True to form, Teo Chee Hean was evasive about taking charge when speaking to 500 students at the Nanyang Technoloogical University (NTU) Ministerial Forum. Instead of providing guidance and a leadership beacon for the youngsters, he fell back to the whimper of consensus building. Instead of one strong voice, the preference seems to be to pander to a cacophony of opinions. Compared to 50 years ago, Teo claims, today's generation have more views, more questions, more ideas. Meaning the pioneer generation - which he urged the younger set to emulate - was a collation of bland, unenquiring minds with no initiatives of their own, and ever ready to fall in line behind one shepherd. Reality being such, no one guy lives forever, and someone needs to step into his shoes.
With no able captain at the helm, consensus building can be an uphill task. We already have a historical baggage of race and religion differences, and adding more foreign elements into the melting pot is no help. The good news is that more Singaporeans are throwing their hat into the coming elections. Despite all the talk of polarisation, Singapore is not ancient China during the Warring States period, "all under heaven" need not apply. Better to place faith in true democracy, and keep a look out for the saboteurs who undermine the time tested institution.
The King of Qin (Chinese: 秦王; pinyin: Qín Wáng) liked the ancient way of saying "I" (Chinese: 寡人; pinyin: guǎ rén). Unfortunately the two Chinese characters "寡" which means less, or lacking, and "人" which means man, or person, in ancient Chinese could potentially have the meaning of "a man who lacks morals" (Chinese: 寡德之人; pinyin: guǎ dé zhī rén). Self appointed king or not, no person lacking moral authority should be allowed to rule.