Dirty and tangled sheets of the ‘first’ family

June 14, 2017

In Leo Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina he wrote

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

This aphorism has since then been a matter of intense speculation. There are so many interpretations what this actually means. For me what Tolstoy meant was simply this for a family to be happy, several key aspects must be present such as respect, consideration, love, tolerance and most importantly faith that differences can be sorted out amicably within a family….if any of these elements are missing. Then the family would not be happy.

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‘The allegations levelled at the prime minister by members of his family are so serious that even an autistic farmer like me who never ever goes out after sun down realise how serious it is. To say this is a bombshell is to try to describe the Grand Canyon as a big sinkhole….it will definitely have a very dramatic impact on most Singaporeans. Most will be dazed as there is really so much information to chew on all at one time that they are likely to suffer from the effects of information overload.

For me the issue is not how true or false these allegations are….as since many of the allegations are borne out from the power and politics of a family squabble…..I am not sure if it has anything to do with me. To be quite honest I feel even slightly embarrassed to write about this issue…as it is really none of my business.

What I think and I know and I believe is my business is the idea of duty of care that is owed by leaders to the masses – by virtue of the fact they are leaders they have an obligation to the public to conduct the affairs of their private lives with dignity and set a good example for others to follow.

In the same way I am a planter and landowner. Even though I am autistic I have to project an image that befits that social rank, status and all that it may stand in the Kampung.

It’s hardly as though I have anything resembling a choice. I have to wear my 70’s bush jacket dutifully and like an actor speak the lines and play the role that is expected of me. As since time in memorial in the mythology of Kampung life – the man in the bush jacket has always featured as a cornerstone in the social cultural fairytale of village life. He is the magistrate…the intercessor between good and evil…the keeper of the great wheel of life…the mechanic who constantly oils and screws the loose nuts in that great machine where the wheel between heaven and earth rotates in perfect harmony…the vanguard of structure, order and a way of life….the indestructible man…the superman…who once fought the Japanese…the communist, tamed the capricious rivers….brought the feral jungle to heel under his boots….the silent sentinel who ensures the smooth coming and passing of each season. To such an extent the mere sight of the man who wears the bush jacket is enough to scare away thieves and villains, remind wayward policemen of their duty, chase away malevolent spirits, frighten off hucksters, charlatans and those who hell bent on creating mayhem, restorer of the level of the datum in the river, curer of menstraul pains, migraine, cancer and mysterious ailments, warder of mass hallucinations, curer of restlessness, dyslexia, nervousness, insomnia, fluid retention, heaviness in the abdomen (real and imagined), muscle spasms, nervous tics, shortness of breath, irritability bowel syndrome and all things related to hysteria…..calmer of frayed nerves right down to making barren chickens bear eggs again….such is his powers written from the time of the flying boats.

It is of course all fiction…..not a single one of these claims are true…..all of it is mumbo jumbo…but since so many continue to believe and even swear by it, the illusion becomes real….even if it is all just an elaborate fairytale….the show must go on…and that is my point….leaders don’t have such a thing as a choice…they never did and never will.

the show must really go on….I have no choice.

Perhaps what I am saying is leadership comes with the duty of care not to cause others to suffer from high blood pressure or anxiety attacks.

I understand this attitude is very odd to most people these days who seem to live in a panoptical world where they are able to peer into the lives of others with the periscope of the internet….so many private diaromas can be shared these days thru instagram and its kins these days that it’s quite stupid to talk about privacy or the need to conduct one’s life with some modicum of respectability these days. But perhaps that may well be the reason why leaders should strive precisely to do so….I don’t think that is not too much to ask for the little man….a bit of thoughtfulness will go very far – please go and sort out your family problems behind closed doors…after all I am just a simple autistic farmer….surely even I have a right not to feel embarrassed as well. Tolong lah! Go sit down together in Long John Silver and sort it out. Close the door, draw the curtains and sort it out lah…this is not the right way to gainfully make progress when it comes to family squabbles….all it will do is undermine the morale of the little guy who has no choice but to stay on in Singapore.

Above all please be mature….even if that is not possible, at least have the consideration to pretend for the sake of the masses. This is too painful to watch.’

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