What’s right, not what’s popular

In his May Day speech, PM Lee recounted how third world countries long for the “first-class leadership” that Singapore has. The govt never seems to tire reminding Singaporeans how envious third world countries are of us … third world countries only that is. But is that all we can be proud of? That we’re better than the poorest of third world countries?

CPF, SIA restructuring, casinos, foreign talents are issues that are deemed not straightforward although they all have the straightforward effect of enriching government coffers immensely.

What kind of logic is it that says that anything that is right must be unpopular and by inference anything that is popular must surely be wrong?

It is right only to one person but wrong to everyone else. That is why it seems right to that one person but unpopular to everyone else – because it is wrong to everyone else. What kind of society operates on the wishes and sense of right or wrong of one person? An autocracy or a state of absolutism. Looking back into history, what happens to autocracies or absolutism?

King Louis XVI was beheaded during the French revolution because the French people rejected his absolutism and his exploitation of the French peasants. King Charles I of England was executed during the English Civil War because he went against the wishes of the people. The magnificence of Russia’s Peter the Great was tainted by the fact that he pushed too hard for what he thought were important reforms for the country but that which ran counter to the culture of the people and were extremely unpopular.

In the words of Russian historian P. Kovalevsky:

“We could enthuse forever about the greatness of Peter’s actions and still not depict in all its fullness, brilliance and worth everything that he accomplished…But in creating, he destroyed. He caused pain to all in whom he came into contact. He disturbed the safety, peace, prosperity, interests, strength, well-being, rights and dignity of everyone he touched. He made things unpleasant for everyone. He did harm to everyone. He touched intellectual, political, social, financial, family, moral and spiritual interests. Is it possible to love such a statesman? In no way. Such men are hated.” [source: “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_I_of_Russia”%5D

We see a parallel in our PM Lee today. Does he want to follow in the footsteps of King Louis XVI, King Charles I and Peter the Great?

Looking on the other hand on great rulers like Queen Elizabeth and Catherine the Great of Russia, we find the contrary to this post’s title that is “What is popular, is right”. Queen Elizabeth brought England to its most glorious period because she respected and in turn received the support of the people. She knew very well that the power of her seat rests not with her but with her people. Catherine the Great achieved similar greatness by endearing herself with the people.


2 Responses to “What’s right, not what’s popular”

  1. celluloidrealitys Says:

    Those who seek to compare ourselves downwards, show that they have not as much confidence in themselves as they would want us to think. It’s easier benchmarking ourselves against a middling state, or a failed one that relies on the mercies of the Security Council to send rice and grain, than against well-developed states like the Scandinavian countries.

  2. Robert HO Says:

    LEE Kuan Yew is the only election-rigging tinpot dictator who succeeded in ENSLAVING the entire country. Discuss.

    Robert HO

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