Lim Tean: You Can’t Be Serious!

Lim Tean: You Can’t Be Serious!

by Lim Tean

Social Media was full of talk yesterday about the glaringly disparate reception given by the Chinese government to Anwar Ibrahim, Lee Hsien Loong and the Spanish PM, Sanchez when they arrived in Beijing yesterday from the Boao conference in Hainan, which all three of them had attended.

Both Anwar and Sanchez were given the red carpet treatment upon arrival with honour guards and State cars on the tarmac, waiting to whisk them off,accompanied by a phalanx of outriders. Lee Hsien Loong and his 50 strong entourage were ushered onto the airport buses to be taken to the arrival lounge.

There may be a reason for the disparate reception, but Zaobao and Mothership gave a most ridiculous and disingenuous explanation for the difference in treatment accorded to Lee Hsien Loong and Anwar.

It was suggested that the treatment was different because Anwar arrived in Beijing onboard a Malaysian Airlines plane, whereas Lee Hsien Loong arrived on a local plane- Hainan Airlines.

I was in stitches and almost fell off my chair when I read the explanation given by Mothership. I thought this can’t be serious coming from the mainstream media and an alternative media which professes to be a serious and reliable source of journalism.

There are “Rules of the Game”as Lee Kuan Yew liked to put it.

We are all familiar with how visiting Heads of State are often given a 21-gun salute at the official welcoming ceremony.

But I am prepared to say that the parameters of these rules are not etched in stone.

If a country genuinely likes a visiting Statesman, there is nothing stopping the host country from giving the guests how many guns salutes it deems fit! It could be multiples of 21. It could be a gun salute every minute! The latter sounds extravagant, but I am using it to make my point.

A person does not even have to be in power to be accorded a grand reception. I am reminded of the story of how Mao Tse-Tung sent an official plane and his Chief Protocol Officer to bring Richard Nixon to China for a private visit after Nixon’s resignation as President following the Watergate scandal. This was the unprecedented treatment accorded to a former President.

The two men had, of course, been part of the most sensational diplomatic breakthrough in the 1970s, which was Nixon’s opening to China.

In Beijing, following their private meeting during which they toasted each other with tea, Nixon was treated to an extravagant evening of musical entertainment with a program carefully put together by Mao himself.

So please, Zaobao and Mothership, such disingenuous explanations are not appreciated by intelligent Singaporeans.

This was first published on Mr Lim’s Facebook page. Mr Lim is the leader of Peoples Voice and a practicing lawyer in Singapore.

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