26 February 2006

On Rajaratnam

What pomp, what ceremony! Rajaratnam's funeral is a full-dress rehearsal for papalee's great requiem mass!

How does one plan for the Great Leader's death spectacle? By setting precedents, by letting the state media machine work itself into pious breastbeating and tearing of sackcloths on the death of a member of the Old Guard.

Rajaratnam may have been a decent man, but he was no great man. One has to wonder about what went on in the vast expanse between the ears of the man who wrote the national pledge: "One united people, regardless of race, language or religion" but silent on the issue of sex and gender, class and political belief, this man is no thinker and no humanist.


the third wei said...

a bit harsh lar.

rench00 said...

on the contrary, i think Rajaratnam is a great man. it takes great courage and passion to dare to think of a pledge that says regardless of race language and religion in a time of raging racial and religious conflicts. in his time, sexuality issues were near non-existent... at least in this part of the world. can't blame him for it falling into his lacuna.

and not to mention how he built up MFA and gave Singapore a disproportionately loud voice in the international community.

well... i just asked my parents how they would feel when LKY passes away. they said that they, too, will cry and mourn. i suppose, whatever his faults, we cannot deny that LKY is also a great man who performed a miracle of creating modern, economically prosporeous Signapore, which i think few, if at all, leaders could have done.

true, he made shit loads of mistakes, but we can point out these mistakes because we have the benefit of hindsight. given what he had to work with, i think no words can describe the greatness of the job he did.

and because of that, i think Singapore and Singaporeans ought to show LKY and his lieutenants the due respect as they pass on.

akikonomu said...

Hi rench, very good points there.

"in his time, sexuality issues were near non-existent... at least in this part of the world."

Yet our entire wage policy, housing policy, welfare schemes, from 1965 to even now... ALL of them were founded on the inequality of the sexes, and the idea that it's not wrong to discriminate Singaporeans on sex and gender.

While sexuality wasn't an issue then (women's rights never really arrived when Rajaratnam wrote the pledge?), what about class? At least in this part of the world, society was divided by the class struggle, no?

About LKY: "he made shit loads of mistakes, but we can point out these mistakes because we have the benefit of hindsight."

When he was making those mistakes, his political opponents were already pointing them out as mistakes; they were amply rewarded, of course. We today have the benefit of pointing out those mistakes once again; but we today are just as powerless to change a single iota of his vision and his policies, no? (That or risk being called bombthrowers)

When great and flawed men like Qin Shihuang, Deng Xiaoping died, I suppose the people felt they had to mourn.

The benefit of hindsight, the ability to point out mistakes, the impotence of rectifying them, the damnation of knowing, yet not being allowed to do anything.

I won't cry and mourn him when he goes. LKY is in grave danger of posthumous deification, like Julius Caesar.

rench00 said...

yes... i agree that it would be a real problem should we deify LKY like Julius Caesar.

i suppose that we are all hopeful that one day we can reach a stage where we won't need to make mistakes... alas... we know that that is not possible, that every person, regardless of how great, is flawed. in fact, i would say that the greater the person, the more visible the flaws.

i like what you said about the damnation of knowledge, yet not be able to do anything about it. there are ways which we can do something. but it will be a long and torturous journey. we would be at fault should we expect immediate (or even very quick) results. so, aki, my blog-friend, soldier on!