Monday, January 17, 2011
Real Public Servant-Leaders versus Career Politicians
The ratio between real public-servant leaders who truly serve the well-being of the people and self-serving career politicians who represent the interests of a select group of power interests is 5:95 in Asia.
A. Leaders who are public servants first, politicians second: Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Ronald Reagan, Yudhoyono (work-in-progress).
B. Leaders who are politicians first, public servants second: Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Anwar (the once enigmatic Opposition leader who recently seems to have trouble reinventing his image beyond an Opposition leader with a troubled frown), Deng Hsiao Peng (the only Chinese leader who fell from category A after his role in the Tiananmen massacre), Lee Kuan Yew (who, according to wiki leaks, cleverly distanced himself and Singaporean politicians by calling some Malaysian politicians opportunists and corrupt).
C. Leaders who are good at fooling the public that they are public servants first: Obama (the guy who talked his way into winning a Nobel peace prize without creating peace), Putin (at least to the Russians), Hu Jintao (another leader in a long line of beneficiaries of Deng's pro-capitalism reforms and Chinese nationalism).
D. Leaders who are servants of their inflated egos and power-driven passions: Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Mugabi, the Iranian demogogue Ahmadinejad, the Burmese generals, the North Korean Kim dynasty.
E. Leaders who try to get into the categories above but will likely be just a footnote in history: Abdullah Badawi (whose real achievement was that he managed to project a nice guy image and keep the extremists in check), Najib (depends mostly on whether he can walk the talk with the social and economic reforms outlined in the New Economic Model, failing which he will be just another face among mediocre career politicians).
Jokes aside, I am convinced there is a huge demand for real public-servant leaders in Asia in view of (a) the acute shortage in supply of such leaders currently and historically (b) Asia's rising prominence in the global economy.
This is why I will offer to my two children, the option of a new career choice: visionary economist prophets for the nations. These prophets will advise kings and presidents on the course and destinies of their nations. Not for the money, the status or the power but primarily because there is a true need for such advisors of leaders to navigate through the treacherous political and economic convulsions of the 21st century.
I can imagine parents asking if these are risky professions: the answer is that there will be no future at all if national leaders are advised by the wrong people. Not only are we faced with economic ruin but devastating earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, famines if nations do not quickly align themselves with God's divine destiny.
Incidentally, after the world economy was resuscitated and went through critical turning points in 2010, I believe we have entered a new era of economic realignments and paradoxes in 2011: countries will be facing social chaos and food shortages while other countries will thrive in stability and prosperity. This widening chasm between the afflicted and the fortunate will sow the seeds of hate among those who refuse to learn from their errors and healing among those who are willing to turn back from their destructive economic, politicial habits.
(In fact, these ideas suggest a research project which I will explore in the coming months on raising our children for the prophetic calling of nations.)