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Sakmongkol ak 47

Thursday 8 January 2009

Choosing our Leaders(2)

Secondly, it represents blocked opportunities for later generations. It will be that way, if we allow providence to throw up the leadership upon us. Untung sabut timbul, untung batu tenggelam kind of thinking. That would only suggest, after hundred of years we have not Hijrah from the methods of the shamans, tea leaves reading, signs from the sky thinking mode, bovine vomit etc.

Captaining the ship of leadership is not like doing a Captain Jack Sparrow. With him, it is difficult to know whether the good things happening to him are the product of deliberate planning or he just makes it up along the way. You have a choice then. Select a leader trusting that providence, will willy –nilly, supply you leaders. Or you can determine the quality of leadership you desire by a deterministic process. That process is deliberate and rigorous by nature. It involves disembowelling all our pet assumptions. One of the pet assumption is rejecting the ascriptive norms- whereby a person is chosen because of who he is. Instead, the criteria should be on achievement norms- a person is evaluated in terms of his/her merits, what he can do, his abilities. .

As a blogger friend, Smalltalk said, this basis of choosing( i.e. breaking up elite cycle) UMNO leaders has never been practised. The norm was, is and will always be appealing to tradition and money. In fact, Smalltalk was more colourful when he talked about BUDU. Tradition means whatever it fancies the top leaders at that particular time as long as it keeps the status quo, UMNO has its ways, etc. etc. Money, the other method is almost an universal practice in UMNO. Money is UMNO’s North Star. It’s the Kaabah for the majority.

I am not going to elaborate on these two norms. But the other one is interesting.

That particular article which I write earlier, has invited counter arguments. The main and substantive one came from the blogger A Voice. His analysis represented the others who share his similar views- that we must not exclude someone of calibre just because he comes from the genetic elite. Ok, I accept, that was an argument to support Mukhriz Mahathir in opposition to my thesis that the coming Ketua Pemuda race will be between KJ and KT.

The sting of the argument- that we must not exclude or reject a candidate because he comes from a genetic elite, is the one that attracts me. Actually I can accept that if a prospective candidate has the balls and talents, even though he/she comes from the old family, he mustn’t be discounted. Case in point. Lee Hsien Loon, the son of LKY. His exclusion would be a loss to Singapore if we use my way to choose leadership. Because of his merits. Although I can point to many more offspring of the old family who cant walk and chew gum at the same time.

Nevertheless I accept wholly that to exclude someone because of his genealogy is to practice a form of reverse discrimination.

To weaken my argument, A Voice and others produced reasoning to say that KJ is as much a son to Pak Lah as any of those I wish to disqualify. Accordingly, by my own reasoning, KJ too would be disqualified leaving the field to the tempe eating and shouting capture-back-Selangor former MB, KT. Not good say people. Khir Toyo is too plebeian.

Suppose now, I accept the argument. That we must not exclude or disqualify a candidates just because they come from the genetic elite. I repeat- I reject the perverse idea of reverse discrimination. Provided they have all the marbles, we would be better off, by accepting them as candidates. Since now, we don’t want to use the tiresome argument of a person’s genealogy, would that also mean, we need not also disqualify KJ? Quid pro quo? Boleh? You accept, I accept?.


Putting aside both arguments for and against the genetic elite, all 3 are plausible candidates. What then do we have?

We are then directed to the merits of each candidate. His personality, mental capabilities, dedication, foresight, his imagination, his ability to conduct reality checks. I am reminded of my days with Shell, where they evaluate one’s leadership qualities on the basis of helicopter abilities( HAIR). The H stands for Helicopter ability made possible if one has A( analytical abilities/mental prowess), I( sense of Imagination) and R( reality check). Having all these qualities, allow such person to rise above and see the bigger picture. But I shall refrain from boring readers by constructing a table comparing how each candidate in the Ketua Pemuda rank with each other. Let us look at other leavening features of leadership.


walla 8 January 2009 at 12:11  

Maybe it should be CHAIR. The C in CHAIR could be 'colour'. Add more colour to those leadership features.

Umno needs more than change. It needs a new face symbolizing 'colour'. When women see the new face, the only thing they will ask is 'how'. When men, the only word that comes to mind will be 'when'. The new face can create a new brand image for Umno, something that replaces the same-old talking the same-old all the time. Instead, something new, refreshing, revivifying, dynamic, exciting even. The staid green's and blue's will surrender themselves to the new image. It'll be a knock-out by whoever owns the new brand image that can breathe new life into tired voters.


(kekekeke ;P)

hoqni 8 January 2009 at 12:27  

Dear Sak,

I like these series. My comments are at

de minimis 8 January 2009 at 13:35  

Thank you for the reminder of the HAIR criteria in human resource management at Shell. It is a trite criteria. It is a useful guide to measure not just corporate and management abilities but, political abilities too, regardless of lineage, bloodline or genealogy...or, ethnicity for that matter.

Elviza 8 January 2009 at 15:28  

Sir, you've got mail...

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