What Father didn’t teach son and Goh

In Political governance on 05/06/2015 at 4:51 am

When I read the u/m I tot of Harry, Son and Goh, and the Chinese legends of the kung fu masters who never passed on all their secrets to their chosen heirs: there was always one secret that they would take to their graves, to ensure that their heirs were never better than them.

Podemos’ [new Spanish party on the left] approach is based on the assumption that, outside politicised bubbles, most do not think in terms of “left” and “right”. Outside the political world, most think in terms of issues to be addressed in a way that is convincing, coherent, and communicated in a language that people understand. Statistics and facts won’t win the support of millions; we’re human beings, we think in terms of empathy. Stories are more persuasive, because they speak to us emotionally. Why else do rightwing tabloids focus on extreme examples of benefit “scroungers”? They know such stories make their readers’ blood boil; they are human stories that connect emotionally, and powerfully

(Emphasis mine)

Remove the word Podemos’ and replace it with “LKY’s, Dr Goh’s and others of the PAP’s Pioneer Generation” and you have the secret of the success of the PAP in the 60s, 70s before the inflow of new blood:  They knew the issues to be addressed in a way that is convincing, coherent, and communicated in a language that people understand.

Because of this, they were able to adopt a strategy that today would lose elections, even in S’pore. Here’s how the Economist describes this sure way to lose elections:

We can blame ourselves as voters for believing unfunded promises. In practice, however, a lot of people don’t swallow the propaganda. So perhaps an honest politician might have success by saying “Look, I don’t control the global economy. If the Middle East blows up, or China crashes, or the Federal Reserve tightens policy too far, then the economy will slump no matter what I do. So I’ll try not to be corrupt, make the trains run on time and not drive employment-creating businesses away, and maybe we’ll be lucky.” But no one has the chutzpah to adopt such a strategy.*

Actually LKY and the old guard did adopt such a strategy. I remember watching LKY on tv telling us all the problems in the global economy, then saying we will affected because we are a tiny, open economy dependent on global factors, and then saying he’ll fix the corrupt, make the buses run on time, not drive employment-creating businesses away and attract employment-creating MNCs to Singapore. All we have to do is to work hard, don’t strike, vote PAP, and don’t listen to JBJ, the ang moh tua kee wind-bag.

But then it was a simpler world then, economicallyand financially, and access to information was limited.


*Here’s the preceding bit: HERE is how politics is “supposed” to work. Party leaders make a whole bunch of promises (tax cuts/spending increases) before an election, only to discover, when in office, that a closer inspection of the books/global crisis/natural disaster (select the most plausible) prevents them from following through on their plans. Repeat the process often enough and you get voter cynicism.

Whose fault is this?

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