Sunday, November 20, 2011

Usurping the role of the Host (喧宾夺主)

The Chinese saying :xuan bin duo zhu (喧宾夺主)is more scathing in its Chinese form than its English rendering "usurping the role of the host". And in the Chinese society there could be example of social occasions which ended up with one party accusing the other party or person with this saying. It has an unpleasant connotation which could have a lingering effect on the receiving party or person for quite a while.

The Straits Times and the Media Corp could have, whether unwittingly or not, played the role of portraying our eminent PM Lee Hsien Loong as a usurper of the role of the Indonesian host President Susilo Banbang Yudhoyuno. The Straits Times and Media Corp had been giving prominent daily reports of the speeches of PM Lee at the ASEAN/East Asia Summit in Bali, Indonesia to the diminution of other world leaders, especially President Yudhoyuno. You opened the Straits Times every morning and you could see nothing but PM Lee Hsien Loong said this or he said that and very little of what other world leaders said at the Summit. One could not help getting the impression that PM Lee was the host of the Summit and that he was actually running the show. The Indonesian Ambassador here could not have failed to notice this phenomenon as it was so glaring. President Yudhoyuno could hardly be amused but being a magnanimous person he could not be expected to show any displeasure. But Indonesians have a long memory.

We now come back to the role of the Straits Times. The public perception that it is the propaganda organ of the PAP Government is never too far-fetched. And the chairman of the Singapore Press Holdings who exercises tight control of the Straits Times and other vernacular newspapers is described as the spin doctor. So to counter the pro-government propaganda that the Straits Times disseminates, there is a proliferation of the social media which provide an alternative source of news to the public. Because what they print is not complimentary to the Government, there is now an intention on the part of the Government to curb the influence of the social media by legislation, although still at a preliminary stage. The Internet played no small part in the PAP's loss of the Aljunied GRC and reduction of the total percentage of the votes garnered in the General Election in May this year.

There is really nothing wrong in PM Lee Hsien Loong's ambition to portray himself as an outstanding politician among ASEAN and world leaders at the ASEAN/EastAsia Summit or in any international forum. But it shows political sagacity that this is done without any tendency of one-upmanship.

1 comment:

Gary said...

My dear friend that is asking too much of any PAP political leaders, including and esp. LKY.

Like father like son. The Lee family have never been fond of Indonesian leadership since the downfall of Suharto - do you recall LKY even publicly 'condone' the former's huge corruption. I am sure you must be aware that Surharto's wife when alive had a nickname of "Madam 10%"?

Since when has any Singapore PM been able to get along with its other leaders, esp. those they don't think are material to their political agenda?

Towards China - LKY esp. is a big BALLS CARRIER, towards the US, LKY and company play hot and cold on the surface but American naval and air forces continue to stop by and of course we have lots of our military guys training in US and we regularly make billion dollar purchases of US military hardware. To the Aussies, they behave like prostitutes - the Aussies can practically screw the arses of our leaders with impunity and the lee gang would only respond with obsequious smiles. Ditto with China - LKY went out of his way several times to please AH Tiong! but, look at our two closest neighbours - we are like the 'SALAMI' between a slice of Malaysian and a slice of Indonesian bread!. We don't want to be eaten for breakfast,
lunch or dinner, nor dessert. Therefore, this constant 'squirming' behaviour to remind them of our inferiority complex.