This is our only Home. We want to engage society actively and constructively. Only by asking the right questions can we arrive at the correct answers.
There is no need for fear as we are only doing what we must. To be apathetic is to be selfish and derelict in our duty to our children and our children's children!
Huang Shoou Chyuan
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Punggol East elections- reprise of Romance of 3 Kingdoms?
Events at Punggol East a
reprise of Romance of the Three Kingdoms?
The events at Punggol East
in the past days fascinates a neutral like me as they remind me of a period in
Ancient China (first and second century AD) when the great Han dynasty was
crumbling due to various reasons including palace intrigues by shadowy eunuchs
and inept emperors. The ensuing civil war threw out legendary figures that
remain forever etched in common folklore.
This period is
characterized best by Luo
Guanzhong’s classic novel “Romance of
the Three Kingdoms” . Click here , here and here. In attempts to resurrect the Han dynasty, 3 main
protagonists from the 3 rival states of Wei (North) , Shu-Han (West) and Wu (
South) played key roles in this troubled time:
1. Wei state’s Cao Cao, the
Prime Minister who usurped the authority of the Han by using the young Emperor
Xian as a puppet as he is kept like a bird in a “gilded cage” in his capital Xu
2.Shu-Han ’s Liu Bei
, who though only a shoe maker ,was popularly acknowledged as “royal uncle” as
he had royal blood and could trace his lineage to the Han emperor and hence had
legitimate claim to the throne and
3.Wu’s Sun Qian , who
though barely a teenager, was of great intelligence, foresight and rectitude.
All of us of course know
the complementary roles played by other legendary figures like Guan Yu (dietified
as a god), Zhuge Liang and Zhou Yu etc.
The horse trading reported
in the media of the present pre-election period at Punggol East brings to mind
what happened after the monumental battle at Chi Bi ( Red Cliff) when Cao Cao’s
800,000 troops were unexpectedly decimated by the numerically inferior troops
of the Sun-Liu Alliance. Even when Cao Cao and his troops were beating a
chaotic retreat back north, the alliance missed an opportunity to eliminate Cao
Cao decisively as Wu’s and Shu-Han’s strategists were already acting in
self-centered ways to prevent their fellow ally from becoming too powerful in
the face of a weakened Wei state. Each ally wanted to prevent one tyrant ( Cao
Cao) being replaced by another (their erstwhile ally) in the future.
Scholars opined that
Shu-Han ‘s strategist ,Zhuge Liang’s, assigning general Guan Yu to HuaRong Pass
knowing that the latter would let Cao Cao escape as a favour for past kindness
and Wu’s commander ,Zhou Yu’s, strategy of pushing the retreating Wei troops towards
Shu-Han forces are examples that none wanted to be the “bad guy” who kills Cao
Cao and then risk becoming the target for Cao’s successors’ revenge. Not
surprisingly, Cao escaped to fight another day.
Whether Worker’s Party (WP)
or Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has greater right to the vacant seat will
be left to the ward’s electorate to decide. Most pundits feel that if both
contest, none will win (ie PAP wins). If WP alone contests ( I am disregarding
other parties who only play bit-parts), the chance is best but SDP would then
be faced with another rival party that will totally eclipse them in time to
come. If SDP alone contests, WP’s plan of domination in the East, which is but
another brick in their scheme to build up a truly alternative party, would be
delayed or even off-railed in the off-chance that SDP actually wins. SDP may
then start to jostle with WP to be the main alternative party. If both contest,
none wins but WP prevents the emergence of a upstart and SDP will attract scorn
as being the spoiler …
Game theorists and other
watchers have opinions about which is the dominant strategy and hence the most
prudent step for each of the 2 alternative parties, but I am content to watch
and see if my theory about what each party will do comes to fruition…