By Ravi Philemon
I am not sure if I read correctly the intent of Mano Sabnani’s letter to ST Forum titled, ‘Challenges for S’pore in 2014’. In the letter he seems to lament that it is becoming harder to hear the voice of political leaders amid all the noises created by the voice of the man in the street amplified by social media.
He wonders if Singaporeans will be able to see which ideas and proposals are good for the country and support them consistently in the cacophony, or if Singapore will fumble and fall before we learn to make the correct decisions, presumably because we fail to listen to the always sensible, logical and balanced voice of our political leaders.
How can we so quickly forget that political leaders are human beings themselves, and being human beings are fallible just like anyone else? Let’s also not forget that political leaders make mistakes and have apologised for blunders like linking ministerial pay to dignity of politicians, for making racist remarks, and for the side-effects of certain Government policies.
Whether political leaders or ordinary citizens, people usually make bad decisions because of the nonavailability of complete information.
Good leaders do not push through ideas and proposals just because they think it is good for the country. They would put out proposals, crowd-source ideas to make proposals better, assuage concerns, and even be brave enough to scrap plans which do not have the support of the people.
Social media is more a boon than a bane for political leaders to be good ones; ones that are not only charismatic but also compassionate. For Singapore shall surely fumble and fall as we journey together into the future if we are not led by good men with a right mix of these two qualities.