Saturday, July 27, 2013

Missing the point: Narrowing the empathy gap

Yesterday veteran writer Susan Long's missed it and now she is succeeded by Rachel Chang.

There is no dichotomy choosing between empathy and being hard headed.

Since Rachel Chang mentioned the PWP, just as well the report is a useful example here. It had billed nurses as lowly skilled but look at some of the more basic work they perform which I just posted here. In the end the nurses protested and the government had to apologize. That's was woeful ignorance from an elitist mindset and sourly lacking in empathy.

Ask a good military commander if there is a separation between empathy and hard headed and painful command decisions which might send troops to their deaths. The greater the empathy, the greater the trust the more willing the troops are willing to take the risk and make the sacrifice if necessary.

I will remember for a long time what TCJ said in the Raffles Conversation.

"I was already very mindful of that in the army when I was doing force development, when we restructured the army and when we looked at the capabilities we brought in - the Leopard tanks and a lot of the capabilities (we have) today. I was very mindful of the fact that, if one day, we actually have to use it for real, there are lives on the line in the battlefield. You want to make sure ... it works, and actually be able to protect your sovereignty and make sure that as many of your soldiers come back alive, to win and be successful and not to just lose your life because you had an inadequate system."

Note "that as many soldiers come back alive".

Why Rachel Chang had made this issue so complicated? First a leader must show that he understands and that he cares. He must communicate it successfully, afterward he can sell and carry out the most difficult decisions. Just like the British people did not want to surrender to Hitler and what did Winston Churchill promise them? "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat." and later he even added, "Poor people, poor people. They trust me, and I can give them nothing but disaster for quite a long time."

KISS - Keep it simple, stupid. The government must get the people to understand that they are not working for the rich, elites and themselves only. Don't be or be seen to be out of touch. If this hurdle is not overcome it is useless doing everything right as perception is reality.

Finally the government need to address the issues of values and faith which sometimes will stare down rationality - it was rational to surrender to Hitler, it was even more rational for Dongwu to surrender to Cao Cao, but no, we will not act rationally but by our values and with faith, not forgetting that in as much it takes more faith to be a citizen here than many other first world nations.

Here was how Michelle Obama presented her husband at the DNC.

And as President, you can get all kinds of advice from all kinds of people. But at the end of the day, when it comes time to make that decision, as President, all you have to guide you are your values, and your vision, and the life experiences that make you who you are. So when it comes to rebuilding our economy, Barack is thinking about folks like my dad and like his grandmother.

Think about how our leaders' values guided us into the two IRs and now one of the senior officers from the CPIB is caught it that web.

We have paid a huge moral price for the two IRs. Don't give me the dollars and cents, they are not worth it.

So Rachel Chang completely missed it. She is a smart young woman but she had the misfortune to be bonded to SPH and ended up writing a tortured piece when a simple and passionate one was called for.

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