Saturday, July 1, 2017

Mahbubani : Qatar lessons for us

I regularly disagree with Kishore Mahbubani but this time I am in near complete agreement with him on the takeaways for us from the Qatar experience.

This is a warning to review and understand correctly what it means when we are punching above our weigh on the world stage. Note that after performance is gone, brand remains for sometime, and that is a dangerous period. Are we living that now? Probably not but the government of the day desiring to continue the mandate LKY helped them earn would be sorely tempted to talk themselves into such belief. Mahbubani warns us that it would be forbiddingly expensive.

Let's be honest if that virtue is still present when tested on Monday's sitting of parliament.


  1. An excellent rebuttal

    Declaimer: never a fan of mahbubani, perharps because I went to a "rival" school..

    1. Clearly Kausikan has not understood Mahbubani. Would Singapore had acted like Qatar with LKY, GKS and Raja in charge? Of course not. So what is the matter with Kausikan?

      When LKY was alive he had our backs. Without him and this can only happen after he is gone, we have to earn the respect all over again. That was why I said in a blog post during LKY funeral that Israel is a friend when their President came for the funeral and publicly declared he wanted to talk business when the PM was still mourning (not so sure now given the latest allegations).

      If George Yeo had not stared back at Yang Jiechi, do you think LKY would forgive him? That is a career ending move. Now without LKY would he had dared to face down the Chinese FM? Who knows. Ditto the experience Dhana had with the US.

      Let's be honest with ourselves. If we can punch above our weight, we do. If we can't then we must quickly learn to. What we mustn't is to be foolish like Qatar.

      What we have is a set of principles and values our founding fathers bequeathed us. Make sure we really understand them deeply and practice them. Many readers could understand Mahbubani and I wonder why Kausikan who had worked closely with him could not.

      If I am not wrong Kausikan from his public posting would like to see 38 Oxley Road preserved. My guess is Mahbuhani would say demolish it. In a short time we will know who understand our security and foreign policy values and principles better.

  2. Actually the lesson here should be how not to behave as a small country. There are fundamental differences in how Qatar and us conducted our business. Whether or not the world gave us international space because Lky (if he is the only reason, I really don't know).but I am not here to change your mind so we should agree to disagree.