Time To Grow Up

Who would be bothered about what Gerakan Youth vice-chief S. Paranjothy have to say about the plight of the Indians in Malaysia that has riled the likes of Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein? And who would care whether Hishammuddin's rebuttal is appropriate or whether it is a threat?

Stop it, this is not a teen summer camp. So, just stop quarrelling. The fact is that both of them are from the same ruling coalition. It would be 2008 a few days later. Let's do something serious and meaningful, all right? God! We are not patients of Alzheimer's disease, so need not keep forgetting.

A new president for South Korea was elected a few days ago. Lee Myung-bak won not because of his eloquence. When Lee was the Mayor of Seoul, he was determined to restore Cheonggyecheon Stream that flows through central Seoul.

The planning was good, but the project offended thousands of traders and factories. Some demonstrated, some committed arsons. "The success of the transformation of Cheonggyecheon Stream into a cultural park was the fruit of their collective effort."

Lee really does possess the abilities a leader should have. He first persuaded those civil servants who did not agree with him. After these civil servants stood by his side, they began to persuade the traders and the public.

It would be a difficult task to make the people abandon their self interests. However, Lee had his way which was to open his heart to the people (unlike a local minister who brought a troop of men and machines to demolish buildings regardless of public opinion).

Lee communicated with the people and told them about environmental and cultural protection. He also walked a mile in their shoes to understand their problems and difficulties. He found a way out and made some alternative arrangements for them.

Eventually, people agreed with his idea and accepted his policy. Therefore, Lee's aspirations became the common vision of the people. They trusted him.

The success of the transformation of Cheonggyecheon Stream into a cultural park was the fruit of their collective effort. This is a model for successful leadership which does not fear objections. There must be a reason if the people oppose an idea. Leaders should take it seriously regardless how small the matter is.

From your point of a few, it might be a silly problem, but for those who are affected, it might be a big problem that they would fight till the end. Therefore, a leader should be open-minded and sincere to gain the people's trust. Besides, the people could accept a leader who enjoys a colourful and comfortable life as long as he does not overdo it. The people would not be jealous and rebel against him because of this.

However, when a leader is enjoying his life, he must always remember the life of the lower class and vulnerable groups. When they grumble or voice out their grievances, do not criticise them or accuse them of being provocative and having bad intentions. They come to the front because they have no other way to complain.

We are a year older as 2008 is fast approaching. Let's grow up and do not be impetuous anymore! (By TAY TIAN YAN/ Sin Chew Daily)