We should not be xenophobic….But….

October 19, 2013

I think Mini Lee and his motley crew should also make it easier for natives NOT to be xenophobic as well. After all they were the one’s who started this whole crack brained scheme to put the economy on steroids by bringing loads of people into a small tiny island without bothering with the planning.

Consider this. How reasonable is it for the custodians of power to absolve themselves from all responsibilities by shifting the onus SOLELY to those who have to regularly bear the brunt of this massive influx of foreigners along with the problems they may bring to our shores. </strong

You decide.

Surely the many of the problems between natives and the massive influx of foreigners were foreseeable such as over crowding, diminished quality job opportunities, price hikes, runaway inflation etc etc.

To now blame natives for being xenophobic is to hide behind that word – and that is not only irresponsible, but also simplifying a very real and serious problem.

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"Don't get me wrong. I am completely against xenophobia. If I was pressed for only one reason why, it is because I believe very deeply hatred is the door that opens many other doors that can only lead to the end of mankind.

But I also need to be mindful that there will always be certain realities in the human condition that will make it, either easier or harder for people to hate rather than to seek peace.

So a wise man will always try to make it easier for others to get along rather than to fight. This he can do by creating the right conditions for peace and brotherhood to prosper – this we do in our game – as we have to balance so many diverse values, aspirations and world views, to be precise 152 nations! We would not be able to accomplish this feat, if we do not know how to create a conducive virtual habitat where we bring out the best and not the worst out of those who make out our community.

That is reality!

Let me share with you why. As everyone has a limit. You have one. So do I. If you have never reached your limit, then it doesn't necessarily mean that you are a more enlightened or higher evolved being – it just means no one has pushed you to your limit and you should count yourself lucky. That's it! No mystery or Da Vinci code there. You are just lucky!

But to those who have gone beyond their limit or have witnessed others losing it – then they will know this to be a very serious matter that needs to be intelligently managed.

Let me share with you why it doesn't pay to take this matter lightly.

As when one's limit is breached anything can happen including buying into hatred along with other destructive thoughts – for example, if I go back to Singapore and find that there is a man in my bed with my wife. Then I will just go to kitchen grab a cleaver and hack away. I am not saying this will happen. I am just alluding you to the theoretical possibility of what may come to past under a given hypothetical set of conditions – to me that scenario will always remain a distinct possibility despite the fact there is such a thing as a penal code. I am just being perfectly frank about the matter to describe in prosaic terms how anyone, including me or you can reach that limit – when a man breaks away from his moorings and takes to hate completely.

You know recently I came across a car with Singaporean plates that knocked down a Malay boy in a kampung. Fortunately, the boy was just grazed and he suffered only minor abrasions. But the lady and her driver did something that I can only describe as lacking in wisdom – they got out of their car and started berating the boy's father. Soon a crowd of villagers started to form around the Mercedes and while all this was happening I looked on from afar, hoping that they will just stop and drive off, but no, they kept on going on and on as if they were in Singapore – this I imagine is quite a huge problem in Singapore, Singaporeans who believe that the whole wide world is like Singapore.

Soon the situation threatened to boil over. I will spare you all the details – let us just say, I know the signs. I had to step in abruptly and slap both the driver and lady and even proceed to drive their car away with both of these shell shocked passengers in the back seat. When I did this, the crowd immediately calmed down. Raised voices fell to a whispering hush. As many villagers must have thought, 'now they have really done it! The farmer is going to sort them out.'

This is what it takes to maintain the peace – the status quo ante. This is how power and politics is managed in the kampung. People are simple, so what is needed is something right out from Bollywood to restore the heavenly ying and yang again in the community – this is something that city folk will never understand – they think everyone is like them, but that is not the case – but I understand these things like the lines that run in the palm of my hands.

As that is how their forefathers think and see the world – so they can't help but think the same way.

Now coming back to the story. I was in the car. I apologised profusely to the lady and her driver for what I just did – I merely mentioned, "I had to do what I had to do." – the lady obviously did not understand and was most insistent that I write down my name and address as in her words, 'I would like to take this matter up with my solicitors.' Throughout the journey, she kept poking me with a Montblanc pen along with calling me a gangster.

The question is did I do the right thing – in my judgement, there was no other way. I did not see it as a matter of choice. Rather it was a matter of necessity as emotions were running high and all it took was a spark to set everything alight. I cannot run that risk – as the farmer is the keeper of the great wheel of life in his community.

What you have here is a very clear and present danger.

Unfortunately, people who live in cities will never understand this. Because in the city, if something goes awry all that needs to be done is pick up the phone and call the police.

So they will always do stupid things like sue me even when I saved them from certain death – that is the Tao of stupid people. They will inadvertently create conditions for the perfect storm to brew and when all hell breaks loose – they never ever feel or see the need to ever ask themselves – could I have done anything to avoid that terrible scene from happening?

That is why I think if leaders want to bring out the best in their community – they should always be mindful not to create conditions for ill will, mistrust and suspicion to take root.

Instead of just taking the path of least resistance and shifting the blame entirely to those who may have succumbed to ill will, mistrust and suspicion – that is easy street. That is also a very childlike way of seeing the world. As it's unrealistic and possibly even highly irresponsible.

As the serious men will always ask – why did you allow conditions to boil over in the first place? Where were you? Didn't you have the eyes, ears and wisdom to realise it would all come to this?

I think that's really my point – don’t create conditions that test the patience and run the risk of pushing reasonable people to their limit. And when all hell breaks loose just blame them automatically. Life is not sandbox politics.

As a wise leader will always be sensitive to the needs, aspirations, fears and anxieties of his community to ensure that limit of patience, sagacity and tolerance is not breached….and if that theoretical condition presents himself, the leader should step in and give a few tight slaps to balance the Ying and Yang of his community….that to me is what leadership is all about…it's about interdicting….foresight…and above all knowing what rubs your tribe the right and wrong way."

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