The death of Singapore elder statesman Lee Kuan Yew (LKY) is notable for its timing from the perspective of the coming 2016 presidential elections in the Philippines. It mirrors a similar timeframe that served as a context for the death of former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino in August 2009, almost exactly a year before the 2010 presidential elections that saw her son, Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III ascend to power.
Cory Aquino’s death set the theme of the elections that catapulted her reluctant son to power. Could Lee’s death, just a little more than a year before the 2016 Philippine presidential elections do the same?
While Cory’s death induced a swell of emotionalism in the Philippine electorate that saw a candidates’ platform and strategic vision for the nation take a back seat to hollow demagoguery, what the late Singapore leader stood for could potentially serve as a powerful context to the Philippines’ 2016 chainge in leadership. No words capture LKY’s place in history better than those Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reportedly uttered on the occasion of his beloved father’s funeral service Sunday, the 29th March…
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To those who seek Mr. Lee Kuan Yew’s monument, Singaporeans can reply proudly: ‘Look around you.’
For now, Filipinos could only dream of a time in the uncertain future where they could do the same.
To the concept of strategic vision, in stark contrast, current Philippine president BS Aquino only contributes the counting of body bags — his “vision” of what the future holds for the Philippines. He makes war and death the object of a bizarre scare tactic that is a cornerstone of his campaign to get his beleaguered pet project, the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law passed in Congress. Rather than a rich view of possibilities, Philippine President BS Aquino has only offered “either/or” false dilemmas to his people throughout his term.
You are either with me under the Yellow Ribbon or against the Filipino people.
If there is one sentence that could summarise President BS Aquino’s personal leadership philosophy, that would be it.
In contrast, LKY put forth a Singapore of the future that all Singaporeans could embrace. His was a vision noted for its lucidity — a picture that his people could almost see then and that they now could feel and touch today. Whether Muslim, Hindu, or Christian, every Singaporean could find themselves a place in today’s Singapore as much as their parents could in the Singapore envisioned by LKY as a young prime minister.
It’s about time Filipinos find themselves a leader like LKY and it is fitting that his death could make him even more relevant today — as the beacon for the Philippines’ future as his person once served Singapore when he was breathing.
It is time Filipinos find a leader who has a vision for the Philippines that packs substance and ambition.
It is not yet too late to junk the old loser philosophies that Filipinos habitually apply to selecting their leaders and representatives in government. The old “lesser evil” and those “people who could do no wrong” simply will no longer cut it in a world that is far more competitive than the one LKY and Singapore’s people faced in the 1950s through the 1970s. Filipinos need a leader who will not pander to the popular sentiment. What is “popular” in the Philippines has long proven to be not consistent with what is good for the country over the longer term. An obssession with popularity has turned Filipinos into a nation of lazy thinkers who could not see further than next week’s teleserye episode.
Indeed as a wise and respected man once said, to appreciate the sort of leader LKY was, Filipinos need to get themselves an unforgiving mirror and grow the balls to look into it.
Are Filipinos ready for a real leader? Or will they go out to the polls in 2016 and vote for the same bozos and crooks again?
Abangan ang susunod na kabanata.
[Photo courtesy Daily Mail UK.]
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.