by Simon Lim
I refer to the recent Vivian Balakrishnan’s call to the United States to accept the rise of China, to double down and reap the rewards together etc.
Those words were such beautiful rhetoric uttered by none other than a former star debater but they will only remain mere rhetoric. Let me explain.
The United States has been the beacon of the free world since the end of World War 2 but today, American supremacy must make room for a rising China which must become more assertive and influential and whether the United States likes it or not, countries like Singapore will have no choice but learn to adjust and adapt and be more street-wise even in foreign policy matters which our impeccably educated People’s Action Party (PAP) ministers, I suspect, grossly lack and for the simple reasons being that they are too book-smart and too sheltered in a tumultuous world.
Vivian Balakrishnan and his PAP government are precisely the opposite of what he has preached to the Americans in Washington. At home, they have not only been intolerance about the rise of opposition politicians and parties, many of whom were badly bruised and some bankrupted too.
I asked myself if I were the United States government or an American Senator or a US Congressman listening to him but aware of how his government had treated many of its past political opponents back home instead of being more acceptable of their rise like what he has urged the Americans to do with China’s rise, my reactions and conclusion of what that man has uttered so eloquently before me must be nothing more than mere diplomatic niceties or what our local Singaporeans would call wayang or “ying cho” than to take him seriously. The Americans are not stupid unlike the majority of our citizens.
Like many other things in life, often times, one’s actions speak louder than one’s words and I believe that Vivian Balakrishnan’s call to the United States about China’s rise … is no different.
In short, I am afraid that there was plenty of sounds and hot air and hardly any substance in his speech and it is not difficult for people to see through. Think!
This was first published on Simon Lim’s Facebook page and reproduced with permission.