这种鼓吹西方优越的言论，来自於一个国家的首都，而这个国家正陷入脱欧的痛苦之中 - 由於短视与操纵民粹主义政治运动的结果 - 只能招来所有熟悉新加坡政府稳定和办事能力强的人的嘲笑而已。
由於他的自以为是，作者继续将人民行动党与中国共产党作为比较 - 明显的这在西方的思维上是一种侮辱〔下一分钟可能比这更严重〕。他接着暗示权力有计划、平稳地转移，将政权交给新一代领袖〔他们通过在部长职位或其他国家机构工作多年而被培养为接班人〕，同时保留一些老一辈的同僚在背后提供辅导与软性的影响，在某种程度上而言并不是一件好事。
然而，在日本这个〝太阳升起之国〞，自民党已连续执政了六十年 - 除了在2009年与2012年之间这一短暂的时期之外。政府通过〝记者俱乐部〞控制信息流向媒体，只有经过认证的记者才能获得会员资格。日本全国还广泛地以〝根回〞的传统办事〔所谓〝根回〞的意思是在真正行动之前，与当事人疏通，取得各方的同意，以达到事倍功半的效果〕。最近的一个例子是明仁天皇的退位，为继任者开路 - 这个过程从2016年开始，将於2019年4月结束。
任何对远东文化、历史与政治稍有兴趣的人都清楚了解这些国家治理的原则。它们与任何形式的专制主义没有什么关系，而是根植於儒家的社会和谐原则 - 这一种概念明显的对习惯无休止内部冲突的西方思维是难以理解的。
这引出了一个问题 - 为什么有人对亚洲事务极度无知到这个程度，而这家大型杂志却愿聘用他们写这些内容？
中国不断扩大其在世界上最大的高速铁路网络。它在不到15年的时间里已经发展到27,000公里 - 到2025年计划再增加10,000公里。与此同时，过去十年，英国还在谈论在高速2计划下延伸建造500公里的铁路，而且预计将在2030年代中期完工〔!〕。
众所周知，希思罗第5号机场在官僚主义的争吵中一共花了20年才建成，而中国则继续建造一个又一个新的机场 - 最近的一个大型机场建在北京附近的大兴，明年将开通4条跑道〔最终将扩展到7条跑道〕。
我不能代表新加坡领导人，但就我个人而言，我会比较高兴与一个成功管理拥有14亿人口的超级大国的人相比，而不愿意与任何一个西方政治家相比 - 他们〔后者〕大多数只会讲不会做，无法处理任何重大问题：从经济停滞和债务，到犯罪或臃肿的福利，到摇摇欲坠的基础设施。
如果“经济学人”的编辑们不是那么无知，他们就会把「榕」专栏用作交流思想的工具 - 即使有些人可能在西方被认为是有争议的 - 而不是成为哗众取宠的临时讲台，最近集中精力攻击新加坡大使馆。
〝当你讲话时，你只是在重复你已知道的事情。但如果你聆听，你可能学到新的东西。〞 - 达赖喇嘛
当然，如果这个前英国殖民地的国内生产总值人均水平能高于英国本身 - 更不用说非常低的犯罪率，高效率的医疗保健，一流的教育，世界水准的基础设施和充足的公众绿地 - 这就值得我们仔细研究它是如何发生的，以及世界其他地方（包括欧洲）可以做些什么来实现同样的结果。
可惜的是，当西方正在经历一个动荡的政治时期，努力应对不可持续的债务和公共福利支出，低效率和昂贵的公共医疗保健，犯罪率上升，日趋严重的种族分化以及它所造成的冲突之际，它的新闻从业员 - 肩负着让民主社会获得充分讯息的重任 - 却选择去嘲笑唯一一个有效处理所有这些问题的国家，而不是去研究它的成功之道，并汲取它的经验。
如果他们能收敛一下自己的洋洋得意，即使是短暂的5分钟，那么他们就会明白为什么人民行动党在半个世纪内一直能赢得公众2/3的投票率。或许有这么一次，「榕」专栏可以如当初它曾经标榜的信念 - 〝以一棵树的名字命名，让它的树枝庇护所有伟大的思想”。
实际的情况却是，它成为了一个伟大的思想 - 和伟大的成就 - 受到攻击的场所。
作者：Michael Petraeus 发表於：《Critical Spectator》26.12.2018
[ 本帖最后由 苏杭 于 2019-1-2 13:42 编辑 ]
〝The Economist〞 Should Learn from Singapore Instead of Attacking It|
Condescension in reports about Asia is nothing new in the Western world. But one is forced to recognize things are getting out of hand if articles published in one of Britain’s leading magazines on global affairs keep prompting frequent rebuttals from Singapore’s High Commissioner in the country – and others have, in the past, ended in courts.
It seems that the distance between reporting and provocation is getting rather small and Banyan which was, at its inception, described as “a column about half the world’s people” is now used as a pulpit where preachers of Western superiority take their patronising swipes at the Far East under cover of anonymity.
It would be quite annoying if it wasn’t so comical, since it’s quite apparent that if anybody should be taking lessons from anyone today it’s the West – learning from Asia – not the other way around.
Better to Remain Silent and Be Thought a Fool than to Speak and Remove All Doubt
This preaching coming from the capital of a country embroiled in a painful divorce with the EU – a result of a short-sighted, manipulative and populist political campaign – can only evoke a smirk on faces of all people acquainted with stability and competence of Singaporean government.
I understand it must be quite shocking for any Western cheerleader to see political scene so stable that the new prime minister is known 3 years in advance, when leaders in Europe or America can’t exactly be sure if they get to keep their jobs for another 3 weeks.
While Banyan columnist delivers his snarky remarks about the appointment of Heng Swee Keat, slated to take over from Lee Hsien Loong after elections in 2021, the occupant of 10 Downing Street doesn’t know if she’s going to last until spring. Nor does anybody (3 months before the deadline) know how Brexit is going to look like – over 2.5 years after the vote.
Is that the position from which The Economist wants to lecture Singapore – and Asia – about proper governance?
In his self-conceit the author goes on to compare PAP to Communist Party of China – clearly an insult in the Western mind (more on that in a minute). He continues to imply that planned and smooth transition of power which passes the reins to a new generation of leaders (who have been groomed to take over by spending years at ministerial posts or in other state institutions) while keeping the old ones in the background for council and soft influence is somehow a negative thing.
The suggestion appears to be that governing by conflict is somehow superior to governing by consensus.
Doesn’t it just explain everything that’s going on in Europe and America these days?
Addiction to cheap sensationalism is now running so deep there that it is expected that all disagreements and fights should be made public rather than hidden from view and dealt with in the silence of offices of decision makers. But even more disturbing is the deep ignorance of East Asian history and its cultural heritage which has produced a different and, arguably, far more civilized approach to governance than the West has.
Banyan conveniently – or ignorantly, it’s really hard to say – omits Japan, focusing on China, since parallels to what Europe still likes to imagine is a communist regime just have more sting when leveled at Singapore.
And yet, in the Land of the Rising Sun, the ruling LDP has been in charge for the past 60 years – save for a brief period between 2009 and 2012. The government controls the flow of information to the media through kisha clubs where only accredited journalists are granted membership. And the nation as a whole still widely employs the tradition of nemawashi – “digging around the roots” – a way of managing change by gradually working out a consensus and preparing all participants and stakeholders for it. Most recent, public example is the abdication of emperor Akihito, making way for a successor – a process which started back in 2016 and is going to conclude in April 2019.
Anybody remotely interested in Far East Asian culture, history and politics knows well the principles these nations operate by. And that they have little to do with authoritarianism of any sort but are rooted in Confucian principles of social harmony – a concept clearly hard to grasp by the Western mind used to endless internal conflicts.
It only begs a question – why someone displaying such an abysmal level of ignorance regarding Asian affairs is employed to write about them for a major magazine?
Those Evil Chinese…
As I mentioned, Banyan’s comparisons between PAP and Communist Party of China are clearly an attempt at an insult, trying to show that Singaporean leadership isn’t really so much different than the totalitarians (as the West sees them) in Beijing.
In reality it turns into another display of blind European conceit.
I’m not convinced that comparisons to a country which has elevated more people out of poverty at a faster rate than any other in history are particularly negative.
Those dreaded “communists” (in reality far more free market friendly than most Western governments) have improved living standards of more people than any other government ever. For a nation this big they also work with incredible efficiency, as demonstrated by the feats of Chinese engineering.
The Middle Kingdom keeps expanding its already largest high-speed railway network in the world. It has grown to 27,000km in less than 15 years – with another 10,000km planned by 2025. In the meanwhile, the UK spent the past decade merely talking about building 500km extension under High Speed 2, to be completed in mid 2030s (!).
Terminal 5 at Heathrow famously took 20 years of bureaucratic wrangling before it was completed while China keeps building one new airport after another – with the latest behemoth in Daxing, near Beijing, opening next year with four runways (ultimately expanding to seven – and a capacity of over 100 million passengers).
All of the above is in addition to thousands of kilometers of modern highways, harbors, dozens of subway systems catering to hundreds of millions of people who have moved to burgeoning metropolises across the country.
I can’t speak for Singaporean leaders but, personally, I would be happier being compared to people successfully running a superpower of 1.4 billion inhabitants rather than any of the Western politicians – most of them incompetent talking heads, incapable of dealing with any major issue, from economic stagnation & debt, through crime or bloated welfare to crumbling infrastructure.
Not that these comparisons are even necessary since it was China that learned from Singapore, not the other way around. Chinese leaders, starting with Deng himself, have developed their policies by watching how PAP put the Little Red Dot on a path to prosperity while retaining political power and genuine popularity among the citizens.
The historical fact that PRC has modeled its governance on Singapore should be well known to anybody who wants to write about Asian matters.
Instead, the London based magazine shows us, yet again, the extent of incompetence of its Banyan contributor(s).
Speak Less – Listen More
If editors at the Economist were a little less ignorant they would have used the Banyan column as a vehicle for exchange of ideas – even if some may be considered controversial in the West – rather than a podium for occasional grandstanding, recently focused on winding up Singapore’s High Commissioner.
“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” / DALAI LAMA
Surely if a former British colony reaches levels of GDP per capita between 50% (nominal) to 100% (PPP) higher than the UK itself – not to mention very low crime, efficient healthcare, top notch education, world class infrastructure and abundant public greenery – it warrants a closer look at how it happened and what the rest of the world (including Europe) can do to achieve similar results.
Instead, just as the West is going through a turbulent political period, grappling with unsustainable levels of debt and public welfare spending, inefficient and expensive public healthcare, rising crime, increasing ethnic diversity and conflicts it creates, its journalists – people responsible for keeping democratic societies well informed – choose to throw jabs at the only country which has dealt with all of these issues, rather than study it and draw conclusions from its successes.
If they restrained their smugness for 5 minutes perhaps it would become apparent why PAP has kept winning 2/3s of the public vote for half a century. And maybe for once Banyan column would be what it was once supposed to – “named after a tree whose branches have sheltered great ideas“.
As it is, it has become a place where great ideas – and great achievements – have come under attack.
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原帖由 往事一风 于 2019-1-4 12:55 发表
原帖由 嘉娜峰 于 2019-1-17 16:47 发表