Monday, January 26, 2009

Obama - leadership from the wilderness....

UPDATE: I have been corrected by a few people who posted comments that Obama does play golf although his favorite game is basketball. America is not land scarce....Singapore is.
In Singapore, we have been told that leaders have to be selected, groomed and paid the highest salaries in the world to be able to lead our small island. They have to spend time with the upper echelons of society and existing leadership to make it to public office. Here is a guy who spent most of his time working to help poor people after his graduation, he didn't become a CEO of a big organisation with turnover of $100M nor is he part of a political dynasty....if he is a Singaporean, his application to run for president will be thrown out by Singapore Presidential Elections Committee because he does not have the required qualifications. He is not even qualified to be the president of our small island but the American people elected him to highest office on this planet at a time when the world is facing its greatest economic crisis in 70 years. Are the Americans CRAZY?!

Among his first acts as president was the freezing of the salaries of his aides ...contrast that to the leader of another country whose first acts were to raise the taxes of his people and hike the pay of his colleagues who already drawing the highest pay in the world. Barak Obama is the diametric opposite of what we have been told is good leadership in Singapore. Obama wasn't the top student of his school or even his class. A diligent Singapore reporter found out that he was the keropok (cracker) eating champion in his school.No Westpoint, no stint as CEO, no grooming....yet he seems to know what to do once he entered office. He chose to spend so much time helping the poor and ordinary people instead of interacting with the elites. In his 1st 100 hours, he did more for the people than Bush's 1st year in office during which Bush was found to spend most of his time on the golf course (video here : Farenheit 911). Golf....that is the game the elites in Singapore have to play to move up the ladder....they probably spend more time on the golf course in one month then they do interacting with the ordinary people in a year (or their lifetime). Golf, to me, symbolises the inequality in our land scarce island. While large plots of land are used for golf courses, poor family are squeezed into rental flats without rooms (they call them 1 room flats because the living room is also where you sleep). Barak Obama does not play golf, it is a favorite game of our leaders and George Bush. Obama plays basketball. I've nothing against businessmen, millionaires and others playing golf ...but what games our leaders choose to be seen playing in some ways represent the ethos and values they believe in....and of all the games they love golf...

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

because god says they can live and behave like ...king solomon and the lesser mortals can always pray and give from the crumbs to one day...preach like a prince.

footballfan said...

"Golf, to me, symbolises the inequality in our land scarce island. While large plots of land are used for golf courses, poor family are squeezed into rental flats without rooms (they call them 1 room flats because the living room is also where you sleep)."

I think you have hit the spot there Lucky. Shows the disconnectedness our ruling class has with the masses.Not to mention the environmental consequences of building more golf courses or flying to Indonesia on government choppers to play golf to "keep up foreign relations".

ChangeAngent said...

Reading your article about Obama made me respect him even more. Wow! he really shows that paper qualifications and elitism has nothing to do about leadership.
Here, I know of some who think 1st class honours in Maths at some ivy league U in England is such a big deal to the point of worship.
Phooey I say!

lost said...

1) Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School. I won't really call him an average student.

2) He's spent more than 10 years in politics. True, not quite qualified to be President of Singapore, but not quite Joe Six-Pack either.

3) Singapore's ministers and top civil servants have taken a pay cut as well. I agree that they're probably earning too much now still, but you can't say they didn't respond to the economic conditions at all.

Repressive force said...

http://www.golfdigest.com/magazine/2009/02/obamaswing

He does play golf. but not because it is used as an elite sport. just another game that can be enjoyed for what it is.

Repressive force said...

http://www.golfdigest.com/magazine/2009/02/obamaswing

somehow the blog truncated the url

Repressive force said...

www.golfdigest.com/magazine/2009/02/obamaswing

Onlooker said...

His book Audacity of hope. Has a very good insight.
Now their republican will try to help their rich people (corpse lobbyist) and will filibuster all his policies to make sure all the tax cuts by Bush King are permanent with Mc Cain(with the rich wife) leading the charge (still need 2 republican to pass policies).
sound familiar to what is done by PAPer?
Hint:- Estate tax.

Anonymous said...

The PAP responds to this unprecedented economic crisis by cutting a 1-percent cut of their 100-percent-safe job salaries.

No transparency & accountability. Who needs this kind of Wayang dictatorship on this planet?

Anonymous said...

There are no Obamas in Singapore because:

1. they are afraid of being sued to bankruptcy or being ridiculed publicly.(remember Presidential hopeful Andrew Kuan?) Those who are really brave enough are politically "killed" this way.

2. he cannot get enough followers or financial backers to form a political party. You cannot be a one man show, like the late Jeyaretnam or Chee Soon Juan.

3. Singapore folks, being politically apathetic, don't appreciate an Obama even if they see one. Any would be Obama will be demoralised by the appreciation and support shown.

4. Singapore has only 4.5 million people with half of them PRs, or only recent citizens. Too small a pool to have any Obamas to emerge.

5. Singapore Obamas are well off and comfortable. They will prefer $46K Cordon Bleu course in France than to become an Obama. If they want to join politics they will rather join the PAP, and that's after great persuasion. So no way to have an Obama emerge to oppose PAP.

As a result the PAP will remain in power, recession or no recession, million dollar or no million dollar salary.

Lesser mortals will have no hope of any change to their lives for the better, unless they make lots of money themselves or win a scholarship.

Taishan said...

Lucky, you are darn right.
For a small country the number of golf courses is simply ridiculous, in terms of land use and utilisation.. As usual the sense of proportion as with ministerial salaries, HDB, car prices and a whole spectrum of items is lost.
It's just bereft of economic sense or reality.

pumpkin said...

Lucky, you are wrong about Obama not playing Golf. He does play golf. But then Golf in USA is not an elite game as in Singapore. There is no golf course at the White House but there is one in our Istana!

Anonymous said...

keep up the great work raising the awareness of fellow singaporeans in the coming year!

Anonymous said...

Singaporeans deserve the type of leaders they chose. Simple as that.

There's no use indulging in Obamania when the typical Singaporean is a risk adverse creature who will bow to pronouncements of “Singapore has no choice. We have no natural resources hence our workforce is our only resource. If we don't _________, Singapore will be gone.”

One's future (and those of one's children) depends on the choices that one makes today.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr Tan,

I have been a regular reader and I agree and support 99% of all the issues raised and comments made by you.

You have made one minor mistake here saying that Obama does not play golf. He did. After winning the election, he returned to Hawaii for a short vacation and played golf. This was widely reported in the media, including the 154.

Anonymous said...

Obama: "We are here as public servants, and public service is a privilege."
Contrast this with our "leaders" who need to make painful sacrifices to serve in public office.

Donaldson Tan said...

Nice to know about Obama's 1st 100h but Obama still has no Commerce Secretary yet.

Anonymous said...

Barak Obama does not play GOOF, it is a favorite game of our leaders and George Bush(bush has been known to goof alot).

Still right. He mispelt it that's all. LOL.

Anonymous said...

G.O.L.F = Game of Lazy Fools