My cousin who is currently working in China finally agreed with me that the Chinese will not be able to catch up with the rest of the world in ten years time. This is the conclusion to a small after dinner argument that we started in a Shanghai restaurant three years ago.
He arrived at that conclusion after watching the "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" and some other Chinese series on China recent history. I felt that way too after watching ROTTK during my one year stint in China. The mainland Chinese were so ahead in term of management, logistic, strategy 2200 years ago, you can't help but ask what went wrong? And why overseas Chinese like Stan Shih, Wang, Sim Wong Hoo, Lee Kuan Yew (ahem got to give credit where credit is due, ok?) are more closely associated with success than any of the mainland Chinese in recent history? In ROTTK, i can see the mainland Chinese were very smart but in-fighting within the Kingdom that undone the success of the founding family. The Chinese were smart but too smart for their own good. The lack of a system to share power breed contempt and finally mutiny that overthrow the system that had given the initial success. The system had not changed much in term of power sharing and promotion of innovation, science and technology.
So, when Li Ao said "Singaporeans are stupid", we should take it with a pinch of salt. Sometime, too smart is not good.