Thursday, 9 June 2016

The Rise of China and the Chinese Apologist

The Shangri-La Dialogue was held over the weekend of June 3 to 5, at where else, Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore.

It was the last chance for the US and China to come to an agreement for resolving issues of the South China Sea.

But there wasn't much hope of that, and instead the representatives for each country took the opportunity to warn or threaten each other.

And of course, the China Apologists took to the comments section of the online newspaper to explain how China was merely asserting her rights, while the US was an interloper interfering in regional matters that were not their concern.

It was propaganda on autopilot.

The rise of China has raised the hopes of the Nanyang Chinese Apologists/Chauvinists in whose eyes the Middle Kingdom can do no wrong. There is no point debating them as their heads are filled with the glory days of China, and their hearts are heavy with the remembered ignominy of China's humiliation at the hands of the Western Imperialist powers of yesterday (about 300 to 50 years ago).

Once you understand that their heads and hearts are firmly anchored in the past, then can you understand their anachronistic response to the present and the future are futile, irrelevant, inappropriate, reactionary, and emotional.

[See Understanding China in 6 parts]

If SG had kept our heads and hearts in the past (or up our arses) at Independence, we would never have progressed as much. Or at all. Instead, we have worked with the British who were our colonial masters, and we invited the Japanese, who occupied Singapore, to invest in our economy.

And we sought new partners and new opportunities.

And we worked as much as we could with Malaysia.

And we grew and we prospered, not by holding grudges or feeling a need to vindicate ourselves, or to even historical scores.

China Apologists have selective tales and anecdotes of Western belligerence, pointing to the West militaristic excursions in Philippines, in Vietnam, and Japan.

And yet, Philippines after kicking the US, their former colonial masters, out of Clark Airbase, and Subic Bay, are now turning to the US. Vietnam after a traumatic war with the US, spontaneously welcomed Obama, and are showing signs of pivoting to the US. Because of China.

And it is not for us to tell China that they should focus on the future. The cooler heads in China (I hope) will know that the future lies ahead, not behind them. Not in rehashing history or attempting to rewrite history. Not in trying to settle old scores, because really, history does not keep score. Only losers keep score.

Which is what the Nanyang Chinese Apologists/Chauvinists are wont to do.

And the Chinese people are also responding with emotions and populist rhetoric that hijacks the policy making process, and puts pressure on the Chinese Government to be more militarily assertive.

That said, there are elements in China that may be that immature. And that is worrying.


UKGrimeFan2k16 said...

"emotions and populist rhetoric that hijacks the policy making process"
That seems to be a unfortunately popular trend around the world at the moment, particularly felt here in the UK with the ridiculous Brexit result (a successful campaign based on misinformation, and having Britain's head up its arse basically).

Wonder what your thoughts are on this in general, given Duterte, Trump, Brexit, etc.

El Lobo Loco said...

I read somewhere that (paraphrasing from memory) "within democracy lies the seeds of populism".

This implies that eventually democracies deteriorate into populism. Hence Trump, Duterte, and Brexit.

Churchill has been quoted as saying "Democracy is the worst form of government... except for every other form that have been tried."

And i believe that democracy is incompatible with meritocracy.

Lee Kuan Yew was asked if Democracy has any intrinsic value. He answered that it allowed for the peaceful transfer of power. That was it.

In another argument with an ideologue for Democracy, i pointed out that if democracy led to the selection of the best person to do the job, and to the best decision, then Militaries should be run democratically. But they are not.

Democracy is basically a popularity contest. See this and the comments after the post:

And democracy like any system is "game-able". Left to its own devices, there will be gerrymandering, rhetoric, and populism. And also because it is not simply that "power corrupts", but that "power attracts the corruptible".

How is that relevant?

When govts become "corrupt" and here I mean corrupt is a broader sense - both as in personally profiting from their position of power as well as abuse of power as well as dereliction of duty and responsibility. That when the people feel like they have been abused, neglected, exploited, or abandoned, they will try another option.

As this article suggests,
"The essence of this referendum - the real question voters will see on the ballot - is "Do you dislike immigration more than you like economic calm?" "

For the voters who feel left behind by the economy, "economic calm" just means more of the same, more "business as usual" that does not benefit them, that does not improve their lot. Their disdain and distrust of experts is evident by their dismissal of all the economic arguments against Brexit.

In Singapore's GE2011, the ruling party suffered a 6.5 point vote swing (IIRC) against them (and still managed to poll 60% overall). The post-election analysis was that while they were good with policies, they were horrible with politics, especially in their communication of policies (and also because some of the recent policies were quite "tone-deaf")

In GE2015, they regain 10 points, polling 70% overall. This in part was because of the politicians addressing the pain points of the electorate in the preceding 4 years.

Which brings us back to quote attributed to Churchill: Democracy may be the worst form of government, except for all the others we have tried.