Strong team of leaders ‘needed to keep S’pore going’

PM Lee was reported (ST, 22 Sept 2007) to have said that bigger countries can recover from weak leadership but Singapore enjoys no such luxury and needs a strong team of leaders to keep the country going.

If what he says is true, it then implies that bigger countries have less of a need for strong leaders. Can you imagine what would happen if China didn’t have strong leaders? How to control a country as vast and populous as China without strong leaders? Do we not remember those final days of the Qing dynasty when warlords roamed all over China, throwing the country into chaos?

Surely, when a country is big, the task of keeping the country together is more difficult and the need for strong leaders a lot more imperative. In other words, contrary to what PM Lee says, the need for smaller countries to have strong leaders isn’t as great as that for bigger countries.

The United States president is probably the strongest leader on this planet who has the power to order his troops to walk over countries like Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet George Bush never goes around telling his people that the country needs strong leaders like himself to survive. The people can joke about him, make fun of him, kick him out of office. What does that all mean?

Whenever someone tells us that we need strong leaders, we need to ask them what for? Yes we need strong leaders for national security and law enforcement but do we need strong leaders in other concerns like education, economy and social aspects? Do we need strong leaders for education? There is an increasing need for imagination and creativity in education. Does strong leadership promote or suffocate imagination and creativity? Likewise for economy, as we move towards research and innovation based industries, do we also stress the need for strong leadership? Can strong leaders bark innovation out of researchers?

In the early days of nationhood when the country has yet to find a firm footing, strong leadership is necessary to keep the country together and steer it forward. But when a country matures but strong leadership continues to be applied to every aspect of our lives, it can only inhibit growth and stifle creativity. The govt has always wondered why there is a dearth of innovation here while the US is a fountain of creativity. The difference lies in where strong leadership is applied. In the US, strong leadership is used to address external threats, not beat the people into submission. For a country of slaves can never outperform a country of free men.

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3 Responses to “Strong team of leaders ‘needed to keep S’pore going’”

  1. James Chia Says:

    Correction: It should be “Strong team of leaders, TRANSPARENCY, AND ACCOUNTABILITY ‘needed to keep S’pore going’”

  2. Daily SG: 25 Sep 2007 « The Singapore Daily Says:

    […] Discourse – The Rot Within: No, We’re Fine, Really. – Yours Truly Singapore: Strong team of leaders ‘needed to keep S’pore going’ – Journalism.sg: Are bloggers journalists? A critical look at the idea of […]

  3. singaporedaily Says:

    Hi, you’ve been featured in the Singapore Daily (singaporedaily.wordpress.com). Keep blogging!

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