Saturday, January 12, 2013

Punggol East elections- reprise of Romance of 3 Kingdoms?

Dear Friends,

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 Chang

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…

Akan Datang , folks….

Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan
Links to Romance of 3 Kingdoms:
2, Summary of ROTK
3. Commentary on Cao Cao


Anonymous said...

In that case, I really hope that people like Liu Bei, Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, Zhao Yun, Sun Quan, Zhou Yu etc etc and MOST IMPORTANTLY, Zhuge Liang turns up soon, Currently they can only be described as Liu Zhang, Yuan Shu, Yuan Shao etc.

js said...

I think SDP is just being opportunistic rather than trying to mount a challenge against WP. The latter have not reached the level where they are seen as the one to beat as this title still belongs to PAP. In any case, with or without SDP contesting, PAP will still win as it is an almost impossible task to garner a vote swing of 6% in 1.5 years in politically conservative Singapore.

I would call a victory as long as PAP keeps losing it majority share and the opposition can keep their momentum of chipping away at the lead in the buildup to 2016.

Dr Huang said...

Anon: Yes. Esply Sdp. But maybe there is a Zhuge Liang somewhere and all this is just smokescreen? Like how Wp fooled all when Ltk suddenly went to Aljunied!

Js: I beg to differ. Wp has the momentum and is the form team now. I hope some mutual friend of Sdp n Wp is mediating.

Anonymous said...

Huang, this is written with greater thoughts and value than any of the ST journalists. I love it.

My thoughts: wp has been working in that zone for the longest time. For sdp to request wp to abandon their continual strive in punggol east is not an answer you want wp to give to the 40% of the voters who had previously supported them in the last GE.

We love Dr Paul and Vincent. I would believe it is better that they continue to serve in the west first and as they are the minorities, they are invaluable to the GRC.


TonyP said...

People like CSJ should be locked up and the keys flushed down the toilet. I'm a avid supporter of democracy, not lunacy.

With the mess that SDP has just created, you know know who's gonna end up laughing all the way to the polls??? The freaking useless PAP. The enemy of thy enemy is my FRIEND - WP has worked the ground in the last election and based recent GE2012's results (compared to all other opposition parties i.e. SDA's Desmond Choo), had the best margin of success to defeat the incumbent PAP.

Now SDP comes in from no where, with absolutely NO preparations and wanted to frag things up.... and you actually thought that common Singaporeans will "appreciate" you and hail SDP as the "heroes".

Singaporeans as a whole, may be timid and even daft sometimes.... but no where are we idiots and moronic enough to fall for such low-handed SDP tactics.

Really!?!??!! SDP! What's your TRUE intentions? 'cos CLEARLY, the concerns and welfare of this nation and its citizens are definitely not up there in your party's agenda.

Go ahead.... put your guy in and screw up this Punggol East By-Election. I can guarantee you that Singaporeans will REMEMBER this lunacy and your so-called party will pay DEARLY in subsequent Singapore General Elections.

I am just a common Singaporean and i will ALWAYS support the incompetent PAP over the lunatic SDP (aka Chee Soon Juan), anytime, anyplace, anywhere.

Dr Huang said...

Mh: you are too generous with your compliments.I am sure there are some ST journalists who are doing their best to let the truth out but...
TonyP: Yes Sdp must be cognizant that if Pap wins handsomely due to split votes , they will be made to be the Pariah and their future prospects will be even dimmer...

mh said...

TonyP, you were so emotional in your comments till u got the wrong person. Desmond choo is from pap while Desmond lim is fron sda n best should be the worst.

Anyway, if those guys have no insight such as from reform party or sdp, they will have no insight in parliament. I rather have Dr Huang stand as an independent candidate.

Anonymous said...

The 3 kingdoms story is a good one.
But you have given too much credit to SDP as an opposition.
There is no 3 kingdoms as far as i can see now.
Only 2.

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