atans1

“Malay presidency” is “Calling a deer a horse”?

In Political governance, Public Administration on 29/08/2017 at 6:01 am

The coming presidential president must be a Malay declares the Constitution and the PAP administration.

But none of the three declared candidates has an i/c saying “Malay”. The PAP’s candidate and a candidate who speaks Malay badly both have i/cs saying “Indian” while the third person has one saying “Pakistani”. Even for me who knows about the thin culture line between Malays and some Indian Muslims* am shocked that there isn’t someone with an i/c saying “Malay” willing to stand. Don’t want to be regarded as selling out to the PAP isit? Or unlike “Indians” and “Pakistanis” feeling piseh to stand in a presidency reserved only for “Malays”.

A retired journalist (and one time strike leader), Yeo Toon Joo**, who knows his Chinese “history”, has on FB called what is happening as regards the presidency the S’pore version of “Calling a deer a horse” 指鹿為馬***.

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Explanation from Wikipedia on the allusion

Zhao Gao was contemplating treason but was afraid the other officials would not heed his commands, so he decided to test them first. He brought a deer and presented it to the Second Emperor but called it a horse. The Second Emperor laughed and said, “Is the chancellor perhaps mistaken, calling a deer a horse?” Then the emperor questioned those around him. Some remained silent, while some, hoping to ingratiate themselves with Zhao Gao, said it was a horse, and others said it was a deer. Zhao Gao secretly arranged for all those who said it was a deer to be brought before the law and had them executed instantly. Thereafter the officials were all terrified of Zhao Gao. Zhao Gao gained military power as a result of that. (tr. Watson 1993:70)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhao_Gao

An alternative explaination is that Zhao Gao wanted to show the officials that the emperor was under his control. In this version, he had ensured that the emperor was well provided with drugs, women and alcohol so that the emperor was pliant to his wishes.

No good will come of “fixing” the presidency for Malays when only “Indians” and “Pakistanis” want to be the “Malay” president while all the time Mendaki says that if “Malays” want help, their i/cs must say “Malay”.

PAP has opened a can of worms. One of the worms will bite it.


*Once upon a time I wrote

[T]his is what a very senior MFA official (Indian Muslim) said to me (and others) in the early 80s: “How do I answer my young daughter when she asks me why she’s Indian but her cousin’s Malay?”. He was always grousing that being classified as Indian hurt his career (he could have been a minister) because of the “quota” system for Indians and Malays. He had to compete with clever Hindus and not Malays.

**He’s also published “Confessions of Lee Kuan Yew’s Simplistic Pressman” More at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/book-publisher-touch-toon-joo-peter-yeo. Btw, he’s based in Canada now though he comes back regularly. For one thing, he prefers our hospitals.

***Chris K points out “In Japanese, ba ka, translated as horse deer, is colloquial for stupid.” Sums up the PM’s machinations aptly. (This update at 8.10am)

  1. In Japanese, ba ka, translated as horse deer, is colloquial for stupid.

  2. This so called reserved election will mark the point where people become more race conscious and the fraying of the Singapore harmonious race relations. The effect will definitely felt years down the road.

    Ironically, with our govt so call taking a so call long term view in their policy making, this decision is so short sighted. So they are after all just like other politicians trying to hold on to power.

    Then again, their long term policy making skills also not that good. MRT, FT policy.

  3. Love the things happening in S’pore over the last 10-15 years …. makes the necessary changes happen sooner or later. That’s why have been moving most of my assets overseas last few years. Less than 15% total assets left here.

  4. And in Malay, malu (马麓 – horse deer) means shame or shameful

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