Stupid is Smart

April 9, 2006 at 11:15 p04 (News & Comments)

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.



  1. Mother Superior said,

    Personally, I think Li Ao has a point. His point is simply that collectivism may gain consensus but may not achieve creativity (or entrepreneurship or Nobel Prize winners, etc).

    But a style of rule, in this case, collectivism, is selected by S’pore’s early fathers because of environment (no resources in this land), circumstances (riots during the 60s) and educational level of people.

    Perhaps it is time to be more ‘progressive’ now, and that is best left to the son, LKY’s son.

    Li Ao’s point is worth a thought. But he could have chosen a better manner too. 🙂

  2. Clare said,

    Hello SeeFei… Thanks for the B’day wish… 🙂

  3. desiderata said,

    Your obs very shrewd one.
    We Chinese must learn to discard our self-centred ways to become progressive — Go back to study all the civilizations of the world before their fall…
    Self-centredness, indulgence, arrogance …
    for Nobel Prize breakthroughs in modeern world, we must llearn from USA — they oopick the best brains from throughout the world (Similarly, Singapore doing IT in a micro way…), cross fertilise the best genes and ideas from the borderless world…
    I’m sad to report NegaraKu will be left behind — here at that Madhouse they are still trade OFF-Coloyr jokes about Teresa Kok, and second- and third-wives .. Others are laffing more at these speimens than at those at the Zoo nearby butt they don’t get IT!

    So sad, I’m mad:(
    Now I feel badder letting go at seefei’s. Come over and we’ll have some Tehtarik, RutBir2!

  4. Michael Chua said,

    Li Ao ought to come to Singapore and be mobbed to death for his inflammatory remarks against us ;p

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