like the west, thinking if USA supports it, China will kowtow to Singapore and meet its demands.
Ok my point on Singapore is: it is not doing jobs to make proper things to sell like China people. Singapore made concrete properties largely in past 20 years. It hope to depends on other countries sons to do NS to defend Singapore eventually, so it give jobs to their fathers as foreigners hoping they will stay long. It is not pragmatic approach to have second generations to defend itself. It also lacks focus to educate its second generations for 20 years, while their native fathers are taxi drivers, lacking resources to give them the best, even tho their native fathers are graduates from the Nus where Wang is, and Ntu where wang was there before *if i was correct.

Be very honest, Singapore has wasted 20 years turn round empty handed. Its competitiveness is eroded by hiring fake degrees holders, poor quality uncommitted foreigners to handle important national building tasks. Industrial building is far more important than NS, no export, no foods to eat. That is Singapore how i see it comparing to China.
Still not pragmatic, no talk of alternative to China if want to offend China, no talk of letting even the retired to take up jobs to boost demand on retailers who are shorting of cash to increase employees pay. Still boost about Trump calling PM.

Trump called Afghanistan, Taiwan, Philippines, Singapore heads in one single day. It meant Singapore is in this group of priority to Trump. I hope not.

denk said...

December 03, 2016 10:32 am

notice that india has been much more aggressive towards china, overtly siding with murkka/jp/australia in scs, ecs while covertly destabilising
tibet/xinjiang/balohstan in cahoot with the snake.

so why is beijing going all out to please delhi , with massive investments going on ?
cuz india is a heavy weight whose total alignment with the snake would pose grave security problem to china, not that it hasnt already !

sg is different , u'd be hard put to locate it on
a world map.

thats why even humble me know that sg's best course
is to stay out of others quarrel.
lhl is obviously smarter than me so why all these
uncalled for provocations towards china ?

cuz somebody has been exerting extreme pressure
behind the scene , elementary watson !

Anonymous said...

Lee Hsien Loong is a man of principle and propriety.
See how he follows the Rules and Laws ? How he emphasizes the Importance of honesty and fairness ??
He is not one to depend on sophistry, gimmick or curry
flavour others. Integrity is
his hallmark.
Few leaders in the World can
match him.

Anonymous said...

Doubt he will kowtow


be intimidated.

He even screwed PRC as
can be seen.
Nothing frightens him.

Virgo 49 said...

Nothing fears him as he is already Kong.Cum.

Famous Christ's cry for mercy to the Dafts.

"FATHER, For give him, for he does not know what he's doing"

Crying for his departed FATHER or Father in Heaven.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:58am

I agreed with you. China is pragmatic to invest in India, being part of the one road one belt route. Pakistan is the main partner of china. When Pakis once elected someone pro USA, China s investment paused, the economy went into problems. And Pakis went back to trade with China and gave up pro USA stand. India can do the same, can always swing to USA, and China will do the same i guess.

Taiwan is the same. The new pro independent government distance China. China canceled fish breeding deals, stop buying Taiwan fruits and fish, tourists also decline like jumping cliff drop in figures. Taiwan is in trouble. President Tsai eng wen first bet on Hillary win, yesterday, took the initiative to call Trump. What trump said?
US sold Taiwan billions of weapon taiwan, he was entitled to receive congratulatory call from taiwan. Knn got such logic? Pay US money still needed to call US.

That was Trump. Singapore wants to take advantage of Trump? Pay US billions dollars. Taking away US taxes supposed to be paid to US through some financial schemes, will irritate Trumps. By 2018, Singapore better clean up such problems of hiding money in Singapore if any, in order to have better relationship with Trump.

In other words, cut off China, does not get US throwing gifts into Singapore. Singapore must have alternatives to survive, NOT pushing TPP to bluff citizens lah, from the man with integrity, i hope someone finds new way to bluff. However, hungry cannot bluff, no cash cannot bluff as cpf must repay.

Anonymous said...

For much of China's history.
The Great Wall of China was the icon that best symbolized China's inward looking (and backward) culture and technology ... unchanging and crumbling in the face of the Winds of Change that swept over the rest of the world.

Now Xi Jinping is presenting a new icon for China.
One Belt One Road - The new Silk Road
China is offering roads, railroads and infrastructure to open up global trade.
This is consistent with China's history of (relatively) very peaceful engagement with the rest of the world.
China is not opening up world trade with gunboat diplomacy that was used by western powers in the past.

My harsh critique of China's history has littered itself all over this blog.
But fair is fair.
Xi Jinping's OBOR initiative should be approached with an open mind.
Singapore and Singaporeans will do well to engage China with a view of seeking mutually beneficial outcomes for both countries.

redbean has done more than his fair share in this blog to open up the eyes of Singaporeans (including my own) to the opportunities presented by an ascending China.
I hope OBOR succeeds.
Chinese culture needs a new cultural icon to revitalize us after so many years of deep slumber.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Great analysis by Wang.

A lot better than the channel 5 channel 8 wisdom of a group of windy old men here.


Anonymous said...

1 USD to 4.46 MYR ( forsee to hit 5 )

1 SGD to 3.14 MYR

Kudos to Malaysians working here.

At least SG can get to enjoy a relax short trip there.

Anonymous said...

The Malaysians working here are getting a Swiss standard of living.
The Singaporeans working here are getting a Swiss cost of living.

Well done PAP!

Anonymous said...

Trump flied to talk to Carrier air con told them not to move to Mexico. Offered 54millions tax incentives to stay and penalty on carrier to cancel all US government contracts if the company moves out.

Sanders made angry noise against his rival, what free competition globalization bluff.

Trump was obviously smarter than Sanders.
First kept his promise to create jobs, not like sin city politicians, creating employment pass and PR to give jobs away to foreigners.
Second, what is the tax incentive? As long as the company can keep american employed and still make money to survive, that is the correct american company to keep. In sin city, the scholars are keeping companies that hire foreigners, certainly paying minimum taxes, as some companies collected cash from foreign employees to keep them employed in sin city.
Can we see who is the real government who is a bluff one?

Anonymous said...

Wang Gungwu keep on saying S'pore should be helpful to China. The more important question is whether China can be helpful to S'pore --- by sending 300,000 PLA soldiers and 10,000 tanks and 30,000 artillery and 5,000 jet fighters/bombers and 100 modern submarines/missile cruisers, so that Sinkies don't need to do NS and our friendly neighbours in M'sia and Indo will shit their pants and become even more friendly?

Anonymous said...

Foundation laid by the old man will sinkie you. Son is an extension of the old. It backfired. High price to pay For the "good life"

virgo49 said...

From day one, Sinkies been brainwashed by Great Leader and now his cronies. that Matland and Indonesia gonna swallowed you.

Till today using bogey or boh gay man of terrorists gonna harm you
They tortured you at checkpoints for hours showing who.is the Master. Flimsy excuses for your safety and security.

See Matland customs check. Just open your car boot and slammed down. Sometimes even.talking to each other, just wave you off
Until Sinkies became neurotic, Kia see, Kia Soo and Kia what's not.

Better seek IMH treatment. It's like frightening the little children to run to their parents and seek their protection until dared not venture out and always fear the dark.

Matland and Indonesia not gonna to Makan you.

Poor Sinkies that NSlavery just a ploy to control you into obedience.

Wake up and breath fresh air.'

patriot said...

The Day of Reckoning shall
arrive soon.
Sinkies will be forced to
dead end.
There is only one choice
left for them.
Leave or die in Sin.


Anonymous said...

Yes, live in Sin, dies in Sin. We live for wages. We sell our souls for wages. The wages of Sin is death.

Anonymous said...

Seizure of 9 terrex was a secret plot made by DPP govt in Taiwan with co operation from Japan to exploit the current tension exist between China and Singapore in SCS to inflict further damage on their close ties.

Tsai govt proceed with another plan - a Phone call with President Elect Trump- who are not familiar with diplomatic protocol -sensitiveness,.

It had stir tension between China and US again.

It look like Tsai govt is helping Hillary camp to discredit Trump secretly.

MSM is producing lot of fake news on such simple incident - China enraged, infuriate China, China lodge protest,....

In reality, China dismiss such incident as non issue. China had react calmly.

On the contrary, MSM went fanatic and keep blaming Trump for angering China.

All of sudden, MSM are a staunch supporter to defend China interest over Taiwan.

MSM did not blame Bush or Obama when they sell Weapon to Taiwan.

But One phone call can destroy good relationship with China instead.

Anonymous said...

According to SCMP, Beijing had asked Singapore to bring an end to its military training programme in Taiwan and offered Singapore closer and larger alternative facilities in Hainan. But this offer came to nothing because of U.S. opposition.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:57pm
From HK sources, its Stephen Yates, a member of Trump team advised Tsia Ing Wen to do call Trump. Stephen Yates is currently in Taiwan.

Democarte DNC has sent message saying Trump is incompetent. China FM played down the call as small trick from Taiwan Tsia.

I see this as a significant move to reverse the One China Policy. China Xi took it that this is irrevocable. From Philippines s tribunal, the 9 dashline islands ownership is reversible. The events are not good signs for Tw s call. Dalia visited Mongolia weeks back. HK had independent minded mp. All these telling signs pointed to China s influence is weakened. It is compounded by the 9 Terrex sin city made armoured cars. Sin city FM indicated the city would continue to do training in Tw while supporting "one China" when the interpretation is right to Sin city.

My guess for the development is: Trump will treat Taiwan as an independent island similar to Sin city, while US claims one china policy. If Taiwan declares independence, US will not support. If China attacks Tw on declaration of independence, US will NOT support. If China attacks Tw without declaring independence, US will supply weapons to Tw but Tw must fight the war on its own, may be with support from little dot s troops if it wants to.

Taiwan is dangerous to Sin city, as Sin city will not stop startlight as the FM indicated. When china attacks tw, China will not call ah long in advance.
For the terrex, guess HK will charge the shipping company and mandatory forfeit the cars under its laws to force Sin to sue the Shipping company which has nothing to do with HK.

This Tw Tsia s call is a sparks, can burn a field if what i saw was real, as the rumor Trump s team member asked Tsia to do it could not completely rule out. Its real that Trump wants to treat Tw as an independent beings, similar to Sin city leeders.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 8.36

it is a trap laid down by Hillary camp in joint coloration with DPP govt.

I dont think that Trump dare to touch One China policy.
It is a red line.
It is basically a declaration of war against China.

Only those stubborn and arrogant leader in tiny dot nation would think that they can deceive PRC to accept their double dealing.

Singapore would eventually forced to give up training in Taiwan.

Small nation cant play this kind games against big power

Singapore cant give up their military ties with Taiwan because
Singapore have covert agreement with Taiwan that they would help them in event PRC had attacked them. - a big possibility.

PRC is not stupid.
PRC would bombed Singapore too.

Anonymous said...

President Xi meets with President Ma in Singapore.

Three month later, i was shocked to read a news that China warn Singapore

that they dont need Singapore to act as a mediator or an agent to help China to make ties with Taiwan .

They warned Singapore not meddle into Domestic issue of China.

Beside that , Mongolia dare to offend China by allowing the visit of dalai lama when Mongolia is busy pleading China for generous aid to save their collapse economy.

Why? Unless Mongolia govt is pretty stupid and dumb.
China had cancel their meeting with Mongolia.
Who had come to their rescue?

Singapore is busy meeting with Bhutan, Myanmar , Japan after such incident- 9 terrex been seized


They are close neighbor of China.

Anonymous said...

The Chinese have 1 metaphor:

When the crane and clam fought (to their death), the fisherman benefits.

Another Chinese phrase which originated from the Sun Bing's San Shi Liu Ji:

"Jie Dao Sa Ren"

Another Chinese phrase describes Tsia ....... oops ..... women:

"Zui Du Fu Ren Xing" ......

This rooster cock cock kei and girlie name "Cinese" (much much) worst than uncle (ccl)?

Their nose kena pinched and led by Tsia .... oops a more cunning (and clever) woman ..... ?

Anonymous said...

Oops ..... typo

Should be:

Their nose kena pinched and led by Tsia .... oops ...... a more cunning (and cleverer) woman ..... ?

Anonymous said...

There are massive protest in SK

But CNN and BBC dont have a live coverage.

Their journalist dont go to the ground and talked with those protester as they did in HK occupy movements. - portraying them as " Pro democracy" and " Civilized to pick rubbish trash"

It seems to me that CNN dont have much interest in Protest( Democracy) against dictatorship or authoritarian govt when they are US ally.

CNN give live coverage on HK occupy protest, Arab spring, Turkey Protest, US Black lives matter protest( when there are riot ,burning in US)

In my view, Hillary had not concede her defeat to Trump. She is still fighting against Trump winning and election result in a covert way.

Anonymous said...

Historians are quite weak in analysing the economy ......?

Data-based analytical tools and statistical inference analysis are their archilles heels ......?

Anyway, why didn't he take up Sin citizenship after benefiting and earning so much from his academic employment in the various institutions or he did and quited (like matilar)?

denk said...

the murkkans orchestrated lots of false flags cyber
attacks on their own networks and blame china/russia.

just saying.